The Instigator
MrCarroll
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
kohai
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

The days in Genesis are 24-hour days

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
MrCarroll
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,180 times Debate No: 16569
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (12)
Votes (2)

 

MrCarroll

Con

Good afternoon,
I will be taking the position that the days described in Genesis' creation account are not all 24-hour periods of time but are rather unknown amounts of time. I will specifically argue that the first three days of creation are probably longer periods of time then 24 hours. Naturally, my opponent will argue that the said days are 24 hour days as we presently experience.

I trust that my opponent is educated on the issue and takes the Bible as God's word. I will let my opponent present the first arguments and we will go from there. I think by time this debate ends we will have a better understanding of the first chapter of the Bible.
kohai

Pro

I thank my opponent for this opportunity to debate. I believe that the word Day in the Bible is clearly a litteral 24-hour period.

Contention 1: Language

I contend that the word day is a litteral 24-hour period in the Bible because of the phrase found at the end of EVERY creation in the book of Genesis. What is that phrase? "The evening and the morning were the __ day."

In the Bible, the Jews counted time from sunrise to sunset. The begining of sunset was a brand new day, thus the phrase The evening and the morning rather than The morning and the evening.


Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

What is the meaning of the word day?

In the Hebrew language, the word used in the passage was yom the word yom has several meanings.

1) A litteral 24-hour period
2) A time from sunset to sunset (remember, a sunset was the begining of the new day. Thus the terms the evening and the morning and not the morning and the evening.)
3) An unspecified amount of time.

How do we know what is the literal meaning of yom in that case? CONTEXT! The word yom is used 2301 times in the Old Testament outside of Genesis 1. om plus a number (used 410 times) always indicates an ordinary day, i.e., a 24-hour period. The words “evening” and “morning” together (38 times) always indicate an ordinary day. Yom + “evening” or “morning” (23 times) always indicates an ordinary day. Yom + “night” (52 times) always indicates an ordinary day. (1)

It is clear what the context is when we see the phrase the evening and the morning were the _ day

When yom is preceded by a number, it is always meaning a litteral day (2)

Contention 2: Statement by God

I contend that God has shown us the meaning of yom. He says in Exodus 20 that "In 6 days the LORD made the heavens and the earth..." then goes on to say that is why we should hallow it and keep it holy.(3)

If the Hebrew word "yom" was so imprecise, then why was the Sabbath held so regularly (i.e. once a week)?(2) If God wanted the period of rest to represent his work, then it is illogical to have only 1 day of rest or one Sabbath if it was hundreds of years in the context.

Contention 3: A day-age confuses the rest of the OT!

"There are many inconsistencies for those who accept the days in Genesis as long periods of time. For instance, we are told in Genesis 1:26-28 that God made the first man (Adam) on the six day. Adam lived through the rest of the six day, through the seven day, and then we are told in Genesis 5:5 that he died when he was 930 years old. (We are still not in the seven day now, as some people misconstrue the account, for Genesis 2: to tells us God rested from his work of creation, not that he is resting from his work of creation.) If each day was, for example, a million years, then there are real problems. In fact, if each day was only a thousand years long, this still makes no sense of Adam's age at death, either!" (4)

Again, we know for a fact what context the word yom is used because it has a number next to it!

That is all for this round. Good luck to my opponent.

Sources

1. http://www.gotquestions.org...
2. http://lavistachurchofchrist.org...;
3. http://www.icr.org...
4. http://www.creationists.org...

Other stuff to look at!
http://www.answersingenesis.org...
Debate Round No. 1
MrCarroll

