When a Day Was a Day

Posted on January 16, 2010


Exodus 20:11 (NKJV)
11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

The six days of creation have given rise to much controversy among Christians and skeptics alike. Many people have seen a need to devise a non-literal interpretation of the days of creation. Tainted by a non-Biblical world view, they think that they must interpret the Bible to make it fit what they think they know. Consequently, they interpret the days as representing different ages, indefinite periods of time, or just a framework by which to view creation. The Bible; however, stands on its own. It needs no help from us. Taken without any outside influence, the plain reading of the creation account would teach that they were literal days, and there is no reason to think otherwise.

Lets look at the word day as used in Genesis chapter one. The Hebrew word for day is “yom,” pronounced yome. Like the English word “day,” it can have a variety of meanings, based on the context which it is used. Also like the English word, certain rules of grammar apply. For example if the word is assigned a number (day one or first day), it must be a literal day. In the Hebrew text of the creation account, the word is assigned a number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). This automatically makes them literal days. To further clarify the meaning, the text defines each day by use of the phrase “evening and morning.”

Furthermore, in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, the days of creation are used as a model for our work week, which consists of literal days. As an added note, both of those verses say “for in six days the Lord made Heaven and Earth. . .” The word used for days is the Hebrew word “yamim” (the plural of yom). This word is used over 500 times in the Old Testament, and is always used to mean a group of literal days.

For those who still want to argue long days, two verses are typically used.

Psalm 90:4 (NKJV)
4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night.

2 Peter 3:8 (NKJV)
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Note that neither of these verses are speaking of creation. Both verses indicate that time is meaningless to God. You see, time began with the creation, it did not exist beforehand. These verses cannot be tied to the creation account.

What about those who claim that there is a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2? This theory was once taught as a means to reconcile scripture with long ages. It goes like this: After Genesis 1:1 the creation was complete. The earth was inhabited by human-like creatures, Satan fell, There was a rebellion and the earth was destroyed by a flood. This is supposed to account for the long geological ages and fossils that we find today (I will cover that in a later post). The Gap theory is not as widely taught as it once was. For one thing, there is no scripture to back it up, it is completely conjecture. Proponents usually point to Jeremiah 4:23, but this is speaking of the destruction of Israel, not some pre-adamic cataclysm.

The only reason to introduce millions of years into the Bible, is to try to make the Bible fit with an evolutionary time frame. Both of these competing theories see the evolution, death, and extinction of animals prior to the existence of Adam (man). If animals of any kind died before Adam even existed, it places death before sin, but the Bible says otherwise.

Genesis 2:16–17 (NKJV)
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

The Bible is clear, there was NO death before Adam sinned. The animals didn’t even kill each other, they were ALL vegetarian.

Genesis 1:30 (NKJV)
30 Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.

In fact, at the end of the sixth day, God said that EVERYTHING He had made was VERY GOOD.

Genesis 1:31 (NKJV)
31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

Very good by God’s standard is no less than perfect. If there had been pain, bloodshed and death, God could hardly have called it “very good.”

If death were a natural part of creation rather than the result of sin, that would mean that Jesus’ death as payment for sin was useless. If death is not the consequence of sin, the payment of death is not required. That means that Christ died in vain. Thankfully that is NOT the case. Instead, we see in Romans 5:12 that death was not a natural part of creation, but was introduced by Adam’s sin.

Yes, a day was a day, and the entire universe was created in six of them. To believe otherwise, is to destroy the doctrine of salvation, itself.

Posted in: Creation