Did God create the Universe in one week? Err…the answer is no! Not that he can’t or couldn’t have. But he chose not to. To the atheist, of course the story of a seven-day creation is proof the Bible is a myth. And “myth” is the new buzzword, the new catchphrase. And so you hear “the myth of the Bible” constantly, as if repeating the phrase will make it so. When next someone tells you the Bible is a myth, ask him or her if there was no historical Israel, or historical Babylon, or historical Roman Empire; or Cyrus the Great, Nebuchadnezzar, Abraham, David, Solomon, or even Jesus. If these nations and individuals existed and the Bible is a compilation of their history, how can the Bible then be a myth?
The challenge people have is that they won’t take time to study God’s word. And so they rush to judgment in ignorance. That you don’t understand something, or can’t figure something out doesn’t make it a myth. Or science will be a myth. There are some pretty dope stuff in science that makes reality seem like science fiction. For example, science posits that if you follow the path of a closed timelike curve (CTC), you will arrive on your journey before you even begin, and you can travel back in time! Which of course raises the question of the Grandfather Paradox – the time traveller who travels back in time, kills his grandfather before he meets his grandmother. As a result, the time traveller is never born. But, if he was never born, then he is unable to travel back in time to kill his grandfather, which means the time traveller would then not be born, and so on, and so on. Science even postulates the possibility of parallel Universes. At the end of the day, “reality” is not what we think it is. Should we then say science is a myth because we don’t understand these arcane possibilities?
Did the Book of Genesis say that God created the Universe in one week? The answer is a definite no. It says seven days. And you’ll see why.
You see, there were several calendars running in Genesis. People generally assume there was only one calendar. In actual fact, at some point several hundreds of billions were running, possibly trillions of calendars. But there were two commanding and prominent calendars running in Genesis, and they constitute our frame of reference.
The first notable calendar was Creation Calendar. It’s what regulated the famed creation days: first day of creation, second day of creation, etc. The second notable calendar is Earth Calendar. It’s what we ordinarily use as humans. But Earth Calendar didn’t begin until the fourth day of creation. (Genesis 1:16-18) Therefore, creation wasn’t regulated by Earth Calendar. It was regulated by Creation Calendar. Earth Calendar began after creation calendar was already running. Both Creation Calendar and Earth Calendar then ran concurrently, just like so many calendars today.
In essence therefore, there were two types of calendar day in Genesis – Creation Day and Earth Day. The calibration of the two types of day is NOT the same. Earth Day is 24 hours. Not so Creation Day. In fact it has a different structure. The Bible does not tell us the length of each Creation Day. Our only recourse is to align the information with science. When aligned with science we find some of the days run into billions of earth years. Creation days are cosmological in scale.
On the First Creation Day, light was created. This is how Moses recorded it, and in case you’re wondering how Moses knew about something that happened before he was born, the simple answer is, God revealed it to him. And that’s not really something far-fetched. If people like Isaiah could predict the future with startling accuracy, why can’t someone chronicle the past with prophetic accuracy too? The arrow of knowledge, information and data points to the future and the past. So this is how Moses chronicled the First Creation Day: “God spoke: “Light!” And light appeared. God saw that light was good and separated light from dark. God named the light Day, and he named the dark Night. It was evening, it was morning.” (Genesis 1:3-5 MSG)
The “Day” and “Night” here are not our common day and night. This “light” refers to photons and electromagnetic radiation. At this time our concept of day and night had not begun. They will begin later, on the Fourth Creation Day. The “Light” here is not the sun, or the stars either. Those came much later also, on the Fourth Creation Day: “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and tokens, and to mark the seasons, days and years.” In other words, the calendar we’re used to, the weekly calendar of seven-days-make-one-week did not begin until the Fourth Creation Day. The Bible clearly states that seasons and years as we ordinarily know it did not begin until the fourth creation day. And so you can see that on the Fourth Creation Day, a parallel calendar began to operate. Two calendars were functioning – Creation Calendar and Earth Calendar. We mark our birthdays with Earth Calendar, not Creation Calendar. It’s what David was referring to when he said, “Teach us to number our days…” (Psalm 90:12) In other words, Man has his own calendar. But the days of that calendar are not the same as those of Creation Days. The calendar year we use to mark our birthdays did not begin until the Fourth Creation Day.
