Did the author of Genesis ever intend the 7-day creation story to be taken literally?


Clarify Share Report Asked September 12 2013 Pgb45ekes28fvmzjn0344mhy83sbgu1d Jason Corning

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

Mini Mark Galinsky
This was answered a few days ago here. Here is what someone answered and is very good. 
15 Biblical Proofs That Prove a Creation Day Was a 24-Hour (Solar) Day 

· Proverbs 30:5 - “Every word of God is pure …” God says what He means and means what He says. The Bible is meant to be interpreted plainly, or not interpreted at all, to be easily understood. 

· Genesis 1:5 - God Himself named and defined “Day” as the light period, and “Night” the dark period comprising one solar 24-hour day. If a day was an age, e.g. 1000 years, this would mean there would be 500 years of light and 500 years of darkness. 

· Genesis 1:5 - “Yom,” this Hebrew word for “day.” It is first used and defined in verse 5. It is used 410 times in the Bible in association with a number, e.g. 1st day, and in each instance it always refers to a 24-hour solar day. 

· Genesis1: 5,8,13,19,23,31 - After each day of creation, God specifically declares His act was completed in one day. He counts each day off day because He wanted to make it clear. 

· Genesis 1:11; 1:16 - Plants were created on Day #3; the sun was created on Day #4. This presents no problem if a day is 24 hours, BUT it’s a big problem if a day was 1000 years. All plants, which need sunlight to survive, would have died. 

· Genesis 1:16 - “…the greater light (sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (moon) to rule the night ….” This obviously refers to 12 hour periods, not hundreds of years ruled by sun, or hundreds of years ruled by the moon. 

· Exodus 20:11 - “For in six days the Lord made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day …” You’d have to throw out this verse. 

· Exodus 31:17 - “… for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” If a day were 1000 years, we would we have a thousand year rest (Sabbath). You’d also have to throw out this verse. 

· John 11:9 - “Jesus answered, are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walks in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world.” 

· Genesis 2:2,3 - “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it ….” The Sabbath was declared as Day #7. We don’t have a 1000-year Sabbath. 

· Exodus 20:11b “…wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” We don’t celebrate a 1000 year Sabbath. 

· Genesis 2:2,3 - Adam was created on Day #6, and lived 930 years. He obviously lived beyond Day #7 when God rested because He and Eve had fellowship with God, and Adam had numerous sons and daughters. If a creation day was 1000 or a million years, Adam would have never seen Day #7. 

· Romans 5:12,13 and 1 Cor 15:21 - “Wherefore as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin ….” If God used billions of years to create the earth, then extreme death (as evidenced in the fossil record) occurred before Adam sinned. These verses clearly state that death began only after Adam sinned. 

· Genesis 1:1-31 - The creation week initiated our current (and historical) 7-day week. Ask an atheist or evolutionist where we get our current 7-day week – God gave it to us. 

· Luke 3:23 – The genealogies from Jesus backwards to Adam indicate the earth and mankind are approximately 6,000 years old.

September 13 2013 20 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Ema Sabau
If somebody question the first chapter of the Bible it is impossible to believe the rest of it. And if is impossible to believe de rest of the Bible then is impossible to be saved and please God. Please think about this. 

To believe God mean to accept Him as He is and what He said in His Word..And that is REAL LIFE

God bless you all with tis faith.

September 13 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious

The very first line of the Bible is "In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". The Jews even called the book "B'reshith" - 'In the Beginning". This is the first claim of scripture. It assumes the existence of God, and gives a literal claim that God created everything in the beginning. (The book of Job also contains many such claims. Yahweh created the sea, limits the sea, created and controls the dragon of the sea, has power over the storms, etc. Job can be read in parts as an apologetic against the limited power of false gods). 

Why is this claim so important? It sets up the even greater claim in John 1:1-4 that "In the beginning was the Word, and the word was God...through Him all things were made." Just as the first thing God created was light, we then discover that the physical light was a type, reflecting the true "light of all mankind". 

If the claim that God created the universe, created light, was from the beginning (Etc) was all simply a parable or story and not literally true, then there is little reason to have faith that Jesus is literally true and not just a spiritual feel-good story.

[Faith is based on what is credible/trustworthy despite having no firsthand evidence. Why would God ask us to have faith, if He did not really start with truth in His testimony about the light of mankind?]

