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The Genesis account of creation stands literally for 24 hour time periods

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/4/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,288 times Debate No: 39975
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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My second time trying this. I will say, it may be possible to convince me of your side, but currently
"In Genesis 1 (the creation story) do days represent 24 hour time periods or ages"

I will be arguing from the day age approach. Where the days are not 24 hour days, but rather long period of time, potentially millions of years. I will draw from both science and scripture, where applicable.

To define terms:
"Genesis" The first book of the Christian Bible, and Torah
"Genesis 1 (the creation story)" You must accept this as the outline for how God created the universe. This will imply that you are religious, particularly Christian.
"days" referring to the Hebrew word y"m that has been translated into day. (apparently they don't enjoy funny letters, the " is supposed to be an o with a circumflex on it)
"24 hour time period" the day that we observe on the earth due to the rotation of the earth on its axis.
"ages" long periods of time, potentially accounting for the scientific estimation of the age of the universe (estimated at 13.7 billion years old)

Your job will be to defend the young earth view that Creation occurred in 24 hour periods.
If you want to change any definitions, feel free, but this I think is a rough outline.

Please, if you are to accept this challenge, do hold to this point of view, I don't want to entertain a different argument, but I may.


I accept the debate and the terms set forth by Con. As I understand it, I will be attempting to affirm that the Creation occurred in six 24-hour periods, as recorded in Genesis 1. This view is the one I truly accept as how the universe came into being. I hope this will be a fascinating and insightful discussion for both of us!
I assume that the first round is for acceptance. 00r3d did not make this clear, so I apologize if I was incorrect in this assumption. As always, I ask the Lord's blessing on both of us and those who follow the debate so that His truth may be revealed.
Debate Round No. 1


I would never forget, just having a few other things pop up.
So lets start with the most biblical based idea. The world yom, used in Hebrew and translated into day, does not (or does not need to) refer to the day in the temporal sense. We define a day by the rotation of the earth on its axis. This day is for the most part 24 hours. There is probably a scientific way to define time, but that goes much further that i intend on going. Since the Sun did not exist until the 4th day, how is it possible for the keeping time as we know it and to have evenings and mornings.

Before I dive into science, lets just clarify this
God is good
God can not commit sin
God created creation
Therefor, when God created creation, He would have made it to tell the truth and not contradict itself.
(this is merely to set the ground work. I will assume you agree with this in some way.)
So the most visible problem is light. Light travels at 299 792 458 m / s (1). We see light coming from stars in the night. Some of these stars are as close as 4.2421 light years away (it takes light 4.2 years from its creation till arrival) while other stars are up to 13 billion light years away. (The light would appear to have been made 13 billion years ago (2) ) If God didn't create the universe to appear old, how then can we observe the light that portrays the events that occurred 13 billion years ago. Some of these stars have planets that orbit them, while others die off in large explosions. The light arriving at earth tell us of events that occurred millions of years ago.
Carbon dating is another scientific measurement that determines the age of the compound by its composition of Carbon 14 (C14). Since radioactive decay occurs at a known rate, the quantity of C14 found within the biological material should tell the age of the material. For many of the fossils that we are finding, the C14 levels have reduced to levels that indicates that it should be millions of years old. Or at a minimum more than 6-10,000 years.
One last scientific piece that i will draw on is the fossil records and sedimentary deposits. As time continues, sediments are deposited in certain areas. These will then condense and form distinct layers. These layers are capable to telling time in a sense. Their composition can be use to determine events that likely occurred. If a volcano were to erupt, a large quantity of volcanic dust would be present while a dry or wet spell would alter the compounds found. These layers can be counted to many thousands or millions of years ago 3).

Please don't just deny science or I will be sad.
If this is too much to deal with in one response, we may be able to work something out. If it is not, I am willing to counter some old earth (apparent) problems.

1. of light

PS. I probably should have opened with this, I may use your opinion in a paper I am writing for school (with your permission).


Thank you Con for posting your argument.
1) The word "yom"
Con starts off by saying that the word "yom" does not mean day in the temporal sense. While it is true that the word can take on different meanings depending on the context, it is a mistake to say that in Genesis 1, it does not refer to a literal 24-hour day.
First of all, the chapter clearly defines the days as having an evening and morning (i.e. "and the evening and the morning were the first day). I do not see how one could misconstrue those terms to refer to a longer period of time.
Next of all, examine the context with which the word "yom" is used. It is modified by a numerical article when describing the days; for example, the end of Genesis 1:5 is literally translated as "uiei-orb uiei-bqr ium achd." [1] The last two words: "day one." So we see that "yom" is modified by a number. What does this mean? Well, there are over 200 instances of the word "yom" plus a numerical article, and ALL of them refer to a 24-hour day. [2] For example, look at Genesis 8:10-11. So why, then, would this combination not refer to an ordinary day in this case? As you noted, the sun was not created until the fourth day. There WAS, however, night and day. So we see that time existed by this point, and therefore, evening and morning existed as concepts of time and were simply not yet defined by the rising and setting of the sun.

