What Could Be Done In A Day?

by Alison Gerber


Sitting in class, starting to drift off as the professor talks on and on about literal, six day creation. What’s the big deal, I thought to myself, what difference does it make?

Now, let me stop right here at the very beginning and say at the outset: what I’m about to say is by no means an argument for the idea that the world was made in six days. I mean, what do I know? I leave that to the thousands of other teachers and preachers and theologians and scientists who mark out this battleground for their life’s work.

But for me, in a classroom, on a windy, dreary day, there was a moment of inspiration that got me thinking: what if it was?

I mean, what if it was made in six days? All of it. Heavens, earth, sea, sky, land, fishes, birds, Adam, Eve: all of it. And what if it was made in six real days, not six “God” days – not six days that stretch out across millennia because God is not bound by human concepts of time and space – what if it was made in six days as we know it: midnight to midnight, 6 lots of 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86400 seconds? What would that mean? Not for our understanding of God, or the earth, the fossil record and whether or not dinosaurs existed, but what would that mean for our understanding of the day?

Wouldn’t that completely turn on its head our perception of what can, potentially happen in one, single day?

When I wake up in the morning, to be honest, I have such low expectations as to what a day can bring. Perhaps today I will finish writing that paper. Perhaps I might get around to sending out the Christmas cards. Perhaps I’ll finally finish the hand washing. But I might not: there are only so many hours in a day, after all.

But then there are some days that bring monumental change: the day I preached the best sermon I’ve ever preached, the day my daughter was born, the day my son was born, the day I got married, the day I met my husband for the first time. On those days: change. On those days: God created for me.

What if we stood at the precipice of each day and thought: in these next 24 hours it is possible that God could conceive and create every plant and tree and fruit and vegetable upon the earth out of nothing! Would I then let the minutes whittle away while I do so little? Expecting so little out of the day that now God has, in turn, entrusted to me?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5)

(Image credit: Chris Goldberg, CC on Flickr)