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Author Topic: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?  (Read 7199 times)

Offline Quasar

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What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« on: April 28, 2013, 12:16:16 AM »
By Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D.

Recently, a reader of my book "Reading Genesis One," asked about the use of a number with the Hebrew word “yom.” Specifically, I was asked to comment on the statement, “Day” with numerical adjectives in Hebrew always refers to a 24 hour period.”, which appears in John MacArthur’s Study Bible in reference to Genesis 1:5.

The quoted statement is one which is commonly offered to justify eliminating the long “extended period of time” meaning of the Hebrew word “yom” in Genesis 1:3-31. Eliminating the “extended period” or “age”meaning would then give support for a 24 hour interpretation for the duration of the creative times. In the first chapter of Genesis, the singular Hebrew word “yom” appears with a number at the conclusion of each of the creative times. Subsequently, in this article, “yom” refers to this singular Hebrew word form.

In order to illustrate the differing opinions which have been offered as interpretation, I will very briefly quote two well-known Bible scholars about the numbering of the word “yom.” Both scholars hold “extended period” or “age” views of the meaning of “yom” as describing the duration of the creative times.

Subsequently, I will explain why the opinion of these two scholars has substantial support in the Hebrew,in contradiction to the claim in the MacArthur Study Bible. First the quotes:

Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pages 60-61, Baker 1982:“ There were six major stages in this work of formation, and these stages are represented by successive days of a week. In this connection it is important to observe that none of the six creative days bears a definite article in the Hebrew text; the translations “the first day,” “ the second day,” etc., are in error. The Hebrew says, “And the evening took place, and the morning took place, day one” (1:5). Hebrew expresses “the first
day” by hay yom harison, but this text says simply yom ehad (day one). Again, in v.8 we read not hay yom hasseni (“the second day”) but yom seni (“a second day”). In Hebrew prose of this genre, the definite article was generally used where the noun was intended to be definite; only in poetic style could it be omitted. The same is true with the rest of the six days; they all lack the definite article. Thus they are well adapted to a sequential pattern, rather than to strictly delimited units of time.”

Gleason Archer was Associate Editor of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. In the quote above,the first two italicized letters ha of words like harison indicate the Hebrew prefix “heh” meaning “the.”

Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, page 271, Zondervan 1999:“Numbered days need not be solar. Neither is there a rule of Hebrew language demanding that all numbered days in a series refer to twenty-four-hour days. Even if there were no exceptions in the Old Testament, it would not mean that “day” in Genesis 1 could not refer to more than one twenty-four-hour period. But thereis another example in the Old Testament. Hosea 6:1-2 . . . . . . Clearly the prophet is not speaking of solar“days” but of longer periods in the future. Yet he numbers the days in series.”

Now, given MacArthur’s statement and the above two quotes, a reader of the Bible is faced with contradictory claims by established authorities. How is this to be resolved? My view is that MacArthur’s statement is not supported by the underlying Hebrew text, and that the Hebrew text does support Archer and Geisler. My analysis will first consider the numbering of the singular word “yom” from the numbers two (second)through six (sixth)

For the complete article go to: http://godandscience.org/youngearth/yom_with_number.pdf


Quasar
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 06:03:08 PM »
There is one thing that is consistent with false teachers and that is they always reject the clear teaching of the bible.  No one ever sat down and read the creation account for the first time and came away with the understanding of long periods of time for creation.
God makes it abundantly clear that the period of time is equivalent to a solar day when he uses the term "evening and morning." Also in the account plants are created before the sun and long periods of time would make it impossible for them to survive long periods while one solar days time would be no problem. Now while we cannot be dogmatic as to how long ago this all happened, the 6 literal days of creation, we can narrow it down to between 6 and 10 thousand years based on the genealogy given in scripture.
Isaiah 48:18,Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2013, 10:58:25 AM »
There is one thing that is consistent with false teachers and that is they always reject the clear teaching of the bible.  No one ever sat down and read the creation account for the first time and came away with the understanding of long periods of time for creation.
God makes it abundantly clear that the period of time is equivalent to a solar day when he uses the term "evening and morning." Also in the account plants are created before the sun and long periods of time would make it impossible for them to survive long periods while one solar days time would be no problem. Now while we cannot be dogmatic as to how long ago this all happened, the 6 literal days of creation, we can narrow it down to between 6 and 10 thousand years based on the genealogy given in scripture.



