Interpretation & Meaning in Genesis + Sabbath

Hello Pevaquark,


I suppose but I would hope that you could separate ‘the word of God’ and your ‘interpretation of the Word of God.’ It is a classic move,

I speak of the word of God as to what it actually means, not as arbitrarily interpreted.

I get it, I used to think that way too when I was a YEC in particular. It’s why Answers in Genesis says:
From the Bible we can already know the big bang idea is wrong: the Word of God in Genesis 1 says the earth was created before the stars.

A more accurate thing to say would be:

Our interpretation of the Bible is in conflict with the Big Bang idea. Because of our extreme confidence that our interpretation of the Bible is absolutely correct, then we feel confident to reject the Big Bang idea.

They’d be wrong of course but please let’s not make this about the Bible vs. science but rather interpretations of the Bible vs. science.

The conflict is not between the Bible or interpretations of the Bible and science, but between world views that influence interpretations of both the Bible and of scientific observation. I’m crazy about Answers in Genesis!

The school of thought of the evolutionary view is that modern scientific observation supersedes “ancient” Biblical knowledge. It’s the equivalent of a “modern minded” youngster that’s “smarter” than his “old-timey” dad only to later find out the hard way that Dad with his timeless wisdom was right all along.

According to the survey above, the majority of Christians tend to believe that evolution was God’s way of creating. But is scripture democratically validated? How do we know to trust the use of the supposed evidence by fallible scientists that said we evolved to the point of doubting what the Bible plainly documents? As long as we best know where we’re going by knowing where we’ve been, and that life is a one-way street, doesn’t it thus behooves us all to make quadruple sure we accurately know our history?

I have material by several authors that are PHD scientists that scientifically show flaws in the Big Bang theory.

Through science, we learn that the year is determined by the earth orbit around the sun, the month by the orbit of the moon, and the day by the rotation of the earth. But where did we get the 7-day week? Why are we instructed in the Decalogue to remember the sabbath day? If God truly used million years evolution to create, why don’t we work millions of years between weekends? Please?

As for my screen name, I have a habit of naming myself after dinosaurs. In this case, triceratops.


The 7 day week predates the Hebrews. The 7 day week is an easy way to divide a lunar month, 29 days, into smaller units.

The Egyptian “week” was 10 days; so the Hebrews didn’t get it from there.

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Nice so your interpretation is the actual one. Next.

Okay I suppose we will have to disagree here.

And unfortunately you have believed their whopper that we all have the same evidence but just interpret it differently because of the worldview and assumptions (‘biblical’ vs. ‘evolutionary’?).

That is one way to engage with external knowledge- hold out by faith. Only that is not going to happen for the YEC perspective which has been a rejected hypothesis for a long time now. Why do you think it is the geological community for example rejects a worldwide flood just 4,000 years ago? Because of their stubborn anti-God bias? No, it’s because a single catastrophic event fails to explain the actual evidence of the surface of the earth. It became a rejected hypothesis with no explanatory power. Geologists won’t just happen to think all the sudden that the past 150 years of intricate and careful study of God’s creation were all mistaken.

Does the Bible teach we are more prone to misinterpret nature compared to misinterpreting Scripture? How can I trust your interpretation/young earth doctrine over decades of a measurable and testable growing body of scientific evidence since you are just as fallible as they are?

Nice. I have hundreds of thousands of papers from thousands of scientists that show how the model is wildly successful and the only theory that can adequately explain the facts of the universe.


Of course. Egypt wasn’t the only culture that pre-dates the Hebrews.

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[quote=“Ecerotops, post:1, topic:40226”]
Why are we instructed in the Decalogue to remember the sabbath day?
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NIV2011)
12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.
15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

Ecer, I trust that this answers your question above. As a student of the Bible I am sure you know that there are two almost identical versions of the Ten Commandments in the Bible, one in Exodus and Deuteronomy. Even though the first is better known, since the second is also a part of God’s word, it must be still valid and it does not refer to the Creation, but the Exodus.

Also you must be aware that John 1 provides the NT version of the Creation which is different from Genesis. Also in John 5:15-18 Jesus challenges the Genesis understanding of the Sabbath, by saying that He and the Father never rested.

