The 24 hour "evening and mornings" ???

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Tue Aug 29 12:40:52 EDT 2000

Welcome back, Ian! But your return seems to have put you into a surprising
role of defending six-day creationism, though I am sure you don't believe
that yourself.

I will comment below on the latter part of your posting only. I tend to
agree with you about "sound theological answers", although I wouldn't put
the point quite so strongly.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ian Hutchesson" <mc2499 at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2000 4:58 AM
Subject: Re: The 24 hour "evening and mornings" ???

> Going back to the text of Genesis 1, what is there in the particular text
> which suggests that the writer was dealing with anything other than a 24
> hour day?
> He writes of God working during the day, then evening comes, then morning
> and the day is finished. Each day is illustrated that way. What is there
> the text which suggests that "evening" and "morning" here refer to
> other than aspects of a 24 hour period?

PK: Good point, I accept. But surely the author would have seen the tension
of counting days before the creation of the sun, and that could be an
indication that he thought it was obvious that he would not be taken
literally. Also, how anthropomorphic a view of God did he have? Would he
have thought of God as working a literal six day week, like a man, or would
he have thought of six periods of creative activity parallelling, but not in
a literal sense, the six day week? We cannot tell. But surely either is a
> Each of the terms has a normal clear simple significance. (And I commend
> Peter Kirk for his attempt to read a parallelism in Is 61:2, though he
> himself points out the flaw in his attempt: 'the parallel between "favour"
> and "vengeance" seems odd.' There is nothing to suggest that "year" is
> paralleled with "day": these are in fact two separate proclamations [in a
> list of things that the writer has been appointed to do] vaguely related
> subject matter as other verses in the passage are.)

PK: But did you look up the other references I quoted? In Isaiah 34:8 the
parallel is much closer, and I am sure that any analyst of Hebrew poetry
(anyone out there to disprove that?) would read that verse as synonymous
parallelism with an extension to the thought in the second line (I forget
the technical term for that).
> When God says to man that he shall eat of of the tree "all the days of
> life" (kl ymy xyyk), Gen3:17, does this imply anything other than each and
> every 24 hour period?

PK: Yes, of course! "All the days of x's life" is a standard formula for
"the whole of x's life", with no focus on the individual days. Although in
practice the man probably did eat somethng every day, I don't believe this
expression is intended to mean that he would never fast or go hungry, rather
that the curse would last until the end of his life. Also, isn't it the
ground that man will eat from, not the tree, from which he is banished?


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