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The Age Of The Earth: Literal Days Or Metaphorical?

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The Great Debate

The interpretation of the days of Genesis One has for the past two thousand years been of much curiosity to Christians. Some have said it is difficult, perhaps impossible to think -let alone explain in words- what they mean. [1] It seems that the majority of Christians believe that the only way to look at the six days of creation, as literal twenty four hour days and nothing else. Unfortunately, this view has so permeated the culture that if you believe anything other than this interpretation, you are viewed as a liberal Christian who has not much regard for the Bible. Even worse, is the charge from some that you are not even a Christian at all if you do not take this view! Little do people realize, is that there are multiple views of what the days of Genesis One mean, and some of the points of these views have merit and credibility. The list below is a quick summary of four views of the creation days, including the most common “Calendar Day” view. [2]

  1. Calender-day: creation days consist of six consecutive 24-hour periods that are historical and chronological.
  2. Day-age: creation days are six consecutive long ages that are historical, sequential, and chronological.
  3. Framework: the creation week is a metaphor to narrate God’s actions in creation with days to be understood as topical rather than sequential and the durations as unspecified.
  4. Analogical-days: creation days are analogous to, but not necessarily identical to, human days, that is, broadly consecutive but of unspecified length.

We won’t go into the pros and cons for each in this article but if you’d like to do some research on these however, you can check out the Presbyterian Church In America’s website. [3] The Westminster Theological Seminary has a few things to say about these views as well. [4] I for many years was a subscriber to the “Calendar Day” view, but there were various irreconcilable facts (and false preconceived ideas on my part) within it, that I could no longer avoid. Even though I didn’t know where to go from there, I just knew that staying put and holding the fort, wasn’t an option. We’ll discuss this in a later article and analyze some of these various points and facts further, some that may even challenge your worldview.

 

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Endnotes

1. The City of God by Augustine

2. 2004 A Matter Of Days by Hugh Ross pg. 243-244

3. Report Of The Creation Study Committee
http://www.pcahistory.org/creation/report.html

4. Westminster Theological Seminary and the Days of Creation
http://www.wts.edu/about/beliefs/statements/creation.html

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