Genesis 1:1 - 31
ESV - 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
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In John 11 we have the account of Lazarus sickness, Lazarus sisters notifying Christ of his sickness then in verse 7 The Lord Jesus stating to his disciples "let us go into Judea again". In v.8 the disciples were concerned that Jesus would be stoned. In verse 9-10 Christ stated:"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. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him." The Lord confirms the 24 hour day as stated in Genesis, half light and half darkness.
God says what he means and means what he says. Creation was in 6 days as described in the bible so that God gave us a concept as to how long we should work and rest as described in Exodus. God could have created instantly if he wanted but then we would not have had a model for our working week. It always amazes me that people put their own interpretation on scripture and come up with some weird/wild explanations. Scripture should guide its interpretation (Scriptura Sola) not our fallible imaginations or some new scientific findings. Keep it simple.
Note in reading a key precept connected to God's name and covenant which are immutably attributed to day and night. Look up Jeremiah 31:35, 36 & 33:20, 21, 25, 26 Genesis 8:22 While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Beginning in Genesis 1:4 God distinctly divides the light from the dark according to His purpose assigning an evening and the morning were the 1st day, 2nd, 3rd, etc. Genesis 1:5 Greek and Hebrew renders the word day (yom) while night is (layil). These forms showcased in their foundational structures from their introduction of meaning, are the same through out Old Testament. In the New Testament they hold the same value. For example, look up Luke 21:37 And in the day time he was teaching in the temple and at night he went out... in part this text gives us a shared sense Jesus placed upon the value for a day as twelve hours. Bearing in mind the sickness of Lazarus, Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world. John 11:9 Here Jesus is occupied within the divine order and structure usage of 12 as the measure applied to the hours in a day. So Jesus recognizes this period of space and time for a day consistent with 12 hours. As you may have heard, twelve is the number for divine order and structure. Beginning with Genesis 12 we see God's covenant with Abram the patriarch in the linage from which Christ is born. The descendants of Jacob are 12 sons; Genesis 35:22b. Jacob's name is changed to Israel i.e. 12 tribes Genesis 49:28; the high priest breastplate has 12 stones; Jesus first appears in New Testament in public at 12 years old. He chooses 12 disciples/apostles at the beginning of his ministry. Revelation 12:1 we learn Israel is the woman with a crown of 12 stars; and the wall of the city is on 12 foundations, etc. so 12 is assigned divine order and structure significance, absolute to Revelation 21, appropriately, Jesus declares himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. So we clearly see an order established by our Lord at Creation endorsed from cover to cover in which came God's perfect Lamb upon this ordinance (thus saith the LORD of hosts is his name).
I consider myself an evangelical and believe in the truthfulness of the whole of the scriptures. Previously I also held the position that the days of Genesis one are of our twenty four hour days each. But the following facts have made me to reconsider the proposition of 24 hour day. 1. On the first day the Lord God made the light and separated it from darkness, calling the light day and the darkness night. Thus the first day activity included the making of day and night. This means the first day of Genesis one is longer than the day and night made on that day. 2. On the fourth day the Lord God made the sun, the moon and the stars to rule our 24 hours days, while without these heavenly luminaries the Genesis one days were already taking place. 3. After six day's work the Lord God entered the seventh day. But it is obvious that only Lord God entered the seventh day, and no one else. So the question arises in which day were the humans remained when the Lord God entered the seventh day. 4. Since no human has entered the seventh day of Genesis one so far, then they are still in those six days. That means our seven days are different than the seven days of Genesis one. Thus our seventh day is only symbolic of God's seventh day. 5. The seventh day is in many ways different than the previous six days. One difference is that seventh day does not end with 'there was evening and there was morning...' statement. The book of Hebrews clearly states that for the believers entering to the seventh day of God still remains. Thus the seventh day of God is eternal while the previous six days have their beginning and ending no matter how long their time span is. 6. In Gen. 2:17 Adam was warned against eating the forbidden fruit, for he would die the day he ate the fruit. Adam and Eve ate the fruit, but Adam died at the age of 930 years. Then what did 'the day' of Gen. 2:17 mean? 7. The scriptures like Ps. 90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8 indicate that God"s reckoning of time is different than how we reckon time. And this may be true for the days in Genesis one also. 8. By the way, we must also answer one question if we say that Genesis one days are our 24 hour days. The question is this: At the end of Genesis one v. 30 it says "it was so" meaning everything was made according to the plan. In v. 31 the Lord God pronouces "very good" meaning everything, that was made, was pleasing to God's heart. If whatever was made, was made according to the plan and was pleasing to God, then how come in the third chapter of Genesis everything was spoiled and subjected to futility, and they remain thus so far, worsening all the time? My suggestion is that the days of Genesis one are different than our days of 24 hours. The seventh day is really God's eternal sabbath day, in which we human beings are invited to enter after completing our allotted responsibility, after the example of God. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit the human being was cursed to live and die in the accursed sixth day. This accursed sixth day will only end by the second coming of our Lord. At present it is impossible for humans to enter the seventh day of rest. But praise the Lord, Jesus Christ entered the accursed human sixth day and opened a door in His slain body, a way out from accursed sixth day for us human to enter God's eternal seventh day sabbath rest (Heb. 4:9) by faith in Jesus Christ.
