[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Apr 15 18:26:41 EDT 2006
>On Saturday 15 April 2006 12:17, Karl Randolph wrote:
>> My evidence is Tanakh.
>King David was actually a 3-legged duck with no bill and sky blue pink
>feathers. My evidence is Tanakh.
>Easy to say, not so easy to back up. A statement like this is nothing but a
HH: What Karl said is a well-known fact; I think he assumed we were
familiar with it. I have seen it in many sources. Here's one on-line,
arguing against some opposing views:
1. yom + numerical = 24-hr day
The first argument is that yom + numerical always refers to a normal 24-hr day.
Don Stoner (A New Look at an Old Earth, pp. 46-48) however, claims
that this is not true. He cites Zech 14:7 as an example.
Zech 14:7 states: "It will be a unique day, without daytime or
nighttime--a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be
The day mentioned here is obviously the same day mentioned in vv. 1,
4 and 6. Since "a text without a context, is a pretext" we need to
examine the immediate context of these verses.
It should be abundantly clear from v. 5 that on "that day" the Lord
will come. It describes a time-space _EVENT_ in the future. How can
the coming of the Lord take a long period of time? It is an event: at
one moment on that day, He is not here - the next moment He has
Don, however, believes it refers to the New Jerusalem, the eternal
state. But if the "day" refers to the eternal state - an indefinite
period of time - it could hardly be called "unique"!
Therefore, the "unique day" does indeed refer to a literal 24-hr day.
HH: There are two ways of looking at Zech 14:8 that seem suitable to
Karl's understanding. First, "in that day" in 14:8 could refer more
generally to the time period. "In that day" occurs throughout the
Bible of a particular time in view. The phrase occurs 208 times, so
we can see plainly how it's used, and it often indicates a period.
So, in that period of the specific day of the Lord's return and
following, the water will run in summer and winter. Or we can see
the water beginning to flow on that very day of the Lord's return and
continuing to flow in summer and winter afterwards. The on-line
writer goes on:
Others have suggested Hosea 6:2 as an exception:
"After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore
us, that we may live in his presence."
However, this verse is set in poetic parallelism - and parallelism of
a specific kind. This parallelism is a common Semitic device which
takes the form X // X + 1 (see Job 5:19; Proverbs 6:16; 30:15, 18;
Amos 1:3, 6, 9 for more examples). Given that these instances are
part of a well defined Semitic device, they must be interpreted in
accordance with that device. In this case, the use of "two days" and
"three days" communicate that the restoration mentioned in the
previous verse, will happen quickly and surely (See Cohen/Vandermey,
Hosea & Amos, Epositors Bible Commentary). Therefore, these instances
must refer to normal days as opposed to long periods, otherwise the
device would lose its meaning ie. the restoration would _not_ be
quick and sure if the days were long periods of time. There may also
be a subtle prophetic allusion to the restoration of humanity after
the death and resurrection of Christ - especially since virtually all
the content of Hosea serve to prophetically illustrate future events.
Again, this demands that the days be taken as 24-hr days.
Bradley and Olsen ("The Trustworthiness of Scripture in Areas
Relating to Natural Science" in Hermeneutics, Inerrancy, and the
Bible, Radmacher and Preus, eds. [Zondervan, 1984]) also object to
this line of reasoning:
"There is no other place in the Old Testament where the intent is to
describe events that involve multiple and/or sequential, indefinite
periods of time. If the intent of Genesis 1 is to describe creation
as occurring in six, indefinite time periods, it is a unique Old
Testament event being recorded. Other descriptions where "yom" refers
to an indefinite time period are all for a single time period. Thus,
the absence of the use of "yamim" for other than regular days and the
use of ordinals only before regular days elsewhere in the Old
Testament cannot be given an unequivocal exegetical significance in
view of the uniqueness of the events being described in Genesis 1
(i.e, sequential, indefinite time periods)."
The first problem here is that they assume what they are trying to
prove ie. that the authors intent was to describe sequential
indefinite periods of time. Secondly, "yom" by itself does not refer
to an indefinite period of time. It only has this extended meaning
when it is modified by a preposition such as "be" (eg. Gen 2:4).
However, none of the instances in Genesis 1 are modified in this way.
In addition, Numbers 29:12-35 also describes a numbered sequence of
days which are clearly literal 24-hr days.
Thus the pattern of yom + numerical = 24 day does indeed hold.
HH: Here's another on-line source for the ideas Karl presented:
In the process of embracing the day age view, Ross rejects some
strong exegetical evidence
favoring interpreting the creation days as ordinary days. For
example, the words "morning and
evening" are combined with the word day ("yom") 38 times outside of
Genesis 1. In each
instance, such a combination always refers to a literal 24-hour day
meaning. Moreover, in every
other instance in the Old Testament where the word day is used with a
modifier it represents a normal day. This holds true in at least 358
of the 359 times that day is
used with a numerical modifier outside of Genesis 1. (5)
(5) The only possible deviation is in Hosea 6:2. However, the Hebrew
grammar of Hosea 6:2 shows
that this passage is meant as a rhetorical device. See Mark Van
Bebber and Paul S. Taylor, Creation and Time, 2d ed. (Gilbert, AZ:
Eden Communications, 1994), 74-76. Interestingly, despite the
rhetorical nature of Hosea
6:2, some scholars still see the possibility for the days in this
verse to be understood as ordinary days. See Charles
Ryrie, Basic Theology (Chicago: Moody, 1999), 211.
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