As all scripture is inspired by God (II Tim 3:14-17), God would not make a claim that was false. Nor is Gen 1 written in the form of a parable.

[Parables are stories that could potentially happen, that are tailored to the understanding of the people spoken to, that hide layers of meaning behind a more basic point or moral. Gen 1 is not written in the parable format, it is too complex and alien to the casual listener to be a parable. Rev 3:14 also tells us that Jesus is a faithful and true witness -and- the ruler of God's creation. He is not the half-truthful witness of God's only-partially-created-by-Him creation].

* Other scripture supports literal. (Ex 20:8-11, Psalms 8: 1-9, Proverbs 8:22-36, Heb 11:1-3, Matt 19:4-6, Isaiah 45:12-19, Rom 1:18-23, John 1:10, Rev 17:8, John 17:5, Col 1:16, II Peter 3:3-7, Jer 32:17, John 1:1-3, Rom 8:19-22, 1 Tim 4:4, Acts 17:26, etc) 

* The literal understanding of the creation week is a foundation for some of the oaths and covenants that angels, and even God Himself, make (Rev 10:5-7, Jer 33:19-22, Jer 33:25-26).

*It is the basis for the sabbath (Ex 20:8-11) which is a type for the true sabbath (Heb 4:1-11). 'Types' in scripture are always literal things or people (Adam, the snake on the staff, Elijah, the high priest, etc) that hint at their antitypes later on (Christ, the atoning sacrifice of the cross offered to all men, John the Baptist, Christ as intermediary between God and man, etc). 

* The language used is that of a historical account, not that of poetry, law, apocalypse, wisdom, epistle, etc. The rest of Genesis primarily deals with history as well. It is a book of "beginnings". The beginning of the world, of humanity, of sin, of death, of civilization, of the covenant, of the Hebrews, etc. If these beginnings were not literal, neither would be the follow up arguments (Rom 5:12, Gal 3:16, II Cor 3:6, II Cor 5:17, etc). 

* All 359 times the Hebrew 'yom' is coupled with a specific time modifier (ie 'first') outside Gen 1, it's always literal (Num 19:12, II Sam 1:1-2, Ezek 1:1-2, Ex 27:21, Num 9:15, Num 9:21, Deut 28:67, Psalm 55:17, etc). For consistency then, the Gen 1 uses with modifiers must be literal.

Yom is used over two thousand times in the old testament. It is not always literal, but it -is- always literal in combination with a modifier like "second" or "two" or "evening" or "evening and morning".

Without a modifier it can be specific or general depending on context, much like the word day/days in English can refer to a specific day, a period of light, the lifespan of a man, a generation or age, etc.

November 30 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Nathan Toronga Christian Elder.
I totally agree with @Mark Galinsky's answer. Very comprehensive. I'll just add a few more.

The bible contains both literal and symbolic messages. Now, wherever God uses symbols, He provides the interpretation tools:

Num 14:34 'For forty years--one year for each of the forty days you explored the land--.' 


Dan 8:20 'The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. 
21 The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king'. 

Thus we are not left to guess whether this Scripture is literal or not.

Secondly, look at 
Heb 4:9-10 'There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His'. 

If the Genesis account was 7,000 years, then there would be no need for the "Sabbath rest", because no one in the history of mankind has ever lived a 1,000 years, let alone 6,000!

Finally, the Author of Genesis - and the whole of Scripture - is God, through His selected human agents.

2 Tim 3:16 'All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.'


2 Peter 1:20 'Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 
21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.' 


September 13 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Cimg1043 Don Whitley Husband, father, grandpa and a Christian.
They are the words of God and Moses was the man or vessel God choose to put it in written form. All books of the Bible were written by men chosen by God to write down His will. I'd say that God is the author and Moses and others were the scribes. I think God intended it to be taken literal.

September 14 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Chris Dibbern
Obviously, there are two competing ideas, about this. Before exploring them, it's good to remember your entrance beyond the pearly gates does not depend on having all the right answers. That only depends on your belief in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, His death for your sins and His literal resurrection.

1) You can interpret Genesis, literally (this position is well laid out in the other answers, so there's no need to revisit).

2) You can look to Jesus, who is sort of our primer to understanding the Old Testament. Central to our faith is that everything in the Bible points to Him, forward or backward, or to the present, to Him working in each moment of your life. It would, therefore, be wrong to understand Genesis apart from Christ and how He taught. So, how did he teach?

"Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them." - Mark 4:33-34

"I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father." - John 16:25

God made us figuratively-minded: "Go break a leg", "a rolling stone gathers no moss", etc. It stands to reason that our Creator, our Designer, would then also teach us that way. The beauty of this position is it neither contradicts science (thereby avoiding quarrels), nor the gospel message about Jesus Christ. Therefore, it avoids adding stumbling blocks to any of our not-yet-Christian friends' paths, and it makes an excellent conversation-starter for our primary mission of catching all 153 fish (Matt 4:19).

So, how do we read Genesis, then? By following Jesus' example in the Gospels when He explained His parables to His disciples in private. Take, for example, the flashing sword from Genesis 3:24:

"After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."

Wow. The tree of eternal life. We want to get there, right? But how? We must get past the flaming sword. Okay, but what is the sword? In the NT, the Word of God is described as sharper than the sharpest two-edge sword, cutting between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12). It also comes up in the Armor of God: "And the sword of the spirit which is the word of God." - Ephesians 6:17

Great, but why is it flaming? The Spirit is described as flames, "tongues of fire," in many places in the NT. Also, referring back to Ephesians 6:17, the sword is the "sword of the spirit." So, the flaming sword flashing back and forth in Genesis is the Word of God aflame under the Holy Spirit! Why does it guard the way? In order to get to The Way, you must know the Word of God through the Holy Spirit! But just what is The Way, and how can He lead you to the Tree of Life - that is an exercise left to the reader. :-)

Wow. Consider what we just learned by taking the time to understand A SINGLE VERSE in Genesis as a parable told by our Lord and Savior!

Other commenters have argued that Genesis should be interpreted literally to be understood "easily." Is that what Jesus calls us to? Easy understanding handed to us on a silver platter? How easily did Jesus' disciples understand His parables? The Lord wants us to think, to become discerning, to be like the Psalmist: "O LORD, listen to my cry; give me the discerning mind you promised." (Psalm 119: 169) He wants us to work for it, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Tim 2:15) It will take patience, and study, and work, over time. It will test and try and improve our character. It will refine our wisdom, and give us the discernment and wisdom to avoid being "tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming." (Eph 4:14)

May the peace and joy of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all on your journey! :-)

September 13 2013 6 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Bob Snyder Bob Snyder Christian Reformed/Calvinist/Augustinian Theology
When Jesus quoted his word in the Old Testament He quoted it as it being true and literal. We can see that from the context of His statements. Paul made references to the Old Testament as well. When he did he obviously believed it was true and literal. You can see this when he talks about sin entering the world through the one man Adam. Obviously he believed there was a literal man named Adam that was the federal head of all mankind through whom sin entered the world.

September 13 2013 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Jeff3 Jeff Hammond
The creation account of Genesis 1 is a true account of creation while also having some awesome symbolism that carries on throughout the Bible, e.g. the theme of light vs dark.

Are the "Days" of creation literal? I believe they are, although not 24 hour days. I believe they are God's calendar days not human calendar days and the use of the Hebrew word 'yom' in the scriptures also makes this clear.

Young earth creationists regularly assert that when a number is associated with the the word day or 'yom' then it is always a 24 hour period. That is not accurate. In Numbers 14:34 the days become years as also in Ezekiel 4:4-6. So we have 1 year 'days' associated with a number. By the way, I too am a young earth creationist and have spoken at many creation events. I have scientist friends who likewise believe in 1000 year days for God's calendar rather than the 24 hour human day. When invited to speak in their area of science they are censored and not allowed to mention that they question the 24 hour days of creation. 

Then we have the prophetic days of Hosea 6:1-3, also with numbers which are clearly not referring to three periods of 24 hours. These verses are prophetic of the church age, and the resurrection that happens at the end of that age and our living with Christ for 1000 years, not 24 hours. Likewise in Hebrews 4:4-9 we read of two "sabbath days" or two 7th Day sabbaths that occur. The first at the end of the week of creation and the second we are still waiting for, our 7th Day Rest or 'sabbatismos'. We are not looking for a 24 hour rest, we are looking for the 1000 year Millennial rest with Christ, Revelation 20.

