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[_ Old Earth _] Creation's Days

Dant02

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Galileo believed that science and religion are allies rather than enemies-- two different languages telling the same story. He felt that science and religion compliment each other: science answers questions that religion doesn't answer, and religion answers questions that science cannot answer.

For example: theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking understood pretty well how the universe works; but could never scientifically explain why it should exist at all. Well; in my estimation, the only possible answer to the "why" is found in intelligent design; which is a religious explanation rather than scientific. Religion's "why" is satisfactory for most folks. No doubt scientists would prefer something a bit more empirical.

Anyway, I'm going to suggest a scientific explanation here that may not set well with everyone; so if what I say is disturbing; please keep in mind it's only a suggestion, viz: an alternative, rather than dogma.

Gen 1:5b . . And there was evening and there was morning, a first Day.

When you think about it; a strict chronology of evening and morning doesn't define day, it defines overnight; viz: darkness. In order to obtain a full 24-hour day, we'd have to define creation's first Day as a day and a night rather than an evening and a morning.

Well; thus far Gen 1:5 defines Day as a time of light rather than an amalgam of light and dark; plus there was no Sun to cause physical evenings and mornings till creation's fourth Day so I suggest that we come at this issue from another angle apart from physical properties.

According to Gen 1:24-31, God created humans and all terra critters on the sixth Day; which has to include dinosaurs because on no other Day did God create beasts but the sixth.

However; the sciences of geology and paleontology, in combination with radiometric dating, strongly suggest that dinosaurs preceded humans by several million years. So then, in my estimation, the Days of creation should be taken to represent epochs rather than 24-hour events. That's not an unreasonable estimation; for example:

"These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven." (Gen 2:4)

The Hebrew word for "day" in that verse is yowm (yome) which is the very same word for each of the six Days of God's creation labors. Since yowm in Gen 2:4 refers to a period of time obviously much longer than a 24-hour calendar day; it justifies suggesting that each of the six Days of creation were longer than 24 hours apiece too. In other words: yowm is ambiguous and not all that easy to interpret sometimes.

Anyway; this "Day" thing has been a stone in the shoe for just about everybody who takes Genesis seriously. It's typically assumed that the Days of creation consisted of twenty-four hours apiece; so Bible students end up stumped when trying to figure out how to cope with science's 4.5 billion-year age of the earth, and factor in the various eras, e.g. Triassic, Jurassic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic, Cretaceous, etc, plus the ice ages and the mass extinction events.

So then, I suggest that the term "evening and morning" is merely a place card-- viz: a tab rather than distinct physical observations --indicating the simultaneous completion of one step of creation's six-step process and the beginning of another.
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WIP

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Anyway; this "Day" thing has been a stone in the shoe for just about everybody who takes Genesis seriously.
I suspect you meant to say takes Genesis literally. We should all take Genesis seriously.
 

Nathan12

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When you think about it; a strict chronology of evening and morning doesn't define day, it defines overnight; viz: darkness
According to Hebrew reckoning, the day begins and ends at sunset. Therefore the creation account says evening and morning. There's no need to change anything, since the Bible is perfectly clear that everything was created within six literal 24 hour days. And the Ten Commandments confirm this: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exod 20:11)

And your theory is not new. It is called the "Day-Age Theory" in order to accommodate evolution. But since the theory of evolution has no basis in fact (it is pure fantasy), we do not need to accommodate it.
 

Dant02

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According to Hebrew reckoning, the day begins and ends at sunset.

The Jews' holy days always begin at sundown. But those kinds of days-- as well as ordinary civil days --are an amalgam of light and dark.

However; Gen 1:4-5 and Gen 1:14-18 keep light and dark distinctly separate; i.e. the creation's days begin when the Sun comes up, and its nights begin when the Sun goes down.

Jesus believed the very same thing as Genesis.

John 11:9-10 . . Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.

This world's light is of course the Sun as per Gen 1:14-18. So then, when Jesus was here; day was when the Sun is up and night was when the Sun is down.
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Nathan12

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Jesus believed the very same thing as Genesis.
Since Jesus is the Creator, He gave us a succinct account of creation in six literal 24-hour days. And that's the bottom line. But what you believe (or conjecture) is not what He had in mind: "So then, in my estimation, the Days of creation should be taken to represent epochs rather than 24-hour events."

We should always bear in mind that God did not really need six days for creation. Everything could have been accomplished in less than one day. However, He was giving mankind a pattern for the human work-week -- six days of labor and one day of rest. See the Ten Commandments.
 

Dant02

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Are there not twelve hours in the day?
Days divided into twelve equal periods of sunlight were regulated by what's known as temporal hours; which vary in length in accordance with the time of year. There are times of the year at Jerusalem's latitude when this world's light consists of less than 12 normal hours of Sun, and sometimes more; but when Jesus was here; the official number of hours was always twelve regardless.

