The Sixth Day of Creation Was Just Too Long to be 24 Hours

by Max Andrews

The young earth creationist interpretation is internally inconsistent; it just doesn’t make sense.  Both earth and life exist before the sun, moon, and stars.  This leaves a person to wonder where heat, light, gravity, and earth’s rotation and orbital features came from prior to the fourth creation day.  Let’s look at the sixth day.  How in the world did Adam do so much?  Here’s a list of the events of day six:

  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).

Now when it comes to naming the animals, that’s an incredible task!  Let’s do a little math here.  By young earth leaders’ estimates, there would have been about 30,000 pairs of land animals at the time of Noah’s flood.[1]  However, the fossil record documents at least half a billion species or more.[2]  Never mind the fossil record for now, I will just go with the YEC claims.  Now there are 86,400 seconds in a day, that means just to name the animals Adam would have had just under 3 seconds to name every land animal (never mind birds and ocean animals).  Now, with just three seconds to name every land animal Adam still has to be created, be put to sleep, and have Eve created.  I find this highly improbable for this hyperactivity to take place on Adam’s behalf (and this is just day six, I haven’t even gotten into the problems with interpreting the other days as 24 hour periods of time.  Even if you want to claim a lesser number of land animals at the time of Noah, you’ll still need to account for micro-evolutionary timeframes of speciation (which is an evolutionary speed that even Darwinists don’t claim) and that new X number of seconds to name all the animals.

Thus, just given all the events in day six makes the days of Genesis highly improbably to be literal six twenty-four hour days.


[1] John C. Whitcomb Jr. and Henry M. Morris, The Genesis Flood:  The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications (Phillipsburg, NJ:  Presbyterian & Reformed, 1962),  66-69.

[2] Gary K. Meffer, C. Ronald Carroll, and contributors, Principles of Conversation Biology,  2d ed. (Sunderland, MA:  Sinauer Associates, 1997), 91-93.


23 Responses to “The Sixth Day of Creation Was Just Too Long to be 24 Hours”

  1. I think 24 hours was more than enough times for the events of day 6 of creation to occur. On a day planner, it might look something like this.

    6am-7am 1st event: God creates land animals. He doesn’t need more than a moment to accomplish this, but let’s give him the full hour. And He could have started at midnight, but let’s assume God prefered to work in the daylight.

    7am-8am 2nd event: God creates Adam. Again, He wouldn’t need an hour for this, but we need to fill a whole day.

    8am-8:15am 3rd event, 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 4th event: 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 Your 5th event, 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” (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 the day before, and His “placing” Adam in it was not likely a long journey, but His creation of Adam in or near the garden. There’s not real time-consuming “event” here, but we’ll give it an hour.

    9:30am-10am Your 6th and 7th event 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 made this 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. The speculated number of 30,000 land animals at Noah’s time 2,000 years later is irrelevant and likely far beyond the original kinds. 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, insects and aquatic animals were excluded (1:20).

    Noon-1PM Break for lunch

    1pm-1:01pm God “declares” that He will make a suitable helper for Adam, which He may not have even spoken to Adam, In either case, your 9th event isn’t really an “event”.

    1:01-2pm 10th event, 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, event if God didn’t sedate him, and 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. Not sure how much time this would have taken, but it’s early afternoon and we are already done with the day. Probably good, since Adam had a honeymoon to enjoy for the evening.

    Even if Adam’s animal naming took another 12 hours, we still have a few hours left over.

    • The problem your solution to naming the animals is that there definitely weren’t a few hundred. If there were the rate of speciation is tremendously high, hyperactive, that cannot reasonably explain present or near past speciation. It’s worse than Darwinism. Additionally, the 30,000 was according to young earth leaders. Check the source. Cut it in a third if you want. Say only 10,000 from the beginning and just a couple thousand years later you only have 30,000, which is still incredibly fast, you have 9 seconds. It’s just absolutely infeasible for this to occur. I think it’s special pleading and ad hoc to SO FAR against the data (even within YEC terms) it doesn’t work.

    • Cannot give Adam a full 12 hours if he starts naming at noon — he does not have a flashlight.

