How long is a day?
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17-12-2013, 08:25 AM (This post was last modified: 07-03-2016 04:50 PM by goodwithoutgod.)
How long is a day?
I know you fellow debaters out there have had that thrown at you. "You don't know how long a day in god's world is"...*key dramatic music* dunh dunh dunh...or the ever popular "Gen 2:5 doesnt say how long that was, or how long ago...." yeah, so lets look at how long a day is in the abrahamic myth fable book the bible.

There are three primary views that explain the meaning of the word "day" in Genesis 1. I will describe each one, and some of the purported Biblical evidence supporting each, briefly here. After all, this is a topic on which many books have been written.

24-hour Day Theory

This view, which is held by many Young Earth Creationists states that each of the 6 days were 24-hours long. Although they admit that the Sun was not created until the third day, this does not mean that the first two days could not have been 24-hours long, just the same.

A small sample of Biblical evidence to support this theory includes:

Genesis 1 mentions the passing of "morning" and "evening", this suggests literal days
A study of other Biblical texts which use the phrase "evening and morning" (38 not counting Genesis 1) all refer to 24-hour days
The Hebrew word for day (Yom) used in Genesis 1, whenever attached to a number elsewhere in scripture, it refers to a 24-hour day
See the book Creation and Time: A Report on the Progressive Creationist Book by Hugh Ross by Mark A Van Beber and Paul S. Taylor for more discussion on this, and relevant topics. Note: not to be confused with the book Creation and Time by Hugh Ross, to which the aforementioned book is a rebuttal.

1000-year Day Theory

Another view held by many Young Earth Creationists, it is essentially the same as the 24-hour Day Theory, with the exception that it acknowledges that God's perspective of time is different than the human perspective of time, in light of 2 Peter 3:8:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
Therefore, the Genesis 1 days may refer to 1000-year time periods, rather than 24-hour time periods.

Day-Age Theory

This view, a subset of Old Earth Creationism, is the view that the word "day" in Genesis 1 is metaphorical, and represents an arbitrary amount of time. Consistency with scientific evidence is frequently cited, but also often criticized by Young Earth Creationsts as taking too liberal a view of scripture.

A small sample of Biblical evidence to support this view includes:

The Hebrew word for day (Yom) used in Genesis 1 has many meanings: (a) Some portion of the daylight (hours), (b) Sunrise to sunset, © Sunset to sunset, (d) A segment of time without any reference to solar days (from weeks to a year to several years to an age or epoch) [i.e. "In my grandfather's day" or "in the day of the dinosaurs]

In rebuttal to the popular argument which is made that none of these 38 mentions of "evening and morning" use the same Hebrew word for day (Yom), so drawing parallels is inappropriate.

In rebuttal to the popular argument which is made that when used elsewhere in the singular (as it is in Genesis 1) the Hebrew word (Yom) is always in reference to human activity, therefore drawing parallels to this usage in Genesis 1 in this case is also inappropriate.

The fact that the seventh day never ended suggests that we are still living in the seventh day, which would clearly indicate that the seventh "day" is many years long.
The Genesis 2 re-account of creation has Adam naming "all the wild animals and all the birds" (Genesis 2:19-20 NIV) between his own creation and before Eve was created, thus all on the 6th day. This would be impossible in a 24-hour period (Young Earth creationists often argue that God may have given Adam supernatural speed or abilities, or that prior to the fall man naturally had greater abilities that might allow this task to be completed in one day.)

Those who argue that the word "day" means "long age," point out that the Hebrew word, yom, can have a number of meanings, only one of which is "day of 24 hours."1 They further seek to strengthen their position with the use of Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8, comparing a day to a thousand years. Both of these verses, however, are simply using figures of speech (similes) to show that God is not constrained by the same time parameters as are humans. These verses are really irrelevant to the discussion of the meaning of "day," in Genesis 1.

It is recognized, of course, that the word "day" can be used with a number of variations. It can have any of five meanings:
1) a period of light;
2) a period of 24 hours;
3) a general, vague time;
4) a point of time;
5) a year

The context determines which of these is intended by the writer. The English language also can have up to 14 definitions for the word "day." The reader should be reminded that the purpose of language is to communicate. Moses wrote in a language that was meant to communicate to his readers. Words must be defined by their relationship to one another. Word meaning must be determined from within its context. It will be shown how the context defines the word in Genesis 1.

The use of a number with the word "day" is very illuminating. This combination occurs 357 times outside of Genesis 1. The combination is used in four different ways, but each time it is used, it must mean 24-hour periods of time. If the combinations had been intended to mean long periods of time, both the texts and contexts then become meaningless. A typical verse is Genesis 30:36: "And he (Laban) set three days journey betwixt himself and Jacob." God frequently issued commands that the people were to do or not to do certain things on a given day. This use occurs 162 times.

A good example is Exodus 24:16: "And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days, and on the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud." These are the most typical uses of the word "day" with a number. Four times the terms are used to show a starting point. Ezra 3:6 says, "From the first day of the seventh month they began to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord." A number may also be used with "day" to convey an ending point. An example is Leviticus 19:6: "It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire." It would appear, then, that whenever the Old Testament uses a number with the word "day," it means a 24-hour period of time without any demonstrable exception.

If the meaning of the word "day" with a number always means a 24-hour period of time outside of Genesis 1, then it should also mean a 24-hour period of time inside Genesis 1. The words that Moses used to communicate what God did during creation are very significant. If Moses had meant to signify that the "days" were more than 24 hours in length, he could easily have done so. If we are to understand what Moses wrote, then the language he used must be understood in its normal meaning. The normal meaning is that of 24-hour periods of time.

Hope that helps you dismantle that particular apologetics escape.

