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Could the “days” of creation be long periods of time?

Many sincere Christians claim that, “science proves that our earth and universe are billions of years old.”  Therefore the ‘days’ of creation must be long periods of time.  This is called the “day-age theory.”

If you are a Christian holding dogmatically to this “day-age theory” be very careful because you are standing on shaky ground.  Simply, because it is using human reason to scientifically give God an excuse for the words that He chose.   Understand that if the first chapter in the Bible needs a “scientific explanation” to defend God’s inability to express His meanings what other teachings in the Bible needs a humanistic intellectual explanation?

All evangelical Christians (even the “day-age theory” Christian) believes by faith the Biblical teaching that “ye must be born again” (John 3:7), but in this passage of scripture they cannot explain the “scientific” process of being “born again.”  The Gospel of John chapter 3 simply compares the Spirit of God to the wind and we do not understand nor see the wind but we only see the effects to know its there. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” John 3:7. So why is the simple meaning of John 3 accepted by faith, as well as other scriptures, but the first chapter of the Bible must be manipulated by so-called scientific “day-age” humanistic reasoning before it is to be accepted Christians?

A Christian must understand what is at stake when holding to the “day-age theory” position.  The underlying issue is not if the earth is “old” or “young.”  This issue is, accepting God’s word by faith or allowing human reason to excuse God by providing a mystical theory of what He has simply said in His word, the Bible.

Let’s look into what God has simply said in the original text.  One must first ask, “what does the Bible tell us about the meaning of the word ‘day’ in Genesis”?  In order to understand the meaning of “day” in Genesis chapter 1, we need to determine how the Hebrew word for “day,” [yom] is used.  A bible dictionary or concordance explains that [yom] can have a range of meanings such as: time between sunrise and sunset, a 24-hour period, a specific point of time, or a year.  Since this Hebrew word for day has more than one meaning, the context of scripture by which this word [yom] is used will determine the meaning.  In Genesis chapter 1, the six days of creation are mentioned with a specific number, and the phrase “evening and morning.”  These numbers and phrases were clearly attached to determine the plain meaning of the Hebrew word [yom] (Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31).  In fact, professors of both the Old Testament and of the Hebrew language believe that when a number or phrase, such as “evening and morning,” is associated with the Hebrew word [yom], the intended meaning is literal.  Even our Lord Jesus clearly taught that there are twelve hours of daylight in the Gospel of John.  So when did this “day” thing change?

Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. (John 11:9)  KJV

Interestingly, outside of Genesis chapter 1, [yom] is used with a number over 400 times, and each time the meaning is an ordinary 24-hour day.  Why would Genesis chapter 1 be the exception?

Many Christians hold on to unproven assumptions by “evolutionary scientists” who claim that the earth has been proven to be billions of years old. 2 Peter 3:8, which reads “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” is often quoted.  Their conclusion is that God’s days are not like our days and that the days of creation were most likely long periods of time.  Sincere Christians adopt this “day-age theory” as an intellectual position that they say does not contradict the Bible.  As honorable as this may seem, there are many problems.  One is that the context of 2 Peter chapter 3 is that of judgment and the second coming of Christ.  There is no reference to the creation.  Also, 2 Peter 3:8 uses the comparative article, “as.”  Peter is comparing a literal 24-hour day to a literal thousand years.  This passage is clearly teaching that time is nothing to God, because He is outside of time.  Therefore, “one day is with the Lord AS a thousand years and a thousand years AS one day.” Also notice, that the last part of that verse states, “and a thousand years AS one day.”  Those who want to equate a day with a thousand years must be consistent and admit that the second part of the verse cancels out the first.  We are then back to where one literal day equals one literal day!

Secondly, if one is going to use other parts of the scriptures to establish an equation for time, then what about Psalm 90:4?  In Psalm 90:4 it states that, “a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday.”  Just as in 2 Peter 3:8, this passage of scripture is teaching that a thousand years is nothing to the eternal God.  It is not a time equation!  “Day-age” Christians rarely consider Exodus 20:8-11.  Here God used the pattern of the days of creation in the giving of the fourth commandment.  Israel was command by God to work for six days and rest for one.  Obviously, our literal seven-day week is patterned after this biblical principle.  How reasonable is it to believe that God would be conveying the idea to a generation of people to work for six thousand years and rest for another thousand?  The seven-day week has no basis outside of scripture.

Thirdly, the “day-age” theorist never considers how “scientific” it is to believe that in the creation account God created all the vegetation on day three and…”thousands of years later” He created the sun, moon, and stars on day four.  Huh…it appears that it takes more faith to believe that than just believing that there were twelve hours of night-time and twelve hours of day-time to make one full day.  Simply, all the vegetation would have easily survived the “evening and morning.”  You tell me, is this “day-age theory” as scientifically intellectual as it appears?

Lastly, the Christian must consider that God created all things in a state of maturity and fully functioning!  For example “God created man” (Genesis 1:27), not infants!  Adam and Eve were created as mature adults with the appearance of age.  So it was with the rest of creation.  God did not plant seeds for trees and vegetations.  Clearly, God created a mature creation with the appearance of age.

If one still doubts the Biblical record to be historically reliable and literally true, and accepts the “day-age theory”, then one must believe that the Garden of Eden was created on top of a fossil record full of death and disease.  If it were, that would mean there was death and bloodshed before sin.  The Bible clearly states that the sin of one man, Adam, brought death and suffering into the world, which affected the whole of creation (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 5:12; 8:22).  The Bible makes it crystal clear that thorns, suffering, bloodshed, disease, and death are a consequence of sin.  A Christian must be honest with the evidence!  Do not be influenced by intellectual pressure to accept unproven “scientific” methods for the age of the earth.  Let the words of the Bible be defined according to the context, without being influenced by extra-biblical ideas.  Billions of years for the age of the earth are being used to force an interpretation on the language of the Bible.  In short, man’s fallible theories are allowed to interpret the Bible.   The Biblical evidence is reasonable!  The word for “day” in Genesis chapter 1 is not a thousand years, it is not a long period of time, nor is it an age of time. The meaning of the word “day” in Genesis chapter 1 is obviously an ordinary 24-hour day, as we know it.

If “day-age theory” Christians do not accept what God has plainly said by child-like faith in the very first chapter of the Bible, but rather insert a scientific theory what other doctrine or simple Bible teaching will be changed next?  Loving your neighbor?  Marriage and divorce?  Salvation?  Sanctification?  Heaven and Hell?  What will be next?  This is a dangerous theory because it is using human reason to scientifically give God an excuse for the words that He chose, as if God could not convey the meaning and import of His words to man.

Once again, the issue is not “old earth” verses “young earth.”  Rather, are Christians going to accepting God’s word to be inerrant and fully inspired by faith, or give into human reasoning no matter how appealing it may seem?  Christian!  Who gets the glory, because it is either “child-like faith” in what God has said, or “theoretical reasoning” in what man has said about what God said?