Do Christians need to believe that the Earth was created in a few days? Let’s examine that question.
There are truly many young-earth creationists out there, and it’s perfectly fine to maintain such a belief, but I want to argue that it is possible to accept a literal interpretation of Genesis and yet not accept six-day creationism. Now, I’d like no one to throw a spear at me just yet — examine what I have to say about the Bible first, and then decide if my head comes off or not. If you have any objections, comment below and we shall discuss them.
Classically, there are the obvious “first day”, “second day”, and so forth passages in Genesis 1.
[Genesis 1:5] God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came and then morning: the first day.
Pretty clear, right? There’s just one thing to point out — and that is the meaning of the word ‘day’ in the original Hebrew. This word has four independent meanings in the original Hebrew, and one of them is merely ‘a period of time’.
The Reasons To Believe ministry (their website receives almost 200,000 monthly viewers), argues that there are good reasons to believe that this is the meaning of the verse. For example, this ministry argues that the events of the ‘sixth day’ could not possibly be relegated to a 24-hour period. Travis Campbell, a member of the ministry and a PhD in Philosophical Theology notes nine events that took place during the seventh day, in which some could be quite lengthy;
- created a host of creatures to live and flourish on the land (Genesis 1:24–25);
- created human beings (Genesis 1:26–29)—albeit in two stages, the first one being the formation of the man (Adam) out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7);
- planted a garden in Eden (Genesis 2:8);
- caused trees and plants to grow in the Garden of Eden in accordance with the same ordinary providence He exercised over creation from the beginning (Genesis 2:9; cf. Genesis 1:11–12, 2:5);
- placed Adam in the Garden (Genesis 2:15) and appointed him as its keeper;
- made a covenant with Adam (Genesis 2:16–17; cf. Hosea 6:7);
- recognized that Adam was alone and noted that this was not a good state of affairs (Genesis 2:18);
- introduced Adam to the animals, and allowed him to name them (Genesis 2:19–20);
- put the man to sleep, made a woman (Eve) from a part of Adam’s side, and then brought her to Adam (Genesis 2:21–22).
Take a look at the eighth point, for example. This point regards the following passage;
[Genesis 2:19-20] So the Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found as his complement.
In other words, Adam named all the livestock, all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. There are no doubt, thousands upon thousands of all of these three organisms. Not only does he name them, but he even takes the time to decide that not a single one of them was a viable helper for him in the Garden! How long would this take? This really all occurred in a single day? Remember, this entire point here is completely Biblical.
Now, a second point to make. After Adam names all the livestock, wild animals and birds of the sky, God puts Adam into a deep sleep in order to take out his rib.
[Genesis 1:21-22] So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. Then the Lord God made the rib He had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man.
If Adam was sleeping, that event must have taken a bit of time itself. Remember, to say I am wrong is to say that all of this fits into a single day. There is one third point that can be made to show that this did not all take place in one single day.
[Genesis 1:23-24] And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam, in reaction to finally finding a suitable helper or partner for him after rejecting all the livestock, wild animals and birds of the sky, in relief, says “at last”, implying that this entire course of events all recorded in the sixth day alone lasted quite the amount of time to say the very least. All this, including the fact that the word in the original Hebrew is not limited to the meaning of an actual 24-hour day, may go well to imply that it does not actually mean a single actual 24-hour day at all. These are all Biblical reasons to take such an interpretation into account.
One last point I want to make — regarding a debate that I highly recommend everyone should watch here. If you have not already seen it, watch the debate between Hugh Ross and Kent Hovind. This is one of the best debates I’ve ever seen, and if you still bear that I am false in my claims and position, give this debate an opportunity to change your mind. This is the debate that entirely changed my view. Just to inform, Hugh Ross is also a Christian and he is a PhD in Astronomy. God Bless everyone, and remember, if you think I made any errors here, tell me in the comments.
[Psalm 24:7-8] Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.