I dare AIG to publish this with a right of reply. According to Genesis 2, a 24 hour interpretation of Day 6 means the following had to happen.

  • God formed man
  • God planted Eden from the ground up.
  • God Instructed him to tend the garden
  • God formed all the wild animals and birds
  • Adam gave names to “all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals”. (There are currently 4500 species of mammal and 10,000 species of birds)
  • Adam has a sleep (no wonder)
  • God takes a rib and makes Eve
  • Adam wakes up and says at last bone of my bone etc
  • Why did Adam say “at last”
  • How did the fumbling, human Adam name so many animals so fast?
  • Why did God force a brand new child to do it in one day? (Where's the care)
  • How is it that we have annual ice core samples over 300,000 years old

I trust God's inerrant Word in the original Hebrew, I don't trust your interpretation out of the various meanings for the word “YOM”

concerned 40 year believer

– A.W., Australia


Hello,

Thank you for contacting Answers in Genesis and for giving us an opportunity to deal with these common objections again. The issues raised here have been brought up before and we have several articles explaining them, but this feedback allows us to deal with all of them in one article. Many of these arguments are addressed in the “Events of Day Six” section of my book, Old-Earth Creationism on Trial (coauthored with Dr. Jason Lisle). This section critiques the arguments of Dr. Gleason Archer and Dr. Norman Geisler, who attempted to show that too many events occurred on Day Six, so the day must not have been 24 hours in length.

I dare AIG to publish this with a right of reply.

We will gladly publish your remarks along with our replies. You are welcome to send us your response, and we will consider publishing your reply along with our comments.

According to Genesis 2, a 24 hour interpretation of Day 6 means the following had to happen.
God formed man

How long do you suppose it takes the all-knowing and all-powerful God to miraculously create a man from the dust of the earth? Certainly He is capable of doing this instantaneously, so how can this point be used in favor of your notion that too many events occurred on Day Six for it to be limited to a 24-hour period?

God planted Eden from the ground up.

Jesus was able to instantaneously transform water into wine (John 2), and the fig tree He cursed withered right away (Matthew 21:19), which is sort of the opposite of planting a garden. Given that, why should we assume that it takes a lot of time for Him to miraculously create the garden in which He placed man?

God Instructed him to tend the garden

Even allowing for the possibility that we are merely given a summary of the instructions God gave to Adam, how long do you think it would take for God to recite a handful of commands? It only takes a few seconds to read the instructions in Genesis 2:16–17.

It is important to realize that although God put Adam in the garden so that the man would tend it, we are never told (contra Dr. Archer) that Adam worked the garden “for some time” before naming the animals. Presumably, Adam started to obey the command, but there is nothing in the text saying that he completed the task, and there is certainly no basis in the Bible for assuming (as Archer does) an extremely large size of the garden.

God formed all the wild animals and birds. Adam gave names to “all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals”. (There are currently 4500 species of mammal and 10,000 species of birds)

Genesis 2:20 reveals that Adam “gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field.” Some people have accused the Bible of contradicting itself here because Genesis 1:20–22 reveals that birds were actually created on Day Five, but many English translations give the impression in Genesis 2:19 that this occurred on Day Six before Adam was created. As I explained in an earlier feedback article, a closer look at the text shows there is no contradiction between these two chapters. Many critics have mocked God’s Word claiming that Adam could never have named the millions of species on earth in one day. However, this straw man will not stand since Adam was not instructed to name the vast majority of these creatures, such as insects and sea creatures. Also, note that Genesis says Adam named “beasts of the field” (Genesis 1:19–20), and not a broader category like “beasts of the earth” (Genesis 1:30). There is no basis for equating “beasts of the field” with “all animal species.”

Furthermore, our modern classification system is different than the taxonomy described in Scripture. The difference is not necessarily that one is right and the other is wrong, but it is faulty reasoning to expect that our modern classifications (often based on alleged evolutionary relationships) should be identical in every respect to an ancient taxonomy.

Conflating these two systems leads to a big misunderstanding. The current number of species on the planet is much greater than the various “kinds” of animals Adam had to name. The biblical created “kinds” (מִין, min) are not equivalent to our modern “species.” Scripture implies that the animals were to reproduce according to their kind. Since animals within a family, in our modern classification system, can often mate and produce offspring, many creationists think that kind is roughly equivalent to the family level. For example, dogs (Canis familiaris), wolves (Canis lupus), coyotes (Canis latrans), jackals (Canis aureus), and dingoes (Canis dingo) are all considered to be distinct species according to modern taxonomy, but they are all part of the dog family Canidae, which is likely equivalent to the original dog “kind.”1 So Adam would have simply needed to name the dog kind, and not all of the various species of dogs that have developed since creation. The same would be true for the cattle, birds of the air, and every beast of the field.

A recent Answers Research Journal article described 137 “kinds” of mammals, and the author estimated there may have been approximately 350 mammal kinds that went on the Ark. Assuming that no mammals went extinct prior to the Flood, this would be the same number of the original mammals Adam had to name (he did not need to name marine mammals), which equals less than eight percent of the number of mammals you cited. As mentioned in my book chapter, “it has been demonstrated that Adam could have easily named each of these [kinds of] creatures in less than four hours, while taking a five-minute break every hour.” So far this is the only objection you have given that requires any substantial amount of time. Remember also, Adam was perfect at this time, so he did not suffer from any debilitating effects of the Fall, and likely had much greater mental abilities than we do.

