THE SPIRIT’S SWORD

published by

Mt. Baker church of Christ

1860 Mt. Baker Hwy Bellingham, WA 98226

Volume IV, Number 31 October 8, 2000

Editor..................Joe R. Price


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 In this issue:


Part III

IS HOW ONE VIEWS THE "DAYS OF GENESIS ONE" OF LITTLE OR NO IMPORTANCE?

Joe R. Price

 

[I urge you to read the last two bulletins (Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, 2000) for Parts I and II of this material. What follows is a continuation of my reply to the letter contained in the Sept. 24th bulletin. -JRP]

_______, you should be advised that such men as Augustine, Origen, Basil and Thomas Aquinas were the products of apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1-3), not the pure gospel of Christ. Augustine's 4th & 5th century theology is the foundation of modern-day Calvinism. Basil, "As bishop of Caesarea, (Basil) was metropolitan (ecclesiastical primate of a province) of Cappadocia, and his own diocese covered the great estates of eastern Cappadocia, where he was assisted by a number of "country bishops" (chorepiscopi)." (Britannica.com) Clearly, Basil was involved in and the product of the corruption of church government (Acts 14:23). Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Roman Catholic theologian. Christians? Not according to the New Testament definition (Acts 11:26).

I'm sure you know that we can find just about any view by any commentator somewhere throughout human history, and for a wide variety of reasons. That does not overly impress us, because we understand that all things must be tested against what the Bible says. Please let me caution you not to indiscriminately accept the claims and conclusions of commentators. Test what they say against others, and most importantly, against what the Bible says (1 Jno. 4:1, 6; Gal. 1:6-10).

As for the 24-hour length of day in Genesis 1, I refer you back to brother Dan King's material:

"Most words in any language have a somewhat flexible range of meanings, and their meaning is not determined by a lexicon so much as by the context. In Gen. 1 and 2 the word "day" (yom) has a similar range of meaning as does the English word. One may, for example, speak of "George Washington's day" as an indefinite period of time (the context makes this clear), and this is how the word "day" is used in Gen. 2:4. But if a physician prescribes medicine that is to be taken at one dosage the first day, at a reduced dosage the second day, and so on, something quite definite is meant by his language. The context of the term leaves nothing to the imagination and little room for interpretation. "Day" is clearly used in this latter way in Gen. 1:23. The other usages in this same chapter being of the same type and utilizing the same descriptive, "there was evening and morning, a first day," and so on, it is natural for the reader to imply that the same thing is meant in each and every instance. And it is very unnatural, if not ridiculous, to infer the existence of millions or billions of years either during the days or between the days of Genesis 1.

Whichever is the choice of the "interpreter," it is plain from a simple reading of the chapter that these long periods of time are being read into the text and not out of it! One could never find these extensive periods in Genesis the first chapter without first believing this notion that the universe is billions of years old and then inserting them between the verses--not because they are there, but because they must be placed there in order to fit one's preconceptions. The word yom in the Bible, and its plural form yamim, in approximately 95% of its occurrences has the ordinary literal meaning. Passages such as Psa. 90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8 are not meant to interpret Genesis 1 and 2. Their purpose and the occasion of their usage is to show God's eternity, not to offer a new way of viewing the creation week. In fact, they have no connection at all with the creation story. With the word yom, always it is the context and the clues provided in the context that determines its meaning. In the case of Genesis 1, we are left with no doubt whatever as to the signification of the word. It means exactly what it says! It represents a normal, average, ordinary, 24 hour day--except that some very extraordinary things happened on those days!" ("The Biblical Account of Creation - Genesis 1-2: Being Fair with the Text," Daniel H. King, Sr., Watchman Magazine, April, 1999) - www.watchmanmag.com/0204/020415.htm

Neither one of us are Hebrew scholars. Whatever we learn about the Hebrew language will be, in part, based upon the credibility we attach to those who have studied and do understand the language. I have no reason to dispute the credibility and studied conclusions of a brother in Christ who has given years and years to the study of the Hebrew language and the OT Hebrew text, who has a grounded respect for the inspiration of the Bible, and who understands and is committed to "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). I see no reason to reject brother King's treatment of the meaning of "yom" in Genesis 1 and elsewhere in the Bible.

Yes, Genesis was written following the Hebrew slavery in Egypt, and after God had powerfully shown that He is the true God and the Egyptian gods are no gods at all. The 10 plagues forever destroyed any legitimacy of the pagan idols of Egypt. By them, God executed His judgments against the gods of Egypt (Exo. 12:12; Num. 33:4). Do you mean to suggest that without Genesis the Hebrew people would not have recognized this truth? (cf. Psa. 105:26-38)

The simple fact is that this explanation for the writing of Genesis is purely speculation without profit, and we are warned against such (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 2:23). Yes, Genesis shows the power of the true God over every false deity, including the Egyptian deities. So, what does that have to do with re-defining "day" in Genesis 1? Nothing. Do not be distracted from the truth stated in God's word by the suppositions of men which are falsely called knowledge. (1 Tim. 6:20-21)

As brother King wrote regarding "yom", "The word never described long eons of time in any instance in the Old Testament, and the cases where it is claimed to have meant this (in Genesis 1) are bounded by very conspicuous contextual limitations ("evening and morning")." (brother Dan King's article in Watchman Magazine, cited above)

"Evening and morning" being used before the sun and moon were created (not "supposedly", as you say. _______, do you believe Gen. 1:14-19?) does not present confusion. Although it was the 4th day before God made specific objects of light (sun and moon), the text says he made "light" and divided it from "darkness" on day 1 (1:4-5). Who says that the sun and moon are the only sources of light available to our God?! Be careful and do not assume into the text what is not there -- but be careful to accept everything that is there!

