Were the Days Really Days?
Evolution has become so popular in today’s world that even many religious people, including some members of the church, have accepted the teachings of Genesis 1 as “partial” truth. A loose interpretation allows them to “straddle the fence,” hanging onto evolution with one hand and onto Creation with the other. Bible believers who desire to incorporate the long ages of evolutionary geology must find some way to fit billions of years into the biblical record. One theory they use to add eons of time to the age of the Earth is the Day-Age Theory, which suggests that the days of Genesis 1 were not literal, twenty-four hour days, but rather were lengthy periods of time. Is such a theory to be welcomed with open arms, or is there good reason to reject it?
The available evidence reveals several reasons why we can know that the days mentioned in Genesis 1 are the same kind of days we experience in the present age, and were not eons of time. First, whenever the Hebrew word for day (yom) is preceded by a numeral (in non-prophetic passages like Genesis 1), it always carries the meaning of a 24-hour day. The same occurs in the plural (cf. Exodus 20:11 and 31:17).
Second, yom is both used and defined in Genesis 1:5. The words “evening” and “morning” are used together in the Old Testament with the word yom over 100 times in non-prophetic passages, and each time they refer to a 24-hour day. Furthermore, if the “days” of Genesis 1:14, were “eons of time,” then what were the years? And, if a “day” is an “age,” then what is a “night”?
Third, if the “days” of Genesis were not days at all, but long geological periods, then a problem of no little consequence arises in the field of botany. Plants came into existence on the third day (Genesis 1:9-13). If the days of Genesis 1 were long geological ages, and each day had one long period of darkness and one long period of daylight ("evening and morning," Genesis 1:5), how did plant life survive millions of years (one-half of a "day") of total darkness? Furthermore, how would the plants that depend on insects for pollination have survived the supposed millions or billions of years between “day” three and “day” five (when insects were created).
Fourth, while Jesus was on the Earth He taught that men and woman had been here from “the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6; cf. Matthew 19:4). Paul affirmed this same sentiment in Romans 1:20-21, where he stated that man and women have been here “from the beginning of the creation” when they were “perceiving the things that were made.” The Day-Age Theory, on the other hand, places man at the end of billions of years of geologic time. Both cannot be true.
Finally, one must ask, if God wanted us to know that He created the world in six literal days, what words would He have used? Or if a person wanted to explain to someone else that God created all things in a literal six days, what words would he use? The answer?—the exact words used in Genesis 1.
You can trust your Bible when it says, “For in six days [not six billion years—EL] the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Exodus 20:11).