The length of the days of creation



                                            The length of the days of creation

                                                                                                                                                               Fr. Dan Bădulescu


                                                                “And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life…

                                                                       Who spoke through the prophets”

…among whom Moses shone particularly. He left us the beginning of Scripture, Genesis, that Alfa with which begins the divine revelation: the creation of the world and man. Those narrated in the first chapter could be fully trusted without hesitation, the language is clear and understandable to all Christians.
The problems of interpretation have arisen in recent times, namely, on the dawn of modern science, the 17th century in the West. There began to appear gradually a new (astro)physics, new chemistry, biology, chronology, anthropology, which in turn issued hypotheses and theories that contradict and argue revelation. We will deal now with the length of the days of creation.

According to Dogmatic Theology textbook for theological seminaries by Prof. Dr. Isidor Todoran and Arhid. Prof. Dr. John Zăgrean, Bucharest, 1994, made initially in 1985, at the chapter theologumena is said: “Theologumena is the appointment that is given to a theological view which can be a basis of religious doctrine, as it has a foundation in evelation and in the writings of the Church Fathers, especially the great “teachers of the world” (as they are called Saint Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and St. John Chrysostom), it is a concept often widely circulated among theologians, but not to enjoy unanimous consent of the Church, towards which, figuratively speaking, is “aspiring” the theologumena. The value of a theologumena depends, on the one hand, on her base record in sources of divine revelation and, on the other hand, subjective, on the addition of explanation that comes with it, in the theological research and knowledge, sometimes appearing as required in this of view. Examples of theologumena: about the length of creation days…”

We stop here, “a concept widely circulated among theologians often, but not enjoy the unanimous consent of the Church.” The consensus of the Church is expressed as the cross, in both directions: space and time (“in all places and times”), vertical – diachronic and horizontally – synchronously. Most important among them is of course the vertical, diachronically, for by it we get in touch with the past, the millenarian Holy Tradition, the Fathers and the prophets, through whom spake the Holy Ghost. This consensus is therefore one sine qua non, and once lost is a very grave and serious signal alarm.

The horizontal “synchronous” consensus is also desirable, but if you get it not in a critical historical moment, it remains to stand on the vertical support, pending, with the mercy of God, for better times. So if it is somehow almost lost is sad, but not fatal.

Now, researching the question before us, it seems that on the length of the days of Creation, in the Church (Orthodox of course!), up to mid nineteenth century, there was exactly patristic consensus on both directions: the days were 24 hours each, and the same as today! This assertion will be proved by many examples throughout this article. So, here’s an opinion with wide circulation in the Church, but, if as stated, exceeded through the consensus that level of theologumena! Those who disagree with this assertion should come themselves with at least as many scriptural and patristic evidence to disprove it. Since we have not found, yet at least, such a material, we stick to those stated.

The problem, however, has got after the second half of the nineteenth century the theologumena character mentioned by the textbook authors, namely: on that duration, the vertically (diachronic) consensus was severely shaken, that duration is no longer regarded as 24 hours (same as today), but they become “periods” “eras” (more or less geological), very long, indefinite in duration (from 1,000 to millions or even billions of years!). Consensus emerged instead horizontal (synchronic): Today most of the Church (at least the learned ones, uneducated people do not get into this here), believes in the previously mentioned. The cross was broken, and the arms do not communicate with each other! What is it here? Whose work has given this result?

Like we said, until then things seemed clear and interpretations of the Church Fathers and Writers abundantly prove this: they were all equal to each other and lasted 24 hours, the same as those of today! The fall of man into sin brought indeed the death into creation, but it not affected, as stated more recently under the influence of neo-Protestant creationist views, the space and time of the original cosmos.

Let’s take some examples:

“And God divided the light from the darkness”; that is to say, God gave them natures incapable of mixing, perpetually in opposition to each other, and put between them the widest space and distance…

Since the birth of the sun, the light that it diffuses in the air, when shining on our hemisphere, is day; and the shadow produced by its disappearance is night. But at that time it was not after the movement of the sun, but following this primitive light spread abroad in the air or withdrawn in a measure determined by God, that day came and was followed by night.” (St. Basil, Hexaemeron)
So says St. John Damascene.

