“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jn. 20:29
One question many Christians wrestle with is: “Did God create the universe in billions of years or in six literal twenty-four-hour days, as the Bible claims in Genesis chapter one?” This has been the subject of theological debates for centuries. Many fastidious defenders of the Scripture, who ardently uphold the numerous miracles the Bible claims, surprisingly reject the miracle of creation in six-day literal days. It’s especially disturbing to learn that a vast majority of Christian teaching institutions, have abandoned the literal teaching of the first three chapters of Genesis. Dr. John MacArthur, president emeritus 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.”
If you interpret the creation account of Genesis one 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 ostensive and fundamental to comprehending God’s omniscience in creation: “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).
“...And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Gen. 1:5
The Hebrew word yom (day)in the context of Genesis chapter one, clearly meansa 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 need not be a Hebrew scholar to understand that God through Moses, communicated the creation account in a simplistic manner. He employed similar simplicity in the prologue of John’s Gospel, so the reader could easily apprehend both, Jesus Christ’s deity and His humanity (Jn. 1:1-18). However, despite the unambiguous translation from Hebrew to our English versions, many professing Christians still deny that the Bible presents a literal six twenty-four-hour day creation. For instance, they interpret yom (day)to mean exceedingly long periods of time, i.e. millions and millions of years. Dr. Allen P. Ross commenting on yom (day) made this observation:
The meaning of the term “day” (yom) in this chapter [Genesis 1] has received varying interpretations. Although the word normally means a twenty-four-hour day, it can also mean a longer general period of time (Isa. 61:2) …In this chapter [Genesis 1] however, it must carry its normal meaning. 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… It seems inescapable that Genesis presents the creation in six days.1
Furthermore, I emailed a question to Dr. William Barrick, a Hebrew scholar and professor [now retired] from The Master’s Seminary, and asked him why the well-known Hebrew scholar and theologian, Walt Kaiser, believes yom (day) in Genesis one means very long periods of time, i.e. millions of years. Dr. Barrick replied:
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. 2
Furthermore, by not taking the creation account as six literal twenty-four-hour days, paves the way for secular science to date the earth as billions of years old. For science is forever changing, and evolution is constantly evolving; but God’s Word remains immutable (Matt. 5:18). Additionally, according to Dr. Barrick, such fantastic numbers claimed by secular scientists, are not in the original Hebrew and Greek languages of Scripture, he wrote: “[The] largest numbers in the Hebrew Bible include ‘ten thousand’ (Lev. 26:8; Deut. 32:30), ‘ten thousands’ (1 Sam. 18:7), ‘thousands of ten thousands’ (Gen. 24:60)…The Hebrew has an exact equivalent to the Greek’s ‘myriads’ [ten thousands].” 3
As to why the earth has the appearance of looking extremely old for only being approximately 6,000 years old; Scripture answers the question: “For this they [scoffers] willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old…” (2 Pet. 3:5a). John MacArthur explains: “In six, 24-hour days the whole universe was created mature and complete.” 4
“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; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” Ex. 20:11
Exodus 20:8-11 provides very strong evidence affirming God’s six twenty-four-hour day creation and the seventh day He rested. The student of the Bible is uniquely given the privilege to read, and God reiterates, in His own words, His creation account. In Exodus 20:8-11, God utilized Genesis 1:1-2:3 as a paradigm for Israel’s Sabbath day. In other words, when God gave the Law to the Israelites, He provided a model [His 6-day creation] for them to apprehend His fourth 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). God’s six days of creating followed by one day of rest, was the pattern Israel was instructed to emulate each week. Moreover, God instructed them to work six days, but they must rest the seventh day, hence the Sabbath day. In fact, “…the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” (Ex. 20:11b). Furthermore, before God gave Moses the “two tablets of testimony” (the Ten Commandments) written in stone, He reiterated that Israel was to keep the Sabbath day perpetually : “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31:17, cf. 31:12-17, Lev. 19:3, 30, 26:2, Deut. 5:12, Ezek. 20:12, 20).
Furthermore, God created mankind to live according to the time structure He ordained: hours, days, weeks, months, and years–these were to be normal measurements of time. It would be illogical for God to have used seven eons as a model, in attempt to get the Israelites to apprehend a Sabbath week. In God’s omniscience He knew exactly how to instruct His chosen people regarding periods of time they were to live by.
Additionally, the New Testament 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). The writer referenced back to Genesis 2:2, Exodus 20:11, 31:17; God’s day of rest after He created all things, to elucidate His spiritual rest. Therefore, biblical support is seen in both Testaments to substantiate the literal six-day creation. (Ex. 20:8-11, 32:17, Heb. 4:4–the Sabbath day).
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 a sound faith in God’s Word is tantamount to the Christian walk: “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7, cf. Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:16, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38, 11:1). If a believer so happens to be struggling believing in the six-day creation, he should pray to God for help. It is not shameful to ask God for more faith, for Jesus’ disciples had done so. For instance, they walked with Him for three years, were exposed to His teaching, and witnessed Him perform countless miracles; yet incredibly, they implored, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many things in God’s Word require
s a strong faith to believe; the six-day creation is one of those unfathomable miracles that will test one’s faith. Moreover, even though the process of God’s creation was not observed, He declared it so.
In summary, by referencing Scripture, especially the original languages, the believer can examine key evidence validating a literal six-day creation. We have seen theologians and Hebrew scholars concur that yom (day) in Genesis one, should be taken literally and in context, thus befitting a twenty-four-hour period. Furthermore, God’s giving of the Law utilized His seventh day of rest after creating all things in six days, to help the nation of Israel grasp the commanded Sabbath day rest (Ex. 20:8-11). God provided the model for the normal week His chosen people were to live by–six days they were to work and rest one day–it would be absurd if God required the Israelites to work for six eons and then rest for an eon. In fact, God’s pattern of time is the rule by which all human beings abide. In the New Testament the six-twenty-four-hour day creation is alluded to: “… and God rested on the seventh day from all His works.” (Heb. 4:4, cf. Gen. 1:1-31, Ex. 20:8-11, 32:17, Heb. 4:4); thus, both Testaments support a six-day creation. Finally, Christians are called to possess a healthy faith in God through the knowledge of His revealed Word: “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). For it is by faith the child of God believes what is claimed by the Creator, who “breathed out” the holy Scriptures: “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).
“And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Gen. 1:31).
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 Dr. William Barrick, email contact, www.drbarrick.org
3 Dr. William Barrick, email contact, www.drbarrick.org
4 Allen P. Ross, Creation & Blessing—A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis, Baker Academic, 1998, pg. 109–brackets added,