If the days of creation were 24 hours long, how is it possible that so many events took place on the sixth creation day?

Email Received:

I believe in a young earth and in six literal 24-hour days of creation, just as is stated in Genesis 1. But I've always wondered how so many amazing events could have taken place on the sixth day of creation. An awful lot of things were accomplished in a very short amount of time!

Ted's Response:

Initially, let me say that I certainly agree that God created the universe and everything in it. However, I absolutely disgree with the view that all things, including the earth, were created in six solar days. I believe that, over billions of years, God created everything out of nothing. He patiently crafted the heavens and the earth, and carefully included innumerable vital and essential finely-tuned parameters, so that we could have a "very good," but not "perfect," place to live here on earth.

The debate between the "young-earth" and "old-earth" views of creation seems to revolve around the meaning of the Hebrew word yom (see yôm = "day"). Basically, I believe that the assumption that "day" in Genesis 1 must refer to a 24-hour solar day is erroneous.

Indeed, a great many time-consuming events took place on the sixth "day" of the Creation. God made or created the following, during that particular "day":

God also did these things on that sixth "day": Thus, on this one particular creative "day," God created countless numbers of animals; then created the Garden of Eden where numerous types of trees grew, in time, out of the ground; then created Adam and, ultimately, Eve. Adam, in turn, meticulously gardened, carefully studied all of the animals, prudently named the animals, and learned how to relate to Eve.

Upon seeing Eve, Adam's initial exclamation was "Happa'am," which can be translated "now at last," "now finally," or "now at length." Here are the translations, according to the New Living Translation and The Message Bibles:

"At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone! She will be called 'woman,' because she was taken out of a man." (Genesis 2:23—NLT)

Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man." (Genesis 2:23—TM)
Here, very likely, is an indication that an ample period of time (weeks, months, or even years) had passed since his own creation had taken place. After having spent a substantial amount of time tending the garden and naming the animals, he was delighted that, "at last," someone like himself finally had been made to become his helper and partner.

Adam was placed in the garden (and tended systematically to all of it, presumably as God had instructed him to do), then methodically named all of the untold quantity of livestock, birds of the air, and beasts of the field that were brought to him. We must assume that Adam performed his tasks in daylight hours—which, if done during one, single 24-hour day, would have been about half of that amount of time.

There is no biblical indication that, before Adam sinned, he executed his tasks at super-human speed, nor that he possessed phenomenal intelligence or wisdom, as some suggest in attempting to explain how he carried out the profusion of assignments and projects God had given to him, allegedly within a single solar day. In my opinion, the idea that all of these activities, by both God and Adam, would have taken place in 24 hours (or, even more implausibly, 12 hours of daylight) is so incredible that it defies logical reasoning.

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