Separating Truth from Tradition
SEPARATING TRUTH FROM TRADITION
Bud Chrysler – January 2020
THE SIX DAYS OF EXODUS 20:11 AND 31:17
The Genesis account of creation reaches its climax in the Lord’s observance of the Sabbath:
Genesis 2:1-3 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. Israel’s observance of the Sabbath thereafter is an affirmation of their faith in Him as they fulfill the Fourth Commandment:
Exodus 20:8-10 – Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.
Moses was commanded to teach the children of Israel:
Exodus 24:12 – And the LORD said unto Moses, “Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”
Deuteronomy 4:14 – And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
It is here my intention to demonstrate that Moses, in fulfilling his responsibility to teach the children of Israel, uttered explanatory statements to them, after reciting the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:11; 31:17; Deuteronomy 5:15). In two of those statements (Exodus 20:11 and 31:17b), Moses spoke of “days,” which could be interpreted as “God’s days” or “divine days” (grand in scale), within which the Lord God created heaven and earth:
Exodus 20:11 – For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Exodus 31:17b – …for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
The third occurrence of an explanatory statement, made by Moses after reciting the Fourth Commandment, can be found in Deuteronomy 5:15 and will be examined in greater detail below. Deuteronomy 5:4–25 consists of a re-telling of the Ten Commandments to the younger generation who were to enter the Promised Land. Deuteronomy chapter five and Exodus chapter twenty are virtually identical, with Moses reciting the Ten Commandments in each. But the phrases which immediately follow the Fourth Commandment in each book differ in content. Interestingly, the phrase “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” is absent in the Deuteronomy account of the Fourth Commandment – which goes on to say that nothing more was added:
Deuteronomy 5:22 – These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. According to this verse, the statement, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” was not spoken by the Lord and, consequently, would not have been written in the two tables of stone.
Ken Ham, founder and chief executive officer of the Young Earth creationist ministry Answers in Genesis, has a different opinion on this subject:
“Now, when the Creator God spoke as recorded in Exodus 20:1, what did He (Jesus) say? As we read on, we find this statement: ‘for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day’ (Exodus 20:11).”
“Yes, Jesus did explicitly say He created in six days. Not only this, but the one who spoke the words ‘six days’ also wrote them down for Moses: ‘Then the LORD delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly’ (Deuteronomy 9:10).”
“Jesus said clearly that He created in six days. And He even did something He didn’t do with most of Scripture – He wrote it down Himself. How clearer and more authoritative can you get than that?” (Ken Ham, The New Answers Book 1, 2012, p. 258).
There is another reason to believe that Moses’ explanatory statement, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is…” was not spoken by the Lord. The phrase immediately following the Fourth Commandment in Deuteronomy 5:15 says: And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day. According to E. W. Bullinger, this verse is a parenthetical break in Moses’ recital of the Fourth Commandment, in view of their shortly having servants of their own (The Companion Bible, 1974, p. 246). If we agree with Bullinger, regarding the parenthetical statement in Deuteronomy 5:15, then we can infer that Moses’ statements made immediately following the Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17b could also be parenthetical in nature.
Exodus 31:17 begins with Moses’ recital of the Fourth Commandment (words originally spoken by the Lord God – incorporating 1st person) and ends with what may be a personal statement (words originally spoken by Moses – incorporating 3rd person):
Exodus 31:17a – It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever:
Exodus 31:17b – for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. The idea that the statements made in Exodus 20:11, 31:17b and Deuteronomy 5:15 may be parenthetical does not mean that the verses are to be disregarded, but it allows us to put them in their proper context – Exodus 20:11 and 31:17b do not reflect claims, made by the Lord God, that He created all things in six days.
Examples in Scripture of the pattern of six periods of activity and one of rest, contrasting the length of time it took the Lord God to make heaven and earth and when He ceased (rested), are plentiful but the patterns do not consist solely of days contrasting days:
Exodus 21:2 – If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing. The emphasis being on the pattern (not the duration) is clearly seen in Exodus 23:10-12, where the pattern begins with reference to “years” and ends with reference to “days”: And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. Six days shalt thou do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
The annual pattern of six and one is also found in Leviticus 25:3-5:
Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which growth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
In the time of Moses, the length of life must have been shortened specially, so that the adults died off within the forty years (Bullinger). The 90th Psalm has been attributed to Moses and in verse 10 he writes, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten..." This pattern incorporates decades (threescore and ten) to parallel the time it took the Lord God to make heaven and earth and to rest.
Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Daniel 9:2 both speak of the seventy-year Babylonian captivity but when this same seventy-year period is mentioned in connection with the Sabbath, the familiar pattern of six (in this case sixty) and one (in this case ten) appears once again:
II Chronicles 36:21 – To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.
Therefore, Patterns of six-and-one, as used in Scripture, parallel decades, years or days interchangeably with the time that elapsed while the Lord God made heaven and earth and then rested. Because the duration of time varies within each of the patterns, it becomes clear that the patterns alone were the focus and, as a result, the duration of time contained within them becomes irrelevant.
The German theologian, John Peter Lange, effectively demonstrates why the six days mentioned in Exodus 20:11 could have been intended to paralell God’s divine-days or epochs:
“…the Fourth Commandment: ‘…six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, …for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth.’ …a careful study shows that there is something more than first strikes us. It might be replied that there is no difference of radical idea… but a vast difference in the scale. God’s days of working, it is said, must be the same with man’s days of working, because they are mentioned in such close connection. Then God’s work and man’s work must also be the same, or on the same grade for a similar reason. The Hebrew word is the same for both: ‘In six days shalt thou labor and do (asah) all thy work; for in six days the Lord made (asah, made, wrought) heaven and earth.’ Is there no transition here to a higher idea? And so of the resting: ‘The seventh shall be to thee a Sabbath (shabath, a rest), for the Lord thy God rested (shabath) on the seventh day,’ – words of the same general import, but the less solemn or more human term here applied to Deity.”
“What a difference there must have been between God’s work and man’s work, - above all, between God’s ineffable repose and the rest demanded for human weariness. Must we not carry the same difference into the times, and make a similar ineffable distinction between the divine working-days and the human working-days of our lower chronology? …The lower, or earthly, day is made a memorial of the higher. We are called to remember by it. In six (human) days do all thy work; for in six (divine) days the Lord made heaven and earth. …It is the manner of the Scriptures thus to make times and things on earth representatives, or under-types, of things in the heavens, - Heb. 9:23. Viewed from such a standpoint these parallelisms in the language of the Fourth Commandment suggest of themselves a vast difference between the divine and the human days, even if it were the only argument the Bible furnished for that purpose. As the work to the work, as the rest to the rest, so are the times to the times” (John Peter Lange, D. D., 1868, pp.135-136).
Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
THE SIX DAYS OF REVELATION IN CHAPTER ONE OF GENESIS
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The Reverend C. I. Scofield made popular the view (Gap Theory) that there could be a great gap of time between the first two verses of the Bible into which all the geological ages fit – Destruction of the original earth and then a recreation of earth within a six-day time period. But the verses, being connected throughout Genesis chapter one by the word “and,” are not separate entities and should not be treated as such.
Around 200 A.D. Tertullian argued, “But how much more credible is our opinion, which holds that Scripture has only subjoined the arrangement of the subject after it has first duly described its formation and mentioned its name! Indeed, how full and complete is the meaning of these words: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; but the earth was without form, and void, Genesis 1:1-2 — the very same earth, no doubt, which God made, and of which the Scripture had been speaking at that very moment. For that very but is inserted into the narrative like a clasp, (in its function) of a conjunctive particle, to connect the two sentences indissolubly together: But the earth. This word carries back the mind to that earth of which mention had just been made, and binds the sense thereunto. Take away this but, and the tie is loosened….” (Tertullian, The Method Observed in the History of the Creation, in Reply to the Perverse Interpretation of Hermogenes).