I don't exactly know why the Jews of that era divided their days into twelve equal periods of sunlight regardless of the seasons, but I suspect it was just a convenient way to operate the government and conduct civil affairs; including the Temple's activities (e.g. the daily morning and evening sacrifices)
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Barbarian

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Since Jesus is the Creator, He gave us a succinct account of creation in six literal 24-hour days.
Can you show us where He said that the "days" were six literal 24-hour ones?
 

Nathan12

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Can you show us where He said that the "days" were six literal 24-hour ones?
Who wrote the Ten Commandments with "the finger of God" on two tablets of stone and gave them to Moses?
And what did He say about creation week and the sabbath in those commandments?
EXODUS 20
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.


No one can possibly miss the connection between mankind's regular work week of six literal days, and creation week also of six literal days. Indeed that was the whole point. God could have created everything in six seconds. But since the Ten Commandments are inviolable and eternal, we can have total confidence in what they say about creation.
 

KevinK

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I tend to like the "day-age" theory. As a further refinement, scientists currently estimate the known universe at about 14 billion years in age. Calibrating this timeline to the Genesis week gives us 1 day = 2 billion years. Further refining means daytime = 1 billion years, and nighttime = 1 billion years. Works out pretty even.

This 14 billion year "week" lines up well the scientific timeline, roughly approximating age of the earth, the time for life to evolve on the planet, etc.

Even further, I've often wondered if the days in Heaven are 2 billion years long. Would explain a lot.
 

Barbarian

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Barbarian asks:
Can you show us where He said that the "days" were six literal 24-hour ones?

Who wrote the Ten Commandments with "the finger of God" on two tablets of stone and gave them to Moses?
And what did He say about creation week and the sabbath in those commandments?
(Barbarian checks)

What He didn't say was "the "days" in Genesis were literal 24-hour days." Or anything close to that.
 

Nathan12

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What He didn't say was "the "days" in Genesis were literal 24-hour days." Or anything close to that.
Since creation week was the exact equivalent of man's work week in the Ten Commandments, and each creation day was bounded by evening and morning (24 hours) in the Genesis account, God did not need to say any more.
...And the evening and the morning were the first day...
...And the evening and the morning were the second day...
... And the evening and the morning were the third day...
...And the evening and the morning were the fourth day...
... And the evening and the morning were the fifth day...
... And the evening and the morning were the sixth day...


John Gill's comments on Genesis 1:5:
...and the evening and the morning were the first day: the evening, the first part of the night, or darkness, put for the whole night, which might be about the space of twelve hours; and the morning, which was the first part of the day, or light, put also for the whole, which made the same space, and both together one natural day, consisting of twenty four hours; what Daniel calls an "evening morning", Daniel 8:26 and the apostle a "night day", 2 Corinthians 11:25.

This is the understanding of all conservative Christian commentators.
 

OzSpen

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Since Jesus is the Creator, He gave us a succinct account of creation in six literal 24-hour days. And that's the bottom line. But what you believe (or conjecture) is not what He had in mind: "So then, in my estimation, the Days of creation should be taken to represent epochs rather than 24-hour events."
Why, then, did the author of Genesis use the word for day, yom, to refer NOT to a 24-hour period in Gen 2:1-3 (ESV)?

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.​
God has 'rested on the seventh yom from all his work that he had done' (Gen 2:2). God has been resting a mighty long time for this 'seventh day'. How is it that the seventh day is not 24 hours.

Gen 2:4 (ESV) reads,
These are the generations​
of the heavens and the earth when they were created,​
in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.​

Here, 'day' is not yom but beyom.

Conservative OT scholar, H C Leupold, translated Gen 2:4a as, ‘This is the story of the heavens and the earth at the time of their creation’. He explained that his translation, ‘at the time of their creation’ is rendered literally: ‘in their being created’. He further wrote that ‘since it is a temporal phrase, we have rendered it: “at the time,” etc. It marks the occurrences that are to follow as practically a part of the creation story’ (Leupold 1942:111).

What is the meaning of 'day' in the sentence, 'in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens’ (Gen 2:4 ESV)?

Leupold explained that
'it is not important to the author to mark the point of time within the creation week when this condition prevailed. Consequently, the opening phrase of 4b, beyom, is to be rendered as it so often is “at the time” and not “in the day”' (Leupold 1942:113).
Oz

Bibliography:

Leupold, H C 1942. Exposition of Genesis, vol 1, chapters 1-19. London: Evangelical Press (originally by The Wartburg Press).
 