      A humorous image comes to mind to think of a parade of animals politely lining up, and then in orderly unison passing by Adam for a few second inspection as he peppered out names with sweat running down his brow in the hot sun. After a couple hundred names our weary Adam would scarcely remember the first 10.

      Contextually it is much better to consider the naming of the animals as spanning days, weeks, or years.

      Another part that is overlooked here is God’s hands-on approach in creation – –
      We read in Job that God laid foundation, measured, stepped off, set bounds and in Proverbs we read that He settled the mountains in place, made firm the skies, and marked out the foundations.

      He literally got His hands dirty (not just snapping His fingers) to make it all happen.
      Got bent down and gathered dust to form Adam and so we must believe that God enjoyed His creative work and would have formed each animal kind one at a time rather than shouting out, “ALL ANIMALS NOW” (as you suggested above that God only needing a moment to accomplish)

      To suggest that God only needed a moment, it is condescending in tone as if those who differ on the animal-making-time-scale have a god that is too small. But I would argue that it is an unreasonable answer to suggest that God “Could-Have”.

      God made each beast, each creature “after-its-kind” – this does not suggest an all at once and all at the same time.

      It is true that God is big and can to anything – He is not weak in the animal making department, but the text does not demand instant animals. In fact, the verbiage suggest that the earth was somehow involved for if we read v24 carefully we read that God commanded the earth to bring forth each kind after its kind.

  2. There are YEC sources that make a case for fewer than 10,000 animals.

    “…the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.” (Gen. 2:19-20… I errantly referenced 1:20 previously)

    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.

    • Well even if there were just under 10,000 animals that’s just over 9 seconds for each animal. Additionally, that makes the problem worse for speciaition (even if you’re narrowing down the phyla, orders, and families). Thoughts?

      • A created kind is probably in most cases on the taxonomic level of order, suborder or family. It would make more sense to look at the number of existing animals in the biological classification of one of the ranks in that range, factoring in a high estimate of known extinctions based on the fossil record, then eliminate invertebrates, aquatic animals and “creeping things” that don’t fit the description in Genesis 2:19-20 as the ones presented to Adam. Admittedly I’m not up to such a task on my lunch break, but don’t you think that we would then be looking at hundreds or perhaps a thousand instead of tens of thousands or more?

        There are questions we really can’t answer, like what 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. In that case, 9 seconds per would be more than enough. Naming even 1,000 animals at that very generous rate could be done in 2 and a half hours; 5,000 in a little more than half a day.

        Lots of guesswork in taxonomy, but I don’t think working backwards like this makes a case for there being too much to do on day 6, particularly when Adam could have had most of the day to name a group of animals that was most likely a very small percentage of God’s creation.

        • Well remember, how are you going to account for such speciation at a hyperactive level? How are you going to account for the actual half a billion in the fossil record? Why suppose this refers to order?

        • Gen 2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
          Gen 2:20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

          These (2) verses above give us a hint of the vast array of animals Adam named. We are led contextually here to believe that he did NOT just call all owls, wrens, pheasants, storks, crows, dodos, eagles, parrots, quail, blue jays, woodpeckers, toucans, turkeys, emus, robins, pigeons, hawks, as a group simply calling them “field-birds”.

          He did not lump all ducks, geese, pelicans, flamingos, loons, herons, swans, egrets, together calling the “water birds” just because they liked to hang around the water.

          He did not simply call all foxes, badgers, bobcats, wolves, rabbits, porcupines, squirrels, beavers, raccoons, weasel just “smallish ground mammals” but the text suggests appropriate descriptive names matching each ones’ habits, temperaments, habitat, etc., which is something needing more than a few seconds inspection.

          This unique naming assignment does not allow Adam to globally call all horses, bison, goats, moose, camels, donkeys, musk ox, elk, sheep, deer, cows, and all the rest of the vastly numerous hoofed herbivores of the field and forest something generic like “4-footed grass-munchers”. Such an idea does not comport.

