The Days of Genesis are to be taken literal!
THE DAYS OF GENESIS
by Shane Scott, former Faculty of Florida College
Note: This is false material we have supplied to document what Mr. Scott teaches. All this material, including Mr. Scott's "objections answered", are refuted by Dr. Patton's outline above.
The Bible, which is the inerrant word of God, teaches that God created the universe from nothing. Contrary to naturalistic evolution, it teaches that different kinds of animals were created distinctly. Contrary to theistic evolution, it teaches that man was created separately from all animals, and made in God's image.
But over what kind of time frame did God create our universe? Some Bible believers insist that the world must be only 6,000 years old, because the world was created in six days, according to Genesis 1. In this article I will argue that the Bible allows for a much older earth, because the days of Genesis 1 should not be interpreted literally.
THE DAYS CANNOT BE LITERAL.
The "days" of creation in Genesis 1 cannot be literal because of the parallel account of creation in Genesis 2. After God put man in the Garden, He paraded the animals before Adam, who "gave names to all the cattle...birds...and to every beast of the field" (2:20). Adam, however, had no helper, and God created Eve for him. Some amount of time must have passed between Adam's creation, the naming of the animals, and then Eve's creation. But if the days of Genesis 1 are interpreted literally, all of these events must have occured in one 24 hour day, because on the sixth day "God created man...male and female He created them" (1:27). Because of all the things that sixth day as described in Genesis 2, the sixth day of Genesis 1 cannot be literal.
THE DAYS MUST BE AGES
To prove that the days are ages, consider the seventh day. All the other days of creation ended with the phrase, "and there was evening and there was morning, a xth day." I understand that phrase to mean that each of those days had a distinct conclusion. However, there is no such statement for the seventh day, which must mean that it has not ended. In other words, on the seventh day God ceased creating new life forms, and that day has continued until now because He still "rests" from creating new life.
This interpretation is supported by two NT texts. Hebrews 4:1-9 teaches that God's sabbath rest remains for us to enter. And in John 5:16-18, Jesus justified healing on the Sabbath because "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working." Jesus' point is that He can still do some things even though He is observing the Sabbath, because God the Father can still work (through providence) even though He is still observing His Sabbath (rest from creating new life). The seventh day of the creation week in Genesis began at the creation of Adam and Eve, and has continued since that time. Thus, this seventh day is an age of thousands of years, and therefore justifies interpreting the other days as ages.
ANTICIPATING SOME OBJECTIONS
(1) But doesn't "day" always refer to a 24 hour day? Normally, yom does refer to literal days, but in the context of creation yom is used in three different ways: day as opposed to night (1:16), 24 hour days (1:14), and the entire period of creation (2:4).
(2) But what about the Sabbath command in Exodus 20? Exodus 20:9-11 does base the Sabbath command on the creation week, and clearly that command was applied to literal days of the week. However, the emphasis of the Sabbath is not on 24 hour days, but on the number SEVEN. After all, the Sabbath principle applied to years (Leviticus 25:4-5), and the jubilee, every seventh sabbath year (Leviticus 25:8-55). In Exodus 20, the seventh day of our week is paralleled to the seventh day of God's creation week, which we proved earlier is an age of many years.
(3) If the days are ages, how could the universe have existed for three prior ages before the sun was created on the fourth age? Actually, the sun was already in existence after the first day, because the phrase "God created the heavens and the earth" (1:1) refers to the entire universe. What happened on the fourth day was that the sun, moon, and stars became visible to the earth's surface for the purpose explicitly given in 1:14--"to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years." This interpretation is supported by several OT scholars, including Gleason Archer (A SURVEY OF OT INTRODUCTION).
(4) But doesn't this interpretation open the door for evolution? In my opinion, the older the earth is understood to be, the more glaring the problems are with evolution. To illustrate, one of the problems with evolution is that there are no transitional fossils which prove that one kind of animal became another. Let's grant that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. In 4.5 billion years not a single fossil has been found which supports the transitional forms we should expect to find if evolution was true. In reality, even if our universe is 15 billion years old, as astronomers suggest, that still is not enough time for the random formation of the chemicals needed for human life.
The days of Genesis 1 may be interpreted literally, but that is not the best biblical interpretation. Further, we must refrain from assigning specific dates to creation (such as 6,000 years) when the Bibles does not demand such. The length of time God chose to create the world is immaterial, since He is eternal. As Moses wrote in Psalm 90:4, "For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by."
Former Faculty of Florida College
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