The Day-Age (“Progressive Creationist”) View

Supposed “Biblical” Support for This View:

         Yom (the Hebrew word for “day”) sometimes means an “indefinite period of time”.

         Too Many Events on the Sixth Day

         The Seventh Day Never ended



Possible Meanings of the Hebrew Word yom (i.e.,“day”)

·        As found in W.E. Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Works, pp. 54-55, yom can mean:

·        “Daylight” as Contrasted With Nighttime - Genesis 8 :22 -  As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.

·        A Period of 24 Hours - Genesis 39:10 -  And though she spoke to Joseph day after day . . .

·        A Period of Unspecified Duration - Genesis 2:4 - These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens . . .” (KJV )

·        A Point of Time or a Moment - Genesis 2:17  - But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die. (NAS)

·        A Year - (when used in the plural) - Exodus 13:10 - Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year (NAS)


So how do we decide what the word “day” means in Genesis 1?

Determining the Meaning of the word “day”  in a Particular Text

     Since yom  (the Hebrew word for “day) can mean any one of a number of things:

       “Daylight” as Contrasted With Nighttime

       A Period of 24 Hours

       A Period of Unspecified Duration

       A Point of Time or a Moment

       A Year - (when used in the plural)

     When examining a particular text where the word “day” is used, we must look for clues in the immediate context in order to determine which meaning of the word “day” was intended by the writer.

     Can you identify the uses of the English word “day” below?

    In my father’s day, he would go to bed early Sunday evening and rise early in the morning of the following day, and spend the next six days traveling, during the day, to cross the whole country.



Interpreting the "Days" of Genesis 1 in John Calvin's Day

     Apparently in John Calvin's day (1509 - 1564), it was popular among theologians to assume the "days" in Genesis 1 occurred in a "point of time" (or moment) because they couldn't imagine God needed to take any longer than that to make things!  John Calvin argued against this:

       Genesis 1:5 - God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning-- the first day.

       "Here [in Genesis 1:5] the error of those is manifestly refuted who maintain that the world was made in a moment.  For it is ... [too much of a stretch] ... to contend that Moses distributes the work which God perfected at once into six days, for the mere purpose of conveying instruction.  Let us rather conclude that God Himself took the space of six days, for the purpose of accommodating his works to the capacity of men."  (John Calvin, Calvin's Commentaries, Volume I, p.78, commenting on Genesis 1:5)

Why did John Calvin argue that the “days” in Genesis 1 were ordinary (24 hour) days?


Interpreting the "Days" of Genesis 1 in Modern Times

         It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of the Genesis record, without regard to all the hermeneutical considerations suggested by science, is that God created heaven and earth in six solar days . . . (emphasis added)   (Dr. Pattle P.T. Pun)

         It cannot be denied ... that the almost universal view of the Christian world until the eighteenth century was that the earth was only a few thousand years old.  Not until the development of modern scientific investigation of the earth itself would this view be called into question within the church (emphasis added) (Davis A. Young, 1982)

         So the old earth advocates seem to me to have the greater weight of scientific evidence on their side, and it seems the weight of scientific evidence is increasing yearly.  On the other hand, the interpretations of Genesis 1 presented by the old earth advocates, while possible, do not seem as natural to the sense of the text (emphasis added). (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, 1994, p.307)

What are these men using to determine the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1?


What clues do we find for the meaning of the word “day” in Genesis 1?

        Moses (who also compiled Genesis) later comments on the creation days in the book of Exodus:

       Exodus 20:9-11 - Six days [regular 24 hour days] you shall labor... For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them. (cf. Exodus 31:15-17)

        Evening and Morning” =  a Regular (24 hour) Day:

       Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 - And there was evening, and there was morning. . .

