Were the six days of creation literal days of twenty-four hours each?
<ANSWER>–The word “day” as used in the Scriptures, signifies a fixed period of time. We read of a forty year day; “the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (`Heb. 3:8,9`.) Again, we have the Scriptural statement that “One day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” (`2 Pet. 3:8`.) A year is frequently spoken of as a day; as, “I have appointed thee each a day for a year.” (`Eze. 4:6`.) Furthermore the entire Gospel Age is called “The day of salvation.” –`2 Cor. 6:2`. When considering the statements of Genesis respecting the six creative Days or periods, or epochs, we should not limit our thoughts to a twenty-four hour day, but examine the subject and see what period of time is signified. Doing this, we find that a twenty-four hour day could not be meant, for the sun did not appear until the fourth of these creative days; hence, in the first three of these creative days there could have been no twenty-four-hour-day period such as we now note. We would not, however, go to the opposite extreme and join with so-called Scientists in their claim that there were millions of years elapsing in the creative period. We find satisfactory evidence in the Scriptures, that one of these creative “days” was a period of seven thousand years and, hence that the entire creative week would be 7,000 x 7 = 49,000 years. And although it is, we believe, quite reasonable ample for the work represented as being accomplished therein–in ordering and filling of the earth, already in existence.
Were there two works of creation as narrated in the first and second chapters of Genesis, (`Gen 1` and `Gen 2`)or are these simply two accounts of the same works of creation? (E.M.)
<ANSWER>–The first and second chapters of the book of Genesis are wrongly divided. There are two accounts of the work of creation and the division of the chapters should show this and be in harmony with divisions contained in the narrative. The first account ends with the third verse of the second chapter, and the second account begins with the fourth verse of the second chapter. The first account relates to the epochal division of the work as arranged by the Lord. The second account is a commentary on the first, explanatory of details, “These are the generations,” or developments, of the heavens and the earth and their creatures, from a time before there was any plant or herb. The first and principal account gives the word “God” when speaking of the Creator, and the second, or commentary account points out that it was Jehovah God who did the entire work–“in the day” that He made the heavens and the earth–thus grasping the whole as one larger epoch day, including the work of the six already enumerated.
Please give the Scripture evidence for the statement that the seventh creative “day” is a period of 7,000 years (Questioner.) Harmonize with the fourth commandment. (R.M.)
<ANSWER>–The Scriptural evidence that this is a period of 7,000 years is clear. “God rested (from His work of creation) on the seventh day.” When `Psalm 95` was written God was still resting; nor had any change taken place when the Epistle to the `Hebrews was written, for there (ch. 4`.) is held out to the Church the offer of sharing in God’s rest. Even when the Kingdom of Heaven is established God’s rest continues, for the work of the Kingdom is committed into the hands of the Son. At the close of that reign of 1,000 years (`Rev. 20`) the Son will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father, “That God may be all in all.” Since there are about 6,000 years from the creation to the second coming of Christ, and 1,000 years of Christ’s Presence, it follows that God’s day of rest is about 7,000 years long. During His long “day” God has not been entirely idle, but has done such Sabbath-day works as have in His wisdom been deemed works of necessity. The work of restoring the human race from its degradation–during the last part of that day will also be Sabbath work. Like the ox or ass, it has fallen into a pit, and God has made provision for its restoration. The fourth commandment does not say that God worked six days of twenty-four hours and then rested the other twenty-four. The Jewish Sabbath and its system of Sabbaths are types of the greater Sabbath–the heavenly.
Please explain how God rested on the 7th creative day.
Jehovah God rested his work of creation, ceased to prosecute it, because in his wisdom he foresaw that his designs could best be executed by another means. God saw best to permit his creature Adam to exercise his free will and fall under temptation into sin and its legitimate penalty, death–including a long period, 6,000 years of dying and battling, as a convict, with evil environment. <47> God saw best to permit him thus as a convict to do a part of the subduing of the earth; that to bring it as a whole toward its foretold Paradisaic condition would be profitable to man under the circumstances; that it would be expedient that man realize the principles underlying divine righteousness and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and be thus prepared for the grace to be brought to the world in due time.
However, one of the chief reasons for Jehovah’s cessation of the creative work undoubtedly was that it might be accomplished by another–by his Only Begotten–in a manner that would not only glorify the Son, but glorify the Father also, by displaying the perfections of the Divine attributes as no other course could do. This was by the giving of his Son to be man’s redeemer–an exhibition not only of Divine Justice, which could by no means violate the decree that “the wages of sin is death,” but which simultaneously illustrated Divine Love–compassion for his fallen creatures to the extent of the death of his Son on man’s behalf. Divine Wisdom and Power will also ultimately be exhibited in every feature of the arrangement when completed.
It may be suggested that for the Father to desist from the perfecting of the creative plan in order that the Son might do this work during the Millennium, by processes of restitution, would be no different from the previous creative operations, all of which were of the Father and by the Son– without whom was not anything made that was made. But we answer, no. The relationship of the Son to the work of restitution, with which this Seventh Epoch-Day will close and bring terrestrial perfection, will be wholly different from any of his previous works. In all the previous creations the Son simply acted for Jehovah, using powers and energies not in any sense his own; but in this grand work to come he will be using a power and authority that are his own–which cost him 34 years of humiliation, culminating in his crucifixion. By that transaction, which the Father’s wisdom and love planned for him, he “bought” the world, bought Father Adam and all his progeny, and his estate– the earth–with all his title to it as its monarch “in the likeness of God.” The Father delighted to honor the “First Begotten,” and therefore planned it thus, and rested, or ceased from creative processes, that the Son might thus honor him and be honored by him.
God rested, not in the sense of recuperating from weariness, but in the sense of ceasing to create. He beheld the ruin and falls of his noblest earthly creation through sin, yet put forth no power to stay the course of the death sentence and started no restitution procedures. Indeed, by the law which he imposed, he precluded any opportunity for his exercise of mercy and clemency toward Adam and his race, except through a ransomed. The penalty being death, and that without limit–everlasting death, “everlasting destruction” –and it being impossible for God to lie, impossible for the Supreme Judge of the universe to reverse his own righteous decree, it was thus rendered impossible for the Creator to become directly the restorer of the race, or in any sense or degree to continue his creative work in the condemned man or in his estate, the earth.