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Phil Roberts' View of "Days"
Daniel H. King, Sr.


In the next section of brother Robert’s response to my own article and the writings of brethren who maintain a literal approach to the creation week (six consecutive 24 hour days), he derides simple and straightforward principles of biblical hermeneutics. To begin with, he questions our usage of terminology such as "the normal sense of the word 'day'." Surely he does not imply by this that words do not have what we might describe as a "normal sense"? Such talk as this reminds us of the double-talk which we so commonly hear from the modernist and liberal who does every sort of dance around the ordinary and accepted meaning of words in order to avoid what common sense would suggest is the "normal sense" of the words employed by the inspired writers of Scripture. We have become accustomed to these word-games from them, but it will take us a while to acclimate ourselves to this new hermeneutic which is presently making itself felt among our brethren. Most pronouncements which we make in our language are not subject to interpretation. They simply say what they say. It is only the occasional remark which is subject to interpretive methods, because of certain contextual features which require a second look.

Parallel Principles of Interpretation

Phil divides his rationalization for accepting alternative approaches to the literal view of creation into several parts. First, he questions whether the normal sense of the word 'day' is confined to a literal 24 hour time period. Next, he protests our contention that the use of the word yom with numbers indicates the "days" of Genesis 1 must be consecutive 24 hour days. Third, he challenges the idea that the qualifying phrases surrounding the word "day" indicate that it is used in the sense of a 24 hour day. Fourth, he doubts that usage of the word elsewhere in Scripture indicates that the days must be literal and consecutive. Fifth, he suggests that contextual clues may be indicative of unusual usage of the word by the writer. Finally, brother Roberts makes the case that non-literal interpretations of the days of the creation account predate the rise of modern views about the age of the earth. He makes each of these points by offering what he considers to be a parallel for each one from Green’s argument on the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 which I summarized in my article. It is obvious from such sophisticated argumentation as brother Roberts sets forth in these documents, that he is squarely in the camp of those who refuse to believe the Genesis account of creation is literal. Clearly he wishes these words and phrases to have something else in mind than a series of consecutive 24 hour days.

There is little wonder that the Bible faculty at Florida College was so unmoved by the strong popular sentiment against Hill Roberts’ invitation to speak at the school and Shane Scott’s retention as a teacher in the Bible department — apparently there were others on the Bible department who shared their views. It was not a matter of "academic freedom" at all. Rather, others on the faculty wished their own views not to be challenged! Now we know that one of those people was Phil Roberts.

Returning to brother Roberts’ argument, Phil believes that he has several parallels between his view of Genesis one and our treatment of the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11. For the sake of brevity and in order to avoid overmuch repetition, and since these different points actually represent only one general syllogism under several heads, we shall first state his arguments in toto, and then offer our own response. Please excuse our lengthy summary, but we offer his arguments in full in order to do two things: 1) Fairly represent Phil’s statements in context; and, 2) Provide this information for the reader so that he may consider them for himself. Brother Phil’s case for a non-literal approach to Genesis 1 is much more sophisticated than what has been offered by Shane Scott, so it deserves to be heard in all of its complexity.

Phil Roberts’ Case Against Literal and Consecutive Creation Days

Brother Roberts says that "The normal sense of 'day' requires that the days of Genesis 1 be twenty-four hour days" is parallel to his syllogism "The normal sense of 'beget' requires that the sons of Genesis 5 and 11 be immediate sons." He then makes the case that yom "can mean a longer period of time (Gen. 2:4). But usually means (1) The period of light as opposed to darkness; (2) The whole 24 hour cycle." Next, he admits that yalad 'beget,' "can mean to father a more remote descendant (Gen. 10:15-18). But usually means (1) [Of men], to father one’s immediate descendant (Gen. 5:3); (2) [Of women], to give birth to a child (Gen. 4:25)."

Next, he turns his attention to the well-attested observation that "the use with numbers indicates the 'days' of Genesis 1 must be consecutive 24 hour days: "And there was evening and there was morning, one day" (Gen. 1:5); Any time 'day' is used with numbers it refers to literal, consecutive days [But consider Hosea 6:1-3 and Judges 20:18-20]." Following up on this, he observes that "The use with numbers indicates that the generations of Genesis 5 and 11 must be consecutive: 'Arpachshad lived thirty-five years and begat Shelah' (Gen. 11:12). Any time 'begat' is used the number of years old, it refers to an immediate son [Is there any provable exception to this?]."

