Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Man has been wrestling and debating with that question since the beginning of time and has been bamboozled and hoodwinked. The chicken and egg have nothing to do with the question. No one ponders this matter when they are eating soft scrambled eggs in the morning or fried chicken on a Sunday afternoon. The argument could easily have been the apple and the seed. Instead, the question is designed to elicit a response to one of two opposing factions. If the answer is the egg, then evolution offers a convenient explanation. However, if the chicken is chosen, then the answer calls for a designer or creator.
A descendent of the chicken and egg question has made its way to into the religious realm. Concerning creation, many now debate vigorously whether the account of creation in Genesis 1 calls for the days to be literally six twenty-four hour days or for the days to mean long periods of time (ages). Some may contend that it really does not matter what position is taken. They might ask a question like, “Is it important to take a position between creation and evolution if God is the one in control?” The answer to that question and ones similar to it is – yes. If it is important enough to keep the chicken and egg question alive through numerous generations, it has to be important enough to those who have decided to live by faith rather than sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Christians are to live by faith and trust God’s word, not the speculation of the natural man of 1 Corinthians 2:14. Per Ken Ham, “The sad aspect of this is that Christians are taking the words of fallible men who use fallible methods, who were not there in the past and therefore, don’t know everything about the past, as a basis for interpreting Scripture.” He adds, “We should never allow the fallible theories of sinful men to dictate what the words in the Bible mean.”
Question: Did creation occur in six literal twenty-four hour days or did it take ages? This study will discuss five unique viewpoints regarding creation and determine which one has the best supporting and convincing evidence. Please remember that truth from any area of life – sports, finances, relationships to name a few, if genuine, will stand up to any tests of scrutiny. All Scriptures given are taken from the NASB. The five viewpoints are categorized as follows: (1) Prior Creation, (2) Literary or Sequence Approach, (3) Two Phase or Gap Theory, (4) Ages Theory and (5) Six Twenty-four Days Theory.
Prior Creation teaches God made “another creation” before He created our universe and planet. This raises more questions that it answers.
• Was there any sin in this creation?
The Bible teaches that sin and death came by Adam (Romans 5:12, 14), not by or though any other creation.
• If so, did it also need a savior?
We are taught in Scripture that the savior of the world is
Jesus Christ (John 4:42, 2 Peter 1:11). There is no other savior. The Bible says Christ died once for sins (Hebrews 9:28) and is never to die again. In other words, there was only one crucifixion by Christ. If this so called creation needed a savior, or still needs a savior, it is out of luck.
• If there were no sin in this creation, why did God create our universe if a perfect one already existed?
Everything was going just dandy before man in the Garden of Eden decided to disobey God. When referring to creation in Genesis 1, the word “good” is used seven times. It appears that before the fall of man, the perfect creation existed.
• Why did not God send a creature from this creation to warn Adam before Adam’s fall?
God Himself gave the warning to Adam (Genesis 2:16-17).
Prior Creation sounds similar to Mormonism. Mormons believe in the celestial heavens many gods lived in a utopian society and they teach, “Jesus is the literal-spirit brother of Lucifer, a creation.” The gods decided to elevate the Mormon Jesus. Lucifer rebelled, became the devil, and enjoined a third of the angels in his rebellion. The Prior Creation belief has no firm standing.
Next is the Literary or Sequence Approach. This view emphasizes that creation took place as a united sequence without any reference to time. A mere observation of Genesis 1 shows that creation occurred on separate days not one big swoop. It appears that those who adhere to this doctrine are tying to “help God along” by making Him this colossal being who shows is power at the blink of any eye or wave of His hand. While it is true that God can speak things into existence, He always has order and structure to His work. Jesus was not sent to save the world of sin on a whim, instead it was planned (Galatians 4:4-5).
Does this theory hold much weight? Here is what Dr. Donald Chittick concluded. “When we perceive a sequence of events one after another, we associate the series with the passage of time. A motion picture film is really just a series of snapshots. When these individual pictures move rapidly, one after the other, they give the appearance of motion. Each individual frame in a movie film is an individual snapshot of the scene. If the file is moved through the projector rapidly, the motion will appear to speed up; time will appear short between events. If the film is moved slowly through the projector, we will see the scene in slow motion; time will appear long between the events.” The point is well taken. Time was created by God and was a vital part in creation. Chittick added, “Time is the background against which events in the material universe occur, sequentially separating one event from another.” As far as creation is concerned, the Literary or Sequence Approach is not a timely theory.
