Theories of Creation Part Two: The Day Age Theory

The Day-Age Theory is another creation interpretation that seeks to reconcile geological issues with the creation narrative.  The theory was put forth in 1823 by an Anglican priest named George Faber[1].  Though he developed the theory, it did not gain mainstream credibility until a well-known geologist, named Hugh Miller, started promoting it.

The theory, sometimes known as progressive creationism, holds that the days referred to in Genesis were ages of undetermined length.  In supporting this theory, the great theologian Charles Hodge states, “Now it is urged that the word ‘day’ be taken in the sense of ‘an indefinite period of time’, a sense which it undoubtedly has in other parts of scripture[2].”  As previously stated, the days presented are not 24 hour days, but six geological ages of undetermined duration.  In this interpretation, God intervenes with a specific act on each day or age[3].

Once again, a look at the Hebrew meanings of words are beneficial.  This interpretation looks very closely at the Hebrew word for day which is yom.  The core of the word is the measurement of a 24-hour day, but that is not always the case.  The word can also describe a decisive event, a process or time, or an eschatological sense of pointing to death and judgment[4].  It is a common hermeneutical practice to research a word and see how it is used in other passages of scripture.  One such example is Genesis 2:4 which states, “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens[5].”  Another such example is in Genesis 5:2 where Adam and Eve were created in a day.

Another interpretation in support of this view looks exclusively at the creation of Adam and Eve.  In Genesis 1:27 we read about God creating Adam and Eve on day six of creation.  In Genesis 2:4-25 we a big gap in between the time that Adam was created, and the time that Eve was created.  During this period of time the Lord placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, he was charged with taking care of it, he named each animal, and then he became lonely.  That is a lot of activity to fit into a 24-hour day[6].  In reading the creation narrative we see that Adam and Eve were created in the last part of the sixth day.  Adam would have had to fulfill all of the duties the Lord had given over creation in a period of time shorter than 24-hours, if the days were literal[7].


[1] Terry Mortenson, The Great Turning Point: The Church’s Catastrophic Mistake on Geology – Before Darwin (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2004), 35.

[2] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Bellingham: WA: Logos, 1997), 570.

[3] Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 147.

[4] Douglas Mangum et al, ed., Lexham Theological Wordbook (Bellingham:  WA: Lexham Press, 2014), time.

[5] Genesis 2:4 (King James Version).

[6] Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 147.

[7] Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd ed (Chicago: Il: Moody Press, 1994), 201.


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