The main mistake, I see with Day-Age interpretations like RTB's, is in believing when Moses formulated the text, his concern was more with scientific matters rather than theology. Israel's in particular. In ignoring the intended theology behind the text, much gets missed in trying to literalise the text in a manner that creates a 1:1 alignment with science.
Here's where I come down on that topic...
And I know this is not a typical position for a day-ager.
I do not think Moses' 'original intent' when he wrote Genesis 1 bears much resemblance to Hugh Ross's interpretation of Genesis 1.
Moses had a vastly different context and set of paradigms when he wrote Genesis 1 than those Hugh Ross has now.
However, I do believe that the words that the Holy Spirit guided Moses to use within his paradigm are 'flexible' enough, so that those same words are consistent with the scientific data when used and understood within Hugh Ross's paradigm.
I agree, that as a Day-Ager, while RTB and other Day-Age sites also were good sources, I'd often nuance this and that and find my own way mainly on smaller things. I'm sure other Day-Age people do too. In fact, I think what draws many to Day-Age is a kind of relief that science isn't the enemy, or that we're not "heretical", "lacking faith", or "rejecting Scripture/Christ" for having a different interpretation than what has become a quite dominant and oppressive, yet as I see slipping, popularist 20th century YEC interpretation amongst Evangelicals.
So, re: Hugh Ross' his RTB's interpretation, they have much more openness to people telling them, no I think you're wrong there and it's more like this, all the while still falling under a Day-Age umbrella. One aspect I liked seeing with Ross, Rana, Ken Samples and others, was their manner and the respect they displayed towards Christians with differing interpretations of Scripture, beliefs and ideas. Whether someone was an Atheist/Agnostic scientist (Eugene Scott), Theistic Evolution (such as Biologos), someone is YEC, what I saw in them was a more gracious and Christ-like attitude.
DBowling wrote:I do not believe that original intent in the original context is the only way that God communicates truth through his word. We can see this clearly demonstrated as OT Scriptures regarding Messianic expectations and the Resurrection take on 'new meaning' when placed in a new context and theological paradigm.
If you look at Messianic prophecies, there is often an "original context" and intent, but also much more to be revealed.
Those Messianic expectations often found in the OT books by prophets like Isaiah, don't take on "new" meaning, so much as greater meaning to them becoming more clear to us and obvious. The more to be revealed meaning, also appears intended by such prophets, and in many cases was understood in Jewish thought itself as also possessing Messianic intent.
I believe something similar can be said of Genesis. Moses employs a certain framework to introduce God, Israel's God, who is truly God since He is the One True Lord of all creation. This is the theology, the basic message, ALL can agree to -- the "forest" so-to-speak -- that Israel's God is being introduced as the one true God who is responsible for creating the heavens, the earth, the seas and everything within them (contrast such against the deities of other nations whether Egyptians or pagan nations).
Such theology is barely, if ever, even considered in the Day-Age/YEC debate. Instead most focus is placed upon one word
) and the question of "how long is a day?
". An issue Moses I see had little concern for when employing such language to simply introduce his God, the God of Israel, the one subject who consistently remains embedded alongside Israel's history throughout Genesis and indeed the entire OT.
DBowling wrote:If there are multiple meanings for a given Greek or Hebrew word in Scripture, and one meaning is consistent with natural revelation and another meaning contradicts natural revelation, I think it is circular nonsense to cling to the meaning that introduces the alleged 'contradiction' and then assert contradiction because of the interpretation that you choose to embrace.
We see that logic in...
yom must mean 24 hours
erets must mean the whole planet
and we see that same logic from those who chose to interpret zera, es, and peri in a manner that contradicts natural revelation instead of in a manner that complements natural revelation.
My bias is simple. I believe Special Revelation and natural revelation are complementary.
So I will defer to complementary interpretations of Scripture over contradictory interpretations of Scripture.
You say we see that logic in "yom must mean 24 hours
", but I'd disagree that such is in fact any more logical than Day-Agers assigning "ages" to yom
. Rather, I think honestly, Moses intended to employ the language of an ordinary day within a 6 day work, 7th day rest framework (which obviously has some sort Sabbatical intent and is a unique signature of Israel's God).
