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Forum > Sound Christian Doctrine

Intelligent Design

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AGelbert:
2 Peter 3:8—‘one day is like a thousand years’
by Jonathan Sarfati


--- Quote ---This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently revised to appear in Creation 31(4):16.
Question: Doesn’t 2 Peter 3:8 indicate that the days of creation might not be literal, but thousands of years long?

Answer: 2 Peter 3:8–9 reads:
‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’

The first thing to note that the context has nothing to do with the days of creation.  Also, it is not defining a day because it doesn’t say ‘a day is a thousand years’. The correct understanding is derived from the context  ???—the Apostle Peter’s readers should not lose heart because God seems slow at fulfilling His promises because He is patient, and also because He is not bound by time as we are.

The text says ‘one day is like [or as] a thousand years’—the word ‘like’ (or ‘as’) shows that it is a figure of speech, called a simile, to teach that God is outside of time (because He is the Creator of time itself). In fact, the figure of speech is so effective in its intended aim precisely because the day is literal and contrasts so vividly with 1000 years—to the eternal Creator of time, a short period of time and a long period of time may as well be the same. 

The fact that the passage is actually contrasting a short and long period can be shown by the fact that Peter is quoting Psalm 90:4 (Peter’s statement ‘do not forget’ implies that his readers were expected to recall something, and this passage has this very teaching). This reads:

‘For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.’
This is synonymous parallelism,  ::) where a long period of a thousand years is contrasted with two short periods: a day, and a night watch. But those who try to use this verse  to teach that the days of Genesis might be 1000 years long forget the additional part in bold. For if they were consistent, they would have to say that a watch in the night here also means 1000 years. It’s difficult to imagine that a Psalmist (Psalm 63:6) is thinking on his bed for thousands of years or that his eyes stay open for thousands of years (Psalm 119:148).   :P

The immediate context of the Psalm is the frailty of mere mortal man in comparison to God. This verse amplifies the teaching, saying that no matter how long a time interval is from man’s time-bound perspective, it’s like a twinkling of an eye from God’s eternal perspective.

In any case, the meaning of ‘day’ in Genesis 1 is defined by the context there—the Hebrew word for day, yōm יום , is used with the words ‘evening’ and ‘morning’, and the days are numbered (first day, second day, etc.). Whenever yōm is used in such a context, it is always an ordinary day, never a long period of time. The meaning of the days of creation as ordinary days is also affirmed by Exodus 20:8–11, where God told the Israelites to work for six days and rest on the seventh because God had made all things in six days and rested on the seventh. 

For more information, see other articles in Q&A: Genesis under ‘Days of Creation’.
(Available in Russian)
Related Articles
Distant starlight and the days of Genesis 1
Further Reading
Creation at the academy
Creation and Change" href="/book-review-creation-and-change" abp="524"Book review: Creation and Change
http://creation.com/2-peter-38-one-day-is-like-a-thousand-years
--- End quote ---

Agelbert Comment:

I am a Christian. I disagree with your 6 literal day interpretation of Creation.

I agree with 2 Peter 3:8–9. I realize Peter was urging patience but that doesn't mean he had forgotten what the length of a 24 hour day is or the tremendous difference with one thousand years.

I read your article by Jonathan Sarfati. His claim that Peter's words were out of context in regard to Creation, "The first thing to note that the context has nothing to do with the days of creation." is an interpretation known as  Procrustean Bed logic. When a Scripture passage has the expression, "To this Day", you, of course, are not talking about the year 2013 in regard to whatever was being discussed, are you?

Jonathan wants to take the words of Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit about Creation, literally but refuses to do so for Peter's words, inspired by the same Holy Spirit,  because "as" is a simile? I'm sorry, that is an interpretation that I cannot agree with.

I agree, as a Christian, that God Created us intact, there is no evolution and we were Created less than a few hundred thousand years ago. I believe this because of all the accurate scientific data you have provided about radioisotope dating techniques.

That said, the radiocarbon-14 dating of Egyptian mummies gives us a pretty accurate metric for gaging and confirming the accuracy of C-14 dating. All the other dating methods look severely flawed. But the ice man from the alps is about 6,000 years old and I really think we were around for quite a while before that.

I think you should go where the science leads you because, after all, God is the author of all truth and all science. Don't box yourself into a Procrustean Bed. You do not need a six literal day interpretation of Creation to confirm the inerrancy of God's word.

AGelbert:

Jonathan Sarfati responds

But you can't derive from God's word anything other than that He created about 6,000 years ago. Instead you use fallible ‘dating’ methods to override the clear     teachings.

It's not ‘my’ interpretation that Peter is using a simile; it's the grammatical-historical or originalist interpretation of the text.

Also, as explained, Peter did not have creation week in view. Exodus 20:8–11 did,  and there is no doubt that the creation days were the same length as that of the working week. Indeed, why not instead use Jesus' words “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9) because at least this is the same kind of day as in Genesis 1:5.
 

Also note that “to this day” is yet another contrast with the Creation Days, which had both evening + morning and a number. 

http://creation.com/gods-days

AGelbert:
Thank you for posting my comment. Dr. Jonathan's reply evaded the answer by appealing to the interpretation that Genesis is literal and other portions of the Scripture are not. Like typology and Dispensationalism, that too is more interpretation references used as authority to cherry pick what is literal and what is not.

Dr. Jonathan's claim that Peter was not thinking about creation is an interpretation, not a fact.

Furthermore his fixation on the Exodus passage as giving weight and credence to the Genesis "day" length (work six days and rest on the Sabbath) lacks Scriptural weight. Why? As the Apostle Paul makes quite clear in Galatians, the entire purpose of the giving of the Law was to expose the futility of attempting to obey it. The Ten Commandments and all the multiple laws and regulations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy as well as Exodus are an ADJUSTMENT by God for man's stubborn and stiff necked nature,  certainly not a period to look upon with admiration and affirmation of the Genesis 6 "day" literal interpretation. Exodus marks the acts of a graceful God and a willful and disobedient people. Only when Christ finally came and told them in no uncertain terms that the bottom line is Loving Your Neighbor As Yourself and dying for our sins were we out of danger of perdition.

I could make a case for arguing that since we are urged to "pray without ceasing" and to evangelize "in season and out of it" that the traditions and rigidity associated with Jewish laws and customs are, like the path to hell, covered with good intentions but not a source of spiritual growth.  ;D I won't because only God can do anything at all 24 hours a day.

The Holy Spirit knows this so nobody should attempt to put a guilt trip on Christians because they don't literally "pray without ceasing". Others might jump in and interpret that phrase to mean being in a state of grace. But then we are back at the interpretation minefield that is often the Devil's workshop.

Back to God, the Creator of this universe and time also. What do you suppose He was doing between those Genesis "days"? Or do you believe one 12 hour "day" was followed by the next one with no "watch" or "night".  ???

Of course Almighty God knew the length of a day since He is the Creator of time as well as space. But why doesn't Genesis address what God did each night? He doesn't sleep or need to sleep. The "morning and evening" are defining a 12 hour DAY. That is not really debatable.

It is clear in Genesis that, even though there was no light at all, God Created nothing at all in the dark. Why? Because He did everything between the "morning and evening", period. And yet we know darkness was upon the earth until the fourth "day".  :o How do we "know" that?  ;D

Dr. Jonathan does not wish to discuss the lamps in the sky called the sun and moon that were placed there to divide the day from the night. That is the key to what the length of a day is as is reaffirmed by Jesus with his "12 hour" comment.

You have written correctly that the early church had no doubts about the literal length of the days of creation. The Apostle Peter had no doubts. When he urged patience with his comparison of a day to a thousand years, he had no knowledge of the 93 million miles we are from the sun, the fact that light takes about 9 minutes to get here from the sun and such other unnecessary knowledge required to evangelize and grow the Christian Church. The Holy Spirit allowed that bit of prose about a day and one thousand years to remain there because it is true, not something to be discarded because of the Procrustean Bed arbitrary 6 literal days of Creation.

Furthermore, since a 24 hour "day" is actually composed of the 12 hour day and the 12 hour "watch" or "night" or whatever one wishers to call that period when the main lamp (the sun) isn't visible, you must then ask, if you are literally interpreting Genesis, if those first six days were 12 hour "days" or 24 hour "days".


--- Quote ---Genesis 1:4-5
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
--- End quote ---

So there is a 12 hour day (morning and evening) for the first "day", there is light and darkness in the universe, but not upon the earth. Why do I say this?
Because it isn't until some Genesis "days" later that God actually sets lamps in the sky to divide the day from the night.

--- Quote ---Genesis 1:14-15
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
--- End quote ---

That means, necessarily, that WASN'T SO prior to the fourth day. There was LIGHT, but not upon the earth, until the fourth day.


--- Quote ---Genesis 1:16-19
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
--- End quote ---

The sun ("the greater light") did not divide the light from the darkness upon the earth until the fourth day.

Consequently, the expression, "And the evening and the morning were the first day." cannot be taken literally as to actual length of that "morning and evening"..

However, we must take literally the facts of the fourth day because, to this day, the sun does divide the light from the darkness. That is not debatable.

There is more that indicates those first three "days" in particular, were quite lengthy, to put it mildly.
The third "day" is a perfect example.

--- Quote ---Genesis 1:12-13
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
--- End quote ---

The plant life Created on the third "day" grew, including the trees, to produce fruit all over the earth during a period when there was no sunlight upon the earth. Plant life, even before the mankind's fall from disobedience in the Garden of Eden, was, and still is, photosynthetic.

Again, God could certainly have miraculously accomplished all the above in a 12 hour "day" without the existence of the sun, but God's plan for plant growth argues that the "day" (It is true that the Hebrew word yom, translated "day," can have a variety of meanings. By far its most common is a literal day, but it can mean "age." http://www.icr.org/article/3228/ ) is more of an "age" (as in at least a thousand years when some dim light source other than the sun nourished the plant life) than a 12 or 24 hour day.

Your concern with the "slippery slope" of Christians reinterpreting the Scripture in terms of trying to fit the facts to the evolutionary Procrustean Bed is quite valid and I support your efforts to enlighten people as to the folly of the pseudo scientific claim that we are products of a random universe.

However, by fixating on the words of Moses when God inspired him to write Genesis and the rest of the Pentateuch as to the length of those first 6 "days", you are forced to de-emphasize Holy Spirit Inspired Scripture from the New Testament like that of the Apostle Peter. That's why I am being such a pest about your Procrustean Bed logic.  ;D That's a slippery slope too.  ;)

Your concern that a many thousand year interpretation of the Genesis Days leads to a loss of Faith is not warranted. Already you have made great strides in exposing the massive "scientific" dating technique errors and inaccuracies and how the dates are cherry picked to defend the multi-million year evolutionists' view of our existence.

I am concerned that if you actually run into some dating technique that indicates we are, say, 14,527 years, 2 hours and 47 minutes old on a given date due its established inerrancy in objects up to 6,000 years old, you will reject the data just as the evolutionists reject C-14 in diamonds and coal. Unlike the evolution supporting pseudo scientists, who have a Godless agenda and will lie and twist the facts to support it, Christians must follow the truth, period.

Your Brother in Christ,

A. G. Gelbert

AGelbert:

--- Quote ---Thank you for your comment (see below) about the article on creation.com titled Do you really believe God?.

 Your objections are answered in detail on creation.com, which you could find by using the search engine. I suggest you read the following (but there is much more if you are still not convinced):
How could the days be literal before the sun was created? and Six days: really?.

 But God's personal commentary on the creation week in Exodus 20 should have been sufficient for you.

 Kind regards,
 Don Batten
--- End quote ---

This guy above is STUCK on Exodus. It's typical of rigid minded legalistic tradition worshippers that Jesus Christ and, later on, the Apostle Paul, railed against. I sent the last message below today to give them a bit of heartburn. ;D Those silly stuffed shirts go bonkers when the written words in the bible are questioned. It seems they are happy with ANY dating method that shows a 6,000 year old earth (so far they haven't found one. LOL!) but would immediately reject one that produced any greater length. That's as agenda laced as the evolutionist true believers they correctly criticize. Legalism is an old Luciferian trick. It makes the "in group" look like idiots and undermines the entire purpose of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in regard to human relations (the Golden Rule) by harping on ridiculous, unfollowable rules.

SO-o-o-o, I let them have it when they answered someone who stated, CORRECTLY, that, as a Christian, he had to accept the validity of Islam's words of Mohammed claiming he had revelation from God too. They claimed he could ASSUME the bible was the INERRANT WORD OF GOD and therefore ISLAM and Mohammed are making the stuff up! 



I also am a Christian and understand the difference between an assumption and Faith. You are clearly confusing the two. Yes, if you BELIEVE something, it follows that you will SUBSEQUENTLY ASSUME it is true, but you are still left in exactly the same circular logic position as anyone claiming revelation from God.

No the bible does NOT HAVE 100% ACCURACY. The moon (see Genesis) is not now, or ever was, a LAMP. The MOON produces NO LIGHT, it reflects solar light, period. And don't try to go to Hebrew for your own interpretation of the word "lamp". The sun IS a lamp, and it is ridiculous to put the sun and the moon in the same category unless you think (erroneously as Moses did) that they were both about the same size.
Yes, I know you are going to bring up Exodus and the 6 day week, For what it's worth, Galatians makes it CLEAR that Exodus and the LAW was a response to a stiff necked, disobedient and rebellious people; it was given to PROVE TO MAN that he was incapable of keeping the LAW. Yet you seek to glorify the Law and the tradition of the six day week and the Sabbath day of rest as confirmation of Genesis days. You have it exactly backwards. The 6 day week and Sabbath was made for man, not because God was confirming Genesis. The rigidness of your position is testament to the Procrustean Bed logic you refuse to let go of. 