Happy holidays

Smartass
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07-03-2016, 10:32 AM
RE: How long is a day?
(17-12-2013 08:25 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  It is recognized, of course, that the word "day" can be used with a number of variations. It can have any of five meanings: 1) a period of light; 2) a period of 24 hours; 3) a general, vague time; 4) a point of time; 5) a year.

I find your definition of the Jewish understanding of the word "yom" to be very good. The only tiny tweak I'd make is that instead of saying that yom means a period of light, it's better to define it as a period of darkness to light, or a period of chaos to order. IIRC, I've even heard it described as just being a period of time with a clearly defined beginning and ending which reflects some kind of change.
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07-03-2016, 11:22 AM
RE: How long is a day?
I did not wade thru the entire page of words above, but hope that that does not negate my right to respond. In prophecy many will tell us that a day is a year. As in the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel and several other such prophecies. It has been half a century since i was immersed in that babble and do not remember it word for word, but find it as confusing and unpalatable now as I did as a 17 year old sitting in Babble doctrines class
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07-03-2016, 04:06 PM
RE: How long is a day?
(07-03-2016 11:22 AM)DerFish Wrote:  I did not wade thru the entire page of words above, but hope that that does not negate my right to respond. In prophecy many will tell us that a day is a year. As in the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel and several other such prophecies. It has been half a century since i was immersed in that babble and do not remember it word for word, but find it as confusing and unpalatable now as I did as a 17 year old sitting in Babble doctrines class

It's the same process, you take a word that's supposed to be a length of time and stretch or compress it so it fits your presupposition and makes that nasty cognitive dissonance, questions, or Satan go away.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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07-03-2016, 04:09 PM
RE: How long is a day?
Well, that depends: is it Monday? 'cause that sucker's way toooo long ...

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07-03-2016, 06:42 PM
RE: How long is a day?
Since the writers of the bible were people and their knowledge of a day is in fact the same day that we know, we can assume it is meant as 24 hours.

A fictional god who can do anything, can cause an entire universe to poof into existence instantly.
I mean, why the hell not ?

I can imagine a new universe with lots of galaxies and solar systems within a short period of time, but it might take me 6 days to flush out all the details.

A day is the amount of time it takes to get some shit done.
If it took him a day, it took him a day. I could have done it faster Smile

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07-03-2016, 07:07 PM (This post was last modified: 07-03-2016 07:15 PM by SitaSky.)
RE: How long is a day?
I saw this subject brought up on another site and there were some Christians who believe in evolution and creation and were saying that the days were actually billions of years. Most astrophysicists accept that the universe is around 14 billion years old. If that is true and Yahweh is real than that means each day lasted about 2 billion years. Adam and Eve were created on the 6th day which means by the time the 7th day of rest ended they had been living in Eden for about 2 billion years, they were pretty old. I guess God was right when he warned Adam he would "surely die" If he ate from the tree of life, it took them about 900 years to die after their expulsion from Eden but still, they could've been immortal, silly first people to ever live! But maybe they were actually our early ancestral ape family as some of the evolutionary creationists like to believe, in that case, silly apes!

Then there is the 6,000-10,000 years after Adam and Eve left Eden. You would think we would have some Bible stories about what Adam and Eve were doing for so long. That could be a good book series "Adam and Eve's Adventures in Eden", in this issue Eve helps a lion get over his fear of asking out his crush...the only other lion in Eden. Meanwhile Adam is still busy naming every single living thing on the planet"
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08-03-2016, 10:12 AM
RE: How long is a day?
(17-12-2013 08:25 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  24-hour Day Theory

This view, which is held by many Young Earth Creationists states that each of the 6 days were 24-hours long. Although they admit that the Sun was not created until the third day, this does not mean that the first two days could not have been 24-hours long, just the same.

A small sample of Biblical evidence to support this theory includes:

Genesis 1 mentions the passing of "morning" and "evening", this suggests literal days
A study of other Biblical texts which use the phrase "evening and morning" (38 not counting Genesis 1) all refer to 24-hour days
The Hebrew word for day (Yom) used in Genesis 1, whenever attached to a number elsewhere in scripture, it refers to a 24-hour day

This shows a good understanding of the YEC position. However not all YECs believe the sun was created on the fourth day. The Bible says God placed lights in the sky on that day but it doesn't say he created the bodies that produced the lights then. Here is a different YEC view of the subject:

https://clydeherrin.wordpress.com/2014/0...-universe/

Also, each day is clearly a period of time when the earth rotates once on its axis but that doesn't necessarily mean the days were 24 hours long.

https://clydeherrin.wordpress.com/2012/0...-the-days/

The information in ancient libraries came from real minds of real people. The far more complex information in cells came from the far more intelligent mind of God.
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08-03-2016, 10:19 AM
RE: How long is a day?
(07-03-2016 10:32 AM)Aliza Wrote:  
(17-12-2013 08:25 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  It is recognized, of course, that the word "day" can be used with a number of variations. It can have any of five meanings: 1) a period of light; 2) a period of 24 hours; 3) a general, vague time; 4) a point of time; 5) a year.

I find your definition of the Jewish understanding of the word "yom" to be very good. The only tiny tweak I'd make is that instead of saying that yom means a period of light, it's better to define it as a period of darkness to light, or a period of chaos to order. IIRC, I've even heard it described as just being a period of time with a clearly defined beginning and ending which reflects some kind of change.

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08-03-2016, 10:32 AM
RE: How long is a day?
They have an awful track record of noting what a "day" was.

If Jesus, say died on friday afternoon or even whenever during that day... then arose & wasn't there in the tomb Sunday morning when checked. That in no way was a period of 3 days.

It's a period of less than 48 hours... yet they call it 3 days.

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