Dangers of Rejecting the 24-Hour Days of Creation
Dangers of Rejecting the 24-Hour Days of Creation
If God cannot be understood in the straightforward, unambiguous narrative of Genesis 1, why should we believe His straightforward, unambiguous teaching anywhere else in scripture? Teaching young people that “believers have misunderstood the word day in Genesis 1 for the last 3,500 years, but now, based on modern science, we know the word day cannot actually mean day as we thought” opens the door of subjugating scripture to popular science. The man in the white lab coat, and not God’s word, is now the ultimate standard (Ps. 11:3; 119:89).
How to Respond to the Charge, “The Literal Days of Genesis 1 are Unimportant.”
When one asserts that “the length of the days in Genesis 1 are unimportant” and we would do better to focus on “important doctrinal matters” such as the virgin birth, the resurrection, sin, salvation, eternal punishment and eternal life, ask the following question: “How do you know there was a virgin birth, a resurrection, and that there is sin, Satan, salvation, eternal punishment and eternal life?” The only way we can know any of these facts is because the Bible tells us in clear unambiguous language (Eph. 5:17) – always based on the context. Arguing that the days of Genesis 1 are unimportant inadvertently undermines the validity of all the doctrinal issues mentioned above, by requiring their veracity to hinge on verification/validation by popular science.
If We Can’t Understand the Unambiguous Word Day In Genesis 1, Can We Understand Any Unambiguous Language in the Bible? If the word “day” in Genesis 1 can only be understood based on popular science, why not apply the same principle to the rest of scripture? If we can’t know that the use of the word day in Genesis 1 is a literal day, how can we know Mary was really a virgin? How can we know that Jesus really rose from the dead (I Cor. 15:29-32)? How can we know eternal really means eternal, that Satan is really a demonic force, or that eternal punishment truly exists for the unsaved?
At least since the rise of popular liberal theology in 18th-century Western Europe, skeptics have effectively chipped away at the faith of believers by supplanting scripture with scientific hypotheses. The book of Genesis should be the beginning of our faith, not the beginning of unbelief.
Why Divisive Controversy over the Length of “Day” only in Genesis 1? Whenever the word day in the Bible is used in reference to a time other than a 24-hour period (a long period of time, daylight, etc.) this meaning is always contextually obvious. Although the Hebrew words for day and days appear over 2,300 times in the Old Testament, divisive controversy only exists over their meaning in Genesis 1. Why? For the last 200 years, believers have been pressured into melding the supposed scientific age of the earth (currently ca. 4.6 billion years) with the Bible; and Genesis 1 is the only place that the eons of time can be inserted.
Evidence that the Days of Genesis 1 are Literal 24-hour Days. With few exceptions (Isa. 9:14, 10:17, 47:9), in the OT outside of Genesis 1, when the word “day” (yom) is modified by a number (over 400 times), it always refers to a normal 24-hour day. In the OT outside of Genesis 1, when the word “day” is used with the words “evening” and “morning” together (38 times) or individually (23 times), it always refers to a normal 24-hour day. In the OT outside of Genesis 1, when the word “day” is used with the word “night” (52 times), it always refers to a normal 24- hour day. Further, in passages regarding the Sabbath, the Lord Himself defines the days of creation in unambiguous language (Exodus 20:11 and 31:17).
How Can We Know When the Word “Day” is a 24-hour Day? If the days in Genesis 1 aren’t literal 24-hour days, when can we ever be sure that day means a literal day anywhere else in scripture? For example, over what period of time did the children of Israel march around Jericho? What about Jonah’s three days in the fish. Or the Christ spending portions of three days in the grave? Are these literal historical events or metaphor? Reinterpreting the 24-hour days in Genesis 1 to accommodate popular science (if consistently applied to the rest of Bible) so damages a simple understanding of scripture that nothing in the Bible can be believed unless the man in the white lab coat gives the nod.
Do You Reinterpret the Unambiguous Word “Day” In Genesis 1? The six 24-hour days of creation were the basis for the 6-day Hebrew work week as well as the 7-day week, observed around the world today. The seventh 24-hour day, when the Lord rested from His labors, was also the basis for the Hebrew Sabbath day of rest. Yet, no one questions the length of that day.
Maybe Genesis 1 is the only passage where you reinterpret God’s unambiguous word to agree with secular science. If so, then consider the following two thoughts:
1. To reject unambiguous contextual language in Genesis 1 and accept it in the rest of scripture is neither consistent nor rightly handling the Word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
2. If you inconsistently reject the contextually unambiguous language in Genesis 1, yet accept contextually unambiguous language elsewhere in scripture, those whom you influence may apply your rule consistently to the rest of scripture, and subjugate God’s word to secular philosophy and science (Judges 2:10). The man in the white lab coat, and not God’s inspired word, becomes the ultimate standard. “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3).
--Joshua Gurtler 1029 Square Dr., Phoenixville, PA 19460. firstname.lastname@example.org