Saturday, August 20, 2016

In Defense of the Faith - Genesis As The Atheists Stumbling Block

Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of information. Early Christian writers (c. 120–220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists.[1] In modern usage the term 'apologetics' is largely identified with debates over religion and theology in the USA and is rarely heard in the UK (although the related word 'apologist' is used in British English).   Reference - Wikipedia

The blog title has been changed to "With Mine Own Eyes" because my defense of my position is based on my perspective and understanding.   The reference to John 20 is intended to show the dichotomy between those who believe with limited empirical evidence against those who demand unassailable empirical validation.  The current understanding of "young earth creationists" is that the universe is "young" based largely on the literal 24 hour day of the English translation of the Hebrew Old Testament stating that all creation including that of man took place over a span of 6-24 hour days.   The word used in Hebrew is the word "Yom".   The word "Yom" usage in Hebrew spans many meanings and not just that of a 24 hour period of time.  It is important to know that because Hebrew vocabulary is limited to only 8700 words and English - a half million, understanding the Hebrew needs to depend on context.   Here are several examples of the uses of "Yom" as described by Hebrew scholar Greg Neyman in 2005.    The following are excerpts from his web article.

"Yom" as Time


     It is interesting to note that in 67 verses in the Old Testament, the word Yom is translated into the English word "time."  For instance,  in Genesis 4:3, it says "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord."  In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months.  Again, in Deuteronomy 10:10, it refers to a "time" equal to forty days.  In I Kings 11:42, it says "And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years."  In this case, Yom translated as the word "time" is equivalent to a 40 year period.

     In Isaiah 30:8, it says "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever."  In this case, Yom is equal to "forever."  How long is forever?  An infinite number of years...billions upon billions upon billons of years.  If Yom can equal trillions of years here, then why not billions of years in Genesis? 

"Yom" as Year


     Four times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "year."  In I Kings 1:1, "David was old and stricken in years..."  In 2 Chronicles 21:19, "after the end of two years" and in the very next verse "Thirty and two years old."  Finally, in Amos 4:4, "...and your tithes after threeyears."  In each case, Yom represents years, not days.

"Yom" as Age


     Eight times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "age."   These range from sentences like "stricken in age,"  meaning old age (Genesis 18:11 and 24:1; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2), and other times it says "old age" (Genesis 21:2, Genesis 21:7).  Genesis 47:28 refers to "the whole age of Jacob," therefore yom here refers to an entire lifetime.  In Zechariah 8:4, it says old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, "each with cane in hand because of his age."


"Yom" as Always


     Four times yom is translated as "always," in Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24, 14:23, and in 2 Chronicles 18:7.  Always here can be interpreted as a lifetime...for instance, we are to keep the commandments of the Lord always (Deut. 5:29).


"Yom" as Season


     Three times yom is translated "season."  In Genesis 40:4, "...and they continued a season in ward."  Again, in Joshua 24:7, "dwelt in the wilderness a long season," and in 2 Chronicles 15:3, "...a long season Israel hath been...".  In each case yom represents a multi-month period.

"Yom" as Ever


     Ever is used to represent a long period of time, such as in Deuteronomy 19:9, "to walk everin his ways."  Nineteen times Yom is translated "ever."  The old testament uses "for ever" instead of the word forever.  In sixteen cases of use of the word ever, for is placed before it, indicating a infinite period of time.  I will not list them all (consult Strong's Concordance for a full listing) but here is an example.  In Psalm 23:6, it says "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."  Here Yom is translated as the final word of this verse, ever.  Thus, Yom in this verse, and 16 others, represents eternity.


"Yom" as Evermore


    In one instance, when yom is used in conjunction with kôwl, Yom is translated "evermore."  Deuteronomy 28:29, "...and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore;" thus representing either a lifetime or eternity.


"Yom" Usage in the Old Testament


     As you can see, Yom is used in a wide variety of situations related to the concept of time.  Yom is not just for is for time in general.  How it is translated depends on the context of its use with other words.

"Yom" in the Creation Account

      Even within the creation account, Yom is used to represent four different time periods.  

  1. Genesis 1:5  "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate a 12-hour period
  2. Genesis 1:14  "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."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate 24-hour days
  3. Genesis 2:4  " the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens."  Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate the entire creative week.

     The fourth usage of Yom in the creation account is in the summary for each of the six creation days, "and there was morning and evening the first day". Yom is used to represent a finite, long period of time, 

The question is have the "Young Earth Creationists" taken the 6 literal days to NOT align themselves with the evolutionists, even though the current scientific understanding of nature is that of the age of the universe is much closer to billions of years as opposed to 6000 years?

The skeptics have assailed the young earth view as being preposterous which then keeps them from believing the more important tenets of the Christian faith - that Jesus Christ existed, that he died a substitutionary criminal's death to allow those who believe His work to have fellowship with God.   An old earth view is not necessarily at odds with Scripture after all.   Will I break fellowship with a "young earth" believer? By no means.  I will defend my position, in a nice and loving way.

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