How Long was a Day of Creation

As if it really mattered

TEXT Have you ever considered just exactly how long were the creation days that Mosheh (Moses) describes in the book of B'ereshiyth (Genesis)? This has been a question debated throughout the centuries, and it has caused division among those who would follow our Almighty Creator. However, this truly is a question that has been answered in scripture, in our Creator's own Word. This truth only becomes evident when we are willing to open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts while we study scripture so that we may see and know the length of a day of creation that Yahuwah has revealed to us.

Let us now with open eyes, minds, and hearts consider each of the different beliefs surrounding how long a day of creation was.

The 24 Hour Creation Day
Many hold the belief that each creation day was a literal 24-hour day, and they contend that scripture substantiates this. This is called by some the Young Earth Theory, which claims that the earth, and all creation is around 6,000 years old.

One person who strongly believes this to be true is Russell Grigg. He presents his evidence from scripture claiming proof in his article titled "How long were the days of Genesis 1?" He writes:

    Meaning of yom
    When Moses, under the inspiration of God, compiled the account of creation in Genesis 1, he used the Hebrew word yom for 'day'. He combined yom with numbers ('first day', 'second day', 'third day', etc.) and with the words 'evening and morning', and the first time he employed it he carefully defined the meaning of yom (used in this way) as being one night/day cycle (Genesis 1:5). Thereafter, throughout the Bible, yom used in this way always refers to a normal 24–hour day. There is thus a prima facie case that, when God used the word yom in this way, He intended to convey that the days of creation were 24 hours long.
    Some Hebrew 'time' words
    There are several Hebrew words which refer to a long period of time. These include qedem which is the main one–word term for 'ancient' and is sometimes translated 'of old'; olam means 'everlasting' or 'eternity' and is translated 'perpetual', 'of old' or 'for ever'; dor means 'a revolution of time' or 'an age' and is sometimes translated 'generations'; tamid means 'continually' or 'for ever'; ad means 'unlimited time' or 'for ever'; orek when used with yom is translated 'length of days'; shanah means 'a year' or 'a revolution of time' (from the change of seasons); netsach means 'for ever'. Words for a shorter time span include eth (a general term for time); and moed, meaning 'seasons' or 'festivals.'

Others who would challenge the Young Earth Theory claim that the creation day was longer. Some say that, "to Yahuwah a day is like a thousand years," and they give scriptural evidence for this as well, so let us now look evidence for a Long Creation Day.

The Long Creation Day
In the article titled "Biblical Evidence for Long Creation Days" found on his web site, Rich Deem has this to say:

    The age of the earth and the universe is no longer disputed among most scientists. Science tells us the earth is ~4.5 x 109 years old. The universe is ~14 x 109 years old. There have been several Christian scientists who have attempted to propose theories and find "scientific" evidence that the earth is only 6,000 years old. All "evidence" for a recent creation of the earth is flawed in some way...

Literal translations of the Hebrew word, yom, like our English word "day," can refer to a 24 hour day, sunrise to sunset (12 hours), or a long, unspecified period of time (as in "the day of the dinosaurs"). The Hebrew word ereb, translated evening also means "sunset," "night" or "ending of the day." The Hebrew word boqer, translated morning, also means "sunrise," "coming of light," "beginning of the day," or "dawning," with possible metaphoric usage. Our English expression: "The dawning of an age" serves to illustrate this point. This expression in Hebrew could use the word, boqer, for dawning, which, in Genesis 1, is often translated morning.

    Do all the instances of "morning" and evening" refer to a literal period of time? Here is an example from Moses: In the morning it [grass] flourishes, and sprouts anew; Toward evening it fades, and withers away. (Psalm 90:6).

    This verse refers to the life cycle of grass (compared to the short life span of humans). Obviously, the grass does not grow up in one morning and die by the same evening. The period of time refers to its birth (morning) and its death (evening) at least several weeks (if not months) later.

Two more scripture verses which are used to show that a "day" in scripture can be longer than a 24-hour period are:

    Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in your eyes are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.

    2 Keph 3:8 Moreover, beloved, do not be ignorant of this one thing, because only one day with the Master is as a thousand years and a thousand years as only one day.


For us to determine which is the correct view on the length of the creation day, we must carefully consider several Ibriy (Hebrew) words. To aid us in this effort, we shall use Strong's Exhaustive Bible Concordance that provides numbers and definitions for the Ibriy words used in scripture. The first Ibriy word we need to consider is yom H3117 in B'ereshiyth 1:5 "And Elohiym called the light day H3117 and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were day H3117 one H259."

    Strong's Definition of H3117 - ~Ay yom {yowm}:
    From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term).

So we have learned that the Ibriy word yom H3117 is not only used literally meaning a period from sunrise to sunset, and a time period of 24 hours from one sunset to the next, but it is also used figuratively, as a space of time. When used figuratively, yom is always defined by an associated term either preceding or succeeding it.

Now let us consider the Ibriy word for one.

    Strong's Definition of H259 - dx'a, 'echad {ekh-awd'}
    A numeral from H258; properly united, that is, one; or (as an ordinal) first.