        The Days of Genesis 1 Are Numbered =  a Regular (24 hour) Day

       Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31 – The first day. . .second day. . .third day. . .fourth day. . .fifth day. . .sixth day


“Evening and Morning” =  a Regular (24 hour) Day

        In Genesis 1, each day ends with the phrase and there was evening and there was morning”. This type of Hebrew construction always refers to a 24-hour day as the following Bible scholars testify:

       Charles Ryrie -  Evening and morning cannot be construed to mean an age but only a day  (The Ryrie Study Bible, note on Gen. 1: 5 p. 7)

       Henry Morris -  The terms 'evening' (Hebrew ereb) and 'morning' (Hebrew boqer) each occur more than one hundred times in the Old Testament, and always have the literal meaning. (The Genesis Record, note on Gen. 1: 13 p. 64)

       The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia  - In the creation account of Genesis 1 appears the repeated phrase 'and there was evening and there was morning' . . . This formula indicates (1) that 'evening and morning' should be understood alike in all six days (2) that the day begins with evening (3) that each day is a real twenty-four-hour day, and (4) that thus the daily rhythm of time has its beginning.  The creation day is understood as a normal twenty-four-hour day in Ex. 20:8-1 1; 31:15,17. (Article on "Day" by  G. F. Hasel p. 877)

       Keil and Delitzch - The days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days. (Commentary on the Old Testament, comments on Gen. 1: 5, pp. 50-52)

       John Gill . . . there was a [change] of light and darkness; just as there is now . . . the evening and the morning... together [made] one natural day, consisting of twenty-four hours. (Gill's Expositor, Vol. 1, comment on Gen. 1: 5, p. 5)



The Days of Genesis 1 Are Numbered =  a Regular (24 hour) Day

        In Genesis 1, each day is combined with an ordinal number. Every other place in the Pentateuch where this type of Hebrew construction occurs, it is referring to an ordinary day:

       Charles Ryrie - Everywhere in the Pentateuch the word day, when used (as here) with a numerical adjective means solar day (now calibrated as 24 hours). (The Ryrie Study Bible, note on Gen. 1: 5 p. 7)

       Henry Morris -  The occurrence of 'day' modified by a numeral (e.g., 'third day') is a construction occurring more than a hundred times in the Pentateuch alone, always with the literal meaning.  (The Genesis Record, note on Gen. 1: 13 p. 64)




Note these statistics on the use of the word "day" outside of Genesis 1:



What About 2 Peter 3:8?

         2 Peter 3:8 - But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.


         This verse is often used to support the Day-Age theory. Yet far from supporting the theory, it actually disproves it! Concerning this verse Whitcomb says:

         "Note carefully that the verse does not say that God’s days last thousands of years, but that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” In other words God is completely above the limitations of time in the sense that He can accomplish in one literal day what nature or man could not accomplish in thousands of years, if ever. Note that one day is “as a thousand years,” not “is a thousand years,” with God. If “one day” in this verse means a long period of time, then we would end up with the following absurdity: “a long period of time is with the Lord as a thousand years.” Instead of this, the verse reveals how much God can accomplish in a 24-hour day, and thus sheds much light upon the events of the Creation Week” (J.C. Whitcomb as quoted by Weston W. Fields,  Unformed and Unfilled, 1976, p. 177)



The Days of Genesis Are Ordinary 24-Hour Days

         What else could God say to convey the idea that the days of creation were literal days? He used the only terms available to communicate that idea. There was a word, on the other hand, which Moses could have used to signify ages, or vast periods of time. He could have used the word dor (rAD) [cf. Joel 2:2] which has that very meaning. But instead he used the word “day”, and we think the reason he did is very obvious to the unbiased reader: He wanted to tell his readers that all of creation took place in six literal 24 hour days! (Weston W. Fields,  Unformed and Unfilled, 1976, p. 177-178)

         If . . . the word ‘day’ in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless (Marcus Dods, Expositor’s Bible, T. & T. Clark: Edinburgh, 1888, p.4)



Too Many Events on the Sixth Day?

Are there too many events listed as taking place on the sixth day in Genesis 1-2 for them all to have taken place in one 24 hour period?


The "Many" Events of Day Six (Taken from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, p.294)

         The Creation of Animals (Genesis 1:24-25)

         The Creation of Both Man and Woman (Genesis 1:27 - male and female He created them)

         Therefore day six would include the following events described in Genesis 2:

       Putting Adam in the Garden to Till It and Keep It (Genesis 2:15)

       Giving Adam Directions Regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:15-17)

       Bringing All the Animals to Man for Them to Be Named (Genesis 2:18-20)

       Finding No Helper Fit for Adam (Genesis 2:20)

       Causing a Deep Sleep to Fall Upon Adam and Creating the Woman From His Rib (Genesis 2:21-25)

How long did it take Adam to name the animals? To answer this question, it would be helpful to know how many animals Adam had to name!

