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Some fundamentalists claim that creationism rather than evolution explains pre-human history. They assert that all physical creation was produced in just six days of 24 hours each sometime between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago. But in doing so, they promote an unscriptural teaching that has caused many to ridicule the Bible.
Is a day in the Bible always literally 24 hours in length? Genesis 2:4 speaks of "the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven." This one day encompasses all six of the creative days of Genesis chapter 1. According to Bible usage, a day is a measured period of time and can be a thousand years or many thousands of years. The Bible's creative days allow for thousands of years of time each. Further, the earth was already in existence before the creative days began. (Genesis 1:1) On this point, therefore, the Bible account is compatible with true science.—2 Peter 3:8.
Commenting on claims that the creative days were only 24 literal hours in length, molecular biologist Francis Collins remarks: "Creationism has done more harm to serious notions of belief than anything in modern history."
Gerald Schroeder, a former professor of nuclear physics, writes: “ The Bible relates in thirty-one verses, in a few hundred words, events spanning sixteen billion years. These are events about which scientists have written literally millions of words. The entire development of animal life is summarized in eight biblical sentences. Considering the brevity of the biblical narrative, the match between the statements and timing in Genesis 1 and the discoveries of modern science is phenomenal, especially when we realize that all biblical interpretation used here was recorded centuries, even millennia, in the past and so was not in any way influenced by the discoveries of modern science. It is modern science that has come to match the biblical account of our genesis.
On this point, therefore, the Bible account is compatible with true science.
Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
Why to literalists say that "a day is 24 hours"?
Originally posted by Good Wolf
[To be fair to the creationists, a day = 24hours,
Originally posted by dr_strangecraft
In English, not in Hebrew. that was my point. The word translated "day" is also used for other periods of time, and points of time. Varying from 24 hours, to a week, to years, to a continuous stretch of time (eternity).
To be fair to the creationists, they are reading content INTO the text, not deriving their theology from it.
Originally posted by panda319
the Bible directly disagrees by saying the Earth is 6,000-10,000 years old.
Originally posted by nj2day
Nice! this thread is apologetics at its best!
Change the meaning of the text to justify your positions!
What Does Genesis Say?
AS WITH other things that are misrepresented or misunderstood, the first chapter of the Bible deserves at least a fair hearing. The need is to investigate and determine whether it harmonizes with known facts, not to mold it to fit some theoretical framework. Also to be remembered, the Genesis account was not written to show the “how” of creation. Rather, it covers major events in a progressive way, describing what things were formed, the order in which they were formed and the time interval, or “day,” in which each first appeared.
2 When examining the Genesis account, it is helpful to keep in mind that it approaches matters from the standpoint of people on earth. So it describes events as they would have been seen by human observers had they been present. This can be noted from its treatment of events on the fourth Genesis “day.” There the sun and moon are described as great luminaries in comparison to the stars. Yet many stars are far greater than our sun, and the moon is insignificant in comparison to them. But not to an earthly observer. So, as seen from the earth, the sun appears to be a ‘greater light that rules the day’ and the moon a ‘lesser light that dominates the night.’—Genesis 1:14-18.
3 The first part of Genesis indicates that the earth could have existed for billions of years before the first Genesis “day,” though it does not say for how long. However, it does describe what earth’s condition was just before that first “day” began: “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep; and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.”—Genesis 1:2.
How Long Is a Genesis “Day”?
4 Many consider the word “day” used in Genesis chapter 1 to mean 24 hours. However, in Genesis 1:5 God himself is said to divide day into a smaller period of time, calling just the light portion “day.” In Genesis 2:4 all the creative periods are called one “day”: “This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day [all six creative periods] that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.”
5 The Hebrew word yohm, translated “day,” can mean different lengths of time. Among the meanings possible, William Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies includes the following: “A day; it is frequently put for time in general, or for a long time; a whole period under consideration . . . Day is also put for a particular season or time when any extraordinary event happens.”1 This last sentence appears to fit the creative “days,” for certainly they were periods when extraordinary events were described as happening. It also allows for periods much longer than 24 hours.
6 Genesis chapter 1 uses the expressions “evening” and “morning” relative to the creative periods. Does this not indicate that they were 24 hours long? Not necessarily. In some places people often refer to a man’s lifetime as his “day.” They speak of “my father’s day” or “in Shakespeare’s day.” They may divide up that lifetime “day,” saying “in the morning [or dawn] of his life” or “in the evening [or twilight] of his life.” So ‘evening and morning’ in Genesis chapter 1 does not limit the meaning to a literal 24 hours.
