Home > apologetics, chronology, creationism, interpretation > >Reasons that Genesis 1 means a literal 6 days

>Reasons that Genesis 1 means a literal 6 days

>Firstly I have a question for those who deny the days are literal: “If God decided to make the world in 6 days, how would he convey this so we would not misunderstand him?” I mean, if God did take 6 days, there is nothing he could say more than what already is in Genesis 1 to convince us. Whatever further details that could be written would be explained away by those who disagree just like they do now. If the days were not intended to be read as literal the wording used in Genesis seems an unusual choice, and there are plenty of ways in Hebrew to say otherwise.

Several reasons why I think the days in Genesis 1 are of 24 hour duration:

  1. Style is narrative. This is clear from just reading it, but technical analysis concurs.
  2. The word “day” is prefixed by a number. This always means a literal day elsewhere in Scripture. Some questions of interpretation of day with a number is raised when the passage is prophetic.
  3. The word “day” is prefixed by the phrase “there was evening and there was morning,” a phrase that is also used for a literal day. Again, some dispute around prophetic usage.
  4. The first day also mentions the day was divided into daytime and nighttime according to whether it was light or dark.

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day(time),” and the darkness he called “night(time).” And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:3-5)

  5. Comparison is made to creation when God commanded the Israelites to rest on the Sabbath. God said,

    Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 6 days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the 7th day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in 6 days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the 7th day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20)

    The reason this parallel is exact is because the word day is used. One can have a Sabbath of other time periods, usually years (Exodus 23, 2 Chronicles 36), but no comment is made about those periods being the same as the creation periods, ie. days.

    In fact the existence of the week is a strong pointer to the literalism of Genesis 1. Day, month and year all have astronomical events that define them. Other time divisions are clearly a division or multiplication of these 3 fundamental periods. Decade and century from the decimal numerical scheme; seconds, minutes and hours from the sexagesimal scheme. The week is clearly a period based on days that has no logical explanation other than divine decree.

The first day is particularly instructive because, in a way, it is acting as a definition. Not only is it literal because of the mention of a number and evening and morning, the day is defined based on a period of daylight followed by darkness.

For those who deny the days are 24 hours this needs explaining. And it is likely the proposed hermeneutic will be invoked because of a prior, extra-biblical commitment to an ancient earth.

  1. 2007 September 19 at 19:08

    For those who deny the days are 24 hours this needs explaining. And it is likely the proposed hermeneutic will be invoked because of a prior, extra-biblical commitment to an ancient earth.
    I don’t deny the days are 24 hours. I just don’t see why they are necessarily 24 hours.
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day(time),” and the darkness he called “night(time).” And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:3-5)
    We understand that days are about 24 hours now because that is how long the earth requires to rotate once upon its axis, thereby having all of the earth experience a period of darkness and a period of light from the sun. But again, no sun, no moon, no stars (I had forgotten about the “no stars” the last time I commented) until day 4. We have light, but we don’t know what specifically is the source of that light. We aren’t told that. So until some time on day 4, we don’t have anything to tell us how long the days are. They may be 24 hours. They may be much longer than that. They may be much shorter than that. They may be of very different lengths. We don’t know. That is beyond the information God has given us.

  2. 2007 September 20 at 05:55

    But we do have God’s comments in Exodus.

    6 days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the 7th day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God…. For in 6 days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the 7th day.

  3. 2007 September 20 at 16:55

    But a day is still defined in Genesis as a period of darkness followed by a period of light.
    “And there was evening and there was morning.”
    Without the sun, moon, and stars, how long is a day?

  4. anomalous
    2007 September 22 at 07:20

    Also, the days did not have to be consecutive. The 2nd day could have been many days or eons after the 1st day and still be called the 2nd day as it was the 2nd day of the active creation process.
    I’ll create something today. Then, an eon later, I think I’ll create something else on this, the 2nd day of creating.

  5. 2007 September 22 at 07:37

    anomalous,
    except the waw consecutive means that they are sequential without a gap. The parallel in Exodus also shows they are consecutive without a gap.

  6. 2007 September 22 at 07:44

    For the sake of the argument I will concede these 2 points. So we have day 1 lasting 10 minutes, day 2 10 million years and day 3 a year with days 4 thru 6 lasting 24 hours. We also have a gap of 1 million years between each day except day 6 to 7 because Adam was created on day 6 and lived 930 years.
    Granting this unlikely scenario how does this help us with the secular timeframe for the origin of the earth and the universe?

  7. anomalous
    2007 September 22 at 08:29

    I didn’t raise the point to defend the secular point of view or to refute the traditional 6 day view.
    I just think that there are many ways to interpret the words.
    Too rigid an interpretation can be wrong and also give fuel to critics and enemies of the word.

  8. 2007 September 23 at 22:25

    I’m basically with Anomalous. (But I don’t really go for the gap thing.)

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