The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
CREATION: QUICK, OR SLOW?
References are to the New International Version, UK edition
While many Christians agree on the inspiration and veracity of the Book of Genesis, they differ in their interpretation of the length of the six creative days outlined in Chapter 1. This can be a very touchy point and can lead to heated argument. Some maintain that each day is a period of twenty-four hours and that planet earth is geologically young, not the four-thousand million years often assigned to it.
Weighing against this view is the statement in Genesis 1: 14-19 that the moon and the sun (‘two great lights’) – the clock which determines the length of a day on earth – did not come into existence until the fourth day. This suggests that the ‘light’ mentioned in verse 3 was a different phenomenon.
Man was made in the image and likeness of his Creator – a diminutive god on earth. And as God created, so man created, over the generations rearranging his environment, building on it, shaping it to suit his political, social, and economic needs, from rural agriculture to the modern, bustling cityscape.
Most far-reaching plans require time to think out and mature, and most jobs worth doing take time to do well. Man is a rational, creative being and studies and analyses methods, procedures, and alternatives prior to executing his plans. We might reasonably infer from this that God has framed His creation not in human scale, but on an epochal scale. So, each day of Genesis may have been thousands or millions of years long.
Does this mean that God could not have created the earth in six literal days? No. But did He need to? Our Creator has been carrying out His Plan of salvation for several thousand years already, a period evidently necessary for the human race to learn the lessons He wishes to teach it.