Con

I am glad to debate kohai once again. It will certainly be a thrilling debate this time around. I will start with my own arguments and then move on to rebuttals. When looking at the creation account, we must understand that it is a very unique piece of Hebrew poetry. It is not the typical historical narrative we often find in the Bible. We find patterns in 3s, 7s, and 10s. The first three days correlate with the next three days in that the first deals with space, the second with water and sky, and third with land. We need to search this poem and try to understand what it means. We also must notice that the creation occurred with no human witnesses (obviously) and we know the writer is purely God-inspired. Other sections of the Bible are still God-inspired, yet they are also based on human observances. With human observed instances, it would be logical to assume they are speaking of literal days, yet when reading something no human experienced, we must be using God's definition of time rather then human's. 2 Peter 3:8 says, But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. I understand this is not speaking of creation, yet we must ask ourselves, is this a true statement? Given what we know about God, this is a true statement. Peter mentions it is a "fact" implicating that it goes farther then simply the topic it was used for in the verse.
I will have two main arguments contending that the first three days were not literal days. The reason I argue the first three days is because I will define a day in relation to the sun. The Hebrews would have used this definition since they did not use mechanical clocks at the time Genesis was written. Defining yom as a period of 24 hours would be inaccurate for this issue.

I. The age of the earth/universe
When dating the earth, scientists have come up with a number that may be unsettling to some Christians, definitely to those adhering to a strict literal interpretation. 4.6 billion years is a far older earth then the approximate age that can be inferred from the tradition interpretation of the Bible (anywhere from 6,000 - 1 million years). The estimated age of the universe, 13.7 billion years, is even more unsettling. Groups like Answers in Genesis have tried to explain this by either claiming that the dates were off, very off, or by looking into far-fetched theories regarding time and the universe. Interestingly, many things on and around the earth (called “clocks”) seem to be much younger than 4.6 billion years. For example, the distance of the moon relative to earth brings into question the radiometric dating of the earth’s rocks. Simple math indicates the moon existed no more than 750 million years ago. [1] If the Bible is really true, then we should expect it to correlate with science. If the first three days of creation were extended periods of time, then these dates would make perfect sense with scientific knowledge. Obviously the earth itself would have existed long before the moon, which was created on day four. However, if the days were 24-hours long, then serious scientific issues arise.

II. The trees and other plants

Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 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

Observe that trees or any plant take longer than a mere 24 hours to grow. My opponent might object and say that God just put the vegetation directly on the earth, but notice that the verses directly say that the “earth sprouted vegetation.” This does not indicate that the plants appeared but literally grew from the earth. Look at Genesis 2 where the author goes into detail about the creation of the plants.

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. Genesis 2:5

At this point, the beginning of day three, the ground is seeded, yet nothing can grow since there is no water. However, in the next verse God sends a mist from the earth causing the plants to grow. If God had simply made plants appear or supernaturally grow, then this water wouldn’t have been necessary. Instead, these verses indicate that the plants grew by natural means, yet we know it takes more than a day for any plant to naturally grow. We must then conclude that the third day at least was not a 24-hour day. I will now address my opponent's arguments.

Rebuttals

Contention 1: Language

My opponent argues that the said day is 24 hours because of the phrase at the end of each day, "There was evening, and there was morning, the ___ day" However, this would be irrelevant for the first three days since there was no sun. The only two accurate definitions for yom are (1) a time from sunset to sunset (2) a time from sunrise to sunset (clearly not the case) or (3) an extended period of time. For the first three days, definition 1 would be invalid, and only definition 3 remains.
My opponent argues that the use of the word yom in the rest of the Bible indicates that the word is describing a 24-hour period. However this is a fallacy of accident. Simply because yom indicates a 24-hour day 2301 times outside of Genesis 1 does nothing to prove that Genesis 1 is a 24-hour period. There is actually good reason to believe the contrary. Every time yom is used to describe a 24-hour day, it is within events that have been witnessed by humans. In addition, since the Israelites judged days by the sun and there was no sun in the first three days of Genesis 1, then logically follows that we might have an exception on our hands.

Contention 2: Statement by God
My opponent argues that God gives the meaning of yom to us in Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day..." Yet this argument does not address the issue. We are not arguing whether or not God created the universe in 6 days. Instead, we are arguing what it is meant by day in Genesis and could it be longer that our 24-hour days. The actual time periods between God's work and rest and our work and rest do not need to be the exact same amount of time as God's days are different then ours. After all, God is not restrained by time, living outside of it.

Contention 3: A day-age confuses the rest of the OT
This is a straw man since I asserted that I will argue that only the first three days are extended periods of time. I do not personally adhere to the typical day-age theory of creation.

Thank you, I await the response of my opponent with much anticipation.

