I’d like to see the context of Mr. Molinist’s statement, because I’ve read his papers on that topic and you clearly aren’t understanding his point.
Moreover, your insistence that there can only be ONE interpretation/meaning of a particular linguistic construction raises huge red flags for me. (I don’t think you have a background in the basics of linguistics, or you wouldn’t make such a bizarre claim.)
Besides, even in the text of the HMT there are two passages, if I recall, where an ordinal number is used with YOM and it is NOT a “literal 24-hour day”. Hosea 6:1-2 comes to mind.
I vaguely recall another in Joel. There may be one in Daniel, but I’m just shooting from the hip on this. However, NONE of these really matters because the underlying claim of a “rule of grammar” about “an ordinal number with YOM” has been debunked nearly every time some Young Earth Creationist has used it to demand that Genesis 1 refer to six 24hour days.
Of course, it is also irrelevant for other reasons: EVEN IF some rule demanded some “literal meaning” of YOM in Genesis 1, that wouldn’t prevent that literal meaning (i.e., the dictionary meaning) to be applied to a poetic structure/genre. Genesis is clearly structured as a “creation hymn” composed of a chiastic 3+3 YOM outline where the author communicates that for YHWH God, all of creation was created by him in something as modest a single human work-week. (“For God, it’s all in a day’s work. That is how powerful he is!”) And for each YOM of the work-week God trumps (and thereby dominates) a pagan god/goddess of the surrounding pagan cultures. That is, YHWH created the water and the land. YHWH created the animals of the land and fish of the sea and the birds of areas, each a DOMAIN which other neighboring religions attributed to some deity in a pantheon.
The “Creation Hymn” even provides an obvious CHORUS for each day of that workweek: “And the evening and the morning was the Nth YOM.” That would be a tiresome repetition in a prose narrative of an historical event. But it makes complete sense in a Creation Hymn honoring the God of Israel. (Indeed, that is why it introduces the Pentateuch, the Books of Moses. The history of God’s people must begin with a preface, a basic background to the central “character” of the Torah: YHWH, the Creator God of Israel.)
When Carl Sagan used the “Cosmic Calendar” to explain the history of the universe and the relative time-scales involved, he chose to use the analogy of a single year of 12 months and 365 days. He used the words “year”, “months” and “days” exactly as their literal definitions in the dictionary would demand. But the “Cosmic Calendar” uses “literal definitions” of the time words to explain by analogy something much bigger. When Sagan said that life on earth began in September, he used words which all had “literal meanings”, but the audience understood that he was saying “If we are living at midnight following December 31 and the Big Bang began on January 1 at 12:00:00 in the morning, then dinosaurs ruled the earth on Christmas Day.” Was Sagan referring to the “literal meaning” of Christmas Day? Yes, in the sense that one MUST understand the literal meaning of Christmas Day to know that most dinosaurs lived around the 361st day of the world’s calendar. (“Literal” refers to a major definition of a word found in the dictionary. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be applied in higher level structures of communication.)
Matt, I understand where you are coming from because I come from a Young Earth Creationist background. But as a young professor, I had no idea the diverse ways in which various cultures convey their views and explanations of history. Indeed, the ancient Hebrews had far less interest in chronology than we do. It seems obvious to you that Genesis 1 is “Here is exactly what happened in a 144-hour period long ago when God made everything.” but those with different cultural backgrounds would be baffled and say, “What??? Why do you think this text is a history of a single week containing a rigid chronology of God’s deeds? It is obvious to me that Genesis 1 is mainly saying ‘God made everything’ and 'Each of six spheres that the gods of the pagan nations around Israel governed, GOD RULES THEM ALL because he has no equal and isn’t part of a pantheon. God supercedes all other gods you’ve heard people mention!”
I do understand how hard to believe this idea can be. Not until I had a lot of experience in ancient texts and religious studies did I realize that what I thought was obvious in the text (due to my exposure to rigid traditions) was not so obvious at all. Accordingly, if I could travel back in time, I doubt that I could convince my 1965 self (a cocky, sure-of-himself professor) of his ignorance and that some day he would be aware of far more evidence that would force him to realize that the ancients may have had far different intentions for GENESIS 1 than what I assumed at that time.