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Did Biblical Creation Take Thousands of Years?

Updated on December 16, 2012
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The Seven Days of Creation

Do you believe the seven days of creation were literal of figurative? Explain your answer in the comment box below.

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Did Biblical Creation Take Thousands of Years?

Some Christians believe that creation week in Genesis 1-2:3 took thousands of years to complete. This hub is going to be a review of creation week to determine if that, in fact, is the case. I will tell you my position before I even get started. I think creation week should be taken literally to mean seven 24-hour periods of time. I will be highlighting the scriptures that support this.

"The Evening and the Morning"

The first compelling proof that creation week is meant to be taken literally is the terminology “the evening and the morning” used to describe the first six days of creation week (verse 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). Now, please correct me if I am wrong in the comment box below; but the last time I checked, if you count the amount of time it takes to complete an evening and a morning you get 24 hours.

We don’t typically think of a day in terms of an evening and a morning (more like a morning and an evening). This is because we now internationally go by the Roman Calendar, which used this system. However, in Bible times, this was not the case. Sundown marked the beginning of a new day for people back then.

Yom Kippur

Another compelling proof that creation week is meant to be taken literally is the Hebrew word that “day” is translated from: “yom”. Do you know what the deifinition of “yom” is? According to Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary, it is a 24-hour period. It is just like in "Yom" Kippur, the "Day" of Atonement.

The Sabbath Day

The institution of the seventh-day Sabbath is also strong evidence for a literal creation week. The Fourth Commandment, in Exodus 20:8-11, tells us to keep the Sabbath in remembrance of the Sabbath (seventh day) of creation. The Sabbath we keep now is a 24 hour day. Since it is a memorial of the Sabbath of creation, this means that the Sabbath of creation was a 24 hour day as well.

"One Day is as a Thousand Years"

Second Peter 3:8 is often referred to in support of the theory that biblical creation took thousands of years to complete: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing: that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” However, this is taking this scripture out of context. If you read on, you will see that the context is about the delayed second coming of Jesus:

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” - Verse 9, 10.

Believers were wondering (as some do now) why it was taking God so long to fulfill His promise to send Jesus to bring this sinful world to an end. Peter then put our time in perspective to God’s eternal existence, encouraged believers to be patient, and gave them a glimpse into the scene of Jesus’ return.

What Does it Matter?

Some may say, “What’s the big deal? What does it matter whether one believes in a literal creation week or not?” It is an issue of the power of God. When people say that they do not believe that God created the world in six literal days, they are limiting His power; and it is not a big jump from limiting the power of God in creation to limiting the power of God in our lives.

If we don’t serve an awesome God, who powerfully spoke the world into existence; how can we expect His Word to have power in our lives. Think about that, and I would appreciate your response in the comment box below.

All Scripture references are from the 21st Century King James Version Bible.

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    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      you are correct. i would just like to add that when one believes man over GOD, whether they know it or not they choose man over GOD. man changed the sabbath from saturday to sunday. man changed GOD day of rest, the day HE sanctified. it is much easier for people to believe man over GOD, they sacrifice nothing that way...except their souls.

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      tlmcgaa70 - Thank you for you insight!

    • Frank Menchise profile image

      Francesco Menchise 5 years ago from Brisbane Australia

      Perhaps what you want to prove here is not whether seven days were really seven days or a thousand years; but you want to say that whatever is written in the Bible is the truth, which I am afraid it might not be so. Therefore, it is time that man wakes up and sees the truth, I know that this is going to hurt many believers, but the truth is that man wrote the bible, perhaps it was God inspiration at the beginning, but then they wrote and re-wrote it until whoever were in possession of the Bible words could control all believer under them.

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 5 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      It would take me tremendous doubt before I believe that the 6 days weren't a 24-hour day each. You will have to remove first the words "and there was evening and there was morning" before a thousand day can be considered. The thousand days does not even match the evolutionists' age of the universe. I don't really see why people would even consider a day of creation a thousand. They must have doubted first to do that.

      If God couldn't stop the corruption in the scripture, then God is not sovereign. And if He is, then He must have allowed it. He therefore is not concerned about saving the people who's going to read it.

