Exodus 20:8-11 – The Creation Days: Literal Days or Ages?

Wayne Jackson
Are the days of the creation literal 24-hour days or extended ages of time? Exodus 20:8-11 provides the answer.

Eons of time are absolutely essential to the theory of evolution. Robert Jastrow, an evolutionist, says: “The key to Darwin’s explanation is time.” (p. 112).

Those who are intimidated by evolutionary propaganda attempt to find some way to fit the coveted “time” into the biblical record of creation. One of the ways this feat is attempted is by arguing that each “day” of the creation week represents vast ages of time.

A recent book contains four chapters devoted to this concept (Ross, pp. 45-90). Some within church of Christ (e.g. John N. Clayton) likewise do obeisance to the day-age theory (see Jackson & Thompson, pp. 83-87). But this notion is absolutely false. An examination of Exodus 20:8-11 reveals the fallacy of compromising the Bible position regarding the creation week.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah ... for in six days Jehovah made the heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”

One of the most fundamental laws of Bible interpretation is this. Whenever a word is employed several times within a context, it will carry the same meaning in each case — unless there is a compelling reason for assigning an unusual sense to the term (cf. Mt. 8:22). There is certainly no such reason apparent in Exodus 20:8ff.

The sabbath day law was designed to commemorate the seventh day of the creation week, which consisted of seven days (of the same type as the sabbath). Try substituting the terms “age or ages” for the words “day or days” in Exodus 20:8-11, and see just how much sense it makes.

And so, circle the words “day” and “days” in Exodus 20:8,9. Now circle “days” in verse eleven. Connect these terms with a line, and in your margin note: Creation “day” same type as sabbath, hence, literal day — not long age.

  • Jackson, Wayne et al. 1992. In the Shadow of Darwin — A Review of the Teaching of John N. Clayton. Apologetics Press: Montgomery, AL.
  • Jastrow, Robert. 1977. Until The Sun Dies. Warner Books: New York, NY.
  • Ross, Hugh. 1994. Creation And Time. Navpress: Colorado Springs, CO.