[1] http://www.earthage.org...:
kohai

Pro

Once again, I thank my opponent for his responses to my debate. I also thank him for the good conduct he shown forth.

Allow me to refute his opening arguments before refuting the rebuttals.

  1. Age of the Earth

My opponent argues that since Science has proved the Earth to be about 4.6 byo, then there is a scientific error in the Bible that needs to be answered. Therefore, it is logical to think that the meaning of the word day was not a literal 24-hour period (paraphrased as I am going to run out of characters.)

I would like to offer an explanation for this. Now, there are several possibilities that I will explain.

Possibility 1: The earth is 4.6 billion years old. Since I am arguing for a literal 24-hour creation I must answer the question why does the age of the earth seem older than 6,000 years? Does the explanation have to be a day age? Why not a gap theory? You need to examine all the possibilities.

Possibility 2: God has created the universe in a mature way. This is the viewpoint I hold. When God created Adam, how old was he? Well, technically he was 0—just like we are when we are born. However, Adam did not have an infancy stage. He was created mature. So, he would appear to be in his 20’s, 30’s even 40’s or however old he seemed—but he was still mature. God is an awesome God that has that power.

  1. Trees take longer than 24 hours to grow!

My opponent basically argues that since trees take longer than 24-hours to grow, it can’t possibly mean a literal 24-hour day! (Paraphrased to conserve space)

I obviously am not denying that plants take longer than 24-hours to grow! Does the verse directly say that the “Earth sprouted vegetation?” No. Let us look at a couple of verses. Let us look at the verse Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth: and it was so. We clearly see from the phrase whose seed is in itself that they were, in fact, mature—already with seeds to keep the commandment to “Reproduce and multiply.” Isn’t God great!

Notice that it also says Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree or in other words ““Let the earth sprout vegetation!” God also already enables the plants to follow natures plants by creating them mature “Whose seed is in itself” I think that is enough for that point.

Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground. Genesis 2:5

Look at the verse before it. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.”

At this point, the beginning of day three, the ground is seeded, yet nothing can grow since there is no water. However, in the next verse God sends a mist from the earth causing the plants to grow. If God had simply made plants appear or supernaturally grow, then this water wouldn’t have been necessary. Instead, these verses indicate that the plants grew by natural means, yet we know it takes more than a day for any plant to naturally grow. We must then conclude that the third day at least was not a 24-hour day. I will now address my opponent's arguments.

You say that If God had simply made the plants appear or supernaturally grow; then this water wouldn’t have been necessary. Wrong. Plants need water. That is a scientific fact. Obviously a plant can go a day without water. God can sustain life and if he is powerful enough to create a mature plant with the seeds already in, then clearly he can sustain the plant! Clearly, he knows that eventually they will need water. “We must then conclude that the third day at least was not a 24-hour day.” Again, arguments found above support me.

Now I shall answer the rebuttals that my opponent made.

My opponent argues that the said day is 24 hours because of the phrase at the end of each day, "There was evening, and there was morning, the ___ day" However, this would be irrelevant for the first three days since there was no sun. But there was time, there was also light! God created light on the first day! Although there wasn’t anyway to measure “A day” God inspired Moses to write this story because God did know how long he took. The only two accurate definitions for yom are (1) a time from sunset to sunset (2) a time from sunrise to sunset (clearly not the case) Obviously because there was no sun. or (3) an extended period of time. For the first three days, definition 1 would be invalid, Why not? Time existed. God knows everything and I believe he would know how long he took! and only definition 3 remains. Refuted.
My opponent argues that the use of the word yom in the rest of the Bible indicates that the word is describing a 24-hour period. However this is a fallacy of accident. Simply because yom indicates a 24-hour day 2301 times outside of Genesis 1 does nothing to prove that Genesis 1 is a 24-hour period. There is actually good reason to believe the contrary. Every time yom is used to describe a 24-hour day, it is within events that have been witnessed by humans. In addition, since the Israelites judged days by the sun and there was no sun in the first three days of Genesis 1, then logically follows that we might have an exception on our hands.
Again, God who is all-knowing would know how long he took, even by Earth’s standards when there was no “Sun”!

