7. When Moses declares that creation was perfected in six days, did he mean days twenty-four hours long? Or has he used the word in its sense of indeterminate time? The Hebrew word standing for “day” has this double acceptation: the first hypothesis is the more probable. The specification of day and night, which is attached to each of these six periods, gives reason for the supposition that he meant ordinary days. One cannot doubt this, when he says (verse 5), “God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day.” The latter can evidently apply only to a day of twenty-four hours divided by light and darkness. The sense is still more evident (verses 17 to 19), where, in speaking of sun, moon, and stars, “God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the fourth day.”
Besides, it is certainly stated that creation was effected in a miraculous manner; and, since the ancients believed in miracles, they could readily believe that the Earth was formed in a hundred and forty-four hours, particularly at a time when men were totally ignorant of natural laws. This belief has been shared by all civilized people, until geology has furnished documentary evidence in proof of its impossibility.