There are also some who have bought into the Two-Phase or Gap Theory. This view places Satan’s rebellion between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, hence a “gap.” In other words, there is an undetermined amount of time between the verses. As a result of Satan’s rebellion, the earth that God created became formless and void. The incentive behind this theory is clear. “It allows for a reconciliation between the Biblical account of creation and popular beliefs relation to evolution.” This theory does not stand up to Biblical scrutiny.
The first task needed is to define the Hebrew words.
• Formless (tohu) – refers to that which is unused.
• Void (bohu) – refers to that with is empty.
It is clear that the earth was not this ravaged display of the effects of rebellion. Instead, it was unused and unoccupied. None would ever say that a brand new custom-built house with no occupants and furniture is a display of rebellion.
The second item is to observe this theory from a Biblical and theological perspective. It was not the rebellion of Satan that brought about death and destruction to this world. It was the sin of one man (Romans 5:12). Dr. Charles Ryrie states, “There exists no biblical proof that Satan’s fall resulted in judgment on the earth. Adam’s fall did.” Satan contributed to but did not directly cause the earth’s demise. We give him too much credit. The Gap Theory falls short.
Another concept regarding creation is the Ages Theory. This theory teaches that the days mentioned in Genesis 1 are not actual twenty-four hour days, but long periods of time or ages. The rationale of those who support this belief is clear. If days in Genesis mean long periods of time, then it is easy to accept evolution. Even those of the faith have jumped on this bandwagon. Ken Ham has come to the same conclusion. Ham notes, “After years of experience speaking to many thousands of people, visiting hundreds of churches as well as Christian colleges and schools, I am convinced that the main reason many Christians don’t accept the days of Genesis as literal days is because they believe that scientists have proven that the earth is billions of years in age.”
John Whitcomb wrote, “Nothing is really gained by lengthening the creation days to accommodate the evolutionary timetable of earth history…”
The best way to approach this belief is to derive a definition of the word “day.”
The Hebrew word for day is “yom.” Depending on the context, it can mean a literal day or an extended period of time.
Literal Day: When discussing the Flood and Noah’s ark, the usage refers to a particular day or number of days (Genesis 8:4-5). It was the third day of his journey when Abraham saw Mount Moriah, the place where he was to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to God (22:4). The children of Israel were to instructed how to handle the bread from heaven (mana) on certain days of the week (Exodus 16:22-30). Jewish celebrations such as the Feast of Unleavened Bread (23:6-8) and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (23:43-42) required a sacrifice on particular days of particular months.
Age/Time: Moses referred to a time when God created the universe (Genesis 2:4) and what would befall man when he decided to disobey God (2:17). Pharaoh warned Moses about what would take place the next time they met (Exodus 10:28). Age is the reference when mentioning a period of Israel’s indulgence in sin when it did not have strong leadership (Judges 21:25). Jeremiah even prophesized a time when Judah and Israel would have its Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
So, the usage of the word depends on its context. The picture is becoming focused.
In Genesis 1, the word day or days is used eleven times. It refers to either a particular day or time within a particular day, and carries a quantitative description. Whitcomb agrees saying, “Although the Hebrew for day can refer to a time period longer than 24 hours, its attachment to a numerical adjective restricts its meaning to 24 hours.” He also says, “Since the day of Genesis 2:4 lacks the numerical adjective, it could refer either to the first day or the entire creation week, or could simply mean “when”.”
Some have even attempted at attribute “day” to symbolism. “However, an important point that many fail to consider is that a word can never be symbolic the first time it is used! In fact, a word can only be used symbolically when it has first had a literal meaning. In the New Testament we are told that Jesus is the “door.” We know what this means because we know the word “door” means an entrance. Because we understand its literal meaning, it is able to be applied in a symbolic sense to Jesus Christ, so we understand that He is literally a door.”. Besides, the word for age or long period of time is olam and it denotes everlasting. Abraham used this word to describe God (Genesis 21:33) after he made a covenant with Abimelech.
Additionally, no one has ever been able to determine the length of time for an age. It does not make sense that with an important issue such as this God would leave it up to each man’s discretion to determine the time length for an age. We would have as many ages as there are people. The result would be confusion but God does not orchestrate confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Some, like Kevin Sluder contend, “We are still in the seventh day.” But another commented, “We are not still in the seventh day as some people misconstrue, for Genesis 2:2 tells us God “rested” from His work of creation, not that He is resting from His work of creation.” The Bible teaches that Adam lived nine hundred and thirty years (Genesis 5:5). If Sluder is correct, then Adam is still alive because he lived passed the seventh day. If Adam is still alive, then Genesis 2 – 5:5 is untrue. Even more so, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS and the like around the globe need to investigate for there is a man who is at the minimum six-thousand years-old and still walking the planet.