When the Bible states …God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void… (Genesis 1:1-2), the implication is that what was being described is how the earth looked immediately following its creation. Envision it as a plain ball of water containing no other defining characteristics or living thing (Psalm 104:5-9). The narrative then continues with God forming the earth and filling the void in the rest of chapter one.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
There are some who interpret the “days” of Genesis chapter one as long periods of time, even millions of years (Long Day Theory). Long-day theorists claim that the word “day” in Genesis chapter one must be interpreted by its context - not how it is normally used. Ironically, they take II Peter 3:8 out of context to strengthen their theory. II Peter 3:8-9 – But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. A more careful interpretation of these verses would show that they have more to do with the Lord’s eternal and merciful nature than His precise perception of time.
“Time is of no consequence to God, and in His love for men He is keeping open for as long as possible the door of repentance. …The main thrust of it is that after the second coming, ushering in Christ’s judgment, there will be no further opportunity for repentance, and so God in His mercy is giving men as long as possible to repent” (The New Bible Commentary Revised, 1978, p.1257).
Another problem with the Long Day Theory is the use of the words “evening and morning” in Genesis chapter one. When reading Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31, an interpretation which would make these days other than ordinary twenty-four-hour days seems impossible. To an ordinary reader of modern days, as to those of ancient times, these days, each with their evenings and mornings, imply six days of ordinary length.
The great Hebraic scholar C.D. Ginsburg commented on the use of the term “day” in chapters one and two of Genesis: “There is nothing in the first chapter of Genesis to justify the spiritualization of the expression day. On the contrary the definition in verse 5 of the word in question demands that yom should be understood in the same sense as we understand the word day in common parlance, i.e. a natural day” (C.D. Ginsburg, cited by P. J. Wiseman, Clues To Creation In Genesis, 1977, p. 123).
“The arguments generally produced by those who ascribe to the word day here an unlimited duration of time are untenable. They say that the word day is not to be taken here in its literal meaning is evident from chapter 2:4, for the portion of time spoken of in the first chapter of Genesis as six days is spoken of in the second chapter as one day. But the word used in the first six days is the simple noun, whereas in chapter 2:4 it is a compound of the day of with the preposition in, which, according to the genius of the Hebrew language, makes it an adverb, and must be translated, when, at the time of, after” (C.D. Ginsburg, cited by P. J. Wiseman, Clues To Creation In Genesis, 1977, p. 123). Genesis 2:4 – These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens…
Archaeology is a relatively new science, the benefits of which have not been available to us until about the last hundred and fifty years or so. But we now have the distinct advantage of incorporating tangible evidence along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our efforts to properly interpret Scripture.
“Until the results of modern archaeological research became known it was not possible to understand fully the literary methods in use in early days. During the years the writer was living in Babylonia, time was spent in examining, on the one hand the text of Genesis, and on the other the ancient methods of writing prevailing there 5,000 years ago. It was the study of the Bible creation record in the light of these old literary methods which has made possible a more exact knowledge of the unique structure and meaning of the narrative. …Every advance in archaeological discovery has enabled us to understand these writings better. There has been a vast growth in our knowledge of the remote past, particularly about the old ways of writing, and the present reinterpretation is made in the light of methods customary in early times” (P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in six days, 1958, pp. 10, 11). P. J. Wiseman became familiar with ancient Babylonian tablets and noticed similarities in literary form to that of the book of Genesis. His “Tablet Theory” caught the attention of more than a few Bible scholars.
“An important step towards an understanding of the manner in which Genesis was compiled in the light of the ancient Babylonian ‘life-situation’ was made in 1936 by P. J. Wiseman. A British air-commodore of decidedly antiquarian bent, Wiseman examined the literary forms of ancient Babylonian tablets with a view to solving the literary problem of the origin of Genesis. From the existence of colophons, catch-lines, scribal dating, and other devices of antiquity familiar to the Assyriologist, Wiseman argued towards the presence of similar phenomena in the bulk of Genesis. He interpreted the enigmatic phrase ‘these are the generations of’ as in fact constituting a colophon in the text, and pointing to the preceding verses as a complete unit which in cuneiform would have constituted a tablet. He further adduced the presence in the early Genesis narratives of such Babylonian literary mechanisms as scribal attempts at dating, the linking of passages in series, specific titles of sections, and the use of catch-lines.”
