Were the Days in Genesis 1 Literal Days?

The meaning of “day” in Genesis 1 has been debated at least since the “theory” of evolution was first popularized by Darwin.  There are many interpretations of the meaning of “day,” varying from a literal 24-hour interpretation, to the “Day-Age” theory that assigns indeterminate periods (“ages”) of time to each “day.”

Which interpretation is correct? To answer this, we must realize  that there are two ways of approaching scripture. The first is to let scripture speak for itself, using other scriptures to help clarify the intent and meaning of a passage. This is termed “exegesis.”

“Eisegesis” is when the reader allows extra-biblical influences in his interpretation of the text. Considering this, we need to realize that most of the interpretations(1) of the days of Genesis are rooted in a presupposition of “billions of years,” that comes from an “evolutionized” mindset. These other “interpretations” come from the attempts of Bible “scholars” to reconcile the billions of years of evolutionary theory with the Biblical account. When this happens,
the Bible is “cut and pasted”(2) and its authoritative inerrancy is questioned. People with these “interpretations” may not realize that evolutionism is an atheistic, anti-Bible philosophy that historically has been propagated by “God-haters” to “kill God” and destroy the Bible.

In reality then, those interpretations oppose God and His Word.(3)  To answer the original question, using Biblical exegesis, we can see that the days of creation in Genesis 1 are literal, 24-hour days. Yes, the word “day” as used in some Bible passages(4) can mean something other than an ordinary day. But, in Genesis 1, “day” means an ordinary 24-hour day.

This is true because(5): 1) It is the most straight-forward, plain reading of the text.(6) 2) Other passages indicate that the days must be literal days.(7) 3) Jesus and the Apostles believed in a literal history of Genesis.(8)  We need to
realize that fundamentally, this issue is not about the length of the days of Genesis 1, but about the infallibility and authority of the Bible.

We as Christians must carefully handle all of God’s Word!(9)

For a more complete answer to this question, read “Six Days or Millions of Years” by Ken Ham, available through our website.


1 i.e. the “Day-Age” Theory, the “Progressive Creation” Theory, the “Gap” theory, the
“Framework” hypothesis, etc.
2 Read Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18 – 19 for a sober warning against altering
God’s holy and inerrant Word.
3 Read Matthew 12:30; Romans 3:4
4 Genesis 8:21, 22 (daylight part of a literal day); Deuteronomy 32:7, 8 (a past era of
time), Isaiah 13:9 (a future age).
5 There are many other reasons besides these three for why literal “days” of creation is
the best interpretation.
6 The is called the “historical-grammatical” approach to scriptural studies.
7 i.e. Exodus 20:9 – 11, 31:15 – 18, 32:15, 16; Deuteronomy 10:4 among others.
8 i.e. Matthew 19:1, 4, 5; Matthew 24:35 – 39; Romans 5:12, 14, 17; 1 Cor 15:45, 46; 1
Peter 3:20, 21; 2 Peter 2:4, 5
9 2 Timothy 2:15


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