Were the Genesis Creation Days Literal, Long, or Literary?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Creation Answer Book (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012)
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There are three dominant schools of thought within evangelical Christianity regarding the Genesis days of creation.

First, the popular twenty-four-hour v iew posits that God created the heavens and the earth in six sequential, literal days. A majority in this camp view the universe to be approximately six thousand years old and consider all death, including animal death, to be a direct function of Adam’s fall.

Furthermore, the day-age perspective suggests that God created the heavens and the earth in six long, sequential “days”—with each “day” totaling billions of years. In contrast to the twenty-four-hour perspective, the day-age view maintains that human and animal suffering and death are the result of God’s “very good” creation prior to Adam’s fall into a life of perpetual sin terminated by death.

Finally, the framework perspective holds that the seven days of creation are nonliteral and nonsequential but nonetheless historical. In concert with the day-age perspective, the framework perspective views animal death before the fall as consistent with the goodness of God’s creation, and believes that the age question is settled by natural revelation (the book of nature*) rather than by special revelation (the Bible).

In my view, the literary-framework interpretation most closely corresponds to reality—though I cannot abide animal death prior to the fall as consistent with a “very good” creation (see “Could Carnivores and Catastrophes Have Existed Prior to the Fall?” on page 27).

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and
the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he
rested on the seventh day.

Exodus 20:11

 


For further study, see The Genesis Debate: Three Views on the Days of Creation, ed. David G. Hagopian (Mission Viejo, CA: Crux Press, 2001).

More Bible Answers with Hank

Will the Created Cosmos Be Resurrected or Annihilated?

How Can the Eternal Son of God Be the “Firstborn over All Creation”?

Will Adam and Eve Receive Brand-New Bodies in Eternity?

Do Naturalists Consider Chance the Singular Cause of Evolution?

Why Did Heliocentrism Triumph over Geocentrism?

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