The western influences afore mentioned have penetrated, as was somewhat normal, given the cultural, spiritual and ethnic kinship of the peoples of Europe, also the Eastern Orthodox area, namely in the late nineteenth century. Thus in the academic “theology” has entered the spirit of the science of “this world” as they say, that secular, lay, worldly science. In the case under discussion, for the word “day” put between quotation marks is considered by most teachers (and obviously by their students) to be a metaphorical expression that corresponds to the “geological ages”, an error counter Scripture and the Fathers who have never heard of it:

“”And God called the light day, but the darkness He called night.” And from the beginning of day till the next day is one complete period of day and night. For the Scripture says, “And the evening and the morning were one day”. (St John Damascene An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith)

“‘Thus were created the evening and the morning.’ Scripture means the space of a day and a night…

           ‘And the evening and the morning were one day.’

If it therefore says “one day,” it is from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fill up the space of one day–we mean of a day and of a night; and if, at the time of the solstices, they have not both an equal length, the time marked by Scripture does not the less circumscribe their duration. It is as though it said: twenty-four hours measure the space of a day,

– or that, in reality a day is the time that the heavens starting from one point take to return there. Thus, every time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day.” (St. Basil, Hexaemeron)

“Although both light and darkness were built in an instant, however, both day and night of the first day held twelve hours each.” (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

“‘And God separated the light from the darkness: and God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” He divided each his own place to start fixing them some boundaries, which they always keep unimpeded. And every wise man can see that from then until now no the light had exceeded its own borders and nor the darkness had trespassed its order, making mixing and disorder. This alone is sufficient as to make them that do not want to listen to and obey the words of the divine Scriptures, that they imitate the order of these elements, light and darkness, which keep their way unimpeded and not out of own line, but they know their own kind.

He called one day the end of the day and the late at night, to be an order and a visible string, and that there be no interference…

God called the end of light evening and end of the night, morning, and called them both day, lest we deceive not, nor to think that the evening is the end of the day, but to know well that makes both length one day.” (St. John Chrysostom Homilies)

The days had irrefutable evening, morning, day (light) and night (dark). And day and night were surely 12 hours each, from the very beginning, from the first day of creation.

See in this regard and St. John Damascene:

“The course which the Creator appointed for them to run is unceasing and remaineth fixed as He established them. For the divine David says, ‘The moan and the stars which Thou establishedst’, and by the word ‘establishedst,’ he referred to the fixity and unchangeableness of the order and series granted to them by God. For He appointed them ‘for seasons, and signs, and days and years’.

It is through the Sun that the four seasons are brought about. And the first of these is spring: for in it God created all things, and even down to the present time its presence is evidenced by the bursting of the flowers into bud, and this is the equinoctial period, since day and night each consist of twelve hours.” (An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith)

            Spring takes only three months and the vernal equinox, when, according to Sacred Tradition the world was made, how long can it take? A thousand … what?

The sound Orthodox teaching testified that those days of the early days of creation were quite normal, of 24 hours, day and night as we know them. Day = age equivalents were originally made by Gnostic heretics and Kabbalists. We can not get this option even as a working hypothesis, much less as a theological opinion or theologumena. That doctrine is of recent date and has not had any spread in the Church, as required by the definition of theologumena.

It is known the argument that in the Hebrew original was used for “day” the word “yôm” which could also mean “era”. The normative bible version of the Orthodox Church is the Septuagint, and there we knew that it was translated “hme,ra`’` and from there in English “day” in absolutely all variants. The word “era” as such does not exist in our Scriptures, but it used to be “aeon” or “age”. In the Greek Septuagint for “era – age” is the term “eon.” (eon), which could be so easily used if the text should be shown something like that. The 70 or 72 Hebrew interpreters, perfect connoisseurs of the two languages ​​translated from Hebrew into Greek under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as the Holy Tradition tells us. And then, if the meaning would be “era”, “period” (long and indeterminate) the right word, as we said, was available to describe it. What and who would use the substitution of the term “era” with “day”? If you invoke the lower level of the original addressees of Genesis, ancient Hebrews, simple and uneducated people (“undeveloped”), then the achieved effect would be exactly the opposite…! Try yourselves, the common sense should not be circumvented: how would you enlighten children, ordinary people, illiterate, limited intellectuals: using simple and clear words that even mean what it means for everyone (here day, evening, morning) or allegorical and subtle substitutes (day instead of era/period, evening and morning instead of… what??), requiring thin scholarly interpretations?

But not one word of it, but there are used the words “day” (imera), “night” (nykta), “evening” (espera) and “morning” (proi), all clearly designating one day and its subdivisions. Who wants to argue that an “era” can be subdivided into “day”, “night”, “morning” and “evening”? And these parties were always divided, and all in 12 hours of light – day – and 12 hours of darkness – night – obviously at the equinox, we are not talking of changes in the seasons. They together give 24 hours, no more and no less!