His third "parallel" argument deals with "qualifying phrases in the context." He quotes our words again, "Qualifying phrases indicate that "day" is used in the sense of a 24 hour day: 'And there was evening, and there was morning, one day' (Gen. 1:5). Any time a phrase like 'evening and morning' is present, 'day' is literal [But what about Psalm 90:5-6] [Are 'evening' and 'morning' in Gen. 1:5 figurative themselves?]." Then he cites his supposed "parallel": "Qualifying phrases indicate that 'beget' refers to fathering one’s immediate descendant: 'and named him Seth' (Gen. 5:3; cf. 5:28); 'Seth lived one hundred and five years and begat Enosh' (Gen. 5:6); 'Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years after he begot Enosh, and begat sons and daughters' (Gen. 5:7)."

The fourth of these points states that our "Usage elsewhere in Scripture indicates that the days must be literal and consecutive: 'Six days shall you labor, For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth'" (Exod. 20:11) is parallel with his "Usage elsewhere in Scripture indicates that the generations of Genesis do not have any gaps: 'Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying'" (Jude 1:14).

The fifth of his arguments discusses "contextual clues of unusual usage." In his thinking, "There are clues in Genesis 5 and 11 that indicate that there might be gaps or at least that usage might be unusual in some way: 1) Ten generations each, perhaps symbolic or memory aids; 2) Noah and Shem still alive when Abraham was born; 3) Abraham, Nahor, and Haran all born the same year" is parallel with brother Roberts’ own assertion that "There are clues in Genesis 1 that indicate that the days there might not be consecutive 24 hour days, or at least that the usage might be unusual in some way: 1) "Days" that can exist independently of the sun and the moon; 2) "Evening" and "morning" without a sun; 3) Absence of "night" in any of the days; 4) Trees sprouting and growing to produce fruit and seeds in a single day; 5) Animals produce offspring after their kind in a single day; 6) Naming all the animals in one day; 7) Lack of termination for the seventh day; 8) Symbolism of seven days and the balanced structure of days 1-3 and 4-6."

The sixth and final argument in this sequence regards "reinterpreting the Bible to fit secular science." Under this heading he equates "The real motivation for rejecting the plain sense of the six days of Genesis 1 to make the Bible record fit with humanistic, secular sciences: Old earth people are just compromising with secular scientists; if it weren’t for secular geologists saying the earth is millions of years old, no one would think of interpreting the days of Genesis 1 as anything other than literal days" is parallel with Roberts’ view that "The real motivation for rejecting the plain sense of the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 to make the Bible record fit with humanistic, secular sciences: Gap people are just compromising with secular historians; if it weren’t for secular historians saying that Egyptian history goes back to 3100 BC and Jericho to 9250, no one would think of interpreting genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 as having gaps." To the first side of the equation he adds the following note: "But non-literal interpretations of the days predate the rise of modern views about the age of the earth, e.g. (Irenaeus in the 2nd century; Origin in the 3rd)." And, to the second side of the equation he adds, "No such gap interpretations of Genesis 5 and 11 are known to exist prior to the rise of modern historical and archaeological research."

Our Response To Phil’s "Parallels"

We offer the following points in response to Phil’s list of "parallels":

1. The most obvious problem Phil has with any sort of "parallel" with our arguments on Genesis 5 and 11 and Hill’s approach to the Genesis 1 "days" is patently obvious. We offered solid instances from the biblical text where gaps existed in the genealogies of Scripture. What he provided was an instance where the word "day" stood in an obviously figurative context for a week (Genesis 2:4)! Does he seriously consider this a parallel which will justify those who say "day" means billions of years, or else may be separated by billions of years? We asked in our earlier articles for a case from the Bible where "day" may mean millions or billions of years anywhere in the Sacred Text. What Phil offers is an instance where "day" stands for a "week." But even that will not help him, for Hill takes the days literally as 24 hours each, and suggests gaps between the days consisting of millions or billions of years. Where is his parallel for this sort of thing anywhere in the Bible? Where is the evidence in the text itself for such gaps?

