Why 'day' means long time
Contrary to common misunderstanding, Christianity doesn't come from the Bible! The Bible comes FROM CHRISTIANITY (the life, teachings, sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).
The Bible tells the story but is not source of the story; it keeps the story from getting distorted over time.
FIVE REASONS why the word day in Genesis 1 should be understood to mean an indefinite period of time, longer than 24 hours:
- The Hebrew word for day is yom, which – like the english word 'day' – can mean either a 24 hour period or a long indefinite period of time (as, this is the day of social media) depending on the context. Understanding yom to mean a long indefinite period is compelling because it does not conflict with what we know from science.
- Genesis 2:4 references the day when God made heaven and earth, but Genesis 1 said God made them in days; therefore the use of day here must mean a long period of time, the sum of the days.
- In Genesis 2:19-20 Adam followed God's assignment to give a name to every living creature – likely more than a day's work! – and because 'no suitable helper was found' (big job), God created Eve, presumably in a following 24-hour period.
- In the Old Testament there are 18 references to 'day of the Lord' and 208 references to 'on that day.' The references usually emphasize something important happening in indefinite time rather than in narrow Jewish sundown-to-sunset time.
- In the Hebrew text for Genesis 2:14, God says that if Adam eats the forbidden fruit, he will die the same day. He ate the fruit but did not die within 24 hours; therefore day here must mean a longer period of time. [NIV is the only major translation that, erroneously, omits the word day in this verse.] It's unlikely that this refers to spiritual death because, from a 24-hour viewpoint, birth and death would have been essentially simultaneous, something that Adam could not have comprehended.
- Apparently we are still in the seventh day of Genesis 1 – much longer than 24 hours! – because all of the preceding days closed with the phrase, 'there was evening and there was morning – the [number] day,' but this seventh day remains open. Also, other portions of the Bible tell us that more ages (days) of creation (e.g., new heaven and new earth) are yet to come.
- Acertainly has power to create the world in 6 literal days, and he could create it with apparent age (as Adam), but it to do it so it unfolds so elegantly over billions of years is even more awesome. and further reduces the infitensly remote chance that it happened by.