Still others cling to 2 Peter 3:8, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” There is similar language in Psalm 90:4. These verses appear to support the Ages Theory but a closer review bears otherwise. Neither Psalm 90 or 2 Peter 3 refer to creation as the context. The context of these passages is, God is not limited by time when it comes to the perfecting of His will. Day is contrasted (“is as a” not is) with a thousand years. For example, I was born in 1966. It is now 2005. Although I was not born on January 1st, let us assume I was. From 1966 to 2005 is 14,600 days. If we buy into the misinterpretation that a day is a thousand years, then I am 14,600,000 years old! The flip side is I am .040 (40/1000) days old. Any novice in arithmetic can see that 14,600,000, does not equal .040. Therefore, one day can not equal one thousand years. The Ages Theory does not add up.
The biblical evidence demonstrates that the days of creation are literal twenty-four hour days. We have seen earlier that when day has a numerical adjective, it means a literal day. God is omnipotent or has all power. He could have created everything with the snap of a finger. Instead, He used six twenty-four hour days. When the days of creation are compared to Exodus 20, they make sense. This is the account of Moses on Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments or the Decalogue from God. According to this passage, God worked six days then on the seventh day He rested (20:11). Israel was to do just as God did. They were to work six days and rest on the seventh day. This is still known in the Jewish culture as the Sabbath Day. “To be consistent (and we must be, author’s emphasis), whatever is used as a meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1 must be used here.” Even the church would run into a complex dilemma. If day is not a literal twenty-four hour day, then the resurrection and our rebirth are questionable. Rev. Charles McIlhenny felt likewise. He penned, “Without a literal six day creation, the first day merely becomes a pragmatic convention; it could have been the second day of the week or the thirteenth day of the month. The first day could refer to anything; so what if the resurrection was on the first day? If not a literal twenty-four hour day, it would lose all time reference. Denial of the literal six-day creation doctrine takes the guts out of the literalness of the First Day of the Week, too. Thus the phrase, “the first day of the week” merely a convenient expression, merely a colloquialism with no special significance to the “new creation” or “new life” which Christ brought about on the First Day of the Week.” The Six Twenty-four Hour Days belief has passed the test. “There should be no need to look any further for an answer. This must literally be true, and it is!”
We must stand firm on the Bible’s truth. Creation took place in six twenty-four hour days. Groups inside and outside the church oppose the literal interpretation of Genesis 1. Those outside the church do so because they desire to push evolution to the utmost. Interestingly, those inside usually “support such heresies as women’s ordination as elders, homosexuality, and the denial of the historicity of great foundational truths of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth and conception, the substitutionary atonement and the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In the real Lord’s Prayer of John 17 (the one in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 is actually the Model Prayer), Jesus said that God’s word is true (17:17). The truth is, God created in six twenty-four hour days. Stand on the truth.
1. Do The Days Really Matter?, taken from “Vital Articles on Science/Creation”, Ken Ham, September 1990
3. Gospel Through the Ages, LDS Church, p.15
4. The Controversy: Roots of the Creation-Evolution Conflict, Donald Chittick, 1984, p.160
5. Ibid, p.156
6. Six Days?, www.members.carol.net, January 27, 2000, p.1
7. Basic Theology, Charles Ryrie, 1986, p.184
8. Ken Ham, September 1990
9. The Bible and Astronomy, John C. Whitcomb, pp.21-22
10. Ibid, pp.21-22
11. Ibid, pp.21-22
12. Why Did God Take Six Days?, www.student.uwa.edu.au/s/mlwagner/6days.htm, January 27, 2000, p. 1
13. God, Genesis and the big bang, Kevin Sluder, www.intersource.com, p.1
14. Why Did God Take Six Days?, p. 3
15. Ibid, p.3
16. Literal, Six-Day Creation and the Local Church, Charles McIlhenny, www.chalcedon.edu/rep…/McIlhenny_Literal_Six-day_Creation.htm, January 20, 2000, p.3
17. What Do The Scriptures Say?, Mike Scott, www.scripturessay.com/q31.html, January 20, 2000, p.1
18. Creation, Science, and Christianity, www.reformed.org/creation/creation/html, January 20, 2000, p.1