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Frank Menchise and rLcasaLme - Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your opinions. Although, Frank, can you tell me who it was that used the Bible to control believers? And rLcasaLme, could you clarify your point in your second paragraph. I'm not quite getting it.

    • Reginald Boswell profile image

      Reginald Boswell 5 years ago from Alabama

      Interesting, a day should be taken literally because the inspired Word of God was written for man. The Heaven dimension can interpret a day as a thousand year (because there is no time). The earth dimension can use multi-dimensions as in Revelation, the Seven Churches can be interpreted as seven eras or seven Christian personalities. Even the Sabbath can be interpreted as, a period of time extending past the rapture instead of a Saturday a day of rest.

      Jesus taught us we should worship God everyday and that Saturday was nothing special!

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Reginald Boswell - I appreciate your comment brother Reginald, and I do agree with the importance of worshiping God everyday. However, in the terms of the Sabbath being nothing special, that I do not agree with. It is the Fourth Commandment (Ex. 20:8-11). In other words, it is part of the Ten Commandments!

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 5 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Oh, I was just trying to answer Frank's argument.

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      rLcasaLme - Okay. Thanks.

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 5 years ago from The World (for now)

      I also agree that the Creation took place in six days and that God rested on the seventh. Good point about limiting God's power. It is true that if you support that the time God took could not have been that time then that is taking away from His might.

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      North Wind - Thanks for the positive feedback. I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Ben MacLurg 5 years ago

      You seem to contradict yourself in the last paragraph. You say that several thousand(or in my case millions) years is too long for God to create the world and we're limiting his power. Yet wouldn't that mean that six days is too long as well? Heck, six seconds is too long for our awesome God!

      Therefore, the point you're trying to make here is kind of invalid. Young-Earth and old-Earth creationists alike will be in Heaven, so whichever theory (And I believe my interpretation is equally as valid) brings them into the Kingdom of God, so be it!

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Ben MacLurg - It all really comes down to what the Bible says. When we deviate from the Word we doubt God. The Bible says God created the world in six days. If we disagree and say it took any longer, we are doubting His Word and His power.

      To say that it is acceptable to accept contradictory interpretations of the Bible just does not make any sense. God is not the author of confusion. That's the devil's work.

      Whether or not old-Earth creationists will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, I don't think that is either for me or you to say. It is in God's hands to judge the hearts of men. However, those who are confronted with clear evidence about the young age of the earth and stubbornly hold to a contrary theory, they are in serious danger.

      Isaiah 26:2 states: "Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in." The implication there is, those who don't hold to the truth will be excluded.

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 5 years ago

      Interesting topic, Greg, thank you.

      Before I comment, I would just like to clarify that my faith in Christ does not rest on whether creation was a literal six calendar days or six epochs of time.

      Yes, the Almighty could have created the entire cosmos in 6 nano-seconds if He wanted to, but it is obvious that He did not.

      Please keep in mind that this issue does not place one's eternal salvation in jeopardy and it's likely that this issue will never be laid to rest this side of Heaven so it should be seen as a source of friendly debate and nothing more.

      The question is not whether God could create everything in six literal days, the question is whether He did. Our challenge, therefore, is to find the truth and not lean on our own understanding or church tradition nor should we root for a particular outcome.

      I find it interesting that "there was evening and morning - the 'first' day." Yet, the Sun, Moon, and Stars were not created until the "fourth" day. Now, some may say that the Almighty was supplying this light, but if this was the case how could there be darkness in His presence (evening)?

      We then learn that God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2). Now, was this just a 24-hour rest or was it a prolonged period of time? And, is the Almighty still at rest from creating or is He active once again?

      Genesis 2:17 "...but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."

      The question that arises here is whether God meant that Adam would die within 24 hours or that Adam spiritually died that very day, or the term "day" meant an expanse of time. Indeed, Adam did die hundreds of years later, but the true meaning of this statement is ambiguous just like the creation account itself.

      I think the bottom line is that one should not treat the Bible as if it were black and white or cut and dry. God knows what the truth is, but sometimes we are left guessing, yet there are those who are willing to draw a line in the sand and defend their position even unto death. I, for one, do not think this is wise.