“Wiseman’s theory postulated documentary sources for Genesis although of a completely different nature from those suggested by the adherents of the Graf-Welhausen school. He stressed the strictly Mesopotamian nature of much of the source-material which he had uncovered, and suggested that it had been combined with the Joseph narratives to form the book of Genesis, presumably under the direct influence of Moses. His approach had the distinct advantage of relating the ancient Mesopotamian life-situation, unlike the attempts of the Graf-Welhausen school, and showed that the methods of writing and compilation employed in Genesis were in essential harmony with the processes current among the scribes of ancient Babylonia”
“Accordingly, the present writer feels justified in following Wiseman in the assertion that Genesis contains in the first thirty-six chapters a series of tablets whose contents were linked together to form a roughly chronological account of primeval and patriarchal life written from the standpoint of a Mesopotamian cultural milieu” (R.K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1969, pp. 63, 64, 548).
If Wiseman is right about the colophons coming at the end of each of the eyewitness’s accounts, it would indicate that the book of Genesis is made up of tablets which were written or owned by an eyewitness to the events described therein. These “family records” would have been eventually compiled by Moses, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the Late Bronze Age (1550 – 1200 B.C.) and should be considered historically reliable.
“… there is good reason to think in terms of the writing rather than oral transmission of the traditions of Genesis in the Bronze Age. The evidence is clear for the writing of “books” in that period. No longer should the cultural milieu be thought of as something in addition to the development of writing and writing formats. Rather the cultural background of the patriarchs includes the development of writing and its application to bookmaking and record-making. Since the format of such a Bronze Age “book” can be traced in Genesis, there is reason to place the original writing of the history as well as the history itself in the Bronze Age” (Dale S. Dewitt, Bible and Spade, The Generations of Genesis, 2011).
Wiseman’s “tablet theory” was cautiously received by some Bible scholars but when, as a result of his new perspective, he broke from tradition and introduced an entirely new way to interpret the account of creation, those scholars were not so quick to follow. The most common type of data used in support of the six days of Genesis chapter one being days of creative activity is based upon traditional interpretations of the Bible, so it serves as our point of departure in investigating the possibility that those six days were days of revelation.
Most church fathers accepted the days in Genesis chapter one as ordinary days – days in which creative activity occurred. This approach has affected the way people interpret Scripture, even up until the current time. But, as the man who started the Reformation said, “Whenever we observe the opinions of the Fathers disagree with Scripture, we reverently bear with them and acknowledge them to be our elders. Nevertheless, we do not depart from the authority of Scripture for their sake” (Martin Luther as cited in E. Pass, What Martin Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, 1991, 1523).
Psalm 12:6-7 – The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
II Timothy 3:16-17 – All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
II Timothy 2:9 – Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Traditions of men may have hindered proper interpretation of Scripture for centuries but the Word of God will eventually accomplish the purpose for which He sent it:
Isaiah 55:11 – So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
In 1958, Wiseman suggested that the “days” of Genesis chapter one may be days of revelation, not days of creative activity (Revelatory-day view). According to this view, God took six days to reveal details about Himself and His creation. “The days of Genesis chapter one are intended to be literal days, but not of creation, and the time occupied in the events described may well be as long as the ‘geological’ interpretation asserts” (P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in six days, 1958, p. 128).
Wiseman wrote, “We are expressly told that each of the six days was divided by ‘an evening and a morning’. Why these six ‘evenings and mornings’? Why were they introduced? For God’s sake or for man? Endless difficulties have been created in thinking that Almighty God, the Creator, ceased His work of creating the world as the evening drew on and recommenced it as morning light appeared. Was it necessary for God to cease from His work of creation when darkness came on, and to wait till morning light dawned before He could resume? This idea needs only to be stated in this blunt fashion in order to enable us to see that the cessation for the six mornings and evenings was to meet man’s necessity for rest. God had no need of a nightly rest, “He fainteth not, neither is weary.” (P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in six days, 1958, pp. 37, 38).
