|Volume 20 Number 4 April 2018||
The Days of Genesis One
Atheists teach that the Bible is merely a human production and that its account of creation is a myth. Others who cling to current scientific thought and still retain their religious connections think that the Genesis account of creation is not to be taken literally. The view these have adopted is that God created the universe and all earthly life, but that he did it through the process of natural evolution. Thus, they imagine that one can hold on to God and evolution at the same time. This position is called “Theistic Evolution.”
However, the theistic evolutionists must explain Genesis One. The account says that in six days God created all these things and rested on the seventh day. Yet, we are told that the days of this chapter refer to long periods of time, not to a day as we know it. Thus, many try to hold to God’s Word and still cling to the evolutionary explanation of man’s origin. It can be quickly and easily shown that one who holds this view of origins cannot believe the Bible at the same time. Jesus said that God made man and woman at the beginning (Matthew 19:4). They were made at the beginning, not millions or billions of years after the creation of the heavens and earth. If Jesus was wrong about this point, how can we rely on anything else He said in the New Testament? Though, if it is correct (and it is), then the theistic evolutionist is wrong in his understanding of Genesis One.
There are some very simple, practical tests we may apply to determine just how long the days of Genesis One were.
1. A biblical statement or a word is to be taken as literal unless there is something in the context which demands that it be taken as a figure of speech. There is nothing in the local or general context of Genesis 1 that indicates these are not literal 24-hour days. No Bible believer understood them in any other way until the theory of evolution became popular.
2. The days are equally divided between light and darkness. Plants were created on the third day. If the days were long geological periods, these plants would have died due to the long nights that would have been extremely cold. Also, many plants depend on insects to propagate, but insects were not created until the sixth day. If these “days” were only a few years in length, plant life would have perished.
3. The word “day” is translated from “yom.” This Hebrew word is used figuratively to refer to longer periods of time than the literal 24-hour day in many instances. However, in all cases where it is used with a numerical value (except in prophetic passages), it always has reference to a literal solar day. In Genesis One, the numeric values of first, second, etc., are used. There are more than one hundred such usages in the Old Testament. Moreover, when the plural form of “yom” is used, it always refers to 24-hour days. There are more than seven hundred such usages of the word in the Old Testament.
4. The seventh day is not distinguished from the other six days in length in the context. We have no reason to believe it was any longer or shorter than the others. See Exodus 20:11. Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day. If the days were long geological periods of the length that modernists claim, then Adam was extremely old before day number six ended! He lived through part of day six, through all of day seven, and for the rest of his 930 years. If the first six days were each 100,000 years in length, think how old this would make Adam! However, the Bible says that “all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Genesis 5:5). It is impossible to consistently believe the Bible and theistic evolution at the same time! Many are unwilling to give up their day-age interpretations of Genesis 1, and so they have been driven to assert that Adam was not a real person. Yet again, they cannot accept that view and still believe Matthew 19:4 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 47, which show that Adam was a real man (that he was the first man).
5. The Hebrew word “yom” is used and defined in Genesis One.
As added proof, the word is clearly defined the first time it is used. God defines His terms! “And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day” (Genesis 1:5). Yom is defined here as the light period in the regular succession of light and darkness, which, as the earth rotates on its axis, has continued ever since. This definition obviously precludes any possible interpretation as a geologic age. (Bert Thompson. The Bible and the Age of the Earth)
God plainly said, “The evening and morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:14 says that the lights in the firmament were to divide the day from the night, that they were to be for signs, seasons, days and for years. If the “days” were ages, then what are the years, and what is the night?
6. In the next place, note:
Had Moses wanted us to understand that these “days” were actually long, geological periods of time, he could have used words that so-specified this point. But he did not! He could have used the Hebrew word “olam” or the word “dor,” both of which would indicate indefinite periods of time. He could have modified the Hebrew “yom” by the adjective “rab” (yom rab, a “long” day), but again, he did not. As one author has correctly pointed out, if God said that He created everything in six days, but really used six eons, wouldn’t that make God a deceptive, tricky, sneaky, deceitful God? (Bert Thompson. The Bible and the Age of the Earth, 10).
“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).
Ernest S. Underwood
Freedom! The word embeds itself in the mind and sinks deep within the heart of man. We sing of its glory. Israel experienced freedom from Egyptian bondage. Nations and individuals today are given freedom after years of cruel and oppressive bondage.
The greatest freedom of all is to have freedom from the taint and bondage of sin. This freedom has already been provided by God to all who desire it. “For freedom did Christ set us free” exclaimed Paul. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free,” promised Jesus. “And if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
Question: If you had been in long years of bondage and were offered freedom, would you accept it? Surely each of us would. Yet, many today are enslaved in sin, but when offered freedom by Christ, they wish to enforce upon Him their terms of acceptance rather than to accept His terms and obey them. “Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, but he who does the will of my Father” (Matthew 7:21). Are you free?