YECs who believe the Sun was created on Day 4 and state yom
means 24-hours are just as guilty as Day-Agers when it comes to substituting in a period of time that simply isn't intended by the literary framework Moses is employing in introducing Israel's God. I'd recommend reading over another thread I started some time ago which Jac also participated in: Do YECs accept "ordinary days"?
It seems clear to me that "24-hours" is no more logical or literal than "an age of time."
I sincerely believe that many YECs are logically inconsistent when they often claim that yom
is really an ordinary day
, and then substitute an ordinary day with "24-hours" so Days 1-3 work smoothly. Given the popular YEC interpretation places the creation of the Sun on Day 4, days 1 to 3 while they could represent a period of time, most definitely are by no means literally "ordinary days."
The question YECs throw at Day-Agers, is that the word yom
doesn't literally mean an age or period of time. Rather, yom
is a symbolic manner of such. Yet, YECs ironically make a similar mistake in saying yom
should be understood in the context of a period of time (24 hours), such as "a 3-day journey into the wilderness.
" I don't know about you, but I see no context which says yom
ought to be thought in Genesis 1 as referring to time. Rather, I see additional language like separating the "day" from "night", "light" from "darkness", "evening" and "morning"... all properties we do assign to an ordinary day. BUT, we do not
see something like:
- God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. [And the expanse separated from the waters below and above took a day.] And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Compare this to Joshua's long day, where the Sun stands still in the middle of the sky (which defines Joshua's long "day"
), we do also see "day" (yom
) being understood in the context of a period of time:
- And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. (Joshua 10:13)
So then, ironically many YECs who argue that yom
is to be interpreted as a time of 24-hours, and that Day-Agers are not being as literal, fall foul of not being literal themselves. They are taking merely one property of a day, what we associate as being 24-hours, and substituting in a 24-hour period of time instead of the full meaning
of an ordinary yom
. Yet, if we actually look at the pattern of language used in Genesis 1 with evening and morning and the like, it seems clear Moses is employing plain language of "days". In fact, the root
meaning of yom
is to be hot, as in the warm hours of a day. So then, associating yom
in Genesis with only
a property of a time period (whether such is seen as 12/24 hours or an extended period of time), is just literally
An ordinary day is not merely one property that we associate with day, but rather all that a day represents. Consider a property often assigned to human beings like "self-awareness". To substitute is this one hallmark of human beings, and now say every time human beings are mentioned it means "a self-awareness" would be just wrong (unless such a context was clearly given for believing such to be the case). Rather, the ability to be self-aware is just one of many properties we associate with humanity above many other species.
Now I believe Moses intended to make use of "days", conjure up imagery in our minds of those who heard the story of Genesis 1, as being that of real days like we experience, with the Sun viewed in the sky, a real sunrise, a real sunset, sunny daytime and the like. This is just the literary framework, a very sabbatical framework, he used to show Israel's God is the God of the heavens, land and seas and all that is within them. And then he signature stamps Israel's God as the Lord of all creation by having Him rest on the seventh day.
Once one sees Moses intended a true ordinary day in the language employed, the question then becomes:
- "Is Moses is simply employing a 6-1 structure as a literary framework to introduce Israel's God as the one true God?" (the theological meaning of Genesis 1), OR
- "Is Moses using a 6-1 structure because God literally created everything in six days and literally rested on the seventh?"
I think there is enough evidence in Scripture to warrant the first and deny the second. Understanding Moses' primary theological intent in introducing Israel's God as the sovereign Lord of all creation, the second becomes largely irrelevant. If one believes God did create in 6 ordinary days or over 6 periods of time, and it doesn't even come to one's mind that Israel's God is being stamped as the Lord of all creation, then they've missed the forest for some trees.
In fact, I think Moses would probably look at someone cross-eyed, if after reading aloud Genesis 1, someone listening asked him, "So were these days 24 hours long?
" They've kind of missed the point of it all.