Isaiah 40:28 – Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
Psalm 139:12 – Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
Wiseman also raised the question of why God gave names to things while creating them, when there was not yet a man created to hear the names. “God gave names to the things that He spoke about. On the first day He called the light ‘day’ and the darkness He called ‘night’; on the second day, when telling about the firmament, He called it ‘heaven’ and then we read how on the third day ‘God called the dry land earth and the gathering together of the waters called He seas.” Why did God give names to these things? A name to identify a thing is not necessary to God, but it is necessary for man. The supposition that God gave names to things before man had been created has been a great perplexity to all commentators. When we see that the names were given for man’s sake still another difficulty which has embarrassed and stumbled not a few disappears” (P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in six days, 1958, pp. 40, 41).
Commentators have also struggled over the years in their attempt to explain the issue of the fourth day: Genesis 1:14-19 – And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The question has been asked, if the creative acts described in the first chapter of Genesis are written in the order in which they occurred, then what would have been the source of the light and point of reference (sunrise/sunset) in days one through three? As to the source of light, it has been suggested that the light in days one through three consisted of the glory of God and the Lamb was the light thereof: Revelation 21:23 – And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. But, reading on, we find that there is no night there: Revelation 21:25 – And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. Also, note Psalm 139:12 – Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee. Again, in Psalm 104: 1, 2 we read, Bless the LORD, O my soul, O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth (Psalm 104:19, 20). Days one through three in the first chapter of Genesis include night: Genesis 1:5 – And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Therefore, the source of the light in days one through three in the first chapter of Genesis would differ from that of Revelation 21:23, Psalm 139:12 and Psalm 104:2 in that the latter three consist of only light (day) and the former consists of both light (day) and darkness (night).
Within the revelatory-day view, the issue of the fourth day (Genesis 1:14-19) is not a problem because these are not held as days of creative activity, but of divine revelation. According to this view, the Lord God chose the fourth day to tell Adam about the sun, moon and stars which, hitherto, would have been the point of reference (sunrise/sunset) described in days one through three.
Job 38:12 – Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place?
Wiseman suggested that the seventh-day rest would have begun after God had completed, not only His creative activity, but also, His revelation to man concerning it. “During the daylight hours of each of the six successive days (each divided by an evening and a morning, when man rested) God revealed to him something new about creation, and during the first three days gave to man the names of the things He had revealed. When at the end of the six days God had finished talking with man, He instituted the seventh day as a day of rest for man’s sake. In six days, God had revealed “the heavens and the earth and all that in them is”, and the six days occupied in this work were followed by a day of rest. …God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, that is not later on, but just then on the seventh day” (P. J. Wiseman, Creation Revealed in six days, 1958, pp. 40, 41).
Genesis 2:1-4 – Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
“LORD (Heb. Jehovah). The primary meaning of the name LORD (Jehovah) is “the self-existent One.” Literally (as in Ex. 3:14), “He that is who He is, therefore the eternal I AM.” But Havah, from which Jehovah, or Yahwe, is formed, signifies also “to become,” that is, to become known, thus pointing to a continuous and increasing self-revelation. Combining these meanings of Havah, we arrive at the meaning of the name Jehovah. He is “the self-existent One who reveals Himself.” The name is, in itself, an advance upon the name “God” (El, Elah, Elohim), which suggests certain attributes of Deity, as strength, etc., rather than His essential being” (The Scofield Study Bible, 1945, p. 6).
“It is significant that the first appearance of the name Jehovah in Scripture (Gen 2:4) follows the creation of man. It was God (Elohim) who said, “Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26); but when man, as in the second chapter of Genesis, is to fill the scene and become dominant over creation, it is the LORD God (Jehovah Elohim) who acts. This clearly indicates a special relation of Deity, in His Jehovah character, to man, and all Scripture emphasizes this” (The Scofield Study Bible, 1945, p. 6).
In summary, I believe that it is possible that the six days of Genesis chapter one consist of man’s days in which the LORD God revealed information about Himself as Creator and details about His Creative activity. However, the word “days” as used by Moses in Exodus 20:11 and 31:17, could have been intended to parallel something other than twenty-four-hour periods because the word "days" is used, in this case, along with both years and decades elsewhere in Scripture, to form the familiar pattern of six-and-one. The pattern itself, was intended to bring to mind God’s creative activity and the ceasing thereof. The pattern, not the duration of time contained within, was Moses' tool for teaching the children of Israel.