Studies in Genesis 1
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31 ESV)
We, in the Western world, think of evening as the end of the day and morning as the beginning. Yet, the Hebrew nation considered a day beginning at evening and ending the next evening. Passover, the Sabbath, special days, every day begins at dusk, or evening and concludes at the same time the following evening. Our question is not what meaning we place on the words “evening and morning” but how God uses the words during creation.
God uses this phrase six times in the first chapter of Genesis, almost as an exclamation for each successive day. Let us note He does not use the phrase in Genesis 2 for the end of the seventh day, the day of rest. He does not use this phrase anywhere else in Scripture with one possible exception. “The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true, but seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now” (Daniel 8:26 ESV). This is a description of Daniel’s first vision of prophecy after his dreams and life illustrate his intimacy with God to an ungodly people. This phrase speaks to what comes after Daniel in time. God worked in the past in creation, knowing the future because He knows all things.
What does God mean when He states six times “and there was evening and there was morning”? Perhaps, because He begins creation in chaos and darkness and ends the first day with the creation of light, He begins His “day” at dusk and ends His “day” with light. We know the word “evening” means dusk, or twilight, which implies some light before dark, which He calls “Night.” We know “morning” is the beginning of a time of light, which He calls “Day.” So we can state with some assurance that His “day,” evening and morning, are a period of time separating darkness and light.
During each “day” God creates specific things, building each new thing upon that which He previously created. During each period of time He calls a “day” He separates. Darkness from light. Water from water. Dry land from the seas. Day from night. Creatures of the seas from creatures of the air. Man from animals.
Evening is the end of a time of light while morning is the beginning of another time of light. In between evening and morning is a time of darkness called “night.” Each of the periods of time God calls “day” ends with a period of time God calls “night” separating darkness from light and one period of time of creation from another.