The "evenings and mornings" of Daniel 8:26 is not difficult to understand, nor does it keep us from understanding "day" in Genesis 1 as a 24-hour period. Daniel 8:26 simply says there would be many "evenings and mornings" (days) in the fulfillment of this vision. Specifically, it refers back to Daniel 8:14: there would be 2,300 "evenings and mornings"!! In Daniel 8:26, the "evenings and mornings" are taken as a whole as God's messenger announces its fulfillment. So the phrase in Dan. 8:26 refers to "many days in the future." It has nothing to do with Genesis 1, which still says there were six "evenings and mornings."

I refer you again to brother King's point:

"Most words in any language have a somewhat flexible range of meanings, and their meaning is not determined by a lexicon so much as by the context. In Gen. 1 and 2 the word "day" (yom) has a similar range of meaning as does the English word. One may, for example, speak of "George Washington's day" as an indefinite period of time (the context makes this clear), and this is how the word "day" is used in Gen. 2:4. But if a physician prescribes medicine that is to be taken at one dosage the first day, at a reduced dosage the second day, and so on, something quite definite is meant by his language. The context of the term leaves nothing to the imagination and little room for interpretation. "Day" is clearly used in this latter way in Gen. 1:23. The other usages in this same chapter being of the same type and utilizing the same descriptive, "there was evening and morning, a first day," and so on, it is natural for the reader to imply that the same thing is meant in each and every instance. And it is very unnatural, if not ridiculous, to infer the existence of millions or billions of years either during the days or between the days of Genesis 1. Whichever is the choice of the "interpreter," it is plain from a simple reading of the chapter that these long periods of time are being read into the text and not out of it!

The fact that symmetry is seen in God's record of creation (Gen. 1) is not at all surprising, nor does it force us to conclude that it is not an historical record of literal (as opposed to poetic, symbolic) events. We would expect the creative work of a God of order to contain indications of that orderliness. Architects and builders show evidence of order and complimentary work on their building projects. There is no reason to expect something different from the Grand Designer of the Universe! And, we would do well to remember that much poetry is not at all symmetrical, but that does not disqualify it from being poetry. Likewise, even if the structure of the creation in Genesis 1 was different it would not make it any less than what it is, an inspired record of the creative work of God.

The assumption in this line of reasoning is that "God created the world in 6 "yoms" (periods of time),..." That has not in any way been proved by the words, context or structure of Genesis 1.

You are correct in saying, " Analogies between two things do not corrolate on every level, only on the level they were intended to correlate in the example." Now, let's see what the stated correlation is between the six days of the Hebrew work week and the six days of creation: is it only numeral "six", or does it also include the "days" of the week?

We both agree that "days" are central to the analogy. Therefore, their length is indeed a part of the analogy.

Now, let's read the text, first, Exodus 20:8-11:

8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work:

10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.

11 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.

Which week is under primary discussion here? It is the Hebrew work week, and especially the Sabbath day (7th day). The analogy is this: Moses takes the Hebrew week (6 days of work and one day of rest), and corresponds it to the week of creation (6 days of work and one day of rest). The days of the Hebrews work week, without question, were 24 hour periods. So also, then, the 6 days of creation (Gen. 1). The Sabbath day was also a 24 hour period. So also, then, the day on which God rested from His work of creation (Gen. 2:2).

Now look at Exodus 20:11: "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth...rested the seventh day." Six (v. 11) corresponds to six (v. 9); Lord (v. 11) corresponds to Lord (v. 10); seventh day (v. 11 - 24 hour day) corresponds to seventh day (v. 10, 24 hour Sabbath day - v. 9) -- yet we are to believe that "day" (v. 11 - 24 hour period) does not correspond to "day" (24 hour period) in verse 9! _______, it is the very length of the Hebrew week, 6 days of work followed by one day of rest which corresponds to the 6 days (not "ages") of God's work which was followed by one day (not "age") of rest!

I fear someone is trying very hard to disprove what the Bible plainly says, and you have been influenced by that effort!

(continued next week)


SENTENCE SERMONS

 

An upright man can never be a downright failure.

To be sure of the crown, we must not become weary of the cross.

To be safe in following our conscience, we must allow God's word to guide it.

Man did not come from the monkey, but man people have gone to the dogs.

The world is too "churchy" (too many churches) and the church is too worldly.

-THE INSTRUCTOR, April 2000


 The Spirit's Sword is a weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA

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