Job was an amazing man. Aside from being “the greatest of all the people of the East” (Job 1:3), he was, more importantly, “one who feared God and shunned evil” (1:1). Even while enduring some of the most intense physical, mental, and emotional suffering imaginable, he was determined to put his trust in the Lord (13:15). Still, as a finite, imperfect man, he occasionally misspoke. In hoping for a hearing with his Creator, Job chapter 10 reveals that this patriarchal hero complained against God (vss. 1-7). He said things about God and his own suffering that he would later confess he “did not understand” (42:3). It was in the midst of this unfounded complaint that Job questioned God, saying, “Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of Your hands, and smile on the counsel of the wicked? Do You have eyes of flesh? Or do You see as man sees? Are Your days like the days of a mortal man? Are Your years like the days of a mighty man…?” (10:3-5, emp. added).
Some have come to believe that the questions Job asked in verse five somehow support the view that the days of Creation were not literal days, but long periods of geologic time. In fact, a friend recently relayed to me how someone objected to her literal interpretation of Genesis chapter one partly based upon this verse. Does Job 10:5 really support the Day-Age Theory of Creation?
First, it is disappointing that anyone who claims to care about “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) would appeal to this section of Scripture to prove any doctrine. Although Job is a great example of perseverance (James 5:10-11), there is no indication that his speeches were inspired. Neither he nor anyone else in the book ever claimed Job’s statements were “given by inspiration of God.” Job is an inspired book, but a very unique book in that it is full of speeches by uninspired men (e.g., Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar). In fact, when God finally answered Job out of the whirlwind, He asked the patriarch: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (38:2, emp. added). Obviously, God never would have asked such a rhetorical question had Job been inspired. Prior to the Lord’s speeches, Elihu twice accused Job of the very same thing (34:35; 35:16). Later, Job even said himself: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (42:3, emp. added; cf. 30:16-23). Ironically, in the very passage that some would claim supports the Day-Age Theory, Job was guilty of uttering things he “did not know” (see 10:3).
But doesn’t Job, through his rhetorical questions, simply acknowledge a well-known truth—that God’s days and years are not like those of man (10:5)? Certainly, this fact is known from other scriptures (e.g., 2 Peter 3:8). Just as God does not see as a finite man (Job 10:4) but as an infinite, omniscient Creator (Psalm 139:1-12), God’s days and years are not numbered like those of a man (Job 10:5). God is eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27). He is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). In Job 10:4-6, the patriarch acknowledged that God did not need to investigate his life (as a man would) to know that he was not wicked. He is the infinite, eternal, omniscient Creator Who already knew that Job was innocent. Notice, however, that this truth says nothing about how long the days of Creation were.
Still, some would argue, “Regardless of the context of Job 10:5, the fact remains that God is not bound by time and the days of Genesis just as easily could have been thousands or millions of years.” There is no question that God is not bound by time. The point, however, is not whether God is outside of time, but what God has revealed to us—both in Genesis 1 and in the rest of Scripture. God could have created the Universe in any way He desired, in whatever order He wanted, and in whatever time frame He chose. He could have created the world and everything in it in six hours, six minutes, six seconds, or in one millisecond—He is, after all, God Almighty (Genesis 17:1). But the question is not what God could have done; it is what He said He did. And He said that He created everything in six days (Genesis 1). When God gave the Israelites the Ten Commandments, He stated:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it (Exodus 20:8-11, emp. added).
This Sabbath command can be understood properly only when the days of the week are considered regular 24-hour days.
Based upon God’s use of words throughout Scripture which represent time periods that are much longer than a regular day (cf. Genesis 1:14; 2 Peter 3:8; Lyons, 2007), we can rightly conclude that God could have revealed to man that this world was created over a vast period of time. [For example, He could have used the Hebrew word dôr, which means long periods of time.] The fact is, however, God said He created this world and everything in it in six days (Genesis 1; Exodus 20:11; 31:17; cf. Psalm 33:9; 148:5; Mark 10:6). What’s wrong with just believing what God said He did?
Lyons, Eric (2007), “With God One Day is a Thousand Years,” http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3414.
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