June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
When discussing literal 24 hour days in the Genesis creation account, some will question whether 24 hours was enough time to accomplish all the things described on Day 6, the day God made land animals and man (Genesis 1:24-31 and 2:4-25). One blogger (who evidently borrowed from Kenneth Samples’ 2007 article at Reasons To Believe) made the claim that Day 6 had to be a much longer day, listing the following events of that day he correctly pulled from the text.
1. God creates the various living creatures along with wild animals and animals that become domesticated [nephesh/soulish creatures] (Genesis 1:24-25).
2. God creates Adam in the divine image (Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7).
3. God gives Adam a mandate of dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28).
4. God makes the plants available as a food source for man (Genesis 1:29-30).
5. God plants a garden and puts the man in it (Genesis 2:8).
6. God gives Adam instruction concerning obedience to God’s specific commands (Genesis 2:9, 16-17).
7. God commissions Adam to cultivate the garden (Genesis 2:15).
8. God commissions Adam to name or classify the animals (Genesis 2:19-20).
9. God declares Adam’s need for a suitable helper (Gen. 2:18, 20).
10. God induces sleep and performs surgery on Adam (Genesis 2:21).
11. God creates Eve (Genesis 2:22).
12. God ordains that Adam and Eve enter into a divinely constituted marriage relationship (Genesis 2:23-25).
On the contrary, I think one 24 hour day was more than enough time to accommodate all the events listed, and this becomes clear when we put the actual events in a day planner format. Let’s pretend God kept a day planner. This is what Day 6 might could have looked like.
6am-7am Event 1: God creates land animals. He doesn’t need more than a moment to accomplish this, but I gave him the full hour. He could have started at midnight, but let’s assume God preferred to work in the daylight.
7am-8am Event 2: God creates Adam. Again, He wouldn’t need an hour for this.
8am-8:15am Event 3: God gives Adam dominion over the animals—one directive that probably wouldn’t take more than a minute to deliver, but let’s assume there was Q&A involved.
8:15-8:30am Event 4: God says, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” This isn’t really a creation event since vegetation was created earlier. I’ve built in some extra time here too in case Adam had questions about this.
8:30am-9:30am Event 5: God planting a garden and placing Adam in it would take years if we took it to mean that God sowed seeds and cultivated a garden of massive trees, which was to be Adam’s job anyway. We know God created a mature creation, including “seed-bearing plants and trees” (Gen. 1:11) on the 3rd day, so “no plant had yet sprung up” (2:5) when Adam was in the garden. He was surrounded by fully grown vegetation from which no new plants had seeded yet. God’s “planting” of this garden was probably His creation of it 3 days prior, and His “placing” Adam in it was not likely a long journey, but His creation of Adam in or near the garden. There’s no real time-consuming “event” here, but I’ll give it an hour.
9:30am-10am Events 6 and 7: These are directives from God regarding obedience and cultivation that probably took very little time to dole out. We read them in just a few verses, but I allotted a half hour in the event that it included a walking tour to locate the tree Adam was to avoid.
10am-Noon Event 8: God charges Adam to name the few hundred created birds and large animal kinds that were likely to have existed before any natural selection would have taken place and resulted in speciation and other classifications. Adam could have easily given names to the animals, which may not have even reached 1,000 in number, that God paraded before him in a couple of hours at a leisurely pace. Notably in Gen. 2:20, Adam’s allotment of land animal and bird kinds excluded aquatic life and “creeping things” such as arthropods, probably rodents and small reptiles. Invertebrates, which currently make up 98% of currently known species, don’t qualify as birds, livestock or beasts of the field mentioned above, as well as marine vertebrates and amphibians. Proportionately we are looking at a very small number.
Noon-1PM Break for lunch
1pm-1:01pm Event 9: God “declares” that He will make a suitable helper for Adam, which He may not have even spoken to Adam. In either case, this isn’t really an “event”.
1:01-2pm Event 10: Adam takes a nap after lunch and his animal naming task. An hour is plenty of time for Adam to fall into a deep sleep, even if God didn’t sedate him, and have God perform a miraculous surgery.
2pm Events 11 and 12: Adam awakes to find Eve, whom God gives as Adam’s wife in a few verses. This probably would have only taken minutes. It’s early afternoon and we are already done with the day. This was a favorable situation for Adam as he had a honeymoon to enjoy for the evening.
All the events above seem to fit pretty well within about 8 hours. The biggest contention with fitting these events into one day is usually the perceived enormity of Adam’s animal naming task. That conclusion I believe stems from the assumption a much larger sampling of creatures than was probably available for Adam as I’ve noted above. There are of course other questions about this event that are unanswerable, such as the approach Adam took in assigning names. Was it a comprehensive study of the features and habits or each animal, or was it on a quick observation as he moved down the line or surveyed the field? I tend to think the latter makes more sense. Naming even 1,000 animals at a very generous rate of 9 seconds per animal could be done in 2 and a half hours; 5,000 in a little more than 12 hours. My day planner leaves almost 16 hours free.
Considering the above hypothetical schedule, even if animal naming or any other task on day 6 took another half day, Adam would still have a few hours left over in the day—one 24-hour day.