              We meet also often another guessing, which is supposed to be a theologumena, that strains compromise alternatives citing scriptural arguments:

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 2:8).

Hence it appears that, at least hypothetically, one day of creation timed (could take) a thousand years. If you insert the above quote in its context, we easily notice the impossibility and absurdity of this assumption, which can not be accepted even as a mere “theological opinion”. St. Peter repeats this trope familiar to his addressees in the new context of the doomsday prophecy:

            “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.” (Ps. 90:4-6)[1]

“But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up…

Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter, 3:7-12)

Prophet David speaks as a comparison: “a thousand years like a day.”

St. Peter speaks to Christians of his time about the judgment day. Who could equate this “day” to 1000 years? Or the day of the Lord which “will come as a thief in the night“, i.e. it will come unexpectedly, suddenly, by surprise, how could that be 1000 years?

Hence to chiliasm is only one step. That verse was part of the exhortation made by St. Apostle to the believers to take seriously the possibility of coming judgment, despite the fact that many thousands of years had passed since the creation of the world, or even the flood. The comparison is taken at this time literally! “Like” a thief, “as” a thousand years, are figures of speech: similes, metaphorical language. And just those accused traditionalists of reading in “neo-Protestant fundamentalist, sectarian literally torn out of context, etc.” key of Chapter 1!

Not to say that equivalence is made by evolutionists theists only in one direction! But the passage says clearly: a day near the Lord is as 1,000 years, and 1,000 years like one day.

Moreover, even assuming that it can not be rigorously known the length  of the measure of time in those early days, those days were 24 hours! For what other sub multiple has the calendar day? It is divided into day (light) and night, then four “guards” of 3 hours each (of the day and night) and… 24 hours, of 60 minutes each, etc.

The equivalence day-era is totally unacceptable and blatantly contradicts Scripture and Tradition. An era of millions of years? Which then are hundreds of millions of days? Or one single day with an enormous duration, a day millions of light years and an equally long night? This already some places this “theological opinion”(?) in the absurd and ridiculous.

To be accepted as such, those who issued it would have to prove at least its plausibility. And if they do so, it would not be proof that things really were the case. Being aware of these, the authors of manuals stated that “the days could be era… or a day could be 1000 years…”. As seen from a careful analysis, they have not delivered anything as plausible as this.

For patristic meaning of the concept of “age”, “forever”, “eon” see St. John Damascene, An Exact… ¸ Book II, Chapter 1 “Concerning aeon or age”:

“It must then be understood that the word age has various meanings, for it denotes many things. The life of each man is called an age. Again, a period of a thousand years is called an age. Again, the whole course of the present life is called an age: also the future life, the immortal life after the resurrection, is spoken of as an age. Again, the word age is used to denote, not time nor yet a part of time as measured by the movement and course of the sun, that is to say, composed of days and nights, but the sort of temporal motion and interval that is co-extensive with eternity.

Seven ages of this world are spoken of, that is, from the creation of the heaven and earth till the general consummation and resurrection of men… And the eighth age is the age to come.”

Indeed the term has many meanings and depends on context, but anywhere and nowhere a “day” in Genesis week is equated with “an age”, “age”, “eon”. Not in Scripture, the Fathers, Sacred Tradition…

In what concerns the equivalence 1 day = 1000 years, in Church history have been able to meet interpretations that brought this symbolic equivalence, but be careful! not related to the Genesis days, but to historical stages:

“And in Matthew we read that it is written that David and others of his, also violated the Sabbath (Matthew 12:4-5[2]) – that the true Sabbath will be held in the seventh thousand years. From here the Lord assigned to each of those seven days a thousand years, hence take heed: in thy sight, O Lord, a thousand years as one day.” (St. Victorinus of Petaviu About the Creation)

Also in the text apocryphal Epistle of Barnabas it says:

“At the beginning of creation of the world speaks on Saturday: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.”[3] Take heed, children, what those mean words: “he ended in six days.” They say that God will end everything in six thousand years: that one day to God is a thousand years. God Himself bears witness for me saying, “Behold the Lord’s day is like a thousand years”[4]

Of course, this apocryphal text was rightly considered as a false, it does not belong to the Apostle and is not considered by the Church.