2) Starlight and time
I'm glad you brought this up! Unfortunately however, this is a very complicated topic, and providing a full explanation would require way too much space and I simply don't have it. Suffice to say, for now, that phenomena and concepts such as time dilation and cosmic local time are sufficient to explain how we can see distant starlight in a young universe. I will give you a link [3] to a good article outlining this topic. Don't be so quick to reject it, however. The Big Bang itself has a major problem with starlight as well, and many proponents of it use the same kinds of explanations that young-earth creationists do!

3) Carbon-14 dating
This method of dating is, in fact, completely ineffective. It has a lot of problems that are typically ignored by evolutionists. Perhaps the foremost of these is that the amount of C-14 in the atmosphere is assumed to always have been constant; in other words, that at least for a very long time, atmospheric C-14 has been in equilibrium.
Dr. Willard Libby, the very founder of C-14 dating, noted that the atmosphere does not appear to be in equilibrium. As a firm believer that Earth is millions of years old, he chose to ignore it and blame it on experimental error. Unfortunately for him, this problem is very real. [4] According to his own calculations, if the atmosphere started out with no C-14, it would take 30,000 years to reach equilibrium. So we see now, according to carbon dating's founder himself, that it would take around 30,000 years for the atmosphere to reach equilibrium, and that the atmosphere does not appear to be in equilibrium. Perhaps the universe is not so old, then?
Richard Dawkins himself, in The Blind Watchmaker, stated that carbon dating is "no good for the evolutionary timescale" and that it is only useful for "hundreds or a few thousand years." [5]

The Geological record- Con has essentially described how the geological record is supposed to work and then jumps right to the statement that the layers can be counted up to millions of years. I would ask him to elaborate before I argue on this point. He did not prove his statements, and the only source he provided was from Wikipedia.

Con says that if what he said is too much to deal with, we can work something out. He brought up the topic of distant starlight. That is a VERY broad topic, and I had no idea how to summarize it, so I provided a good source that explains it. I apologize if this seems to be an inappropriate way to argue, but I didn't know what else to do. If Con wishes to refute some of the points in the article, then feel free to do so. However, I understand that with the topic being so broad, he may not be able to address all of the points in one argument. I understand if this is the case.

[2] Morris, Henry M. Scientific Creationism (1974)
[5] Richard Dawkins: The Blind Watchmaker pg. 226

p.s. If you want to use my arguments in a school paper, I would be happy for you to do so.
Debate Round No. 2


I'd like to first thank you for your permission.
And, as you may expect, I did go and read the time starlight article.

Ill bring that up first as that's what came to mind first.
"Since God created the stars on Day 4, their light would leave the star on Day 4 and reach earth on Day 4 cosmic local time. Light from all galaxies would reach earth on Day 4 if we measure it according to cosmic local time. Someone might object that the light itself would experience billions of years (as the passenger on the plane experiences the two hour trip). However, according to Einstein's relativity, light does not experience the passage of time, so the trip would be instantaneous. Now, this idea may or may not be the reason that distant starlight is able to reach earth within the biblical timescale, but so far no one has been able to prove that the Bible does not use cosmic local time. So, it is an intriguing possibility." (1)

This point here starts to break down the differences between young and old. From some point of relativity, a stationary one, billions of years have passed, while from the relative point of view from the light, no or little time has passed. I guess that we need to determine from where we are determining the time that has passed. As young earth, the earth is the point of relativity since you accept that the earth and universe are only 10000 years old. I'm happy you didn't say that light could have gone faster as hat would have many implications due to Einstein's E=MC^2.
I guess we are almost out of space, but I'm curious as to where your frame of reference is in Genesis, on Earth (as I initially assumed) or outside (bordering day-age).

This leads into my counter for the first point. Where is the day evening and morning occurring? Repeating myself, the sun didn't exist at this point. So you can base the day off other evens that occur at a similar rate as the earths rotation, or as I propose, a reference point outside of the world.

I will accept your counter on Carbon dating.

As for Geological records, I will try to better explain them and the conclusion.
I will use two points, Potassium- Argon dating (K-Ar) and sedimentary deposits. Potassium(K) has a radioactive form, K40, which has a half life of 1.248"10^9 years(2). This decays into Argon(Ar) 40. This method is preformed on igneous rock that has next to no gases within. This is an assumption that you will likely target. The quantity of Ar40 found within the sample that is due to the environment would be proportional to the Ar36 found in the sample. Ar36 is not the product of radioactive decay within igneous rock. Now a quantity of Ar40 will be determined that is due to the radioactive decay of K40. You can then determine the portion of the K40 to Ar40, and an approximate age can be determined. The math is more complicated, but ages over 1 million years can be determined. Fossils found between two layers can be assumed to have been alive between these two dates.
Second, the sediment levels. This is much harder to explain and can be excused simply by a global flood, but I will try here too. So over time sediments are deposited by water. This eventually gets compressed, and layers are notable. These layers would be counter intuitive for a flood where all the plants and animals would appear in one level, and one large layer would be prominent. This is probably not sufficient of an explanation, and you can avoid it because it leads more into the extent of the flood, which I am not prepared to look into at this time.

