“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jn. 20:29
The question many Christians wrestle with is did God create the universe, in billions of years or in six twenty-four hour days, according to Genesis chapter one? The various answers given to this query have been the subject of theological debates for numerous years. Many who are fastidious to the veracity of Scripture, surprisingly balk at God’s claim to the creation account in Genesis one. Moreover, it is especially disturbing to learn that a vast majority of Christian teaching institutions, have abandoned the ostensive teaching of Genesis 1-3. Dr. John MacArthur, president of The Master’s Seminary observed:
“I recall reading a survey a few years ago which revealed that in one of America’s leading evangelical accrediting associations, whose membership boasted scores of evangelical Bible colleges and universities, only five or six college-level schools remain solidly opposed to the old-earth view of creation. The rest are open to a reinterpretation of Genesis 1-3 that accommodates evolutionary theories.”
That said, if you interpret the creation account of Genesis literally and in context, you will unquestionably end up with a six twenty-four hour day creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” The wording in the Bible is not only crystal clear, but fundamental regarding God’s miraculous creation account. The following points in this short article are for the student of Scripture’ consideration, to help determine the feasibility and probability of a six-day creation.
“…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Gen. 1:5
When the creation account in Genesis one is taken in context, the Hebrew word yom [day], clearly means a twenty-four hour period: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Gen. 1:5, also see 1:8, 13, 19, 22, 31). One needs not be a Hebrew scholar, in order to understand that God communicated much of Scripture, especially the creation account, in a simplistic manner. Interestingly, He also employed a similar simplicity [in the New Testament Greek word construction] in the Gospel of John, so that there would not be any doubt as to Jesus Christ’ deity (Jn. 1:1-4). However, despite the unambiguous translation from Hebrew to our English versions of Genesis one, many professing Christians deny, that the Bible claims a six twenty-four hour day creation. For instance, they interpret yom [day], in Genesis one, to mean exceedingly long periods of time e.g., millions and millions of years. Dr. Allen P. Ross commenting on yom [day] made this assertion:
“The meaning of the term “day” [yom]…can…mean a longer general period of time (Isa. 61:2)…however, it [yom], in the Genesis creation account must carry its normal meaning [a 24-hour day]. Support for this view includes the following: (1) elsewhere, whenever yom is used with a number, it means a twenty-four hour period; (2) the Decalogue bases the teaching of the Sabbath day on the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest; (3) from the fourth day on, there are days, years, signs, suggesting that the normal system is entirely operative; and (4) if yom refers to an age, then the text would have to allow for a long period of “day” and then a long period of ‘night’–but few would argue for the night as an age. It seems inescapable that Genesis presents the creation in six days.” 1
Furthermore, I recently posed the question to Dr. William Barrick, a Hebrew scholar and professor [now retired] from The Master’s Seminary, as to why a certain well-known theologian asserted day [yom] in Genesis chapter one, meant very long periods of time. Dr. Barrick answered:
“For…many…the Bible is not the ultimate authority in reality. Actually, they accept the majority opinion of secular scientists that the age of the earth is billions of years and of mankind at many millions of years. Therefore, as Peter Enns says, ‘Evolution requires that we reinterpret the Bible.’ I can’t do that. Instead, I say, “The Bible requires that we reinterpret evolution.” The Hebrew word yom, just like many other words, has multiple possible meanings depending on context. However, even though yom can refer to a large period of time, the ‘evening and morning’ in Genesis 1 clearly indicates the meaning there as a literal ‘day’ Besides that, from God’s own hand on tablets of stone, the Fourth Commandment clearly states that God created everything in six days, therefore men work for six and rest on a seventh—we don’t work for millennia before resting for a millennia! See Exodus 20:8-11.”
As Dr. Barrick stated; “from God’s own hand [written] on tablets of stone, the Forth Commandment clearly states that God created everything in six days…” In essence, the interpretation of day [yom] as taken straight-forward and in the proper context of Genesis one, identifies a twenty-four hour day.