Even if we were to grant him his parallel, it would not help either of them, for it would only posit gaps of a few weeks here and there, and that would not be sufficient to account for the millions or billions of years needed to accommodate the Bible with the modern theory of earth history which both of them are now anxious to harmonize. In addition, it would create all the other difficulties of which we have spoken elsewhere (plants existing for millions of years before the sun is set in its place, insects and birds created millions of years after plants, birds created millions of years before insects, etc.).

2. We said earlier in this series of articles that Phil tends to ignore simple rules of biblical interpretation in order to justify his and his brother’s view of the days of Genesis one. Here is an instance of that: Clinton Lockhart, in his book Principles of Interpretation, has this to say about the usage of words in a given context: "When a word is repeated in a passage or context, the writer may be presumed in each repetition to have the same idea in mind and to use the word in the same sense. The very principle of continuity of thought which underlies all contextual interpretation applies in this case" (p. 111). Although the author describes texts from Isaiah 46 and Matthew 25 as specific illustrations of this widely understood principle, and makes no direct allusion to the days of Genesis 1, his comment is nevertheless perfectly applicable to our problem.

Phil says the special circumstances of the sun and moon not being set in their places until the fourth day of the creative week should somehow alter how we view all the creative days in that week. This is, however, inconsistent with Lockhart’s remark that "when a word is repeated in a passage or context, the writer may be presumed in each repetition to have the same idea in mind and to use the word in the same sense." Whatever "day" meant at the end of the fourth subdivision of the creative week (v. 19), where the time period is described as having an "evening" and a "morning", it meant also at the end of the first subdivision on "day one" where it also had an "evening" and a "morning." The context has not changed, therefore whatever "day" meant in one instance, it meant also in all the others. And, ergo, whatever "evening" meant in the first instance, it meant also in all the others. Whatever "morning" meant in the first instance, it meant also in all the others. As Lockhart says, the "principle of continuity of thought which underlies all contextual interpretation applies in this case."

There is one point which ought to be noted regarding Phil‘s assertion. Would this not logically imply that days four through six of the creative week were literal 24 hour days? He admits that the sun and moon were in their normal places on the fourth day. He therefore concedes by that day the normal processes for "telling time" were operative. So, he is most of the way to viewing those days as literal ones. If brother Phil is willing to concede this point, then we are about half way to where we need to be! He has effectively admitted that those days are literal days as we know them. If we could only get him, for consistency sake, to concede the other three, then we would be all the way to accepting the text of the Genesis account for what it says.

3. Another rather simple and straightforward principle of biblical interpretation which brother Phil ignores in his attempt to make the simple language of the creation account complicated and difficult, is dealt with in comments by Louis Berkhof in his book Principles of Biblical Interpretation. In his remarks regarding "The Unity of the Sense of Scripture" he offers the following insights: "It is of the greatest importance to understand at the outset that Scripture has but a single sense, and is therefore susceptible to a scientific and logical investigation. This fundamental principle must be placed emphatically in the foreground, in opposition to the tendency, revealed in history and persisting in some quarters even up to the present time, to accept a manifold sense, — a tendency that makes any science of Hermeneutics impossible, and opens wide the door for all kinds of arbitrary interpretations" (p. 57).

In our earlier materials we argued for the simple sense of the word "day" in Genesis one. In doing so, we were merely following this rudimentary principle of biblical interpretation. Words cannot be allowed to mean almost anything which the reader wishes them to mean. It leads to interpretive chaos! Under Phil and Hill’s approach we may read the "days" of Genesis one as literal and consecutive 24 hour days. Others, on the other hand, may read them as million year days, or even billion year days. Still others may read in million year gaps, or even billion year gaps between them. Under this rubric, we ought not be too dogmatic on this point because the meaning of the words is so elusive as to leave us all wondering about the exact length of the creation days and the creation week described in the account. Their view, we allege, is "to accept a manifold sense, — a tendency that makes any science of Hermeneutics impossible, and opens wide the door for all kinds of interpretations."