St. Cyprian seems to be closer to the allegorical interpretation:

The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years.” (Exhortation to Martyrdom, 11)

We brought the two texts to show a possible inspiration for the “interpretation” of which we speak, a Late “theologumena” (20th century?), which, yes, has a fairly large spreading in the Church today (most textbooks teach as such), but which is broken by the patristic tradition, and lack a strong scriptural support, but it is big and wide two passages that are forced to fit the modernist interpretation of theistic evolutionist who does not have either wedge or sleeve the Genesis days duration.

We dare to make such harsh statements based on normative patristic interpretations on Genesis, not only on personal sense. Here is how eg. Matthew Blastaris describes the situation of those days[5]:

“So when God made the world of nothingness into being, from the  first day to seventh it was fully equinox, so that neither day nor night surpassed even as little as one another… and then after the seventh day the lights started to run as from open barriers and being made to move by different speed, anomaly was introduced.” (Matthew Blastaris On Holy Pascha)

Returning now to the quotes invoked, let us first see St. Victorin position. In another place he says:

„In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men’s labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night”[6]

And St. Cyprian also says in another place:

„It is an ancient adversary and an old enemy with whom we wage our battle: six thousand years are now nearly completed since the devil first attacked man.” (Treatise 11. 2)

 The saint lived in the third century AD, so a simple calculation shows that if one takes literary historical his statement with “seven thousand years” of the first 7 days of Genesis, an account with the “almost six thousand years” in the quote above is completely out of place. Instead they fit well with the chronology of 5508 years from the Creation to the Nativity + approx. 200 years = … six thousand years are now nearly completed since the devil first attacked man.”

The answer is simple: those who believe that “one day was a thousand years” have different perception of even years, and do not accept in any way the age of 7500 years, preferring human sciences dating to the revelation of the Holy Spirit. It is their right of course, but it is not Church teaching!
Which is none other than that of Scripture, which resumes in the Decalogue:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:8-11, resumed in 31:17)

How can one explain the fact that God makes there a correlation between the “sabbath”, i.e. the 7th day of the week, one normal astronomical 24 hours, with the “days” of creation, which would have been anything else (era , 1000 years, and so on)? The term is the same, but means something entirely different: once it’s literal and allegorical another? What Holy Father expounded in this way this passage? Is there even one?

Some orthodox dissenters of day = 24 hours period who otherwise bizarre accept any time, but are firmly convinced, almost dogmatic that they were not about 24 hours, the same as today – are somewhat paradoxically relying on… Father Seraphim Rose, claiming that he has not ruled firm for this period:

“Now let us study the Patristic model of the Six Days of Creation. We will not occupy ourselves with trying to guess “how long” these days were, although by the time we come to the end we will have a pretty good idea of how the Fathers viewed their length. Many funda­mentalists think their literal interpretation of Genesis is lost if these days are not accepted as precisely twenty-four hours long; and many others who want to reconcile Genesis with the modern theory of evolu­tion think their hopes rest upon accepting these days as millions or bil­lions of years long so they will accord with the supposed findings of geology. I think we can safely say that both of these views miss the mark.[7]

From here we would conclude that either can not be knowed how long were those days, even, that it did not matter for the Holy Fathers, and hence for us, having nothing to do with salvation. Evolutionary theists orthodox modernists can breathe easy: their enemy no. 1 Father Seraphim Rose, provided them a lethal weapon in the dating of those days, and the Orthodox traditionalists see themselves reduced to the state of Pentecostal fundamentalist creationists. But things did not stop there. Unfortunately for modernists, someone who sees furthermore reads:

“It is not that these days could not have been twenty-four hours long, if God so willed; one or two Fathers (St. Ephraim the Syrian, for example) even state precisely that they were twenty-four hours long. But most Fathers do not say anything at all on the subject: it was not a subject of debate in their times, and it seems not to have occurred to them to insist on projecting the time scale of our fallen world back to toe stupendous and miraculous events of those Six Days.”

And in his letter to the theistic evolutionist A. Kalomiros, father says:

“…so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of created natures corresponds to the force of these names.”

These are still, of course, general principles; let us look now at several specific applications by St. Ephraim of these principles.

“Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.

It is quite clear that St. Ephraim… understands the Six Days of Creation to be just six days, each with twenty-four hours, which he divides into an “evening” and “morning” of twelve hours each…

Thus the Patristic teaching is clearly that God, although He could have created everything instantly, chose instead to create it in stages of increasing perfection, each stage being the work of an instant or a very short time, culminating in the creation of man, the king of creation; and the whole work is completed, neither in an instant nor in an indefinitely long time, but as it were a mean between these two extremes, precisely in six days.

