Monday, February 22, 2010

The Six Days of Creation: Are they God's workdays or 24hr. Days Part 2

Earlier, I shared what seemed to me a novel theory on the six days of creation being what one commentator called, “God's Workday.” The theory argues that these six days are analogous to man's days. The analogous theory's argument rests primarily on the interpretation of the seventh day.

Today, I would like to look at the traditional understanding, six 24hr. days of creation. There is strong evidence from Scripture that would demonstrate that the most natural understanding of “day” in Genesis chapter one would be a 24hr period of time. The line of argument is not difficult to follow and the simplicity would seem to point to an overall acceptance of the position by all Christians.

The line of thought for the six 24hr. days is as follows:

  1. The Hebrew word for “day” throughout Scripture when used with numbers always reflects a 24hr. day.
  2. The Hebrew word for “day” throughout Scripture when used with the terms “evening” and “morning” refers to a literal day. 
  3. Exodus 20:11 – The Lord is explaining why the Israelites are to keep the Sabbath. The reason – “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” It is hard to imagine that those listening to the Lord would be thinking, “Wow, these days must have had years separating these days.” Or, “Yeah, these days couldn't be literal, they have to be analogous, because that makes the most sense.” 
  4. Exodus 31:17 – In a different context, the reasoning behind the Sabbath is given as, “that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.”
  5.  7th Day – The lack of the phrase, “evening and morning” does not need to be understood as being a day without end. It may be explained that the lack of the phrase is to indicate that the Lord has never stop resting from His creative actions, not that the day did not end.

A general rule regarding the exegesis of a text is that the most natural reading/understanding should be preferred. An appropriate question is how did the Israelites understand the words found in both Exodus references. The Lord and Moses had an opportunity to help the listeners to understand what was meant when God stated days in both passages, if these references are not to be taken literally.

There has been a considerable lack of explanation regarding the two Exodus references when commentators or apologists defer to another theory regarding the days of creation. For example, the commentator that argued for the analogous position did not explain their position in light of the texts mentioned above. How does one who does not interpret Genesis creation literally, interpret the above passages? One is hard press to prove that the Israelites understanding would be anything but literal when reading Exodus chapter 20 and 31.

One of the issues facing the analogous position is the sense that God could not have created the heavens and the earth is six literal days. Why is there such a need to “extend” time in order that the creation can happen? Why do we as Christians have very little problem interpreting literally within the confines of genre everything but Genesis chapter 1? As one author pointed out, “Instead they (scientists) say, “Our science is based on universally accepted assumptions, and yet our findings disagree with the Creator’s account of what He did. His account must be incorrect.” And, we Christians seem eager to believe the “scientists” over the Creator. Your thoughts?


1 comment:

  1. Very well done. I am biased in that I believe in the six literal days, but I think your comments regarding the lack of addressing the Exodus passages in the analogous view are right on the mark. It is sad to see Christians throw away their faith in Scripture with one chapter of the Bible.