Are the Creation Days Literally 24-hour Days?
Today’s Question: Are the seven days of creation, literally 24-hour days? If so, how can we explain different time periods of various animals and the human race coming after all of them? According to most scientists they say that dinosaurs and other animal species were here millions of years before mankind. If so, how could the seven days of creation be literally 24-hour days? This would make the universe and earth only 6,000 years old.
Bible Answer: The answer is simple; the seven days of creation are not 24-hour days. Let me give you two scriptural proofs of this.
First, a 24-hour day is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun. According to Genesis 1:16-19, the sun was not created until the fourth day: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the fourth day.” Since the sun wasn’t here during the first three days of creation, how can we argue that they are 24-hour days? They are not.
Second, the New Testament writer of Hebrews treats the seven days of creation as periods of God’s dealing with His creation, not as literal days:
“And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words:
‘And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.’ And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’
“It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before:
‘Today, if you hear his voice.’” (Hebrews 4:3-7)
If you read carefully the passage, it says that today is the seventh day of creation, the day of Rest. He calls the seventh day, “Today.” Since today is the seventh day, it’s clear that if the rest day of God is still taking place, this seventh day has been much longer than a 24-hour day, so why wouldn’t the other six days be longer than 24-hour days?
We are in the seventh day! There is no new week started after God created and rested. It means the work of creation is done! Therefore, the seventh day has continued from God’s last created act of making the human race in His image. This is definitely longer than a 24-hour day.
Each day of creation is dealing with periods. This might be what Peter meant when he wrote, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).
Someone may debate, “Are you saying that it took God longer than six days to make everything?” My answer is, “No.” From God’s standpoint, it took Him six days to make everything and the seventh to rest. God is the one counting the days of creation. There was no human counting those days, therefore, the days of creation cannot be counted by us. God did the counting and from His vantage point, He took six days to create and today He is resting from His creation.
There is no difference between what scientists discover and what the Bible teaches. Scientists will say that the universe is over 13 billion years and that the earth is 4 ½ billion years old. I laugh because they are using earth years to tell us how old the universe is, yet they admit the earth was not even here for most of the age of the universe. How can they calculate the age using the earth? I get it. Based on our understanding of an earth day—because we are earthlings—scientists use our time frame to tell us the age of the universe. But this would not be the age using other references. My point is this, time is based on reference. 24 hours is a day to us, but a day on Mars would not be the same.
The seven days of creation is based on God’s reference point, not ours. So we can declare that the universe and the earth are seven days old—not six thousand years old and not billions of years old. This is based on God’s calculation of His time—not based on scientists or fundamentalists Christians.
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