Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory

 Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory

In Genesis 1:28 we read “…and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (KJV)  The King James Version’s use of the word replenish has been seen by Gap Theorists as proof that the earth is old, since supposedly Adam and Eve are commanded to fill again.  In fact, the idea that God commanded Adam and Eve not merely to fill the earth but to fill the earth again, stems from the Gap Theory.[i]  The proponents of the Gap Theory believe that the billions of years of the age of the heavens and earth, as touted by evolutionistic thinking, is found between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  Thus, did God command Adam and Eve to fill the earth for the very first time or to fill the earth again?  Did they

The First Six Days: the Gap Theory Debunked

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actually understand that they were to fill the earth again because the world prior to their creation had been destroyed?

 

Replenish/Malu

It is true, that in today’s English, when we say replenish we mean filling up something that is depleted, something that was once full and is now empty.  However, just less than 200 years ago, Webster’s Dictionary (1828) defines the word as, “To fill; to stock with numbers or abundance.”  We can see that the word has changed from meaning fill to fill again today.  Of course, the answer ultimately lies not in English but in Hebrew.

 

The Hebrew word מלאו (malu) does not mean to refill, but simply to fill.  It in no way connotes or implies to fill again.  It just means fill.  God gave the same command to fill in Genesis 9:1 to Noah after the flood as He did to Adam and Eve.  There is no question that Noah was to fill the earth again, but that is not intrinsically implied by the word; God simply said to fill the earth.  Likewise, to suggest that God commanded Adam and Eve to repopulate a world that had been recreated is poor exegesis and is not even remotely supported from the text.  We can, therefore, absolutely conclude that Adam and Eve simply understood God to be telling them to fill the earth for the first time and not to refill the world.  They would absolutely not infer from God’s command that there had been a world gone bad prior to theirs.  In fact, there are no words or verses that support such a claim.[ii]


 


[i] Weston W. Fields in his book Unformed and Unfilled (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1978) provides a thorough discussion of the Gap Theory and its fatal flaws.  See also

answersingenesis.org/creation/v3/i3/gap_theory.asp

[ii] For a discussion on the Gap Theory, see: Russell Grigg From The Beginning Of The Creation

answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i2/beginning.asp

Views of Biblical Creation

For those acknowledging the reality that God was the agent of creation, there are four possible answers to the question of how He did it.  The first view is that God took six, literal days as understood by the plain reading of the Genesis text, which is my thesis and is demonstrated in this teaching. (See The First Six Days)  The other three views consider the evolutionary model to be an established fact and therefore seek to reconcile the revelation of Scripture regarding creation with evolution.  The three views are Theistic Evolution, the Gap Theory, and Progressive Creationism.

Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolution is the most liberal of the views that ascribes to God a role in creation as being the agent that jump-started the BigTheistic Evolution, Gap Theory, and Progressive Creationism are Wrong Bang.  According to this theory, since then He has allowed evolution to take its course thereby having very little, if any, role in His creation and dealings with man.

The Gap Theory

Proponents of the Gap Theory see the days of Genesis 1 as being literal days but with a time gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (some also suggest a gap between 1:2 and 1:3).  The rationale for seeking a gap, nevertheless, is due to the belief that (geological) evolution is an established fact and that the Bible must be reconciled to it.  Hence, a time gap is envisioned between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (or 1:2-1:3), which allows for the billions of years supposedly necessary for geological evolution to take place. (I deal with this question in greater depth in my DVD teaching The Angelic Domain and the Fall of Satan and in article The Angelic Domain: Created Before Genesis 1:1 or After? and in  my DVD The Language of Creation)

Progressive Creationism

Progressive Creationism seeks to reconcile the belief of evolution with the Bible, not by way of a gap between verses 1:1 and 1:2, but rather by redefining six days of Genesis 1 to mean indefinite periods of time in which millions and perhaps billions of years transpired each day.  They see God as being involved in the entire process of creation wherein every day, God was creating via the evolutionary process.[2]  Van Bebber and Taylor point out:

The Angelic Domain and the Fall of SatanAccording to the Progressive Creationist timeline, Adam was, in effect, created on top of a graveyard of decaying or fossilized animals. Almost anywhere he walked, the remains of millions of dead animals were somewhere below his feet — evidence of death and frequent misery on a massive scale (2006).

Thus, for the Progressive Creationist, both the Bible and the evolutionary model complement one another because the biblical creation account is better understood through the lens of evolutionary thinking.  Undoubtedly, most proponents of both the Gap Theory and Progressive Creationism believe in the authority of the Bible.

How Much Time Does God Need?

Rather than ask why couldn’t God have taken billions of years to accomplish His work of creation, the better question is why didn’t God speak once and everything merely come into existence as suggested by Augustine (see chapter 7)?  God, the Supreme Being by which all things exist, could have snapped His divine fingers and everything would have come into being at once.  Thus, even from a literal, six-day-creation standpoint, God took His time in a big way!  Why did He take so long to create everything?  God purposely slowed Himself down rather than just getting it over with.  The reason, found in Exodus 20:11 (and 31:12-17), is that God wanted to establish a pattern which for mankind to follow; God worked for six days and then rested and so should man.

 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. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exod 20:11)


[1] See: http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/

splash.html

[2] A more predominant Progressive Creationist view is that God created the animals as we see them today (i.e. fixity of species) and they lived and died out over millions or billions of years. However, proponents of this view, such as Hugh Ross, do not believe in molecules-to-man evolution, but they do accept the evolutionary timescale for the geologic and fossil records.  (Dave Wright, Answers In Genesis staff, personal communication, June 9, 2007)

 

Did God Use Evolution When He Created the Universe?

Many Christians have succumbed to the belief that God used the process of evolution within the creation framework. They would suggest that the six days of creation in Genesis were not absolute literal days of 24-hours but some how allowed for the slow process of billions of years of evolution.  They accept the Bible as God’s divine book yet also accept the many facets of evolution as indisputable fact and are forced to squeeze the needed evolutionary time into the pages of the Bible.  Before looking at the evolution plus God theories, however, let us first consider what exactly Did God Use Evolution?evolution is.

What is Evolution?

Evolution in its most basic sense is any process of formation or growth; development, derived from the Latin meaning unrolling, according to Random House Dictionary (2006).  There are many things that evolve, so to speak, in our world.  All that we mean, however, is that there is a slow, gradual change occurring in different facets of life.  Let us consider a few examples.

