Are there hints in the verses of Genesis that the 6 "days" of creation are not literal, i.e. not 24 hour periods but rather some kind of "era".


2 Answers 2


Genesis 1:14

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15: and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16: God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17: God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18: to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19: And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

How can there be three first "days", if the days (and the sun) were created only in the 4th day?

  • 1
    couldn't that refer to time? ie 24hrs of time?
    – ray
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:19
  • I don't think hours existed back then... Hours are a concept that derives its meaning from the earth's rotation around the sun (/from the time of light and darkness on earth), so no sun (/no light)- no hours.
    – Oren A
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 11:50
  • 3
    @OrenA Keep in mind that in halacha, an hour is rarely 60 minutes. It is merely a unit assigned to 1/12 of the time between sunrise and sunset. Re - no sun no hours, poses practical halachic questions even today in parts of the globe north or south of the "circles" during respective winters.
    – DanF
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 15:49
  • 3
    @ray You asked for hints not proofs.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 16:16
  • 2
    Well it COULD be 24 hours. It could be just as well 2 or 50 hours. I believe the reason you ask specifically about 24 hours is because you assume a "day" is literally a day, which is what you asked. My answer shows that it has nothing to do with today's common concept of a "day". Not proving it is, not proving it isn't, just showing the two are not related, which I think, show it isn't literal.
    – Oren A
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 17:22

Psalms 90:

כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל כִּי יַעֲבֹר וְאַשְׁמוּרָה בַלָּיְלָה:

For a thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday, which passed, and a watch in the night

Of course this is not the pshat of bereshit, but , as you said , it is only a hint.

  • hint in parsha bereishis?
    – ray
    Commented May 10, 2015 at 21:03
  • @ray are you sure there is one? You heard about it and forgot it? Commented May 10, 2015 at 21:16

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