      I have met an individual on Hub Pages that is so decisive, that she is willing to argue the exact day Jesus was born into this world and she is probably not the only one.

      Please remember, the truth should be more important to us than being right and if Scripture is not crystal clear on a particular subject, then perhaps we should move on to more important issues or at least consider that our current understanding may be off-target.

      Again, the challenge for us today is trying to understand the truth behind the words. And, if there is one thing that I have learned from reading the Bible over the past 30 years, is that things are not always as they appear to be and church tradition has been placed on a pedestal higher than truth.

      Best wishes and be well - L.R.

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 5 years ago

      Greetings one and all:

      I failed to mention it before, but there is another reason why I am not sold on a literal 6 days of 24 hours each.

      My reasoning is thus: I do not know why the Almighty would rush things along so quickly. Sure, He could have created everything in the blink of an eye to further demonstrate His immense and awesome power, but He chose not to.

      The reason, I believe, the Almighty and His Son chose to take Their time is that They love the process of creation. So, the question should be why the Godhead would rush through the creation of the cosmos and the creation of life on earth in one earth week?

      Reason and logic also leads me to conclude that in all likelihood the Almighty would want to enjoy Adam as much as He could before creating the weaker vessel, Eve, who promptly ushered sin into the world.

      As far as I see it, the Almighty would have gained a great deal of pleasure watching Adam discover the strength of his own hands; the joy of feeling the rush of wind in his face as he ran; the strange sensation of water trickling through his fingers; watching Adam enjoy the succulent and delicious fruit of the garden, and so on and so forth.

      When you think about it, this would be the only time that the Almighty would get to spend with His special creation before it became defiled by sin. So, why would He rush through it and for what purpose?

      Moreover, I do not see Adam naming all the birds of the air and the beasts of the field all within one 24-hour period.

      Secondly, I do not see Adam becoming lonely within the same 24-hour period that he was created, taking into consideration his innocent self-discovery, extensive dealings and responsibility with the animals, and his upkeep of the Garden of Eden.

      In addition, I do not see Adam naming all living creatures within a 24-hour day and growing lonely within that same day, causing the Almighty to see that it wasn't good for man to be alone, hence placing Adam in a deep sleep and performing the very first surgical procedure that produced the first woman, Eve.

      To me, six 24-hour days is quite possible, but highly improbable. I just don't see my Lord and Creator acting this way. I see Him as being slow to anger and even slower to ruin a good thing by rushing in the creation of woman, who willfully opened the door to sin, and in doing so, ushered in death and destruction to mankind.

      Why would God rush through an innocent and beautiful moment, instead of spending time with Adam in his perfection and at his best, knowing full well that corruption and sin would be the lot of mankind for thousands of years into the future?

      Best wishes and be well - L.R.

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 5 years ago

      Seventh-Day Adventist?

      Well, that explains some things.

      I attended a "Revelation Seminar" at the local Seventh Day Adventist church a number of years ago. Each week for 20 weeks, we went over Biblical doctrines, looked up verses in the Bible, and had some lively discussions.

      It was fun, until week 16, when they sprung it on me that since I attended a church that formally worshipped the Almighty on Sunday, that I was going to hell. I asked them if they were nuts, but they pleasantly and lovingly informed me that worshipping God on Sundays was the mark of the beast.

      I demanded that they show me in the Bible where this concept is stated, but they could not. We argued for hours one night...I was outnumbered 20 to 1 but thrashed them nonetheless. I came equiped with 50 Bible verses and they came equiped with 20 Adventists carrying church doctrine. When the dust settled, the entire crowd was silenced and one of their elders told me that I shook his confidence in his belief system.

      Another of their adherents told me that worshipping God on Saturday ensured salvation. I asked him, "So, what if one lives like a heathen throughout the week, but worships God on Saturday...is he saved?" His answer: "Yes".

      I then asked if I worshipped the Almighty and His Son throughout the week and prayed diligently throughout the week, but took Saturday off, would I be saved. The answer: "No".

      At the end of the day I found these people to be friendly and sincere, but terribly misguided.