The Changes in Language and Culture

We can speak of the slow progression of the English language as an example of evolution.  The English of today is clearly not the same as that of Shakespeare’s day.  They are both English, but many things have changed radically so that words and expressions of his day have a completely different meaning today.  The change in language is something that happens slowly and in small increments, but we can all agree that it happens.  Consider how it is that we use different expressions than our parents did and our kids use different words and expressions than we do.

Cultures are also going through a process of change or evolution as well.  The culture of America is without doubt different today than it was 50 years ago.  Things that were unacceptable back then are sometimes considered normal by today’s standards.  In both of these examples, however, we are using the word evolution as a description of the slow change that is taking place and as such, the concept is completely acceptable.  After all, these changes are observed linguistically and culturally by experts in the respective fields and simply by the general public.  In other words, we can easily document and conclusively prove that those changes have actually occurred because the starting point is only 50 years ago and not 15 billion or even 6000 years ago.

From Micro to Macro to Abiogenesis

Douglas Futuyma, expert in biological evolution

Using the word evolution to describe the slow, steady changes that we undoubtedly witness in languages and cultures is indeed a correct use of the term.  If that were the only way that it was used then there would be no problem whatsoever.  However, the reality is that evolution has been given a new role and meaning; it is used to describe the entire progression of the universe starting with the Big Bang until the present day.  The different phases of evolution include: particulate, galactic, stellar, planetary, chemical, biological and cultural.[1]  Biological evolution purports to explain how life started from non-life (properly called abiogenesis) and then how those single-celled organisms eventually turned into you and me.  Douglas Futuyma, a foremost expert in biological evolution notes,

In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution…is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual…Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions.  (Futuyma 1986)

The above definition is rather misleading, however.  Dr. Futuyma should define for us the three different concepts that he is dealing with under the broad category of biological evolution, which are: Natural Selection (adaptation to an environment, which is sometimes called microevolution), molecules-to-man evolution (change in kind, e.g. reptile to bird, which is sometimes called macroevolution) and abiogenesis (a nonliving piece of rock to a living single-celled organism).  Neither the Bible nor literal six-day creationists are in any way against the concept of Natural Selection, which was actually first introduced by a creationist Edward Blythe.  Changes in species populations, by adapting to their environment, have in fact been witnessed to occur.

Charles Darwin correctly noted that the beaks of the finches on theGalapagos Islandschanged according to the climatic conditions.  He called this evolution.  From there he postulated his theory that these small changes, given enough time, could account for all of the living creatures on earth. Darwinfailed to note, however, that the finches were still finches.  They never turned into something else other than finches. Darwinobserved the species’ ability to adapt to its surrounding (which is easily ascribed to an amazing Creator) and from there made the leap of faith that with the magical element of time, one creature will turn into another.

According to Its Kind

The belief in molecules-to-man evolution – that single-celled organisms turned into more complex creatures, which turned into something else, all the way to you and me – is what stands in direct conflict with the Bible and specifically the six days of creation.  Genesis 1:24 specifically states that on the fifth day, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind [מין min]: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so.”  This verse acts as an insurmountable obstacle to those who would try to bridge (macro)evolution and the Bible.  God’s words cannot be misconstrued here.  He plainly says that different living creatures will come forth according to their own kind and not from one common ancestor of all.  He then defines what He means by enumerating the creatures: “cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth”, rendering impossible the paradigm that everything came from a different creature smaller and simpler than itself.  The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains:

Some have argued that when God created “min” [class, kind, species], he thereby fixed the “species.” This is a gratuitous assumption because a link between the word “min” with the biologist’s descriptive term “species” cannot be substantiated, and because there are as many definitions of species as there are biologists…God created the basic forms of life called “min” which can be classified according to modern biologists and zoologists as sometimes species, sometimes genus, sometimes family or sometimes order. This gives no support to the classical evolutionist’s view which requires developments across kingdom, phyla, and classes.

Dogs Are Still Dogs

Animals reproducing fertile offspring according to their own kind, is what we see in nature.  We see hundreds of varieties of dogs, but dogs are still dogs.  This (largely human-caused) variation in dogs is often called evolution.  This is reflected in the Seed Magazine article “The Human-Influenced Evolution of Dogs” (Anthes 2006), which discusses not the macroevolution of how a non-dog turned Dog breeding is not macro evolutioninto a dog, but how through human intervention “the domestication of dogs by humans has given rise to the immense diversity of the canine species by allowing otherwise harmful genetic mutations to survive.”  (Anthes 2006)   This “evolution” that Anthes refers to is nothing more than variation within a kind.  Nevertheless, she is echoed by theNaturalHistoryMuseum inLondon which says that the breeding of dogs shows evolution as well.  (Batten 1996)   Here again, we are given an example of Natural Selection (adaptation and variation, which are factual and observed) and are led to believe that it is equivalent to molecules-to-man evolution.

However, there is no “evolution” of the dog at all, other than variation due greatly to humans.  Interestingly, the study of genetics confirms that all dogs have come from a common ancestry. “Most breeds have developed during the past 500 years, […] Before humans began breeding dogs for certain traits or behaviors, dogs were more general in their appearance or morphology […]” (Dalke 2002).  The multiplicity of dogs is not a proof of evolution but of dog’s best friend manipulating him to better suit man.  “Breeds tell us more about human preferences than about dogs […] Dog breeds are the result of human preferences—selected traits taken from generation to generation.” (Dalke 2002).  “The Human-Influenced Evolution of Dogs” would be better titled “Man’s Breeding of Dogs”.


[1] See: http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/

splash.html

 

Creation of Dimensions and Angels

When God says in the beginning He created the Heavens and the Earth, could He have just been talking about our heavens that include the stars and sky and the beginning of our dimension? He never addresses anything about angels or sons of God or His throne or His heaven or anything in His realm when talking about the creation in Genesis that I remember, so could He have already created His Heaven and the angels etc before that and just chose to tell us the story about the creation and beginning of our world and dimension since He left all of that out. It does say the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy when the foundations of the earth were laid in Job . I’m just wondering why we have to believe that the creation of the realm where God dwells and it’s inhabitants have to be included at the same time as the creation in Genesis when none of it is mentioned as the story is told. I have been a christian my whole life and just never thought that God’s realm was created at the same time as our realm because I don’t remember it being talked about in the bible. Maybe I’m missing verses that would dispute this. I look forward to your reply when you can get to it. Thanks again!

