Does a day mean 24 hours?
How could it be a “day” when a day is one rotation of the earth relative to the sun, and the sun didn’t exist until day 4?
When did those days occur in relation to our current time?
Can the timeline of creation coexist with modern theories of evolution or are they diametrically opposed?
Do we have to throw scientific evidence out the window in order to fully believe the creation narrative in Genesis 1?
I don’t have the biblical or scientific credentials to be an expert in this field, but after more than twenty-five years of earnestly seeking to understand this chapter, these are the gems I have mined from it:
God created all that exists by His Word. We know from John 1 that the Word of God is Jesus, and His role in creation is confirmed in Colossians 1:16-17 and in Revelation 4:11.
When God created everything, it was all very good. Sin and death did not exist in this idyllic creation until mankind introduced it. According to Romans 5:12, sin entered the creation through the first man, and with it death.
All living creatures were vegetarians originally. Only in the aftermath of the flood did God expand mankind’s diet to include meat. (Genesis 9:3)
When God created mankind, He created us in His image, after His likeness, to be different from any other creature and to have authority and stewardship over all He created. (Genesis 1:27-28)
The one thing that we know without a doubt evolves constantly is our understanding of our world. Scientists are daily discovering new information, understanding the complex processes of every creature more clearly, and learning that they’ve been wrong in previous assumptions. That is the scientific process — to set up hypotheses based on current assumptions, and then uncover data that supports, conflicts with, or revises their hypothesis.
Similarly, as we study God’s Word, although His Word never changes, our comprehension of it does. Archaeological finds may refine our understanding of language or scientific discoveries may give new perspective on words.
We should hold fast to God’s Word, but hold our understanding or traditions about it loosely as we seek to “Be diligent to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) We must approach our study of His Word with an open mind, prayerfully and humbly asking God to teach us anew, to correct any misunderstandings, and to lead us to clearly comprehend His Word.