Below is a portion of chapter 40 of Origins: The Origin of Matter, Space, Time, and Life, and a general summary of Chapter 21. Although the formatting (page numbers, spacing, alignment, bold, and so forth) is not polished as the book, the words are the same for chapter 40. For a full version, click either donate, or purchase the book, or Kindle eBook.
Seven-Day Creation Versus Seven-Eon Creation
When Bible scholars argue about dates of origins, they focus on whether the “day” in the Genesis creation account are literal days or figurative days. In other words, does each day in the Genesis creation account represent one revolution of the earth or eons or ages? Did God create all things miraculously (or using means we see today in nature) in seven rotations of the earth and did the seven days of creation represent a thousand to millions to billions of years?
The further one gets away from a literal Biblical interpretation, the more variances or the more errors occur or appear. For example, when one takes a figurative approach to interpreting law books, scientific documents, academic papers, or Scriptures, who is to say which view is correct or what standard will be applied? And when does someone switch from a figurative interpretation to a literal interpretation? Some switch to a literal interpretation after the first verse, some switch to a literal interpretation on the sixth day with the creation of Adam and Eve, and some switch to a literal interpretation after the seventh day of creation. By what arbitrary method does someone say, “Well, now I will start to take the Bible literally.” There is no information in the Bible that tells the reader to switch from figurative to literal. And what or whose standard determines when to switch from figurative to literal? What words are figurative and what words are literal? Once someone starts down this path, the door is open to interpret the entire Bible as figurative.
How does one start down this path of a figurative interpretation? Consider this phrase that we have all heard, “To the Lord, a day is a 1,000 years.” So says the book of Peter. Those who view a figurative interpretation of the Genesis “day” lean on this phrase as strong evidence that the “days” in Genesis are a 1,000 years or greater. But is that phrase really in the Bible? Let’s take a closer look. I draw your attention to 2 Peter 3:7–10. Let me set the stage of the proceeding verses 1–6 to keep things in context. Peter says he wants to remind them to remember the words spoken by the prophets and commandments of the Lord:
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
First off, these verses are not about creation, but end time judgment and the second coming. Peter is not trying to clear up confusion about creation, he is clearing up confusion about the end times. And when taking in the full text, we see that verse 8b is saying that God is not bound by time as we are bound by time. God is outside of time. It makes sense that the creator of time is not controlled by time, but He controls time. God can appear in our third dimension, so we can see Him (e.g., Jesus in Gen. 3, Gen. 15—–17, Gen. 32:24–32, Exodus 3, Numbers 12:4–8, Joshua 5, etc.), or He can remain in a higher dimension so that we can’t see Him. Either way, the verse in question is merely saying that God is not bound by time and is not slow about His promises. To force the verse to say that a day is equal to 1,000 years is in error; it forces the verses to fit a preconceived doctrine.
Clearly, verse 8 is saying that one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day to the Lord. This means that God is not bound by time. To switch this verse to mean that the Genesis creation account represents 7,000 years or greater is in complete error. It is a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:8 and an improper use of having Scripture interpret Scripture. For the passage is not about creation; it is about end time judgment. The verse does not say a day is a thousand years. This is obvious when reading the whole verse in context.
Those that switch the theme and premise of 2 Peter 3:8 to support their preconceived doctrine of creation are annulling the second half of verse 8. It is curious that they want to take 2 Peter 3:8 literally by removing the figurative language of like, but don’t want to take Genesis literally when it doesn’t have the figurative language of like. Genesis says, “It was so.” If the Genesis creation account said God created the sun, moon, and stars in like a day, or if God created simple life to eventually be like His image, then theistic evolutionists would have a case, but the word like does not even appear in the Genesis creation account to describe a day. It is ironic that theist evolutionists argue heavily for a literal interpretation of 2 Peter, yet they contend that Genesis is figurative. This arbitrary means of determining which verses are literal and which are figurative is exclusively based on what they already believe to be true—the man-made doctrine that espouses billions of years for evolution.
Furthermore, this phrase in the verse, “in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “. . . all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” This is the evolutionary concept of Uniformitarian, which means that the rate of soil deposit today, is the rate it has always been. Thus, the layers of the crust prove an old Earth. The Bible indicts this belief as mockers fairy tales.
How someone takes literal language in Peter to force a figurative interpretation in Genesis is beyond comprehension. And they gain no ground in the eyes of atheists, because once they use 2 Peter 3:8 to say a day is a thousand years, then their Genesis interpretation is only up to 7,000 years. This is still laughable in the eyes of atheists. Those that compromise the integrity of the Bible to look good in the eyes of atheists kill two birds with their one selfish stone: they undermine the Bible and still look foolish in the eyes of atheists.
