Christians who believe each day of creation was a literal 24-hour earth day - how come the seventh day isn't?

I'm curious to know how it can be that each of the six days of creation are supposed to have lasted 24-hours (as in an Earth day) yet the seventh day, God's rest day, is still continuing, thousands of years after Adam and Eve were created. I understand that the Hebrew word for day ('yom') can mean an unspecified amount of time. Is the Hebrew word for the seventh day different to the Hebrew word for the other six days?

Also, there is scientific evidence to prove that the rotation of planet Earth was originally much faster and that Earth's rotation is still slowing down. Given what we know about this planet, and its age, how can each of the six days of creation be only 24 hours long?

Please do not misunderstand me - I absolutely believe that God created the universe, this planet and all life. I'm just having a hard time in understanding how it all happened in six literal earth days.

Update:

How do I come to the assumption that the seventh day is still continuing? From Hebrews 4:1-13. part of which says: "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands... Now we who have believed, enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.' And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: "And on the seventh day God rested from all his work." And again, in the passage above he says, "They shall never enter my rest." It still remains that some will enter that rest... Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David..." That's why I believe that God is still resting and that thousands of years later, we are still in that seventh day of God's rest.

Update 2:

I have no problem with the Genesis account of creation - only the literal interpretation of the Hebrew word 'yom' as meaning a period of 24 Earth hours. Circa A.D. 225, Origen asked how there could be an evening and a morning on days 1 to 3 without a sun, moon or stars while the first day was even without a heaven. Augustine (circa A.D. 400) had a few strong words to say about people who interpreted 'day' as being 24 hours in his book 'The Literal Meaning of Genesis.'

I am merely asking if this literal interpretation can stand up to scrutiny given what we now know about the observable universe. Check out this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe

Does the Hebrew word 'yom' lend itself to being interpreted as a period of time?

Update 3:

Good point made by Doctor regarding Adam and Eve being created on 'day six' and the fact that Adam was 'settled' into the Garden of Eden, and had named all the animals before God created Eve.

I'm not being dogmatic about the age of the earth and I appreciate how people have vested interests, but this isn't about evolution. It's about whether or not we can interpret 'yom' as a literal period of 24-Earth hours, or whether there is evidence to suggest it means an unspecified amount of time.

Religious dogma cost Giordano Bruno his life because he agreed with Copernicus and disagreed with the perceived wisdom that the earth was the centre of the universe and everything revolved round it. In 1543 he was burned at the stake for saying the earth orbits the sun. The Catholic Church got round to issuing an apology in March 2000.

Update 4:

The link provided by Doctor is worth reading.

My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion and I leave it up to you to pick a best answer.

13 Answers

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  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    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.

    Source(s): God, the Big Bang and Bunsen Burning Issues by Nigel Bovey Authentic Media 2008
  • Joel V
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Yes, "yom" can mean an indefinite amount of time, similar to how someone might say "back in my day..." However, the description of "evening" and "morning" indicate that it does in fact mean a literal day.

    Also, it doesn't give an "evening" and "morning" for the seventh day simply because that's when the narrative ends. The narrative covers creation: "In the beginning" was the beginning of creation, and "God rested" was the end of creation. The end of the seventh day was not necessary to record because it was not part of creation.

    And even if the day was a bit longer or shorter back then, it doesn't matter. There is no significant difference between a 24 hour day and a 23 hour 15 minute day. The point is that in Genesis chapter 1, a day is a day, as in a full rotation of the earth on its axis.

    What I do not understand is how you can't understand "how it all happened in six literal earth days." Are you suggesting that God is incapable of doing what is described in Genesis? I would expect people to ask the opposite question: what took Him so long?

  • 9 years ago

    Each day is specifically described as evening and morning, therefore having a set period of time. The seventh day has no such description.

    We are told God ceased from His Creation works, His works under the Old Creation.

    Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

    What is your problem?

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    How do you come to the assumption that the seventh day is still continuing?

    In the Genesis passages, it says "evening and morning" for the creation days, clearly indicating a literal 24 hour period.

    -----------------

    Hebrews 4:1-13 refers to the believer's entrance into the kingdom of God or Heaven, to God's "rest" or being at peace with God. The unbeliever can never come to peace with God (or be at rest with Him) (Hebrews 11:6).

    In Genesis, I believe the passage is referring to a different kind of rest (i.e. rest from toil). Not that God was tired after the 6 creation days, but rather to show us a day that should be specifically devoted to God in worship.

    [Barnes]

    Of entering into his rest - The rest of God - the rest of the world where he dwells. It is called “his” rest, because it is what he enjoys, and which he alone can confer. There can be no doubt that Paul refers here to heaven, and means to say that there is a promise left to Christians of being admitted to the enjoyment of that blessed world where God dwells.

    Source(s): Albert Barnes Commentary on the Bible
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  • danman
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    The story of creation in Genesis supposedly took place some 6,000 years ago. The bible writer Moses wrote the story sometime after the year 1200BC or approximately 3800 years after the creation events took place.

    During that 3800 years, calendars and methods of keeping time changed dramatically. By the time Moses sat down to write the book of Genesis, perception of time had changed several times.

    Attempts at interpreting just what was meant by day, days, in God the creator eyes, would almost assuredly, be different than how man decided to calculate the passing of time. The creator of finite and infinite surely cannot be limited to man’s calculations. True?

    So Moses probably used the only method of explaining the passing of time that he knew day, days. How ridiculous of us to say God the creator used our own discoveries to measure his work or rest. Seems absolutely absurd to me.

    Again man tries to fit God into his own mold. ‘Man created god in his own image’, becomes an expression believable when speculating on such questions.

  • 9 years ago

    What was Jesus' first miracle? He turned water into wine. And not just wine, but the steward said, "the best wine." So, Jesus made "instant wine" which is scientifically impossible. Yet he did it. He made an aged product. All of Jesus' miracles violated the laws of science, hence the term, 'miracle.'

    Likewise, God made Adam an aged human. Same with Eve. Both creative acts violated the laws of science and biology. All of God's OT miracles violated the laws of science and physics.

    So why does it bother you that Creation doesn't make sense...according to our laws of science? Why does the time period matter? If God can create all this from nothing, surely he could do so in six days. Heck, he could have done it all in six seconds. I'm more curious as to why it took him six days.

    Fun stuff.

    Peace.

  • Simple; Creation did not happen in 6 24 hours days. The 24 hour day requires a reference point (the Earth takes 24 hours to revolve once compared to a reference point; the Sun). The Sun was not created until day 4. (Thus days 1-3 were not 24 hours; and probably day 4).

    \Want more; email me here your question(s).

  • 9 years ago

    On the seventh day God rested from His labours.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    That's a good question.

    Another good question is, What evidence is there that the universe was created by a God?

    BTW, neither humanity nor life was created in a special act, rather all evolved from a common ancestor that lived some 3500 million years ago.

  • 9 years ago

    God isnt a confusing God..He said 6 days..He said He said let the light be called day and the dark be called night...evening and morning was the first day...Gen. 1:5

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