What is the Day-Age Theory?
Question: "What is the Day-Age Theory?"
Answer: Although Moses wrote the book of Genesis approximately 3,400 years ago, it has been in just the last couple of centuries that serious debate over the nature and date of creation has developed. Consequently, there are now a number of theories relative to the creation account, and one of them is called the Day-Age Theory. Basically, this is a belief that the “days” spoken of in the first chapter of Genesis are sequential periods and not literal, 24-hour days. Each day, therefore, is thought to represent a much longer, albeit undefined, period of time, such as a million or more years. Essentially, it is an attempt to harmonize Scripture with theistic evolution.
Science has never disproved one word of the Bible. Nevertheless, in the last century and a half, the scientific community has done a remarkable job of indoctrinating us with their worldview, one that is very much opposed to the truth of Scripture. However, the truth is that the Bible is the supreme truth and it should be the standard by which scientific theory should be evaluated, not vice-versa. At the very core of most of these contrived theories is an attempt to remove God from the equation. And one of the unfortunate consequences of questioning the historicity of Genesis is that the floodgates burst open for man to question every part of God’s Word that does not agree with our limited intellectual abilities. However, everything Scripture teaches about sin and death requires a literal interpretation of the first three chapters of Genesis. That being said, let’s review some of the arguments made by the proponents of the Day-Age Theory.
Adherents of this theory often point out that the word used for “day” in Hebrew, yom, sometimes refers to a period of time that is more than a literal, 24-hour day. One Scripture passage in particular often looked to for support of this theory is 2 Peter 3:8, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” However, as with all biblical interpretation, one must look at the context of the entire passage. In 2 Peter 3:3–10 we see that Peter is talking about scoffers in the last days as they question the second coming of Christ. This passage simply reminds us that God stands outside of time and we should not doubt the occurrence of a future biblical event simply because it seems to be taking a long time from our limited human perspective. Accordingly, 2 Peter 3:8 has nothing to do with the length of the creation week, nor was it meant to turn “day” into a mathematical formula.
Each day in the first chapter of Genesis is described as having an evening and a morning. Indeed, these two words—evening and morning—are used extensively in the Old Testament and each time they refer to normal days. Moreover, outside Genesis, yom is used with a number hundreds of times—e.g., “one day” or “two days”—and each time it means an ordinary day. If Moses wanted to convey a longer period of time, he could have used either olam or qedem, in place of yom.
Another reason given for a metaphorical “day” as postulated by the Day-Age Theory is that with the sun not being made until day four, how could there have been ordinary days (i.e., day and night) before this? However, the sun is not needed for a day and night. What is needed is light and a rotating Earth. The “evening and morning” indicates a rotating Earth, and as far as light is concerned, recall that God’s very first command was “Let there be light” and there was light (Genesis 1:3). Separating the light from the darkness was the very first thing our Creator did. Also, remember that in Revelation 21:23 we see that the New Jerusalem “does not need the sun or moon to shine on it” as the “glory of God” will provide the “light.” At the beginning of creation, God’s radiant light would have certainly been sufficient until the luminaries were created three days later.
Additionally, if the “days” of Genesis are really long periods of time such as millions or billions of years, then God’s Word is completely undermined at its very foundation as we would then have disease, suffering and death before the fall of man, even though Scripture clearly indicates that “sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). Thus, it is clear that there was no death prior to Adam’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. If the Day-Age Theory were true, it would nullify the doctrine of the fall of mankind into sin. Furthermore, it would also render void the doctrine of the atonement, for, if there was no “fall,” why would we need a Redeemer?
Martin Luther once said, “But, if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are…since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish it to go.” Instead of looking to science to tell us what God really meant, all we really need to do is study Scripture, daily and eagerly, just like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), as all of it was inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16), and all of it is true (Psalm 119:160).
Christ Himself spoke of the importance of believing in Moses’ writings (John 5:45–47). And, in Exodus 20:11, this is what Moses had to say: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.”
Recommended Resources: The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate by John H. Walton and Logos Bible Software.
What does the Bible say about Creation vs. evolution?
What does the Bible say about dinosaurs? Are there dinosaurs in the Bible?
How could there be light on the first day of Creation if the sun was not created until the fourth day?
Why are there two different Creation accounts in Genesis chapters 1-2?
What happened on each of the days of Creation?
Questions about Creation
What is the Day-Age Theory?