Archives February 2014

Are the Creation Days Literal or Figurative? A Study of the Hebrew Word Yom

 

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.” (Exodus 20:11)

 

The keystone of whether the earth is relatively young or extremely old rests heavily on the understanding of the Hebrew word יום yom, which is translated into English as day.  The Progressive Creation theory which espouses the belief of an old earth (approximately 4.56 billion years old), while trying to remain faithful to Scripture, contends that the days in Genesis 1 (1:1-2:3) are to be understood as long, indefinite periods of time.

 

The young earth view, however, claims that God created the heavens and the earth and all therein in six, literal 24‑hour days roughly 6000 to 10,000 years ago.  Who is to say who is right?  How can we determine what a day really means?  Does day only and always refer to a period of 24‑hours or does it also refer to an indefinite period of time in which millions and billions of years could have passed allowing for the Progressive Creation and theistic-evolution theories?

Meanings of Day in the Old Testament

 

As with most misunderstandings in the Bible, the key to unlocking the puzzle lies in the context of the word.  The word day is used in several different ways in the Bible.  Occasionally, we see days referring to a time in the past.  Judges 18:1, for example, states that “In those days…” בימים ההם bayamim hahem.  This exact phrase appears 31 times in the Old Testament.  It is a very common expression and is really no different than how we in English say “back in my day” or “back in those days” referring to a period of years in our lives but stating it in days.  Hence, in this context, days are understood to be referring to time in the past that probably lasted several years though definitely not thousands or millions – something that is obvious because it talks about human history of which the Bible gives definite times.

 

Sometimes the biblical writers used the word day to refer to a specific time that has theological or eschatological significance such as “the day of the LORD” yom YHWH יום הוה.  This expression, found 13 times in the Old Testament, mostly in the book of Isaiah, refers to a time in the future when God will judge the world and usher in a new age.  This expression seems to speak more of an event of unknown duration rather than a specific amount of time, though a period of 24 hours cannot be ruled out.

 

At other times, days in the plural can refer to the span of someone’s life.  In Genesis 5:4 we read concerning the days of Adam, “So all the days that Adam (yamei-adam ימי־אדם) lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.”  Here day is used in reference to Adam’s lifetime, which is described as days, but then the text very clearly goes on to clarify what is meant by days – that is the years of his life or the summation of the days of his life.  This is wonderfully illustrated by the Hebrew Title of the book of I and II Chronicles למלכי ישׂראל דברי הימים divre ha-yamim lemalche Israel, literally transliterated as affairs or matters of the days of the kings of Israel.

 

24-Hour Days

 

The final meaning refers to days of 24‑hours. The most basic way of defining a day was from evening to evening, which is indicated in the text by evening and morning. The ancient Israelites, contrary to us, started their new days at sunset.  Thus, Friday night at sunset would already be considered the Sabbath and the day would end Saturday evening at around the same time.

 

Another way to indicate a regular day of 24‑hours is by hayom hazeh היום הזה which is translated as “the very same day.”  In Genesis 7:13 we read: “On the very same day Noah […] entered the ark”.  Likewise, Genesis 17:23 states: “So Abraham took Ishmael his son, all who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very same day, as God had said to him.”  In both of these passages, the word day makes reference to the same day – that is the 24-hour period they were currently in.  It is clear that the word here does not refer to an indefinite period of time but rather to a 24-hour period.

 

Days with a Cardinal Number

 

When a cardinal number (one, two, three, four, etc.) appears in front of the word day, it refers only and always to one (or many) period(s) of 24 hours.  There are numerous verses which elucidate this point.  Genesis 33:13 states:

 

But Jacob said to him, ‘My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die.’

 

What Jacob is saying to his brother Esau is that there is a limit to how far little children and cattle can go in one day. The reference is clearly to one 24-hour period of time.  Numbers 11:20 clarifies the usage even more.  The children of Israel complained against the LORD because they did not have meat like they had in Egypt, the very place where God rescued them from.  Rather than simply trust God for their needs or even ask for meat, they complained bitterly against God.  In frustration with his stubborn children, He declares that they will have more meat than they know what to do with:

 

“You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD Who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, ‘Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?’” (Numbers 11:20)

 

Here the meaning of day or days is clear.  There will be not just one, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days, but a whole month’s worth of meat.  The meaning of the word day is augmented by the contrast with the word “month” chodesh חודשׁ, which only refers to the time of about thirty days or one cycle of the moon and never anything else.