4. Still another principle of interpretation which is being trodden upon by our brethren who wish to make of these "days" that which is never embraced in any Bible term, is well enunciated by D. R. Dungan in his textbook on Hermeneutics: "It would be as well to take a description of some part of Asia and apply it to the United States, as to employ the language of any of the writers of the Scriptures to a subject other than that which was in his mind at the time when the words and sentences under consideration were employed. The work of the exegete is to bring out the meaning of the writing, which must be the meaning the author intended to put into it" (p. 173). Do these brethren actually believe Moses had in mind at the time he penned the creation account in Genesis that the days, with their evenings and mornings, their light and darkness, were millions or billions of years long? Do they think they can successfully argue, from the biblical text itself, that the days were punctuated by gaps which were millions or billions of years long? We say again with professor Dungan, "The work of the exegete is to bring out the meaning of the writing, which must be the meaning the author intended to put into it."

5. A final principle of interpretation which is neglected by those who, like Phil and Hill, mishandle the days of the Genesis creation narrative, comes in the form of a warning which goes unheeded as they go about their work. It is found in the work of Walter M. Dunnett. He advises: "Beware of reading modern ideas into a biblical passage. If we "read into" a text something that is not there, we substitute our own authority for the authority of the author" (The Interpretation of Holy Scripture: An Introduction to Hermeneutics, 94, 95). Those who wish to "read into" the text of Genesis 1 the modern view of earth history in order to make it consistent with theories of geology which are current today, are attempting a compromise which is neither needed nor necessary. Moreover, by so doing "we substitute our own authority for the authority of the author" of Holy Scripture. Is this not what Hill does when he argues for the Big Bang, gradual uniformitarian change of the inanimate creation, stellar evolution, etc.? He "reads into" the Genesis account what cannot be found there. When Phil argues in defense of Hill’s postulates, even if he does not agree in every detail with his brother’s positions, he makes himself a "partaker with him" in his work (2 John 9-11).

 

6. A fact which is so often ignored by those who either hold to this view of Genesis 1 or else defend it, is that "this approach has legs," i.e. it travels all over the Bible. You cannot successfully halt it at the end of the Genesis account of creation. If we open the Bible to the very first page and read this straightforward narrative as anything else besides what it so obviously is, then we can just as easily travel to any other page of the Bible where narrative appears and make it say something other than that which it so plainly says. Modernists and liberals have been doing this for years in denominational theology and the result has been catastrophic for faith in the inerrancy and authority of Holy Scripture.

For example, we may read about any other miracle of Scripture which has somehow irritated the sensitivities of skeptics and what we will find in their writings is that these stories have tended to be re-interpreted as language which is metaphorical, representative, figurative, non-literal, allegory or analogy — in order to divorce them from history and suggest that "something happened there, but we may never know for sure exactly what it was, and certainly we may say that it was not precisely what was described by the author." In modern theology, this approach has "walked" all over the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

The miracle at the Red Sea is a good case in point (Exodus 14). The biblical assertion that Israel walked across the sea on dry land has been taken as a general lesson that God is involved in the deliverance of his people. If, on the other hand, you ask the modernist scholar whether the event actually happened precisely as is described in the book of Exodus, you will be told that you are asking the wrong question. The important thing is not whether it happened exactly as described, but that you rather understand God loves his people and is always involved in their deliverance. Truth is, this fellow does not believe the events narrated in the Bible are what happened in history! He is not comfortable with this miracle as it is narrated by the inspired author, since secular humanism has taught him that miracles do not happen, and so he turns it into an inspiring story which has no connection with real history. Already among our brethren, some have disputed the instantaneous nature of this particular miracle in order to justify an extended creation week (cf. Exodus 14:21; Psalms 78:13; 106:9; 136:13, 14; Isaiah 63:12, 13).

In modern thought the same approach has been applied to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave on the third day. In effect, this attitude has "walked" from the Old Testament to the New. If you ask the liberal theologian if the resurrection happened just as found in the narratives recorded in the four gospels, he will reply that you are missing the point entirely. He will tell you once more that you are asking all of the wrong questions. It is not the wording or the issues of historicity which are paramount in the study of these texts, he postures, but the impact of the belief upon the early disciples, and for us the question whether we appreciate that God raised up the corpse of the deceased Christian cause. In other words, in each of these instances, and far more besides, they cannot accept the historical reality of the words and events described in the text itself, so they apply their remolding models to the language found in the text and look for a lesson which their sensitive stomachs can receive. Never mind that the language of the text shows precious little resemblance to their humanly contrived and concocted "lessons" of the text. Truth is, they do not believe the events narrated in the biblical accounts are what actually happened, and so they rewrite the story in a more palatable version which they can believe!

