Dr. John Millam has written a series of articles over at reasons.org addressing whether or not the views of early church fathers support the young-earth creation movement. In part 2 of his presentation, he lists three arguments identified by early thinkers which seem to suggest the creation days of Genesis 1 are not literal solar days.
Argument 1 – The nature of a day
enesis 1 recounts the first six days of creation. Each of the days is referenced by the phrase, “first day”, “second day”, “third day” etc… as they are covered in order.
The Bible tells us that the Sun, Moon and stars were created on the fourth day. How can we interpret the word “day” to mean a modern literal solar day if the Sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?
Argument 2 – Genesis 2:4
The KJV presents Genesis 2:4 as:
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
It appears the author is equating the first six days of creation with a single day. This gives further evidence that a day is not a literal 24 hour period of time. It makes perfect sense if the phrase “in the day” is understood to mean an undefined period of time.
Argument 3 – The Seventh day is still open
In Genesis 1, each of the six days are closed out with the phrase “And there was evening, and there was morning – the X-th day.” At the beginning of Genesis 2 we learn about the seventh day and it is not closed out. This implies the seventh day is ongoing with means it must last longer than a 24 hour solar day.