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.


  1. So you're saying the earth was created in six literal days? But how do you account for the solid geological evidence of the age of the earth?

    1. First of all, the geological chart you see in many science textbooks only exists in one place... in science textbooks. The layers of rocks, as well as the said-fossils layers within is never the same all over the world. It can be in different orders, in thin and thick, different kinds of fossils at different layers, even more advanced animals before the less advanced.

      Second, the global, catastrophic flood in Noah's days, which is completely possible to happen and Noah had totally enough space on his huge barge for 16,000 kinds of animals (average size would be that of a sheep) accounts for all the layers of rock being put down and the fossils within. It also accounts for why there are only 7 billion people on earth... if you take population to double every 40 years from those 8 people 4,300 years ago, you would actually have 8 billion people today... we are behind.

      Third, the world had to appear with age somehow. If you just make a sphere as God did the world appear out of nothing, it wouldn't just be a rubber ball, but a rock ball with rock layers that He, God, the great architect would need to be in place for a world as ours...even before the fall which brought about earthquakes...needed to have geological layers, molten-lava to granite rock, is necessary for a foundation, even if you created it in just seconds.

      What would the world look like if you had created it instantaneously? Why would you need billions of years?

  2. First, I apologize for not posting this sooner. My laptop went down, and I recently purchased a new one so I just saw this comment today.

    My response is simple: Apparent age. Let me illustrate, when Adam was created, how old was he? According to the Scripture he was created as a mature man with an apparent age of someone who had reached physical maturity. So it does not bother me in the least that God created the universe and the earth with the appearance of age.

    Further, "solid geological evidence" is not where I derive my theology from. Nor do I conform my theology to fit it. Please feel free to continue to comment. I would enjoy a robust discussion on this issue.

  3. Hi Derek,
    just looking at your web-site and enjoying the different posts. I didn't know you are a YEC like myself. Anyhow well done making your own apologetics web-site.

    Eddie Milne

  4. Hi Eddie,

    Thank you for coming by and posting!

    Yes, I am a young earth creationist. I don't make it a point of division though. Please feel free to comment on anything.

    My work schedule is making it rather difficult to post regularly. Hopefully, that will be changing for the better in the new year.

  5. Yeh, you've probably seen the posts on PCM where I try to defend YEC. But youre right it should never be a cause of division.
    And PCM is actually my favourite online ministry even though they hold to OEC.


  6. Hi Derek,

    Letting you know I totally agree.

    People who even argue that before there was sun, moon, etc. that day could mean anything, but why would God do that in explaining things to and through Moses for all mankind...not godkind (and he is the only God anyway)? He knew what a day would be, 24 hours, and while outside of time himself, knew how that would be measured within a time&space universe.

    He could have created/rolled-out the universe in 6 nanoseconds if he wanted, just as if I were to ask you to close your eyes and "speak" a galaxy or universe into existence in your mind, BAM, all starlight will have even reached your point in which you are standing, all looking like an aged universe, but actually is new in your mind...God's however is real. Even a painting of a flower, by an artist, has the same design as a flower that took weeks/months to form, but is instantly there.

    Also, in addition to Adam being created as a mature adult, thus, to us humans with finite minds, would take him to have taken 20 years to become like that, appeared like that from the first second. But even if he had been made as a fertized egg, that egg would have age...and we would assume it came from a mature woman...endless cycle...yet it started with what appeared to have age.

    Even when Jesus multiplied fish and bread, we think they were just fish eggs and wheat seeds? Even if they were, that would still have appearance of age and not fit the cycle of life described by the order of biology!!! Where would the fish eggs have come from? A mature fish...and thus a cycle. But no, not only did Jesus make fish and bread appear, but both had to already have been cooked, just like the originals the boy had given him. The bread would be somewhat hard, etc...which NORMALLY occurs from age (time of cooking, etc.) that is what normally appears as aging IF we were to go by the cycle of wheat to seed to wheat to bread to into human from out of human into ground to fertilize more wheat...but where does it start? It starts with something that APPEARS AGED.

    Anyway, I think I've over-killed this one... just don't get how even if the world/universe was 1000 billions of years old, the thing that was first put into the space of the universe (and even that space could be argued to have to have taken time to form), even if you were to put a star in place and start it shinning just then, the gases would already appear to be from an aged star, already burning. So why do we have a problem with the light particles already reaching earth when the universe was created? I don't...not at all.

  7. And, as I forgot to mention in my last post in the 2nd paragraph, the reason it was 6 days and not 6 nanoseconds, or even instantaneously, was recorded in Exodus 20. This was also a big selling point on why a young earth and 6 literal days. If God worked 6 days and rested the 7th as an example for how WE are to work, and solely for humans (yes, we are the center of the universe, haha), does that mean, if yom in Genesis 1 is millions of years, we are to work 6 million years and then rest 7 million years? Wow, that is a long weekend! (Wish we could rest first, then 6 million years of work...haha). So people, we even have God revisiting HIS 6 literal days of making the earth in the 10 commandments we all cherish (well, most of us) to tell us to work 6 literal days... or should we change it to "I worked 6 million years and rested 1 million years, so I want you to work 6 days and rest 1 day" Huh??? Why not work 6 months and rest 1 month? Ugh... that would not be good.

    And also, was Jonah in the whale for 3 million years? (yom with a number is used there too)

  8. err... I meant rest 1 million years, not 7 million years... a total of 7 million years (or billions, whatever)