Such biased dogmatic opinions are meaningless without verification with supportive material, which yours fails to provide.  Prove it!  By what qualifications do you contradict the expertise of the theologians who provided the material I posted, to share with those with an interest in learning more about the Scriptural truths?  Their research and studies refute your views completely!

Tell me why the earth stood without oceans at one time, according to Pr.8:22-25.  Yet was in a global flood in Gen 1:2, that God started His six day creation out of, according to Ps.24:2 and 2 Pet.3:5!

See:  http://hope-of-israel.org/lifeadam.htm


Quasar
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 11:09:26 AM by Quasar »
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 01:47:03 PM »


Such biased dogmatic opinions are meaningless without verification with supportive material, which yours fails to provide.  Prove it!  By what qualifications do you contradict the expertise of the theologians who provided the material I posted, to share with those with an interest in learning more about the Scriptural truths?  Their research and studies refute your views completely!

Tell me why the earth stood without oceans at one time, according to Pr.8:22-25.  Yet was in a global flood in Gen 1:2, that God started His six day creation out of, according to Ps.24:2 and 2 Pet.3:5!

See:  http://hope-of-israel.org/lifeadam.htm


Quasar
I understand that many people like yourself today hold that the bible is meaningless and not supportive material, but I hold that it means what it says and says what it means.
As for Pr 8:22-25 you really need to take a remedial reading course. In verse 22 it reads;
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.

That means before the earth and all creation was. If you do not believe that then read verse 23
I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
 
In the Psalm passage and the Peter passage they both agree with the creation account. If you read the account in Gen1 you will see that there was water in on the face of the earth as well as in the firmament and He divided the two and this all took place on a particular day during the 6 literal days according to scripture. The evening and the morning was the first day, the evening and the morning was the second day, and so on for 6 literal days.
Isaiah 48:18,Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2013, 12:20:43 PM »
I understand that many people like yourself today hold that the bible is meaningless and not supportive material, but I hold that it means what it says and says what it means.
As for Pr 8:22-25 you really need to take a remedial reading course. In verse 22 it reads;
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.

That means before the earth and all creation was. If you do not believe that then read verse 23
I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
 
In the Psalm passage and the Peter passage they both agree with the creation account. If you read the account in Gen1 you will see that there was water in on the face of the earth as well as in the firmament and He divided the two and this all took place on a particular day during the 6 literal days according to scripture. The evening and the morning was the first day, the evening and the morning was the second day, and so on for 6 literal days.



Before you continue with any more of your abrasive, opinionated rhetoric, Understand this:  I am a graduate of Prairie Bible Institute, at Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, with a BA in Bible Science.  And from Liberty University at Lynchburg, VA with a Masters in Biblical Theology and Eschatology.  As well as a WW2 Vet with the USAAF Air Corp where I spent two years in the Pacific/Asiatic theater!

FYI, the Bible most certainly does mean what it says; when it is properly interpreted!  Pr.8:22-36 is the WHO, in the personification of the wisdom of God, a distinct foreshadowing of Jesus Christ, the FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION, recorded in Col.1:15!  [Confirmed in the annotations of the 1967 edition of the Scofield Bible, pg. # 677].  As documented in 1 Cor.1:24 and Col.22-3. 

There is no argument that the Pr.8:22-36 passage began before the world began, through the six day creation, with the pre-incarnate spirit of the person who later became Jesus, was originated and the CRAFTSMAN [NIV], at God's side according to vs 30.

The earth stood without oceans at one time as I previously posted, according to Pr.8:22-25, yet in Gen.1:2, it stood in the first of two global floods.  Which was the flood waters God restored/created the six day narrative. as found in Ps.24:2 and in 2 Pet.3:5 and 6.  Meaning, the earth had been destroyed from at least one previous age before the one we now live in.

