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How long is "6 days"?

(Garth D. Wiebe, 7/14/2002)

I want to say at the onset of this essay that I believe that the creation of the heavens and the earth took 6 days. Do you also believe that's how long it took?

Actually, I am not interested in how long you think it took. What I really want to know is, when you read that first sentence that I wrote, did you understand how long I meant, when I said "I believe it took 6 days?"

Now, how many days does the Bible say it took for God to create the heavens and the earth? Read thoroughly the following scripture, from beginning to end:

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping 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, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in 6 days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the 7th day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)

How many days did God tell the Israelites to work? How many days did God say He took to make "the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them"? The Israelites were to work 6 days, because God created everything in 6 days. It is as simple as that.

Just to make sure there is no question but that God meant what he said at face value, consider carefully the following incident in scripture:

"While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, 'The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.' So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the LORD commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36)

Now, did God literally mean for the Israelites to not work on the 7th day of the week, or was it just a figurative idea?

Some more questions to consider:

According to the scriptures, which came first: The earth's vegetation, or the sun, moon and stars? Answer: Vegetable life on the earth was created on the 3rd day. The sun, moon and stars were created on the 4th day.

According to the scriptures, which came first: Birds or land animals? Answer: The Birds were created on the 5th day. The land animals were created on the 6th day.

So much for The Big Bang, and birds evolving from land animals. Let there be no doubt in anyone's minds: The Bible and evolution cannot be reconciled, nor can "evolution" be considered "theistic" or creation "progressive". Even if the timescales were stretched, the sequence of events in the timeline is not compatible. You have to choose one or the other: The Bible, or The Big Bang.

Yes, it is true that in both Hebrew and in English the word "day" can mean an indefinite time period, or a 24-hour period, or the daylight period:

"In that day, people didn't have problems with straightforward concepts."

"It took 1 day for the earth to spin on its axis back then, as it does now..."

"...and the sun shined during the day, not during the night."
Context makes its rendition intuitively obvious. When the word "day" is written or spoken in conjunction with a a number, be it ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) or cardinal (1, 2, 3, etc.) it always is taken to be a literal measure of time. In Hebrew or in English the number makes it so.

In the book of Genesis, the writer is careful to make plain the time period. Not only are things spelled out in ordinal numbers (1st day, 2nd day, 3rd day, etc.), but each "day" is associated with "evening" and "morning": "And there was evening, and there was morning, the 1st [or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th] day".

Some will say, "But how could there be a literal 'day' before the earth even had an opportunity to spin even once on its axis, especially without the sun, moon, and stars?" Answer: Concept precedes implementation. The Creator created the concept, then implemented it. God did not have to wait for the earth to spin once around to find out how long a day was. He had it all timed out in advance.

Some will say, "What about 2nd Peter 3:8-9?" Let's read that scripture in context:

"First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, 'Where is this "coming" he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.' But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:3-9)

This is a profound statement. The context should make the meaning very obvious. But considering what the words say at face value, note that in this scripture, "a day" is meant to be literal, since it is compared to "1000 years". However, note that there is both a multiplication clause ("a day is like 1000 years") and a division clause ("1000 years are like a day"). God's frame of reference is likened to being both 1000 times and a 1000th of ours at the same time. In any case, the context clearly refers back to the "scoffers" who say "Where is this 'coming' he promised... everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation". It is not a statement about how God goes about keeping time. The "day" spoken of is literal, but the purpose of the mathematical comparison is figurative. This figure of speech compared a literal day with a literal 1000 years, and vice versa, to teach the concept and virtue of "patience", not creation mathematics.

Some will say, "How did starlight get here if the stars were created just a few thousand years ago?" Question: Were you there? Did you measure it back then? Scientific principles are based on theory and on empirical observation. The speed of light has only been measured for about 150 years, and only accurately for less than half of that. That's quite a minuscule amount of time to extrapolate back a supposed 16 billion years. No theory exists and no laboratory experiment was conducted to measure the speed of light over the course of time since the point of creation. The presupposition that the speed of light has always been constant is not scientifically defensible. And even if it was, this does not leave room for the supernatural.

Who are you to question God? He created the universe and time itself. If you believe that God is all powerful, you must admit that God can can make starlight move at any speed he wants, any time he wants. God is not bound by the "laws of nature" as we perceive them in this day and age. God created the laws of nature. They are subject to him. He is not subject to them.

There are those who may claim to believe in the God of the Bible, but in reality they create their own god. They create a god according to their own definition. One god that people create is the god that orchestrated biological and cosmological evolution through natural, uniformitarian processes that took billions of years.

Don't believe in that god.

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