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RE: [biblicalapologetics] Re: 24 hour days and Genesis 1

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  • Ramon Abad
    I rejected Catholicism at a young age, and was an atheist, indeed a Christian basher for most of my adult life. A dozen years ago I was led to start reading
    Message 1 of 102 , Oct 7, 2004
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      I rejected Catholicism at a young age, and was an
      atheist, indeed a "Christian basher" for most of my
      adult life. A dozen years ago I was led to start
      reading the Bible, with the purpose of proving that
      someone took a verse out of context (1 Cor 11:14) in
      order to condemn me. I could not stop reading, and
      when I came upon Eph 6:12, I confessed to the Lord
      that indeed this (the Bible) was His word. I realized
      that I never truly read it. I look back at this now
      as the moment that He gave me faith, and the will to
      seek Him, His truth, out.

      At the time I had many "problems" with Scripture, but
      came to realize that every single one of them were
      only problems due to man's misinterpretations,
      mistranlations, or miscontextualizations (if that is
      even a word).

      One of those problems was the young age of the earth.

      This was resolved FOR ME, by the note in the Companion
      Bible (which was sent to me by an Internet brother as
      a gift) on Gen 1:2:

      Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and
      darkness was upon the face of the deep.

      Note: ...was = "became". See Gen 2.7; 4.3; 9.15;
      19.26. Ex 32.1...etc. Also rendered "came to pass",
      Gen 4.14; 22.1; 23.1;...etc...without form = "waste".
      Heb. "tohu va bohu". Fig. "Paranomasia"...Not created
      "tohu" (Isa. 45:18) but became "tohu" (Gen 1:2, 2 Pet
      3:5,6) "An enemy hath done this" (Matt 13:25, 28, 39.
      Cp. 1 Cor 14:33).

      Without going into a long detailed exposition, I
      conclude that God did not create the Earth as waste,
      but it became this way. The implication is a gap
      between Gen 1:1 & 1:2, which allows for the
      possibility (IMHO, probability) of the various ages
      which geologists, archaeologists, etc. hold on to.

      Once I came to this conclusion, I moved on. It is not
      to say that I criticize, much less condemn, those who
      feel the need to argue and counter-argue their own
      positions on the matter. I believe that this is one
      of many issues wherein true believers may have
      differring opinions, yet not to the point of their own
      destruction, i.e., without crossing over into the
      realm of heresy. As for the issue of risking being
      the cause of the heathen to blaspheme God's name
      (because of these arguments), I only have to look at
      how the Lord graciously "zapped" me, to see that He
      will do to His what He wills, how He wills, and when
      He wills.

      Blesings to all,


      --- Jeff Koenig <jkoenig@...> wrote:

      > I don't think there is a significant gap in time
      > between the creation of
      > the universe in v. 1, and the creation of light in
      > v. 3. (I view v. 2
      > and stating the condition of the world at the time
      > god created the
      > light.) in fact, I take the creation of the
      > universe, the earth, the
      > waters, and the "Let there be light" all to have
      > happened on the first
      > 24-hour day.

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    • Jeff Koenig
      Jer. 31:35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so
      Message 102 of 102 , Nov 1, 2004
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        Jer. 31:35 Thus says the LORD, Who gives the sun for light by day, And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The LORD of hosts is His name: 36 "If this fixed order departs From before Me," declares the LORD, "Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease From being a nation before Me forever."

        Jer. 33: 20 "Thus says the LORD, 'If you can break My covenant for the day, and My covenant for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time,

        21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers.

        22 'As the host of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.'"

        23 And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,

        24 "Have you not observed what this people have spoken, saying, 'The two families which the LORD chose, He has rejected them'? Thus they despise My people, no longer are they as a nation in their sight.

        25 "Thus says the LORD, 'If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established,

        26 then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.'"


        I think these verses 31:35-36, 33:25 should be read together and with Gen 1. 


        In v. 25, I think the "covenant" for day and night refers to God's decree re the continuial day/night cycle.  It is a fixed pattern.  I'm not certain exactly what the "fixed patterns of heaven and earth" means.  I'm not convinced it refers to the laws of nature in general.  It could simply be restating the first part of the verse, without much change in meaning.  If so, then the day/night cycle is the same as the fixed pattern of heaven and earth (sun rising/day, moon and stars rising/night).  The point is that this order is fixed, the cycle and pattern continues unchanged by God's decree.  So He is saying, in effect, if the fixed day-night cycle/pattern should cease, then I would reject Israel, but it won't cease and so I won't reject Israel.

        The reference in jer. 31 is similar.  He gave the sun for light by day, the "fixed order" of the moon and the stars by night.  He causes the sun to rise, giving light in the day, and at night he governs the rising and setting of the moon and the stars.  If this "fixed order" should end, then Israel will cease to exist as a nation, but it  won't cease, and so Israel will continue to exist.


