How long is a day?

Most are familiar with the beginning of the Old Testament book of Genesis, where ‘everything’ is created in ‘6 days’.  But how ‘long’ are those days?  If you analyze the history in the Bible, you come out with a historical record which is much less than 10,000 years, and 6 additional days does not extend the age of the earth any past that.  Whereas Science seems to indicate that the age of the earth is billions of years.  And although there is some indication that Science’s ability to date things is not as accurate as they might think, it is highly unlikely that they are THAT far off.

So let us look at the ‘days’ described in Genesis.  The first day, light was created.  Kind of a binary occurrence, so not a lot of time is implied by that.  Furthermore, the light was ‘named’ Day and the absence of light (darkness) was named Night.  “So the evening and the morning were the first day.”  It is claimed that this sentence insists one twenty four hour Earth day has elapsed.  Kind of a problem, since no point of reference which supports that time interval exists yet.

One day on Earth is one rotation of the planet around its axis, which is visible to us by one cycle of our view of the sun from a point on the Earth.  Of course, God can know how long that WILL be, since he planned it, but God is very powerful, and is not likely to need even 8 hours (or 8 minutes) to create light.  Is this the first ‘day’ as we know it?  I think not, but it is the first step and the first task.  To continue.

The second day’s work is not very clear.  It appears either God created the planet and the sky, or the natural realm and the spirit realm.  Or the planet and the spirit realm, but very likely the planet was involved otherwise the next step in the process makes much less sense.  How long this would take God is unknown, but in the case of creating the planet, it COULD have been allowed to take a length of time on the order of magnitude estimated by Science.  And that is what I think, since the alternative is that God deliberately set things up so Science would get it wrong, which would kind of seem too ‘cheezy’ a behavior for Him.

The next step was to separate the land from the seas, and create plants.  After that, the creation of the sun, moon and stars.  (At this point, the concept of a ‘day’ could have the referents it needs to make sense).  Next, the creation of fish and birds, and then animals and man.  Each of these steps are presented as one ‘day’, but again, the amount of time each actually took is open to question, and it is possible that the estimates of Science are not too far off.

Then God rested on the seventh day (as stated in Chapter 2) and this was to be an example to us.  Not that we do ‘something’, ‘anything’, each day for six days and then rest, but that we accomplish six days worth of useful tasks and then rest.

Ok, so the two possibilities are that the first chapter of Genesis took exactly six days as we know them, or six days as God knows them.  Remember, God is not tied to time like we are.  It makes more sense to me that the days described are closer to the epochs that Science postulates than to twenty four hour days as we know days.

You say you don’t agree, that the Bible says ‘days’ and that means it was actual days as we know them today and Science has no validity whatsoever?  Perhaps you should look closer, because that viewpoint seems to force the Bible to have a critical contradiction between verse 1 and verse 2, which throws the whole book into doubt.

Verse 1 states that on the 6th day, God created the animals, and then after them, he created man and women.  Plain and simple, animals and then humans appeared within a span of twenty four hours or less according to your viewpoint.  Certainly that account is possible.

But look at how verse 2 describes the creation of humanity.  First God created man, then planted the Garden of Eden and then put the man into it “to tend and keep it”.  After some unspecified period of time, God decided that the man needed a companion for all that tending and keeping.  Let us make the unlikely assumption that this period of time was very short (implying the first man had an attention span even shorter than today’s youth).  Every creature on the Earth and in the sky were brought before the man to be named and evaluated as a companion.  This would seem to take rather a long time, and no suitable companion was found, so the man was put asleep and the woman was created.  All this and the creation of animals happened in a period of time of 24 hours or less?  Highly unlikely.   Anything that God did could be  ‘instantaneous’, but man is not so gifted.  Just because God CAN do something instantaneously, does not mean He HAS to.

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