While reading, the concept of time stuck out to me. Were the days of Creation literal or figurative? How did people live to be so old?
In Genesis 1, God created the Heavens and the Earth and all things pertaining to in six days and rested on the seventh day. Were these days of creation meant literally or figuratively?
There are many opinions on the time frame of Creation. Two of the most common opinions are Old-world proponents (modern science) and Young- world proponents (Biblical literalism).
According to Old- world proponents (modern science), the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. This is calculated on fossil records and carbon-dating. This view believes that the Earth was not created in six literal days but over billions of years.
- Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jewish physicist, argues that creation day one was 24 hours long by the cosmic clock, but eight billion years long as we count time today. Day 2 would have been four billion years, and day three only two billion years. Day 6 would have been only 250 million years long.
According to Young-world proponents (Biblical literalism), the Earth is around 6,000 years old. This is calculated by the ages of the characters in Chapter 5 of Genesis. This view believes that God created the Earth in six literal days and rested on the seventh.
- Everywhere else in the Old Testament, when the Hebrew word for “day” (yom) appears with “evening” or “morning” or is modified by a number (e.g., “sixth day” or “five days”), it always means a 24-hour day.
I have a conflicting view on Creation. I believe science has dated fossils and rock to be billions of years old. I also believe God created the Heavens and the Earth. I do not know if God created everything in six literal days, but He could have. It is believed that Moses, the author, did not write Genesis until the Israelites were in the wilderness for 40 years. Moses could have used a time frame that the Israelite people were accustomed to in his account of Creation.
Adam lived to be 930 years old. Seth was 912. Methuselah died at 969. Noah lived to be 950. How did these patriarchs live to be so old?
There are a few different theories on why people lived well past today’s life expectancy.
- Perfect DNA: God created Adam and Eve to be perfect. This would include their DNA. The human genetic code had developed few defects during the first generations. As time progressed, genes mutated causing life spans to be shorter.
- Canopy of Water: Genesis mentions the water above the expanse, a canopy of water that surrounded the earth. This would have created a greenhouse effect and would have blocked much of the radiation. Ideal living conditions would have been created from this water canopy. During the account of the Flood, the water canopy was poured out on the earth, ending the ideal living conditions.
- Age was calculated differently: Some people argue that age was calculated differently than today. Before the Flood, humans did not use a calendar like we use today. They used the cycles of the moon. Each cycle of the moon could have been a “year”.
I believe all three theories work together. God created Adam and Eve to be perfect. This would include their DNA. When the Flood began, there was a vapor canopy that surrounded the Earth. We think of age as a 12 month calendar year. The people in Genesis did not.