The original question was: You claim that Days 4, 5 and 6 in Genesis have to be real 24 hour days because any plants made on Day 3 could not have survived without the insects made on Day 6.This argument has a major flaw, i.e. If there was no death before sin, then not even plants would die. Therefore I argue the creation days can be any length.
Answer by John Mackay
Let’s first investigate whether plants can die in the same way animals can?
Have you noticed that when you bite an apple, you don’t feel any remorse? We live in a world where vegetarianism has markedly increased over the past decade. We even have vegan groups protesting that “animals have rights – don’t eat them!” But nobody expects very soon, a rapid growth in a plant’s rights group defending the rights of pears and oranges, or protesting over people who either smoke grass or eat it. Built into us is something that tells us grass and fruit are not even in the same category as animals and flowers, and they don’t even rank when it comes to what we really think of as living.
Consider however how you feel when you bite into a living cow, or your pet dog. If you survive the swift kick in return, your first reaction is – this is a living creature – have I been cruel to it? – should I kill it before I bite? Surprisingly, the academic view in our heads of what life is, is largely based on evolution. Yet the practical emotional view of life in our hearts is much closer to the biblical one. Let me explain:
The world’s naturalistic view is that life somehow happened all by itself from inanimate matter, so the naturalistic division of living things, is to place molecules, dirt, minerals etc. one side of the line, and call them “non-living”, then place plants, animals and people on the other side of the line and label them as “living”.
A Biblical perspective is very different, God placed dirt, materials and plants on one side of the line, and regarded them as machinery or mechanisms, designed to support everything else. On the other side of the line are animals and people, both regarded as living. For more information see the article: Biblical Biology: Questions of Life or Death, PDF here.
When God told Adam he could eat all of the herbs of the field and the fruit of the trees (Genesis 2:16) at that time there was no death by sin on the planet, so Adam “killing” an apple was not even a concept. Chewing on grass and murdering it would not have even registered in man’s mind or God’s. Plants were invented by God as usable mechanisms by which all other creatures would survive. When you eat the plant, its physical mechanisms for continuation (its DNA) with instructions for reproduction, etc. does cease, but the concept of death caused by Adam’s sin does not apply to them.
Now back to the question is it feasible to stretch days 3, 4, 5 and 6, so if there was no sin, then plants wouldn’t die even if pollinating insects didn’t arrive for millions of years.
In brief – No!
The machinery in plants actually needs the insects, birds or animals to pollinate the vast majority. Delaying the arrival of pollinators really would produce a cessation of the mechanism which enables such plants to reproduce. Many of the plants that humans and animals eat for food have short life cycles, and need animal pollinators and seed dispersers to keep going. Stretching days 4, 5 and 6 into hundreds, thousands or millions of years definitely would have eliminated all plants that are dependent insects, birds and animals to pollinate them, and distribute their seeds. Are you imagining a world full of plants in some kind of suspended animation? If Genesis days were long periods, what would the animals, birds and insects created on Days 5 and 6 be eating? Million year old flowers, fruit and seeds? That is just fantasy, not science.
For more on the days of creation see the questions:
Creation Days: Were the days of creation, as described in Genesis 1, real 24 hour days? Answer here.
Genesis Days? Are they 2 parallel symbolic lists of 3 days of forming and 3 of filling? Answer here.
The New Testament says “a day is as a thousand years” to God. Why can’t Genesis days be long times? Answer here.
Did Jesus believe 6 day creation because he was fully man and therefore ignorant of modern science? Answer here.
Why do you claim Genesis days are 24 hours when Augustine said they are indefinitely long periods? Answer here.
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