Dear friends, when the "legs" of this approach to the creation account in Genesis start walking to other parts of the Bible, and we begin to see our younger preachers apply these principles of biblical interpretation to the remainder of Scripture, we are going to be most unhappy with the eventual result! We will rue the day when so many of us sat idly by while this controversy over the days of creation raged and we shirked it off as a "preacher fight," and treated it as if it were a mere "odd but harmless opinion"! Surely our brethren are not ready to accept this first step toward setting aside the "normal sense" of the text for something which is more palatable to those who have compromised their faith with the theory of evolution!

7. As to brother Phil’s "parallels", we will offer the following general remarks intended to respond to all of them together.

In setting forth his "parallels" our brother commits the logical fallacy described as "The Neglected Aspect." This simply means that in making his case he omits relevant evidence from the presentation. Among the particular forms which the general fallacy of Neglected Aspect takes are that of "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" (Latin for "after that, therefore caused by that"), the Hasty Generalization, and the False Analogy. Phil chooses the latter logical fallacy to frame his arguments. In this sort of fallacious reasoning, the argument is proven weak in proportion to the differences that obtain between the two matters under consideration.

Simply put, Phil neglects to set before those whom he seeks to convince, the fact that we offered a careful study of genealogies in Genesis and throughout the Bible, providing proof that they do not attempt to describe themselves as absolute and complete chronologies. In addition, we showed comparative evidence that gaps do appear in the various genealogical tables and listings, and that there was no reason to believe that the authors made mistakes in neglecting to mention certain persons in their listings. Those gaps were intentional because the process was being overseen by the Holy Spirit of God and to consider them accidents or errors is unacceptable and even blasphemous (John 10:35; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17; 2 Peter 1:19-21), especially when they make no claim as to the very thing which is being asserted about them. Furthermore, to argue that the genealogies of Scripture are intended as complete histories of the people who lived in a given period of time is tantamount to peddling a lie to those who believe it, since the biblical evidence suggests the opposite.

On the other hand, neither Phil nor his brother have been able to offer a single comparable argument to justify their insertion of millions or billions of years between the "days" of Genesis chapter one. Phil seems to intimate that he takes the days as "long days" by virtue of the fact that he argues from Genesis 2:4 ("in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens..."), instead of separating the days with gaps as Hill does. Regardless of which approach is taken, he still cannot come up with a single scrap of evidence to justify this. Where is the evidence in his arguments from the Old or New Testament for "days" representing millions or billions of years? If we were to assume that Genesis 2:4 does not intend to describe the first day of creation when "God created the heavens and the earth" (1:1), and that it rather intends to summarize the events of the entire creation week, this still does not provide a parallel for million year days or billion year days! Neither does it offer any evidence for gaps between the days which comprise periods of time in the millions or billions of years!

This being true, where is his "parallel"? How can he claim these two circumstances are at all parallel when he has not attempted to provide the very thing which we offered in our article to support the main thesis? Thus, his argument commits the fallacy of the Neglected Aspect, in the form of the False Analogy, since two things cannot be said to be parallel if they are so different in what is demonstrably the quintessential element.

8. Brother Roberts, in the course of his presentation, also makes the argument that "non-literal interpretations of the days predate the rise of modern views about the age of the earth, e.g. (Irenaeus in the 2nd century; Origen in the 3rd)." This statement is patently false. The concept of evolution had its beginnings about 700-650 B.C. in the province of Ionia on the coast of Asia Minor among the earliest Greek scientists. Thales of Miletus is given credit for the first theory of the physical development of life. He was "the first ancient to leave a record of an orderly approach to the interpretation of natural phenomena. He broke away from mythological explanations, and expressed his belief that all life had originated in and rose out of the waters of the sea" (J. B. Birdsell, Human Evolution 22). One of his students, Anaximander (611-547 B.C.), produced a complete, though "childishly clumsy" hypothesis of evolution. He taught that men were derived from fishes or "fishlike forms." Man’s helplessness at birth was supposedly "proof" of his inadequacy for terrestrial existence. Xenophanes (ca. 530 B.C.) held that land animals were derived from aquatic forms, and was the first to appeal to fossil shells and seaweeds found on mountains and in rock quarries as proof that portions of the land had been once covered by water. Empedocles of Agrigentum (490-435 B.C.) held that chance alone was responsible for the development of all life forms. He believed that man evolved from prior plant life. Plato (427-347 B.C.) in his Timaeus said that fish were men who had departed so far from the ideal that they could no longer breathe pure air. Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) from his Lyceum in Athens taught that a purposive force created a primordial mass of living matter from which all forms of life evolved. He held that nature fashioned organs in the order of their necessity.

