Exodus 20:11 Misused by Ken Ham and Young Earth Creationists


For in six days the Lord made [‘asa*] heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11 ESV

YHWH…rested the seventh day.  Because He sanctified the seventh day, we are to remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  That is the purpose of this verse.

We are reminded of God’s work in words that parallel those of the six days in Genesis.   In Gen.1:8,  “God called the expanse heaven.” This has the limited sense of our ‘sky’ as some versions render it.  In Gen.1:10, “God called the dry land earth [not the planet], and the gathering of the waters he called seas.”

Those first three days conclude what has been called the Days of Preparation, and the next three, Days of Filling. In that second set, God filled the sky, the dry land, and the seas with “all that is in them.” In Genesis we are told of birds for the sky, fish for the sea, animals for the land, and, finally, man. Thus, this one sentence in Exodus gives us a quick synopsis of the “six days” of Genesis.

That sentence cannot undo the sound exegesis of Genesis 1:1, 2 which precede day one which is in verse 3, “And God said…” [Note the structure: each day begins with “And God said…”] Thus, there is no basis in Scripture for dating the age of the earth.

[But there is a basis for dating in God’s natural revelation. Seehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvvP-RC9RJo&t=2540s R.C. Sproul, 5 min. video  Learn and love the LORD your God with all your mind. ]

See In The Beginning.  As is shown there, in Gen. 1:1, God “created” [bara’] the universe.  In this synopsis from Exodus, YHWH “made” [‘asa] that is, he set in order (starting on day one which begins in verse 3) the empty, dark earth that existed in verse 2 which was created in verse 1.


*Notes from Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Moody, 1980) on ‘asa,  “make”

The word bara’ “create” [Gen. 1:1] carries the thought of the initiation of the object involved.  It always connotes what only God can do and frequently emphasizes the absolute newness of the object created.  The word ‘asa [Ex. 20:11] is much broader in scope, connoting primarily the fashioning of the object with little concern for special nuances.

The use of bara’ in the opening statement of the account of creation seems to carry the implication that the physical phenonmena came into existence at that time and had no previous existence. [creatio ex nihilo]

Notes from Genesis, G. Ch. Aalders

“In the beginning God created…”…verse 1 forms an independent sentence, and verses 2 and 3 follow as independent sentences….let it be stated without equivocation that the words “in the beginning’ must be taken in their absolute sense.  First of all, this is the most natural and obvious interpretation.  Furthermore, this is the rendition that is found in every ancient translation, without exception….

…Genesis 1:1, it is argued, is a kind of a heading…This cannot be the case, however, because of the way verse 2 starts.  The words “and the earth,” which refer back to verse 1, clearly indicate that this is not the beginning of the creation narrative and therefore verse 1 cannot be considered to be a formal heading for what is to follow.

Since verse 1 is not just a heading, it is likewise true beyond doubt that “the heavens and the earth” do not there refer to the present, organized universe as it appeared after the creative work described in Genesis 1 was completed….in verses 3-31

creation2For in six days the Lord made [and named] heaven [sky] and earth [dry land], the sea, and all that is in them, . . . Exodus 20:11

3 comments on “Exodus 20:11 Misused by Ken Ham and Young Earth Creationists

  1. nikeyo says:

    It’s a little difficult to compare the Genesis creation narrative, with the passage in Exodus: the Hebrew is completely different. In fact, the creation narrative is told in an archaic-type Hebrew used nowhere else in the Bible. But that’s just a thought, not a critique. How do you, personally, reconcile the alternate uses of “bara” and “asa”?

    Correction, though: You mean, Exodus 20:10.

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