St. Ephraim and St. John Chrysostom, in their commentaries on Genesis, clearly regard God’s creation as being the work of six „literal” days, on each one of which God creates „immediately” and „instantly”. And St. Basil the Great also, contrary to a widespread belief of „Christian evolutionists”, viewing God’s creations as „immediate” and „sudden”, regarded the Six Days as being precisely of twenty-four-hours’ duration; for he says, regarding the First Day:

„There was evening and morning.” This means the space of a day and a night… „And there was evening and morning, one day.” Why did he say “one” and not “first”?… He said “one” because he was defining the measure of day and night and combining the time of a night and a day, since the twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day, if, of course, night is understood with day.”

So that… even with Father Seraphim one can not prove that those days had not 24 hours.

However, about Father Seraphim, in the name of truth must to be said these too: we should forget at all that a man, be him a Holy Father, is above all anchored and bounded in time and space. So, as those ancient Fathers were Greek, and so on, Father Seraphim was an American of the 20th century. As such, he expressed himself in a particular spatio-temporal context that influenced him unmistakably. We now refer directly to the context of his polemic with theistic evolutionists. Father sought a balanced Orthodox position between the Catholic inspired theistic evolutionism and neo-Protestant creationism. As Orthodox, he just noticed that these dangers are not at all equal to Orthodoxy, and that the danger no. 1 was – and still is! – the Theistic evolutionism that has taken place since then until nowadays authoritative in the theological education, at seminars and faculties. It’s enough to give a search through all the orthodox materials, manuals, catechisms, and so on, in this period, of “the duration of Creation days” and you’ll find there, anything, but bluntly: not 24 hours! In any case not the same as now!

Having struggled so with such mountains, and actually being the only one at that time (in any case so brave and visible, way possible then only in America!), Father Seraphim had some undeniable influence from the creationist zone. One of them is that, in human history there have been at least two catastrophic moments that have disrupted all data creation: the Fall and the Flood. As such, science can not probe any way events occurring before them, today’s world cosmology, biology, anthropology being drastically different from then. How patristic is this view?

Applying, as we grasp at the moment, even the principles of the father, we answer that: we have not met at any Father the idea that following the two disasters would have changed something in the sense of space, time and Astrophysics (heavenly bodies their movements, and so on)!

Indeed, the commandment transgression brought death into the seen creation to both man and all the living things[8], so into the kingdom of the living, but did not change anything essential in the ordinances of the nonliving. So, we dare to say, in chorus with the Fathers: In the beginning God created heaven and earth, time and space, instantly and with full sizes. Contrary to the teachings of today, the space/sky is a sphere of the same size today as the first moment of creation. It does not swell and it does not shrink.

Time? It is moving space, and drains regularly as a clockwork, the same rate today as in the first moment of creation: no expands and not contracts.

The only major astrophysical scale events were:

– the occurrence of the luminaries in the fourth day – and never, in any case “era”! and

– the change of planetary motion which was synchronous in the days 4-6, and after the

   creation of man – so not according to any sin – was introduced the “anomaly”, i.e. the

   individual movement of the celestial bodies[9], this being a miracle that have not affected /

   changed somehow neither space nor time!

In summary:

The length of days in Genesis Chapter 1 is rigorously the same as today: 24 hours, with the same length.

In the first three days there was an equinox situation, the light-dark alternation is provided by God himself through the appearance and withdrawal of light throughout the space. During those days the light did not depend on the sun obviously, but that did not mean at all that when there was no time, or that that time was quite different than today (presumably much higher, though it could be shorter also!)

All seven days are prototype week and lasted equally among themselves and with those of today. The celestial movements of the stars (sun, moon) are the same as time and space and have not undergone any change related to sin or other natural causes (disasters, flood, earthquakes, meteors, etc.).

As these theological acrobatics were made to harmonize and reconcile somewhat the irreconcilable, the revelation with the scientific dating, look what a scientific chronology of “geological eras” looks:

Once you have looked carefully and go back to Genesis Chapter 1, who will manage the harmonization of the two? And to solve this thankless and impossible task, guess where it will work and change?