Adam has a sleep (no wonder)

The text does not imply that Adam was tired due to naming the animals. Instead, it tells us that “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam” (Genesis 2:21). How much time is required for a God-induced deep sleep? Depending on the drug used, a dental surgeon can put a patient to sleep in ten seconds or less to extract his wisdom teeth. Did God need more time than that to put Adam to sleep? But furthermore, of the seven occurrences of the term translated as “deep sleep” (תַּרְדֵּמָה, tardemah) in Scripture, none of the instances require anything longer than how long a person regularly sleeps at night, and it can even be shorter (Genesis 15:12; 1 Samuel 26:12; Job 4:13; 33:15; Proverbs 19:15; Isaiah 29:10). The intensity or quality of the sleep is in focus rather than the length of sleep. So the amount of time that passed here could have been as short as a second to no more than a couple of hours, which is still well within the limits of a single day even with all the other things happening on Day Six.

God takes a rib and makes Eve

Of course this would have happened during the sleep described above. So let’s be very liberal here and assume that Adam’s nap lasted six hours. Along with the four hours to name the animals and a few minutes for the other occurrences, we are about ten hours into Day Six so far. But on what biblical or logical grounds should we assume that God took anything more than a few seconds to supernaturally make Eve? The text emphasizes the part of Adam from which Eve was made, not how long it took. Eve was made from Adam’s rib, taken from his side, and she was to be his loving companion and helpmeet.

Adam wakes up and says at last bone of my bone etc

It would not take long at all for Adam to wake up, see Eve, and make this declaration. Less than a minute would more than suffice.

Why did Adam say “at last”

This is also addressed in my book chapter where the point was made that the phrase “at last” does not necessarily denote a long period of time. “For example, many of us have experienced a hard day at work before. When 5:00 p.m. rolls around we sigh and say, ‘At last!’ In no way does this mean that we worked more than 24 hours.” Since Adam had presumably spent a few hours naming animals (and they came in pairs, male and female) and was subsequently put into a deep sleep by God, it is understandable why he was excited to see one of his own kind. And I’m sure she was absolutely beautiful. It would be surprising if he wasn’t instantly poetic at that point.

How did the fumbling, human Adam name so many animals so fast?

Why would Adam have been “fumbling” at this point? He was created without sin and came “pre-programmed” with language and vocabulary by the infinitely wise Creator. Since he didn’t need to name as many animals as you think (see above) it would not have been difficult for a man untainted by sin to accomplish this task that God set out for him.

Why did God force a brand new child to do it in one day? (Where's the care)

Who better to perform the tasks assigned to him than someone created specifically for the task (Genesis 2:15)? According to Genesis 1 and 2, Adam was not a child; he was created as a fully grown and perfectly functioning man, complete with the ability to reason, tend the garden, name the animals, and obey God’s command to procreate (“multiply and fill the earth”). Nor would he have been tired or sore from days or years of work at the time when God assigned his tasks, so he would have been perfectly suited to do the work. I cannot think of a more qualified candidate, which is a good thing since there weren’t any other candidates at that time—he was the only human until Eve was made later that same day.

How is it that we have annual ice core samples over 300,000 years old

That’s quite a shift in focus, but the simple answer is that we don’t have “annual ice core samples over 300,000 years old” (emphasis added). We do have ice core samples that show tens of thousands of layers, most of which aren’t visible, physical layers but are interpreted from chemical and isotope analyses. So to interpret these as annual layers is demonstrably fallacious, given that individual layers are observed to be formed by single storms lasting only several days. We have published several lay-level and technical articles dealing with this issue.

I trust God's inerrant Word in the original Hebrew, I don't trust your interpretation out of the various meanings for the word “YOM”

We wouldn’t want you to believe in a young earth because we say so. Search God’s Word for yourself. We want people to follow the example of the Jews in Berea in this regard—they searched the Scriptures daily to make sure that what Paul taught them lined up with the Old Testament (Acts 17:11). Compare what we teach with the Word of God, and if you find any errors, please let us know so we can correct them. Look at the various Hebrew lexicons to see how the word yom is used in various contexts and compare them to the arguments for literal days in this layman’s level article, this more technical article, and our in-depth biblical defense of young-earth creation, Coming to Grips with Genesis.

I would add that even in English, it is clear what is meant by yom, particularly in historical narrative passages when it is used with a number, with “evening” and “morning,” or with the word “night.” However, since Jesus (Mark 10:6), Paul (Romans 1:20), Moses (Exodus 20:11), and others in Scripture interpreted Genesis as teaching a young earth, then it behooves us to do the same.

Inserting millions of years into the text creates numerous theological problems. It necessarily places death, suffering, bloodshed, and disease in the world for millions of years before man’s sin, thus making God immediately responsible for all of these terrible things, and it would mean that He called them all “very good” (Genesis 1:31). It would mean that, contrary to what Jesus said, Adam and Eve were not created “at the beginning” but actually near the end of the timeline. Also, to be consistent, you would also need to reinterpret Genesis 6–9 to make these chapters speak of a regional or local flood rather than a global one.

concerned 40 year believer

We are glad that you profess faith in Jesus Christ, and would encourage you to trust in all He has revealed in His Word. If the Bible plainly teaches that God made everything in six normal-length days approximately 6,000 years ago, then that is what He did, regardless of what the majority of modern scientists claim, particularly those doing historical (origins) science. God was there, and the scientists weren’t. He knows all things, and they don’t. He cannot lie or be mistaken, and they can (and often do or are). He has told us what He did in the beginning, while they must form hypotheses about the unobservable past based on incomplete information and a fatally flawed worldview. Contrary to popular belief, operational (observational) science is perfectly consistent with the Bible.

To me, the choice is clear because God is fully capable of revealing His works to us through His Word in a way that we can understand. He made everything in six normal-length days about 6,000 years ago, just like His Word reveals.

Sincerely,
Tim Chaffey, AiG–U.S.

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Footnotes

  1. Some taxonomists classify dingoes as a subspecies of Canis familiaris Back