I doubt we will have a true conclusion. I will be incapable of producing enough strong evidence, while you may be incapable of refuting every objection. That's the way it is, but I enjoy the discussion.



1) Starlight and time
Con raises the question of what frame of reference is used in Genesis. To answer this question, one must understand the concept of observed time vs. calculated time. Calculated time is the amount of time it takes the speed of light to travel a defined distance. To explain observed time, imagine that you had been present during the creation. It says that on day 4 God created the sun and the stars. So we get the impression that if we someone had been there to observe the creation, he would have seen what was happening, millions of light-years away. Of course, this implies some creation prior to day 4, perhaps before even day 1 or before time itself existed (time, by the way, is not a strictly defined quantity as some think it is). Of course, a full explanation of this is impossible due to character limits. I must therefore reference another article that will provide a much clearer explanation of what Con is asking. [1]

2) Evening and morning
My point was that since the language used in the original Hebrew indicates that the Creation occurred over 24-hour periods, evening and morning existed simply as abstract concepts and were not associated with the physical observation of the rising and setting of the sun.
Another point: remember that light and dark were created on the first day. As to Con's options that you can base the definition of a day off of the earth's rotation or a reference point outside of the world, also remember the very second verse of the Bible: "And the EARTH was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep....." So we see that the earth existed, though it had no form. Since the creation obviously occurs within the reference point of the earth, we can therefore conclude that the word "day" refers to one Earth day, or 24 hours.
This point can actually tie into the previous section. The reference point, strictly defined, is from Earth. Again, the cited article will make this clearer.

3a) Potassium-argon dating
Thank you Con for elaborating on these points. To start here, I'll go over K-Ar dating.
G.B. Dalrymple, a leading proponent of K-Ar dating, sang praises for the reliability of K-Ar dating. He said that it does not depend on a daughter isotope, since 40-Ar is inert and does not chemically combine with other elements. This would allow 40-Ar to escape a molten rock while 40-k is decaying. [2]
Dalrymple's own work contradicts his claims. He dated 26 subaerial lava flows, and 20% of them had excess argon, which flies in the face of the key assumption of K-Ar dating, which is the absence of 40-Ar in a sample. The dates he came up with expose the true "reliability" of the K-Ar method. Take a look.
Haualalai, a formation in Hawaii- has a known formation date of 1800-1801 AD, and was dated to be 1.6 million years old.
Mt. Lassen, California- formation date of 1915 AD, dated to be 0.11 million years old.
Sunset Crater, Arizona- formation date of AD 1064-1065, dated to be 0.27 million years old. [3]
So we see that rocks of a known age are dated to be much older than they should be when we use the K-Ar method. A strong testimony to the unreliability of this method.

3b) At Con's request I will not go into the details of the flood and the "one level" of strata claim he brought up, since he says he is not prepared to go into the flood at this time. If you decide you would like to discuss the flood, let me know and I will provide an explanation for the next round.

I am glad to hear that Con is enjoying the discussion. I am as well. I hope I have shown so far that being a young-earth creationist does not mean that I totally reject science and throw out anything that happens to contradict my religious beliefs. On the contrary, it is indeed possible to come to an honest, open-minded conclusion that God is indeed the Creator, and this is the conclusion I have come to in my search for the truth. In fact, the more I learn about science, the more I am convinced that God is real and is the author of Creation.
Again, I apologize if referencing an article is an inappropriate way to argue. I realize that it is impossible for Con to address all of the points from one article. Con need not worry if he cannot do this.

[2] G.B. Dalrymple, The Age of the Earth (1991, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press), p. 91.
[3] G.B. Dalrymple, Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters, Vol. 6, p:47-55 1969
Debate Round No. 3


00r3d forfeited this round.


Since 00r3d has forfeited, the debate is over. I have nothing more to post. I thank 00r3d for the opportunity to discuss this topic and pray that God blesses both of us in our searches for truth.
As the creationist in this debate, I realize that it is virtually inevitable that I will lose in the voting, regardless of whether my arguments were sufficient to refute Con's points. Regardless of the outcome, I hope the readers of this debate have enjoyed the discussion as much as I have.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Gordontrek 5 years ago
It's taking a long time. I hope Con didn't forget.....
Posted by 00r3d 5 years ago
The (or my) problems revolve primarily around the fact that it is a day. I guess i should specify that.
Posted by Ragnar 5 years ago
I'd probably use a resolution along the lines of "YEC is likely valid." Or merely stick with the one you currently have, to argue merely that the account in the bible spoke in terms of days, so as to warm up for the bigger target of the young earth.
Posted by 00r3d 5 years ago
im fairly new to this so...
Im looking for someone to defend the young earth point of view. How best should I reword it, or is this a different type of debate all together?
Posted by Ragnar 5 years ago
"Your job will be to defend the idea that the world is young, an estimated 5-10 thousand years old.
If you want to change any definitions, feel free, but this I think is a rough outline." This goes beyond the resolution, which deals with the account, not if it is fact or not.
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