My opponent argues that God gives the meaning of yom to us in Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day..." Yet this argument does not address the issue. We are not arguing whether or not God created the universe in 6 days. Correct. Instead, we are arguing what it is meant by day in Genesis and could it be longer that our 24-hour days. The actual time periods between God's work and rest and our work and rest do not need to be the exact same amount of time as God's days are different then ours. After all, God is not restrained by time, living outside of it.

I didn’t touch up on the opening pre-statement. I’ll do that here.

2 Peter 3:8 says, But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. Does this mean that the whenever the LORD says day that he is really referring to a thousand years? No. Let me give you an accurate meaning of this verse.

“The text says ‘one day is like [or as] a thousand years’—the word ‘like’ (or ‘as’) shows that it is a figure of speech, called a simile, to teach that God is outside of time (because He is the Creator of time itself). In fact, the figure of speech is so effective in its intended aim precisely because the day is literal and contrasts so vividly with 1000 years—to the eternal Creator of time, a short period of time and a long period of time may as well be the same.(1)”

I apologize for not touching up on everything—but when typing this on MS Word, I ran out of space—therefore, stuff I can’t touch up on or improve on in this round, I will in the next round.

Source
1)
http://creation.com...

I turn it back over to my opponent

Debate Round No. 2
MrCarroll

Con

I. Age of the earth
My opponent has presented with two possibilities both of which I will briefly refute.
a. The gap theory is specifically made to accommodate evolution into the creation story, which it fails to do for several reasons. However, the "gap" between the first two verses is illogical as well. The authors intentions were clearly to start at day one.If we are speaking of the first day, then there are no days prior to the first day. The whole idea is a bit far-fetched and day one apparently encompasses the first verse.
b. My opponent suggests that God created a universe with age, but this is illogical. This asserts that God created stones with a strange ratio of parent to daughter material indicating age and somehow the other rocks in the earth correlate with these dates. We can observe that time has gone into the geology around us. This also asserts that God sped up the light from the distant galaxies so that they would reach earth in six days despite being 13 billion light-years away, but for what purpose? Yes, Adam was not created as an infant, yet as far as we know, he did not physically age, he was 0 years old. He wouldn't have had wrinkles and white hair. Creating a perfect universe with billions of years of age would not make sense, and God is not illogical. When comparing these two explanations with the explanation that I have presented, that the first three days were unspecified long periods of time, the latter is more of a logical explanation.

II. The trees and other plants
And I quote my opponent: "'Does the verse directly say that the "Earth sprouted vegetation?' No."
And then he says in the next paragraph: "Notice that it also says Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree or in other words 'Let the earth sprout vegetation!' "
Since he cannot make up his mind, I will break this down in Hebrew. The Hebrew word, dasha means to sprout, shoot, grow green. My opponent suggests that the latter part of the verse suggests the plants already were there, yet, it only says the seed was there. The writing indicates that God sort of planted the seeds and they grew. This is all encompassed within the third day presenting a difficulty for the 24-hour interpretation.
The verses in chapter 2 also suggest the earth was "seeded." The verse says the plants could not "sprout" because there was no water. I understand that plants need water–they are made of water. Plants do not need water to "appear," but rather they need it to naturally grow. If they simply "appeared" like we assume the animals did, then water would not have hindered this. This verse simply supports the idea that they grew naturally.
Now back to my opponent's arguments. He claims that since there was light and time, the days were 24 hours long. However, there are cases where light and time are present and the days are not 24-hours. Time is not universally constant. Remember, I asserted that the days couldn't be defined as ‘24-hour period' because that would not have been the definition used by the writers of the book. They would have defined it according to the sun. Since there was no sun, we are left with the third definition, ‘an unspecified amount of time.'
My opponent claims that the verse in 2 Peter contains a simile, but does this ruin my argument? Not at all. As the source says, the verse is "to teach that God is outside of time (because He is the Creator of time itself)." This is precisely the point I mean to make and supports my position. I know that the verse is not claiming a day is literally "a thousand years" but that doesn't mean there isn't a difference in perception of time. We don't say "an apple is like a thousand apples to me" unless I am starving.

