Were the Days of Creation Long Periods of Time?

   Written by on June 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

logo-hevenerRecently, I was asked if the days of creation in Genesis, Chapters 1 and 2, were 24-hour days or long periods of time. Many “mainline” seminaries, in an attempt to harmonize Darwin with Genesis, seek to force the days of Genesis to be long periods of time, required by the theory of evolution.  This article is a summation of Biblical evidence which will show that the days of creation week were 24-hour days.

The Hebrew word used for “day” is “yom,” and it can have several meanings just as the word “day” in English can have various meanings. For instance, in English “day” can refer to a 24-hour day.  It can also mean a longer period of time in a passage such as: “In this day and age, technology is making great strides.”  To determine the specific meaning of the word, we must study it in its context.  The same is true when we study the meaning of the word “day” (yom), in Hebrew.

The use of a number with the word “day” is very illuminating. This combination occurs 357 times outside of Genesis 1. The combination is used in various ways, but each time it is used, it must mean a 24-hour period of time.

Someone may say, “Why should we worry about such matters which are not a part of the gospel, the good news of salvation through Christ?” The Apostle Paul tells us in Colossians that the gospel includes all of God’s words.

The meaning of the term “day” must be seen in conjunction with the use of “evening” and “morning.” Those who would argue that the days were long periods contend that these terms can have figurative meanings.  But, what is their meaning in the context of Genesis 1? How would the people in Moses’ day have understood these terms “evening” and “morning?” The Old Testament records 38 times when these two words (evening and morning) are used in the same verse. Each time they occur, the meaning must be that of a normal day. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the point: Exodus 16:8 says, “And Moses said, this shall be when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full.” Also Exodus 18:13, “and the people stood by Moses from the morning until the evening.”

God did not leave the length of the creation days open to question. He told us the exact length of each day. In Exodus 20:11, He said that in “six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them and rested on the seventh day.” The context of the statement is an emphatic command. God tells the people, “remember” and “keep” the Sabbath. God then tells them how to keep the Sabbath in their daily lives. The people can tell whether they are keeping the fourth commandment if they are working six days and resting on the seventh day. God set the pattern of Israel’s work week.  As has been demonstrated previously, “day,” used with a number, means a 24-hour day. It seems obvious that throughout Israel’s history, the people have understood this to mean a 24-hour day. Even those who hold to the long ages of Genesis 1, acknowledge the Sabbath command of Exodus 20:8-11 to be 24-hour days. Therefore, the first six “days” of creation must also have been 24 hours in length.

Plants and animals must have light to survive. God created plants on the third day.  On the fifth and sixth days, God created water life and fowls that fly above the water and earth. In addition, He created animals that walk the earth.  On the sixth day He also created man.  Plant, animal, and human life require light.  If each dark and light period of a day were millions of years in length, life could not have existed during these long dark periods.

In addition, Bible writers believed the creation described in Genesis was a creation spoken into existence by our eternal heavenly Father. Speaking creation into existence was instantaneous in each case. Here are several examples supporting this assertion:

6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; [a]
He lays up the deep in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
9 For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.  (Psalm 33:6-9, NKJV)


You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. (Nehemiah 9:6, NIV)


For this is what the LORD says– he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other.  (ISAIAH 45:18, NIV)


Jesus answered, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female.’”  (Matthew 19:4, BSB)

To the objective mind, the seven days of creation described in Genesis 1 and 2, were 24-hour days.

Until next week, may God richly bless you and yours!

Contact: fhevener@oilart.com; (434) 392-6255; www.guthriememorial.org

©By Fillmer Hevener, 2017

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