I used to adhere to the fact that God could have taken his time creating each day, and that we could not possibly understand time in terms of God. 2 Peter 3:8 of course is what I referred to when contemplating the time for creation- a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. This gives some validity to the argument that God created things slowly and a day could have been a thousand years long. However, when looking at the creation account, each thing God created apart from animals and man (which God formed), God spoke them into existence. God said, let there be light. God said, let there be an expanse. God said let dry ground appear, waters gather together, vegetation sprout, stars in the sky, etc. If God were busy creating with his hands, he would not have to speak things into existence. God said, and it was, according to the account. When God spoke, it was created instantaneously. Trusting that God is all powerful, and creates things with his spoken voice, then I believe now that creation was done in 6 literal days. One other thing- if God creates it, he created it for Adam and Eve as a ready house. He did not hand Adam seeds and say- "go plant the vegetables." The earth was finished and ready for human living, so the appearance of the earth being old is attributable to God creating it that way. Old earth creationists and scientists, as Mr. Houdmann stated in his answer to this, claim the old earth based on carbon dating, which has been shown to give false readings (live penguins were carbon dated as being 8000 years old in an experiment) and ice core samples based on the layers and rings dated to thousands of years are based on the same exact amount of snowfall every season (there is no place on earth that sees an exact amount of snow or rain every season). They base their ideas about an old earth on these scientific facts, again, that are proven to be faulty and scientists- the same ones that teach our children, do not view their findings or studies through a Biblical viewpoint. All in all, God knows, and we trust that He is in control and that these questions, though valid, do not have full solid answers. The debate will go on, but when we come to questions like this, we should look to see what God and His Word says rather than simply trusting men. This goes for what believers and non-believers say- we should be checking what is taught and answered through the lens of the Bible.
This, in my opinion, is another one of those Romans 14:1 “opinions” discussions and not a salvation issue. However, it is important to young people who are just becoming familiar with the sciences. The geological record shows a long history for the development of the earth in preparation for human habitation. Therefore, young people need to know that there is a Biblical basis for belief in God and a universe that is billions of years old. It should be said that, because this is a matter relating to time, it is very difficult to speak absolutely about how it relates to God. (Psalms 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8) Since God is outside time and knows all things from start to finish, (Isaiah 46:9-10) how He chooses to use time to communicate with us is very problematical. In other words, with God in view, it is rational to conclude that God could have created everything 5 minutes ago and we wouldn’t know the difference. The reason this is a rational statement is because, for God, everything in all its infinite details including every word we have uttered or will utter is already known. (Matthew 12:36-37) That means that God knows every detail of all our memories. Since this is so, He could start time for us with all our memories intact whenever He wishes. This would also apply to the creation of the universe and the earth. If He chose to unfold it in seven 24-hour segments, He could. But then the question becomes, why would He do that and still let it look so old? Having said that, as a geologist, I would like to mention that there are other interpretations of the Hebrew words that support longer periods for each of God’s “creative days.” Who “created” the plants? The fact is, God didn’t create the plants, the earth brought them forth at God’s command. If the “earth brought forth vegetation,” the only explanation we have is growing by natural causes. (Genesis 1:11-12) Another fact to consider is that during the time Israel spent in Egypt, they lived by the Egyptian clock that went from dawn to dawn, which is a sensible way to count time. That may be the reason God instituted an evening to evening period for the Israelite day, to remove them from everything Egyptian. It also can be argued that God, during the creation account, ordered the creative days in such a way to humble Egyptian deities. The Egyptians worshiped the sun god Ra, who wasn’t even seen to exist until the 4th creative day. There is another reason why the term, an evening and morning for a day may have been used. Metamorphically, evening is the beginning of darkness when things are unclear and mysterious. Then in the morning things become as clear as they are in the bright of day (Job 38:12-14). In that way the creation account developed in an orderly fashion. At the start of each day, it was unclear how God would accomplish His proposed purpose, but by days end, things were perfectly clear with God blessing all that had been accomplished. So for those with a science background, belief in God should not be an issue. The Bible tells us why God did what He has done with science telling us how He did it. There are rational explanations for showing how the Bible is still God’s word for all His children.
In our normal 24 hour-day, Jesus Christ would teach, heal, deliver and maybe have an all-night prayer by Himself with His Father, but in John 9 verse 4 He says, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is still day...". This statement means that for Jesus there wasn't going to be another day to work the works of God when finally night came, except for those who remain for some time in the day (for those whose day is still a long time ending - these should carry on the works, even greater works than those done by Him). But ultimately their day will also end when night comes and they can not work. The bible also says that to God a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day. Because of these scriptures I have never thought the days of Genesis 1 are 24 hour-days. Any particular God's day is as long or short as God wants it to be, so let us leave it to Him. God bless you! Understand also that the word of God is alive, and "Let there be light" is still being spoken into peoples' lives today, dispelling darkness. The beauty of God's word is that today He can reveal one thing by a scripture, and tomorrow reveal another thing by the same scripture, but it remains true all the time.
My view is that it is a literal twenty-four hour day. Genesis 1:5 states in the King James Version, "And the evening and the morning were the first DAY." The exegetical evidence suggests the word “day” in this chapter refers to a literal twenty-four hour day. It is true that the word can refer to a longer period of time (see Isa 61:2, or the idiom in 2:4, “in the day,” that is, “when”). But this chapter uses “day,” “night,” “morning,” “evening,” “years,” and “seasons.” Consistency would require sorting out how all these terms could be used to express ages. Also, when the Hebrew word יוֹם (yom) is used with a numerical adjective, it refers to a literal day. Furthermore, the commandment to keep the Sabbath clearly favors this interpretation. One is to work for six days and then rest on the seventh, just as God did when he worked at creation.
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