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Thread: Split From How long were the days

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    tWebber
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    So what is gained or lost by arguments over the length of the Seven Days? Seriously. Is that why Moses wrote the account... to tell us how long they were? Is it not written that we are fearfully and wonderfully made? Though we are "dust" that is not all that we consist of. What is the rest? No curiosity at all? It's all recorded there in the account and all we want to know is how long the days were? Got to be kidding me!!!

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    tWebber
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    Hello Seve. Why is it important for me to know that Adam began in the Third Day? Clearly the beginning of him is seen in the First. Also, if the knowledge you are insisting upon is heard only by those born again why are you speaking at all on the matter? It seems unhealthy to speak where there are no ears to hear (not a critique, I tend to do the same... in hope I guess). Thinking out loud...
    Last edited by Jeff; 11-22-2018 at 07:41 PM.

  3. #13
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    People disagree because the text has been taken as straightforward literal days for thousands of years.
    At risk of being again labeled evil and blasphemous, I must disagree

    There was a lot of disagreement over the nature of the days of creation among the Early Church Fathers (ECFs) -- although, importantly absolutely nobody thought this disagreement was important.

    While a number of ECFs thought that the days did indeed represent literal 24 hour long sequential days, others held that creation took place instantaneously, a few that it took place outside of time and some held that each day represented a thousand years (Psalm 90:4; cf. II Peter 3:8).

    It appears that those in the latter group had varying reasons to do so although one of the most popular is based upon the fact that Adam didn't die within 24 hours after eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as he was told ("for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" -- Genesis 2:17) but lived until he was 930 years old (Genesis 5:5). To them this indicated that the days were a thousand years.

    For example, Justin Martyr, while writing about the reign of a thousand years, wrote in his "Dialogue With Trypho", Chapter 81, when he commented that[1]:

    For as Adam was told that in the day he ate of the tree he would die, we know that he did not complete a thousand years.


    Twenty or thirty years later, in his Adversus Haereses ("Against Heresies"), Book 5, Chapter 23 (written between 175 and 185 AD), Irenaeus expressed a similar sentiment:

    And there are some, again, who relegate the death of Adam to the thousandth year; for since "a day of the Lord is as a thousand years," he did not overstep the thousand years, but died within them, thus bearing out the sentence of his sin.


    Later (c. 250 AD) Cyprian of Carthage, in his "Treatise 11," or "Exhortation to Martyrdom," (section 11), also expresses a comparable view in passing when he observed that

    As the first seven days in the divine arrangement containing seven thousand years


    Victorinus of Pettau, who I've heard even some YECs say taught that the days were 24 hours long[2], wrote in "On the Creation of the World" that

    Wherefore to those seven days the Lord attributed to each a thousand years


    While that indicates that he held that the days of creation were each a thousand years long, I donít know if he used the same reasoning as the others did.

    The other reason offered for believing that the days were a thousand years long is the mention by psalmist that with God "a thousand years is as one day, and one day is as a thousand years" (Psalm 90:4; cf. II Peter 3:8). According to the Wesleyan Bible Commentary, Methodius said that Origen suggested the possibility that each day was a thousand years long based on II Peter 3:8.

    The idea that Adamís life span being less than a thousand year "day" was not a new one and can be traced back to Jewish literature. It is found, for instance, in the Book of Jubilees (generally dated from between 160 and 150 BC)[3]:

    "And at the close of the Nineteenth Jubilee, in the seventh week in the sixth year thereof Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried on the earth. And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; of one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: ĎOn the day ye eat thereof ye shall die.í For this reason he did not complete the years of this day; for he died during it."


    Several centuries later a similar saying occurs in the B'reshith Rabba on Genesis 3:8:

    I said to him, on the day thou eatest of it, thou shalt surely die. But you know not whether it is one of My days or one of yours. Behold I give him one of my days which is as a thousand years.


    It should also be noted that Jewish philosophers such as Philo stressed a "spiritual" or allegorical interpretation for scripture, rejected the idea of a literal 6 day creation.

    Among those who thought that the creation took place outside of time is Clement of Alexandria who, around 208 A.D., wrote in his Miscellanies:

    And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist? ... That, then, we may be taught that the world was originated, and not suppose that God made it in time, prophecy adds: ĎThis is the book of the generation: also of the things in them, when they were created in the day that God made heaven and earth.í For the expression Ďwhen they were createdí intimates an indefinite and dateless production.


    In his Stromata Clement also appears to further question the idea of a 24 hour day.

    One last view to consider is the one expressed by Augustine who didnít hold to six literal days because, influenced by the Apocryphal book Sirach (a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus) where it says at 18:1 "He who lives forever created all things at once," believed that everything was created simultaneously[4]. In De Genesi ad literam ("Literal Meaning of Genesis") he wrote:

    Thus, in all the days of creation there is one day, and it is not to be taken in the sense of our day, which we reckon by the course of the sun; but it must have another meaning, applicable to the three days mentioned before the creation of the heavenly bodies.