7 “Day” as used in the Bible can include summer and winter, the passing of seasons. (Zechariah 14:8) “The day of harvest” involves many days. (Compare Proverbs 25:13 and Genesis 30:14.) A thousand years are likened to a day. (Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8, 10) “Judgment Day” covers many years. (Matthew 10:15; 11:22-24) It would seem reasonable that the “days” of Genesis could likewise have embraced long periods of time—millenniums. What, then, took place during those creative eras? Is the Bible’s account of them scientific? Following is a review of these “days” as expressed in Genesis.
[edit on 20-11-2008 by miriam0566]
8 “‘Let light come to be.’ Then there came to be light. And God began calling the light Day, but the darkness he called Night. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a first day.”—Genesis 1:3, 5.
9 Of course the sun and moon were in outer space long before this first “day,” but their light did not reach the surface of the earth for an earthly observer to see. Now, light evidently came to be visible on earth on this first “day,” and the rotating earth began to have alternating days and nights.
10 Apparently, the light came in a gradual process, extending over a long period of time, not instantaneously as when you turn on an electric light bulb. The Genesis rendering by translator J. W. Watts reflects this when it says: “And gradually light came into existence.” (A Distinctive Translation of Genesis) This light was from the sun, but the sun itself could not be seen through the overcast. Hence, the light that reached earth was “light diffused,” as indicated by a comment about verse 3 in Rotherham’s Emphasised Bible.—See footnote b for verse 14.
11 “‘Let an expanse come to be in between the waters and let a dividing occur between the waters and the waters.’ Then God proceeded to make the expanse and to make a division between the waters that should be beneath the expanse and the waters that should be above the expanse. And it came to be so. And God began to call the expanse Heaven.”—Genesis 1:6-8.
12 Some translations use the word “firmament” instead of “expanse.” From this the argument is made that the Genesis account borrowed from creation myths that represent this “firmament” as a metal dome. But even the King James Version Bible, which uses “firmament,” says in the margin, “expansion.” This is because the Hebrew word ra·qi′a‛, translated “expanse,” means to stretch out or spread out or expand.
13 The Genesis account says that God did it, but it does not say how. In whatever way the described separation occurred, it would look as though the ‘waters above’ had been pushed up from the earth. And birds could later be said to fly in “the expanse of the heavens,” as stated at Genesis 1:20.
14 “‘Let the waters under the heavens be brought together into one place and let the dry land appear.’ And it came to be so. And God began calling the dry land Earth, but the bringing together of the waters he called Seas.” (Genesis 1:9, 10) As usual, the account does not describe how this was done. No doubt, tremendous earth movements would have been involved in the formation of land areas. Geologists would explain such major upheavals as catastrophism. But Genesis indicates direction and control by a Creator.
15 In the Biblical account where God is described as questioning Job about his knowledge of the earth, a variety of developments concerning earth’s history are described: its measurements, its cloud masses, its seas and how their waves were limited by dry land—many things in general about the creation, spanning long periods of time. Among these things, comparing earth to a building, the Bible says that God asked Job: “Into what have its socket pedestals been sunk down, or who laid its cornerstone?”—Job 38:6.
16 Interestingly, like “socket pedestals,” earth’s crust is much thicker under continents and even more so under mountain ranges, pushing deep into the underlying mantle, like tree roots into soil. “The idea that mountains and continents had roots has been tested over and over again, and shown to be valid,” says Putnam’s Geology.2 Oceanic crust is only about 5 miles thick, but continental roots go down about 20 miles and mountain roots penetrate about twice that far. And all earth’s layers press inward upon earth’s core from all directions, making it like a great “cornerstone” of support.
17 Whatever means were used to accomplish the raising up of dry land, the important point is: Both the Bible and science recognize it as one of the stages in the forming of the earth.
Land Plants on Third “Day”
18 The Bible account adds: “‘Let the earth cause grass to shoot forth, vegetation bearing seed, fruit trees yielding fruit according to their kinds, the seed of which is in it, upon the earth.’ And it came to be so.”—Genesis 1:11.
19 Thus by the close of this third creative period, three broad categories of land plants had been created. The diffused light would have become quite strong by then, ample for the process of photosynthesis so vital to green plants. Incidentally, the account here does not mention every “kind” of plant that came on the scene. Microscopic organisms, water plants and others are not specifically named, but likely were created on this “day.”