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Monday, August 3, 2015

M3 Bible: Creation: Days

            The Creation moves forward as a series of days witch each day devoted to a particular set of agenda items, after which God declares it all good, then moves on. Two important ideas stand out in this.
First, a day is not defined. The text goes about declaring “evening and morning” make up a day, which seems backwards to most people. Morning should come first, but that’s not how it’s stated. And an examination of the Jewish calendar and their holy days reveal that they follow the same pattern. What can we truly make of this? Should we all reverse our thinking and adopt this same procedure in order to understand the timeline? No, not at all.
More important is the fact that these were ancient peoples who used different methods of timekeeping. The position of celestial bodies is a very clear indicator, yet common sense would still suggest that a day reliant upon the position of the sun would mean that morning precedes evening.
Also, the sun can’t be the timekeeping used early on since it doesn’t appear until day 4 (Gen 1:14). So what means is God using to keep time?
A day as a unit of time is actually not set in stone. Most people will quickly point out that a day is 24 hours, but that distinction wasn’t made for centuries. Also, what kind of day? A solar day? A sidereal day? There are different definitions of what constitutes a day that would have made no impression whatsoever on the minds of ancient peoples.
Now, I have read an interesting article by a scientist equating the Biblical creation to quantum time of the universe, which is fascinating and I think worth the read, but the evidence for that is about as much as it is for anything. I believe there is a much simpler explanation.
The ancient Hebrews were herders of animals and growers of crops. They were farmers. Now, my parents and grandparents grew up as farmers, and I learned all the tales of how much farmers worked while growing up. And I think this makes for a perfect analogy.
            To a farmer, how long is a day? The story of farmers getting up at the crack of dawn is wrong. Farmers had to be up before dawn. They were milking cows and getting eggs from chickens before the sun was up. A farmer that waited for dawn was sleeping in. The same holds true for the end of the day. Sunset doesn’t mark the end of the work day. It might mean that the farmer has to move indoors since it’s dark out, but that doesn’t mean the work has finished. In short, a farmer’s day is done when the work that needed to get done is done.
            Examine how God ends every day by examining the work done, declaring it good, and then moving on to the next day. There is no clear determination of time as to how long God was actually working. It could have been millions of years, it could have been ten seconds. The exact time is unknown. Yet it makes sense for how much time was needed to pass for God to declare the work was suitably complete. His agenda for that day was fulfilled before moving on.
            Was it six days as humanity defines them? Was it six of God’s days which can be related using some equation to convert it to our days? Is it the interesting method of equating quantum time (surely a theory which the likes of Adam, Noah, and Abraham would fail to comprehend—I still don’t completely understand it). Or is it simply that God had a list of things to do, and when that list was complete, the work day had finished?

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