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How does the Bible show that the Creative days were longer than 24 hours each?



Science and the Genesis Account

Many people claim that science disproves the Bible’s account of creation. However, the real contradiction is, not between science and the Bible, but between science and the opinions of Christian Fundamentalists. Some of these groups falsely assert that according to the Bible, all physical creation was produced in six 24-hour days approximately 10,000 years ago.

The Bible, however, does not support such a conclusion. If it did, then many scientific discoveries over the past one hundred years would indeed discredit the Bible. A careful study of the Bible text reveals no conflict with established scientific facts. For that reason, Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree with Christian Fundamentalists and many creationists. The following shows what the Bible really

10 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Young Earth Creationists believe that the word “day” in the Bible’s creation account refers to a literal twenty-four hour period. But, this belief is without exegetical evidence and ignores the facts from Scripture.

    First, they ignore that while the Hebrew word YOHM can refer to a literal day, it can also be used to refer to a time period. Lexicons show that the word ‘day’ can be used for “time,” “time of light,” “a division of time,” “lifetime,” even “year.”

    As “A Religious Encyclopaedia” (vol. I, p. 613) observes: “The days of creation were creative days, stages in the process, but not days of twenty-four hours each.”—Edited by P. Schaff, 1894.

    1.) First, a 24-hour day reference would be impossible for the first three days. This is because, while the sun and moon were evidently created before this, the fourth day was the first that the sun and moon were “placed” so as to cause a “division between the day and the signs for...days and years” (1:14). The 24 hour day is dependant on the sun’s relationship with the Earth. Only on the fourth day was the sun “established” (‘ASA) (1:16) or “set” (NATAN) (1:17) so as to cause this division.

    2.) Next, if we exclude the 9 references to the seven creative days, out of the remaining seven references to “day” in the first two chapters of Genesis only one of them can refer to a 24 hour period (1:14b). In 1:5,14a,16 and 18, only the period of “light” is called “Day” (cf. Jn.11:10).

    3.) The seventeenth and eighteenth occurrences of the word makes it clear that “day” cannot be taken literally (2:17; 3:5). Jehovah said that “in the day you eat from it you will positively die”. Adam did not die within 24 hours but lived on for hundreds of years. Obviously the word “day” means a period of time here.

    4.) The description of the events during each ‘day’ would logically require far more than 24 hours (1:11-12; 1:20-25; 2:5- 9). Those who adamantly insist on a literal interpretation for ‘day’ inconsistently claim that the “planting” “growing,” “watering” and etc. are not to be taken literally, but rather miraculously occurred instantaneously. God noted that it was not good for Adam to continue by himself. If the sixth “day” was only 24 hours long why would there be a concern for Adam becoming lonely? The context indicates that for a lengthy time Adam developed a longing as he saw that there was no complement for him (2:18-20). His exclamation indicated Adam had anticipated Eve for some time: “This is at last...” (2:23).

    All these activities do not seem to be describing the last part of a literal 24 hour day!

    5.) Further, Gen 2:4 uses the Hebrew word TOLEDAH which means “history” (generations) to describe the whole period of creating the heavens and earth. TOLEDAH never means a short period. This whole history or time period in its entirety is then called a “day” (YOHM). This use of the word “day” to refer to all six creative days and also the prior creation of “heaven and earth” conclusively demonstrates that the word day denotes a period of time, not just a 24 hour period.

    7.) Next we have the implications of Ps. 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8. These two Scriptures do not tell us how long a creative “day” was, but they do tell us that God’s “days” cannot be measured by human standards and thus limited to 24 hours!

    9.) Last, but not least, is the obvious continuance of the seventh “day.” Every day but the seventh was ended with the refrain “There was an evening and morning a xx day.” This omission could only lead to the conclusion that the seventh day did not end back then. Further confirming this, we have the verbal statements in 2:2 & 3, correctly rendered by the NWT as, “he proceeded to rest” and “he has been resting.”