 

Further proof that yom day refers to a 24-hour day when preceded by cardinal numbers is found throughout the Old Testament. God, in explaining the judgment coming upon the world, says in Genesis 7:4, “For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.”  God gave Noah another seven days – not long, indefinite periods of time, but seven 24-hour days, until the floodwaters would come.  Verse 10 records that indeed after seven literal days, the waters of the flood came: “And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth.”  Verse 11 surpasses the previous two in precision by telling us exactly when this occurred.

 

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

 

This description is not just about some indefinite period of time.  It was on the 17th of the second month, a very real time that the flood came.  And then the record (verse 24) tells us specifically how long the waters were on the earth.  “And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.”  One hundred and fifty days in the text is not some long, undetermined era.  Some people would contend that the days of the flood are irrelevant since Noah was simply a mythical or an allegorical figure.  However, if one accepts the words of Jesus and the New Testament, then one must also accept that Noah was a real person who lived through the worldwide flood.  (See Matthew 24:37, 38, Luke 17:26, 27, 1 Peter 3:20, 2 Peter 2:5, Hebrews 11:7).  Thus, because Jesus and the disciples accepted Noah as real, we must understand the days described in Genesis as being real, 24-hour days.

 

The list of verses in the Old Testament confirming that every time a number comes before day it is referring to a 24‑hour day is extensive.  A few more examples clearly illustrate the principle.  “Then he put three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob fed the rest of Laban’s flocks” (Genesis 30:36).  “Forty days were required for him [Joseph], for such are the days required for those who are embalmed; The First Six Days 5 Comboand the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days” (Genesis 50:3).  “And seven days passed after the LORD had struck the river” (Exodus 7:25).  “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.  On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses.  For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15).  “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none” (Exodus 16:26).  “So Gad came to David and told him; and he said to him, ‘Shall seven years of famine come to you in your land? Or shall you flee three months before your enemies, while they pursue you? Or shall there be three days’ plague in your land?’” (2 Samuel 24:13).  Although there are too many verses to list them all here, throughout the entire Old Testament, in every case where a number precedes day, it deals with the literal usage of day rather than an indefinite period of time.

 

Days with Ordinal Numbers

 

A cardinal number before day is not the only way to express literal days.  We see again and again that ordinal numbers (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) are also used in a literal sense when used with day.  Ezekiel records that on a particular (literal) day of a particular month of a particular year God again spoke to him: “Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me” (Ezekiel 24:1, emphasis mine).  Likewise, Ezra records the exact day when the temple was finished: “Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius” (Ezra 6:15, emphasis mine).

 

We find in the book of Numbers a usage of ordinal numbers that is parallel to Genesis 1.  In Genesis 1 we saw the chronology of creation described as one day and then the second day, the third day etc.  In Numbers 29, God lists the various sacrifices and on which day they are to be performed for the feast of Tabernacles.  Notice that the days listed have the same ordinal numbers[i] as used in Genesis.

 

On the second day (יום השׁני yom hasheni) present twelve young bulls, […]  On the third day (יום השׁלישׁי yom hashlishi) present eleven bulls, […]  On the fourth day (יום הרביעי yom harevi’i) present […]  On the fifth day (יום החמישׁי yom hachamishi) present […]On the sixth day (יום השׁשׁי yom hashishi) present […]  On the seventh day (יום השׁביעי yom hashvi’i) present seven bulls (Numbers 29:17, 20, 23, 26, 29, 32, emphases mine).

 

The days above were most certainly real and literal days in which specific things had to happen; they were not long drawn out periods of time.  The text employs the use of ordinal numbers as does Genesis 1 but here we do not conclude that those days were indefinite periods of time; they were simply days.  Thus even with ordinal numbers a day is just a literal, 24-hour day.

 

Days in Hosea 6:2

 

Certain Bible expositors have suggested that Hosea 6:2 uses days as ages of time (probably about 1000 years each) in relation to the nation of Israel and their national revival: “After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.”  While this is a provocative interpretation that cannot be disproved, the context does not demand such an interpretation and hence neither can it be positively proven.  It could be that even here it is referring to two plus one literal days.

