Search This Blog

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Genesis 1:6 -8. The Second Day.

'And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.'

Genesis 1:6-8 should be viewed as one train of thought. That I parsed the first part of Genesis into individual verses is not unusual, since there was some foundation for reading and understanding Genesis to be laid. One needs to remember that the Book of Genesis was not divided into verses when written, but that the verse divisions were input by translators many centuries later to aid in clarity and to easily identify the location of verses. In fact, Hebrew is also read and written right to left rather than left to right and might classically be considered a language of characters that can be written as all consonants. Most modern Hebrew will include "vowel points" to aid in translation and pronunciation. We are not going to pretend translation from Hebrew to English is without challenges but great minds have worked long hours to give us the best translations available. (Opinion alert! By the way, although the Phoenicians are given credit for the invention of writing by historians, they are a Semitic people and likely the written word precedes the time of Moses. Hebrew is likely the first language to be spoken and written and in Hebrew the first books of the Bible were likely taken down and kept. It is no coincidence that the writings left behind by Phoenicians resemble Hebrew, as they are most likely just a form of the original Hebrew language).

Here is how I would logically divide the beginning of Genesis by verses. Note that I would have continued chapter one until the end of verse three of chapter two:

1-God Creates the Universe
2 - The Universe in initial state
3 - God creates light
4-5 - God separates light from dark and calls an end to the first day.
6-8 - today's subject.

Some other posts that tack onto the Genesis posts- Is God fallible? concerning Genesis 1:4, Darwin versus Genesis and an addendum to the post on Genesis 1:1.

We have established that God created light before He created the sources of the light and that the events of verses one through five constitute one day. The word yom itself is commonly used as meaning a 24 hour day and the way it is used in the construction of the sentences (such as they are in Hebrew) shows that the word was meant to be understood as one twenty-four hour day. We have established that God made everything that exists in one moment and then began to organize the materials/atoms/energies into the cohesive Universe we see today about 6,000 some-odd years later. For those of you who still wish to question whether the Bible is referring to a twenty-four hour day in Genesis One, consider these facts (hat tip to Ken Ham from one of his studies):

1- Outside of Genesis chapter one, yom is used with a number 359 times, and each time it means an ordinary day.

2- Outside of Genesis chapter one, yom is used with the word “evening” or “morning” 23 times. “Evening” and “morning” appear in association, but without yom, 38 times. All 61 times the text refers to an ordinary day.

3- Outside of Genesis chapter one, “night” is used with yom 53 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. "Night" in association with yom is found in Genesis 1:5.

4- There are words in biblical Hebrew (such as olam or qedem) that are very suitable for communicating long periods of time, or indefinite time, but none of these words are used in Genesis chapter one.

5- A number and the phrase “evening and morning” are used with each of the six days of creation. This would indicate an ordinary day. God would be deceptive to use this description of these days if they were not ordinary days in length.

Liberal Professor M. Dods is quoted as follows:

"If, for example, the word “day” in these chapters does not mean a period of twenty-four hours, the interpretation of Scripture is hopeless." - Marcus Dods, Expositor’s Bible, T & T Clark, Edinburgh, 1888

Dr. James Barr (Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University), who himself does not believe Genesis is true history, nonetheless admitted as far as the language of Genesis 1 is concerned that:

"So far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s Flood was understood to be worldwide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark."

I can therefore confidently assert that the days of Genesis are 24 hour days by the use of the word yom or day throughout the rest of the Bible and by the understanding of Bible scholars. Those who teach or assert otherwise are therefore doing so out of ignorance or willful and malicious deception!

If you take Ussher's Chronology into account, which is based on using the Biblical geneaologies and adjusted to calender adjustments made in times passed, then we are in the approximate year 6013 of the age of the Universe, the earth and mankind. Subtracting 1,660 years for the prediluvian years, we have been about 4,353 years in building a population and multiple civilizations from the starting point of four men and four women who emerged from the Ark of Noah.

Sadly, many denominations and many Christians have echoed the cry of modern naturalistic materialist atheists that the earth is many millions and perhaps over a billion years old in a Universe that exceeds 15 billion years in age! They throw away the Bible assertion and believe the latest finding of certain men with lab coats. Charles Spurgeon, famous theologian and preacher/teacher, said this in the year 1877 and it holds true today:

"We are invited, brethren, most earnestly to go away from the old-fashioned belief of our forefathers because of the supposed discoveries of science. What is science? The method by which man tries to conceal his ignorance. It should not be so, but so it is. You are not to be dogmatical in theology, my brethren, it is wicked; but for scientific men it is the correct thing. You are never to assert anything very strongly; but scientists may boldly assert what they cannot prove, and may demand a faith far more credulous than any we possess. Forsooth, you and I are to take our Bibles and shape and mould our belief according to the evershifting teachings of so-called scientific men. What folly is this! Why, the march of science, falsely so called, through the world may be traced by exploded fallacies and abandoned theories. Former explorers once adored are now ridiculed; the continual wreckings of false hypotheses is a matter of universal notoriety. You may tell where the learned have encamped by the debris left behind of suppositions and theories as plentiful as broken bottles." -
C.H. Spurgeon, The Sword and the Trowel, 1877, page 197.

Anyone who tries to do a backwards extrapolation of today's human population will find that a start for mankind from eight people at that (Noahic Flood end point) time will fit neatly into the equation, but for mankind to have been around for hundreds of thousands of years we would have already filled the earth with people and had no place to stack the bones! It is very hard to stretch the current population very far past 5,000 years as an outer limit. This makes an age of 4353 since the Ark landed on Mr. Ararat quite logical and well within the logical time frame.

'And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.'

So let's consider this carefully. At first glance it seems like God did a great deal of creating on day one and then did very little on day two. But I would disagree.

Within these verses we have the creation of the liquid oceans on earth and the atmosphere of the earth and the boundaries separating the atmosphere from outer space. The language indicates that clouds and cloud formation and an atmosphere capable of sustaining plant and animal life is produced during this time. Truly the base ecosystem of the planet earth is produced in this time period. That is no small feat (pun, since there are no small feet until later on). There are no other discernible planets like ours and I would say that the reason for this is that God was required to design it and also to create it and make it workable and viable. God has set up His world, a world suitable for habitation. This is His act of creation on day two.

first pic credit

second pic credit

1 comment:

highboy said...

Other fact to consider: a literal 24 hour day is measured by the sun which in Genesis, doesn't arrive until day 4.