The Correct Length of the Creation Day
It all boils down to the correct definition of the Ibriy word yom, it is at the heart of the contention. Is Russell Grigg correct in saying that Yahuwah combined yom with numbers ('first day,' 'second day,' 'third day,' etc.), or is Rich Deem correct stating that the word yom is a long, unspecified period of time?

The answer lies in the sentence structure. Russell Grigg states that Yahuwah combined yom with numbers 'first day,' 'second day,' 'third day,' however, he has erroneously mistaken those words for numbers, instead of as associated terms defining the placement of the sequence of events.

In B'ereshiyth 1:5, the associated term used in conjunction with the Ibriy word yom, to determine if yom is meant to be taken literally or figuratively, is the word: “one” H259. We can deduce that the Ibriy word for day, yom H3117 was meant to be figurative, by examining the other scripture verses detailing the subsequent days of creation for any associated terms they may contain..

    Ber 1:8 And Elohiym H430 called H7121 the expanse H7549 sky H8064. And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the second H8145 day H3117.

    Strong's Definition of H8145 - ynIve sheniy {shay-nee'}
    From H8138; properly double, that is, second; also adverbially again: - again, either [of them], (an-) other, second (time).

So we see in B'ereshiyth 1:8 an associated term used in conjunction with the word day H3117, it is the word second H8145. This indicates to us that the word day H3117, is truly not being used literally meaning from sunrise to sunset, or a 24 hour period from one sunset to the next, but it is in fact being used figuratively. It now becomes clear that the Ibriy word one H259 in B'ereshiyth 1:5, is not referring to a 24 hour period of time, but rather to a First period of time.

To confirm this, let us look at the remaining verses regarding the days of creation.

  • Ber 1:8 And Elohiym H430 called H7121 the expanse H7549 sky H8064. And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the second H8145 day H3117.
  • Ber 1:13 And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the third H7992 day H3117.
  • Ber 1:19 And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the fourth H7243 day H3117.
  • Ber 1:23 And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the fifth H2549 day H3117.
  • Ber 1:31 And Elohiym H430 saw H7200 everything that H834 He had made H6213 and, behold, it was exceedlingly H3966 good H2896. And the evening H6153 and the morning H1242 were the sixth H8345 day H3117.
  • Ber 2:2 And on the seventh H7637 day H3117 Elohiym H430 finished H3615 His work H4399 that He had done H6213 and He rested H7673 on the seventh H7637 day H3117 from all His work H4399 that He had done H6213.

When we study all of the verses together, putting them in context, it becomes crystal clear that each of the verses contains an associated term used in conjunction with the word day H3117. And that the associated term is used explicitly to describe the placement of the events that occurred, and not the length of time in which they occurred.

In examining the arrangement of the words in B'ereshiyth 1:5, if we were to move the associated term in front of the word day H3117 to provide clarity, it would read as follows: Ber 1:5 "And Elohiym called the light day and the darkness He called nigh. And the evening and the morning were one H259 day H3117."

Reading the verse as such, when read in context with the other creation day verses, it removes all doubt about the Ibriy word: one H259 in B'ereshiyth 1:5, it simply means: First, and it is not a number indicating a 24 hour time period.

  • Ber 1:5    =  FIRST
  • Ber 1:8    =  SECOND
  • Ber 1:13  =  THIRD
  • Ber 1:19  =  FOURTH
  • Ber 1:23  =  FIFTH
  • Ber 1:31  =  SIXTH
  • Ber 2:2    =  SEVENTH

In Conclusion
So just how long did each day of creation take? Scripture does not reveal that to us.

However, through careful study of scripture we can clearly see that the days of creation, as described in the book of B'ereshiyth, were never meant to be thought of as a literally 24-hour period of time. Scripture also gives us a clear indication that the creation day was not a literal time period of one thousand years.

Something that most researchers on this subject overlook is that the sun and the moon were not placed until the fourth day (Ber 1:14-19). The sun along with the rotation of the earth is what gives us a 24-hour day/night cycle.

Then we find this in the book of Psalms chapter 90 verse 4.

    Psa 90:4 For a thousand years in your eyes are like yesterday when it is past and like a watch in the night.

On first reading Psalms 90:4 seems to agree completely with 2 Keph (Peter) 3:8, in saying that a day to Yahuwah is as a thousand years and a thousand years as only one day. As we see the word yesterday and can easily equate that to a day. However, upon closer examination, we note the phrase "like a watch in the night". In this verse the phrase "like a watch in the night" is also describing a length of time, just as is the use of the word yesterday in the verse. Now a "watch in the night" was a period of time lasting around three hours, that was the assigned amount of time for those men who were to be on night watch guard duty. So we see that in Psalms 90:4, that a period of a thousand years is not only as one day, but as a period of three hours to Yahuwah. Obliviously we are not to take the statement literal, but rather it is figuratively speaking to express to us that time is of no consequence to Yahuwah.

We encourage any and all questions you may have on this topic, or surrounding our Almighty Father Yahuwah's name or the commandments He has given us. If you do have more questions or would like to further discuss how to get into and stay in the body of Yahushua the Anointed, please feel free to contact any of us.

Lastly it is my sincere hope and desire that Yahuwah call you to grow closer to Him, so that you may find salvation and eternal life through His son Yahushua.

Brother Craig Timmreck
http://www.considerthis.net