It’s significant that the first 6 days of creation all end with the phrase, “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day.” But that phrase does not conclude the 7th day. It shows that all God’s work of creation had finished by the start of the 7th day. It does not say there was evening and there was morning – a 7th day. On the contrary, the Bible goes on to explain to Christians that there is a Sabbath rest still open for believers to enter into, and that was stated 4,000 years or more after the Genesis account of creation!
Hebrews 4:1-11 needs to be read in its entirety to establish the significance of God’s Sabbath rest still standing open. See also Joshua 22:4. And Jesus spoke of Himself as being Lord of the Sabbath, of giving us rest by exchanging our yolk of sin for His yolk (Mat.12:8).
Another significant point is that it’s possible to read Genesis opening statement as heaven and Earth being created, then the specific 6 days of creating upon Earth detailed. This has the merit of doing away with the potential problem of day 4 (when it appears as if the sun, moon and stars were created after Earth was created.) But reading the account as the heavens and Earth already being in existence prior to the chaos being organised, shows day 4 as how it would appear from the viewpoint of someone on Earth. There is no way Earth was in existence before the sun, moon and stars! We all know Earth travels around the sun, which had to be formed before its gravity could attract massive rocks to begin orbits, gradually shaping those rocks into spherical planets. This is where the rotation of Earth also plays an important part in the length of days spoken of in Genesis.
To begin with, Earth had a 5 hour rotational day. It took billions of years for gravity to slow it down to its present 24 hours. We know this from the way our moon has been affected by Earth’s gravity. It’s the same observable science with all the planets in the universe. This means that the earliest point a 24 hour creation day could apply would be day 4, when the already existing sun and moon marked the seasons, days and years. Only from day 4 could those have been recognisably the same as at present and which have continued the same for the past 6,000+ years. The curious way of saying each creative day started with darkness and ended with light could be a literary device for how chaos was turned into order.
I’m happy for the universe to be 13.7 billion years old and Earth to be 4.6 billion. Genesis does not preclude that if the 6 creative periods only kicked in once they were in place. Or, if they are unspecified eras and not forced to be uniform time-periods, then they could have been as short or as long as God wanted, but with no chance of 24 hour days until day 4 onwards. But I think that if the universe and Earth are billions of years old, there is no problem with the time spans for life on Earth being developed and organised by God over vast time spans as well. I mean, what’s the rush? God is eternal! God created time! He can take as much, or as little time as He wishes! But please, let’s not dismiss the careful calculations of scientists who have learned about light years, orbits and even invisible things, like black holes! They may still be developing their theories but we need to be open to them. Have we learned nothing since the Copernicus debacle?
Nor is there any obligation to accept macro-evolution if God took billions of years. God did not allow man to evolve from ape-like creatures; man is the apex of creation, directly made by God in His image. This does not preclude development of species. It precludes blind chance.
God, the Big Bang and Bunsen Burning Issues by Nigel Bovey Authentic Media 2008