Does Genesis 2:4 show day can cover time in creating heaven and earth?

Genesis 2:4 This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the

DAY that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.

12 Answers

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago
    Favorite Answer


    Many people like 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 the fact 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." Evidence from sound exegesis clearly proves that the creative days cannot be 24 hours.

    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."



  • Carol
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    When God created the heavens and then the earth, the heavens include all the stars, the sun, etc. That is the source of the light. Some look to day four for the creation of the sun, moon, and stars, but that's not when, but it's the first mention in the creation account of "why." It says for seasons, days, years, etc. It's not when those bodies were created Many Christians like myself have no problem with a big bang, or God working in an evolutionary process. Day is used figuratively for a period of time in many scriptures, and the day/age theory of the creation believes there can be millions to billions of years between the days. The order for the creation parallels the same order science gives. First comes the heavens (stars, etc.), then an empty earth without form, then land followed by oceans, then plant life followed by the first intelligent life in the sea, then comes birds (which according to science are descendants of dinosaurs), then mammals, then a more specific wild animal, and finally man. It's actually amazing that it gives an order 3,000 plus years before science confirms that same order. Adam is not created until after the seventh day, and the day/age theory believes the man created on the sixth day is not the same as Adam who is first mentioned after the seventh day. That allows for cave men, and explains where Adam and Eve's children found wives, since there were people before them. As far as intelligent design, when some Christians latch onto a world that is 6,000 years old, the thought of "not intelligent" comes to my mind. They need to be convinced that science is not the enemy, that science actually corroborates the biblical order. Likewise, non-religionists need to explain how Genesis came up with the same order as science, considering how that might relate to intelligent design. From a scientific standpoint, a large vapor cloud of water covered the earth, and could not settle on the earth to form the oceans until the earth cooled down and solidified. So, no light could penetrate this thick cloud of water. In Genesis, the let there be light on the earth could correspond to this settling of the waters on the surface.

  • 9 years ago

    Quite simply, Hebrew "yom" has several *literal* definitions; one being a 24-hour day, another being a long finite period of time.

    In fact, Genesis 1-2 uses several definitions of "day." It uses day as "the daylight hours" in Gen 1:5, 14, 16, 18. It uses day as "long but finite period of time" for the 6 days of creation. It summarizes the 6 days as one "day" in Gen 2:4. Adam and Eve were told they would die in the "day" they ate the fruit in Gen 2:17. All these definitions of "day" fall nicely under the standard definitions of "day" in Hebrew lexicons, and they are all used throughout the Hebrew Bible.

    What we learn is that those who *insist* that the 6 days of creation were 24-hour periods are insisting on one particular definition, when several others are available, with one being the most likely.

    We also learn that those who *insist* there is a contradiction between the 6 days of creation and the "day" of creation in Gen 2:4 don't know Hebrew and are using a simplified, Kindergarten type argument that doesn't hold up at all.

    As a side note: some atheists claim that many accounts in the Hebrew Bible are actually two accounts from different traditions put side by side by the "editors" of the books. Gen 1-2 is the foremost example. The problem with this is that it is dead wrong. For one, two side by side accounts that seem similar in some respects but different than others are not *proof* that they came from two different sources. All it is is something that "sounds good" to Bible skeptics, so they believe it. Second, for over a century now, it has been known that other ancient Near Eastern texts do the same thing, yet these are not accused of being from two different sources. Thanks to these texts, it has now been shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was a common Semitic literary device: First, give a broad sweep of an account (like Gen 1), then, repeat the account with a particular focus in mind (like Gen 2, whose focus is the spiritual aspects of man's creation).

    Critics try to make it seem that the Bible books are just a hodge podge of different traditions stuck together, like trying to make a circle block fit in a square hole. But as those who study these ancient books in depth know, these books were highly crafted in an almost artistic way, and the manner of the writing material usually follows literary standards of the time.

  • grnlow
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    A day can be any length of time a speaker wants it to cover. 24 hour days apply ONLY to one rotation of the planet Earth. No where else. Human languages change the definition of how long a "day" is at will. To think it only means one thing or is a contradiction in the Bible is to show your limited intellect and ignorance.

    Even parents and grandparents will always at some point refer to, "Back in my day...." They are not referring to only one particular day, but perhaps years at a time.

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  • 9 years ago

    The Hebrew word YOM that is often translated DAY in English has a semantic field similar to the English word -- so it can mean not only 24hour period but also (1) long epoch, and (2) an indeterminate era [e.g., "In my grandfather's day, everybody farmed with horses."].

  • janhoi
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    There is no need to take the genesis creation story with straight literalism. I suggest you read Augustines "on the literal interpretation of genesis" and the works of origen of alexandria that explains how the creation story of genesis is allegory

    Source(s): christian
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    The word for heavens in the ancient Hebrew is used to refer to the sky and space.

    Advice: Get a real bible Jehovah witnesses has false translations to support watch towers blasphemy's

  • 9 years ago

    A day according to God's timetable is different from our 24 hour day.

  • Brenda
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    not a literal day but thousands of years

  • 9 years ago

    So you found another contradiction in the bible, what do you want, a medal?

    The contradiction you see stems from the fact that Genesis has two creation accounts from two different sources. Yeah, they don't really match.

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