– Jon

The Bible does not articulate when God created the angels like it does with man. However, we can piece together some clues  from the book of Job 38 where we read:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell [Me,] if you have understanding. (Job 38:4)
Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? (Job 38:5)
To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, (Job 38:6)
When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:7)
“Or [who] shut in the sea with doors, When it burst forth [and] issued from the womb; (Job 38:8)
When I made the clouds its garment, And thick darkness its swaddling band; (Job 38:9)
When I fixed My limit for it, And set bars and doors; (Job 38:10)

 

He stretched a line upon it - the line over the earth between day and night

He stretched a line upon it

Notice that the earth is already up to day day two – we know this because the line has been stretched out upon it. The line was pointed out to me, by a brother (whose name I forget), to be the place where day and night meet on the earth as seen from space – it literally is a line passing over it.

Therefore, the angels appear to have been there at least on day two.  But were they there before that? This next part requires several verses to come to an understanding – I will give an abbreviated answer here but many of the proofs are discussed in my course on the Messianic Age which you can listen to here.

There is a currently a veil between the heavenly domain/realm and the earthly. We learn this from Isaiah 25:7 which states that the veil, which covers all nations, is going to be removed

And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations. (Isa 25:7)
He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. (Isa 25:8)

Isaiah also says in chapter 64:1 oh that you would rend the heavens and come down. We hear of the sky receding like a scroll in Isaia 34 and Revelation 6. The prophets also saw the heavens open on occasion (Ezekiel 1, Revelation 4, 19). Stephen also saw the heavens open when he was being stoned (Acts 7).

We also know that Satan was in Eden, the garden of God, which was associated with the mountain of God (Ezekiel 28:12-18). That mountain is the same mountain that we read about in Isaiah 14 (which Satan attempted to climb and sit upon) and it is also the same that is spoken of in Hebrews 12:22

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, (Heb 12:22)

The mountain of God is in fact the heavenly Jerusalem according to this verse.

Therefore, the abode of God was created when He created everything else and also that abode was in this domain/dimension before the fall. God walked in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden which is the same place that Satan was – and again, the mountain of God was located at the same place.  This means that God’s abode and man’s were in the same dimension and only split after the sentencing and casting out from the Garden with the way blocked to the tree of life. In other words, the casting out was not simply a spacial removal but a dimensional removal. The spiritual dimension was divorced from the natural/physical at that point and those two will be recombined when the New Jerusalem comes down out of heaven and remains on the earth forever.

With all that in view we see that before the creation of the heavens and earth there was only God who existed in and of His own dimension. There was no other space out there, no black emptiness, no void – it was just God. There was only light for even darkness is something that He created (Isaiah 45:7). We also conclude that the traditional view that we have in which God’s abode in “heaven” has always been the original intent is wrong. God’s original intent was to dwell with His creatures on the earth! What we understand to be “heaven” in the Scriptures is in fact the Holy Mountain/Heavenly Jerusalem – which comes down to the earth in the age to come.  So we conclude that only God existed before Genesis 1:1. The current separation of God’s domain from man’s is only a temporary condition which was not in place when God declared everything to be very good. As for the angels, they were therefore created after the heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1 and were dwelling in the same domain as man until the separation of the two.

– Doug

 

What Did Adam Know On His First Day?

Naming the Animals

One of the tasks Adam was given on the first day of his creation was to name the animals, an act that demonstrated his

Adam names animals

dominion over them as God had prescribed (Genesis 1:26, 28).  Yet, therein lies a supposed problem that the day-age theory would presumably solve: if those days were not day-ages and death had not entered until Adam sinned, then why would Adam give names to animals that denote their carnivorous nature (such as bird of prey)?  The proponents of Progressive Creationism have suggested that Adam was familiar with death, even before the creation of Eve, which would explain why he would give the animals names that fit their ferocious nature.  Progressive Creationist Richard Deem explains:

When Adam was first put into the garden, God said that he could eat from any tree except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:15-17). God threatened that Adam would “surely die” if he broke this command. This threat makes no sense unless Adam had already seen the death of animals. There is no recorded reply of Adam asking what death was. If he had never seen death this would have been an obvious question. This is strong biblical evidence that Adam had already seen the death of animals even before Eve was created. In addition, Adam’s choice of names for the animals indicated that he had seen them kill other animals. For example, the Hebrew name for lion is derived from the Hebrew root that means “in the sense of violence.” In addition, Adam named some of the predatory birds using a Hebrew word with the meaning “bird of prey.” In naming the eagle, Adam used the Hebrew word whose root means to lacerate. So, scripture suggests that there was animal death before the fall of Adam and Eve.  (Deem 2006a)

Suggesting that Adam must have known what death was first hand in order to understand God’s directive is nothing more than speculation and not necessary since any child can understand the idea of death without having a family member die.  To suggest that Adam knew what death was based on the names of the animals is not logical.  Furthermore, Deem has assumed that Adam spoke Hebrew.  While it is possible that Hebrew was the original language, there is no way to be sure that Adam and Eve didn’t speak a completely different language.  The above author is putting words into Adam’s mouth that are not in the text.  Because the Bible is God’s Word, we want to be careful not to add or subtract from it, but just understand what is given.

 

Did Adam really include in the name lion the meaning of “in a sense of violence”?  We agree that when we look up the Hebrew word אריה aryeh in the popular Strong’s Dictionary, the definition does in fact say “in a sense of violence.”  But this does not in any way imply that Adam while in the Garden of Eden was thinking to himself, “Gee, what should I call this animal?  Hmm, well, it has big teeth and I have seen it kill and eat other animals!  I need to call it something that is characteristic of its violent nature.  I know!  I will call it aryeh (or in English violence).”

 

The reality is that Strong’s Dictionary and other lexicons sometimes make an educated guess.  When compiling a lexicon (dictionary) of ancient languages, the authors study the available writings and begin to formulate their ideas from there.  There is no master copy of original meanings that they can consult.  Some words are much easier than others due to their high frequency.  The meaning of others,  which are used only once in the entire Bible, known as hapax legomenon, and must be deduced from the surrounding vocabulary.  An example of such an occurrence is found in Isaiah:

 

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the jackals, and the wild goat shall bleat to its companion; also the night creature (לילית lilit) shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.  (Isaiah 34:14)

 

The term night creature is the Hebrew word lilit which occurs only here in the entire Bible.  Even if it were to have been uttered by Adam, this would not tell us what it means.  Thus, the translation night creature is only an educated guess on the part of the translator due to its similarity to the Hebrew word לילה layla meaning night.

