What A Difference A “Day” Makes

Ron Daly
that some of those who are styled conservative or non-institutional, would espouse the philosophy that the “days” of creation were eons of perhaps thousands, millions, or even billions of years, instead of being ordinary days of a twenty-four hour period? The scenario is especially troubling in that those who are propagating and/or accepting this view are academically qualified to know better. They are men in positions of influence, and the sons and daughters of believers are under their tutelage. 

We would like to believe that preachers, elders, professors, and all others would remain true to the God-breathed Scriptures, and teach only what is sustained by the facts. It is difficult to believe that “our” people would fall prey to the modernism, and theological liberalism that many denominations and institutions of higher learning have imbibed. Instead of drinking from the murky waters of pseudo-academia and feasting at the table of men such as Karl Heinrich Graf, Julius Wellhausen, Soren Aaby Kierkegaard, and other rationalists, we should accept the testimony of the men who wrote the sacred text by the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is the only safe ground; it’s the only right ground!

Some are asking “Why all the fuss as to the significance of the word ‘day’ in the Genesis account of creation? What difference does a ‘day’ make?” Others ask, “As long as we agree that God created everything, why can’t we just agree to disagree as to the length of time it took him to do it?” We respond by asking, “If we may agree to disagree over the nature of the days of creation, why can’t we agree to disagree over whether or not God is the actual creator, since the same document provides the answer to both questions?”

In other words, the same Bible that says “In the beginning God created . . .” (Gen. 1:1) also tells us that “. . . in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them . . .” (Exod. 20:11). If it can be understood that God made everything, it can also be understood that he made everything in six literal days! How do we know this?

The sacred text does not merely say “there was a day, and another day, etc.” The Spirit through Moses attaches a numeral with the word day (yom). Therefore, we read, “the first day, the second day, the third day,” and so on (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:2, 3). Not only are the days enumerated, but Moses uses another significant phrase, and it defines the parameters of the time that’s indicated; “there was evening and there was morning, the first day, the second day, the third day, etc.). The statement, “There was evening and there was morning” is a figure called synecdoche (of the part), and is put for a full day, i.e., the beginning and the end of anything is put for the whole of it. Since yom is used with the numeral and is constituted by “evening and morning,” a basic ordinary day of twenty-four hours is meant.

Second, Moses writes in Genesis 1:14, “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years.” The Spirit makes a distinction between “days and years,” like he does between “the day from the night.” If the term “day(s)” in the context of Genesis 1 includes thousands, millions, or billions of years, please tell us what the term “years” has reference to! If the “years” are ordinary “years,” the “days” are ordinary “days.” But, if the “days” are eons, the “years” are far too vast for peons!
Third, in Genesis 2:1-3 it is written, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation”  (Exod. 20:9-11). “Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it” (NRSV). Moses said, “In six days the Lord made the heaven and earth . . . and all that is in them.” Now then, what was the nature of these days?

How long were they? Each of the six days of creation was as long as the seventh day on which God rested (i.e., ceased from his labors)! Each of the six days of creation was as long as the sabbath day that the Israelites were to “remember and keep holy.”

The Hebrew lexicons that I have concur with the testimony of the Scriptures, as to how the word “day” is used in Genesis 1, and most of them were edited by “theological liberals.” The Hebrew & Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 2:399, says that yom means “a day of twenty four hours.” A Concise Hebrew And Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (130) says “day of 24 hours.” Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (398) says “day as defined by evening and morning.” 
Brothers and sisters, we must exercise extreme caution that we do not modify the biblical message in order to accommodate pseudo-science. One person has expressed doubt as to whether or not God could have accomplished the act of creating everything in six literal days! Has he forgotten that the entire Godhead was active in creation, and that God created everything by his word! In Genesis chapter 1, verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, and 24 we have a verbal repetition that Moses uses in describing the wonderful and miraculous work of deity, “And God said . . . and it was so.” This shows that there was a correspondence between God’s word of command and its fulfillment. Oh the power of God’s word. The writer of Hebrews stated, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3). How can a person who claims to believe the Bible, say that God could not have done what the sacred text says that he did?

What difference does it make whether the days of creation were literal days or eons? If the contextual testimony of Genesis 1 doesn’t matter, if being accurate doesn’t matter, if believing the Bible doesn’t matter, and if correctly interpreting the word of truth doesn’t matter, then it makes no difference at all what one believes and teaches about the days of creation. But if biblical accuracy is pertinent, if believing the Bible is paramount, and if an analysis of the context of Genesis 1 is relevant, then the difference that it makes is the difference between truth and error, right and wrong, division and unity. Oh, what a difference a “day” makes!

P.O. Box 36180, Indianapolis, Indiana 46236-0180 ronniebuster@hotmail.com
Truth Magazine Vol. XLIV: 20  p10  October 17, 2000