 

This survey of the usage of days in the Old Testament brings us back to the question of just how we are to understand the days of creation.  We have seen that there are times when the word day is used for periods of time other than a literal 24-hour (though millions or billions of years are never implied).  However, whenever a number is placed in front of the word day, the meaning becomes limited to that of a 24‑hour period, that is, a regular day just as we use the word today to describe a day. Therefore, looking at Genesis 1, are we to interpret those days as literal, 24-hour days or long, indefinite periods of time in which evolution may have occurred?

 


[i] The selected verses in Genesis 1 and in Numbers 29 are identical with the exception of the definite article ה (he – the). Genesis 1: יום שׁני (yom sheni).  Numbers 29: יום השׁני (yom hasheni).

The Debate over the End: Paul Viggiano and Douglas Hamp Over How the World Ends

The Debate over the End: Paul Viggiano and Douglas Hamp over how the world ends from Branch Of Hope Church on Vimeo.

The Debate over the End: Pastor Paul Viggiano and Pastor Douglas Hamp over how the World Ends, with Brian Godawa. (branchofhope.org)

The End of the World has been a fascinating area of biblical study for Millennia. Recorded live at the, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It Conference” at Branch of Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Torrance, CA, Pastor Paul Viggiano (Historic Post-Millennial) a Presbyterian and Pastor Douglas Hamp (Dispensational Pre-Millennial) of Calvary Chapel discuss in a rich and irenic fashion what the Bible says about how the world ends.

This is easily the most interesting debate of it’s kind in recent years and one of the most approachable for those seeking to understand this intensely interesting and confusing area of Christian concern.

Moderated by Brian Godawa before an audience of hundreds we’re sure you’ll enjoy this earnest discussion.

Streaming – Decoding the End Times

Decoding the End Times Prophecy conference is almost here! Many have signed up and we are expecting a great turnout! However, we understand that some people are not able to attend in person and so we are excited that the three main sessions of the conference (not the breakouts) will be streamed.

Each session is $8 and can be accessed by clicking on the links below.

SESSION 1: Decoding the End Times (6:30-10:30 pm PST)

In this first session, Douglas Hamp, LA Marzulli and Basil and Gonz of Canary Cry Radio will be presenting keynotes. We will see Douglas Hamp talk his research on the second coming and the battle of armageddon. LA Marzulli will be talking about the Cosmic Chess Match and introduce his mission to uncover the truth about ancient Nephilim who walked the earth. Basil and Gonz of Canary Cry Radio will present a unique perspective on the end times, and how we ought to traverse through the world full of gloom and doom. The evening will end with a Q and A session that even you can be a part of by submitting your question on Twitter at #prophecyforum
6:40-7:40       Douglas Hamp – The Second Coming & the Battle of Armageddon
7:45-8:45       LA Marzulli – The Cosmic Chess Match
9:00-10:00     Canary Cry Radio Live
10:00-10:30   Q and A
  

SESSION 2: Decoding the End Times (8:00 am – 12:30 pm PST)

In session 2, we will begin with author Douglas Krieger discuss the identity of the Bride of Christ and how it relates to the new heavens and the new earth. Then Gonz Shimura will present a talk on the future of the internet creating a Global Brain and what it means in Bible Prophecy. Next, Douglas Hamp will give his second talk to discuss the genetics of the Mark of the Beast. And finally, screenwriter and author Brian Godawa will share why he believes the Book of Enoch is valuable for Christianity. 
 
8:00 – 9:00       Douglas Krieger – The Bride Celebrates the New Heavens and New Earth

 

9:10 – 10:10     Gonz Shimura – Building the Global Brain: Alchemy Fulfilled through the Image of the Beast

10:20 – 11:20   Douglas Hamp – Genetics of the Mark of the Beast

11:30 – 12:20   Brian Godawa – The Book of Enoch and its Value for Christianity  
 

SESSION 3: Decoding the End Times (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm)

The final session will kick off with Rob Skiba discussing the connection between NASA, UFOs, Mythology and how it relates to the end times Great Deception. Then Douglas Hamp will present his research on the final rebellion of Satan. Author and Bible Prophecy scholars Bill Salus will then discuss the connection between the soon coming Blood Moons and the Middle East. And finally, LA Marzulli will anchor the conference by presenting his startling discoveries from being on the trail of the Nephilim. 
 
