How long were the days?

Discussions on creation beliefs within Christianity, and topics related to creation.
theophilus
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How long were the days?

#1

Post by theophilus » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:22 am

One issue that people disagree over is how long the six days of creation were. Some people think they were literal 24 hour days and some think that they were merely long time periods of indefinite length. Which side is correct? Is it even possible that both views are wrong?

Sometimes the word “day” is used in the Bible to denote a long period of time. For example, the time of God’s judgment at the end of the age is called the Day of the Lord. And in Genesis 2:4 the entire creation period is called a day.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
But could the days of creation have been such indeterminate periods of time?

The first day is described in Genesis 1:3-5.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
The day included a period of light and a period of darkness. This day and each of those that followed it are described as consisting of an evening and a morning. It is clear that these were literal days, each one consisting of one rotation of the earth on its axis.

Does this mean they were 24 hour days like the ones we have today? That would depend on whether the earth rotated at the same speed then that it does today.

The worldwide flood in Noah’s time involved more that just covering the world with water. The fact that the water in the oceans once covered the whole world shows that the surface of the earth was much flatter before the flood. After the flood the continents and islands rose up so that they were above the water.
The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.
Psalm 104:8-9 ESV
Changes of this magnitude could have changed the speed of the earth’s rotation and thus changed the length of the day.

The earliest calendars that we have any record of are based on a 360 day year with extra days added to bring the calendar into alignment with the seasons. Why didn’t they simple develop a 365 days calendar to begin with? One possible explanation is that before the flood there were only 360 days in a year and the first civilizations after the flood retained the old calendars instead of making new ones.

To calculate the possible length of a preflood day I first found the number of minutes in the extra 5 1/4 days. The result was 7,560 minutes. I then divided this by the 360 days and got 21 minutes. If our days were 21 minutes longer there would be 360 days in the year and the earliest calendars would have been accurate and not needed any adjustments. It seems possible that the days of creation were actually 24 hours and 21 minutes long.
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Re: How long were the days?

#2

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:28 am

Genesis is a theological account of creation so, the actual time frame is irrelevant since the authour probably didn't have that in mind when he wrote it.
Basically and theologically speaking, God created the world over a period of time that was "divided" in 7 stages.

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Re: How long were the days?

#3

Post by brokentines » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:14 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:Genesis is a theological account of creation so, the actual time frame is irrelevant since the authour probably didn't have that in mind when he wrote it.
Basically and theologically speaking, God created the world over a period of time that was "divided" in 7 stages.

This statement is opinion but is based on little fact. The word for "day" used is yom and always means a 24 hour period in the context. There is no reason for saying that it was a long period of time unless you want to mix modern man's ideas with the biblical account. If plants were created on day 3 and the sun on day 4 you have a problem with photosynthesis if you believe these were long periods of time. If these were "periods of time" then the author could have easily stated so. Instead he qualifies each day.
People's interpretation of Genesis has a lot to do with their world view. Those who hold secular/naturalistic scientist to high esteem have difficulty trying to interpret what the Bible has to say. Those who choose to hold God's word above a scientist interpretation of the world have no problem with literal 24 hour days.

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Re: How long were the days?

#4

Post by Danieltwotwenty » Sun Dec 09, 2012 2:15 pm

brokentines wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Genesis is a theological account of creation so, the actual time frame is irrelevant since the authour probably didn't have that in mind when he wrote it.
Basically and theologically speaking, God created the world over a period of time that was "divided" in 7 stages.

This statement is opinion but is based on little fact. The word for "day" used is yom and always means a 24 hour period in the context. There is no reason for saying that it was a long period of time unless you want to mix modern man's ideas with the biblical account. If plants were created on day 3 and the sun on day 4 you have a problem with photosynthesis if you believe these were long periods of time. If these were "periods of time" then the author could have easily stated so. Instead he qualifies each day.
People's interpretation of Genesis has a lot to do with their world view. Those who hold secular/naturalistic scientist to high esteem have difficulty trying to interpret what the Bible has to say. Those who choose to hold God's word above a scientist interpretation of the world have no problem with literal 24 hour days.
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Re: How long were the days?

#5

Post by Sam1995 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:36 pm

brokentines wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:Genesis is a theological account of creation so, the actual time frame is irrelevant since the authour probably didn't have that in mind when he wrote it.
Basically and theologically speaking, God created the world over a period of time that was "divided" in 7 stages.