    He expanded upon this in De Civitate Dei ("City of God"), Book XI, Chapter 6 he wrote:

    But simultaneously with time the world was made, if in the world's creation change and motion were created, as seems evident from the order of the first six or seven days. For in these days the morning and evening are counted, until, on the sixth day, all things which God then made were finished, and on the seventh the rest of God was mysteriously and sublimely signalized. What kind of days these were it is extremely difficult, or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more to say!


    Also worth noting was that another supporter of the literal six day creation, Martin Luther, even lamented in his lectures on Genesis from 1535 that[5]:

    Hilary and Augustine, almost the two greatest lights of the church, hold that the world was created instantaneously and all at the same time, not successively in the course of six days.


    Also, Basil of Caesarea, who provides one of the most detailed expositions of the six days of creation to come down to us from the early church, was convinced that the world was created "in less than an instant."

    Further, as can be seen in his Hexameron while writing about the creation of plants, Basil wrote in the same work that:

    God did not command the earth immediately to give forth seed and fruit, but to produce germs, to grow green, and to arrive at maturity in the seed; so that this first command teaches nature what she has to do in the course of ages.


    This seems to suggest that he didn't believe that plants appeared in a single day.

    IIRC, Ambrose (c. 339-397) largely followed Basil but I'm not certain.

    At least in the Western or Latin Church it wasn't until the Venerable Bede (c. 673-735) that the trend in which commentators preferred to understand the six days to be real days took hold. While some commentators, such as John Scotus Erigena (c. 815-877), still followed Augustine's views, most followed Bede's approach, sometimes combining various elements from both views as in the case of Robert Grossteste (c. 1168-1253), who also emphasized the literary structure of Genesis 1 with three days of ordering and three days of parallel adornment. Yet according to The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Henry Snyder Geliman, 1970, p. 191 (in the entry on Creation):

    Before the Reformation, scholars were uncertain whether the days of Genesis 1 denote a succession of time or are merely the distribution into logical groups of things created by one divine fiat (Augustine, "De Civitate," xi. 6,7). During the next 300 years the narrative was understood to mean that God created the universe in one week of 7 consecutive days of 24 hours each.


    The take away point of all this is that there was far from any consensus concerning the nature of the days mentioned in the creation account of Genesis 1 among early Christians and moreover they showed not the slightest indication that such a disparity of views was troublesome or important.

    So while some YECs seem to think that if you don't think that the earth and surrounding universe are only a few thousand years old and that life cannot change and adapt over time (evolve) then you can't be a True Christian one should ask "Did Christ say that?" No he did not and I have yet to find anything in the Bible that even suggests such a thing. Moreover at no time or place have these beliefs been considered anywhere near to being essential to the Christian faith.

    It is not part of any creed nor has it even been discussed by a Council or Synod. And none of the great Reformed confessions make any comment on the matter of the nature of creation. Not the French Confession (1559), the Scots'Confession (1560), the Belgic Confession (1561), the Heidelberg Catechism (1563), the Second Helvetic Confession (1566), the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England (1563, 1571) or any of the others. They may stress the sovereign action of God in creating all things but the universal absence of any reference connected even remotely to the issue of the days of creation or the processes involved establishes that it was not a confessional issue in the slightest.

    And the reason that it wasn't a matter of definition is because it was not a matter of controversy or even a point for discussion, despite the varying views in exegetical history. As I've shown above there have always been wildly divergent views regarding this subject and not once has it been thought necessary to form a single orthodox view.

    The closest this ever even came to taking place was during the 1982 International Council on Biblical Inerrancy where the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was crafted by a group of largely very conservative evangelicals. There the father of the modern creationist movement, Henry Morris, sought to include a 144-hour creation as an essential component of a fundamentalist belief in inerrancy. It was rejected by every other member -- including by other YECs such as the co-author of the book with Morris that launched the modern YEC movement (John C. Whitcomb -- The Genesis Flood).

    By insisting that one must accept YEC dogma is shifting the foundation of our faith from Christ and onto the age of the earth... the foundation of my faith is built upon Christ and his finished work on the cross, not upon the age of the earth or whether life has evolved.

    Perhaps we should pay close attention to what Jesus Himself says about those who base their faith on something other than Him:

    "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." --Matthew 7:24-27

    Essentially what those who declare that believing YEC dogma is necessary are doing is adding to Scripture -- something we're repeatedly and explicitly told not to do (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; cf. Revelation 22:18-19) and by continuing to demand that one must also comply with YEC dogma such folks are putting "an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way" (Romans 14:13) as well as offering up what Paul denounced as being "another Gospel" (II Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8)















    1. Recently I read of someone declaring that in Justin Martyr's case he believed that Adam's thousand-year day was actually the first of seven that encompassed all of world history. But that would mean that if animals such as cattle and the like came about on the sixth day that would have been only a thousand years prior to Justin Martyr's time. I seriously doubt that he thought that the camels and other animals that Abraham had didn't exist yet. Or that Moses was a shepherd of non-existent animals while staying with his father-in-law while in exhile.