2:00 – 3:00      Rob Skiba –  NASA, UFOs, Mythology and the Coming Great Deception 
3:15 – 4:15      Douglas Hamp –  The Final Rebellion 
4:30 – 5:30      Bill Salus –  Blood Moons and Mideast Wars, What’s the Connection? 
5:45 – 6:45      LA Marzulli –  On the Trail of the Nephilim: Strange Skulls & Skeletons of Peru 

Evolution’s Dirty Little Secret

A large number of well-trained scientists outside of evolutionary biology and paleontology have unfortunately gotten the idea that the fossil record is far more Darwinian than it is. This probably comes from the oversimplification inevitable in secondary sources: low-level textbooks, semi-popular articles, and so on. Also, there is probably some wishful thinking involved. In the years after Darwin, his advocates hoped to find predictable progressions. In general, these have not been found–yet the optimism has died hard, and some pure fantasy has crept into textbooks […]  (David Raup 1981: 832, Professor of Geology University of Chicago, Chicago Field Museum, emphasis mine)

 

The primary reason that there is any question regarding the length of the creation days of Genesis is due to many people’s belief that evolution is a fact, and since it is a fact, then a literal reading of Genesis must not be valid.  Some have gone so far as to suggest that the ancient Israelites were simplistic and merely ignorant of true science, which is precisely what medical doctor William Keen did in his 1922 book entitled I Believe in God and Evolution.  Keen’s book may be somewhat dated, but the attitude he championed has not changed.  In fact, we could argue it has become even more entrenched today.

 

Fully convinced that evolution was an established fact, Keen argued, “A fundamental difficulty with the so called ‘Fundamentalists’ is that they fail to recognize the fact that the ‘Children of Israel’…were living in the intellectual childhood of the human race” (Keen 1922: 7).  He then goes on with his biased and incorrect version of ancient history by stating, “…their minds were cast in a poetic mold, their literature was permeated with imagery, metaphors and parables.  Bards, priests and prophets delivered it to them.  No scientists then existed”  (Keen 1922: 8).

 

Neither of Keen’s observations is based on historical fact.  Unfortunately, his belief in evolution has skewed his understanding of history, though his perspective is consistent with the evolutionary model.  Simply stated, the evolutionary model proposes that life forms continue to get more and more complex and so too does man’s sophistication and understanding of the world.  While mankind is more technologically advanced today than ever before, and hence we have more and usually better data to work with, ancient man was by no means primitive, nor was man at that time in the “intellectual childhood of the human race.”

 

The age before Abraham (approximately 2000 B.C.) saw amazing applications of scientific principles based on math, geometry, physics etc.  The ancient civilizations of the time (the Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians and Egyptians) were the ones who invented writing, an extremely complex concept not for the weak-minded.  These civilizations first developed elaborate mathematical tables.  It was even the Babylonians[1] who preempted the Greek philosopher Pythagoras with his famous discovery known as the Pythagorean Theorem by approximately 1300 years (O’Connor and Robertson 2000b).  These ancient peoples erected enormous pyramids and ziggurats, which to this day still defy some of our best engineering prowess — and they did so all without the aid of motorized machinery.  They plotted the course of the stars with incredible precision and devised extremely accurate calendars.  They wrote music and plays for entertainment, kept immaculate business records that have survived until today, and even had a postal system.  This supposedly primitive culture, to which Keen referred, codified extensive laws, which in many countries, law students are still required to study.

 

Keen is equally incorrect in claiming that there were no scientists.  Let’s consider some evidence that shows that ancient man was actually quite advanced and therefore was not mentally primitive as Keen as suggested.  If men were not mentally primitive, then they were able to faithfully and accurately pass down the creation account given to them by God.

What is Science?

 

The Collins English Dictionary defines science as “the systematic study of the nature and behavior of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms.”  This description certainly applies to what we narrowly define as science today.  But the word science comes from Latin and simply means knowledge.  This meaning is reflected in the Webster’s Dictionary 1828 definition, “In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind.”  The Bible contains many astute observations about nature that demonstrate that the authors were very observant of the world around them and came to conclusions about their world.