    The above examination of Scripture makes it clear that we cannot force God’s creative “day” into a 24 hour period. This would be like saying that God must have hands like ours because this is what most other uses of the word “hand” means! The word “day” is obviously used anthropomorphically (or poetically) in the first chapter of Genesis! The meaning of “day” is simply “a measured length of time.” Only the context can tell us how the writer used this term, whether in reference to “daylight,” “24hrs,” a “lifetime,” or some “time period.”




    “Truthfulbeauty,” almost every Hebrew lexicon gives various meanings of the word “day” with the primary one as “a period of time.”

    Gen.1:5 is CLEARLY speaking of ONLY the “daylight” period since it is contrasted with the “night” period. It CANNOT be speaking of 24 hours!!

    Third, my BDB does NOT say the creation “day” of Gen. is “24 hours.” BDB lists several definitions of YWM, none of them as “24 hours”: 1. DAY, opp. night; 2. DAY as division of time: a. working day, b. a day’s (journey), c. as a duration, d. day as defined by evening and morning (Gn 1:5,8,13,19,31 ... “

  • 9 years ago

    I can think of three bits of evidence:

    1. Genesis 1:23-31 shows that land animals and Adam and Eve were all made on one creative day -- the sixth day. But Genesis 2:7-23 gives the details surrounding the creation of the first man and woman. It speaks of Adam naming all the animals and there not a partner for him as is the case for the other animals. It speaks of Adam falling into a deep sleep and a woman being formed from one of his ribs and brought to him. Adam is quoted as saying: "This is AT LAST . . .". Can anyone reasonably say that Adam's task of naming so many animals and coming to the realization that there was no one for him took place in less than 24 hours. Would a perfect man, created less than 24 hours ago and still overwhelmed by the novelty and joy of being alive in beautiful surroundings feel lonely in less than 24 hours? Would he say after meeting a women less than 24 hours after coming into existence: "at last" as if he had been waiting for so long? So the 6th day cannot reasonably have been a mere 24-hour period as considerable time must have elapsed from Adam's creation until the creation of Eve, based on the detials revealed in Genesis 2.

    2. The seventh day of God's rest from his creative work has not yet ended as indicated by Hebrews 4:3-11.

    3. Genesis 2:4 uses the same word "day" to refer to the duration of the activities of all six creative days, thus showing that "day" is not used with the literal 24-hour period in mind.

  • Elijah
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    Yes, the Bible actually does *not* say that the earth is only 6-10,000 years old. Young Earth Creationists believe that the Earth itself is only 6-10,000 years old but this conclusion by them is based on Bible genealogy and interpreting the 'days' mentioned in Genesis as literal 24 hour days. HOWEVER, aside from the overwhelming scientific evidence showing the Earth to be billions of years old, there is also the Genesis account itself that shows that the 'days' in Genesis were not literal 24 hour days but rather figurative "days" (epochs, time periods, etc.)

    The important thing to realize is that billions of years could have passed (and probably did, considering the scientific evidence) between the statement "In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth" (Gen. 1:1) and the next sentence in Gen. 1:2.

    Gen. 1:2 and on then describes God's terreforming of the earth over a period of what the account calls as "days". However, these "days" were most likely NOT literal days, but rather figurative "days" such as the descriptive sayings: "Back in the 'day' of my youth" or "In the 'day' of the dinosaurs".

    The creative "days" mentioned in Genesis could not have been literal 24 hour days because, in just one example in Gen.1:11-13, grass is described as shooting forth and vegetation bearing seed and fruit trees yielding fruit in just one of these "days". Also, it takes an enormous amount of time for the natural process of dry land appearing from the ocean. And yet, Gen. 1:9-13 tells us that dry land appeared within the third creative "day" or stage.

    And even when summarizing God’s creative work, Moses refers to all six creative days as one day. (Genesis 2:4)

    So because these creative "days" were most likely figurative, they could have actually been hundreds, thousands or even millions of years in length.

    For the above reasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses disagree with “Christian” Fundamentalists and many Young Earth Creationists. For more see: "Are Jehovah's Witnesses Creationists?"

