Inconsistency in Regard to Yom

A favorite argument of Ken Ham’s superliteral interpretation of Genesis is the Hebrew word for day: yom, from which we get stuff like Yom Kippur. His argument is as follows: the word yom (and the plural yamin) is used over 700 times in the OT and they all refer to 24-hour periods. I specifically recall this Dan Lietha cartoon from my time in high school (it was in an AiG newsletter).

While the Ham Salad is right about Peter talking about God’s patience, it seems he tends to be arbitrary when it comes to the text in its original language (the Flood, anyone?).

While I hold to the theory that Moses may have been shown the evolutionary process, I feel that the concept was dumbed down exponentially for the sake of the Israelites’ comprehension, opting for a poetic narrative in the first eleven chapters, modeled after pagan myths like the Enuma Elish and Epic of Gilgamesh. These were stories involving Marduk slaying the primordial sea monster goddess Tiamat and mangling her corpse to create the universe* and the gods flooding the world because humans wouldn’t pipe down, respectively. Moses reworked such themes to reflect the characteristics of God: loving, but just; creating life with an objective purpose; being the Author of the laws of reality, etc.

All this stated, can we assume that the YECs who claim to be taking the Bible seriously aren’t taking it seriously at all when they pick and choose which words mean what in which chapter?

After all, we have a wealth of Christian and Jewish thinkers since the First Century AD who would disagree with AiG, Kent Hovind, and Ray Comfort.

*I think that’s why. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Have you considered the idea that Moses didn’t write Genesis 1-11?

1 Like

The 6 day model of Creation in the Old Testament … and the presence of Jesus in the New Testament … share one important aspect:

both story lines lack any realistic sense of Cosmic reality:

the bible doesn’t connect the earth’s orbit around the sun to explain the concept of DAYS…

and Jesus, despite being characterized as equal to the omniscience of Yahweh, has no idea of the same, or even that there are additional causes behind mental and physical illness besides of demons.

I think John Walton and other Genesis scholars make a good case that yom in Genesis 1 does indeed refer to a normal day, not an era. But that doesn’t mean the whole passage should be taken as objective historical narrative, that is a separate interpretive issue.

We had a big long discussion about this not too long ago and some people had some very detailed responses. You would have to skip over all the irrelevant bunny trails, but there is some good stuff here. The Meaning of the Word "Day" in Genesis 1

1 Like

I’ve avoided this so far, but I think you are making the same mistake of literalism here as the Hams of the world. The dispensationalists who try to interpret prophecy literally do the same thing. Remember Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth? He was working off the same theory as you. He thought John had seen visions of literal, actual events and was trying to put it into language that his audience could understand. For example, he was sure that what John was trying to describe as the locusts of Rev. 9 were actually helicopters armed with missiles. (I would bet a large sum that Ham, Hovind, Comfort, et al. would agree with this idea. They are all in the same interpretive camp.) Hmmm. Really? How can Lindsey know the content of a vision? Did God reveal it to Hal? Perhaps we should consider the radical theory that John recorded the contents of his vision exactly as he experienced it.

It’s a fun concept for a fictional book, but don’t confuse a pet theory for a factual statement. If God can reveal the distant future, I see no reason why he could not reveal the distant past, as well. But since the apocalyptic visions of the future are highly symbolic, I would suspect that any visions of the distant past would be similar. Beyond that … be careful of falling in love with your own pet theories.

1 Like

Then how DO I understand this?
I mean, how am I supposed to?
Like, what’s the real narrative and how do the ideas of evolution and the Judeo-Christian mindset NOT contradict?

I refuse to give Ham, and especially Dawkins, any credence.

I’m not sure I understand your questions. Could you elaborate?

Maybe I should elaborate first. Fiction is the right forum to play the “what if” game. Your idea about Moses receiving a vision of the literal history of the world and trying to translate it into language that the ancient Hebrews could understand could make for interesting fiction. There’s no reason to abandon the idea as a premise for a fictional book. It might be fun reading.

If, on the other hand, you are seeking to understand the text of Genesis for your own edification, I suggest you look at some good commentaries on Genesis. I like Kenneth Matthews commentary on Genesis in the NAC series. Bruce Waltke’s commentary is also highly recommended.

I have said a few times that I am trying to write a biblical fiction about the subject, though I’m not sure if anyone knew I was looking for a hand with the preface. The whole premise is that Genesis 1-11 wasn’t meant to be understood in a literal fashion and that the concept I was bringing to the table is that the two protologies don’t have to be at odds.

I want plausibility in this story. I don’t want another Left Behind.

The premise is plausible, and could make for a thought-provoking story. The best guess of conservative scholars is that Abraham lived around the time that writing was invented in Mesopotamia. Thus, events that occurred prior to then, i.e. Gen. 1-11, were based on … what? Theories abound. My only caution is to make it clear to readers that your book is a work of fiction

Dude, if anyone is inconsistent, it’s you. You make the claim that that Ken Ham is wrong, yet it is Ken Ham who is using only the bible to make his argument, whereas you are using, what? assumption, speculation based on your bias, already preconceived ideas of Peter, Moses etc… You criticize others for picking and choosing. My friend, perhaps you should read what you just wrote again :slight_smile:

Um, no. Ken Ham doesn’t use only the Bible. In fact he barely uses the Bible at all. YECs are notorious for avoiding what the Bible says. Here are some examples.


Here something that I pray you can easily understand and closes the “yom” debate once and for all when using a systematic theology my friend. Courtesy of “The Hebrew word yom is used 2301 times in the Old Testament. Outside of Genesis 1, yom 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.” :slight_smile:

I LOVED this treatment! The addition of RED LETTERS to bridge the gaps is INSPIRED!

It even includes the the momentary nuttiness that persists in the YEC movement about the mortality of Adam and Eve.

It’s pretty clear they were MORTAL from the get go. Eating from the Tree of Life was necessary to life forever …that’s what God SAYS!

So Adam’s sin doesn’t seem to have anything to do with this …

1 Like

I love it!

1 Like

I’m glad someone appreciated the irony.


My, friend. My argument was on “yom” What you provided is not germane to my post. “The Hebrew word yom is used 2301 times in the Old Testament. Outside of Genesis 1, yom 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.” :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I addressed very specifically your claim that “Ken Ham who is using only the bible to make his argument”. What I wrote was completely relevant to that claim. Since I personally believe that yom in Genesis 1 refers to a literal 24 hour day, and that this is reinforced particularly by the use of “evening and morning” (as I have argued several times on this forum), I am certainly not going to say the opposite. I’m sorry if that disappoints you.

1 Like

Interesting. If you believe that “yom” is a literal 24 hour day. How in the world could you be a theistic evolutionist? I mean, evolution does consist of millions of years. Does it not? :slight_smile:

Because I’m reading the six days in the same way that they were read by some earlier expositors, such as pre-Christian Jewish commentators and Christian era commentators such as Cosmos Indecospleustes and Anastasius of Sinai.

“Here too God led up the great one, Moses, and hid him in the cloud for forty days without any food. Then He showed him in visions how He set about creating the universe: He prolonged the act of creation for six days, and rested on the seventh.”

Daniel Caner et al., History and Hagiography from the Late Antique Sinai: Including Translations of Pseudo-Nilus’ Narrations, Ammonius’ Report on the Slaughter of the Monks of Sinai and Rhaithou, and Anastasius of Sinai’s Tales of the Sinai Fathers (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2010).

Yes it does. And I don’t believe Genesis 1 is trying to show what happened over millions of years.