 

In the book of Job, we find a statement that claims something that was not universally accepted in the ancient world.  Whereas the countries surrounding Israel believed that the world was either floating on water or founded upon the body of a dead or living god, the Bible describes the earth suspended in empty space:  “He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. [al-bli-ma literally: on-without-what]” (Job 26:7).

 

Ecclesiastes 1 verses 6 and 7, thought to have been written by Solomon, make keen observations regarding the circulation of the atmosphere and the water cycle:

The wind goes toward the south,

And turns around to the north;

The wind whirls about continually,

And comes again on its circuit.

All the rivers run into the sea,

Yet the sea is not full;

To the place from which the rivers come,

There they return again. (Ecclesiastes1:6, 7)

 

We take these passages for granted since they communicate things that are fairly common knowledge today, but these passages demonstrate an extraordinary understanding of the world – all without the benefit of high-tech measuring instruments.  At the most, these are proofs that God inspired the words of the Bible; and at the least, they demonstrate good science on man’s behalf.  Consider another example:

 

The birds of the air,

And the fish of the sea

That pass through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:8)

The fact that “the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water”[2] was not known until the late 1800’s yet the Bible contained this truth almost 3000 years earlier than modern science.  In essence, William Keen and those in agreement today who claim that the Bible is just a collection of myths and therefore we need not take it literally but instead must interpret the Bible by way of modern science, have made a grave mistake.  The Bible is reliable and scientific.  Certainly, if indeed inspired by God, then it must be accurate.  However, if only inspired by men, then those men were first-rate scientists of their day.  Dr. Keen’s thesis is certainly not unique, however.  In fact, it seems that the number of individuals who claim, “I Believe in God and Evolution” only grows in spite of the authority and accuracy of the Bible.

 

Evolution Sunday

 

On February 12, 2006 hundreds of churches around the United States observed Evolution Sunday, a celebration of the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, in order to support the teaching of evolution in public schools.  Evolution Sunday was the culmination of approximately two years of gathering signatures from over 10,000 clergy from many mainline churches who believe that evolution is an established fact.  “At St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, Atlanta, the Rev. Patricia Templeton told the 85 worshipers […] ‘A faith that requires you to close your mind in order to believe is not much of a faith at all’” (New York Times, Feb 13th 2006).  A parishioner from that church commented in a similar fashion:

Observation, hypothesis and testing — that’s what science is, it’s not religion. Evolution is a fact. It’s not a theory. An example is antibiotics. If we don’t use antibiotics appropriately, bacteria become resistant.  That’s evolution, and evolution is a fact.  (ibid)

 

Unfortunately Rev. Patricia Templeton and her parishioners have misunderstood both the Bible and science.  She is wrong in believing that the teaching of the Bible somehow requires us to close our minds – the Bible actually gives us the correct paradigm with which to properly understand the world.  It tells us why people behave selfishly and sinfully, why there is disease and death, and why we see the scars of a global cataclysm known as the flood.  The real scientific evidence, as we will see, supports the Bible.

 

The parishioner that made the above statement is wrong as well since he lacks a basic understanding of the difference between macro and Natural Selection.  Natural Selection, speciation and adaptation, are embraced by essentially all Bible believers.  The person referred to merely an example of how organisms adapt to their surroundings – a fact which is recognized by all.  As noted, Darwin was correct in observing the change of the beaks of the finches.  That, however, was all that he actually observed.  The other aspects of his model are speculation and not based on “observation, hypothesis and testing,” the very requirements people claim the Bible leaves out.

 

Molecules-to-man evolution, that is to say the changing of one kind to another (reptile to bird, for instance), remains nothing more than a paradigm which has never been observed and cannot by any means be proven even after so many years of trying.  It is not an established fact.  Darwin himself even wrote in a letter[3] to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science.”