Among the Romans, Lucretius (98-55 B.C.) in his six volume work, De Rerum Natura, expressed the view that the earth was created by the chance collision of atoms. He traced the progressive development of plant and animal forms from the mother earth. According to his thinking, many forms of life existed and died out, while some survived by the protection of craft, courage, or speed. Man supposedly developed from a primitive beast-like condition to a later civilized form.

Among early churchmen, Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.), was probably a theistic evolutionist, though some scholars call him an outright evolutionist. (cf. Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. V, pp. 654, 655 [1909 edition]). Whichever is the case, he certainly did not believe in a literal six-day creation as taught in the book of Genesis. It is probable that he accepted Aristotle’s views and attempted to correlate them with the book of Genesis. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 A.D.) is also often quoted as supporting the view of Augustine. Certainly he did not oppose it. No opposition to this view arose in the Roman Catholic ranks until a Spanish theologian and Jesuit monk named Francisco Suarez (1548-1617) wrote a tractate against it. After Suarez, Augustine’s view of origins fell into general disrepute.

All of the foregoing information is given in order to establish the not so well-known fact that evolutionary thinking is not at all new, but is actually quite ancient. (For a complete summary of these ideas as they developed, see Bert Thompson’s excellent book The History of Evolutionary Thought). It was around for hundreds of years before Irenaeus and Origen! Many early thinkers in the church were influenced by Greek philosophy, as is so evident in the writings of Augustine. This highly respected churchman and Bible scholar felt that it was simply beyond the power of man to know or say how the creation was executed. Others of the time were so infected by it themselves that over 1000 years passed before anyone dared to write in opposition to Augustine’s error! Moreover, young earth creationism is pretty much limited to conservative Bible believers. Nothing in Greek thought restricted their thinkers to a few thousand years of earth history. So, to say that "non-literal interpretations of the days predate the rise of modern views about the age of the earth" is absolutely false.

9. Brother Phil reasons very strangely with respect to the "days" of Genesis 1, so much so in fact, that I will simply quote a few lines of his argument in order for the reader to get a feel for the strangeness of it: "The term 'day' in Genesis 1:4 and 1:18 clearly refers to a period of light as opposed to a period of darkness, and not to a period of 24 hours. In fact, it is not certain that 'day' ever refers to a period of 24 hours in Genesis 1. Even with a literal understanding of the term, every instance may be understood as referring to the period of day light, during which the actual creation took place, and which were separated from the other 'days' by the passing of appropriate periods of darkness, signified by the expression 'and there was evening and there was morning.' Thus the common assertion that 'day' in Genesis 1 must mean a 24 hour day may be wrong on all counts, though this does not materially affect any of the proposed interpretations. In this respect, the same flexibility (and ambiguity) characterizes the use of 'day' in Hebrew as it does the use of 'day' in English" (Phil Roberts, Notes on Two Expressions Relating to the Days of Genesis 1).

Perhaps someone more enlightened than myself will be able to appreciate the force of this point, but I must say that I am utterly bewildered by it. If it "does not materially affect any of the proposed interpretations," as he says, then how can he also state that "the common assertion that 'day' in Genesis 1 must mean a 24 hour day may be wrong on all counts" based upon his observation? These two statements are obviously contradictory. If his reasoning is correct, then those of us who take the days of Genesis 1 as literal and consecutive 24 hour days are completely wrong, and it most certainly does materially affect our interpretation of the passage!