Nathan12

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Why, then, did the author of Genesis use the word for day, yom, to refer NOT to a 24-hour period in Gen 2:1-3 (ESV)?
The seventh day is a literal 24 hour day in Gen 2:1-3 as confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day (v 11).
Brown-Driver-Briggs
יוֺם2285 noun masculine Genesis 1:5 day
3 d. day as defined by evening and morning Genesis 1:5,8,13,19,23,31 (all P; compare further בֹּקֶר, עֶרֶב); see also Genesis 2:2 (twice in verse); Genesis 2:3 (P),Exodus 20:11 (twice in verse)(E), Exodus 32:17 (twice in verse) (P).

But in Scripture "day" can also be used to describe a period of time, and the context determines the meaning. So in Gen 2:4 "in the day" means "in the period" that "the LORD God made the earth and the heavens" (since the first chapter already tells us that that period was a week). And the Ten Commandments remove all ambiguity. Having been literally "written with the finger of God" they must accepted as binding, not only in this matter but in all that they say.
 

Dant02

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Gen 2:1-2 . .The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done.

The seventh day is unique. The other six days were bounded by an evening and a morning. The seventh day is not bounded; which means it has not yet ended; viz: God has been on a creation sabbatical ever since, and has created nothing new for the current cosmos since the end of day six; viz: the Earth that I live on today is the very same planet that God created in the beginning. (Granted it has undergone some radical face-lifts due to the forces of nature-- e.g. earthquakes, subduction, continental shift, and erosion -- continually altering its appearance.)

Gen 2:1-2 is a stone in the shoe for the sincere folk who insist that the six days of creation represent 24-hour days because of Ex 20:8-11, which reads like this:

Ex 20:8-11 . . Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of The Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days The Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore The Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.


NOTE: The Hebrew word for "sabbath" in that passage means intermission.

Anyway, the problem is: creation's seventh day isn't a 24-hour day, rather; thus far it's been a perpetual intermission. Since that's the case, then I have to question the number of hours that people claim for each of the other six.
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Nathan12

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Anyway, the problem is: creation's seventh day isn't a 24-hour day
1. That is NOT what one gathers from reading about the Sabbath commandment at all. If creation's seventh day had not been a 24 hour day, then Israel would have been in a state of perpetual rest, and nothing would ever have got done! Instead this is what we read: Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. (Lev 23:3). This reinforced what was already embedded in the Ten Commandments:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exod 20:11) The way it is stated in Exodus 20:11, no devout Jew would assume that there was not a total correspondence between God's Sabbath rest and his Sabbath rest. Strictly 24 hours, from sunset Friday evening to sunset Saturday evening (Lev 23:32).

2. Furthermore, God has NOT been on a sabbatical ever since, as you claim. His redemptive work began almost immediately after creation, since the disobedience of Adam and Eve followed on the heels of creation. There is nothing in Genesis 3 to say that a long period (or even a relatively long period) of obedience and tranquility existed before the Fall.

And that is why Jesus made this statement: My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. (Jn 5:17) In modern parlance, that would be "My Father has been working all along, and I work". And this was after He healed on the Sabbath day!

JOHN 5
14
Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.
18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.
 

Dant02

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My Father worketh hitherto, and I work

That's not talking about the creation of the current cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy. God wrapped that in six days, and has yet to pick up where He left off; primarily because it's all done and God is satisfied just the way it is.

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. Thus the heavens and the Earth were completed in all their vast array." (Gen 1:31-2:1)


FAQ: What about the man in 2Cor 5:17 where it's spoken of as a new creation?

A: That's right; it's a new creation; meaning it is not of this cosmos; rather, of the one to come.
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Nathan12

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That's not talking about the creation of the current cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy.
Neither did I suggest or imply that. What I said is that almost immediately after His creative work God began His redemptive work. That was in response to a post which said that God took a Sabbatical and that the 7th day was NOT a literal 24 hour day.
 

Dant02

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What I said is that almost immediately after His creative work God began His redemptive work. That was in response to a post which said that God took a Sabbatical and that the 7th day was NOT a literal 24 hour day.

God's work of creation, and His work of redemption are unrelated; they're separate works.

God's work of creation is over and done with; while His work of redemption is thus far on-going, viz: the seventh-day sabbath spoken of in Gen 1:31-2:1 only applies to His work of creating the cosmos with all of its forms of life, matter, and energy; it doesn't apply to His work of redemption.

The sabbatical I spoke of is addressed at length in the third and fourth chapters of the letter to Hebrews.
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Nathan12

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God's work of creation, and His work of redemption are unrelated; they're separate works.
And that is precisely what I have been saying. God has NOT taken any Sabbatical, since Jesus plainly said that His Father had been working all along, and so had the Son. That is in relation to redemption, since the creative works were finished at the beginning. But it is only after the New Heavens and the New Earth are established in righteousness that God's redemptive work will be finished.
 

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