        I checked the hebrew word translated fixed pattern/order.  it is


        hQ'xu (chuqqah) (349d)


        something prescribed, an enactment, statute


        fem. of 2706


        appointed(1), customs(5), due(1), fixed order(m)(1), fixed patterns(m)(1), ordinance(5), ordinances(1), statute(25), statutes(62), statutory(2).

        In mosty cases, it just refers to God's revealed statutes/ordinances.  In only a few cases does it refer to fixed patterns/order.  The usages in Jer. 38:33 and Jer. 5:24 are the only ones close to this.

        The word translated "by day" or "for the day" or "for day" is (yomam), which is close to yom/day in Gen.1.


        you say "its pretty hard to reason from Scriptures, and everything else
        God designed, and conclude that day cant e interpreted as day in
        Genesis 1."

        This is garbled ("e" means "be" I presume), but you seem to be agreeing with me that day in Gen. 1 can mean a 24-hour day.  Others are contending that they can't, in part, because the stars were created on day 4, and it would take long ages for the light from them to reach earth to serve any purpose there.  They are saying that "laws" of nature preclude such an order to the creation.  I'm only arguing that whatever the current "fixed" laws of nature may be should not be viewed as a constraint on God's initial creative activities, which established those laws and the rest of the universe.  If the bible indicates that God created the world in six days, and the stars on the fourth, and implies that the stars were shining in the sky soon after, then I think he could have done it, regardless of the current fixed pattern of nature.

        The "light in transit" idea is just that if the stars were created on day four, and visible immediately, then perhaps God created the light from the stars, streaming to earth (photons, whatever) at the same time, so that the stars appeared in the sky immediately, rather than there having to be a long delay till the light reached the earth.  Some have said it would be deceptive for God to have done that, since it would give people the misimpression that the light actually travelled from the stars over millions of years, and that the stars were at least that old, when in fact the light was created at the same time as the stars, and the stars aren't that old.

        You say we know pretty well that light and matter were created at the same time, presumably as part of the big bang theory.  But I'm not sure that is consistent with gen 1, which speaks of the creation of the universe in vs. 1, including the earth and waters on the surface of the earth (v. 2), and "then" (after some short time) God created light (v. 3).  I'm not certain that the stuff created in v. 1 included light, which according to v. 3 was added to the initial creation (part of a six day process of filling the empty world and fitting for habitation by man). 

        I'm just arguing that creation in six literal days, with stars being created on the fourth day, is possible.  You advert to things we know about relativity and galaxies, etc., to suggest something is impossible.  Again, I don't see why the current fixed patterns would limit God's mode of acting in the initial creation.  In any event, I was only suggesting a list of possible explanations, not asserting that they would be in perfect accord with the current patterns of nature. 

        I've also floated another possibility, that the stars were created on day one, not day four, and that on day four God just caused them to start functioning in a certain way (for signs).  This is Sailhamer's interpretation:

        The second step is a consideration of the syntax of v.14 (see Notes). When the syntax of v.14 is compared to that of the creation of the expanse in v.6, the two verses have a quite different sense. The syntax of v.6 suggests that when God said, "Let there be an expanse," he was, in fact, creating an expanse where there was none previously ("creation out of nothing"). So clearly the author intended to say that God created the expanse on the first day. In v.14, however, the syntax is different, though the translations are often similar in English. In v.14 God does not say, "Let there be lights … to separate," as if there were no lights before this command and afterward the lights were created. Rather the Hebrew text reads, "And God said, "Let the lights in the expanse of the sky separate.'" In other words, unlike the syntax of v.6, in v.14 God's command assumes that the lights were already in the expanse and that in response to his command they were given a purpose, "to separate the day from the night" and "to mark seasons and days and years." If the difference between the syntax of v.6 (the use of hayah alone) and v.14 (hayah + l infinitive; cf. GKC, 114h) is significant, then it suggests that the author did not understand his account of the fourth day as an account of the creation of the lights; but, on the contrary, the narrative assumes that the heavenly lights have been created already "in the beginning."

        If that is correct, then there is no problem to solve about the time it would have taken light to travel to earth on day four.  But, it might just push the problem back to the first day.

        I don't know enough about thorium in the stars to tell whether that means the starts are a certain age.  I don't consider scientific interpretation of data to be on a par with Scripture.  The interpretation of such data, and speculation about how old stars are based on such interpretation, could be wrong.  I think the bible is clear that the universe was created in six days, and that it was not billions of years ago.  The data you refer to is not a message written in a foreign language.  It is not a revelation from God saying, e.g., "this start is 14 billion years old."  It is just data, to be interpreted, correctly or not.  I'm not going to accept such interpretations when they contradict what appears to be the clear teaching of scripture.  The evidence is not unequivocal for an old universe.  There is other contrary evidence.  For me, the issue comes down to interpretation of the bible, not scientific evidence.  Assuming the thorium data you refer to correct, the interpretation could be wrong.  That would not be God deceiving us (making us think the universe is older than it really is); it would just be a misinterpretation of data.