         Genesis 2:19 - The Lord God formed every beast of the field and . . .brought [them] to the man to see what he would call them . . . (NASB)

         Genesis 1:25 - And God made the beasts of the earth after their kind... and God saw that it was good. (NASB)

Note what these scholars have to say about the animals that Adam named:

         The "beast of the field" in [Genesis 2:19] is not synonymous with "beast of the earth" in [Genesis 1:25] but is a more restricted term, denoting only such animals as live upon the field and are supported by its produce, whereas the "beast of the earth" denotes all wild beasts as distinguished from tame cattle and reptiles. (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, comments on Genesis 2: 5-6, p. 77)

         It was only those animals in closest proximity ... to man that were actually brought to him . . . We have no way of knowing exactly how many "kinds" of animals appeared before Adam, but clearly not such a large number as to be incapable of examination within a few hours at most. (Henry Morris, The Genesis Record, comments on Genesis 2:19, p. 97)



Is it true that the seventh day never ended?

         Some have suggested* that since the seventh day does not end with the phrase, “and there was morning and there was evening, a seventh day”:

       The seventh day is still continuing (because the seventh day never ended)!

       Therefore “day” in Genesis 1 is really a long period of time (certainly more than 24 hours)!


The seventh day is NOT still going on today!

         God is not resting on the seventh day; God rested on the seventh day.

       Genesis 2:2-3 - By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

       Exodus 20:9-11 - For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.

         The seventh day also served as a pattern for the Israelites to rest for one 24 hour day, again, confirming that the seventh day was a regular 24 hour day:

       Exodus 20:8-11 - Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. . .  the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work. . . For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.



The Day-Age (“Progressive Creationist”) View -

Three More Problems!

         Adam and Eve Created “at the beginning of creation”?

         Suffering and Death Called “Good?”

         Long Days Don’t Solve the Problem


Jesus tells us that Adam and Eve were created “at the beginning of creation” (Mark 10:6)


Which one fits the best?



Suffering and Death Called “Good?”

      If we say there were animals on the earth for millions of years before Adam was created . . .

    Then we must also say that there was pain, suffering, misery, famine, disease, birth defects, natural disasters, and death in a world that God calls “good” at least seven times in Genesis 1 (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25,31)!

       Genesis 1:31 - God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

      It does not seem to make sense that God would call suffering and death “good”!

       I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created . . . [a parasite] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed.

       (Charles Darwin in a letter to Harvard Professor Asa Gray, May 22, 1860)

      The Bible tells us that it was sin that brought death into the world.

       Romans 5:12 - Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin . . .

      In the context, the death of man is in view. But might the death of animals be included as well?

      The Bible seems to imply that before the Fall all animals ate plants (rather than each other).

       Genesis 1:30 - And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-- everything that has the breath of life in it-- I give every green plant for food.

      The Bible teaches that the corruption that we see in nature is a result of the Fall, NOT a result of Creation!

       Romans 8:20-21 - For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him [God] who subjected it [because of the Fall], in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption [at the Second Coming of Christ].


      In the New Earth, the ferocity of animals will cease.

       Isaiah 65:25 - The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox . . . They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.


Long Days Don’t Solve the Problem

Even if we interpret the days of Genesis 1 as long periods of time, the Biblical account still cannot be made to accommodate modern evolutionary timetables.

Genesis Says:

Secular Science Says:

Earth (1st day) before the sun and stars (4th day)

Sun and stars before the earth

Light (1st day)  before the sun (4th day)

Sun, the earth’s first light

Land vegetation (3rd day) before sun (4th day)

Sun before land vegetation


Plants (3rd day) before insects (included in “creeping things” - 6th day)

Insects before flowering plants. Few flowering plants could survive without insects for pollination.

Fruit trees (3rd day)  before fish (5th day)

Fish before fruit trees

Birds and fish created at the same time (5th day)

Fish came millions of years before Birds

Fish (5th day) before insects (included in “creeping things” - 6th day)

Insects before fish

Birds (5th day) before land reptiles (6th day)

Reptiles before birds

Birds (5th day) before insects (included in “creeping things” - 6th day)

Insects before birds

Marine mammals (5th day) before land mammals (6th day)

Land mammals before marine mammals


Some Things to Think About:

Psalm 11:3 - When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?"
Isaiah 58:12 - Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
John 3:12 - I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?