 

Parallelisms

Another tool the translator can use to help clarify a text is parallelisms.  Parallelisms are times when the biblical author followed the word in question with a synonym in close proximity.  We see this style of parallelism often in the Proverbs where an idea is expressed two (or more) different words.  Consider the following example from Proverbs 2:10-11:

 

When wisdom enters your heart,

And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

Discretion will preserve you;

Understanding will keep you.

 

There are several clues that would help us understand if one or two of these words were difficult since each verse is a pair of words meaning approximately the same thing:

 

  • wisdom –  knowledge
  • heartsoul
  • discretionunderstanding
  • preservekeep

 

The words in this passage are fairly easy, but we can see how if we didn’t know one, we could make an educated guess based on the context and meaning of the other.  This is how many words are ascribed their meaning in the Bible – not from looking at a lexicon or dictionary, but from studying the context in which the word is used; so too with the word lion.  The various authors of Hebrew lexicons such as Strong’s, Brown Driver Briggs (BDB), and others do not know the original meaning of the word.  However, they have observed the animal lion and how it is generally portrayed in Scripture as “in a sense of violence.”  But we must recognize that “in a sense of violence” is not the true meaning of the word lion, which is the translation of the Hebrew aryeh.  The same is true of the birds of prey.  Adam, didn’t look at them and say to himself, “Hmm… I think that I will name you ‘bird of prey’ (Hebrew ayit עיט).”  Again, modern scholars don’t know what the etymology of עיט (ayit) is so they gave it a general term “bird of prey” for that is what it is.  Let’s consider an example in English that is similar.

 

Etymologies

When we say God we are referring to the Supreme Being who is the Sovereign of the universe. Looking in Collins’ English Dictionary we see that the definition of God is “a supernatural being, who is worshipped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force.”  But what is the origin of the word?  We have seen the definition of the word, but where did it come from?  Does the origin stem from supreme being, or powerful one?  Is it related to the word good?

 

To answer these questions we must consult an etymological dictionary which gives a history of origin of words.  According to the Online Etymological Dictionary, god (or God) in old English did mean supreme being.  That, however, is not the end of the story.  In Proto-Indo-European, the predecessor to English, it was spelled ghut which meant that which is invoked.  Although some trace it to an alternate Proto-Indo-European root ghu-to meaning poured, from the root *gheu meaning to pour, pour a libation.  The etymological dictionary also notes that it is not related to the word good.  So, we see in a word we use every day that it had an origin that probably none of us knew before.  We might have thought that it was related to good since God is good and if not that, then at least it came from supreme being.

 

However, the original meaning is neither supreme being nor good but is rather that which is invoked or poured.  This is informative since it demonstrates that a definition and origin (etymology) are not necessarily the same.  Thus to suggest that Adam was familiar with death before the fall and therefore called the lion violent and eagles and vultures birds of prey is anachronistic.  We simply don’t know what Adam meant by the names that he gave.  All that we know is that in the Bible, the Hebrew words aryeh lion and ayit birds of prey are the meanings of those words as derived by scholars according to how the words are used, not according to their original meaning.

 Replenish the Earth and the Gap Theory

In Genesis 1:28 we read “…and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (KJV)  The King James Version’s use of the word replenish has been seen by Gap Theorists as proof that the earth is old, since supposedly Adam and Eve are commanded to fill again.  In fact, the idea that God commanded Adam and Eve not merely to fill the earth but to fill the earth again, stems from the Gap Theory.[i]  The proponents of the Gap Theory believe that the billions of years of the age of the heavens and earth, as touted by evolutionistic thinking, is found between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.  Thus, did God command Adam and Eve to fill the earth for the very first time or to fill the earth again?  Did they actually understand that they were to fill the earth again because the world prior to their creation had been destroyed?

 

Replenish/Malu

It is true, that in today’s English, when we say replenish we mean filling up something that is depleted, something that was once full and is now empty.  However, just less than 200 years ago, Webster’s Dictionary (1828) defines the word as, “To fill; to stock with numbers or abundance.”  We can see that the word has changed from meaning fill to fill again today.  Of course, the answer ultimately lies not in English but in Hebrew.

 

The Hebrew word מלאו (malu) does not mean to refill, but simply to fill.  It in no way connotes or implies to fill again.  It just means fill.  God gave the same command to fill in Genesis 9:1 to Noah after the flood as He did to Adam and Eve.  There is no question that Noah was to fill the earth again, but that is not intrinsically implied by the word; God simply said to fill the earth.  Likewise, to suggest that God commanded Adam and Eve to repopulate a world that had been recreated is poor exegesis and is not even remotely supported from the text.  We can, therefore, absolutely conclude that Adam and Eve simply understood God to be telling them to fill the earth for the first time and not to refill the world.  They would absolutely not infer from God’s command that there had been a world gone bad prior to theirs.  In fact, there are no words or verses that support such a claim.[ii]



[i] Weston W. Fields in his book Unformed and Unfilled (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1978) provides a thorough discussion of the Gap Theory and its fatal flaws.  See also

answersingenesis.org/creation/v3/i3/gap_theory.asp

[ii] For a discussion on the Gap Theory, see: Russell Grigg From The Beginning Of The Creation

answersingenesis.org/creation/v19/i2/beginning.asp

 

Creation Days According to Ancient Jewish Commentators

Accordingly Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made.  (Josephus Antiquities Book 1, Chapter 1)

 

What the ancient Bible commentators understood those six days to mean when they opened up to Genesis 1 and 2?  Did they see extremely long indefinite periods of time?  Or did they see regular, twenty-four-hour days?  Would they come to the same conclusion that we have reached?  Or would they be inclined to look for a deeper, hidden meaning in the text?  Even if it can be demonstrated that all or nearly all of the ancient interpreters thought that the Bible and Genesis 1 in particular should be interpreted as six literal days, that does not prove that that is in fact the reality of the Bible.  However, if the overwhelming majority understood the creation account to be referring to a week of six literal days, then it would greatly support our previous conclusion and that the normal method of interpretation or hermeneutic of Scripture was to take it at face value.

 

We will see that when we examine the ancient Jewish and Christian commentators on what they believed concerning the beginning of the world, they almost always talk about the end of it as well.  They claim that the age of the earth is less than six thousand years old.  This becomes an important control for us in that by claiming that the earth was created less than six thousand years previous to their day, they are stating their belief in a young earth, and hence, the six, literal 24-hour days of creation.