 

Darwin was not the only “Darwinist” to recognize this point.  L. H. Matthews wrote in the Introduction to Darwin’s (1971 edition) Origin of the Species:

 

The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on unproven theory.  Is it then a science or a faith?  Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation.  Both are concepts which the believers know to be true, but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof. [4] (emphasis mine)

 

Matthews is by far not the only person to suggest such sentiments regarding the scarcity of evidence in support of the evolutionary model.  Famed evolutionist Stephen J. Gould of Harvard, stated “The evolutionary trees that adorn our textbooks have data only at the tips and nodes of their branches; the rest is inference, however reasonable, not the evidence of the fossils” (1990: 13). David M. Raup, paleontologist at the University of Chicago and curator and Dean of Science at the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, likewise stated:

The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be. Darwin was completely aware of this. He was embarrassed by the fossil record because it didn’t look the way he predicted it would […]. Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. […] Ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin’s time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as the result of more detailed information.  (Raup 1979: 22-29 emphasis mine)

 

The Clergy Letter Project

 

The Clergy Letter Project from which the idea of Evolution Sunday came about issued the following statement (An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science) that sadly claims that the keystone and foundational passages of Genesis are nothing more than stories with a spiritual message and are not real historical events.  The entire letter has been copied below:

 

Within the community of Christian believers there are areas of dispute and disagreement, including the proper way to interpret Holy Scripture. While virtually all Christians take the Bible seriously and hold it to be authoritative in matters of faith and practice, the overwhelming majority do not read the Bible literally, as they would a science textbook. Many of the beloved stories found in the Bible – the Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark – convey timeless truths about God, human beings, and the proper relationship between Creator and creation expressed in the only form capable of transmitting these truths from generation to generation. Religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth. Its purpose is not to convey scientific information but to transform hearts.

We the undersigned, Christian clergy from many different traditions, believe that the timeless truths of the Bible and the discoveries of modern science may comfortably coexist. We believe that the theory of evolution is a foundational scientific truth, one that has stood up to rigorous scrutiny and upon which much of human knowledge and achievement rests. To reject this truth or to treat it as “one theory among others” is to deliberately embrace scientific ignorance and transmit such ignorance to our children. We believe that among God’s good gifts are human minds capable of critical thought and that the failure to fully employ this gift is a rejection of the will of our Creator. To argue that God’s loving plan of salvation for humanity precludes the full employment of the God-given faculty of reason is to attempt to limit God, an act of hubris. We urge school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth. (“An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science”, Clergy Letter Project, 2004, emphasis mine)

 

What Kind of Truths Are the Biblical Promises?

 

Whether or not religious truth is different than scientific truth is irrelevant; if something is indeed true, then it does not matter what category it falls into.  The events as described in the Bible are either true or they are not; there can be no middle ground.

 

The very accounts that they are dismissing as being spiritual stories or allegories are, in fact, the very foundation of the Bible.  For example, if the flood did not actually occur as Genesis declares, then the promise given by God “I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth…” (Isaiah 54:9) through the prophet Isaiah is worthless.  If God based His promise on an event that did not really occur, then what assurance would outcast Israel have that some day God would no longer hide His face but restore them?

 

“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,

But with great mercies I will gather you.

With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;

But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”

Says the LORD, your Redeemer.

“For this is like the waters of Noah to Me;

For as I have sworn

That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth,

So have I sworn

That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

For the mountains shall depart

And the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you,

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,”

Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. (Isaiah 54:7-10 emphasis mine)

God is comparing the judgment of the earth by the flood with the judgment on Israel.  Here He promises that just as the waters would no longer cover the earth, which is to say that the judgment would not happen again, so too was the promise that Israel’s judgment would pass.  If the story of the flood is just a timeless story to teach us about God, what do we do with the promise that He made to Israel?  If there was no real flood, was there also not a real judgment that fell on them?  Clearly from biblical and secular history we know that is not true; Israel definitely was judged as we will see in the statements of Daniel, Jeremiah and the Chronicler.  Later in chapter 11 we will look at some real-world evidence of that flood.

 

The First Six Days 5 ComboFurthermore, if we categorize the creation account, Adam and Eve, and Noah and the Flood as being merely figurative and non-literal stories that contain truths, all the while denying that they are in fact true in what they state about cosmology, history, and geology, then what do we do with the promise of redemption given to us concerning the current sinful condition of man?  Is Jesus the fulfillment of that promise?  Was there really ever a promise made?  And if there was a promise made, then to whom was it made if not to the real, historical Adam and real, historical Eve?  Gleason Archer stated well the importance of the Bible being true and accurate in all areas that it touches: “if the biblical record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested.”  (Archer 1982: 23)

Darwin Didn’t Want God’s Help

 

We should not use man’s observation of nature to interpret the Bible.  Man sees things differently everyday and in a way that fits his best interests.  The data concerning the origin of the universe are out there, but how we interpret those data is the true test.  After having seen the historical and archeological confirmations of Scripture, we should therefore let Scripture be the starting point of our worldview.  We ought not let man’s interpretation of nature be used to interpret Scripture.