“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth…and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Ex. 20:11
Exodus 20:8-11 gives very strong evidence for validating that God created the universe in six twenty-four hour days [and rested on the seventh day]. The reader of the Bible is uniquely given the privilege to see God reiterate, in His own words the creation account of Genesis one. Good theologians teach that Scripture explains Scripture and in Ex. 20:8-11, such is the case–it sheds light onto the creation narrative. When God gave Law to the Israelites through Moses, He provided a paradigm for them to comprehend the Forth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God…For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; ” (Ex. 20:8-9, 11a). He employed His six day creation and one day of rest, as a pattern for the Israelites to conduct a given week. In other words, God instructed six days were for work and one day they were to rest, hence the Sabbath day. In fact, He blessed the seventh day and made it holy: “…therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex. 20:11b).
Furthermore, God created man to live according to structure He ordained: hours, days, weeks, months, and years–these were to be the norm. It would be illogical if God utilized seven eons as a model, in attempt to get the Israelites to understand a Sabbath week. How would they have been able to relate to His command, if He employed such an incomprehensible pattern–“God is not a God of confusion…” (1 Cor. 14:33). In God’s omniscient wisdom, He knew exactly how to instruct His chosen people and how they would be able to relate to a normal period of time. Moreover, He commanded the Israelites to observe the Sabbath day: “But as for you [Moses], speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” (Ex. 31:13–brackets added). The Sabbath was a day to be perpetually kept as “holy” to the Lord (Ex. 31:16). This divinely instituted structure was implemented in every feast, holy day, and in times of worship.
Before God gave Moses the “two tablets of testimony” [the Ten Commandments], written in stone with His own finger on Mt. Sinai; He reiterated the law of the Sabbath day: “It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'” (Ex. 31:17). Additionally, in the New Testament the writer of Hebrews referred to God’s “seventh day” of rest: “For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works.'” (Heb. 4:4). Therefore, there is sufficient biblical support [Exodus 20:8-11, 32:17, Heb. 4:4–the Sabbath day], to substantiate the literal six day creation.
Christians Walk by Faith
“By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Heb. 11:3
Possessing sound faith is tantamount to the Christian walk (Hab. 2:4, Gal. 3:11, 2 Cor. 5:7). If a believer is struggling in faith, especially to believe in the six-day creation, he should never hesitate to pray to God for help–it’s not shameful to ask. The Bible gives the believer reassurance in that regard, by providing a surprising, yet very comforting example. Jesus’ disciples physically walked with Him for three years and witnessed Him perform countless miracles throughout His earthly ministry, yet incredibly they implored Him to give them more faith: “And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith'” (Luke 17:5). If Jesus’ disciples needed increased faith, then it is highly probably that Christians today can use bolstering, especially receiving and heeding God’s Word. That said, in the Bible there are passages for perusal, that clearly elucidate other passages that are difficult to comprehend.
In recapitulation, the believer will be able to examine some pertinent evidence, which points to a literal six-day creation. We have seen theologians and Hebrew scholars concur that “day” yom, in Genesis one should be taken in context, thus leading to a normal twenty-four hour period. Furthermore, God [through Moses giving of the Law] utilized His seventh day of rest after creating all things in six days, to help the Israelites apprehend the commanded Sabbath day of rest. God illustrated a pattern for a normal week; the structure He required His people to live by–six days they were to work and one day they were to rest. Interestingly, God’s pattern for time, is still the rule that all human beings around the world must obey. It’s like the law of gravity, whether you believe in gravity or not, you are still bound to abide by it. Additionally, Christians are called to possess a healthy faith in God, through His revealed Word: “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). Since Scripture explains Scripture, the truth of six day creation is revealed in both Testaments. It is by faith the child of God believes all of what is claimed by the One who authored the holy Scriptures. If Christians wholeheartedly believe in the miracle of regeneration, the instantaneous change of heart in an individual; why then is it difficult to believe that creation was accomplished in six twenty four hour days?
“By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host…For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (Ps. 33:6, 9).
Therefore, nothing is impossible for God, for out of nothing He made everything possible.
1 John MacArthur, How Important is Genesis 1-3, Article, A176, Aug, 27 2009
2 Allen P. Ross, Creation & Blessing–A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, Baker Academic, 1998, pg. 109–brackets added,