In order to extricate themselves from the problems associated with a six-day creation approximately 6,000 years ago, many apologists assert that each day represents an age or era ,encompassing millions of years or just plain "a long time." In other words, literal days composed of 24 hours each were not intended. Their belief, however, is erroneous for several reasons:
(1) The word translated as "day" is "yom" in the Hebrew, which means a definite 24-hour period from sunset to sunset;
(2) Starting evening and then morning shows a 24-hour period was intended. This was how Jews computed a day;
(3) If a day is an era, why are an evening and a morning even mentioned?;
(4) Actual days must be intended; otherwise, men who lived hundreds of years, e.g., Seth and Noah, would really have lived millions of years. If a day is an era, then a year must be tremendously long, perhaps encompassing hundreds of millions of years;
(5) If a day is an era, then much of the Old Testament becomes chaotic. For example, in each of the following verses the same Hebrew word "yom" is employed:
(a)"And the flood was forty days upon the earth" (Gen. 7:17),
(b)"And he [Moses] was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights" (Ex. 34:28), and
(c)"Thus I fell down before the Lord forty days and forty nights..." (Deut. 9:25).
If "yom" means era instead of a 24-hour period, Moses was "there with the Lord" for a long time.
(6) If a day means more than 24-hour period, then how are we to interpret the following verses, as well as scores of others:
"Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath.... in it thou shalt not work.... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth...and rested the seventh day" (Ex. 20:9-11).
Those who only get 24 hours off work on Sunday ought to complain to The Labor Board In Heaven!
(7) Gen. 1:16 ("And God made two great lights: The greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night") states the sun rules the day and the moon rules the night. This obviously is referring to time as we know it--time with days that are 24 hours long, with daylight ruling half of each.
(8) And lastly, Adam was made on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26, 31), which was supposedly thousand of years long. This was followed by the 7th day which was also thousands of years long. Following the 7th day, Adam fell into sin and was expelled from the Garden. This would mean Adam lived thousands of years, which is false, since he died at age 930 (Gen. 5:5).
It is quite obvious after a thorough reading of Genesis that the authors had an unambiguous understanding of both numbers and the concept of days, months, and years. Many things which required counting and hence the introduction of numbers -- for example, a person's age or an event's duration -- were clearly and precisely specified.
Methuselah, a descendent of Adam and regarded by the Judeo-Christian culture to be synonymous with longevity, was reported to have begotten his first child at the age of 187 and eventually lived to 969 years old (Genesis 5:25-27).
Similarly, the extent of the Noahchian Flood was said to be 601 years, one month, and one day (Genesis 8:13). Of course, we may discard both accounts as ridiculous fables, but the fact remains that the authors were very meticulous in their use of numbers, and when it came to quantification, they enumerated everything even down to the last practical unit or digit.
In this context, therefore, it would be absurd to assume that the Genesis authors actually meant six "epochs" when they described the Creation of the Universe as having taken only six days. Indeed, not only is it absurd to make such an assumption, it is also intellectually deceitful, because the ultimate aim is, after all, to save the Scriptures from being falsified in the light of contrary geological evidence.
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