The Consensus of Church Fathers:

The Length of the Day in Genesis 1 as a 24-Hour Period[10]

 Basil: “Thus were created the evening and the morning. Scripture means the space of a day and a night… If it therefore says ‘one day,’ it is from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fills up the space of one day – we mean of a day and of a night.”[11]

           Ambrose: “But Scripture established a law of twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.”[12] “In the beginning of time, therefore God created heaven and earth. Time proceeds from this world, not before the world. And the day is a division of time, not its beginning.”[13] “But now we seem to have reached the end of our discourse, since the 6th day is completed and the sum total of the work has been concluded.”[14]

            “We need to investigate also the cause of which only after Noah entered the ark, and took with him the beasts, after seven days the flood went on[15]. And it is not so vain at all that no more, no less days passed, but as many as have been to building the world. For the world was built in six days, “and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made.”[16][17]

Victorinus: “The Creation of the World: In the beginning God made the light, and divided it in the exact measure of twelve hours by day and by night, for this reason, doubtless, that day might bring over the night as an occasion of rest for men’s labours; that, again, day might overcome, and thus that labour might be refreshed with this alternate change of rest, and that repose again might be tempered by the exercise of day. “On the fourth day He made two lights in the heaven, the greater and the lesser, that the one might rule over the day, the other over the night.”[18]

Ephrem the Syrian: “‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,’ that is, the substance of the heavens and the substance of the earth. So let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things that pertain to these days were symbolic.”[19]

 “Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the First Day continued   ‘ for twelve hours each.”[20]

“At the end of the 12 hours of that night, the light was created between clouds and waters, and cast the shadow of the clouds that shaded the waters and darken them. For Nisan was the first month, in it the number of the hours of the day and night are equal.

The light remained so for 12 hours every day to be able to also get her hours even as the darkness acquired a measured time period. Although the light and the clouds were created in the blink of an eye, the day and the night of that first day were each completed in 12 hours.“[21]

St. John Chrysostom: „God separated light from darkness; he called the light day, and he called the darkness night,” allotting to each its own particular area and establishing limits for each right from the beginning so that they could keep to them perma­nently without interference. Everyone in his right mind can understand this, how from that time till this the light has not surpassed its limits, nor has darkness exceeded its due order, resulting in confusion and disruption. Really, this fact alone should suffice to oblige people obdurate in their lack of response to come to faith and obedience to the words of Sa­cred Scripture so as to imitate the order in the elements, re­specting as they do their course uninterruptedly, and not overstep their own limitations but rather recognize the extent of their own nature.

            He made a point of speaking of the end of the day and the end of the night as one, so as to grasp a certain order and sequence in visible things and avoid any im­pression of confusion…

            God named the end of light evening, and the end of night, morning; and He named both day, for we should not be mistaken, nor to count evening as the end of the day, but to know well that the length of both equals a day.”[22] (Homilies on Genesis)

St. John of Damascus: „The course which the Creator appointed for them to run is unceasing and remaineth fixed as He established them. For the divine David says, The moon and the stars which Thou establishedst, and by the word “establishedst” he referred to the fixity and unchangeableness of the order and series granted to them by God. For He appointed them for seasons, and signs, and days and years. It is through the Sun that the four seasons are brought about. And the first of these is spring: for in it God created all things, and even down to the present time its presence is evidenced by the bursting of the flowers into bud, and this is the equinoctial period, since day and night each consist of twelve hours.”[23]




[1] Interpretation of Blessed Theodoret of Cyrus:

“And people say that life is scarce and very painful, and to Thee, The living one  forever and forever, and the number of a thousand years is like one day, and in may strongly with the lowest part of the night. That he called the “watch night” the fourth of the night, those who are entrusted to guard separating this one open. And in the fourth watch the Lord came to the Apostles.”

[2] „How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?”

[3] Genesis 2:2-3.

[4] Ps. 90, 4.


[6] On Genesis, NPNF1, vol. 7, pp. 341-343.

[7] Genesis, Creation And Early Man by Fr. Seraphim Rose, Saint Herman Press, p. 98

[8] No one died before that, God created living beings immortal! Death does not exist in itself, it is the absence of life, just as darkness was not created by God (no self existence), but it is the absence of light (evil the absence of good, lie the absence of truth, ugliness the absence of beauty, etc.)

[9] See Matthews Blastaris above.

[10] By Robert Sungenis and fr. Dan Bădulescu

[11] Hexaemeron 2, 8

[12] Hexameron 1:37, FC 42:42.

[13] Hexameron 1:20, FC 42:19.

[14] Hexameron 6:75, FC 42:282.

[15] Genesis 7:4: „For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth”

[16] Genesis 2:2

[17] Hexameron 13

[18] On the Creation of the World, NPNF1, vol. 7, pp. 341-343.

[19] Commentary on Genesis,1:1, FC 91:74

[20] Commentary on Genesis,1

[21] Commentary on Genesis,1:8

[22] Homilies on Genesis

[23] An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

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