How long are God’s ‘days?’
Some say that they consist of 24 earth hours, or one rotation of our planet (see Genesis 1:31 for an example), while others say they are 1,000 years long (from the words of Peter at 2 Peter 3:8), and yet others claim that they are 7,000 years long.
Is any of this true?
Religious Christians who call themselves ‘Fundamentalists’ say that God created the heavens and the earth in seven earth days (168 hours). For they claim that the Bible was being literal when describing each of the ‘days’ of creation in the First Chapter of Genesis. However, when they read at Genesis 2:4 that God created the heavens and the earth in a day rather than six individual days, it is usually assumed that the word ‘day’ was used figuratively, meaning a period of time. Therefore, while we will agree that the dating methods used by modern archaeologists aren’t always trustworthy, it does seem as though the arguments of such fundamentalists are at best a bit inconsistent and out of line with common sense.
One Thousand Years Long?
In Greek, 2 Peter 3:8 reads literally (word-for word as translated from the Greek text): ‘The moreover thing not let/be/hidden/from you beloved, that one day with/the Lord/is LIKE (Greek: hos) a/thousand years and a/thousand years/is LIKE (Greek: hos) day one.’
From this, you can see that Peter wasn’t saying that God’s days are 1,000 years long.
He was just pointing out that time isn’t relevant to God, since He lives in a realm where time doesn’t exist.
The fact that we can see the light of stars that are millions of light-years away, proves that our universe has been around much longer than just a few thousand years. For the light coming from them (when traveling at 186,000 miles per second) would not be visible to us here on the earth yet, if those distant stars were just a few-thousand years old.
Seven Thousand Years Long?
Back in the late 1800s, some ‘Adventist’ theologians decided that each of the creative ‘days’ of Genesis Chapter One had to be 7,000 years long. So because of this, they taught (and some still teach) that we are still in God’s sixth creative day.
According to those assumptions and calculations, it has been about 36,000 years since God started forming the earth for human and animal population. For they teach that we are just 6,000 years into the sixth creative ‘day,’ which is about to end, and that Jesus’ 1000-year reign (as mentioned in the Revelation) is going to start when the seventh period (or ‘day’) within that 7,000 years begins.
However, we are actually well past the end of six-thousand years since the time of Adam (for more information, see the subheading, ‘Theory 1 – Six Thousand Years’ in the linked document, ‘Armageddon – When?’) and nothing has happened.
So, what was wrong with their theory?
Well, the problem is that their calculations were based on errors in the Masoretic (Hebrew) Bible text, as well as on other wrong assumptions that have since been disproven by good sense and scientific discoveries.
So from this, we must assume that the ‘days’ mentioned in the Genesis creation account were not days as we would count them by the rotation of our earth as it goes around the sun. But rather, the reference to ‘days’ in the Genesis account refers to periods of creation, the length of which are known only to God, during which He did specific things.
Understand that the words found at Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 were originally written poetically, likely as the words of an ancient song that Moses recorded at the start of his writing of the Book of Genesis. You will notice this, if you pay attention to the opening words of each phrase, such as, ‘Then The God spoke,’ and observe the length of the sentences and the cadence of the words that follow.
Then, are we saying that the Genesis creation account is just a nursery-rhyme song or fable?
No, for few would disagree with the accuracy of the order of the events that are described in these Chapters. And from this, we have to conclude that someone who was there when these things happened must have had a hand in the description and in the inspiration of the song, since the chance of ancient humans getting everything in the right order is very unlikely.
So, our conclusion is that the First Chapter of Genesis is truly God-inspired.
Yet, it was written in simplistic poetry, possibly in a song that could easily be remembered and understood by ancient peoples who had no understanding of the vastness of time or space.
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