          Skipping all marine life, insects, and reptiles, Adam still had his work cut out for him and the loving Father surely would not have crammed this down Adam’s throat before he had even gotten his sea legs under him. This was Adam’s first day, he is awestruck in the Father’s presence as he stands in the vast garden. Are we to see God as an immediate relentless taskmaster.

          Please allow me to overlay day 6th with a bit of humor to highlight what is ‘NOT’ God’s character in regards to His relationship with Adam

          “Adam, no time to dawdle now. No fruit tasting. No tour of the garden. I know you are overwhelmed because just this instant, you have come into being and you are certainly overwhelmed with all of Eden’s splendor, but I have an agenda soldier. We’ve got deadlines to meet and the stopwatch is ticking. You have a big naming quota to fill. This is not vacation, son. All the myriad of animals must be named right now before sundown. And we have to get you a wife right away, so lets get going, man. Certainly you have already (in this very first hour) felt the stinging ache of loneliness. I also have a host of other directives for you and Eve to superintend the garden, to subdue the earth and to have dominion over all the animals, and I have dietary instructions and warning to convey to you. So let’s get a move on……..”

          ARE YOU KIDDING ME
          God is patient and unrushed, long-suffering and loving toward His new image-bearer, Adam.
          We would see God walking with Adam in the garden, giving him time to settle in, to taste the fruit, to begin to awaken his senses and drink it all in. Much conversation, instruction, as Adam settled in. With all this wonderment and splendor it would be week or months before Adam would realize anything was missing. God would be pleased to give Adam ample time to grow comfortable in his new home.

          I offer that after weeks of interacting with and being around the animals would Adam begin to give them appropriate names as he got to know their habits, etc. A totally out of context parade of animals would not give Adam any tools by which to give even a pet name to each animal to this vast array.

          Imagine one day Adam walks among the goats. Here hears their bleating, touches their wiry coats, tugs on their little beards, inspects their horns and hooves, and then after seeing them playfully butt each other, eat, and interact, he fondly gives them the name “Goats” as he walk on through the garden.

          This is much more appealing than a dusty parade of animals trotting past while Adam (with no prior context to draw from and on his VERY FIRST DAY) being tasked with making up names for thousands right on the spot (as fast as he can) without even a break for lunch.

  3. How is the rate of speciation and the “half billion” fossilized species a factor when the vast majority of species in the fossil record are marine dwellers, which would A) not qualify as animals that Adam had available to name, and B) not have been part of the “30,000” species alleged to be aboard the ark?

    Created kinds are generally compared to order or family because two members, (i.e. lions and house cats, many bears, camels and llama, many snakes), can often hybridize. As Don Batten puts it, “If the hybridizing species are from different genera in a family, it suggests that the whole family might have come from the one created kind. If the genera are in different families within an order, it suggests that maybe the whole order may have derived from the original created kind. On the other hand, if two species will not hybridize, it does not necessarily prove that they are not originally from the same kind. We all know of couples who cannot have children…”

  4. What’s the point of “naming” animals at all? What language did Adam speak? Contrary to the Bob Dylan song, “Man Gave Names to all the Animals”, I doubt it was English. Was it Hebrew? Doesn’t that seem unlikely? Did any of the names Adam made up somehow “survive” into any of the languages we speak today? Was it just part of the ridiculous exercise to show Adam that he needed a female? I don’t see the point. Why just the animals? Were there not plenty of plants and other objects needing names as well? If God created a “mature” universe/earth/plants/animals/first two humans, did he not give them a “mature” language as well? God created Adam with a language he didn’t need to learn, full of words for everything *except* the animals? C’mon.

    At what point can we admit that we are just arguing over nonsense? (I’ll be nice and say that I’m only referring to the idea of Adam naming the animals).

    • Is identifying the language a sufficient condition for Adam to name the animals? I don’t think so. Is naming the plants a sufficient condition for this whole event to have occurred? No, certainly not. Such counterfactuals can continue ad infinitum. (Why not name the stars? Why not name every human body part? Why not name the different types of rocks present?) I’m not sure I understand your point?