Those that interpret a “day” in the Genesis creation account to mean a thousand years or greater also turn to Psalm 90:4 for support. Let’s take a look at the verse: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night.” Again, this verse is merely saying that God is not bound by time. The creator of time is sovereign over time, and a thousand years are remembered as though they were yesterday or like the four hours of a guardsman’s watch. Time is subject to God’s authority, rule, and sovereignty, and God remembers each second of every day for thousands of years as though they were yesterday.
What is the motivating factor to interpret the word “day” in Genesis to mean a thousand years or eons? It is to pacify the evolutionists that scream that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that the universe is 14 billion years old. They think that if they can somehow get the Bible to say a day is literally a thousand years or figuratively billions of years, they’ll be able to witness to evolutionists, or at least they won’t look foolish to the evolutionists. Either way, that is a doomed philosophy. No clever speech or whimsical approach to witnessing ever converted anyone to believe in God. Someone believing in God as their savior has zero to do with us and our clever skills. Our only job is to share the gospel message that the Son of God took the form of flesh and died on the cross to pay for all mankind’s sins and that whosoever believes in Him shall be set free from the curse of sin, which is eternal spiritual death.
Review: 2 Peter 3:8 talks about end time judgment, not creation, and clearly states that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. This means that God is not bound by time—it does not mean that the days in Genesis are actually a thousand years long. Psalm 90:4 does not say a day is a thousand years; it does say that God is all knowing and can remember everything that happened in a thousand years as though it was yesterday.
Now to someone who doesn’t take the Bible literally for the creation account, they are in conflict with the timeline in the creation narrative because of the following phrases in Gen. 1: (NIV and KJV)
There was evening and there was morning, the first day.
There was evening and there was morning, the second day.
There was evening and there was morning, the third day.
There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
There was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
There was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
By the seventh day.
Their solution is to discard these phrases for each day. How do they discard the phrase there was evening and there was morning, the “x” number day? By viewing it figuratively. Then, at some point, they have to change philosophies and start viewing Moses’ writing as literal. And at what point do they do that? This is an arbitrary juncture of judgment to say, “I will start at the sixth day of creation and take it as literal because I believe God literally created Adam and Eve.” Or they could say, “I will start after the seventh day of creation and then take the Bible literally.” This is purely arbitrary—there is nothing in the text to suggest that one should switch from a figurative interpretation to a literal interpretation.
Once someone starts down this interpretive path, there are a whole host of problems associated with this decision. For one, since the second half of the third day represents the creation of all grasses, plants, and trees, how do they survive for thousands of years without the sun for photosynthesis, as the sun made on the fourth day? How do trees produce fruit without pollination, as insects (including bees) were not created until the sixth day?
Secondly, the one who discards the phrase there was evening and there was morning, the “x” day loses some effectiveness to witness to nonbelievers. A person who doesn’t believe in the Bible will not accept hearing from a person who also doesn’t fully believe in the Bible. That is illogical. Imagine going to someone who believes the Bible is hokum and saying to them, “You should believe in Jesus for He died on the cross for you. But don’t worry about believing that Jesus’ Word is accurate, as there are errors in the Bible.” This is silly. No one will believe in something you don’t believe in yourself. And pastors who doubt the literal Genesis creation account, will not dive deep in the Word because they are afraid of what other errors they may encounter. Thus, they starve their congregation from the Word, and give shallow feel good messages that don’t equip their flock to handle the schemes of the devil. The Word is the only weapon we have to know what is of God and what is of the devil.
Review: With a figurative view, any and all interpretations hold consideration and can be considered. One could make the extremely figurative suggestion that Jesus did not literally rise from the grave, but His teachings symbolically rose from the grave instead. Genesis repeats the phrase there was evening and there was morning, “x” day. Day should be taken literally.
Here is the crux of the matter: Moses accepted a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. That seems a bit bold to say. How do we know what Moses believed as far as a literal or figurative interpretation of the word day of creation? After all, Moses lived some 3,500 years ago. If that isn’t bold enough, God also accepts a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. Doesn’t that seem blasphemous to say what God thinks? It seems that I am proclaiming that “I know the mind of God.” It is not blasphemous at all. The “Holy Spirit searches the depths of all things, even the depths of God . . . therefore we have the mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:10–16). Let’s establish the evidence for how we know whether Moses and God used a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation. I turn your attention to . . .