Science tells us that the universe is about 15billion years old, the bible tells us that creation took 6 days, from the bible narrative we have calculate that since Adam there have been in the region of 6000 years. This apparent contradiction is the mainstay of many atheists repudiation of the bible. So how long was the 6 Days of Creation? The aguement goes something like this, explain how the bible can possible be true when science has proven the age of the universe and it is not 6 days. The answer that I have come to believe is that both are correct, how can that be? By studying Genesis 1 , we can gleam significantly more from the narrative than most casual readers attribute to the account of creation.
How long was the 6 Days of Creation - Analysis
Recently while reading Genesis 1 , I was drawn into a study that after further research I found extremely compelling.
(KJV) Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Which on a casual reading, we simply read this as a day i.e. 24 hours or from sunset to sunrise. But there is a problem with this if you read on. The sun and moon were not created until 3 days later, on the fourth day of creation.
(KJV) Gen 1:16-19 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Another interesting aspect of the narrative that becomes clear is that this usage of the terms evening and the morning to describe the days of creation ends after Adam has been created. So what are we to conclude from this apparent dilemma? One thing is absolute God never uses different terminology in scripture unless it is intentionally done to be descriptive in some manner. To understand what God is trying to tell us here we should delve into the original Hebrew text to see what wording is actually used.
In Genesis 1:5 the English terms light and day are translated from the Hebrew ore (light) and yome (day). If we look at these words closer:
Illumination or (concretely) luminary (in every sense, including lightning, happiness, etc.): - bright, clear, + day, light (-ning), morning, sun.
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially): - age, + always, + chronicles, continually (-ance), daily, ([birth-], each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), + elder, X end, + evening, + (for) ever (-lasting, -more), X full, life, as (so) long as (. . . live), (even) now, + old, + outlived, + perpetually, presently, + remaineth, X required, season, X since, space, then, (process of) time, + as at other times, + in trouble, weather, (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), X whole (+ age), (full) year (-ly), + younger.
The usage of the word yome can be translated as day, as in the King James Bible, but also means a space of time defined by an associated term. The Hebrew term ore is also used in the bible to represent understanding or enlightenment. Given the fact that there was no sun, then light could not mean the light given by the sun but instead I believe the absence of darkness. This leads to try and understand more of what the evening terms mean.
So we have “darkness he called Night”, if we examine the Hebrew for darkness and night we get, kho-shek' (darkness) and lah'-yil, lale, lah'-yel-aw (night) if we expand the definitions of these words we get:
The dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness: - dark (-ness), night, obscurity.
lah'-yil, lale, lah'-yel-aw:
Properly a twist (away of the light), that is, night; figuratively adversity: - ([mid-]) night (season).
So what we see is that the Hebrew for night implies the lack of light, but the term darkness can also mean destruction, I would suggest that instead of literal meaning of Light and Dark, the implication here is chaos (darkness) to order (light). Genesis 1 has a progression for each aspect of creation moving from chaos to order.
(KJV) Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
We know that God could not be using the terms Light and Dark in terms on Sunrise and sunset because the sun did not exist at this point. Using this same hypothesis, we get “God saw the Order from the Chaos and the Order was good”.
Given that the evening and morning are, abstract terms used to describe the transition of creation from chaos to order we cannot infer any specific time period to the use of the English translated term Day, which we have seen means a period of time. This period could be 24 hours, it could as easily refer to 1,000 years or 1billion years, and there is no point of reference within the text to establish how long the creation day actually is.
From a scientific standpoint the normal flow is from order to chaos, this is only true when external influences interact to cause or maintain order. In this case God’s will created order out of chaos, as a side this divine influence may explain why before the flood humans live hundreds of years, because the natural transition of order to chaos was not fully in affect due to the influences on this transition by God’s will in the creation process.
Another inconsistency we see in the original Torah narrative is that in Genesis 1:5 God refers to the first day as “one day”, he then continues to refer to subsequent days as “a second day”, ”a third day” etc. Note that unless you have a copy of a literal direct Torah translation, or can read an original Hebrew Torah you will not see this. None of the English translation of the bible I have examined makes this distinction. It appears that the translators did not perceive of the contrasting terminology and changed it to be more consistent. The distinction between the first day and the following days of creation is an important one. According to Nachmanides (a 13th Century Hebrew Scholar), who stated that this distinction is a deliberate contrast as “day one” was when time was created and signifies the beginning of a quantifiable time dimension. Interesting enough Nachmanides postulated in the 13th century by studying Genesis 1 that there are 10 dimensions of time and space. Recent advances in super string theory have come to the same conclusion 800 years later; maybe the scientists should spend more time studying the word of God instead of trying to disprove it.
Given that the time dimension was not created until the first day, this day was not the time span as the subsequent days, because until a time dimension was created there would be no reference point to evaluate how long it was. We also know through scientists like Albert Einstein that time is relative, time is relative to other forces that act upon it. Time dimension changes based on velocity and gravity, Einstein was the first to formulate this relationship. Time travels slower on the surface of the sun than it does on the earth, this is because of the rotational and gravity differences. In fact, an interesting thing that Einstein calculated was that depending upon the direction of the velocity time moves either faster or slower.
How long was the 6 Days of Creation - Conclusion
The conclusion we can draw from this is that the literal day interpretation of the account of creation in Genesis 1 are likely to be inaccurate, it is without any doubt that as science evolves and we understand more the working of God's hand in creation science and the bible will both be singing to the same tune. As with so many recent scientific discoveries, we are now just starting to see science is simply restating the bible. Take Darwinism, when Darwin established his theories of evolution he only had very simple mechanism to equate to the theory, like a birds beak. Had Darwin had access to the human genome, with its complex DNA encoding and structured self-replicating, self-error correcting code. He would never have been able to establish his theory of evolution. Simply put Darwin did not have access to the irreducibly complex systems we now have discovered within basic living structures like the cell.
Antony Flew, who was a self-proclaimed atheist for 50years, he co-authored many books with people like Richard Dawkins. Started to examine the scientific evidence concerning the complexity of life that disallows evolution from being an explanation for life, became a believer, this because could not quantify the complexity of life using the theory of evolution.
Antony Flew – There Is A God:
"we still have to come to terms with the origin of the laws of nature. And the only viable explanation here is the divine Mind."