The Instigator
ConservativePolitico
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
thejmanjman
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The Creation "Days" Were Not 24 Hours Long

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
ConservativePolitico
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,065 times Debate No: 23276
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

ConservativePolitico

Pro

I will be arguing that the Christian Creation story as noted in Genesis was not made up of 24 hour days but longer periods of indeterminate time.

Whoever accepts this debate will be assuming that:

a) God exists
b) God created the Universe
c) This Creation story comes from Genesis

First Round Acceptance

Con will be arguing that the days mentioned in Genesis were the standard 24 hour day-night cycle days.
thejmanjman

Con

I accept and believe that the word "day" as it appears in Genesis refers to a standard 24-hour day. State your case Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
ConservativePolitico

Pro

Thank you for accepting.

I will be breaking this argument down using scripture.

Evidence Against the 24 Hour Day

a) The Third Day

Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. - Genesis 1: 11-12 [2]

As we can see from the English translation of the Third Day God created plants from sprouting and yielding seed which created fruit bearing plants that spread through dropping fruit with seed in them. From these verses alone we get the deep sense of time that goes far beyond the 24 hour day. This suggests God planted the seeds himself and grew the Earth slowly through progression and growth to get the biodiversity we enjoy today. It doesn't say "God created plants" and that's it but it painstakingly goes and says that the Earth sprouted vegetation and yielded seed. If this took a mere 24 hours it would have just said that God created the plants and nothing else. The fact that they described the planting process in detail lends itself to a long and intricate process of planting.

The original Hebrew uses the word dasha meaning to sprout or grow forth. [1] It doesn't mean to just grow but to grow from a seed into a plant from the Earth.

Also, we can tell from the text that God did not directly interfere with the planting process but merely oversaw it as it grew through the process because of this clause "And the earth brought forth vegetation", God did not bring vegetation forth from the Earth but the Earth brought forth the vegetation on its own from the seeds that God created and sowed. Again, this completely destroys the idea of a 24 hour day because of the language and words used we can tell that God planted the seeds into the Earth and watched them grow forth on their own.

Even the fact that the fruit trees grew and bore fruit suggests a time period of at least a few years because that is how long fruit trees take to do so.

b) The Sixth Day

"And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them."

Genesis 1: 25-27 [2]

On the Sixth Day God created all the animals and man in one day. If this is true then dinosaurs and man would have had to have lived at the same time which we know to be false.

More than that, it says God created the animals and then Adam and then Eve. When God created Eve Adam exclaims "at last".

"Then the man said, "At last, here is one of my own kind--- Bone taken from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. 'Woman' is her name because she was taken out of man." - Genesis 2:23 [2]

Since man and woman were created in the same day, the Sixth Day, we know that this exclamation of relief must have also came on the Sixth Day. However, it is illogical for someone to say "at last one of my own kind" if Adam had been there for less than 24 hours (since God created the animals first). Less than a day is hardly enough time to grow lonely and long for a companion and then show great signs of relief when the companion has been given to you. In fact, less than 24 hours isn't even enough time to come to terms with one's own existence. A baby does not long for a companion and then relieve when one is provided. From this, again, we get a sense of time. Adam must have been alone among the animals for a while so that he longed for a companion.

The Word Day

One of the Hebrew translations of the word for day (there are three including the traditional 24 hour period and the daylight hours) and the third translation means an unspecified amount of time. [3] We have already shown that the other two definitions do not fit leaving the third definition which specifically mentions an unspecified period of time. We use this in English occasionally as well such as "the day of the dinosaurs" or "every dog has his day" which shows periods of time. It is not so distinct in English as it is in Hebrew however. Day in the original Bible had the meaning of a long period of unspecified time.

Conclusion

Evidence in the text and the original Hebrew overwhelmingly points to the Creation days to be long periods of time and not 24 hour days.

Thank you


[1] Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions:
dasha דּשׁא (Strong's H1876)
  1. to sprout, shoot, grow green
    1. (Qal) to sprout, grow green
    2. (Hiphil) to cause to sprout, cause to shoot forth
[2] http://www.biblegateway.com...

[3] Strong's Hebrew Dictionary
yôm יום (Strong's #H3117)
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially): - age, + always, + chronicles, continually (-ance), daily, ([birth-], each, to) day, (now a, two) days (agone), + elder, X end, + evening, + (for) ever (-lasting, -more), X full, life, as (so) long as (. . . live), (even) now, + old, + outlived, + perpetually, presently, + remaineth, X required, season, X since, space, then, (process of) time, + as at other times, + in trouble, weather, (as) when, (a, the, within a) while (that), X whole (+ age), (full) year (-ly), + younger.

thejmanjman

Con

Thank you Pro for your thorough commentary regarding your position. I will first state my beliefs and then offer a rebuttal to some your statements.

