Genesis 1 and 2: are the days literal or figurative?

“I let the text speak for itself”, a friend and brother in Christ insisted as we discussed whether or not the days mentioned in Genesis 1 and 2’s creation account are “literal”, 24 hour days or prefiguring days, extended periods of time; so much so that the internet is littered with articles both for and against.

However, the question could best be answered by looking at the text itself, more importantly the concluding verse of the passage in question:

“By the seventh day God finished the work that he had been doing, and he ceased on the seventh day all the work that he had been doing.
God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he ceased all the work that he had been doing in creation.”
–Genesis 2:2-3 (NET)

Now, we can look around and, if we take both what the Bible says and what science has to offer as evidence, conclude that we live in the seventh day of creation, where God is resting from the work of creation. That has been a very long period of time. If that point is true, it is reasonable to conclude that the days of creation described in Genesis 1 and 2 are extended periods of time because there has not been a “evening and morning”, yet.

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