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steven m. erickson is 27 years old and lives in boston, ma. he writes code, reads books, plays music, thinks deep thoughts and enjoys life.

Thoughts on Genesis 1-2

February 1st, 2006 theology 11 comments

In our sunday school class this semester we are focusing on Genesis 1 - 3. This past week we focused on two issues, the meaning of the word "day" and the meaning of Sabbath. This class has been on my mind the past few days, so I wanted to offer a couple of random comments on both of these topics. I'll post part 1 tonight and part 2 soon.

It seems that whenever the book of Genesis is studied the question of what the word "day" means comes up. To be honest I think that this is completely misguided and very unhelpful. First, as I read the text, there doesn't appear to be any internal indicators given in the text by Moses that let us know what he means by the word "day". Realizing this, people then go off to other places of the Bible to try and "prove" that day means 24 hrs or day means a long period of time. This to me seems pretty fruitless because you're going to easily be able to make a case for both of those definitions. Finally, I just don't think that the point of the text is to emphasize that God created the world in 7 days; regardless of how you understand the word day. The point of the text is that God created, not that he did it in a certain time period.

While we were discussing this, one of the clearest examples of what happens when one asks the wrong questions of a text was given. One well intentioned student tried to prove the point that "day" in Genesis 1-2 means a 24 day by going to Jesus' first miracle. Jesus' first miracle is when he turns water into wine and not just any wine but the best wine, which also happens to be the oldest. This student's point was that in this story we see that Jesus performed a miracle of time. He accomplished in a very short period of time what usually takes a very long period of time. Just as Jesus performed a miracle of time with the wine, so too did God work a miracle of time by creating the world in seven 24 hour days. While this is very creative, it is just completely misguided; it misunderstands the points of both stories. Just as the point of the creation narrative is not the length of days, the point of the miracle at the wedding of Cana is not that Jesus can do things in a short period of time which usually take a long period of time. I don't mean any disrespect to this student, it was just too clear an example of what happens when you ask the wrong questions of a text.

11 comments

  1. Helena September 11th, 2012

    Traci, I really have enoyejd looking at the photos on your site and wish you lived on the west coast! (Our family needs you!!) Nathan is truly a blessing and we wish he and his family still lived over on the west coast as well!Blessings to Nathan and the entire family on his special day!

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  3. Hetty October 2nd, 2012

    - Mind you this is an unsalvational issue, But, in seeing that, God so loved the world that He sent his only begotten Son, . . . . . . If there’s several Calendar days of the year, that remind the Earth’s people that the Father did send His Son, then good for the Calendar, the People, the Father, & His only begotten Son, Cause He would, that NONE would perish, but, all would have everlasting life . . . God would never hate an event, or day, that causes People world wide to acknowledge His own love He has for us . . . – PS – By the tone of your question, I’m surprised that you didn’t end your question with – “Bah Hum Bug” . . .

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