        -----Original Message-----
        From: astrophysicsbaybee [mailto:LithiumH2O@...]
        Sent: Saturday, October 30, 2004 10:22 AM
        To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Starlight Travel Time. Was: Genesis genealogies, old-earth creationism, and the Big Debate

        I felt I must share.

             The "fixed patterns" in Jeremiah 33:25 is what it says it is,
        the fixed patterns. The modern laws of nature that are expressed in
        mathematical form is what has been developed by scientists to explain
        those fixed patterns. The law of gravitation (i should call it theory
        but eh) applied to stars and other such things describe, to a great
        degree of accuracy, whats going on up there. Im actually convinced
        that these "fixed patterns" set up by God are described by the laws
        of nature that weve developed over the past few hundred years.
             In that same verse you mentioned the day and night bit might
        hint at solar/lunar cycles, or other things. I think it might refer
        to the idea of day and night, like 24 hours. The reason i think so is
        because (to me at least) it seems like God is pointing out obvious
        things. "If day and night isnt the way i set it up to be, and I wasnt
        the One who set up the universe the way it is, ... then i would
        reject so and so" (paraphrased of course). I did a word study to make
        sure what im saying is what im saying. The definition for the word
        day here is different than the definition for day in Gen. 1. That
        should be verified though.

             Neither Genesis, nor Jeremiah give a time when the laws of
        nature are set into motion (unless im missing something). I strongly
        believe God left that to the scientist to have fun with. Now, our
        primary responsibilty is to uphold Gods word (mainly Gospel), but
        when God leaves details out of His word, i believe its fair to start
        reasoning apart from Scripture (since it chooses to remain silent)
        that God designed things a certain way based on the huge clues he
        left us with (the heavens and the earth). We dont exactly know HOW
        God designed the universe when we look at Genesis 1 (mechanism), but
        when we begin to search the heavens and the earth, we realize that
        things are different than we may have interpretted, and this causes
        people discomfort. People keep mentioning that the laws of nature
        that scientists come up with tie down the hands of God. Why would
        anyone think that? They merely explain how wonderfully Gods hands
        moved about the universe, at least thats the way i see it.
             Given more research (theological and scientific) and given more
        time, we might find out what the universe was like. But from the
        looks of things right now, from how accurate our models say they are,
        and how beautifully they predict the way nature is behaving (thus
        far), its pretty hard to reason from Scriptures, and everything else
        God designed, and conclude that day cant e interpreted as day in
        Genesis 1.

        Jeff, you said:

             "The problem is creation of stars so far away that light from
        them would not reach the earth for a long time, when the text
        suggests that the light from them was available right them.  There
        are multiple possible explanations, creation of the light in transit,
        stretching of the distance between the stars and earth after they
        were created, a miracle, etc"
             When we have theories that are so well verified, why speculate
        and assume creation of light in transit and other such things? What
        does that even mean? We know (pretty confidently) that light and
        matter were created together, and that matter decayed into light
        (actually just in the nick of time to have us here, or else the
        universe would be too cool for us to exist). And the stretching of
        space between stars and earth is described by cosmology so well, its
        the reason why light from stars "red-shift" when they get to us
        (verified by relativity theory). If the universe expanded so fast so
        as to prevent light from reaching us, that would mean one of two
        things (maybe more), but neither is good: 1) the universe (and
        everything but the Solar System) expanded at or near the speed of
        light (direct violation of almost everything we know about
        relativity, galaxies, stars, you name it) 2) there would be far too
        great an enegry density in the universe, and wed be torn apart by now
        (i think its called the Big Chill followed by the Big Rip, not
        entirely precise). (I really hope someone is verifying what im
        saying, not that i think im wrong in what im saying, but just
        because). Possibility 1 isnt true because there are stars nearby,
        theres matter nearby, etc..., and possibility 2 is obviously not the

        You also said:

             "Maybe if there were a tag in the sky that said "all this stuff
        is billions of years old" when in fact it was created in six days, we
        could say God was deceiving people.  But there is no such tag."

             This might seem funny but i beg to differ. That tag you speak
        of, its there. Its called radioactive thorium and its located in
        stars. Its date is written in the tag, its just in a different
        language. I believe it was this year January (i dont know for sure)
        that astronomers dated some high red-shift pulsars (really old,
        really far away stars) with thorium (which is found to be more
        accurate than dating with uranium) and the age of the stars turned
        out to be on the order of 10 billion years old (if memory serves me
        well). Now is that God having a sense of humor or what? God would not
        deceive us. And like i said earlier, if God doesnt explicitly tell us
        what happened (processes), i think were free to reason and decipher
        that language that stars speak in. Sound fair?


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