Creation took six days. This is clearly explained in Genesis Chapter 1. However, some skeptics argue that Genesis 2 tells a different creation story. They say the fourth verse of Chapter 2 bears a contradiction.
So let’s review Genesis Chapter 2 verses 1-4 and paraphrase it so we can understand it as it was meant to be understood.
1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
Paraphrase: In this manner were the Heavens and earth completed as well as every being that would exist within them.
2And 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.
This does not sound at all like a whole new story. We know that proper sentences do not use the word “and” except to connect two or more thoughts. Verse two begins with the words “And on the seventh day”. This is clearly picking up where Genesis Chapter 1 ended. Moving right along, verse three continues the account saying:
3And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
Genesis explains the six day creation in one chapter, but takes a few verses to explain how God used the seventh day. It gives us a break from all of the activity before it dives right back in to explain the sixth day in more detail. The sixth day is the most relevant to believers in the God of the Bible because on this day, God created humankind. Continuing onward to verse four, we read:
4These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth
Paraphrase: These are all of the events which comprise the origin of the heavens and the earth)
when they were created,
Paraphrase: that occured in the time which we call “the beginning”),
in the day
Paraphrase: for they did occur in the era or time frame)
that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Paraphrase: in which God made everything, seen and unseen and all that exists in this realm and in the Heavens.
The phrase “in the day” is not the same as the phrase “on the day” for the same reason “In those days” is not the same as “on those days”. “I travelled a lot in those days” is different from “I travelled a lot on those days”. The former connotes an era. The latter connotes specific days of the week.
So there was never truly any contradiction between the six day creation account outlined in Genesis Chapter 1 and the fourth verse in Genesis Chapter 2. There was only misconnotation.