Genesis chapter one is a summary of God’s creation and begins in verses one and two with the creation of space, then the Earth with the waters. Later that same day [YOM], God created light [OR], saw that it was all good and declared that the evening and the morning were the first day [YOM]. The chapter progresses with the creation of the Earth’s atmosphere and seas on the second day [YOM], the grasses and fruit trees on the third day [YOM], then the sun, moon – and, in that greatest of all understatements: “He made the stars also” – on the fourth day [YOM]. The light created on that fourth day is given in the Hebrew as MAOR, related to but not the same as OR on the first day. After describing the creation of the sea creatures, birds and then land animals, the chapter goes on to state that God created man in His own imFirst Day of Creation (from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle)age – “male and female He created them” [1:27] – and concludes[1:31] by declaring that everything on that sixth day [YOM] was “very good.”
By making an appeal to two Scriptures, some Christians claim that each of the “days” of creation was actually a thousand years in duration. This is made in the hope of reconciling Scripture with the doctrine of evolution. The first of the two passages used is Psalm 90:4 – “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is passed, and like a watch in the night.” The second passage is 2 Peter 3:8: “But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
The context of the first passage is to teach us to number our days, while that of the second passage is to show that the Lord is longsuffering, calling all to repentance before the Earth and the works in it are burned up. However, there are at least four objections to this “day is as a thousand years” theory:
1. The Hebrew word YOM used in the Genesis context means a normal 24-hour day.
2. The context for each of the two passages claimed for the theory is inappropriate.
3. The grasses and fruit trees created on the third day are not going to survive for a thousand years without the sun.
4. The academic and scientific establishments have convinced themselves that multiple-millions of years were necessary for evolution to have taken place. Suggesting that it all took place in six thousand years would definitely not be accepted as a hopeful reconciliation between the two ideologies represented by geology and Genesis.
Painting: First Day of Creation (from the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle).