I have no problem accepting an ancient earth and universe. I believe
the geologic, and astronomic evidence is credible; the YEC literature I
have read has not convinced me that it is wrong. I do, however,
continue to have a problem with just one area and that is in regards to
this current discussion on the interpretation of the word yom.
YEC's claim that yom in connection with an ordinal number always refers
to a 24 hour period. I have discussed this with my pastor, who IS NOT a
YEC advocate, and is not merely a seminary graduate, but has a PhD in
theology. He has told me that his own studies of the word indicate that
the YECs may be right in this case - yom used in conjunction with an
ordinal number is a 24 hour period. I have read a few responses to
this claim, but none of them seems to me to be watertight. I guess I
have not yet heard a credible refutation of this claim.
Can anyone on the list address this issue? Is there an instance
anywhere of yom and an ordinal not referring to a 24 hour period? How
times does the bible use yom and an ordinal together? Can we look at
extrabiblical Hebrew literature and get a reliable answer to this
One attempt to explain the term yom has been to imagine that
Genesis 1 refers to six days of visions (Wiseman in the journal
Science and Christian Faith). Independently, I have been working on
the idea that the Creation Story resembles the evolutionary record
when looked at from the perspective of descriptions (of something
visual or of meaning) rather than the perspective of propositions.
This approach nicely folds into the idea of a sequence of visions.
When this is done, the rendering of Genesis 1 as vision points
to Adam as the visionary and as the evolutionary record as that
which is seen and discussed in a vision.
I think that this shifts the 'literal' aspect of Genesis 1 from
the phrases themselves (when thought of as literal propositions)
to two other features of the text. The first feature pertains
to the potential of the text to resemble the evolutionary record.
The potential is made real (or 'literal') when a resemblance is
analytically rendered (PSCF March 1996) and then artistically
placed into context as a vision. The second feature pertains to
the the text as a relic, so to speak, of what appears to be an
ancient oral tradition. The Creation Story is real (or 'literal')
and points to an experience located in the prehistory of
These new 'literal aspects' sustain 'metaphors'; Genesis 1 as
vision and Genesis 1 as archaeological artifact; that I think
lead to some interesting inquiry. At the moment, I just wrote a paper
on this - and I was curious whether anyone on this listserv
might be interested in reading and critiqueing.
Send your e-ddress and I will return an attached document in Word 97.
Thanks in advance for all interested.
R. is for Ray