    2. James Mook, "The Church Fathers on Genesis, the Flood, and the Age of the Earth," in Terry Mortenson and Thane H. Ury (both employed by AnswersinGenesis (AiG) -- and hence YEC), eds., "Coming to Grips with Genesis"

    3. One source lists this as Jubilees 4:29-30 (HERE as well) whereas another says it was Jubilees 4:21

    4. Even AnswersinGenesis (AiG) admits that Augustine thought that everything was created simultaneously and not over the course of six literal 24 hour long days.

    And IIRC in his Confessiones ("Confessions") Augustine maintained that the seventh day of creation continues (it has no evening or morning because God sanctified it for everlasting continuance) giving yet another indication that he doesn't think hold that the "days" of creation were literal 24 hour long ones.

    5. In Summa Theologica Aquinas also recognized the difference of opinion among the early fathers for the proper interpretation of "days" in Genesis 1.
    Last edited by rogue06; 11-23-2018 at 01:44 PM.

    I'm always still in trouble again

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    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

  4. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  5. #14
    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    The week in Genesis is even directly compared to the Israelite work week in Exodus.
    I'll let the late noted Hebrew linguist, Gleason Archer, who served as a translator for the NASB and NIV, and has long been a steadfast champion of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy along with being co-author of the highly regarded Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explain:

    Moses never intended the creative days to be understood as a mere twenty-four hours in length, and the information he included in chapter 2 logically precludes us from doing so. It is only by a neglect of proper hermeneutical methods that this impression ever became prevalent among Godís people, during the post-biblical era. Entirely apart from any findings of modern science or challenges of contemporary scientism, the twenty-four hour theory was never correct and should never have been believed Ė except by those who are bent on proving the presence of genuine contradictions in Scripture.


    With specific regard to the God's Sabbath analogy in Exodus 20:10-11 he said

    By no means does this demonstrate that 24-hour intervals were involved in the first six 'days,' any more than the eight-day celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles proves that the wilderness wanderings under Moses occupied only eight days.


    Another excellent explanation is provided by fundamentalist Christian and President of Wheaton College J. Oliver Buswell:

    If we had no other example of Moses' language, this passage might be taken as evidence for a twenty-four hour creative day, but we have Scriptural evidence that Moses made a radical distinction between God's attitude toward time and the attitude of man. What Moses is saying, in the total Scriptural context, must be understood as teaching that man should observe a periodicity in the ratio of work to rest, of six days to one day, because God in the creation set an example of an analogous periodicity of six and one of his kind of days. Surely the fourth commandment gives no right to say that God's days always must be understood to be of the same length as man's days, when we have so much evidence to the contrary.


    I should also add that while most of the various English translations of Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth, the sea..." does make it sound as though God created everything within the confines of six calendar-days it needs to be understood that the preposition "in" does not appear in the original Hebrew. When the verse is properly translated (with "in" excluded), it becomes clear the creation "days" could have been long periods of time.

    As Hugh Ross has noted, the reference to the Sabbath in Exodus 20 appears to be more about the pattern of the "days" and not about their actual duration. What is being stressed seems to be the pattern of work and rest (a ratio of six to one) and not the length of the creation days.

    The very fact that in Leviticus 25:4 this pattern of work and rest is duplicated with six years of planting the land and one year of "Sabbath rest for the land" serves to reinforce the view that the analogy of our Sabbath to Godís Sabbath doesn't necessarily require that the creation "week" consisted of seven literal 24 hour long days.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

  6. Amen Jedidiah amen'd this post.
  7. #15
    tWebber Chrawnus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    At risk of being again labeled evil and blasphemous, I must disagree
    Unless I'm missing something here (and if so I'll blame it on not being a non-native speaker of English ) nothing of what you write below refutes Cerebrum's claim that the text has been understood to speak of literal days for thousands of years. He didn't say that it wasn't a contested view, he didn't say there weren't any other interpretations. In fact, he didn't even say that it was the most prominent interpretation. All he said was that it has been interpreted as meaning literal days for thousands of years.

    ETA: Just want to clarify something. I'm not saying that by not saying all of the above he therefore implied the opposite of what he didn't say.

    I think I just made myself confused.
    Last edited by Chrawnus; 11-23-2018 at 09:23 PM.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrawnus View Post
    Unless I'm missing something here (and if so I'll blame it on not being a non-native speaker of English ) nothing of what you write below refutes Cerebrum's claim that the text has been understood to speak of literal days for thousands of years. He didn't say that it wasn't a contested view, he didn't say there weren't any other interpretations. In fact, he didn't even say that it was the most prominent interpretation. All he said was that it has been interpreted as meaning literal days for thousands of years.

    ETA: Just want to clarify something. I'm not saying that by not saying all of the above he therefore implied the opposite of what he didn't say.

    I think I just made myself confused.
    No. You are correct.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization thatís not the argument." --Tassman

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