Definition of "Day"

The Hebrew word for Day is yom has three definitions: a) standard 24-hour day; b) the 12-hour portion of the day which is lit by the sun and occasionally c) an indefinite period of time. In Genesis 1:4 the Bible states that God separated "light from the darkness" and then in Genesis 1:5 we see that "God called the light day, and the darkness he called night", clearly describing what happens during a standard 24-hour day. For certain clarity, Gen 1:5 finishes off by stating "And the evening and the morning were the first day." This phrase is used after each and every day during creation, "evening and morning."

Many words and phrases in the Bible have been used symbolically an are not to be taken literally. To set a standard for a particular word to be used appropriately symbolically in later portions of the Bible text, it must be clearly defined initially. The first occurrence of the word "day" was meant to set a standard of a time period for the word "yom", specifically definition b) above. If we have an arbitrary time period for the first occurrence of "yom" then any reference to "day" throughout the Bible would also be arbitrary - this is clearly not the case given the documented proof of certain historical events and timetables described in the Bible. For example, in each of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) it is clearly stated that the Christ will rise from the dead on the third day. When Jesus appeared to his Disciples after he rose from the dead, the word "day" most certainly means a 24-hour period. How else would it be possible for Jesus to interact with those who saw him die on the cross if a day meant thousands or millions of years?

In several places in the Bible, the word "day" is specifically contrasted against longer periods of time, some of them indefinite. For example, in Genesis 1:14 we read that God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night: and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years." If day didn't have a standard definition of 24-hours, it could not be contrasted against the word years. The word years becomes meaningless without a firm definition of the word day.

Lastly, the word day appears in the KJV 1,759 times. During the six days of creation, the word day appears 12 times. If the word day didn't mean a standard 24-hour period, the remaining 1,747 occurrences of the word day would make the entire bible moot due to the arbitrary nature of time itself since day was initially defined in Genesis. The collection of historical accounts in the Bible is the most historically verified written document known to man (as measured by supporting documentation discovered and cross-referenced) - this documented support fully delineates that the word "day" means 24-hours.

The Nature of God Himself

With respect to creation , of all the definitions of the nature of God the two primary characteristics that allowed God to do in six 24-hour days the impossible are the characteristics of OMNIPOTENCE and TRANCENDENCE.

- TRANSCENDENCE - God transcends that which He created, i.e., He "goes beyond" that which He created, He is not limited to, He is not bound by that which He created (www.godonthe.net). God's nature and power is wholly independent of (and removed from) the material universe in which we live and in which the Laws of Nature abide (www.wikipedia.com). Given God's transcendence over the laws of nature, an adult immediately capable of reproduction can be fashioned out of clay; a sun can be created out of nothing; a tree full of fruit can appear; etc... That which is impossible over the lifespan of the entire human existence can occur in a nano-second (or immediately since God doesn't abide by time as understood by humans). God created time but is not bound by time.

- OMNIPOTENCE - typically defined as "All Powerful". The creator of the universe, the One who always has been and will be, the one who has all power to do anything He chooses, even that which is logically impossible (www.wikipedia.com, et al.). This characteristic essentially states that God is limitless and has the sole authority to create in the manner and under conditions determined by God himself.

Further, given that God created man and knows of man's physical needs and limitations, a day/night structure was designed for our health and well being. Since it was God's ultimate plan to create man in the physical/material realm, prior to man inhabiting the earth day/night, air, water, plants and animals must be there prior to the arrival of man. Since man needed the differentiation between day/night over a 24-hour period, the 24-hour period must have been created first, as it is written in Genesis 1:4.

Rebuttal

a) As stated above, God is transcendent meaning He is not bound by the concept of time. Further, God is Omnipotent meaning He has the authority to do what He chooses in the manner he chooses. Therefore, God has the authority and ability to create a plant/tree fully laden with seed or fruit without the process of growth over time.

b) Re: Dinosaurs, man cannot prove that dinosaurs actually lived. We can only prove that their fossils exist. What man has seen a living dinosaur? Given God's transcendence and omnipotence, how can man know for a fact that God didn't create the fossils without allowing the dinosaurs to walk the earth? Re: "At last, here is one of my own kind," the term "At last" means in this case the pinnacle of His creation. When building a house, the foundation is set, frame constructed, roof installed, electrical and plumbing installed, interior and exterior finished and then "at last" it is complete. The second the final touches are complete, a feeling of accomplishment is then achieved. What we read is simply God commenting on his satisfaction of his total creation ending with the pinnacle of his accomplishment, man. "At last!" He states.