This statement is opinion but is based on little fact. The word for "day" used is yom and always means a 24 hour period in the context. There is no reason for saying that it was a long period of time unless you want to mix modern man's ideas with the biblical account. If plants were created on day 3 and the sun on day 4 you have a problem with photosynthesis if you believe these were long periods of time. If these were "periods of time" then the author could have easily stated so. Instead he qualifies each day.
People's interpretation of Genesis has a lot to do with their world view. Those who hold secular/naturalistic scientist to high esteem have difficulty trying to interpret what the Bible has to say. Those who choose to hold God's word above a scientist interpretation of the world have no problem with literal 24 hour days.
No offense, but that's rubbish.

Also, if the world was created in 7 literal days, then why has God deceived us all by making us think that His creation is billions of years old? And do not refute that with some rubbish, cop-out argument that all scientific dating methods are unreliable, that's nonsense.

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Re: How long were the days?

#6

Post by neo-x » Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:09 pm

Genesis is a theological account of creation so, the actual time frame is irrelevant since the authour probably didn't have that in mind when he wrote it.
Basically and theologically speaking, God created the world over a period of time that was "divided" in 7 stages.
I agree with Paul here. the point of the Genesis story is to declare God as the creator, not establish time frames. When you start focusing on the time and days you lose the main point of the story and why it was written.

I wrote on my blog addressing how a literal day doesn't work. Its a three part post but if you don't find the time, just read the first one.

http://johnadavid.wordpress.com/2012/09 ... hour-days/

http://johnadavid.wordpress.com/2012/09 ... ys-part-2/

http://johnadavid.wordpress.com/2012/09 ... ys-part-3/
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Re: How long were the days?

#7

Post by theophilus » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:04 am

Sam1995 wrote: if the world was created in 7 literal days, then why has God deceived us all by making us think that His creation is billions of years old?
He hasn't deceived us; he told us plainly how long it took to create the world. (And it was six days, not seven. People have deceived themselves by rejecting what God has told us. Most scientists begin their research believing the the world came into existence by natural processes and without any divine intervention and therefore it must be billions of years old.

There is scientific evidence that is inconsistent with the generally believed theories but they are usually ignored. You can find out about some of them here:

http://scienceagainstevolution.info/index.shtml
Last edited by theophilus on Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How long were the days?

#8

Post by theophilus » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:15 am

neo-x wrote:I wrote on my blog addressing how a literal day doesn't work. Its a three part post but if you don't find the time, just read the first one.

http://johnadavid.wordpress.com/2012/09 ... hour-days/
I don't have time to discuss all of your post but I will comment on one points.
Ok, so just saying that we take all the land animals and “all the birds of the sky”. That would mean, at least 30,000 to 40,000 species, and that includes some (not all since that is just staggering) of the extinct ones, since they would be present on day 6 of creation. Also, since the account does not mention sea creatures, I am not going to include those.
God didn't create all the species that exist today. He created a few kinds of animals and the process of natural selections brought about variations among their descendants that produced all the different species that exist today. You can read a description of that process here.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/article ... -wholphins

In order to understand the Bible you need to read it carefully or you will come to false conclusions.

http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 95&start=0
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Re: How long were the days?

#9

Post by Sam1995 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:57 am

theophilus wrote:
Sam1995 wrote: if the world was created in 7 literal days, then why has God deceived us all by making us think that His creation is billions of years old?
He hasn't deceived us; he told us plainly how long it took to create the world. (And it was six days, not seven. People have deceived themselves by rejecting what God has told us. Most scientists begin their research believing the the world came into existence by natural processes and without any divine intervention and therefore it must be billions of years old.

There is scientific evidence that is inconsistent with the generally believed theories but they are usually ignored. You can find out about some of them here:

http://scienceagainstevolution.info/index.shtml

My friend, I understand fully that there was a 6 day creation and then God rested on the seventh, you don't need to explain that to me or try to be smart whilst doing so.
Your point is a fair one, there is a CHANCE that the earth is 8000 years old and we have deceived ourselves, however I totally reject the notion that every single scientific method used to identify the age of the earth and universe are ALL wrong, that is very highly improbable and close-minded. There is absolutely no problem with science and Christianity working in harmony with eachother, it seems like you are trying to separate them into "God vs science," which is wrong.
You make a very bold statement, you'll find that many scientists also believe in God and know that the earth is billions of years old, and also many of the greatest scientists in history were spurred on by their belief in God. When Isaac Newton discovered the three laws of motion, he didn't reject a belief in God. No, he praised God for the way that He made the universe work in the first place.