If you accept the Gen. understanding of the Sabbath, do you observe the Sabbath on the seventh day or Saturday? Do you observe the Sabbath by resting as the Pharisees did? If the answer to either or both is no, then your understanding of the Bible is based on interpretation.

Since the universe was created by and through the Rational Word of God, the Logos, Jesus Christ, then the OT word must be interpreted by the Logos.

There are of course many Christians who think an ordinance has to be equivalent to what it memorializes. So, if God worked six days and rested one day as a pattern for the Sabbath, the days are the same whether ours or God’s, and the rest is the same whether ours or God’s. Likewise, if Jesus tells us to eat the Lord’s supper because “this is my body”, then for it to be meaningful it has to be real flesh and not bread.

But as I’m sure you know, not all Christians agree. Many think the Lord’s supper can have real meaning even without the bread literally becoming Christ’s flesh. Many think the Sabbath can have real value for humans without it corresponding one-to-one with God’s own rest. The suggestion in Hebrews 4 that God’s rest – the seventh day – continues, and we are still called to enter it, suggests there may be something more profound in the seventh day than a time of divine refreshment and breath-catching after strenuous labour (Exod. 31:17).

The portrayal of God as a human labourer in Genesis 1 also suggests we shouldn’t expect this picture to reveal the mechanics or timetable of how God works. Each day, the account describes God working only during the day. After each day of creation, the narrator tells us that evening comes, then morning comes, with no creative work during this span. The refrain “there was evening and there was morning” does not define a day – it describes the uneventful passing of a night. So the whole picture of God working six days with the nights off, then resting on the seventh, makes sense as an anthropomorphic picture of God.

God is described this way, not because God really does sleep at night and take Sabbaths off, but because this gives humans a template for their own work and rest. And the structure of a literal week can indeed help us remember our creatureliness, just as certainly as bread can unite us as Christ’s body who partake together, discerning his presence among us as we await the feast to come.


Hi @Ecerotops,

Appealing to differences in worldview can only get you so far in trying to argue against scientific observation. For starters, you can’t shrug off the results of measurement and mathematics. Masurement does not give you different results when looked at from different worldviews. Mount Everest is still 8,848 metres tall irrespective of whether you look down at it from an aeroplane or up at it from base camp. And yes, measurements have to be interpreted, but the interpretations have to obey strict rules of accuracy, mathematical coherence, technical rigour, quality control, and even basic honesty.

Here’s the thing. The age of the earth, and the ages of things in it, are determined first and foremost by measuring things. Radiometric dating? That’s just measurement. Counting tree rings or lake varves? Again – it’s measurement. The fact is that old earth explanations for the most part obey these rules. Young-earth arguments, on the other hand, simply do not.


With a lunar month of 29 1/2 days you can either go down to 28 for 4 weeks of 7 days (or 2 of 14 even). Or you can go up to 30 days allowing a division in 3 “weeks” of 10 or 5 weeks of 6. The Mayans used groupings of 20 days so not everyone even tried to divide up the lunar month evenly, and this is usually considered too long (closer to a month) to be compared to weeks. No matter what you do there always has to be corrections since none of the astronomical periods divide any of the others evenly.


Our precise measurements tell us it is 29 days and change. Naked eye observation can result in a lunar cycle of 28, 29, or 30 days. Four 7 day weeks would fit with the 28 days. The Jewish calendar was originally based on the moon and has to be corrected to keep it in sync with the year.

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A seven day week as prominent in many cultures but others had ten and various number on non-traditional weeks asides from a seven day week. God may have chosen to use the seventh day as a day of rest to fit with the framework of the story of Genesis 1 (and may I mind you read Genesis 1 and 2 and see that these are in fact two different creation accounts, such as the world of Genesis 1 starts off as a watery chaos while in Genesis 2 it’s a dry dead land) God simply took their understanding/worldview and used it to make a special day of rest and cultic devotion/worship to Himself (Yahweh). The people who worshiped Yahweh/El/Eli/Elohim/El Shaddai (He went by many names before the Mosaic Levitical cultic system was made) may of had a different concept of weeks then the one the Hebrews had before Leviticus and also they may have worshipped on the third or fourth day instead of the seventh. Also are we bound by the Levitical Sabbath (as the SDA says we should be) or do we worship on the Lord’s Day (Sunday)?

