A Day = 24 Hours or Extended Period of Time?

Question: When the Bible says that God created the world in seven days, does it mean seven actual days?

Answer: There is much controversy in the church today regarding whether a ‘day’ is a literal 24-hour day or if it represents an extended period time of millions or even billions of years.  There are many Christians who prefer long time periods because of the tremendous influence of evolutionary biology, geology and paleontology especially in the last hundred years.  These estimates assume the age of the earth to be 4.6 billion years old based on their interpretations of the origin of living organisms, the earth rock layers and fossils. This evolutionary bias has predominated scientific literature for years even censoring young earth evidences. There is an abundance of evidence to support young earth origins.  They have been purposely disregarded by the evolutionary community because they believe in time as the magic wand to turn dust into life.

By examining scriptures carefully, it becomes clear that the literal day is a correct interpretation with no room for long ages. Although the first chapter of Genesis is an account of Creation, it also represents God’s direct Word. The Gospel of John reminds us of this as it states, “In the Beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). John was referring to Genesis 1 where the expression “God said” is seen ten times. (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 11,20,21,24, 26 and 29).

There should be no question that Genesis 1 is a narrative spoken by God. It is not poetic and should be taken literally- including the meaning of a day. Why did God create everything in six literal days? He could have created everything in a split second but He chose six literal days. The answer is found in Exodus 20:11 as God presented Moses with the Ten Commandments: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” It was purposely given to us as an example to sanctify the Sabbath declaring it holy giving us a pattern to follow: six days of work + one day of rest. We are reminded that the law was spoken by God to Moses as he was receiving the Ten Commandments as it states in Exodus 20:1: “And God spoke.”   Later in the same book of Exodus, God did not just use the six days followed by one day of rest as an example for us to keep the Sabbath holy but made even made it a perpetual covenant forever. “Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:16,17). These are God’s words and should be taken seriously and literally. These passages in Exodus can only be interpreted as seven literal days in which God gives an example and covenant that will last forever as He refers to the creation of the entire cosmos in Genesis 1.

Could the first three days of creation be different time intervals since God did not create the heavenly bodies like the sun, moon, stars, planets and other objects until the fourth day?  In Genesis 1 you will notice that each day is numbered and defined with morning and evening. Searching the Old Testament (OT) when a day is modified with numeral or ordinal (seen 349 times), it always means a 24 hour day. Also, when “evening and morning” are used 38 times with the word “day” in the OT without any exception, it always means a literal day. There is a consistency in interpretation throughout the OT, so why would there be an exception in Genesis 1.

In the Genesis account we see God creates the light on the first day before the heavenly bodies, which were made on the fourth day. So light did not come from the sun on the first three days of creation but from the Son of God who is the light of the world (John 8:12). God does not need a celestial system to keep time. He is the author of time and gave it to us to exist in – with both a beginning and an end. He created the first day as a standard to follow that would not change. The first day of creation is described with the creation of light that would represent day and divided with the darkness which is night, surrounded by an evening and morning. In Genesis 1:3- 5 these conditions are revealed to us as it states: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.”

The length of the day consists of the elements of light and darkness, being wrapped up in the evening and morning to be a complete day. God reveals the consistent pattern for the days of creation with the repeating phrase six times for each day of creation as it states: “So morning and evening were (first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth) day.”  Why would God change the pattern of a length of a day?  Each day would be a consistent amount of time throughout His creation even before He formed the celestial systems including the sun in the context of “evening and morning.”  This is certainly what a day looks like to us presently.

We should be aware that to degrade the literal interpretation of the Genesis 1 account of a “day” into long period times confuses the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the Genesis account, everything was “good” is stated six times in Genesis 1. In Genesis 3, Adam sins… giving us the reason for Jesus, the last Adam to come and save us as it states 1 Corinthians 15:45: “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.’” We also see that Adam’s sin brought death and bondage while Christ brought eternal life. “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive!”  Adam’s sin brought death and decay not just to man but all of creation as Paul states in Romans 8:20:  “For the creation was subjected to futility” and that the whole creation is in “Bondage of Corruption” (Romans 8:21).

It was Adam’s sin that caused death and destruction and if one accepts the evolutionary time frame of long ages of death and struggle before man entered the world, they are in direct conflict with the scripture. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and to fit death and struggle as seen in the evolutionary scenario of long ages in the fossil record of death and struggle is totally contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The literal interpretation of days given to us in the form of the young earth in the realm of a few thousand years follows what God really said in the Scriptures and gives power to the gospel. Do we follow what man has contrived and popularized by the secular media over the century about the age of the earth which is not bounded by God or do we keep the revealed Word of God as the truth in which we anchor our very being?  Let the day be a literal day as God spoke.

Do you believe that creation took place in seven actual days? We want to know what you think! Let us know at [email protected]!

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