Friday, May 20, 2011

The Creative Days: Aeons or Twenty-Four Hours

Another problem with many who attempt to interpret the Bible is the the importation of modern ideas into a cultural and literary context that is not familiar to the Bible writers, for example, insisting that the Bible writers listened to a radio. One example is the attempt by many "old earth" creationists to transform the six creative days in Genesis 1:3-31 from six literal 24-hour days to extensive periods of time.

The problem with this view is that there is no historical or exegetical basis for this assertion. First, the concept of million and billion are of recent origin and were totally foreign to Moses (the author of Genesis).

Second, to the ancient Jewish people (i.e. Moses) numbers had to have a concrete association. In other words when a Jewish shepherd took a flock out to pasture the owner of the flock would gather pebbles and as each sheep passed the owner the owner would take a pebble form the pile and deposit it in a bag. When the shepherd returned with the flock at a later date the owner would count the sheep by removing the pebbles from the bag. If the shepherd was good then there word be more sheep than pebbles, and if there were less sheep than pebbles you can guess the result of that.

Third, Arabic numerals (1,2,3, etc.) were also unknown to Moses. In other words, Hebrew numerals were spelled out, much like on a check. These reasons are good enough to jettison the "old earth" creationist theory. We are not just interested in a historical refutation of this view, but are primarily interested on what the Bible says.

The Hebrew word translated "day" in English is "yom". What is interesting about this word is that when it is modified by a numeral, then it always refers to a literal 24-hour day. Now one of the verses that that "old earth" creationists use to attempt to prove their view that "yom" when modified by a numeral is not a literal 24-hour day is Hosea 6:2:
After two days he will revive us;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   that we may live before him.
The first usage of "yom" is a dual absolute (literally "day day") and is not modified by a numeral. The second usage of "yom" is modifired by the number three. The question then arises as to whether or not this modification causes the passage to refer to a literal 24-hour day or a period of time longer than 24 hours? The answer can be found in the principle of Scripture interpreting Scripture.

The Apostle Paul interpreted Hosea 6:2 in 1 Corinthians 15:4. In this Scripture, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul interprets Hosea 6:2 as three literal 24 hour days. Further, Jesus prophesied that after three days in the grave He would be raised up from it. As we can see the insertion of modern ideas into a text leads to bad ideas, and "old earth" creationism is a bad idea.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Gap Theory - Genesis 1:1-2

Genesis 1:1-2 has been translated by the King James Version as follows:

 1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The problem with these verses is not readily identifiable by a surface examination of the text. The problem we are facing here is the artificial insertion of the period between verses one and two. This insertion has led to a number of theories that appear to ignore the actual Hebrew in the verses. Further, the period between verses one and two has been used by theistic evolutionists and "old earth" creationists as a basis for a "gap theory" or to shoehorn modern atheistic evolution into the text of the Bible. The problem is that the Hebrew does not appear to allow for the period or the insertion of billions of years into the God's creation process.

Dr. Robert Morey has translated these verses as follows:
When the Beginning began, out of nothing, God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was devoid of life and a desert, and darkness covered the surface of the sea, and the Spirit of God was brooding over the surface of the water.
 What must be pointed out is that verse two is a series of three vav consecutives (rendered "and" in English). According to Dr. Morey's translation, the vav consecutives indicate that verses one and two are actually one sentence in the Hebrew. What the King James version translators did in artificially inserting the period between verses one and two is set their misinterpretation in stone for all subsequent English translations of the Bible. This is not the only verse in the King James Version that they did this to. I must point out, however, that whether verse one and verse two are translated into one or two sentences this does not affect the doctrine of creation.

This artificial division has led to the establishment of the "gap theory". This theory, proposed by well intentioned Christians who hope to shoehorn the geological record into the first two verses of Genesis by positing that there was a undetermined period of time between verse one of Genesis chapter one and verse two. This theory can still be found in the Scofield Reference Bible, the Dake's Annotated Bible and some other Bible study aids.The "gap theory" is also promoted by Dr. Hugh Ross of the Institute for Creation Research.

One of the problems created by the "gap theory" is the insertion of pre-Adamic humanoids. This attempt at synthesizing the assertions of atheistic evolutionists with the Biblical record does not work. Namely, because Genesis 2:7 does not say "the living creature became a man" but that "the man became a living creature."

In conclusion I wish to say that I do not believe that whether a believer is an "old earth" creationist or a "young earth" creationist is an essential over which Christians should break fellowship. I realize that there are many who may disagree with me on this point, and you are entitled to that view. With that said, I do wish to point out that the use of Genesis 1:1 & 2 as a foundation for an "old earth" view is playing fast and loose with the Scriptures. I believe that a serious exegesis of the Scriptures will necessitate a "young earth" view of this planet by a Christian that is serious about studying the Bible.