 

The Use of Ancient Interpreters

The point of view of ancient interpreters and commentators is very relevant to us because we know that they were in no way influenced by the teachings of Darwinian evolution, which requires billions of years to occur.  The ancient perspective has already been exploited by those seeking to establish that Scripture actually teaches that the earth and the universe are incredibly old.  Perhaps the most prominent of the Progressive Creation perspective is Dr. Hugh Ross.  While we do not wish to question his sincerity nor his belief in the God of the Bible, his interpretation of these ancient commentators is in need of serious review.  Ross states in his book The Fingerprint of God:

Many of the early Church Fathers and other biblical scholars interpret the creation days of Genesis 1 as long periods of time. The list includes the Jewish historian Josephus (1st century); Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, apologist and martyr (2nd century); Origen, who rebutted heathen attacks on Christian doctrine (3rd century); Basil (4th century); Augustine (5th century); and, later, Aquinas (13th century), to name a few. The significance of this list lies not only in the prominence of these individuals as biblical scholars, defenders of the faith, and pillars of the early church (except Josephus), but also in that their scriptural views cannot be said to have been shaped to accommodate secular opinion. Astronomical, paleontological, and geological evidences for the antiquity of the universe, of the earth, and of life did not come forth until the nineteenth century.  (Ross 1991: 141)

Ross’s list of ancient biblical scholars is at first impressive.  But when we begin to study his sources in depth, we find that, at the very least, Ross has not been diligent in his investigation.  Reality is simply not as he states it.  The claim that many of these ancient interpreters believed the creation days to be longer than 24 hours is later parroted by an advocate of Progressive Creation who states:

Dr. Hugh Ross documents in detail what first century Jewish scholars and the early Christian Church Fathers said regarding their interpretation of creation chronology (see Chapter 2, pages 16-24). Many early Church Fathers expressed no opinion on the subject of creation days, since it is a peripheral issue in Christianity. However, Jewish scholars who discussed creation chronology include Philo and Josephus, while Christian fathers include Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus (through writings of Ambrose), Clement, Origen, Lactantius, Victorinus, Methodius, Augustine, Eusebius, Basil, and Ambrose. Among this group, all but one believed that the creation days were longer than 24 hours. The evidence presented in Creation and Time is both overwhelming and well documented (all references are given). (Deem 2006a)

Again, we are not questioning whether Dr. Ross and others of the Progressive Creation position are sincere and hold the God of the Bible in high esteem.  It is their scholarship that is in question.  The truth is that many, if not almost all, of the early Church Fathers (ante-Nicene) definitively thought that the universe was made in six, literal days.  Additionally, most ancient Jewish commentators shared the same point of view – namely, that the heavens and earth were created in six, literal days.  Let’s examine the evidence to see what those interpreters thought about the time frame of creation.  Did they hold to a literal, straightforward, six-day creation as we claim that the Bible teaches?  Or did they believe that allegorizing the text was the proper method of interpretation?

Targumim

A very important source to consider when addressing the issue of how ancient interpreters understood the Bible are the Targumim.  Targumim (Targum is singular) are the Aramaic translations of the Old Testament Scriptures.  They were for the most part written both in and outside of Israel a few centuries after the time of Jesus.  They were written either for those Jews who had lost Hebrew as their mother tongue because of living outside of Israel for so long or for those living in Israel after the time of the Second Jewish Revolt (135 AD) when Hebrew truly started to die out.[i]  Those Jews were no longer comfortable reading the Scriptures solely in Hebrew, but needed the help of a translation as they read along in the original Hebrew.  However, the Targumim were much more than merely word for word translations.  They were running commentaries on the Scriptures filled with typical Jewish interpretations.  The Hebrew text of the Bible was always considered sacred by the Jews, and therefore, it was to be approached with great care.  The text was never to be touched.  Because the Targumim were in Aramaic and not Hebrew, there was no risk that the commentaries might be mistaken for the actual words of the Bible itself.

 

Targum Onkelos

Targum Onkelos, translates Genesis 1:1 very literally: “In the first times the Lord created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was waste and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the abyss.”  In fact, the entire chapter of Targum Onkelos of Genesis 1 shows no indication whatsoever that the translator/commentator was persuaded that the six days of Genesis were to be taken in any way but literally.  Conversely, the translator actually places a comment in chapter 3 regarding the curse put on the serpent and the promised savior.

 

And I will put enmity between thee and between the woman, and between thy son and her son.  He will remember thee, what thou didst to him (at) from the beginning, and thou shalt be observant unto him at the end. (Emphasis mine)

 

Notice that here the targumist defines when the time of this occurred – “from the beginning.”  Although this doesn’t prove that the six days in Genesis were truly literal, it does demonstrate that an ancient interpreter understood them as being literal since the time of the fall happened in the beginning, not some millions or billions of years after the initial act of creation.

 

Targumim Jonathan

Targum Jonathan[ii] in translating Genesis 2:3 (which is really the end of chapter 1 and is an unfortunate and mistaken chapter break) adds a reason which goes beyond the original text by adding the words “the days of the week.”

 

And the creatures of the heavens and earth, and all the hosts of them, were completed. And the Lord had finished by the Seventh Day the work which He had wrought, […] And the Lord blessed the Seventh Day more than all the days of the week, and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His works which the Lord had created and had willed to make. (Emphasis mine)

 

The words “the days of the week” demonstrate that the Targumist also understood the first through sixth days in Genesis 1 to be “the days of the week” and the seventh to be the final day of that week.  What did he have in mind when he added that comment that is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures?  Did his belief that the seventh was blessed more than all the other days of the week actually mean that the last age or era of time was better than the rest?  Or did he think that days of the week meant Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. (or as it would be in Hebrew First Day, Second Day, Third Day etc.)?  If we consider what God declared to Moses via the Targumim as we did in the Hebrew Bible, then the conclusion of six, literal days becomes very difficult to circumvent.

 

For in six days the Lord created the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and whatever is therein, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord hath blessed the day of Shabbatha and sanctified it. (Targum Jonathan, Exodus 20:11)

This is again reiterated in the same Targum in Exodus 31:15 and 17:

 

Six days ye shall do work; but the seventh day is Sabbath, the holy Sabbath before the Lord […] For in six days the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth; and in the seventh day He rested and refreshed.  (Emphasis mine)

 

The Targum of Onkelos confirms again that the commonly accepted time frame for the creation of the heavens and the earth was but a mere six, literal days.  There is no intimation that those days somehow really meant long, indefinite ages of perhaps billions of years.