I ask you to prove to me that the hebrew word "yom" in Genesis 1 means a literal 24-hour day instead of a long period of time, because you're yet to do so.
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Re: How long were the days?

#10

Post by theophilus » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:27 am

Sam1995 wrote: When Isaac Newton discovered the three laws of motion, he didn't reject a belief in God. No, he praised God for the way that He made the universe work in the first place.
Newton's laws can be tested experimentally. Estimates of the age of the earth can't.
I ask you to prove to me that the hebrew word "yom" in Genesis 1 means a literal 24-hour day instead of a long period of time, because you're yet to do so.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
(Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)
The phrase "evening and morning" shows it was a literal day. It might not have been a 24 hour day.
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Re: How long were the days?

#11

Post by Byblos » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:35 am

theophilus wrote:
I ask you to prove to me that the hebrew word "yom" in Genesis 1 means a literal 24-hour day instead of a long period of time, because you're yet to do so.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
(Genesis 1:3-5 ESV)
The phrase "evening and morning" shows it was a literal day. It might not have been a 24 hour day.
Then how long was it? And while you're at it, also please define from scripture how long it took the 7th day to end.
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Re: How long were the days?

#12

Post by RickD » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:50 am

Theophilis, one word of advice. You coming into an Old Earth Creationist site and spouting off like you are about YEC, isn't the best way do go about it. It's like you're going into a Ford Mustang forum and bragging about your Chevy Camaro. A little more openness to others' views, and a little less "my view is equal to scripture", will go a long way here with you not taking a verbal beating. Most of us have heard all the arguments from Answersin Genesis. If you want to say that the Genesis days were 24 hours, then prove it. Make an argument. Listen openly to others' views. You might surprise yourself and learn a thing or three.
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Re: How long were the days?

#13

Post by Sam1995 » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:57 am

theophilus wrote:Newton's laws can be tested experimentally. Estimates of the age of the earth can't.
Through science, we can estimate and experiment to find the estimated age of the earth, you make the claim that ALL of the methods are wrong. That is madness my friend.
theophilus wrote:The phrase "evening and morning" shows it was a literal day. It might not have been a 24 hour day.
Oh, does it? And tell me how so. :)

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Re: How long were the days?

#14

Post by solaphyde » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:20 pm

I'm new here and am on here because I have a lot of questions. I currently lean heavily towards OEC. I can see strengths in both arguments, however. Yet, I want to get more concrete answers on some things.

1. I'm curious what your guy's arguments are for the fact that Genesis 1 defines the days as morning and night. I have listened to Ross' debates on this and have heard his answers, and have read godandscience.org on it too. I'm curious what your favorite/best answers are.

2. I'm curious what your best answers are for Exodus 20:11 as well. I understand that God could be teaching them the pattern of the Sabbath, yet when it comes to exegesis, I have a hard time with that. How is it that when the same word is used (yom) in the same passage and in the same context that it can change its meaning. God commanded them to work 6 normal days and rest on the 7th as He did, and in verse 11 for God it all of a sudden doesn't mean a 24 hour day?

I strongly believe God is a covenantal God, and that God even has a covenant with his creation. He commands it into existence and thus, also commands it to obey Him. Hence, things are uniform thus science is possible. It is God's eternal nature to be uniform. Simply put, science is a reflection of God's nature in that just as God is uniform in His own being, nature is also uniform as it is His creation. This is why nature can be explained with math. Math simply describes the uniformity that is God's creation. It is this type of understanding that once fueled science and was on the lips of mainstream scientists, but today is taboo. It is very sad, and all the more proves that public leaning institutions are a joke and a curse unto themselves. Yet, we should seek to glorify God in science by knowing that the more we learn science the more we're really learning about how amazing He is.

Considering all this, it confounds the mind how God's special revelation and general revelation would not co-exist and would be seemingly contradictory. This is what I am struggling with, yet am optimistic. Many other struggle and have abandoned the faith altogether because they believe that science = naturalism = truth, etc.

Would love to know your thoughts.

Thanks,

Cameron

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Re: How long were the days?

#15

Post by zacchaeus » Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:41 pm

Where did theophilus spout off at? Does he seem to carry that demeanor on the page? I tend to agree with the 24hr day, but thats what I've been taught and agree scripture supports, but I could be wrong and I don't want to spout off but if anyone differs and can "show" me nicely, I would love to read. However, if its OEC well me and Katabole have discussed in detail. Very interesting.

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