Define "day"

This morning I had planned on starting to study and share what I learn about "a steadfast heart." I may yet post again today. I also want to eventually share everything I learned over the weekend. I felt so confirmed, affirmed, and guided by the "retreat" that I attended, and I can't wait to share that. If you want a head start on this information, because it will be a while before I do get to it, then head over to Devi Titus's website. Very good stuff there. But right now what I want to "share" or at least keep here for myself, is a bit of an email I wrote to a friend discussing an article by Jim Denison. I crack myself up at how easily I will argue some experts, but that is me. I never have understood why their interpretations should be more important or more right than mine. Feel free to shoot holes in what I have written, as I told my friend, it makes me think.

While I firmly believe that the Bible is not a science book, I also firmly believe that it doesn't lie about science. And while I believe the purpose of the book is not to explain creation but Christ, it does explain much of creation that can be taken literally. My problem with saying that "day" does not mean "day" would be what I proposed  at the class yesterday. God was explaining creation to man. He was telling his story to be passed down. He chose the word "day" after there was day and when people knew what day meant. In my mind, if he had truly wanted to leave the time open he would have said, "First... second... third..." and so on. He chose the word, and while the common comment to that is that it means "period of time" that's not entirely true. It has been interpreted to mean many different things. So, if we are now going to pick and choose what term actually should fit into Genesis we need to remember that we can also choose lifetime, period, reigns, as long as, day after day, annual, every day, many years, since, very old, or younger. Of course it depends on what other Hebrew words it is combined with, and not being a Hebrew scholar, though respecting the difficulty the Hebrew language brings to it's interpretation, I am curious why we would not agree with the Hebrew scholars who have interpreted the word as "day" rather than "period of time"? Even The Message, which is an interpretation that does take the culture and vernacular into consideration states "Day one. Day two. Day three" etc. It is my understanding that the only way the Hebrew culture defines day differently than us is that their day was from sundown to sundown while ours is sunrise to sunrise. It was the same amount of time.

Now, does it matter? I do believe it does. For salvation, of course not. And I do not think anyone should try to argue this in order to "save someone". But there are times when people use this as a road block to their salvation. They say that they simply can't believe in Christ because they can't believe in creation. Especially not a 6 day literal creation. How do we handle this? I have before swept the idea away by saying that it didn't matter how we defined day, and I regretted that. Because then it got to be what do we take literally and what do we put our own definition to? The small steps we took away from the literal translation of God's word seemed to keep growing bigger and bigger. If we are going to err on the side of being to far from God's word or being to close to it, I will err on being to close. I do know that my interpretation and translation of the Hebrew and Greek language is far from professional, and that is why I have a tendency to fall back on what the professionals did when they translated the original for us to read in English. There is much in God's word that seems wild and unbelievable. Did a city wall truly fall by people walking around it for seven days? Did the sun truly stand still? Did it move backwards? Did the flood truly happen? What about the parting of the red sea or the many other bodies of water? Where do we simply say that God's ways are bigger than ours, and if this is what He said happened then I believe it?

Do we spend too much time debating the facts of creation? Possibly. Is there a way to move people away from this debate to talk about the heart of the matter, God? I am sure there is. But I simply don't believe it is by saying "day" doesn't mean "day." Ask someone why they can't possibly believe that "day" means "day." When there is a problem with interpreting that word, it is generally because they want evolution to fit into the Bible. Even the heart of the matter of this debate is not how to define that single word, but what else they want to fit into that time period. As I have said before, death did not come until after the fall, so there is no way that evolution, whether defined by the scientific community or the biblical version, there is no way that evolution could have occurred. And to me, that is why it is important not to simply sweep the matter of "day" under the carpet.


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