Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Six Days of Creation: Are they God's workdays or 24hr. Days

At Auburn Alliance Church, we are going through the book of Genesis and have spent some time working on God's creative acts in chapter one. It is perhaps the most controversial passage in the Bible and yet one of the most important. Christians seem to be stuck between a proverbial rock and a hard place trying to figure out how to make sense of all the material that has been thrown at them, especially in regard to how we are to interpret the term, “day.”

There are many theories out there in regard to the timing of each of the six days of creation. However, I would just like to discuss two of these theories in this brief article. In researching the first sermon on this series, I came across a commentator who strongly believes that the days are to be literally taken to be actually six days but not as calendar days.

He states, “Most probably the six days of creation are God's workdays, which are not identical to ours but are analogous to ours.” His reasoning: 1) the first three days could not have been solar because God made the sun and moon on the fourth day, and 2) the seventh day has no end. The phrase “and there was evening and there was morning” does not appear with day seven.

This was the first time I have ever heard of this view and find it quite fascinating. Though the commentator seems to have been able to bring out a better way of combining many different understandings, the reasoning seems a bit lacking. One may properly ask, “If there was no sun and no moon, how was there “evening and morning” in the first place?” Sadly, he does not elaborate on “evening and morning” phraseology in regard to days one through three if there was not a 24 hour period. The second question that must be present is, “Does this phraseology change meaning when the sun and moon are created on the fourth day?” In other words, when does the switch happen from analogous to actually 24 hour periods?

Upon reading the fourth day, one would need to surmise that the sun and moon where created to govern the Light and Darkness of day one. They were also though created to help man with keeping time, not to have time created at that moment. In other words, it is plausible that the 24 hour day existed prior to the creation of the sun and moon, but man would not have been able to identify it properly without these luminary bodies being created.

The other piece of the puzzle that the author mentioned is regarding the seventh day is missing the phrase, “evening and morning,” may not be indicating that the day is continuing but that God's actual rest from his creative act has not ended. Upon further observation of the creation account, one will notice that when God was done with what He was doing, we had the phrase, “evening and morning.” With the seventh day not having the phrase, one could simply interpret it to mean that God is continuing to rest from His creative activity.

The second understanding I would like to look at is to understand the six days of creation as being six, 24 hour days, which will be on another post. However, what do you think of the theory of an analogous workweek?


1 comment:

  1. I agree with the things you have said, in terms of the weakness of his theory. I happen to believe very strongly in six literal 24-hr days. Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis) points out that in every other instance of the Hebrew word transliterated "yowm" ("day") where yowm is accompanied by a number (e.g. second day) or by the words "morning" or "evening" scholars agree that it is a 24-hr day. However, because of the influence of the theory (yes, theory; and a weak one at that) of evolution Christians, including scholars, have been unwilling to embrace the 6-literal-day theory in Genesis 1.