This is the second part of this series of articles, which looks at the strengths of interpreting the word “day” in Genesis chapter 1 as a normal lunar day. The fourth and final article answers objections to this normal reading of the text. All four parts are numbered consecutively.
5 Genesis 1 pattern: the first day is called “one day” (“day one”); the others say “first day,” “second day,” and day two through five also lack a definite article; then days six and seven have an article before the numbers. Consequently chapter 1 reads like this: day one, a second day, a third day, a fourth day, a fifth day, the sixth day, and the seventh day.
A This pattern allowed the text to define the meaning of “day” in this context (verse 5). “But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days.”
B The normal meaning of the passage, without the intrusion of evolutionary postulates and necessities, lends itself to being read as normal day; hence, it is not the language employed or context that precludes these from being normal days but rather, it seems a prior commitment to the sufficiency of the theory of macroevolution and/or science of the day.
6 Yôm appears 2300 times in the Old Testament, 1450 in the singular, 845 in the plural and five in the dual form (two days). The normal way it is used is to mean a normal 24 hour day or a part of a normal day; thus, it seems quite clear that one should at least be inclined to use it in its normal way unless the biblical context is preclusive of such an understanding, which Genesis is not.
7 Context should determine the meaning of a word rather than superimposing an exceptional meaning, or defining it by what the word can or does mean at times in different contexts. D.A. Carson refers to the fallacy of interpreting according to the full semantic range of a word rather than the immediate context. He says, of the “unwarranted adoption of an expanded semantic field [that] the fallacy in this instance lies in the supposition that the meaning of a word in a specific context is much broader than the context itself allows.” This seems to be precisely what those who seek to find evolution in the passage do.
8 Days, yamim, the plural of days with a number in front of it, always means normal days. This is the word translated “days” in Exodus 20:8-11, which refers directly to the creation week.
9 The fourth commandment for keeping the Sabbath only makes sense if they were normal days, Exodus 20:8-11. The six days of work for man and the seventh for rest is based upon the fact that God created in six days and rested on the seventh; thus, establishing the work week for man based upon the week of creation. In addition, the plural for “days” of God’s creation week is the same as for man’s work week.
10 The repeated phrase “God said” conveys majestic instantaneous creative power beyond anything humans can either imitate or imagine, and this understanding is repeated throughout the Scripture (Nehemiah 9:6; Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:16). To read into that phrase the requirement of billions of years of time in order to stir the primordial soup long enough to produce an amoeba is a convolutional explanation that actually strips Genesis 1 of its majesty. It seems to me that the only thing more ridiculous than assuming that to be the teaching of Genesis 1 is to think anyone would ever reach that interpretation by the text alone; or to put it another way, if Darwinism was not the scientific paradigm of the day, would anyone seeking to be faithful to the Scripture be able to find evolution in Genesis 1?
11 Genesis 1:14 gives the normal time measurement units still in use today; further, it clearly distinguishes between a regular day, periods of months (seasons), and years. I am amazed how some take the clear wording of God creating in “days” and turn it into years, when the text clearly distinguishes years from days; further, some who do this are also, and not unexpectedly, uncomfortable with the longevity of life spoken about in the genealogies (Genesis 5 for example) and therefore, seek to make the years non-years.
12 In evolution, death is not only an essential but it is actually wonderful because survival is the result of natural selection, which takes place through the elimination of the weak; consequently, evolution is a theory of progress via pain, brutality, destruction, and death of the weakest members.
However, in the creation account, creation precedes death and is in no way dependent upon death. In Scripture death is the extraordinary and ghastly horror that resulted from man’s rebellion against God; further, day-age theorists must place death before the fall of man, thereby turning the biblical text upon its head, and making God proclaim death to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
Dr. Werner Gitt notes four basic tenets of evolution concerning death that make it irreconcilable with the creation account in Genesis: “1. Death is an essential prerequisite for evolution; 2. Death is an invention of evolution; 3. Death is the creator of life; 4. Death is the final and absolute termination of life.”
Of course Scripture is clear that death is neither from God nor evolution, but is the product of the man’s misuse of his freedom, which is sin, and sin is the progenitor of death (Genesis 2:17, 3:17-19; Romans 3:23, 5:12, 6:23); further, according to the clear and consistent declaration of Scripture, death is something to be delivered from by faith in Christ (John 5:24), the last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26,55), something that caused Jesus to weep (John 11:35), a penalty for further sin (Exodus 21:12ff), and something that will be conquered in the resurrection (Luke 20:34-46); further, death is not the absolute termination of human life (John 14:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15); moreover, God is not the God of the dead or death (Luke 20:38), and death will be totally eradicated in the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:4).
13 Do those who view Genesis as describing an evolutionary process with death, eating flesh, etc., believe that is what God will restore when He restores all things (Acts 3:21-22; Romans 8:20-22)?
God remarked after describing phases of His creation, “it was good” in verses 10,12, 18, 21, and 25, and He said concerning “all” that He had made “it was very good” verse 31. Now, according to the day-age theorists, this is a description of creation that happened according to the evolutionary process of which survival of the fittest and elimination of the weakest through death is an essential element; therefore, if they are correct, God is calling death “very good.” If death is “very good,” then why was it a consequence for sin in Chapter 3, and considered an enemy that Christ had to destroy (1 Corinthians 15:26,55)?