 

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the day of Shabbatha, and sanctified it. (Targum Onkelos, Exodus 20:11 emphasis mine)

Six days shalt thou do work, and the seventh day is Sabbath, the Holy Sabbath before the Lord […] for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth; and in the seventh day rested and was refreshed.  (Targum Onkelos Exodus 31: 15, 17 emphasis mine)

 

These passages are some of the clearest passages in the Bible regarding the time God took to create everything and yet there isn’t even a minor hint that those time frames mean anything other than what we can take at face value.  Although the Targumim are not listed among the ancient Jewish writers cited by Dr. Ross and others, they are certainly an important source, and one of the primary sources when wanting to know about common Jewish thought just before and after the time of Christ.

Josephus

Josephus

An indispensable voice of Jewish history and thought in first century Israel is that of Josephus, who appears on the list of supposed ancient supporters of an old earth.  Josephus is considered the most important source historians have regarding the events of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  Josephus single-handedly wrote the history of the debacle of the Jewish state at the hands of their Roman enemies.  Born in 37 A.D., Josephus was raised a Jew in Israel and fought alongside his Jewish countrymen before being taken a hostage by the Romans, who granted him the opportunity to write not only the story of the Wars of the Jews, but also later a work entitled The Antiquities of the Jews.  Josephus’ mother tongue was Hebrew.  His expertise in Hebrew and the fact that he was also well acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures were essential in writing Antiquities of the Jews.  While not everything that Josephus wrote is considered to always be accurate or without bias, recent discoveries in the past 100 years have proven that Josephus’s account of Jewish history was extremely accurate.[iii]

 

From The Creation

Josephus opens his monumental work Antiquities of the Jews with a rather significant chapter title: “Containing The Interval Of Three Thousand Eight Hundred And Thirty-Three Years.  From the Creation to the Death of Isaac.”  Just from the chapter title one already begins to see that Josephus understood the time from the creation until the death of Isaac as a relatively short period – 3833 years.  Adding that to the time from Isaac (approximately 1950 B.C.) to the time of Josephus (about 80 AD) we get a number of 5863 years – hardly millions of years.  There is absolutely no suggestion from him that “the creation” happened indefinite ages ago; rather it was but a relatively short time ago.  It is interesting that Josephus’ date corresponds very closely with that of young earth creationists’ calculations based on the genealogies of the Bible.  The point is that Josephus in no way thought that the days of creation were long periods of millions or billions of years.  He then begins with the same words as found directly in the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” He goes on:

 

God commanded that there should be light: and when that was made, he considered the whole mass, and separated the light and the darkness; and the name he gave to one was Night, and the other he called Day: and he named the beginning of light, and the time of rest, The Evening and The Morning, and this was indeed the first day. But Moses said it was one day Accordingly Moses says, That in just six days the world, and all that is therein, was made. And that the seventh day was a rest, and a release from the labor of such operations; whence it is that we celebrate a rest from our labors on that day, and call it the Sabbath, which word denotes rest in the Hebrew tongue.  (Josephus Antiquities Book 1, Chapter 1, emphasis mine)

 

Notice that Josephus is careful to note that there was evening and there was morning, which he says was the first day, but then he adds “But Moses said it was one day”. By doing this, he not only demonstrates his understanding of Hebrew, but also points out that the Hebrew shows that all of these events happened in one day.  He also states his opinion since it is not directly in the text of Genesis 1, though, it is more than likely that he was merely parroting the commonly accepted belief.

 

In Just Six Days

Josephus in no way thought that the days of creation were long periods of time in which the slow process of evolution happened!  He says that “in just six days the world and all that is therein” was made.  He then discusses that the origin of the Jews resting on the seventh day came from God resting on the seventh day.  Keep in mind that Josephus has to explain the history of his people to Romans who would probably have known next to nothing about the religion of one of the people in their vast empire.  The most that they might have known was that his people foolishly rebelled against them and consequently paid the price for their rebellion.  So Josephus has to explain the small details in order for them to truly appreciate the splendor of the Jewish sacred book.

 

Here too, we find that one of the most prominent ancient commentators thought nothing but of a literal, six-day creation.  The thought of a day of the creation week equaling millions or billions of years or even some super long duration just never crossed his mind.  Conversely, he clearly states that in just six days God made all that is.

 

Rabbinic interpretation

We next turn to rabbinic interpretation in hopes of discovering what they thought about the six days of creation.  Did they too interpret the days of Genesis 1 to be literal days of 24-hours like those that we have already seen or, as it has been suggested, did they allegorize those as days of incredibly long duration?  We should note that Rabbinic interpretation of the Scriptures is such that it generally seeks to find a deeper meaning to the text.  They quite often would take what would seem to us to be two rather dissimilar passages and, through a few keys words, tie them together in such a way as to teach a deeper truth.

 

For example, let’s look at tractate Sabbath 17, Chapter 7 which, as the title suggests, deals with the Sabbath and the regulations necessary to properly keep it.  The Rabbis are discussing what to do if someone who is traveling misses the Sabbath due to not knowing which day it is.

R. Huna said: One who has been traveling in a desert and does not know what day is Sabbath, must count six days from the day (on which he realizes) that he has missed the Sabbath, and observe the seventh. Hyya b. Rabh said: He must observe that very day and then continue his counting from that day. And what is the point of their differing? The former holds that one must act in accordance with the creation (which commenced six days before the Sabbath), while the latter holds that one must be guided by Adam’s creation (on the eve of Sabbath). (Emphasis mine)

The Rabbis immediately turn to the week of creation as a real week whereby they might demonstrate how one must count the days before the Sabbath.  They then look back at the creation week from the point of view that Adam was made on the eve of the Sabbath, which was the literal sixth day of time.  Thus, the days of a workweek plus the Sabbath are equal to the days of the creation week.

 

The Talmud Comments on the Mishna

The Talmud comments on the discussion in the Mishna[iv] concerning one who might ask “what was before creation?” and tries to draw out further applications and to answer any questions unresolved.

