Over the past 200 years, people have tried to find a way to squeeze millions of years of history into the Bible. The main focus has been to question the meaning of ‘day’ in Genesis 1, yet interestingly, they never seem to question the meaning of ‘day’ anywhere else in the Bible.
James Stambaugh, formerly with the Institute for Creation Research, wrote an excellent treatise on the Hebrew word ‘yom’ and its use in Genesis 1. I highly recommend you take the time to read it as I would not even attempt to improve on his work.
Yet in all of the creation literature, I do not ever recall seeing anyone writing about God’s covenant with day and night, which I believe is one of the best evidences from Scripture to support a literal six 24 hours days of creation.
During the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the people of Israel were questioning God’s promise to keep a descendant of David on the throne. God responds in Jeremiah 33:20-26:
Thus says the LORD: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”
The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The LORD has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. Thus says the LORD: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”
God says that he has a covenant with day and night to come at their appointed times in verses 20 and 25.
This forces the question of when did God make his covenant with day and night to come at their appointed times?
When we look in Scripture where God the Father, God the Son or one of God’s appointed angels are involved in the naming or renaming of anyone or anything, it is always done so in connection with a covenant.
- Genesis 17:1-14 – God makes a covenant with Abram to make him the father of many nations (v.4) and as part of the covenant, changes Abram’s name to Abraham (v. 5). God continues on to say that the covenant will also be with Abraham’s seed and their generations for an everlasting covenant (v. 7). Circumcision also becomes a sign of the covenant (v. 10-14).
- Genesis 17:15-16 – As part of God’s covenant with Abram, he includes Sarai and changes her name to Sarah and promises to make her the mother of many nations.
- Genesis 32:24-29 – God the Son wrestles with Jacob (v 25) and changes his name to Israel (v. 28) when he tells him that he would prevail over men, which was also a reminder of the covenant that had been made with his grandfather Abraham.
- Matthew 1:19-21 – Joseph was contemplating ‘putting Mary away’ or divorcing her because she was with child. Then the Angle of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to fear not and to take Mary as his wife and the child she carried was conceived by the Holy Ghost and that he was to call the child Jesus for he shall save his people. This was the fulfillment of the covenant God made with Eve back in Genesis 3:15 of her seed bruising the head of the Serpent which was also the covenant of the Messiah. Joseph fully understood the implications of what the Angel of the Lord told him.
- Matthew 16:17-19 – After Simon answers Jesus that he is the Christ, Jesus addresses him as Simon, son of Jonah and then says that he is Peter for on this rock he will build his church. This was Christ’s covenant with the church and the permanency of the church for the gates of hell shall not overcome it.
Based on the examples we have from God’s Word, the only other instances of God being involved in the naming of anything or anyone occurs in Genesis 1, where God personally named ‘day’, ‘night’ ‘firmament or heaven’, ‘earth or land’ and ‘seas’. Thus, the only possible time when God could have made his covenant with day and night to come at their appointed time was on Day 1 of Creation when he created and named them. There is no other place in Scripture where this could have possibly happened.
Not all of God’s covenants involved the naming or re-naming of people or things, but whenever the naming did occur, it was always associated with a covenant. And there can be no doubt that God is a God of covenants starting from the very beginning.
Why did God use his covenant with day and night in his response to the Israelites?
Of all covenants that God could have used to demonstrate the permanency of his covenants, he chose the one that the Israelites fully understood. It also had to be one that could not be broken from the time it had been made. Therefore, the Jewish people had to have known about God’s covenant with day and night to come at their appointed times and when this covenant was made on Day 1 of Creation.
An interesting side note is when God repeated that he had a covenant with day and night to come at their appointed times in verse 25, he also included his ‘fixed laws with heaven and earth.’ As God created the universe and everything it contains, he obviously created a number of set laws that appear to be fixed. There are laws of information, chemistry, physics, energy, biology to name a few. It seems that God included these fixed laws of heaven and earth in his response to Jeremiah as if to add an exclamation point to his statement.
With God’s response to Jeremiah, coupled with his use of terminology in Genesis 1 and Exodus 20 (the 10 Commandments), I find it difficult for anyone reading the Bible to believe in millions of years unless they bring man’s flawed assumptions with them and use them to interpret the Bible instead of relying on what God us he did.