Definition of time: Although Pro uses one of the defined term for "yom", he chose the least likely definition. Given that none of us were there for days 1-6, we must use the most likely definition using Hebrew texts as a guide. Only occasionally do historical Hebrew texts use definition c). "Without exception, in the Hebrew Old Testament the word yom is never used to refer to a definite long period of time with specific beginning and end points. Furthermore, it is important to note that even when the word yom is used in the indefinite sense, it is clearly indicated by the context that the literal meaning of the word day is not intended. " (www.godonthe.net). Given that creation definitely ended on day 6 (we are not currently experiencing creaton), the word yom in this case cannot mean a longer period of time than 24-hours.

That is all for now. Over to you Pro.








Debate Round No. 2
ConservativePolitico

Pro

Day

The crux of your argument comes from assigning the word "day" one singular definition to fit the entire Bible. For example, by comparing this use of the word day to that in the gospels you are attempting to say that once "day" appears one time in the Bible that definition is set throughout its duration.

Words have more than one definition for a reason and you cannot assign a single unchanging definition to a work, especially one as long and deep as the Bible. There are 33 definitions of the word "raise" according to www.dictionary.com. Now which did Jesus do? Was he set upright? Placed in a higher position? Now, if we use taken up as the definition does that mean that we can only use that definition for every other instance of the word raise in the Bible thus making the other 32 definitions moot? No, we cannot.

Now, you have already conceded that day can mean an indefinite period of time but then incorrectly pair it with the creation of the day-night cycle. The creation of day-night does not mean that it happened in one day. It then separates each portion of creation by saying "evening and morning" to show different blocks and separating the "days" and parts of creation.

God

I already addressed your claims about God's nature in my first argument. I am well aware that God is all powerful and can create things in an instance but in your argument you have ignored my point I made earlier about the wording of the text. We can tell from the text that God did not directly interfere with the planting process but merely oversaw it as it grew through the process because of this clause "And the earth brought forth vegetation", God did not bring vegetation forth from the Earth but the Earth brought forth the vegetation on its own from the seeds that God created and sowed. Again, this completely destroys the idea of a 24 hour day because of the language and words used we can tell that God planted the seeds into the Earth and watched them grow forth on their own.

This is made apparent by the use of the word dasha which means to sprout from seed and grow out of the Earth. It did not say God placed the plants or created the plants but rather planted and watched them sprout. The Earth brought forth the plants on its own from a sprout. For someone who was harping on the specifics of language you have ignored this very important use of it here.

Now, your arguments about God's temporal nature actually helps my case as well because it can go both ways. While you say that God could have done all this in a microsecond or in a single day, he could have also done it over millions of years, eons for us but only a short period of time for him. It is actually more likely that God carefully created the Earth and paid attention to each little detail over a vast period of time (that is no matter to God) and He could call it a day.

Also, just because God created the Earth over a long period of time doesn't mean he didn't create the day. Why does Creation's time frame have to be hingent upon the creation of a day-night cycle? Your last paragraph of your God argument makes no sense. Yes, God created the day-night cycle first but that doesn't mean that he then fit the rest of creation into 6 of those cycles. The two aren't connected.

Negations

Na) We have already addressed that the language of the text and the specific wording used shows how God most likely resided over the Earth as it grew and sprouted on its own without supernatural help. (See above)

Nb) Are you suggesting dinosaurs didn't actually exist? Well, this isn't a debate about dinosaurs even thought I would love to have one about them, you cannot fabricate extraordinary claims with no evidence to back it up and expect it to be taken seriously. History, palaeontology and geology show how dinosaurs did indeed once walk the Earth. Your claims mean nothing if you don't have evidence to show how they were never alive.

Nb1) "At last!" is usually a statement used after a long period of time. Adam said this, not God. Adam did not create Eve so it would not be his own creation that he was applauding which would take the satisfaction part out of the equation. When someone builds you a house in 6 hours you don't say "At last!" you say "Wow that was quick!". The statement "at last" at the appearance of Eve suggests a long period of not a 12 hour period of loneliness accumulating in this statement. Adam wasn't wowing over God's creation because he was part of it, just created "hours" before in your view. Thus, how could he long for a partner so quickly and come to see God and his Creation so quickly and then develop enough to enjoy and appreciate it. In a matter of hours. No, this statement came after a long period of growth, appreciation and development over a span not in mere hours.

Nc) The word yom when referring to a long period of time was used only in Creation because it is the only event in history that could warrant such a use coming from God. We can see from the wording of the text, the expressions used by Adam and the nature of creation that this word was specially used to describe this wondrous, long, period of time. The text clearly shows evidence, far greater evidence, that the days in questions were long blocks of time and not 24 hour days.

