Answer by John Mackay
Throughout the Holy Scriptures, God tells us that He is ‘from eternity to eternity’ (Isaiah 43:13). He had neither beginning, nor end of days. He does not age. He has no time. That is what Peter refers to when he wrote; “To the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day” (2 Peter 3:8-9). This verse has nothing to do with the length of creation days, and everything to do with the fact that God, the Creator is outside the day- time connection He made. All of which means that God is no older today than he was one thousand years ago. Time simply doesn’t apply to Him. But He is time’s Maker, so was time invented before Creation? Before Genesis 1:1?
In Genesis 1:1-5 we read:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.’ (Genesis 1:1-5)
This day is obviously a time period, and as we follow this day through scripture, we read some interesting statements concerning time.
One most interesting connection to Genesis 1:1-5, is a legal one found in Jeremiah 33:20 – 21, 25-26 where we read:
Thus says the Lord: “If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne.” …
Thus says the Lord: “If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Jeremiah 33:20-21, 25-26)
In other words, God’s promise that King David’s son and descendant Jesus Christ would be ruler, was legally linked to His creation of the first day of the Genesis 1 week.
Note well: God refers to this link as a ‘covenant’ with day and the night. A covenant is not just a contract where both parties agree. It is a legal statement where one party invents the rules, defines the terms, and the other party has no choice but to accept them. In other words, the day was a legally defined entity, where all rules covering every aspect of the day and night (length of time, related legal consequences) were made by God and God alone. The day is not subject to our opinions, nor is it subject to our alteration.
So, the simple answer to the question is, there was no time until God created the heavens and the earth and built into the coming of the light on day one the legal guarantee that the One who is The Light of the World would shine into the darkness also on the first day of the week. Time begin in Genesis 1:1 and not before or after.
CREATION DAYS: Were the days of creation, as described in Genesis 1, real 24 hour days? Answer here.
SIX DAYS: Do any doctrines depend on the six days of Creation, or is it just an interesting but irrelevant issue? Answer here.
HERMENEUTICS? Can we read Genesis without using hermeneutics that require 6 days to be literal? Answer here.
GENESIS DAYS? Are they 2 parallel symbolic lists of 3 days of forming and 3 of filling? Answer here.
DAYS: Peter says a day is like a thousand years. How can you insist Genesis days are 24 hours? Answer here.
DAYS: The New Testament says “a day is as a thousand years” to God. Why can’t Genesis days be long times? Answer here.
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