I can see you questioning some new dating method if it proves we have been here 8 thousand, four hundred and 24 years because it doesn't jive with your 6,000 year interpretation.

You are on as slippery slope as the evolutionists. They are wrong but you are wrong as well to fall into your rigid legalistic, tradition celebrating view of Christianity that SATAN so LOVES and the Apostle Paul clearly warned against in Galatians.

I REBUKE YOU!

AGelbert:
The stuffed shirt legalists respond with standard boiler plate. It is fascinating in a sick sort of way to see these paragons of rigidity and closed mindedness ASSUME that I am an Atheist because I told them that baloney about the sun and moon being two lamps made on the same day proves that verse is inaccurate because the moon is NOT a light source (the FOURTH day, no less! The third day all those plants, trees and foliage grew without the sun! LOL!).

If their comment space wasn't so limited, I would have explained that because God is everywhere, He is certainly not going to perceive the sun and the moon as a couple of LAMPS. Only Moses, sitting on planet Earth, could get that FALSE impression and write it down as if God told him to.

I'm certain God guided Moses but not in the writing of Genesis. That's just an allegory the legalists want to cling to in order to avoid REAL issues like Loving thy Neighbor and how the allegedly "Christian" Church has turned its back on the Commandment Jesus Christ made.

They **** and moan about how Darwin took everybody for a sucker but fail to notice the established, super rigid and NON CHRISTIAN behavior of mainline Christian Churches of Darwin's epoch paved the way for most people to believe a pseudo scientific charlatan. People SAW the hypocrisy of the wealth worshipping church and were easily swayed to the evolutionary tom foolery. 

Enjoy the uptight response making ME out to be the bad guy.  ;)


--- Quote ---Your original comment:
 I also am a Christian and understand the difference between an assumption and Faith. You are clearly confusing the two. Yes, if you BELIEVE something, it follows that you will SUSEQUENTLY ASSUME it is true, but you are still left in exactly the same circular logic position as anyone claiming revelation from God.

 No the bible does NOT HAVE 100% ACCURACY.The moon (see Genesis) is not now, or ever was, a LAMP. The MOON produces NO LIGHT, it reflects solar light, period. And don't try to go to Hebrew for your own interpretation of the word "lamp". The sun IS a lamp, and it is ridiculous to put the sun and the moon in the same category unless you think (erroneously as Moses did) that they were both about the same size.
 Yes, I know you are going to bring up Exodus and the 6 day week, For what it's worth, Galatians makes it CLEAR that Exodus and the LAW was a response to a stiff necked, disobedient and rebellious people; it was given to PROVE TO MAN that he was incapable of keeping the LAW. Yet you seek to glorify the Law and the tradition of the six day week and the Sabbath day of rest as confirmation of Genesis days. You have it exactly backwards. The 6 day week and Sabbath was made for man, not because God was confirming Genesis. The rigidness of your position is testament to the Procrustean Bed logic you refuse to let go off.
 I can see you questioning some new dating method if it proves we have been here 8 thousand, four hundred and 24 years because it doesn't jive with your 6,000 interpretation.

 You are on as slippery slope as the evolutionists. They are wrong but you are wrong as well to fall into your rigid legalistic, tradition celebrating view of Christianity that SATAN so LOVES and the Apostle Paul clearly warned against in Galatians.

 I REBUKE YOU!

I am not publishing your comment because it is not on the topic of the article.

 I started to write a detailed response to your claims, but I decided against it. The thing that disturbs me about your message is that you claim to be a Christian, but you sound like an atheist. I don't know if you're lying about being a Christian, or whether you simply didn't think very well about your message.

 I would love to hear where you think there is legalism on our site. If you read articles like the ones I'm going to put below, you'll see that creation is not just in Genesis and in the Ten Commandments, but literally woven into the fabric of Scripture.

 http://creation.com/genesis-new-testament
 http://creation.com/genesis-ot
 http://creation.com/yahweh-creator-god-israel

 Sincerely,

 Lita Cosner
 
--- End quote ---

Su-u-u-re you would "love to hear"  from me.   

Not ONE WORD about Galatians and the law as to legalism. Not ONE WORD about the PURPOSE of the LAW (to prove it was impossible to keep it). No, just that I am supposedly an atheist because I deny the accuracy of Genesis. What an illogical and hysterical straw grasping NON-response.

None so blind as those who refuse to THINK, let alone see!
 

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