Why do I prefer the 1000 year days as they relate to the Week of Creation rather than 24 hour days? Without getting into too long a discussion I will present a few brief points to state that the scriptures indicate that there are literal 24 hour days (Man's calender days), one year days (prophetic days), 1000 year days (God's calender days) etc.

As we begin, I want to emphasize that I believe the "days" of creation are literal and defined and not unlimited or undefined. So let us look at which calendar was in play, God's calendar or man's?

1. The context of 2 Peter 3:8 where God declares that His days are 1000 year days is among a scene of scoffers of the coming judgements including the 2nd Coming of Christ, the dissolution of the old heavens and earth and the bringing in of a New Heavens and New Earth. The context of 2 Peter 3 places these key events either side of the "Day of the Lord" which Peter stresses we must not forget - "this one thing". It seems Peter was indicating an important principle. When we compare Peter's statement with Revelation 19-21 we find that indeed Jesus has placed these 2 major events i.e. His 2nd Coming and the dissolution of the old heavens and earth and the bringing in of the new as being either side of the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ. Thus the concept of God's calendar days seems to be just as real as human 24 hour days.

2. Hebrews 4:1-9 is fascinating urging us not to miss out on the 7th Day Rest of God (sabbatismos - see the Greek e.g. Heb.4:9). The comparison of two 7th Days i.e. vs.4 when God rested at the end of the Week of Creation and vs.9 the sabbatismos, or 7th Day rest that is still waiting for God's people. Is the "7th Day Rest" we are waiting for just 24 hours, or is it the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ?

3. The prophecy in Hosea 6:1-3 where it talks about the early and latter rain (cp. Joel 2:23; Deut.32:2 and Ps.72:6), referring to Christ's coming, it states that after 2 Days He will raise us up and on the 3rd Day, we will live in His sight. Are these Days only 24 hours or are they 1000 year days following the Cross and the 3rd Day being the 1000 year Millennial reign of Christ when we will live in His presence?

4. The 6th Day of Creation cannot possibly be a 24 hour day. Look what had to happen on that Day. Firstly God created all the animals - I agree that God can do this very quickly by His spoken Word. However, after Adam is created, God gives him the task of naming all animal species. Even if we reduce this down to 3600 "kinds", the smallest possible number, and if we allowed Adam, who was seeing these animals for the very first time, just 1 minute to have the animal walk up, file past, be examined and then named, there would still be only 60 animals named per hour and even if he worked the whole 12 hours, he would still only name 720 "kinds". Not only that, he still had to have time to get lonely, understand that he was the only "kind" without a partner, have an operation to take out his rib, see Eve created and then get married. This stretches the imagination far too far and would seem to fit into a 1000 year Day much much better.

5. When God told Adam that he would die in the Day that he ate the forbidden fruit (Gen.2:17) yet he continued to live after the Fall until his death at the age of 930 years (Gen.5:5). The oldest man lived 969 years and no-one made 1000. Not at least until after sin has been destroyed and then Christ and all who belong to Him will live for 1000 years with Christ (Rev.20). What evidence that man without sin can live 1000 years - no death, sickness, suffering - just the glory of God in a 7th Day rest as we enter into eternity with Christ (Rev.21-22). So I feel that we shouldn't cast off so quickly the Day-Age theory if we mean God's calender Days of 1000 years.

The scriptures indicate 5 kinds of "Days":

1. Human "Days" of 24 hours.
2. Daylight "Days" i.e. daylight hours and not the night - Genesis 1
3. Generational or undetermined "Days" eg the "days" of Adam - Genesis 5:4-5 meaning the period of his life - the same Hebrew word is used i.e. yom.
4. God's calender days of 1000 years - 2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4
5. Prophetic judgement "Days" where one day prophesies one year - Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:4-6

To limit days to 24 hours, especially before there were measuring instruments of the sun, moon and stars which were only created on the 4th Day, seems a narrow view not taking into account the rich diversity in scripture. As we are told in Proverbs 25:2, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter."

October 08 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Vincent Mercado Supporter Skeptic turned believer, Catholic, father of 3
It would, of course, be wrong to imagine that there were only two mutually exclusive ways of viewing Genesis: ‘literally’ and ‘allegorically’. Often Jewish writers accepted that there could be two (or more) levels of understanding for the same passage, i.e. interpretations at both a literal/historical and an allegorical level.