      Funny, but I still even have their "National Sunday Law" pamphlet that names the Pope as the anti-christ, etc. I also don't feel comfortable basing a religious movement on a little girl's vision back in the mid-1800's. Sounds too much like Joseph Smith Jr. to me.

      Look, I enjoy a lot of these people and I have even considered some of them my friends, but at the end of the day, they are trying to be Jews by adhering to the Seventh Day as if it were the Sabbath Day, given by God to the Israelite captives that came out of Egypt with Moses.

      Honestly, Greg, you are not under the old covenant, nor were you one of the Israelite slaves doing hard-time in Eqypt. The Almighty brought THESE people out of bondage and set aside the Seventh Day for THEM so they could remember what He had done for THEM. The old covenant was between God and the children of Israel, not Gentiles, like you and me.

      Besides, Christ ushered in the New Covenant, so why are you still honoring the old?

      Best wishes and be well - L.R.

    • Frank Menchise profile image

      Francesco Menchise 5 years ago from Brisbane Australia

      Just because I have commented already once on this religious hub, I would like to say my personal beliefs and impressions of these religious discussions, all I see here is that most of you try hard to believe what is written in the Bible, but has any of you thought that the Bible is man written books of religious rules, it was written in such a way that the people of those times were bound to follow those rules, but today some of these rules may become strange to follow, so it is time to modify some religious beliefs or rules. Do you have any comment on that?

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Frank - Yeah. Some of those rules were meant to be followed back then (like the ceremonial law, with its animal sacrifices), while others were meant to remain valid for all times (like the Ten Commandment Law of God).

    • Frank Menchise profile image

      Francesco Menchise 5 years ago from Brisbane Australia

      Greg - I know that you are a true believer of the Bible, but my message here is that it was all right to follow the Bible the way it was written then and I believe that today even the Bible meanings need to be modified in order to fulfill mankind needs, after all God is what mankind wants God to be, look at how many gods exist on this earth?

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Frank Menchise - I don't agree with that at all. Instead of trying to modify the Word of the lord to suit our lives, we should modify our lives to be in line with the Word.

    • Reginald Boswell profile image

      Reginald Boswell 5 years ago from Alabama

      Amen

    • profile image

      Lone Ranger 5 years ago

      "Instead of trying to modify the Word of the lord to suit our lives, we should modify our lives to be in line with the Word." - Greg Sereda

      Well said, Greg!!! :0)

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 5 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Lone Ranger - Thanks, brother!

    • Frank Menchise profile image

      Francesco Menchise 5 years ago from Brisbane Australia

      I know you want to continue as if everything is all right religiously just the way it has been for hundreds of years, but I want to tell you this, what I am suggesting here is going to be inevitable,and if you would like to know more about what I believe is going to be in the future, read my religious writings of Prayers of Reconciliation and Reconciliation of the Universe that I am publishing in hub pages while I am still writing them.

    • douggy profile image

      douggy 5 years ago

      Check another posibility of understandig the genesis creation narrative.

      http://thecreationcode.blogspot.com/

    • profile image

      Benjamin 4 years ago

      Before I start, I will say I am a Christ Follower.

      I know this is old, but I'm not sure I agree with what you say here. Scientific research will show that there are universes several hundreds of millions of years old. Many young-Earth Creationists I say this to will respond with the "Appearance of Age" argument. But if God created the universe to be his witness, then why would he make it so it is lying to us? What would that say to the nature of God?

      The universe has to be several billions of years old, because it tells us it is. To be anything else would have far more tragic consequences than just a possible misunderstanding.

    • Greg Sereda profile image
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      Greg Sereda 4 years ago from Sandomierz, Poland

      Benjamin - Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Thank you for your comment.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 4 years ago from south dakota, usa

      frank...the king james version bible includes everything GOD wanted it to include and nothing HE did not want included. HE has used this version to spread HIS word in all languages and has protected it from destruction in spite of those who would try to destroy it. there are things in that bible that are meant to confuse...the Word is CHRIST and CHRIST is a stumbling block to those who reject GOD, confusing them...they will never understand the Holy Truth in that book.

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