Were the Days of Creation Long Periods of Time or 24 Hours?
by Max Andrews
There are four literal interpretations of YOM (the Hebrew word for day). The four definitions are (1) a portion of the daylight hours (2) the entire daylight segment of a twenty-four-hour day, (3) a twenty-four-hour day, and (4) a long but finite time period. Unlike the modern Hebrew and English, biblical Hebrew had no other word for a finite era or epoch. The figure of speech of “a day is like a thousand years” in 2 Pt. isn’t an issue, it’s a simile; I don’t advocate that 2 Peter permits and old earth interpretation in Genesis. The four definitions of YOM are literal definitions; it’s unnecessary to say it’s non-literal. Also, the issue of a numerical adjective in front of YOM, there is no such rule or law in Hebrew grammar that necessitates that YOM following a numerical adjective must be the twenty-four-hour interpretation of YOM.
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The divisions of the days are “evening and morning” which signifies a division between the period of time (you’re going to have a hard time taking the text “literally” if you want to say there was evening and morning without a sun to make the distinguishing nature of evening and morning…). Even YEC’s must concede that the first three days of evening and morning are not used in the sense of referring to solar rotations, merely a division of time). William Wilson, in his Old Testament Word Studies, explains that YOM is “frequently put for a time in general, or for a long time; a whole period under consideration…
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