More important than this internal inconsistency, however, is the fact that he completely ignores those other texts which manifestly associate the creative week of Genesis 1 with the ordinary week of the Hebrew people (cf. Exodus 20:8-11; 31:17): In these passages, the "days" of the creation week are viewed as the temporal equivalent of the "days" of the Hebrew work week. Moreover, the Sabbath of the creation week is also the temporal equivalent of the Sabbath of the Hebrew work week: "It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed" (31:17).

Whatever the days of the ordinary Hebrew work week were, the days of the creation week were the same thing. Whatever the days of the creation week were, the days of the ordinary Hebrew work week were the same thing. Whatever the Sabbath of the ordinary Hebrew work week was, the Sabbath of the creation week was the same thing. And, whatever the Sabbath of the creation week was, the Sabbath of the ordinary Hebrew work week was the same thing. Moses stated this equivalency! There is not one thing said in these texts, either in the book of Genesis or in Exodus, which makes any distinction whatsoever between these "days" or Sabbaths. The days of the ordinary Hebrew work week had periods of light and dark, just as the creation week had. And the days of the ordinary Hebrew work week had evenings and mornings just as the creation week had. All of the sophistry in the world will not justify this false view of the creation days of Genesis 1!

One other point needs also to be considered. If we were to grant Phil his point that "day" in Genesis 1 means only "daylight" as opposed to a 24 hour period, how would this help his case? Assuming the period of daylight is only about 12 hours of the normal "day," this would only suggest that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in six 12 hour days, rather than 24 hour days. By his own logic, then, brother Phil has effectively shortened rather than lengthened the period of creative activity -- precisely the opposite of what he was hoping to accomplish!

10. Brother Roberts offers as proof that the word "day" is used in an unusual way, several obviously miraculous aspects of the creative week. He says that "trees sprouting and growing to produce fruit and seeds in a single day," and "animals produce offspring after their kind in a single day" denotes that "day" is not used as it normally appears in the language. These miraculous events, which happened exactly as described in the text, but perhaps not precisely as brother Roberts suggests, do not in any way intimate that the word "day" is used in an unusual way in Genesis 1. To illustrate our point, note the following: The gospel accounts describe the resurrection of Christ as having taken place on the first day of the week (literally "first [day] following Sabbath"). Because a miracle took place that day, are we to believe the "day" was somehow different than normal days? Were they more than the ordinary 24 hour days of the rest of the Bible?

Similarly, when Jesus performed the miracle of turning the water into wine (John 2:1-11), he "short-circuited" that which is normally a season-long process. On that "day" our Lord altered the state of simple H2O, turning it into that which normally requires months to develop. Does that suggest anything about the length of the day the Lord spent in Cana of Galilee?

The same could be applied to any other day when a miracle is said to have happened in Scripture. Because a miracle occurred on a certain day in the Bible, that does not imply anything at all about the length of the day on which it was performed, except in the case of the long day of Joshua 10.

This line of argumentation makes it clear that our brother does not accept the fact that the miracles described in Genesis 1 were "instantaneous" in nature (cf. Psalm 33:6, 9; Hebrews 11:3). We have elsewhere had to deal with this aspect of their view, and must confess that it is a worrisome trait that those who have come to hold these convictions wish to question whether these miracles could have happened in exactly the way described in precisely the amount of time allotted by the biblical text. Please do not miss this point, for it is frightening in its implications: They are denying the instantaneous creation of a mature world by the simple, spoken word of God! Make no mistake about it, this is a form of religious skepticism. What is even more worrisome to this writer is the fact that there was no "firestorm" of opposition that arose out of this meeting which was composed of many well-known preachers! Where is the indignation that we would expect from these "sound" brethren about such a mode of argument being made with reference to Holy Scripture?

 

11. Phil repeats the same two arguments which Shane Scott has made to justify his view of long creative days (Day-Age Theory): He says the "clues" which indicate the days are not regular 24 hour days include "Naming all the animals in one day" and "Lack of termination for the seventh day." We will not discuss these issues here, since they have been often and adequately refuted, but we do want to make one important observation. The fact that he argues thus, clearly indicates to us that the Florida College Bible department is not free of this error simply because Shane Scott has left the school. Phil Roberts apparently believes the same thing about the creation days that Shane Scott did! No doubt this fact will prove most disconcerting to those who thought this controversy had passed when Shane discontinued his work with FC.

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