Story of creation in Genesis.

Was The Universe Created In 7 Working Days?

Before I get on with it, let me say that I am writing this article as a nominal Christian: born in Christian home and clearly shaped by Christian values, but I don’t practice the precepts of the Christian faith.

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the matter at hand. The first obvious, yet very thing to consider when reading the Bible is that it is a library of books – books of different genres. Some of the books are poetry, some historical and others in the form of letters. These books also have different content and style, too, I might add.

The next thing to consider as we take a somewhat deep dive into the story of creation as written in the book of Genesis is we ought to think of how the author who wrote any form of literature wish to be understood. For instance, William Shakespeare does not intend us to read and understand his poetry as exact history. The same principle applies to the Bible.

Something is to be said about the way in which we use language. A handful of you may be familiar with what I am about to say, but many may have been too busy using the language to bother.

There can be more than one reading of a word or a phrase. For example, in Genesis 1 there are several instances of this. The word “Earth” is used to mean the planet, and then a little later it is used for the dry land as distinct from the sea. In both cases, the world earth is clearly meant literally.

In many other instances, a literal understanding and explanation will not work. A good example is one that we use in everyday speech. We all understand what a person means when they say, “My trip to Dubai cost me an arm and a leg.”

The words “trip” and “Dubai” are very literal, but “arm and a leg” is a metaphor. Costing an “arm and a leg” stands for something real that could be expressed literally as “very expensive”. Just because a sentence contains a metaphor, it doesn’t mean that it is referring to something real.

In many other instances, a literal understanding and explanation will not work. A good example is one that we use in everyday speech.

A biblical example is when Jesus said, “… I am the door” (John 10:9). It is clearly not meant to be understood in a literal sense of a door made of steel or wood.

So, was the universe created in 7 days? The two main interpretations of Genesis 1 are the 24-Hour View and the Day-Age View. There’s a third view called “The Framework View” but we’ll discuss that in a different article.

The Hebrew word “Yom” or “day” is mentioned first in Genesis 1: 5; the natural reading of this particular verse is the “day” is contrasted to night; so a 24-hour-day is not what’s being discussed here.

The second time the word “day” occurs, again in Genesis 1:5, it is in the context of saying that the day involves “evening and morning,” and “day” would naturally then be understood to refer to a 24-hour-day. So now we have two primary meanings for the word “day” in the same verse.

The next occurrence of the word “day” that we need to pay attention to is in the account of the 7th day (the Sabbath) on which God rests from the work of creation. There’s no mention of “evening and morning” as there has been for each of the first six days.

This is an important observation to make because one can legitimately make the argument that God is still resting and the “day” isn’t finished. The lesson to take from that is the seventh day is arguably different from the first six days.

My last argument comes from Genesis 2:4: The word “when” here is used to translate the Hebrew for “in the day.” Clearly the author doesn’t have the 24-hour-day in view… no more than an elderly man would if he said, “In my day there weren’t as many taxis on the roads.”

He wouldn’t be using the word “day” to refer to a particular day in history, however, he would be referring to an indefinite period of time in his past. The word day, therefore, has several distinct meanings in the Genesis 1 text alone. Each of these meanings is familiar to us, too.

As you read the Bible, with a passion for learning (not critiquing), a certain level of complexity emerges rapidly.

To end it off, it would, therefore, be logically possible to believe that the creation days of Genesis are NOT 24-hour-days. I am not trying to be scientific here, but I think it’s fair to let the scripture speak for itself. I am of the opinion that the seven days of creation as depicted in the book of Genesis are indefinite periods of time.

Last but not least, Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God…” What it doesn’t mention is when the beginning was.

Other good reads: Laughable ‘Counter-Arguments’ By Racists And Liberals

Author: The Broken Native

The Broken Native is a budding, freelance writer for Newslibre. He loves football, basketball, books, music (all things Indie and flirts with a bit of Jazz), Philosophy and is an ultra-marathon runner.

4 Comments

  1. Interesting read this. First things I’d like to address though are :
    1. Is God bound by time or He is timeless?
    2. Is the concept of time the same for God and Man, because a verse in 2 Peter 3 8-9 says “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.”

    So based on the above, I believe God is timeless, but for the sake of us understanding

    1. Author

      Good question, cuz (Mansfield). Thanks

      That said, there are 2 assumptions in your question that are really significant, namely;

      1. We have the same understanding of God.
      2. We have the same definition for Time

      These two ideas/concepts (God & Time) will require lectures and books for us to come to some sort of consensus. Having said that, by definition, “God” is outside of time (timeless) and to answer your question, I suppose not bound by time, but can definitely be in time. Jesus, God incarnate, came down to earth and God, in the form of a burning bush (a physical object) spoke to Moses. So, a lot can be said about that.

