By Jack Hoehn, November 6, 2012:    Genesis 1 and 2 is not about human labor, it is about God’s labor.  God, not man, is the only functioning character of these chapters, He occupies central stage. (Everett Fox, “The Five Books of Moses”, p. 10.)  Genesis 1 is not about human work, or human days, it is about God’s work, and God’s days.  The Genesis creation story divides God’s work into 6 Heavenly Days, plus a seventh for His rest.

Man’s work, of course, can also be divided  6 days, plus a seventh for man’s rest.
Man’s days are 24 hours long.  Must God’s Days, upon which our week is modeled, also be 24 hours long?

Heavenly and Earthly Sanctuaries

Moses was shown a Heavenly Sanctuary, upon which he was instructed to model an earthly sanctuary.[1]  The earthly was a “shadow” of the heavenly things; it followed the “pattern” of the heavenly sanctuary.

Now, we know for sure that the earthly sanctuary in the wilderness has a court of 50 x 100 cubits (90 x 180 feet) , and the sanctuary was 10 x 20 cubits (18 x 36 feet).  This was Moses sanctuary; does it mean that God’s Heavenly Sanctuary was 10 x 20 cubits?  Does God’s Court have to measure 50 x 100 cubits?

You and I both suspect that the Heavenly Court and the Heavenly Sanctuary are infinitely larger than 90 x 180 or 18 x 36 feet.  The earthly sanctuary was modeled on the heavenly.  It was made after the same pattern.  But it was scaled to fit our human needs.

So the earthly week with its 6 days of labor and 7th day of rest, is patterned, modeled on God’s Creation Week.[2]  But it is scaled to fit our human needs.  As God divided His work of creation into 6 yom or Days, so he asks humans to divide their work into 6 yom or days followed by the Sabbath.

Reading Genesis Literally

When I read the Genesis story literally, it appears to me that a literal reading of the Bible requires Creation Days to be longer than 12 hour daylight days or 24 hour solar days.    This is clear especially for Creation Days 3 and 6.

Creation Day 3

First on the 3rd great Creation Day dry land appears.  Ur, Artica, Nena, Atlantica, Pangaea, or Gondwana[3] lift above the waters.   Then “God said, Let the earth sprout forth with sprouting-growth, plants that seed for the seeds, fruit trees that yield fruit, after their kind, in which is their seed upon the earth!  It was so.  The earth brought forth the sprouting-growth, plants that seed for the seed, after their kind, trees that yield fruit, in which is their seed, after their kind.  God saw that it was good.  There was setting, there was dawning: third day.”[4]

So after appearance of the continents, land drying off, how quickly can a plant sprout?  And it was not instant creation, God doesn’t say “let plants be”, it was a spoken command “let earth bring forth sprouts”!  God’s command to the earth requires days, weeks, months or years for obedience.  The “earth brought forth” plants, God watches and approves. Now if you want to read it symbolically that it all happened suddenly, not really “sprouting forth”, OK, but recognize you are not reading the text literally!

A Very Busy 6th Day

If we read Genesis 1:24-31 and 2: 4-25, about the 6th Creation Day, scripture reveals God’s following accomplishments on this one day:

a.)     God creates land animals, domestic herds.
b.)    God creates crawling things.
c.)     God creates wild animals not domesticated.
d.)    God discusses the creation of mankind with heavenly associates.
e.)    God forms Adam, vitalizes him, on the earth, outside of Eden.[5]
f.)     God then plants a garden in Eden which grows. [6]
g.)    Then God puts Adam into Eden. [7]
h.)    God Gives Adam his work and explains the Great Controversy existing outside of Eden.[8]
i.)      God next tasks Adam as a scientist with taxonomy naming “all the animals”.[9]
j.)      Adam notes the sexual dimorphism of the animals.
k.)    Adam experiences his aloneness.
l.)      God performs surgery under anesthesia.
m.)  Eve formed and vitalized as the crown of creation.
n.)    Adam wakes smitten with Eve, saying “it’s about time, here is what I’ve been missing”.[10]
o.)    God explains to the two of them dominion responsibilities for the creation.[11]
p.)    God explains botany.  Teaches them in a no killing animals world,  plants were meant to grow and then die a painless death in service to animals.[12]
q.)    The humans then figure out how to become one flesh, naked and not ashamed![13]
r.)     And all this on one 12 hour day or even 24 hour night and day?  Talk about a frantic Friday,  this would be the worst preparation day in history, to try and rush all this before sundown and the first Sabbath!

Time it for me, people.  Use your stopwatches.  I can see it taking days at least, and yes, years are quite plausible. This can NOT all happen from sunrise to sunset of a solar day.  If you read your Bible literally, with a real God working with real humans, and not just a felt board cartoon of these events, the 6th great Creation Day surely must be longer than 12 or 24 solar hours.

Dividing our work and rest into 6 x 24 hour days followed by a 7th 24 hour Sabbath is patterned after God’s Creation Week.  Our work and worship is modeled after God’s Work and Rest pattern.  But just as the earthly sanctuary and court are smaller than the Heavenly Sanctuary and Courts, there is no reason to conclude that God’s Great Creation Week was 144 solar hours long.  We need not make the Bible impossible by imposing an assumption about the length of Creation Days on it.  Listen again to our Bible.
“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.”[14]



[1]Hebrews 8:5  “… the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”
[2] Exodus 20:9-11  “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work… For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
[3] Names given to some of the landmasses in the geologic history of our planet.
[4] Genesis 1:11-13, Everett Fox translation.
[5],6,7 Genesis 2:7, Adam created before planting Eden.  Genesis 2:8, God planted garden; God then placed the human in the garden he had planted.
[8] Genesis 2:15-17. God explains that before Adam’s fall, there is a choice to know Good or Evil, and that in this new world there was a consequence known as Death to be avoided.  How long would it take to tell these stories to the new man?
[9] Genesis 2:18 announces that God clearly had a plan for introducing Adam to his mate, what follows was orchestrated.  God desired to awaken in Adam an awareness of his need for a partner.  Was this done in seconds or minutes?
[10] Rich Deem, https://www.godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis1.html#day6  “Adam’s response to Eve’s creation is also telling. Upon seeing Eve for the first time, Adam says “at last.”  This is not exactly the response one would expect from a person who had waited for less than one day. So, we must conclude that the sixth day was most certainly longer than 24 hours, and probably took at least several years from Adam’s response.”
[11] Genesis 1:28.  Unfallen humans were told they had to “subdue” the earth.  What in a perfect creation would need subduing?  Does this not suggest that inside protected Eden and outside on the rest of the earth different conditions were present?  Adventists expect geology to have no remnants of Eden, it was removed from earth.  Geology shows what was happening on earth outside of Eden.  A wild earth in conflict?  The great controversy between light and darkness?  The place where plant and animal death existed unhindered by access to the Tree of Life?
[12] Genesis 1:29, 30.  How long would it take to learn your duties as supervisor of creation?  Minutes? Hours? Days? Weeks? Months?   Do we imagine an instantaneous data transfer in milliseconds?  That’s not the way God prepared Adam for Eve.
[13] How long would this take?  Especially if only one of you had had a few minutes watching pairs of animals.  Please give these newlyweds a little time, folks.  Don’t try to trivialize this holy naked but unashamed oneness into an unlikely, unseemly, ugly rush just to preserve a not fully explored “chronology” of creation.

[14] 2 Peter 3:8, New Living Translation.[1]Hebrews 8:5  “… the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.”