Thank you for a great debate.
thejmanjman

Con

Pro, thank you for a quality debate and thank you for not forfeiting! I hate forfeits.

ADDITIONAL ARGUMENTS

YOM - we both agree that Yom has three definitions (and that each has been used in various places in the Bible). Both of our arguments rest heavily on our interpretation of that particular word. The definition of yom to be used for any given passage depends on how the word yom is modified and in which context it is used. In this case, particularly “And there was evening, and there was morning, the [first] day (1-6)" (repeated six times for each subsequent day), we see the word yom (day) is modified by the words "evening" and "morning". In Hebrew, the word for evening is "ereb" and the word for morning is "boqur". While Yom may have three meanings, ereb and boqur each have one and only one meaning: a portion of the day representing the time period around the setting sun (ereb) and rising sun (boqur). There are no alternative definitions for these words in Hebrew. So, we have three words in the same sentence regarding time, two out of the three represent definitively a 24-hour day and one that could represent a 24-hour day (and almost certainly does when modified by ereb and boqur). In order for that sentence (again repeated six times) to represent a time period different than 24 hours, we would need evidence from the Bible and all Hebrew texts that ereb and boqur can refer to an indefinite time period - this is simply not the case. Never, and I mean never, do these words represent an indefinite time period.

Exodus 9-11 - What do other parts of the Bible think about the length of a creation day? In Exodus 9-11, we see this: "9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." What we see here is a direct and undeniable link between a standard 24-hour human day and a 24-hour creation day.

REBUTTALS

1) "And the earth brought forth vegetation" - If God "brought forth" vegetation over time, then wouldn't God have "brought forth" the human being over time as well? There is no mention of a development phase of the human being (or any animal, for that matter) in Genesis.

2) "I already addressed your claims about God's nature in my first argument." I don't see any reference to the Nature of God himself in your first argument. However the characteristics of Omnipotence and Transcendence certainly show that God could do whatever God desires in 24 hours.

3) "It did not say God placed the plants or created the plants but rather planted and watched them sprout." It did not say that either. It said "plants yielding seed." According to www.dictionary.com, "Yielding" means producing or productive. Your claim is that they already produced, which is not what yielding means.

4) "We have already addressed that the language of the text and the specific wording used shows how God most likely resided over the Earth as it grew and sprouted on its own without supernatural help." The phase "most likely" is incongruent considering the definition Pro is relying on is the least often used definition in Hebrew texts, especially since Yom is NEVER used as an indefinite time period when combined in the same sentence with definitive 24-hour day modifiers like ereb and boqur.

5) Dinosaurs - No human being can prove that dinosaurs walked the earth. We can only prove that their fossils exist yet cannot with certainty show how and when they got there. What can be inferred is that they walked the earth, but it cannot be proven. We think they walked the earth but we don't know. I don't have an answer to this, just pointing out a logical fallacy you used to support your position. Smoke doesn't always mean fire. Until you see the fire, you don't really know what caused the smoke. Without firm, 100% proof, one must consider other options may exist.

6) "At Last" - Since God always was and always will be, God wasn't waiting for man just over six days. God has been waiting for man since the beginning of eternity with man finally showing up on the sixth 24-hour day of creation. Eternity started an infinitely long time before creation started.

7) Dasha - Given God's Transcendence and Omnipotence, dasha could occur instantaneously. The use of that word doesn't assure a certain passage of time. It assures the process but not the time it took to complete. The use of the word dasha combined with the nature of God certainly doesn't "completely destroy the idea of a 24-hour day." If anything, it's neutral and doesn't help either of our arguments in this case because it gives no reference to time. It simply speaks of the process.

Thank you for the debate.

Vote Con.


Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by thejmanjman 4 years ago
thejmanjman
It sucks when people don't vote.
Posted by MouthWash 4 years ago
MouthWash
I'd vote, but I can't verify my identity from Israel...
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
Ask GenesisCreation to debate you on this.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
...Because we all know that it's almost impossible for the creator of the universe to state what he means in plain language.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Nur-Ab-Sal 4 years ago
Nur-Ab-Sal
ConservativePoliticothejmanjmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I give Pro arguments because he showed how events described during the "days" of the Creation story would have taken longer than a day; therefore, the larger time frame within which they occurred must have been longer than a day. Sources is tied because both sides used extensive pieces of evidence from the Bible to support their argument. Good job both.
Vote Placed by Koopin 4 years ago
Koopin
ConservativePoliticothejmanjmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Posted to remind myself to go pee pee before bed so I don't have another accident.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
ConservativePoliticothejmanjmanTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Posting to remind myself to read and vote.