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What does the word 'day' mean in Genesis?

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by TheBear, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. stillsmallvoice

    stillsmallvoice The Narn rule!

    +173
    Judaism
    Married
    Hi all!

    Our very great 9th century CE sage, Saadyah Gaon, says that the first 7 days mentioned in Genesis were most definitely not 24-hour days as we understand them.

    Sinai's analysis of the Hebrew usage of the words "boqer" and "erev" is correct. (Sinai, from where do you know Hebrew so well?)

    Be well!

    ssv :wave:
     
  2. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

    +59
    Christian
    Married
    US-Libertarian
    "were most definitely not 24-hour days "

    glad that's your opinion, I know several hebrew scholars that differ in your opinion. So SSV can you show me a place where they are not used for a literal morning and evening? If not then you just add an opinion and no proof, which doesn't fly with this crowd at all.
     
  3. OldBadfish

    OldBadfish Well-Known Member

    +20
    Bear, I believe, I proved it to the best of anyones ability with the scripture itself, no?

    RIGHT HERE

    God saying divide the day from night and so on, is about as good as it gets. :)
     
  4. Underdog

    Underdog Member

    67
    +2
    Christian
    God is calling the light, 'day' and the darkness 'night'. So, a day is only 12 hours, right?
     
  5. TheBear

    TheBear Free Agent

    +1,656
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    Anyone else?
     
  6. TheBear

    TheBear Free Agent

    +1,656
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    How long did Adam live?
     
  7. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

    +1,462
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    Several people claimed that Genesis 2:17 was not a 24-hour day... Of course, that's *also* subject to debate.

    I think there's a certain amount of question-begging; if there are a number of usages where the Bible would be perfectly understandable if it meant "24-hour day" or if it meant something else, then he can't easily show you one of those, because you can say "oh, that one's a 24-hour day too", and use each of them as part of the evidence that it's "always" a 24-hour day, even though maybe it isn't.

    It's hard to find anything that one can be unambiguously sure is a metaphorical usage; generally, the only way we can be sure that something is metaphorical is if we learn that it would otherwise be physically impossible. :)
     
  8. seebs

    seebs God Made Me A Skeptic

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    I have absolutely no idea. I can't tell whether the ages provided are illustrative of the fall, or factual, or something else.

    Long enough to have kids, at least.

    Huh...
     
  9. LightBearer

    LightBearer Veteran

    +19
    Jehovahs Witness
    Though many may 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.”

    As has already been explained 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.

    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.

    “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.
     
  10. TheBear

    TheBear Free Agent

    +1,656
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    So far, we have the word 'day' in Genesis meaning:

    - 24 hours
    - 12 hours
    - Light
    - Evening to Morning
    - Sunrise to Sunset
    - Evening to Evening
    - 930 Years


    Anyone else?
     
  11. Sinai

    Sinai Well-Known Member

    +15
    Protestant
    SSV merely pointed out that the ancient Jewish sage Saadyah Gaon was of that opinion--and he was not the only one to believe that the six creative days should be measured differently from the time period that follows the creation of man. Rabbi Moses ben Nahman (1194-1270 A.D. or C.E.) wrote his Commentary on the Torah approximately 750 years ago and based his conclusions not upon science (this was hundreds of years prior to the era of modern science), but rather upon the Hebrew Bible and other Jewish writings regarding the Hebrew Bible---yet his conclusions regarding the first chapter of Genesis sound remarkably like the major findings and conclusions of modern science.
     
  12. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

    +59
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    I'm glad Gaon said that, though he is human and could be wrong :) I still haven't seen anyone come up to the question I posted. Are those words used in genesis in any other way then a literal morning or literal evening? As I think someone here used to say...Bueller??? :)
     
  13. Dorothyne

    Dorothyne New Member

    76
    +0
    No, 24 hours.

    Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
    Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
    Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
    Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
    Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
    Gen 1:6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
    Gen 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
    Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
    Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
    Gen 1:10 And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
    Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
    Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
    Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
    Gen 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
    Gen 1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    Gen 1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.
    Gen 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
    Gen 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good.
    Gen 1:19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
    Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
    Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    Gen 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
    Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
    Gen 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
    Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    Gen 1:27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
    Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
    Gen 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
    Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
    <!-- BEGIN FOOTER ROUTINE --->Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
    Gen 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
    Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made

    And incase there is still confusion he hollow the 7th day and when he gave the law to Moses he set it as a law giving that reason. Now I think that is that. Take god out of the little box u got him in cause he is an
    <DIV></DIV>wonderous God and no matter how big u think he is he is bigger. Check it out and give him the glory don't distract from it he did it in 144 hours and then he sat back and said this is good. Check it out and give him the glory then look at what ever is standing in ur way keeping u from serving with all ur heart and tell it u anit nothing compared to my God. And pick up ur head and bless the sweet name of Jesus Christ who has redeed us not only from death and sickness but fromt he devil and all his lies. yes bless him he is a great and good God, may his name be blessed forever and ever amen.
     
  14. Dorothyne

    Dorothyne New Member

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    +0
    &nbsp;

    I am so sure when God was giving Moses the law and he said the 7th day he hollowed that he did not mean anything more than that 24 hours. Now if u think god does not know what he is saying let me caution u with this. God is not a man that he should lie nor the son of man that he should repent. he said from light to dark and that is just what he meant. embrace it and give him the glory cause he is off the hook. anit none better than the Lord most high. God bless u all.
     
  15. TheBear

    TheBear Free Agent

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    Atheist
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    Thank you for the online Bible. :p

    But, you stopped just short of Gen 2:17 -

    "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

    How long did Adam live?

    Thanks,
    John
     
  16. clue

    clue Member

    112
    +0
    All it takes to have a day-night cycle is a rotating earth, and light coming from one direction. The Bible tells us that God created light on the first day, as well as the earth. Thus we can deduce that the earth was already rotating in space relative to this created light.

    So, 'the sun wasn't created until the fourth day, therefore it couldn't have been 24 hours' argument falls flat.
     
  17. clue

    clue Member

    112
    +0
    Adam lived to be 930 years old.

    The day Adam ate&nbsp;the forbidden fruit, he was banished from God's presence (an&nbsp;immediate death in itself) and physical death was now a reality.

    Why do I interpret not being in God's presence as a death in itself?&nbsp; Because of the connotation with Eternal Life.&nbsp;

    What is Eternal Life?&nbsp; If you think about it everyone is going to live eternally - either in heaven or in hell.&nbsp; But when you talk about Eternal Life, you are talking about spending an eternity with God.&nbsp; You are talking about being in His presence forever.
     
  18. DocBrown

    DocBrown New Member

    69
    +0
    The Hebrew word for day is Yom or Yhom. It means exactly what it means in english. It's the context that changes the meaning. Not to mention every place else in the Bible when it mentions the word "day" (Yom) along side of a number it always means a 24 hour period.

    I went outside and cut the grass, built a tree fort for my son then had supper and went to bed. There was an evening and and morning, one day.

    How long of a period of time?

    In the old days we used to play marbles alot.

    How long of a period of time?

    In the day of the Lord's coming we shall all be judged.

    How long of a period of time?

    Whats so hard?

    &nbsp;

    &nbsp;

    &nbsp;&nbsp;

    &nbsp;
     
  19. Patty

    Patty Nice ta see yas!

    +1
    Hey Bear,

    A 'day', in the Scriptures, refers to an event.

    If you look carefully at the passages in Genesis and substitute the word 'event' you will see what I mean.

    For example, in the verse that you quoted,

    Gen 2:17 -

    "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

    Consider this:
    ... for in the event that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.


    Patty
     
  20. Patty

    Patty Nice ta see yas!

    +1
    Hey Hank!!!

    What's up with the statement that you made:
    Thus I think since God does not live on earth his days should be measured differently, or not at all.

    Hey, guy!!!

    That statement is a really good example of why people are so confused about God.

    For certain, God DOES live on earth. God IS the earth, and all other things.


    Patty
     
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