© 2020 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner



 How Long was a Day of CREATION? 


Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference



Last class we saw that Moses’ Genesis can’t be counted among the ancient myths of his time. Now we ask whether Genesis CAN be seen to concur with the Scientific narrative about the Earth’s history?

If we’ve found Genesis compatible with science, it would set Moses’ apart from any other story told in his time.  None of them CAN be matched with science, not by any stretched of imagination.


Let’s remember that comparing Genesis with Science carries high stakes. Since finding Genesis incompatible with science, would  discredited Moses’ entire revelation.

On the other hand, if we’ve found Genesis compatible with science, then – WOW! How could Moses know, 3500 years ago, such a credible account of the Earth history?


What the fundamentalists say  

In contrast to most scholars and biblical critics, who see Genesis as a myth, the Bible fundamentalists, Jewish or none Jewish,  believe in Genesis literally, on its face. They hold that the Heavens and the Earth exist only 5780 human years, and the world was created in one regular week.  If fossils and radioactive measurements show otherwise, that’s science’ problem. There are parks in the USA showing Dinosaurs side by side with Adam and Eve.


For regular people, however, the apparent clash between Moses and Science is an enigma.  On one hand they trust Science, on the other hand they would love to believe in the truthfulness of the Bible.

As a result, t most people simply push the question aside, leaving it to “great rabbis” or “theologians.” Some see Genesis as an allegory, or a description of “Heavenly Beasts” rather than history.


But ignoring the question incurs bad consequences.  In a recent survey, most college students in the USA related their rejection of the Bible to their disbelief in the story of Genesis.


So, let’s take upon ourselves to compare Moses to science.  And the first question we should address is How Old is the Universe according to both?







1: How old is Creation?


Kabbalah’s calculation


 Science says that the Universe is 13.7 Billion years old, starting with the Big Bang. What does Moses say?

On the surface, Moses says that the world is only 5781years old.  For the biblical fundamentalists, this number is factual, with no reservations.


Yet this number is calculated not from the Beginning but rather from Cain and Abel – from Genesis Chapter 5 onward.  It does not count the Six Days of CREATION in Chapter One.


Kabbalah says that Chapter One should be counted separately.   An ancient Kabbalah tradition, recorded by Rabbi H. Abulafia (13th century AD) based the calculation on Psalm 90.  As you know, most Psalms were composed by king David, but a few are attributed to Moses himself. One of them is Psalm 90 that says –


“For our thousand years are like one day in your eyes.” 


Hence “One Day of the CREATOR” is equal to our thousand years

And one year of the CREATOR equals 350,000 of Man’s years (350×1000)


Since another kabbalah source teaches that 6000 Years of the CREATOR equal ‘One Day of CREATION” it comes out that

A Day of CREATION Equals 6000×350,000=2.1 billion human years.  And Six Days OF CREATION equal 2.1 x 6 = 12.6 billion human years


Surprisingly, Rabbi Abulafia’s calculation comes very close to our scientific number.



 The text of Genesis



The Torah’s text itself suggests that a Day of CREATION is an era, stage in the history of the World.  How? At the end of the First Day, it says:


“And ELoKiM saw that it is good,

and it was evening and it was morning, one Day’ 



We may observe that


  • The Torah calls the first Day“One Day,” despite the fact that the Sun and the Moon would appear regularly much later, on the Fourth Day


  • The First Day is called ‘One Day’ instead of Day One.’  All other Days are called in their proper numerical names, as Day Two, Day Three and so on.



It comes out that the first verses in the Torah define for us the length of ‘One Day’ of CREATION. It is the time that CREATION advanced from the ‘Beginning’ to see in it “Chaos, Matter, Abyss, Light and Water” as mentioned in the verse. The length could be 2.1 billion human years, as Kabbalah has calculated.


Thus, a Day of CREATION refers to an eraa phase in World’s history.  On the average, it lasted 2.1 billion human years. It was certainly NOT our one day.


So far, Moses’ Story CAN be matched with science, something you can’t do with any of the ancient myths of his time.

Can we also match the rest of Genesis with Science?



 Read also: “Genesis Vs. Science, Can They Match?” By Zvi Aviner, at www.smashwords.com