Six Days of Creation or Six Periods?
Today we know that the creation process can be measured in billions of years.
The priestly editors or the Bible could not have known this. In their eagerness to enjoin Sabbath observance on others they wrote that God rested on the very first Sabbath day after finishing up his work of creating the heavens and the earth.
The six days of creation in the book of Genesis, then, are clearly like six days of any seven-day week. The Priestly editors have made it clear that a day is meant a period from one sunset to another. Six days meant from Sunday to Friday. They believed that the reason the Sabbath day became holy is that God Himself had rested on that day. Thus the editors tell us:
"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Genesis 2:2).
If that is not far enough, the editors took the idea that God rested farther still when they wrote as follows: "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed" (The Holy Bible, King James Version, Exodus 31: 17).
The idea that God rests like humans and gets refreshed like humans had to be corrected by Jesus, on whom be peace, when, according to John, he declared that God never stops working, even on the Sabbath day (see John 5:16). God clarified the matter in His own words when he declared: "And verily we created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and naught of weariness touched us" (Quran 50:38 see also v. 15).
The above quranic verses clearly refute the idea that God rested. God, according to the Quran does not get tired. Neither slumber nor sleep overtakes him (Quran 2:255).
But how about the period of creation? Was that six days in the Quran too? In the above quotation from the Quran the term translated 'days' could mean, according to Dr. Maurice Bucaille, "not just 'days', but also 'long periods of time', an indefinite period of time (but always long)" (The Bible, the Quran and Science, p. 139).
Dr. Bucaille notes that the Quran also speaks of "a day whereof the measure is a thousand years of your reckoning" (Quran 32:5). The Quran also speaks of a day whereof the measure is 50,000 years" (Quran 70:4).
Dr. Bucaille also points out that long before our modern ideas of the length of time involved in the creation, commentators of the Quran understood that when the Quran speaks of six days of creation, it does not mean six days like ours, but rather six periods. Abu al Su'ud, for example, writing in the sixteenth century, understood it as six events (see The Bible, the Quran and Science, p.l39).
Again, we see that the Quran has avoided repeating an error which was established in a previous book an error that will not be discovered until modern times. In view of this, can anyone insist that the Quran is the work of a man?