One (24 hour) day at a time: random excerpts on the early history of Genesis
Below you will find excerpts and observations on the first seven days of creation, which may pique your interest in studying the topic further.
“The meaning of words is important for clear communication. It is by their use and contrast that we can accurately arrive at correct biblical interpretation.”
“Note that Scripture explicitly states that Adam named all the ‘livestock’ (Heb. behemah), the ‘birds of the air’ (Heb. oph hassamayim) and all the ‘beasts of the field’ (Heb. chayyah hassadeh). There is no indication that Adam named the fish in the sea, or any other marine organisms, nor any of the insects, beetles or arachnids.”
“The time when this [Genesis 1:28] took place must have been the sixth day, on which, according to Genesis 1:27, the man and woman were created: and there is no difficulty in this, since it would not have required much time to bring the animals to Adam to see what he would call them, as the animals of paradise are all we have to think of; and the deep sleep into which God caused the man to fall, till he had formed the woman from his rib, need not have continued long.”
There’s no reason to doubt these events could have taken place as part of a literal 24-hour day, but even if there was reason to doubt that happening the question shouldn’t be, “What do we think could or couldn’t have happened?” The question should be, “What does Scripture say happened?”
C.D. Ginsburg, cited by P. J. Wiseman, Clues To Creation In Genesis, London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1977, pp. 122-123
“The institution of the Sabbath on the seventh day, which if understood as an indefinite period would have no meaning for man, and the constant usage of this expression in Scripture to denote an ordinary day, with the few exceptions of poetical or oratorical diction, and the literal meaning which all commentators and Bible readers have assigned to it till within the last century, are additional proofs that the primitive record purports to intimate the expression ‘yom’ as a natural day.”
My own comment on two verses used to “disprove” 24-hour days in Genesis 1.
“‘Yom’ is elsewhere used of long periods of time, as in Psalm 90:4, which is cited in 2 Peter 3:8.” The references to God and time in Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 refer to normal years and normal days. If not, the instruction would make no sense. Day and year in these verses mean ordinary ones, which allows them to contrast and make the point. The Bible is not saying “a 1000 years is as a long period of time and a long period of time is as a 1000 years,” but that 1000 X 360 days and 24 hours are of no real consequence to God, since he is outside of time.
“Some writers have observed the absence of the article from the mention of each of the first five days. They have concluded that Moses must have meant to convey to his readers that at least those days were long periods of time. They have noted that the normal use of the article is to make the noun definite. Gleason Archer makes the following statement: ‘In Hebrew prose of this genre, the definite article was generally used where the noun was intended to be definite.’ There are many examples where the number and noun occur without the article, yet the meaning is definite. Thirteen occurrences, similar to Genesis 1, use the noun without the article but with a number (Numbers 11:19; I Samuel 1:1; 1 Chronicles 12:39; II Chronicles 20:25; Ezra 8:15, 32; Nehemiah 2:11; Daniel 1:12, 14-15; 12:12-13, and Jonah 3:4). In each of these other occurrences, the English translation uses the definite article. The absence of the article in Genesis 1 does not mean that the days are long periods of time.”
Lost the source of this comment, and cannot now find it
“The Old Testament has at least 26 times when evening and morning are used in the same verse. Each time they occur, the meaning is that of a normal day. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the point: Exodus 16:8 says, ‘And Moses said, this shall be when the Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full.’ Also Exodus 18:13, ‘and the people stood by Moses from the morning until the evening.’”
“It is used to refer to a 24-hour period in Genesis 7:11. It is used to refer to the period of daylight between dawn and dusk in Genesis 1:16. And it is used to refer to an unspecified period of time in Genesis 2:4.”
“...the former position—that the days are literal 24-hour days—is the historic position that the church has adopted since New Testament times... For a detailed account of what the early church fathers believed about the literal 24-hour interpretation of the Hebrew yom, see chapter 3 of Sarfati, J. (2004), Refuting Compromise, (Green Forest, AR: Master Books), pp 107–139.”
The Moody Bible Commentary
“The argument that this naming of the animals would have taken more than a single day is not valid. The primary purpose of bringing the animals before Adam was not to give them names, but rather to highlight his need for a woman, which a relatively small number of animals would suffice to establish. Indeed the Hebrew word names (shemot) is perfectly consistent with the understanding that Adam simply gave general designations to each general category or class of animal (e.g. ‘equine,’ ‘serpentine,’ ‘canine,’ etc.) rather than precise labels such as ‘Equus ferus caballus,’ ‘Crotalus horridus,’ ‘Canis lupus familiaris,’ let alone ‘Spot’ or ‘Rex.’”