Yom of Genesis 1 — Several Views

by Norman L. Geisler

This is an appendix to The Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas Relating to Natural Science by Walter Bradley & Roger Olsen.


A. Gap Theories

1. Local Creation:  Geological Ages (G.A.) come before Gen. 1: 1, which is beginning of a local creation.

a) Geology facts.  Gives full sway to antiquity and activity of G.A.

b) Merits:  Seems to fit Gen. 2.  Tries to take both science and Bible seriously.

c) Weakness:  It cheapens Gen. 1, weakens Theism, and makes God a Local Repairman.

2. Gap Theory:  G.A. comes between Gen. 1:1, 2.  1:1 is original creation then ruination.

a) Geo.facts:  Recognizes vast time of G.A.;  fits them between Gen. 1: 1, 2.

b) Merits:  Recognizes need for G.A. and makes room for them in Bible.

c) Weakness:  Poor exegesis for Gen. 1:2 (makes "was" into "became") Chaos.  In Geo., Chaos is at beginning (pre-Cambrian) not end of series (Pliestocene).

3. Alternate Day:  G.A. comes between the twenty-four hour days of special creation alternatively.

a) Geo. facts:  Accepts both time and sequence of Geo. history.

b) Merits:  Retains twenty-four hour days, maintains Geo. time and fits progressive history of the rock record.

c) Weakness:  "Days" of Gen. I seem to be successive, and it doesnít seem to fit Exod. 20:11.

B. Exact Parallel Views (G.A. are equated with the days of Genesis).

1. Solar Days:  World and all life was created in six twenty-four hour days (144 hours).

a) Geo. facts:  Fossils are satanic deceptions, freaks of nature, or relics of Noahís Flood (most).

b) Merits:  It takes Gen. account factually and historically, and attempts to explain the fossil record.

c) Weakness: It denies bases for modem geology and interprets Gen. 1-2 over literally.

2. Age-Day:  Days of Gen. are eras that correspond to the geological record.

a) Geo. facts:  Fully accepts long time span and the sequence of Geo. history.

b) Merits:  It explains the sequence as well as the time in Geo. and Genesis.

c) Weakness:  Must stretch Gen. to make it fit Geo. sequence.  Makes "days" metaphorical not literal.  Weak exegesis of word "day."

3. Relative Time:  Days were twenty-four hours in another time context, but of years in our time context.

a) Geo. facts:  It accepts the findings of modern Geo. in terms of our time context.

b) Merits:  Holds to twenty-four hour days in Gen. and explains them by "relativity" to our time.

c) Weakness:  This makes Geo. eras of equal time.  Also Gen. seems to be speaking in our time context.

C. Broad Parallel Views (G.A. are broadly represented by "days" of Gen. though not in detail).

1. Vision or Pictorial: "Days" are twenty-four hours of revelation, not of creation.

a) Geo. facts:  It accepts findings of Geo., though not uncritically.

b) Merits:  Explains Geo. time and yet maintains literal interpretation of Gen. 1.

c) Weakness:  Gen. I isnít in language of vision (e.g., "I beheld").

2. Narrational Day:  "Days" are twenty-four hours of direct revelation and recording of creation story.

a) Geo. facts:  It accepts them the same as the Vision Theory does.

b) Merits:  It evades the weakness of non-vision language and still explains G.A.

c) Weakness:  Exod. 20:7 says.  "In six days God made (not told) the heavens and . . ."

3. Literary Framework:  "Day" series is used as a literary framework (as a chapter) for the great creation topics.

A) Geo. Facts:  It is willing to accept them as modern science does. literally.

B) Merits:  Accepts modern science and yet takes Bible

c) Weakness:  no real proof "days" were ever used as "chapters."

D. Non-Gap and Non-Parallel Theories

1. Concurrent or Overlapping:  God isnít bound by time.  Days could be any interval and could even be overlapping.  They are placed in series for our minds (or are in poetic form).

a) Geo. facts:  Acceptance of the time and sequence of Geo.

b) Merits:  It explains both Geo. history and antiquity by Genesis "days."

c) Weakness:  Time is relevant to man, and Gen. I is speaking to man in Manís terms.  Evidence of overlap is lacking.

2. Catastrophy (Flood) Geology:  G.A. come long after the six days as a result of Noahic Flood.

a) Geo. facts:  Reinterpreted to fit biblical 4000 plus years s.c.

b) Merits:  Takes Bible seriously.  Thinks critically about Geo. theories.

c) Weakness:  Depends on complete revision of geological science and time.  Does not adequately explain much Geo. evidence.

3. Religious-Only View:  Language of Gen. is purely religious, not scientific. it will. science.

a) Geo. facts:  Gives Geo. full freedom to prove what

b) Merits:  Resolves all conflict between Bible and

c) Weakness:  Neglects factual and historical aspects of Genesis on which many crucial doctrines are built.


A. Only one view is categorically opposed to evangelical theology, "Religious-Only" view.

B. No single view should be used as a test of evangelicalness.

C. Crucial problem is age of the earth.

D. Exegetical arguments for "twenty-four hour days" seem stronger (cf. Exod. 20:11), but are not absolute (e.g., "seventh day" is not twenty-four hours).

E. Granting long time periods (millions or billions of years) does not help evolution (Manís origin . . . p. 69).

F. Whichever view is accepted should be careful to preserve:

1. The historicity of Gen. 1-2, and

2. The historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture.

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