Creation: How long did it take?
I remember reading my first book on this subject when I was a young man in college. They were times like now when people claimed the days mentioned in Genesis 1 were not 24-hour days, but much longer periods of time. They were trying to “reconcile” the Bible’s account of creation with evolution. But what are we to believe about this? As always, we need to trust the Scriptures, not just some of it but all of it. Let’s begin our brief study of this with the first thing the Bible tells us about it.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. [Emphasis added]
This is so simple a child can understand it. But what have so many done with it? Only distortions! What a shame! The point is clearly made here that this is a reference to 24-hour days, not long periods of time. The day-age theory that’s been developed to accommodate the geological timetable is one big distortion of truth. But we could talk all day about that and never bring someone to an agreement on this. So, as with so many other things, let’s stick with the Scriptures for our understanding of it. Let’s let the Bible be our final authority. This next passage should settle the matter in anyone’s mind once and for all.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
Please note that 24-hour days are under discussion here, not hundreds or thousands of years.
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. [Emphasis added]
Either we accept the authority of Scripture, or we don’t. Here Moses uses the Hebrew term YAMIN, which speaks of 24-hour days. As the all-powerful omnipotent God, doing this creative work in this timeframe was no problem at all. If He had used the Hebrew word OLAM, which is defined as an indefinite amount of time, it could be understood to mean many years. But that’s not what we have here. We have a word that limits the timeframe to days as we typically speak of them. There’s no good reason to doubt this. Creating the world in just six literal 24-hour days was absolutely no problem for our omnipotent God.
6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. [Emphasis added]
The Bible even tells us that it was God the Son who did this.
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things [He antedates all things], and by him all things consist [are held together]. [Emphasis added.]
What a wonderful and powerful Savior we have! In every way He is worthy of our worship.