Pope John Paul II was not talking about whether the seven-day creation should be taken literally or not. He is commenting on the indissolubility of marriage, that it was God's plan since the beginning. The quote was taken out of context.

September 13 2013 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

1467219446 Sicelo Masha
I do not see in what way there could be suggestion of a meaning either that what God intended when he instructed the Author. He intended for it to be literal in all sense otherwise it would take away his infallibility and it would mean he needed other forms of assistance either than calling the worlds to be through his word if a day meant anything either than what is suggests. Christianity is wrestling against scientific zealotry lead by persons bound to prove God non existent and our faith null and void against all evidence to the contrary. Fortunately for us God proved his word scientifically sound by announcing some scientific discoveries millenias before. Eg. the world is round Isaiah 40:22

September 13 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Gino's glamour shot Gino Geraci
Your question goes to "intent". Did Moses intend the reader to embrace a literal day as being 24 hours or the amount of time it takes the earth to rotate on its axis. Ancient people knew that an evening and morning are a day. When 'yom' (day) is used with an ordinal number it means a day.

The intent of the author was not to confuse--or suggest billions of years.

Moses and the original readers would never have thought "billions of years".

September 13 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

John eglinton 10 John Eglinton Creator
The Hebrew word for “day” is the word “Yom.” Young earth creationists have always argued that the word used for the days of creation can only mean a 24-hour day. In this article, we will examine the uses of Yom in the Old Testament, and show that it can mean a wide variety of time periods.
 First, one must understand that the Hebrew language is not nearly as diverse as our English language. Whereas our vocabulary is around half a million, the Hebrew language has only 8,700 words. The French language, one of the poorest modern languages in vocabulary and the language of choice for diplomats, has just about 40,000 words or over 4 times the amount of words that Ancient Hebrew has. 
 Many of the Hebrew words could be considered duplicates with only slight differences. Thus, words which contain multiple meanings are common. Such is the case with the word Yom.
 Hebrew Dictionaries
 Let’s start with the possible meanings of Yom;
 The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (1980, Moody Press) 
"It can denote: 1. the period of light (as contrasted with the period of darkness), 2. the period of twenty-four hours, 3. a general vague "time," 4. a point of time, 5. a year (in the plural; I Sam 27:7; Ex 13:10, etc.)."
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (symbols omitted)
from an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literal (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), [often used adv.]:--age, + always, + chronicles, continually (-ance), daily, ([birth-], each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), + elder, end, evening, (for)ever(lasting), ever(more), full, life, as long as (...live), even now, old, outlived, perpetually, presently, remaineth, required, season, since, space, then, (process of) time, as at other times, in trouble, weather (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), whole (age), (full) year (-ly), younger
As you can see, Hebrew dictionaries attest to the fact that the word Yom is used for anywhere from 12 hours up to a year, and even a vague "time period" of unspecified length. 
 Other Uses of Yom
 Day is not the only translation for the word Yom. Here are some other uses.
 It is interesting to note that in 67 verses in the Old Testament, the word Yom is translated into the English word "time." For instance, in Genesis 4:3, it says "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months. Again, in Deuteronomy 10:10, it refers to a "time" equal to forty days. In I Kings 11:42, it says "And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years." In this case, Yom translated as the word "time" is equivalent to a 40 year period.
 In Isaiah 30:8, it says "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever." In this case, Yom is equal to "forever." How long is forever? An infinite number of years...billions upon billions upon billons of years. If Yom can equal trillions of years here, then why not billions of years in Genesis? 
 Four times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "year." In I Kings 1:1, "David was old and stricken in years..." In 2 Chronicles 21:19, "after the end of two years" and in the very next verse "Thirty and two years old." Finally, in Amos 4:4, "...and your tithes after three years." In each case, Yom represents years, not days.
