I’ve recently been posed a very cogent question, one that I get a lot actually:
“How can you say that God created in six solar days when the sun is clearly created on the 4th day???”
I do often use the term “solar day” when I’m refering to Genesis. When some people read Genesis, they impose man’s fallible ideas about millions of years upon the Text and try to fit those long aeons into the days of Genesis. I recognize of course that the sun and the heavenly bodies weren’t formed until Day 4, but I use the term solar day because everyone generally understands that it means a regular 24-hour day.
But where did I get that idea from?
Well, from the context of the passage. Context is very important. I often get commentators who object that a word, usually the word “day” actually, can have many different meanings, so the Genesis days could have been any amount of time – except 6 actual days of course!
In the case of the word “day” we cheerfully admit that it has several meaning depending upon the context. Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis uses the phrase “In my father’s day, it took 10 days to drive across the Australian outback during the day” to illustrate the point that it can mean a period of time, a 24-hour day or even just the daylight portion of the day/night cycle.
But it’s meaning is derived from context. It’s meaning is not determined by all possible meanings or the wishes of the audience, but by the intended meaning of the author.
Interestingly, “yom” the Hebrew word for “day” is used 2301 times throughout the Old Testament. It’s only in Genesis 1 that we question what it really means. Outside of Genesis, it’s meaning is consistent and the rules of context are well-established: Anytime we see the word “day” and a number [410 times], it means a regular 24-hour [aka solar] day. Anytime we see the words “morning” and “evening” together withOUT the word “day” [38 times], it means a regular solar day. Any time we see either the word “morning” or “evening” with the word “day” [23 times], again, a normal solar day. And whenever we see the word “night” with “day” anywhere else in the Olt Testament [52 times], you guessed it — a 24-hour solar day. But people seem to have trouble applying a consistent rule of application to Genesis because of they suppose science has proven millions of years. Continue reading