    • I like your points and questions. I don’t know the answer to your question why did Adam have to name the animals. But I heard and read that ancient peoples believed that knowing the name of something gives power over it. For example, when I call someone by name they turn and look at me. This demonstrates that by using their name I have a modest amount of power to affect their actions. If we accept this claim about the power of names then maybe Adam’s naming the animals was his way of estabishing dominion over them. It also explains why the Bible claims God will not tell us his true name, but gives us aliases. This allows us to refer to him withut having power over him.

    • Brandon – God did not create a mature universe. Gen 1:2 tells us that the earth was an immature mess, unformed, void, empty – a literal watery abyss. And the universe itself is a dynamic, growing, expanding, ever changing part of God’s creation – still maturing so to speak.

      Another clear example of immaturity is that God called upon the earth v11 to bring forth tender shoots, herbs, sprouts, shrubs, trees and all kinds of plants bearing seed. The earth was not an immediately mature garden, nor did fully mature trees explode out of the ground sending clods of dirt flying everywhere.

      In v12 we read that the earth responded and did as God commanded, bringing forth vegetation. We read 2:8, that ‘out-of-the-ground’ did God cause the plant to grow. I read grow as just that — ‘grow’, which is another type of maturation process.

      Switching gears — it was a gift to Adam to name the animals – a good pleasure – the beginning of Adams dominion over the creatures. And for this reason God endowed Adam with language, but stopped short of forcing all names to be pre-recorded in Adam’s brain.

      I would also beg to differ that any of this is ‘nonsense’ –

      So, the earth was not mature, it needed much refinement (waters running off, dry land emerging, an atmosphere build, to be populated with plants and animals, to be warmed and lit, etc.

      The reason for language is key for any type of higher civilization/socializatio to be possible. Naming things is still an important part of conversation today. In order for Adam and Eve to converse with each other and with God, language was given. To say that Adam had mature language seems to be a given, but to generalize and speculate that this proves everything was fully mature from the very beginning is to step beyond the text.

  5. My point is: Why would Adam *need* to name the animals?

    If you think it makes sense for God to give humans a language that contained words for everything except the animals, then by all means, have a good time with that. God works in mysterious ways, after all!

  6. First while I believe the account is meant to be factual and truthful, the intention of the writer is almost certainly not what we might expect. He is writing with a very different cultural mindset from our 21stC attitude. We are not told if Adam had to learn a language or if he was created with it. To the writer of Genesis this was not relevant or the information would have been included. The author only includes what he thinks we need to know. We think our questions are important, but the writer is concerned that we understand our place in the world with respect to God the rest of creation and our fellow humans. There are many possible questions and the answers to them would be incomprehensible to us even with a modern education. How many people actually understand quantum physics for example? Even the simplified non mathematical explanations seem like nonsense to most of us, yet we are assured that what we see as reality is mostly vibrations of particles that pop in and out of existence here and there unpredicably in nothing.
    However, it was important that Adam learn to take authority over the animals, because he had just been put in charge of them. The naming ceremony is to make this clear to us and Adam. Also afterwards it was noted that no suitable companion was found for Adam, so Woman was fashioned as a suitable helper for him because it was not good for Adam to be alone. Presumably he needed help to rule the world, and none of the animals was found to be suitable.

  7. never thought of it like that before

  8. I really enjoyed reading the respectful, intelligent back and forth between Mike and Max. Wish all discussions on this topic had a similar tone!! To disagree while maintaining Christian unity is a marvelous thing.

  9. Apparently this article and the author does not allow for the miraculous nor does it engage the fact that twice in Exodus God clearly mentions He created all things in six literal 24 hour days. How can one say that with any level of confidence? It is because God connects the six literal 24 hour days of creation to the work week as well as the Sabbath day, not thousands of years, millions of years, or any length of time other than a literal 24 hour day.

    This is just another tirade against the YEC position based not on biblical exegesis, but rather on an effort to allow for modern scientific theory to be inserted into the pages of Scripture. Sad indeed!

    • One comment saying the same thing wasn’t enough? See my other response. It’s clear you came here to bash what you supposedly had read when you’ve demonstrated no interaction with my argument since I addressed the exact things you’ve questioned…

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