 Eight times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "age." These range from sentences like "stricken in age," meaning old age (Genesis 18:11 and 24:1; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2), and other times it says "old age" (Genesis 21:2, Genesis 21:7). Genesis 47:28 refers to "the whole age of Jacob," therefore yom here refers to an entire lifetime. In Zechariah 8:4, it says old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, "each with cane in hand because of his age."
One time Yom is translated "ago." 1 Samuel 9:20 says "As for the donkeys you lost three days ago,..." 
 Four times yom is translated as "always," in Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24, 14:23, and in 2 Chronicles 18:7. Always here can be interpreted as a lifetime...for instance, we are to keep the commandments of the Lord always (Deut. 5:29).
 Three times yom is translated "season." In Genesis 40:4, "...and they continued a season in ward." Again, in Joshua 24:7, "dwelt in the wilderness a long season," and in 2 Chronicles 15:3, "...a long season Israel hath been...". In each case yom represents a multi-month period.
 When used in conjunction with the word dâbâr, yom is translated "chronicles" (27 times).
 When used in conjunction with kôwl, Yom is translated as "continually" (11 times). Once, in Psalm 139:16, it is translated continuance (without the kôwl).
 Ever is used to represent a long period of time, such as in Deuteronomy 19:9, "to walk ever in his ways." Nineteen times Yom is translated "ever." The old testament uses "for ever" instead of the word forever. In sixteen cases of use of the word ever, for is placed before it, indicating an infinite period of time. I will not list them all (consult Strong's Concordance for a full listing) but here is an example. In Psalm 23:6, it says "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Here Yom is translated as the final word of this verse, ever. Thus, Yom in this verse, and 16 others, represents eternity.
 In one instance, when yom is used in conjunction with kôwl, Yom is translated "evermore." Deuteronomy 28:29, "...and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore;" thus representing either a lifetime or eternity.
Word Usage in the Old Testament
 As you can see, Yom is used in a wide variety of situations related to the concept of time. Yom is not just for days...it is for time in general. How it is translated depends on the context of its use with other words.
Yom in the Creation Account
Even within the creation account, Yom is used to represent four different time periods. 
1.	Genesis 1:5 "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night." Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate a 12-hour period
2.	Genesis 1:14 "And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years." Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate 24-hour days
3.	Genesis 2:4 "...in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate the entire creative week. The fourth usage of Yom in the creation account is in the summary for each of the six creation days, "and there was morning and evening the first day". Yom is used to represent a finite, long period of time, usually either millions or billions of years. To show support for this, consider the uses of Yom by Moses.
Moses Other Uses of Yom
 Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, and of Psalm 90, used Yom in many different ways.
1.	Genesis 4:3 "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months. 
2.	Genesis 43:9 "...then let me bear the blame for ever." Here, Moses uses Yom to represent eternity
3.	Genesis 44:32 "...then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever." Again, Moses uses Yom to represent eternity
4.	Deuteronomy 4:40 "...that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the Lord thy God giveth the, for ever." Here Yom represents a physical lifetime
5.	Deuteronomy 10:10, "Now I stayed on the mountain forty days and nights, as I did the first time,..." Here, Yom is a "time" equal to forty days.
6.	Deuteronomy 18:5 "...to stand to minister in the name of the Lord, him and his sons for ever." Again, Yom is translated as eternity
7.	Deuteronomy 19:9 "...to love the Lord thy God, and to walk ever in His ways..." Here, Yom represents a lifetime. As long as we live we are to walk in his ways
 As you can see, Moses used the word Yom to represent 12-hours, 24 hours, the creative week, forty days, several months, a lifetime, and eternity. 
 Common Young Earth Arguments
 To get around the obvious conclusion that Yom in Genesis 1 can mean millions of years, young earth theorists have come up with several arguments, none of which is supported by common Hebrew grammatical rules according to Hebrew experts (such as Dr. Walter Kaiser). These rules were created by Hebrew language experts who are young earth creationists to begin with, thus their viewpoint is obviously biased. They have a specific agenda they are trying to prove, and thus cannot be objective.
