Does the New Testament Prove Long Ages in Genesis?

by Ken Ham on March 14, 2023
Featured in Ken Ham Blog

Over the years, I’ve heard this same tired argument over and over again—and it’s been popping up recently in the comments posted to my social media posts—so I thought I would address it again. It goes something like this: “The days of creation can’t be ordinary days, as the Bible states that a day is like a thousand years.”

Sometimes I can’t believe Christians even try to use this argument, but it’s actually quite prevalent in the church. So, let’s start by considering the passage of Scripture this argument is alluding to: 2 Peter 3:8.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Now, let’s observe a few things about this passage.

  1. The verse states, “With the Lord one day is as a thousand years . . . .” In other words, to God one day is like a thousand years (not as a literal 1,000 years!). But most people making this argument don’t quote the rest of the verse, which states that 1,000 years is like a day! So, does that mean whenever 1,000 years is used in Scripture, it should be interpreted as one day? Of course not!
  2. The context of the 2 Peter passage concerns scoffers who reject the second coming. “Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3–4). In other words, scoffers claim things just go on and on and that Jesus is not coming back. The context is the second coming—not the creation of Genesis 1.
  3. This passage talks about the “last days,” and we’ve been in the “last days” for 2,000 years since Christ’s ministry on earth.
  4. However, the passage in 2 Peter is stating that 1,000 years might seem like a long time to us, but it’s not to God because, to God, a day is like a thousand years. And then the rest of the verse states, “and a thousand years as one day.” In other words, God is outside of time. He is not limited to natural process and time as we are. To God, whether it’s a day or a thousand years, it makes no difference, as he is outside of time.
  5. The passage then tells us why Christ hasn’t returned yet, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

So, when studied in context, it’s obvious this passage has nothing to do with defining the length of the creation days in Genesis 1.

When studied in context, it’s obvious this passage has nothing to do with defining the length of the creation days in Genesis 1.

Besides, you can’t use a passage from the New Testament (written in Greek) to define the meaning of a word from the Old Testament (written in Hebrew), such as yom (day). A Hebrew word is defined not according to the Greek, but according to the rules of Hebrew and the context in which it is used.

In Hebrew, whenever yom is qualified by “evening” or “morning” or a number, it always means an ordinary day. And this is how it’s used for each of the days in the creation week in Genesis 1.

And, anyway, if you use 2 Peter 3:8 to claim the days of creation were a thousand years each, well, a thousand years won’t help those who want the days to fit with millions (or billions) of years. But notice something else. I find most people don’t question what the word “day” (yom) means anywhere in the Old Testament . . . except Genesis 1. Now why is that? Because they’ve been impacted by the world’s idea of millions of years of earth history and are attempting to reinterpret the word “day” to fit those long ages in!

By the way, if you use 2 Peter 3:8 to insist the word yom in Genesis 1 means 1,000 years, then you need to do this everywhere else the word day (yom) is used, which makes passages about Joshua’s long day and Jonah’s three days inside big fish ridiculous, for instance.

  • Tally marks on wall
  • Jonah in the fish, but for how long?

Actually, Psalm 90:4 states something similar to 2 Peter 3:8 concerning God and time, comparing a thousand years to a watch in the night (which was four hours). But it’s the same teaching that God is outside of time.

People need to stop using this totally wrong idea that the 2 Peter 3:8 passage means the days of creation can’t be ordinary days! It’s a bad interpretation of that passage and is leading others astray.

Yes, the days in Genesis were literal 24-hour days!

Learn more in this short video made for my social media:

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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