 

Lest one assume that a man can ask, What was before the creation? therefore it is written: “Since the day that God created man from the earth“; but lest one assume, a man must not ask even what was done in the six days of creation?  (Book 3 Tract Hagigah 4 chapter 2)

 

Notice that they make reference to the six days of creation and very matter-of-factly state “what was done in the six days of creation.”  The implication is that those days were real days, not long drawn out indefinite ages.

Rashi

Rashi

From another portion of the Talmud we read:

 

Four thousand two hundred and thirty-one years after the creation of the world, if any one offers thee for one single denarius a field worth a thousand denarii, do not buy it. (Avodah Zarah, fol. 9, col. 2.)

 

According to this passage the creation of the world happened 4231 years previous to the statement.  The famed medieval Jewish commentator Rashi (below) was noted to have given an explanation on the passage that helps us understand what ancient Jews believed concerning the time that elapsed from creation until their time.

 

Rashi gives this as the reason of the prohibition: For then the restoration of the Jews to their own land will take place, so that the denarius paid for a field in a foreign land would be money thrown awayFour thousand two hundred and ninety-one years after the creation of the world the wars of the dragons and the wars of Gog and Magog will cease, and the rest of the time will be the days of the Messiah; and the Holy One – blessed be He! – will not renew His world till after seven thousand years…Rabbi Jonathan said, “May the bones of those who compute the latter days (when the Messiah shall appear) be blown; for some say, ‘Because the time (of Messiah) has come and Himself has not, therefore He will never come!’ But wait thou for Him, as it is said (Hab. ii. 3), ‘Though He tarry, wait for Him.’” (Sanhedrin, fol. 97, col. 2, emphasis mine)

 

Rashi evidently separated human history, from the time of creation until the end, into seven thousand years.  Notice that Rashi understood these years as real periods of time that began in the beginning with the creation of the world.  This fact is further established by Rabbi Jonathan by noting it is not good to compute the time of the Messiah, which, according to some Jews, had already come.  For a Christian, this is a very significant statement, but to pursue it would derail us from our current discussion that key, ancient Rabbis understood the earth to be young – less than six thousand years.

 

Other Rabbis

A few other examples only serve to confirm what we have seen so far – namely, that ancient Rabbis considered the creation week to be nothing less than real days and not day-ages as is often suggested.  The Rabba commentaries (Harris, Translator 1901) on the Bible yield several important perspectives on the literalness of the six-day creation.  The first chapter of Genesis Rabba asserts “Even the new heavens and earth, spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah (65:17), were created in the six days of creation.”  Another discussion from the Talmud regarding the importance of the Hebrew month Tishri states it this way, “Rabbi Eleazer said […] On the first of Tishri Adam was created; from his existence we count our years, that is the sixth day of the creation” (Talmud Part 5, Holy Days, emphasis mine).  Exodus Rabba 23 associates the formation of Adam with the event of creation itself,

 

The song of praise that Israel offered on the Red Sea was pleasing to God as an outburst of real gratitude.  There had indeed been no such praise offered to God since creation. Adam, formed out of dust and put above all creation, omitted to praise the Creator for the dignity conferred on him.  (Exodus Rabba 23)

 

Leviticus Rabba 14 succinctly places man along with the creation, “Man is the last in creation and the first in responsibility.”  If God started making the universe some 15 billion years earlier, it would be hard to link man with creation due to the enormous time gap between them.  Midrash Esther 1 offers a similar scenario,

 

As early as the time of creation it was decreed that the following should have precedence, each in his own sphere. Adam was first of man, Cain of murderers, and Abel of the murdered.  Noah the first to escape from peril.  (Harris, Translator 1901)

 

And finally, another rabbinic source, Tanchum Bereshith unequivocally states that God created in six days,

 

As one who finishes the building of his house proclaims that day a holiday, and consecrates the building, so God, having finished creation in the six days, proclaimed the seventh day a holy day and sanctified it.  (Electronic Text, The Word Bible Software)

 

Where is the slightest hint in any of the aforementioned sources that they believed in an old earth and universe?  Where does one get the impression that the ancient Rabbis truly believed that God didn’t actually create in six, literal days but in six day-ages each lasting some billions of years?  Those day-ages are conspicuously missing.  They only show up if one’s theory depends on such interpretations.  Even Philo, the very allegorical Jewish philosopher of first century Alexandria, Egypt, thought that the days of creation as recorded in Genesis were referring to six literal days.

 

Philo

If there were someone that we should expect to back up the old-earth theory, it would be Philo.  Philo was an Alexandrian Jew who was born approximately 20 years before Jesus.  Philo knew the Hebrew Scriptures very well and was very fond of them.  However, he also was open to the ideas of Greek philosophy and tried to marry the two to accommodate both worldviews.  The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states concerning Philo:

Philo of Alexandria

He addressed himself to two tasks, difficult to weld into a flawless unity. On the one hand, he wrote for educated men in Greek-Roman society, attempting to explain, often to justify, his racial religion before them […] On the other hand, he had to confront his orthodox coreligionists, with their separatist traditions and their contempt for paganism in all its works. He tried to persuade them that, after all, Greek thought was not inimical to their cherished doctrines, but, on the contrary, involved similar, almost identical, principles.  (ISBE: Philo, point 3)

 

The ISBE continues by saying that Philo represented a position which tried to blend the philosophy of Hellenism with the “historical and dogmatic deductions of the Jewish Scriptures” (ISBE: Philo point 3), which resulted in rather strange interpretations.  Furthermore the ISBE states:

 

He taught that the Scriptures contain two meanings: a “lower” meaning, obvious in the literal statements of the text; and a “higher,” or hidden meaning, perceptible to the “initiate” alone. In this way he found it possible to reconcile Greek intellectualism with Jewish belief. Greek thought exhibits the “hidden” meaning; it turns out to be the elucidation of the “allegory” which runs through the Old Testament like a vein of gold. (ISBE: Philo, point 3)

 

Thus, even if we were to find an allegorical meaning associated with the creation of the world in his writings, we would understand that the allegorical side was Philo’s attempt to reconcile the historical text of the Bible with the philosophy of Greek thought.  Therefore such an allegory would not be indicative of the true meaning of the biblical text.  What we actually see Philo say regarding the creation, both from a literal and allegorical point of view, is astonishing.

 

Philo’s Paraphrase

Philo begins his treatise with the creation of the world as given by Moses.  That is to say, Philo is loosely paraphrasing the Genesis account in his own words.  This is extremely important to note since here we have a writer that is very much in favor of interpreting Scripture from an allegorical approach and yet he lets us know what he thought Moses was truly communicating before moving on to his allegorical method.

