How long is a day? Now this might seem like a silly question; however, some people believe the days of Creation that we read about in the book of Genesis in the Bible are long periods of time, not real, ordinary, 24 hour days. Believing that the millions of years that evolution teaches are true, they try to change how long a day of the Bible is to fit with these long ages. Some think the Bible teaches that each day of Creation can be a thousand years …“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.” (2 Peter 3:8).We must be very careful when we only read one verse and try to make it mean something different than how it was written. This verse is not talking about the length of the days of Creation at all. If you read the verse before verse 8 (2 Peter 3:7) you see that Peter was writing about God someday using fire to punish ungodly people in the future! Verse 8 is explaining that time is different for God than it is for us. He is outside of time, and to Him nothing is long, nor is it short. In 2 Peter 3:9, God tells us He has great patience, and He is holding back His punishment of fire against evil people, giving them a chance to hear about Jesus. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost … He wants everyone to have the chance to believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. These verses have nothing to do with the days of Creation.
So how long are these days of Creation? Look at these verses in the book of Genesis:
- “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5)
- And the evening and the morning were the second day. (Genesis 1:8)
- And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:13)
- And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:19)
- And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (Genesis 1:23)
- And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)
- And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (Genesis 2:2)
Notice the words “evening and morning” in all of these verses (except Genesis 2:2). How would you describe a day? You go to bed in the evening, get up in the morning, and go to bed again in the evening … a 24 hour day! God was careful to tell us what He meant by evening and morning. “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:5) God’s words show us that “evening and morning” means an ordinary 24 hour day.
Notice also that in each of these verses there is a number in front of the word day. In the Bible, God uses the word “day” with a number in front of it 357 times outside of the first chapter of Genesis, and it always means a 24 hour period … a day!(1) It seems very clear that in the first chapter of Genesis, by using a number in front of the word “day” and including the words “evening and morning” that He is talking about a literal 24 hour day.
Six times God repeated Himself in the first chapter of Genesis … “the evening and the morning were the (number) day”, showing that our understanding the length of these days is important to Him. Just to make sure we understand, He tells us again, “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:” (Exodus 20:11, and see also Exodus 31:17). God says the days of Creation were real days, not long periods of time. So, do you believe the words of God, or do you believe the ages of evolution? I think I will stick to God’s word!
This was published as an article in the November/December 2010 issue of Kids Think and Believe, Too!
Please call our office or email us at [email protected] for additional resources on these subjects.