      Is the concept of time the same for God and Man? It depends on the kind of man we’re talking about, I suppose. My mine is close to God’s. I kid. But seriously, generally speaking, I don’t think it’s the same. Recently I was watching a fascinating discussion between Sir Roger Penrose and William Lane Craig… absolutely amazing stuff and clearly the Physicist’s definition of time is nothing close to the regular’s man’s definition.

      Last but not least, 2 Peter 3:8-9, in my opinion, doesn’t begin to address the creation days because of the way the word “day” is used in Genesis. But yeah, let me know what you think.

      1. Lets go back to Genesis 1:1, and I quote “ In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”

        To me based on that there’s no ‘timeline’, there’s a beginning which could mean a start or a parameter or a position but with no detail.
        Then verse 2 starts with ‘Now the earth was formless…’ Time is introduced in verse 2 of Genesis, for who’s benefit? I have no idea, but in the realm of gods (with a lower case g) time is non existent and creation is completed in verse 1.
        For God, Genesis 1:1 is complete, there’s no ‘but’ or ‘now’ and I basis this on the notion that He is complete in His being.
        The fact that we cannot place a time of existence on God means we cannot quantify or qualify Him (my thinking, subject to criticism).
        Moving forward to Psalm 82:6-7 where David says “ 6 I said, “You are gods,And all of you are children of the Most High.7 But you shall die like men,And fall like one of the princes.”

        Death is a concept of time, and only ‘men’ are bound by it. But there are children of the Most High who are timeless in their nature that they understand creation from a Genesis 1:1 perspective which is complete outside of time.

        So from an illuminated ( I Am the Light) perspective, time is a mental construct to enslave feeble minds under a ‘day and night’ paradigm whereas the actual story of creation is about light and darkness. (We may need to write another piece on this alone).

        My conclusion is God did not create the world in time, He created it in space, in a void of mindframes that were completed in Genesis 1:1. After that, the Human (man) mind needed to comprehend what a god is capable of doing so they explained it in day to night format yet God sees it from night to day, where man sees 24 hrs, God sees 6hrs (midnight to daybreak).

        1. Author

          Quite a mouthful. Appreciated. Please see my responses in bold below.

          Lets go back to Genesis 1:1, and I quote “ In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”

          To me based on that there’s no ‘timeline’, there’s a beginning which could mean a start or a parameter or a position but with no detail. Agreed

          Then verse 2 starts with ‘Now the earth was formless…’ Time is introduced in verse 2 of Genesis, for who’s benefit? I have no idea, but in the realm of gods (with a lower case g) time is non existent and creation is completed in verse 1. Not necessarily. I don’t think time is introduced here because you have to consider the fact that God is creating the physical universe with some material of some sort. My question for you then is, where’s this material coming from? Nothing? I strongly think that at this point, space & time has already been created

          For God, Genesis 1:1 is complete, there’s no ‘but’ or ‘now’ and I basis this on the notion that He is complete in His being.
          The fact that we cannot place a time of existence on God means we cannot quantify or qualify Him (my thinking, subject to criticism).
          Moving forward to Psalm 82:6-7 where David says “ 6 I said, “You are gods,And all of you are children of the Most High.7 But you shall die like men,And fall like one of the princes.”

          Death is a concept of time, and only ‘men’ are bound by it. But there are children of the Most High who are timeless in their nature that they understand creation from a Genesis 1:1 perspective which is complete outside of time.

          So from an illuminated ( I Am the Light) perspective, time is a mental construct to enslave feeble minds under a ‘day and night’ paradigm whereas the actual story of creation is about light and darkness. (We may need to write another piece on this alone). I think we’ve mixed an important step here…creation ex nihilo

          My conclusion is God did not create the world in time, He created it in space, in a void of mindframes that were completed in Genesis 1:1. After that, the Human (man) mind needed to comprehend what a god is capable of doing so they explained it in day to night format yet God sees it from night to day, where man sees 24 hrs, God sees 6hrs (midnight to daybreak). I think that’s a contradiction. The concepts of “night” and “day” in Genesis 1:1 are clearly time-related. If we’re to let the good book speak for itself, then we couldn’t say anything further than what is suggested or implied by the text.

          Interesting take, and I rate we should explore it further. I propose we write a dialogue re our views about creation. I’ll get a Google doc going and we can’t start having a discussion that will turn into a piece.

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