jesus316.com

 

Table of Contents:

6 days in Genesis literal 24 hour?
Uses of the word "day" | Evening and morning
Figurative understanding of Genesis 1 | Conclusion


 *6 days in Genesis literal 24 hour?*    The 24-Hour Day | Old Earth Creationism | Creationism


Days of Creation of Genesis as literal 24 hour days?

Proponents of young earth creation insist the word day in Genesis 1 interpreted literally refers to 24 hours. But it's not literal; it's figurative. Here's the passage:

Genesis 1:5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

The four Hebrew words:

Two key points:


Uses of the word "day"

Some different ways the word day is used in the book of Genesis...


Evening and morning

Genesis 1:8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

It is tempting to assume the word day in this passage is a 24 hour day. But we need to be cautious because as the examples in the previous section show, the only times the word day clearly and unambiguously means a 24 hour day are (1) when it is in the context of other days, or (2) when referring to a particular day of the week. Whenever the word day is referred to in the context of parts of a day such as morning, evening, light, cool of the day, darkness and nighttime, a 24 hour day is not what is in mind.

The usual assumption is the formula

...there was evening, and there was morning — the XYZ day

means the days were 24 hour days, and at first sight this seems a logical conclusion. But there is something very peculiar about this formula suggesting otherwise.

If this formula had instead been

...God did these things on day XYZ and it took a whole day and a whole night

it would have been clear the day was a 24 hour day.

If this formula had instead been

...there was daytime, and there was nighttime — the XYZ day

it probably would have been referring to a 24 hour day because the daytime and the nighttime are the two parts of the day which together make up a 24 hour day. However, even then, some uncertainty would remain.


The formula

...there was evening, and there was morning — the XYZ day

is simply not literal. This is a result of the use of the words evening and morning since evening and morning together do not make up a complete day; there is also midday, afternoon and nighttime — the phrase is ambiguous.

We should also notice the words evening and morning in the order they are given correspond with the starting and ending points for that part of a 24 hour day called night. Looking at the words evening and morning a bit further...

Evening

Morning


Figurative understanding of Genesis 1

...there was evening, and there was morning — the XYZ day

Some possible ways this formula can be interpreted. (I'll not address the creation models suggested by these.)


Conclusion

While the six days of creation certainly can be 24 hour days, the passages in Genesis do not require this meaning and, in fact, the usage of words and the context strongly suggest the days of creation were not 24 hour days.

In order to support the idea of the days of creation as 24 hour days, the passages must be interpreted figuratively rather than literally.

Young earth creation scientists would have us believe their view is based on a literal interpretation of Genesis chapter one. However, as I have shown, it is not literal at all but requires a figurative interpretation of the repeated formula in Genesis chapter one verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 23 and 31.

The young earth view claims to be based on literal interpretation but is, in fact, figurative. Galileowas persecuted for this error by the church.