Est. May 2008

22 May, 2014

Day


How important is a word?  A single word?

If you’re studying Genesis 1, a single word makes or breaks what you’re studying.

That word is ‘day’ (Hebrew: yom or yawm).  For a great many years, this poor little word has been at the heart of a debate about the historicity of Genesis 1.  Some believe that it means a regular 24-hour day and nothing but; others believe it can mean that … or a long period of time … or the past … or the future.   

Generally, this breaks people into two camps, if you will: the Young Earth Creationists (who believe in the literal 24-hour day) and the Old Earth Creationists (who believe the other).  And there have been times this discussion has become quite heated, which usually leads to prompts by others that ‘it really doesn’t matter, so long as you believe in the Gospel’.  The problem with that, as has been pointed out by many, is that if we cannot trust the simple, straightforward reading of Genesis 1, how can we trust any other straightforward reading of Scripture?

That may sound overblown, but it’s the truth: you’ll often hear, ‘This part (or that part) is an allegory’, to which I usually respond, ‘And when does it stop being an allegory and begin to be historical?’  Example: Joshua and the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6).  Look at verse 20: ‘So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city.  Is the emphasized portion allegory and the rest of the sentence historical?  If so … why?

Let’s get back to Genesis 1, though. 
The problem with an Old Earth Creationist view of this chapter can be shown in comparing what OEC’s say they believe, what science shows us, and what the Bible says.

First, here’s what OEC’s believe, courtesy of Got Questions::
Old Earth Creationism is an umbrella term used to describe biblical creationists who deny that the universe was created within the last 6,000 to 10,000 years over the course of six consecutive 24-hour days. Rather, Old Earth Creationists believe that God created the universe and its inhabitants (including a literal Adam and Eve) over a much longer period of time than is allowed for by Young Earth Creationists.

-snip-

1) The age of the universe. Young Earth Creationists believe that God created the universe 6,000-10,000 years ago. Old Earth Creationists place the creation event at approximately 13.7 billion years ago, thus being more in line with “mainstream” science, at least on this point.

2) The time of the creation of Adam and Eve. Young Earth Creationists place the creation of Adam no later than 10,000 years ago. Old Earth Creationists are varied on this point with estimates ranging somewhere between 30,000-70,000 thousand years ago. (emphases mine)
Okay, a roughly 14-billion-year-old universe and Adam and Eve at about 70,000 years ago.  Well if you’re going to accept that, you might as well accept some other scientifically-‘proven’ milestones in the history of the world (All data taken from here, here, and here):

1) The universe came into existence about 14 billion years ago.
2) Earth was formed about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years ago.
3) Earth’s oceans and continents were formed around 4.3 to 4.5 billion years ago.
4) The oldest fossils, indicating life on the planet, are about 4 billion years old.
5) First fish – about 450 million years old.
6) First amphibians – about 380 million years old.
7) First reptiles – about 300 million years ago.
8) First plants – about 300 million years ago.
9) First mammals – about 200 million years ago.
10) First bird – about 150 million years ago.
11) First modern humans – about 70,000 years ago.

Now, a comparison of these milestones with Genesis 1.

1) The universe came into existence about 14 billion years ago.
2) Earth was formed about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years ago.
3) Earth’s oceans and continents were formed around 4.3 to 4.5 billion years ago.

Genesis 1:1-10, approximately ten billion years.

Stop.  Do you see any indication that the ‘day’ is over at this point?  No, you don’t; it continues on through verse 13.

8) First plants – about 300 million years ago.

Genesis 1:11-13.

Stop again.  Those first plants aren’t seed-bearing, fruit-bearing flowering plants – those don’t show up in the fossil record for another 200 million years.  Crank through the math and you see that Day 3 took a total of about 3.7 billion years. 

Now that’s a long day.

5) First fish – about 450 million years old.
10) First bird – about 150 million years ago.

Genesis 1:20-23.

That’s Day 5, folks – 300 million years long.

6) First amphibians – about 380 million years old.
7) First reptiles – about 300 million years ago.
9) First mammals – about 200 million years ago.
11) First modern humans – about 70,000 years ago.

Genesis 1:24-26.

Day 6 – 379,930,000 years.

So let’s summarize.  According to OEC’s, the word ‘day’ as found in Genesis 1 can mean either:

-          4,000,000,000 years (10,000,000,000 divided by 2 ½ ‘days’),
-          3,700,000,000 years,
-          200,000,000 years,
-          300,000,000 years, or
-          379,930,000 years.

Really?  I mean, really?

3 comments:

Debbie said...

Food for thought...

Four theories as to how to interpret creation in Genesis:

1) Literally - Yom as one day, 24 hours, sees world as 6,000 years old.

2) Fable - myth, no fact or basis

3) RE-creation - vs 2

"Now the earth was formless and empty" NIV

"And the earth was without form, and void" KJV


Indicating that something the Bible calls earth existed in some form, not the form we know it now. But it was without form or organization.

Back to verse 1:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

How much time between creating the heavens and the earth until the second half of verse 2? And what form was the earth in in verse 1 before verse 2?

Verse 2 continues:

"Now the earth was formless and empty, ... darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." NIV


4) Literal, but Yom, day, is equal to a vast age or period of time.

Ether way the order of things created by God is logical and scientific so that science and religion to not need to be in conflict.

Nate said...

'Verse 2 continues:

"Now the earth was formless and empty, ... darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." NIV'

Now look at verse 3: 'And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.'

Now, if this verse (as some maintain) indicates the moment of the 'Big Bang'...that would mean that the formless and void Earth existed prior to it.

AAIGH!!!!

Right Truth said...

Well, I don't have a problem with the big bang in that it could have been a part of God's plan, I don't think science and faith in the Bible have to contradict each other.

However those who believe "poof" there was a big bang and everything was here, or that the big bang started some kind of process out of chaos into order, some kind of evolution...

I don't buy that at all.

I'm not sure that we are supposed to completely understand everything anyway. We are simple beings created by a mighty God, it is impossible for us to understand things on his level.

Debbie