    Also see:

    The Bible’s Viewpoint - Does Science Contradict the Genesis Account?

  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    To answer your question, the first four days of Creation were obviously not 24 hour days because our Sun and moon did not even exist until ON day four. And that's if at that time the orbit of the earth was 24 (of our current) hours long. Just the recent Hatian earthquake changed our orbit once again.

    Science knows the earth poles have switched places a couple times in earths history.

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  • 9 years ago

    The events in the creation week cannot be restricted to solar days of twenty-four hours, specifically the growth of vegetation in Day 3 and the Garden of Eden in Day 6. (Genesis 1:11-12; 2:8-9) Vegetation, especially tall shade trees and fruit trees (like in the Garden of Eden), takes time to grow to maturity—time that greatly exceeds twelve-hours of daylight allowed for in young-earth creationism (YEC). Also, the claim that Adam would have had enough time to settle in the garden, name the animals, and get married after his “deep sleep” in a period of some hours less than twelve is strained to absurdity. (Genesis 2:15, 19-22) A plain reading of the Genesis account leaves no room for YEC.

    Genesis chapter 1 lays before us a creative sequence of events in a simple, condensed format. Chapter 2, however, actually does qualify the meaning of “day,” by adding that the Garden of Eden was planted and grew to maturity, apparently in Day 6 (verses 8-9). Consider too that in verse 4 all six days are included in the term “history,” literally “historical origins” (thohledohth), and are included in a yohm. Additionally, Adam was to “settle” in his garden home and ‘cultivate it and take care of it’—all before getting married after his “deep sleep” (verses 15, 21-22). So God did indeed qualify the meaning of Genesis 1’s “days,” and even used other words to convey a much longer period of time than 24 hours.

    Also, aside from the plant growth problems for Days 3 and 6, as well as the time constraint problem for Adam’s activities, the biggest problem that overshadows these has to do with Day 4. (Genesis 1:14-19) YEC holds that the sun and moon were created then, as opposed to merely appearing then to an earthly observer. Creating the sun in Day 4 would mean that God was micromanaging earth by placing and maintaining temporary light and heat sources for the first three days. This would not reflect wisdom. The Creator does not micromanage his creation, but establishes physical laws for it to function in. Thus, the earth was created in the circumsolar habitable zone, where it can support life without his constant attention or micromanagement. The earth with no sun and moon for three days also violates the fact that they were created in Genesis 1:1, which declares that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “The heavens and the earth” were created before the first creative day began. This is important because Genesis 1:2 begins, not with the creation of the earth, but with its development. God evidently used the sun’s natural forces of gravity and heat while he proceeded with the creative days. He used natural forces that he created to aid his development of the earth. Thus, the Creator in YEC is a micromanager, and not the Creator found in Genesis or in nature.—Romans 1:20.

    @ Truthfulbeauty: Hi there! Those decorated and distinguished Hebrew scholars did not take into account the context of the creation account. YEC then can only be sustained by plumbing the depths of horrendously poor reading comprehension.

    Source(s): Creation FAQ See also: Are The Days Of Genesis Longer Than 24 Hours? The Bible says, “Yes!”
  • ?
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    God who is for eternity has no limitations in time. Time is divided into past,present,future for those who have got a start and an end, like us creations in this universe. In religious scriptures like torah,bible and quran 1 day can b 1000/50000yrs long, So its for stressing and ''our'' understanding that God is talking in terms of time, because time is the most valuable asset we have in this life. Its upto us how to get hold of the ''purpose of life'' for only 60-70 yrs and enjoy for eternity by getting closer to God before time runs out.

  • ?
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    One way is that we are still in one of them now

    and it's about 10,000 years so far

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    If the Bible doesn't fit reality, change the meaning of words.

  • 9 years ago

    Even IF you could call a day whatever you want, it still got the order wrong as well as the wrong relative time frames.

    Doesn't matter how you slice the pie, it's still crap.

  • 9 years ago

    How is this remotely a question? This is just an advert for the JWs, and not a very good one at that.

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