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PURPOSE: Helping Christians engage in intelligent conversations with doubters and unbelievers

Did God create everything in six 24-hour days?

Tradition vs. Bible

The Bible needs more than casual readings

Most Christians have not read the creation story in the Bible for many years, and some have never read it directly from the Bible. Most just recall what they learned in Sunday school, or read in a storybook, or heard people say.

Most Christians give Genesis 1 only a casual reading and think that God created everything in six days because it 'clearly' refers to day, days, evening, and morning.

But good Bible study requires more than a casual reading and should be based on meanings in the original Hebrew manuscripts and meanings of the full context (not just individual words), as provided in this study.

Common Christian belief about the days of creation comes more from tradition than from the Bible.

Theologians have debated for centuries, not because of Darwin

Christians are the only major group of people who believe the world came into existence (essentially as we now find it) in six 24-hour calendar days. Virtually all other people everywhere believe that the earth and its lifeforms developed over long ages of time. It's no wonder that this difference has become a mark of incredulity – and rejection – for Christian faith!

Christians who believe in six-day creation usually assume that Christians who believe in longer time periods have been led astray by modern science. They often say that all Christians believed in six-day creation until Charles Darwin, but that's not true.

Writing 1,700 years ago, Saint Augustine said that it's impossible to tell from the original Genesis manuscripts whether 'day' (Hebrew yō·wm) is 24 hours or a very long period of time (City of God, chapter 11).

Recent prominent conservative theologians – Warfield, Machen, Young, Henry, Archer, Sproul, et al. – have also concluded that the Bible does not compel a 24-hour meaning for each 'day' of creation.

Age-of-earth subject is usually buried in silence

Even though the age-of-earth issue is a big barrier to faith for doubters and unbelievers and a challenge to Bible credibility, it's rarely discussed in church or Bible studies. Christians are not trained to deal with it. The issue is upsetting, and even embarrassing, so people in church circles keep quiet about it, and in silence, they become unaware of the problem or think it's gone away.

Pastors don't want to talk about the age-of-earth issue because they get chastised easily by ingrained church leaders and big donors. Why make waves in the church? Furthermore, pastors are afraid of the issue because it raises two more theological problems:

  1. DEATH BEFORE ADAM. If creation days (especially Day 5 and Day 6) were long periods of time, there would have been death in those days, before Adam. Death is a necessary part of every life cycle. This creates a theological problem because Christian tradition says that Adam brought all death into the world.
  2. EARTH NOT PERFECT BEFORE ADAM. If there was death before Adam, then Adam's sin cannot be the cause of all death. Death would have been necessary to prevent overcrowding and suffocation and to clear the way for new life. This creates another theological problem because Christian tradition says that the entire earth was immortal, even Adam, a perfect paradise before Adam sinned.

These are some of the deep reasons why Christians avoid the age-of-earth issue and are unable to answer questions and converse intelligently about it.

The above two theological problems are addressed in Bible studies on this site at Sin cause of death? and Earth once a perfect paradise?


Thinkers Bible Studies / Topic 1.2


Did God create everything in six 24-hour days?

for an informed answer
Insight 1: Bible credibility

Why timing matters

The real issue here is whether or not the Bible is a credible book of truth. People conclude that if the Bible is wrong about our origin, it's probably wrong about our destiny too. This is a big barrier to faith.
Insight 2: yō·wm is Hebrew word for Bible creation day

'Day' (Hebrew yō·wm) is an 'age'

From the original Hebrew manuscripts, the word 'yō·wm' has been translated as 'day' in English. This is a correct translation but it can mean either a 24-hour period or a long indefinite time, depending upon the context. See how a careful reading of the creation account in Genesis 1 shows that 'day' is a long period of time.
Insight 3: What God created in each 'day'

What God created in each 'day'

See what God made in each stage of His master design plan. The sequential order is not intuitive, but now confirmed by modern science. The ancient writer of Genesis could not have known God's method and sequence more than three thousand years ago without special knowledge direct from the Creator.

Meaning of 'evening' and 'morning'

The Bible uses a repetitive phrase at the conclusion of each stage of creation, but that doesn't necessarily mean a 24-hour period. In fact, time as we know it didn't even exist until visibility of the sun in Day 4.

Evolution is only within walled categories

There is abundant evidence of evolution within each major category of life, but a life form in one category never morphs into a life form in another category. Humans are not evolved but are a special creation in God's own image. The attributes that most define humans – intellect, laughter, music, art, mathematics, language, worship, etc. – are not evolutionary.

Real age, not 'apparent age'

The apparent age theory says that the earth is not actually old but just looks old. This theory is not biblical, requires a world of fakes, and is incompatible with God's character. God is not deceptive.  

Bible gives eight reasons for long 'day'

See eight passages of scripture which show, right from the Bible, that creation 'day' is longer than a 24-hour calendar day. These verses are usually overlooked in a casual reading of the first three chapters of Genesis.

Tradition vs. Bible

Common Christian belief about the days of creation comes more from tradition than from the Bible. Theologians have debated it for centuries. Prominent theologians have concluded that the Bible does not compel a 24-hour meaning for each 'day.' See reasons why this topic is usually buried in silence.

Here's where we combine the eight Insights to get an informed biblical answer: Did God create everything in six 24-hour days?

The insights here are like pieces of a puzzle. Put the pieces together and see the big picture! Now you'll be prepared to engage intelligently and coherently with anyone on the subject of God's creation days. Also see reader comments.
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Helping Christians engage in intelligent and coherent conversations with doubters and unbelievers