 Young earth creationists say that whenever Yom is used with an ordinal or cardinal number (1st, 2nd, 1,2, etc) that it always represents a 24 hour day. However, this is not true. In Zechariah 14:7-9, the "one day" refers to a period of time when the Lord shall be king over the earth. In other places, some say that Isaiah and Hosea have numbers with the word day which are figurative (External Link). 
Some young earth theorists, including Jonathan Sarfati in his book Refuting Compromise, have addressed this verse in Zechariah an Hosea. Although his argument sounds impressive, you have to recognize it for what it is...he is arguing for his young earth agenda, thus any rules that he espouses must be examined by true Hebrew scholars who are impartial. Hebrew scholars do not recognize this fabricated rule.1 
What Sarfati thinks is not important...what is important, as Dr. Walter Kaiser points out, is the intentions of the author. We should not create rules that support our own agendas, but should strive to understand the author's intended meaning outside of rules.
Evening/Morning Construction
 In Genesis 1 Moses says "and there was evening and morning the xx day". Does the use of evening and morning indicate a sunrise and sunset for each creative day? First, let's look at what evening and morning are not. They are not actual evening and mornings, as this requires a sunrise and sunset. According to young earth theory, the Sun was not created until Day Four, thus there could be no sunrise or sunset for the first three days of creation. However, God uses the terms evening and morning for those first three days. Therefore, they cannot be actual evenings and mornings. 
We are left with only one option. The words for Evening and Morning can only represent the beginning and ending of the creative period, and not actual sunrise and sunsets. Scripture itself sets this pattern for us. Morning and evening are used figuratively in Psalm 30:5, Psalm 49:14,15, Psalm 90:6. Thus, the evening and morning of creation can mean the start and end of the creative process that is attributed to that creation period.
Young earth advocates counter that traditionally, church fathers have always held that sunrise and sunsets do not constitute a day, and they accepted the sun creation on Day Four with no hint of the first three days being anything other than 24-hour days. For instance, Sarfati in Refuting Compromise mentions Luther and Calvin (page 84-86). However, Luther and Calvin did not have the means of modern science at their disposal. At the time, geocentricity was still accepted! Don't fall into the trap of following the teachings of our church fathers. For more, read Church Fathers.
 Literal/Figurative Argument
 This argument says that you cannot use a word figuratively until after you have used it literally (see this Answers in Genesis article). The author gives two examples, which appear to be correct and follow this rule. However, is this rule valid? I see no reason to suppose that it is. You have to be careful with young earth claims about biblical interpretation methods. Again, they will invent rules that support their cause, when there is no basis for their rule in Hebrew.
In this case, it makes no difference which order the word Yom appears in, i.e. literal before figurative or vice versa. Yes, these are the first words of the Bible, but they are not the first words of mankind. All the time from Adam to Moses, men were speaking in their own languages, thus the literal interpretation via spoken language would already have been established. There was no need to suppose a literal/figurative structure.
If God's Creation Was Billions of Years Old...
 If God's creation was billions of years old, how would He have written the creation account in Genesis? One thing is certain...God is good at telling us exactly what we need to know.
When God refers to a large number, He uses picture stories, such as Abraham's descendants being as numerous as the sand. Why does He do this? If God had said, "You will have millions of descendants," Abraham would have asked, "What is a million?" 
When considering the creation, if we broke it down into days, that would be 5,000,500,000,000 days, or roughly 13.7 billion years. Do we need an account for each day of creation...of course not? God in His infinite wisdom saw fit to tell us the creation story by breaking it down into creative segments, each of which was attributed to a specific creative act or acts. We need to give the early Hebrews of Genesis a break...they didn't have calculators like we do!
One must also consider that time with God has no meaning. To Him, 10 billion years is like a day. Thus, it is no problem for God to put billions of years into one of His days. Dr. Hugh Ross puts it best in his determination that the frame of reference for creation is the surface of the earth. Genesis 1:2 puts the witness of creation on the surface. But who is witnessing these events? It is God himself. During the first 5.99 days of creation, God is the only one present. Thus, human time does not matter...any humans were there to witness the passage of time. What matters is how God sees time! Thus, a billion year day is only a passing moment in God's eyes.

