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Creation week

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The Creation week is the six days of creation, followed by a day of rest described, in Genesis 1, believed by Young Earth creationists to be a literal seven days. Old Earth creationists and theistic evolutionists consider the days to be unspecified lengths of time, and they may also change the order of creation.


The seven days

  1. God creates the heavens, the Earth, and light.
  2. God creates the sky and separates the waters.
  3. God creates the seas, seed-bearing plants, and trees.
  4. God creates the sun, moon, and stars.
  5. God creates birds and aquatic animals.
  6. God creates all other animals, and man.
  7. God "rests".

While the creation of angels is not specifically mentioned, Job 38:7 implies God created them on or before the fourth day.

The length of the days

There are numerous reasons for believing that the days (Hebrew yom) of creation were normal Earth-rotation days.

  • Genesis 1 defines yom as comprising a morning and evening (i.e. an ordinary day).
  • Yom can mean an ordinary day, the daylight part of a day, or an indefinite period of time. However, yom only ever means an ordinary day when used in conjunction with the word morning, in conjunction with the word evening, or with a number. In the creation account, it is used with all three.
  • In Exodus 20:11, part of the Ten Commandments, the six days of creation and one day of rest are used as the pattern for our week. This would be meaningless if the days were indefinite periods of time.[Citation Needed]
  • Most (almost all) textual studies, such as statistical analysis of the types of verbs used, show that the creation account is narrative, not poetry.[1]
  • James Barr (Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture and later Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford) stated that there is probably a consensus among experts in Hebrew and the Old Testament that the author of the passage intended the days to be understood as ordinary days.[2]

However, there are also dissenting views.

  • Gleason Archer, a Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School[3], and a proponent of progressive creationism, has said that "Moses never intended the creative days to be understood as a mere twenty-four hours in length, and the information he included in chapter 2 logically precludes us from doing so. It is only by a neglect of proper hermeneutical methods that this impression ever became prevalent among God’s people, during the post-biblical era. Entirely apart from any findings of modern science or challenges of contemporary scientism, the twenty-four hour theory was never correct and should never have been believed – except by those who are bent on proving the presence of genuine contradictions in Scripture." [4] (However, in claiming that the 24-hour-day view only came about from "a neglect of proper hermeneutical methods", Archer is claiming that essentially the entire church for most of the past 2000 years has not been able to understand what the Bible is saying, as essentially the entire church prior to the rise of uniformitarianism accepted an age for the Earth of a few thousand years.[note 1][5])
  • Meredith Kline, professor emeritus at Westminster Seminary California and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, argued that "Purely exegetical considerations...compel the conclusion that the divine author has employed the imagery of an ordinary week to provide a figurative chronological framework for the account of his creative acts."[6]


  1. In talking about the length of the days, Archer is implicitly also talking about how recently creation occurred, as a six-ordinary-day creation and an age of a few thousand years go hand in hand. That Archer has this in mind is also clear from his reference to (uniformitarian) science, which makes no claims about the length of creation days, but does make claims about the age of the Earth.


  1. DeYoung, Don, "Thousands... not Billions", Master Books, 2005, p.157-167.
  2. ...probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: ... creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience ... Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time ... are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.—Barr, James, in a letter from Professor Barr to David C.C. Watson, quoted in Should Genesis be taken literally? by Russell Grigg, Creation, vol. 16 No. 1 p. 38.
  3. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School 1999-2000 catalog p. 26
  5. Batten, Don, Old-earth or young-earth belief: Which belief is the recent aberration?, Creation 24(1):24–27, December 2001.
  6. Kline, Meredith. Because it Had Not Rained. Westminster Theological Journal 20 1958 pp. 146-57.
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