 

And he says that the world was made in six days, not because the Creator stood in need of a length of time (for it is natural that God should do everything at once, not merely by uttering a command, but by even thinking of it); but because the things created required arrangement; and number is akin to arrangement; and, of all numbers, six is, by the laws of nature, the most productive… (Philo, On The Creation – Part 1 III. 13)

 

Philo is actually saying here that the world was made in six days which was actually much more time than God required.  He says that God took his time “because the things created required arrangement.”  According to Philo, God slowed himself down not for His own sake since merely by thinking He could have made all, but so that there would be order.  The old-earth position is right in suggesting that God could have taken billions of years to create the world.  But they miss the mark when affirming that God actually did.  According to Scripture and all of the testimony we have seen up until now, God did go at an incredibly slow pace – that is if you are God!  The passing of a mere thought versus creating at a tremendously slow speed of six (24-hour) days are radically different.  Rather than confirming the old-earth position as Dr. Ross has suggested, Philo defends the belief that the biblical creation occurred in just a six-day week.

 

Philo’s Allegorical Treatise

After providing his paraphrase of Genesis 1, Philo next begins his allegorical treatise to pull out the deeper truths and thereby make the Bible more palatable to his Greco-Roman audience:

 

“And the heaven and the earth and all their world was completed.”  [Genesis 2:1] Having previously related the creation of the mind and of sense, Moses now proceeds to describe the perfection which was brought about by them both. And he says that neither the indivisible mind nor the particular sensations received perfection, but only ideas, one the idea of the mind, the other of sensation. And, speaking symbolically, he calls the mind heaven, since the natures which can only be comprehended by the intellect are in heaven. And sensation he calls earth, because it is sensation which has obtained a corporeal and some what earthy constitution. (Philo, Allegorical Interpretation, I – Part 1)

 

It is obvious that Philo is now speaking in a very allegorical fashion.  However, if we read carefully the above paragraph, we see that in his allegorizing of Genesis 1 he is rejecting altogether that Moses is referring to any type of numerical value of the creation regardless of how long that might have taken.  He is advocating, allegorically speaking, neither a literal six day creation nor a six day-age theory.  The amount of time required is absolutely inconsequential to him.  Notice below in his statement that time is not the issue.

 

“And on the sixth day God finished his work which he had made.” It would be a sign of great simplicity to think that the world was created in six days, or indeed at all in time. […] Therefore it would be correctly said that the world was not created in time, but that time had its existence in consequence of the world. For it is the motion of the heaven that has displayed the nature of time. (Philo, Allegorical Interpretation, II – Part 2 emphasis mine)

 

For Philo, six days is not what one is to understand from the Genesis account but rather, the number six and all of its amazing mathematical properties is what is to be appreciated.  His concept of time is that it is in itself a created thing.  On that point most scientists would agree, evolutionists and creationists alike, that time was created along with space and that space and time cannot be separated.[v]  Because Philo does not see time beginning until the creation of the sun, what can we conclude regarding how long the first four days were?  Obviously, if they came into being outside of time, as he suggests, then it is impossible to discuss their duration since that would be an oxymoron by definition.  Consequently, the assertion that Philo in any way held to the belief in a universe that was billions of years old, as the Progressive Creation position suggests, is simply unfounded.  Conversely, we see from Philo’s paraphrase of Genesis 1 (in which he stated that according to Moses the world was created in six, literal days) what he thinks the deeper meaning of six days actually is:

 

When, therefore, Moses says, “God completed his works on the sixth day,” we must understand that he is speaking not of a number of days, but that he takes six as a perfect number. Since it is the first number which is equal in its parts, in the half, and the third and sixth parts, and since it is produced by the multiplication of two unequal factors, two and three. (Philo Allegorical Interpretation, II  – Part 3 emphasis mine)

 

Philo and the Number Six

Philo is not arguing about how long a day was.  He was not saying that they were long indefinite ages in which God did His handiwork.  In no way is his statement grounds for proving that he, as an ancient interpreter, believed that those days were indefinite and therefore allowed for enough time for evolution to occur.  Rather he was saying that it wasn’t six days, but really just about the number six which he continues to describe as a “perfect number.”  For Philo, the argument isn’t about the days, but about the incredible features of the number of six.  Philo has not even considered how long the days were, but thought that a deeper truth to be mined from the Scriptures was the profoundness of the mathematical qualities of six as a number.

 

We may not be able to pin Philo down on exactly how long he thought the creation took.  If we simply accept at face value what he said in the beginning of his treatise, then we could just conclude that according to Moses, God took six literal days though looking at his allegory, we see a different picture.  However, it can hardly be denied that his consideration of the six days has nothing to do with time but everything to do with the number six as a mathematical entity worthy of contemplation.  Thus, we leave Philo fairly convinced that on the literal plain, he believed that Genesis 1 did indeed refer to the creation of heaven and earth in six, literal, 24-hour days and from an allegorical point of view believed the six to be included because it was a perfect number.


 [i] For a detailed explanation of the language of Israel in the first century, see Hamp (2005) Discovering the Language of Jesus Calvary Publishing, Santa Ana.

[ii] Also known as Pseudo Jonathan.

[iii] Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the sect known as the Essenes, which Josephus describes in detail in Wars of the Jews book 2, chapter 8, there was no record of it ever existing.  Josephus’ account has since been corroborated by much of the material finds at the Qumran compound near the Dead Sea as well as by the Scrolls themselves.

[iv] The Mishna deals with the Mosaic Law and applies it to every conceivable area of life.

[v] This is signified by the term “space-time continuum.” Dr. Sholar notes: “The space-time continuum however, was a mathematical assumption of Einstein leading to relativity…which has predicted outcomes of certain experiments with some degree of accuracy.  However, there are many today who believe that time and space are not so intertwined that they must be cojoined as a continuum the way Einstein postulated.  There are other theories that consider space and time quite distinctly separate, yet predict the same results as does relativity.  Since most scientists are not expert in relativity, it is easier for them to accept the establishment’s entrenchment of a theory into textbooks and academia, than swim upstream against the more popular theory, with an alternative that gives similar answers, though void philosophical problems like paradoxes.  The almost certain fact that space and time were each created anew does not depend upon whether or not they are connected as Einstein postulates, or are completely disparate and separate entities.”  (Dr. Stan Sholar, personal communication, September 21, 2006)