We determine our day on Earth by the rotation of the Earth on its axis. It’s how we came up with our 24-hour day – though it’s not exactly 24 hours. It’s actually 23 hours, 56 minutes, 4.1 seconds. We use a 24-hour system because we inherited base twelve from the Egyptians. Today we use base ten. We determine a year by the revolution of our Earth around our Sun. That’s 365 days. For those fastidious with exactitude however, the exact duration is 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. The Gregorian calendar we use dictates a leap day every four years to even things out.
If we go by the definition of a day and a year as axial rotation and revolution around the sun, it would follow that each planet has its own calendar. And each planet has its own length of day and length of year. A day on Venus is for example 243 earth days, and curiosa, curiosa, a day on Venus is longer than its year! A year on Venus is 224.7 earth days. It just means Venus goes round the Sun faster than it rotates on its axis. Even more intriguing is that a day on Jupiter is only 9.8 Earth hours! Mercury is 58.7 Earth days, Saturn is 10.2 Earth hours, Uranus is 17.9 Earth hours, Neptune is 19.1 Earth hours, and poor Pluto is 6.39 Earth days. So you can see that there were several types of day calendars running in Genesis. When you think of all the galaxies out there – (there are over 400 billion galaxies!) there must be trillions types of day running in the Universe all at once. But it is very clear from the Genesis narrative that Creation Day is NOT 24 hours. Scientific calculation suggests humongous number of Earth years per Creation Day. Creation Days dealt in large numbers.
Now, science tells us the Universe is about 13.8 billion years old. Scientists came about this figure by looking at the rate of expansion of the Universe and studying the oldest stars in the Universe. They worked things back from the calculation of the expansion rate of the Universe, and by calculating how long it takes stars to burn through their fuel. So we know the Universe is at least 13.8 billion years old. (Could be older). We do know the Bible talks about a “beginning” but the truth is, we really don’t know what that “beginning” is. Even if “the beginning” were 13.8 billion years ago, the Bible wouldn’t have been able to spell it out in figures. At the time many of the books in the Bible were written, the highest unit of measurement was “thousands”. The Romans later came up with a convoluted way of depicting “million” but for pretty much the history of the Bible, the highest numeric value was in thousands. We limit God’s revelation by the level of our educational advancement. It’s why you won’t find “million”, “billion” or “trillion” in the Bible. Descriptive words like “host” or “innumerable” are often used to denote very large figures in the Bible. For example in Isaiah 47.4, Jesus is described as “Lord of hosts.” In the Hebrew Bible, the name “Yahweh” and the title “Elohim” frequently occur with the word, “tzevaot” meaning “sabaoth” or hosts or armies. Lord of hosts would mean commander of an extremely large army.
We should be thankful though that God chose to write Genesis in prose. Or most of us wouldn’t have been able to read it. God obviously didn’t want to write Genesis for scientists only. He wanted all of us to be able to read it. And so he used familiar terms, like “day” and “night”, repetitively and for different things. He employed a very limited vocabulary. If the Bible were written in scientific language, Isaiah 42:5 would for example read, ‘God created “a homogenous Universe of constant mass and growing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extragalactic nebulae”. That’s another way of saying God “created the heavens and stretched them forth.” By the way that text was the title of a cosmological thesis by Georges Lemaitrê. He did incredible work explaining the beginning of the Universe. The famous Big Bang theory is credited to him. (And don’t make any faces. That theory ACTUALLY supports Bible narration of creation!) God didn’t want Christianity to be an exclusive club of Cosmologists, Quantum Physicists, Theoretical Physicists and Mathematicians so he wrote Genesis for the rest of us. Or only scientists will populate Heaven.
But what comes across from Genesis is that Jesus is definitely a scientist. He created the universe. (Hebrews 1:2) Jesus wrote the code for the universe, wired all of creation. Nature responds to nature. Nature is an intelligent system. He even created science itself! We take it for granted today. He’s incredibly talented and intelligent, and he relishes complex and large undertakings. Think of what it took to wire all of creation and write all that code.
God is very considerate to try and make all of us enjoy all that Physics in Genesis, in simple prose. The first two chapters of Genesis is serious science text. Genesis is possibly the most technical book in the Bible – if we don’t count Revelation of course. Now, that’s one bizarre book!
Our simple conclusion therefore is that the Universe was created in seven Days, but not one week.
If you’ll like to give your life to Christ please pray this prayer: “Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I know that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for me and that you raised him from the dead. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Christ is Lord and I receive him as my Lord and my Saviour. I am now born again. Amen.”
If you have any questions you can write me. Just mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be glad to answer your questions.