If that was so then why haven’t YECers given evidence that the earth is 6,000-10,000 years old via geological evidence? They haven’t and instead we see the earth is millions of years old. One of the reasons along with the issue of dinosaurs and the Flood made me leave YEC and become EC. We cannot be dealing with two different “interpretations” when scientific facts shows the earth is millions of years old. While one may protest the evidence on the table they cannot deny it without looking like a fool. But please entertain me this Ecerotops, if the Flood was worldwide and dinosaurs were in it along with humans, then why haven’t we found human, animal and dino bones on the same layer of rock/soil?


FYI, just to get the information out there for reference…

4.1 billion years ago: first life
2.1 billion years ago: eukaryotic cells (like those we have) evolved.
541 million years ago: Cambrian explosion in which most known animal phyla appeared in the oceans.
365 million years ago: First land animals.
66 million years ago: extinction event wiping out 75% of species on the planet including dinosaurs
15 million years ago: common ancestor of great apes and homo sapiens
2 million years ago: first of the homo genus - homo habilis and homo erectus
700 thousand years ago: divergence of neanderthal subspecies
200 thousand years ago: oldest group most like modern humans isolated in southern Africa.
100 thousand years ago: migrations out of Africa begins with small genetic input from remnants of other subspecies like neanderthals along the way.
15 thousand years ago: migration across the Bering straight.

According to this the dinosaurs were extinct 64 million years before anything like humans appeared – that’s 32 times as far back in time as the oldest of the homo genus.


The Babylonians had a seven day week.

Anyway, 7 is a highly symbolic number, derived from the number of the planets (including the sun and moon) which can be seen in the sky. Either God created the universe according to a primitive astrological method, or genesis 1 is ‘symbolic’.


I’ve heard this too. Another possible reason I have read for 7 being considered special is that there are 4 main directions on the compass, and then adding those to three principle domains: the celestial world, the earth, and the underworld, makes for 7 rough spatial domains. And just as you can get 7 from 4+3, you get 12 from 4x3. The Cartesian-conditioned mathematician in myself resonates with these historical possibilities too. image

It would also be interesting to know more about when and how the 7-day week came to dominate the global calendar as it has now. Was there ever a time in history that we know of where a non-7 day arrangement dominated in the old (non-American) world?

I recently looked into trying to date when the Sabbath was instituted in Judaism compared to when Genesis in its current form is dated to see if it can be established that the seven-day work week in Israel pre-dated the narrative, but it was not a clear-cut thing. One thing that was interesting was that although surrounding cultures had seven day weeks, the Sabbath (seventh day of rest) was uniquely Jewish and nothing similar is attested in other ANE cultures.


According to Wikipedia, the ancient Romans had a 8 day cycle, with 7 day week coming in around the time of Augustus and both used for a while. Again with sun (Sunday) moon (Monday) and 5 planets being incorporated.

Trying to figure out how you could divide up a month into 8 day “weeks” led to the realization that there is more than one way of calculating the length of a month. The 29.53 day length is measured with respect to the sun, i.e. how long the moon takes to come back to the same position respect to the line joining the earth and sun. But perhaps the more natural way to measure the length of the month is to do it with respect to the background stars which is more than two days shorter - 27.32 days. From this length you can then round up to 28 days or down to 27, the latter of which supports dividing the month up into three “weeks” of nine. The connection to an eight day week is something the Celts did based on nine nights with eight days in-between them.

Interesting. Kind of neat, because in Hausa (the Chadic African language that surrounded us as we grew up in Niger), the word for “seven” is “saba’in,” and Saturday is “Asabar” much like Hebrew. But since Hausa is about 1/4 influenced by Arabic, that makes sense–being related to Hebrew.

Which is a fallacy of the false dilemma.
A false dilemma is a type of informal fallacy in which something is falsely claimed to be an “either/or” situation, when in fact there is at least one additional option.

Another option is that God created in 6 days and rested on the seventh, giving the 7 day week which was passed through Noah to Babel and then generally followed but with some nations adopting a different “weekly” cycle.

But since the Hebrews were enslaved for hundreds of years and would have been forced to follow the Egyptian calendar it is surprising they didn’t use the 10 day week.

6 posts were split to a new topic: Evidence for a young earth