September 18 2013 11 responses Vote Up Share Report

1383007269 Bernard Ikua
In my opinion, the repeated statement that there was "evening and morning" for each of the six days (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13,19. 23 and 31) is proof enough to take the day literally as we know it.

March 18 2016 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Kenneth Heck
Yes, the writer of Genesis intended the six days of creation to be taken literally, plus the seventh day of rest.

But we need to understand that the creation account isn't according to modern-day standards of full truth. The Jews were surrounded in ancient times by many gentile religions, each with their own creation story. There was no need for the Jews to engender disputes over which story was most correct in details (especially when other pretexts already existed) with a very detailed creation account of their own.

Many try to read more than is actually in the account, for example attempting to include the creation of the universe from a scientific viewpoint. The Jewish account is only concerned with what human beings actually see and interact with in their environment. These are the things that the Mosaic revelation was concerned with and bases judgment on, not with scientific discoveries such as atoms, molecules, or galaxies. 

For the sake of discussion, let us presume each day is 24 hours long (in the Polar Regions this would not be true). The question then is was each day succeeded immediately by the next day for a consecutive 144 hour creation period? No scripture tells us that each day immediately succeeded the prior one, an important fact, if true. There could have been many years, even millions, between each day. 

Then the word "creation" itself is misunderstood. Most bible readers believe that God created everything from nothing. But this is only a notion developed by philosophers, especially the scholastics of the Medieval Era; no scripture says this. Creation in Gen 1:2 begins with the earth without form and void (nothing residing in it), covered with waters, not from nothing. The word creation itself only applies specifically to verse 1:21 of Genesis on day five and the creation of man (Gen 1:27) on day six. Each case was followed by God's blessing. 

In other verses God "made" the firmament, the sun, moon and stars, and the beasts of the earth. The distinction between "made" and "create" may be a fine one, but it illustrates how the whole creation account isn't a fully explained revelation. Why are two words necessary rather than just one?

The third category of creation is accomplished by commandments from God only. These include light, the seas, dry land, grass and the herb yielding seed. No explanation is given how these commandments were actually carried out.

The strength of the biblical creation account is in its brevity and obscurity over certain details. It has never been proven to be a degraded example of mythology, which, like all ancient religious creation stories, can be ignored by Christians. We look forward to a more complete account after the second coming of Christ, who is our source of truth and grace, to more perfectly understand our place in creation and the divine order.

March 18 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Gary Pattillo
I've discussed this with my pastor at length, and although this isn't one of those things that will cause you to be saved or not, it's still an interesting topic to discuss. 

My position is that God exists outside of time. He created time within the creation so we would see events pan out in linear form. When asked who He was, He said, "I AM." There is no was, were, will be, just I AM. And that is not in just one location, but a couple. If there is no time for God, then He simply exists.

If there is no time for God, how does He structure a solar day before the sun is created? It doesn't really matter. The same amount of time he used on day 4 was the same he used on day 3 and day 2 and day 1. Reciprocally, He can claim the days regardless if He exists inside or outside of time.

Now, the really interesting part... As he's placing the stars in the heavens... I seem to remember various models where large masses being hurtled away from each other would warp and speed up the time rate in comparison to another point outside of this time frame. If He did this for all of the stars in the galaxy, along with planets, comets, etc., we have an incredible strain on the time frame in reference to Earth. Earth would age millions, if not billions of years from these masses being sent in all these directions. To someone looking on, it would still appear as 1 day, 24 hours, but on earth, it could be eons, which would provide for the age of the rocks, etc.

Then again, God is omnipotent, so He could have created everything exactly where He wanted it to start, and it doesn't matter the relevance of a stone's age versus carbon or radioactive dating.

Come to think of it, God could have set everything in motion exactly how He wanted it to start 17 minutes ago, with every memory in your head that He wanted you to have, and you wouldn't know the difference.

So, bottom line is that these are great brain teasers, but ultimately it's the gospel that saves. Don't stumble over the things that lay outside of the main camp. :)

Take care!

January 22 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Lateralis Christian
Did the creation of humankind literally took six days?

Verses: Creation (1st Day)

"3. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."

"4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness."

"5. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

– KJV Gen 1:3

The "light" that the Bible is referring to in the verses above is Jesus, not the light coming from a celestial body. This is for the reason that God only created the sun, moon, and the stars on the fourth day. So we can assume that it was God's time that ruled out.

God also separated Jesus (day) and Satan (night). The event Lucifer fell.

The "Word/Light" is Jesus and he was present with God in the beginning. (Jn 1:1 -KJV)

And Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, which denotes time. (Rev 1:8 and Rev 22:13 -KJV)

Verses: Creation (4th Day)

-KJV Gen 1:14-19

The Bible clearly tells the phasing of creations as it states it by the end of each day, (ex. First day, second day, third, etc.). But since the sun, moon, and the stars were only created in this specific period, we can't assume that the timing applied to the days of creation, a 24hr period.

Moreover, it is mentioned in the bible the word GENERATIONS after the creation.

-KJV Gen 2:4

As the verse above said, "These are the generations".

If we looked into outside sources such as the Wikipedia, the average span of a single generation is 25 years. And the Bible says generations. It could mean thousands, millions, or even billions of generations before creation of man took place.

September 08 2019 1 response Vote Up Share Report

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