I ask reader to take all of the evidence for both sides and ask themselves, what makes the most sense. I find that my arguments are more coherent with both the Bible and science, thus I urge that readers vote Con. Thank you very much for reading and thank you Kohai for the debate

[1] Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions (Strong's H1876)
kohai

Pro

I thank my opponent for this debate and for showing EXCELLENT conduct throughout this debate—although we still disagree.

Refutation of opponent’s arguments

The gap theory is specifically made to accommodate evolution into the creation story, which it fails to do for several reasons. However, the "gap" between the first two verses is illogical as well. The authors intentions were clearly to start at day one.If we are speaking of the first day, then there are no days prior to the first day. The whole idea is a bit far-fetched and day one apparently encompasses the first verse.

Agreed. I just used that as a “theory” and another possible explanation. Not as a fact.

As for the real reason why I think the universe looks the way it does, it is because the universe really is that old. Why couldn’t have Adam and Eve been in the garden that long. We never hear how long they were in the garden.

Since this is the final round, I will give my reasoning. I believe that A) the universe is as old as science says. B) I believe that Genesis account is absurd—however, I still hold the viewpoint that the days in Genesis are literal.

Yes, Adam was not created as an infant, yet as far as we know, he did not physically age, he was 0 years old. He wouldn't have had wrinkles and white hair.

Straw-man argument. While he didn’t show signs of being old as you have put it, he may have appeared to be in his 20’s or 30’s, we simply do not know his physical appearance after Creation.

Why vote pro?

1) I have shown that, biblically and historically, the Genesis account is literal 24-hours.
2) I have refuted each of con’s claims that needed refuting.
3) I have shown using Hebrew texts why it has to be literal.

Let’s recap.

1) If a day is an era, why are an evening and a morning even mentioned? Actual days must be intended, otherwise, men who lived hundreds of years, e.g., Seth and Noah, would really have lived millions of years. If a day is an era, then a year must be tremendously long, perhaps encompassing hundreds of millions of years. Again, anytime that you see yom+# it always means a literal 24-hour day (see source from previous argument.)

2) If the first three days are not 24-hour period, how can we determine what the other days mean in the same passage?

3) The words evening (52 times) and morning (220 times) always refer to normal days where they are used elsewhere in the Old Testament. The Jewish day began in the evening (sunset) and ended with the start of the evening the following day. Thus it is appropriate that the sequence is evening-morning (of a normal day) rather than morning-evening (= start and finish). The literal Hebrew is even more pronounced: "There was evening and there was morning, day one. . . . There was evening and there was morning, day two," etc.http://www.icr.org...

4) In Genesis 1:5, 14-18, the words day and night are used nine times in such a manner that they can refer only to the light and dark periods of a normal, 24-hour day.

That’s all for this debate, vote pro!

Debate Round No. 3
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
A dead debate.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Good luck in voting.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Ok.thanks. Hopefully I'll have a fee more arguments. I feel your arguments were weak as explained by the plant argument's refutation.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
Thats fine. Or you can just use "..." To shorten quotes. Either way.
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
Thats fine. Or you can just use "..." To shorten quotes. Either way.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
I have ran out of room typing the debate. May I use an outside source such as a blog to finnish the arguments? I may need to paraphrase what you said. However, I don't want to take it out of context.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Thanks. I'll start refuting your debate. I do think this will be better than our last debate. At least I used sources this time!
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
Predictable, ive had this debate before. But your getting better.
Posted by kohai 6 years ago
kohai
Franklin Baptist.

How were my opening-arguments?
Posted by MrCarroll 6 years ago
MrCarroll
"this debate is already the assumption that 1) God exists 2) The Bible is true and 3) The creation is accurate."

Correct. May I ask what church you go to?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by ReformedArsenal 6 years ago
ReformedArsenal
MrCarrollkohaiTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Although I believe they are literal 24 hour days... the arguments presented by MrCarroll are legitimate.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
MrCarrollkohaiTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Well presented arguments on both sides, I would give this on balance to MrCarroll (1 pt) simply because kohai often mad arguments like the gap theory and would not defend them past the first rebuttal.