many indications within the text of Scripture to support the belief
that the creation "days" were longer than twenty-four hours. The
following are those most often given in support of this position.
A. The Word
Day (Yom) Often Means a Long Period of Time
The fact is
that the same word that can mean twenty-four hours also often means a
longer period of time. First of all, "day" sometimes means a prophetic
day; that is, a future time period of differing lengths, as in "the
day of the Lord" (Joel 2:31; cf. 2 Peter 3:10). Furthermore, as we
have seen, 2 Peter 3:8 – "A day is as a thousand years" – is based on
Psalm 90:4: "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has
just gone by." As with any other word, the meaning of the word day
must be determined by the context in which it is used. In many
contexts, "day" means much more than twenty-four hours. It can mean
thousands, or even more.
B. The Word
Day Is More Than Twenty-Four Hours Even in Genesis 1-2
Even in the
creation passage, yom is used of a period of time longer than
twenty-four hours. Summing up the entire six "days," the text
declares: "This is the history of the heavens and earth when they were
created, in the day [yom] that the Lord God made the earth and the
heavens (Gen. 2:4 NKJV). "The day" here means six "days," which
indicates a broad meaning of the word day in the Bible, just as we
have in English.
Seventh "Day" Is Thousands of Years Long
agrees that it has been at least thousands of years since the time of
creation, yet the Bible declares that God rested on the seventh day
after His six days of creation (Gen. 2:2-3). According to the book of
Hebrews, God is still in His Sabbath rest from creation (4:3-5);
hence, the seventh day has been at least six thousand years long, even
on the shortest of all the chronologies of humankind.
D. The Third
"Day" Is Longer Than Twenty-Four Hours
On the third
"day," God not only created vegetation, but it grew to maturity. The
text says that on the third day "the land produced vegetation; plants
bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with
seed in it according to their kinds" (Gen. 1:12). To grow from seeds
to maturity and produce more seeds is a process that takes much longer
than a day, a week, or even a month for most plants. There is no
indication in the text that its growth was anything but natural; it is
its origin that was supernatural.
E. The Sixth
"Day" Is Longer Than Twenty-Four Hours
also appear that the sixth "day" of creation was considerably longer
than a solar day. Consider everything that happened during this one
created all the many hundreds (or thousands) of land animals (Gen.
"formed" man of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). This Hebrew word (yatsar)
means "to mold" or "form," which implies time. Yatsar is used
specifically of the work of a potter (cf. Jer. 18:2f.).
said, "I will make a helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18). This
indicates a time subsequent to the time of the announcement.
observed and named this whole multitude of animals (Gen. 2:19). As
Robert Newman noted, "If every one of the approximately 15,000 living
species of such animals (not to mention those now extinct) were
brought to Adam to be named, it would have taken ten hours if he spent
only two second on each." This is hardly enough time for Adam to study
each animal and determine an appropriate name for it. Assuming a
minimum of only two minutes each, the process would have taken six
hundred hours (or twenty-five days).
searched for a helpmate for himself, apparently among all the
creatures God had made. "But for Adam no suitable helper was found"
(implying a time of searching) (Gen. 2:20).
put Adam to sleep and operated on him, taking out one of his ribs and
healing the flesh (Gen. 2:21). This too involved additional time.
was brought to Adam, who observed her, accepted her, and was joined to
her (Gen. 2:22-25).
conclusion, it seems highly unlikely that all of these events –
especially the fourth one – were compressed within a twenty-four-hour
period or, more precisely, within the approximately twelve hours of
light each day afforded.