Understanding the Creation, 05
If we have already realized that God’s creation Yoms from the first to the fifth were long periods of time, then, the sixth Yom must be an eon or long era as well; perhaps this Yom may be longer than previous Yoms; because there were many time-consuming events that took place during that Yom. First, God made all the world’s land animals. By now we have known that God did not speak those animals into existence, He formed them from the dirt of the ground and gave them life (Genesis 2:19). Verses 1:24–25 tell us about God’s plan in creating various land animals.
God had used the materials from the ground to form all of those animals. Since all of the elements and materials on the earth were under the scope of natural time and space; therefore, they were also dictated by the law of physics. No one knows how many species of animals were created on that Yom; according to some studies, more than 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth, amounting to over five billion species, are estimated to have died out or extinct. During our time, more than 200 years after biologists began naming and classifying the world´s plants and animals, they still do not know how many species exist. Estimates range from 3 million to 100 million or even more. They believe that between 1 to 2 million of those species are animals.
God’s next act was creating the first human beings (Gen.1:26–27). This narrative is a summary of God’s creation of humankind account. The following chapter of Genesis tells us how the first woman was created. We will not spend time to discuss many exciting stories following the creating of the first human couple. Because the purpose of these lessons is to help you know for sure that the stories in Genesis are not fictional or fabled fairy tales. Our focus is not on those stories, we want to know how long were God’s creative YOMs would be, were they 24-hour days or eons.
One proof can prove that the sixth YOM of creation was an eon based on the story of the first human doing the task of naming the animals; those were all cattle, all the fowl of the air, and every beast of the field (Gen. 2:19). To complete this task of naming those species of animal, Adam must spend months, even years, to do. He didn’t have enough time to do it in a 24-hour day. The Bible didn’t tell us how much time had passed before Adam realized that he needed a helper. Perhaps his need of a helper arose while he was naming the animals and fowl. He saw they were coming in pairs of male and female, while he was alone without a female partner to become a pair. He also realized that no other animal looked like him. The closest species to human are apes and monkeys. But to compare to Adam, who bore the image of God, those monkeys were too ugly looking.
The time slot that God had used to create the land animals was just a portion of time during the sixth Yom. The Bible says that God took time brought each animal to the man so he could name them. Moses recorded that the animals were grouped into three broad categories: livestock, such as sheep, goats, and cattle; creeping things, such as insects, worms, and reptiles; and the wild animals, such as lions, foxes, and kangaroos. All creatures that live on the earth, including lions, elephants, giraffes, dogs, cats, tortoises, and other land animals were created on the sixth Yom. If you can get a grip on the magnitude of what a naming problem would be like with the thousands of species which are in existence today, multiply those species one-hundred-fold and then lay it on Adam just a few moments after his first drawn breaths, you will know how hard it would be.
Genesis chapter 1 records that mankind was created after all of the land animals were made. When creating man, God took counsel with Himself: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen.1:26). Scripture indicates that humans are set apart from all other creatures: Humans are made in the image of God. Unlike the plants, trees, aquatic animals, birds, and land animals, God set mankind apart as unique by creating humans “in His own image” (1:27). As the apex of creation, humans were made to reflect God’s character and attributes in this world. Although everything in creation reflects God’s glory to some extent, mankind is unique in being distinctly made in the image of God.
Regarding Adam’s naming task, the researcher Gleason Archer wrote: “It must have required some years, or, at the very least, a considerable number of months for him to complete this comprehensive inventory of all the birds, beasts, and insects that populated the Garden of Eden. Finally, after this assignment had been completed, Adam felt a renewed sense of emptiness. Gen. 2:20 states ‘but for Adam no suitable helper was found.’ …, God saw that Adam was emotionally prepared for a wife. God, therefore, put him to a deep sleep, removed from his body the bone that was closest to his heart, and from that physical core of man fashioned the first woman. Then God presented woman to Adam in all her fresh, unspoiled beauty, and Adam was ecstatic with joy.”
Now, when a young-earth theorist tries to explain the seventh day, he faces an insurmountable problem of time again. Even if a 24-hour period could be construed by stretching the imagination for any one of the first six days of creation, it wouldn’t work for the seventh. If so, Scripture would have to contradict Scripture just to fit an unwarranted preconception. The New Testament refers to the Lord in His rest continuing from the end of creation on through both the Old and New Testaments (Hebrews 4:1, 3). So, if the seventh day, the Lord’s day of rest, is a long period of time encompassing thousands of years as conclusively demonstrated by Scripture, then consistency demands that the first six days be given similar treatment – that is, ages or eons, but positively not 24-hour time periods!
In Psalm 90:4, Moses puts it, “For a thousand years in Thy sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.” These words leave not one shred of doubt that God’s timing and man’s timing are not to be confused. Nor will any simple equation rectify the discrepancy. The apostle Peter wrote “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day” (2Peter 3:8). So, how long is a day of God’s creation? We’re not told. But we are told how long it isn’t! We are told specifically that His time and our time are dissimilar. So, a 24-hour day is the one interpretation which is explicitly eliminated as a possibility.
Let us summarize some pertinent points:
- The Hebrew word “yom” has a number of meanings which allow a time of long duration to be a perfectly good rendering of the word “day” without any stretching of the credibility of Scripture.
- If the sun waited until the fourth day to appear, it couldn’t have been used as a means of measuring the length of the previous three days.
- The sixth day of creation is just too loaded with events to be stuffed into 24 hours.
- The seventh day continues on into the church age.
- We are expressly told, both in Old and New Testament, that God’s time is not to be confused with man’s time.
In conclusion, when someone claim to be Bible scholars put forth an erroneous theory, which they claim is based on “inerrant” Scripture, it’s biblical credibility that suffers.
Rev. Dr. CTB