 

Accepting the various facets of the evolutionary model as fact is the only reason for arguing that the creation days mean billions of years.  Ironically, Darwinian evolution is diametrically opposed to God’s assisting in any way.  It is given as a plausible mechanism for how we are here without any first cause, not how God might have done the job!  There seems to have been no room for divine intervention in Darwin’s world.  Darwin expert Neal Gillespie noted “Darwin clearly rejected Christianity and virtually all conventional arguments in defense of the existence of God and human immortality” (Gillespie 1974: 141).

 

Furthermore, Sir Arthur Keith stated in the introduction to the sixth edition (1872) of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection

 

[…] we see that Darwin’s aim was to replace a belief in special creation by a belief in evolution and in this he did succeed, as every modern biologist will readily admit.  (Keith 1872: xvi-xvii)

 

Darwin himself, in Life and Letters of Charles Darwin published posthumously, describes the process by which he went from a belief in God to removing God from his world completely:

Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true.  (Darwin 1896: 274-286)

 

Evidently, to grant room for evolution in Genesis is contrary to what Darwin advocated.  If Darwin didn’t believe in Theistic Evolution, why should we?

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[1] O’Connor and Robertson state concerning the Babylonians mathematical abilities, “Perhaps the most amazing aspect of the Babylonian’s calculating skills was their construction of tables to aid calculation. Two tablets found at Senkerah on the Euphrates in 1854 date from 2000 B.C.. They give squares of the numbers up to 59 and cubes of the numbers up to 32…”  (O’Connor and Robertson 2000a)

 

[2] Late 1800’s. Dr. Matthew Maury is considered one of the major founders of the science of oceanography. He was also a creationist who believed in the absolute authority and accuracy of the Bible. One day while he was sick in bed, he asked his son to read the Bible to him. One of the verses his son read was Psalms 8:8. That particular verse mentioned “paths” in the seas. Believing that the Bible must be correct about these “paths”, he set out to find them. As a result, Dr. Maury was the first to discover (in modern times) that the seas were circulating systems with interaction between wind and water.”  Scientific Foreknowledge in the Bible retrieved from creationists.org/foreknowledge.html October 22, 2006

[3] Quoted in N.C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (1979) p. 2 (University of Chicago book). See nwcreation.net/evolutionism.html retrieved October 2, 2006

 

[4]  See Introduction pages: x, xi.

 

John Morris’ Endorsement of The First Six Days

The theories of uniformitarianism and evolution proposed in the early 1800s, with their need of vast ages of time, challenged the commonly accepted literal, six-day creation of Genesis.  Many pastors and theologians, overwhelmed by the apparently indisputable evidence, therefore sought ways to reconcile the two whereby the needed time could fit into the biblical creation.

 

Over the last several decades the creationist movement has made great strides forward toward the goal of demonstrating that the pro-evolution evidence is full of many holes.  In fact, thanks to the diligence of many researchers, the scientific evidence in favor of a biblical creation is gaining constantly.  However, the accepted belief of evolution is not easily shaken.  Consequently many yet hold to a compromised position asserting that the Bible teaches that God created via evolution and that the days of creation are long day-ages.

 

Get all facts in the book.

Get all facts in the book.

Douglas Hamp’s work The First Six Days is a much-needed contribution to settle the question of days or ages.  As a Hebrew language specialist trained at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he demonstrates convincingly from the pages of Scripture that the days of the Genesis creation account are literal days.  He also carefully clarifies some misrepresentations of what day means in Hebrew.  This is followed up by a stimulating review of the literal, six-day position held by ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters as well as archaeological corroboration of the biblical record.

 

I recommend this work without reservation, and pray it has a long and fruitful ministry. It makes a real contribution to a pastor’s library, and adds power to any Bible teacher’s or student’s message.  The evangelical church badly needs it.

– Dr. John Morris, President Institute of Creation Research

Read the book here

 

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