See the following: http://hope-of-israel.org/lifeadam.htm 

Endorsed by:

1. Frank L. Gaebelein, A.M., Litt.D., Headmaster Emiritus, The Stoney Brook School; 2. William Culbertson, D.D., L.L.D., President, Moody Bible Institute; 3. Charles L. Feinberg, ThD., PhD., Dean, Talbot Theological Seminary; 4. Allan A. Mac Rae, A.M., PhD., President, Biblical School of Theology; 5. Clarence E. Mason, Jr., Th.M., D.D., Dean, Philadelphia College of Bible; 6. Alva J. Mc Clain, Th.M., D.D., President Emeritus, Grace Theological Seminary; 7. Wilbur M. Smith, D.D., Editor, Peloubet's Select Notes; 8. John F. Walvoord, A.M., Th.D., President, Dallas Theological Seminary; 9. C.I. Scofield, D.D., Editor, Scofield Bible; 10. Editorial Committee Chairman, J. E. Schuyler English, Litt.D.


Proverbs 8:22-36 NIV:


"The Lord brought me forth as the first of His works, before His deed of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began. When there were no oceans, I was given birth, [Vs 22-24]

when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before He made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. [Vs 24-26]

I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above and fixed securly the fountains of the deep, [Vs 27-28]

when He gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day, [Vs 29-30]

rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind. Now then my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. [Vs 30-33]

Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find me harms himself; all who hate me love death." [Vs 34-36]

That Jesus is the Wisdom [Power and knowledge] of God is made abundantly clear in 1 Cor.1:24 and Col.2:2-3
 


Quasar
« Last Edit: May 02, 2013, 12:31:58 PM by Quasar »
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 01:28:36 PM »


Before you continue with any more of your abrasive, opinionated rhetoric, Understand this:  I am a graduate of Prairie Bible Institute, at Three Hills, Alberta, Canada, with a BA in Bible Science.  And from Liberty University at Lynchburg, VA with a Masters in Biblical Theology and Eschatology.  As well as a WW2 Vet with the USAAF Air Corp where I spent two years in the Pacific/Asiatic theater!
Quasar

Well then let me praise you for you being holy and infallible and bow to your great intellect, but perhaps I would do better to just believe the bible.
I understand that many people like yourself today hold that the bible is meaningless and not supportive material, but I hold that it means what it says and says what it means.
As for Pr 8:22-25 you really need to take a remedial reading course. In verse 22 it reads;
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.

That means before the earth and all creation was. If you do not believe that then read verse 23
I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
 
In the Psalm passage and the Peter passage they both agree with the creation account. If you read the account in Gen1 you will see that there was water in on the face of the earth as well as in the firmament and He divided the two and this all took place on a particular day during the 6 literal days according to scripture. The evening and the morning was the first day, the evening and the morning was the second day, and so on for 6 literal days
Isaiah 48:18,Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 01:47:22 AM »
Quote
Well then let me praise you for you being holy and infallible and bow to your great intellect, but perhaps I would do better to just believe the bible.
I understand that many people like yourself today hold that the bible is meaningless and not supportive material, but I hold that it means what it says and says what it means.
As for Pr 8:22-25 you really need to take a remedial reading course. In verse 22 it reads;
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.


When you review Gen.14:19 and 22, you will find the term "possessor" means CREATOR, in the KJV, while in the NASB it is annotated as CREATER and in the NIV it is translated as CREATOR!  CONFRMING COL.1:15!

Do not insult me in your posts again!  Capiche!


Quasar

 

   
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 07:40:07 AM »

When you review Gen.14:19 and 22, you will find the term "possessor" means CREATOR, in the KJV, while in the NASB it is annotated as CREATER and in the NIV it is translated as CREATOR!  CONFRMING COL.1:15!

Do not insult me in your posts again!  Capiche!


Quasar

 

 
You are hilarious. The bible clearly teaches a 6 day creation. Your lack of faith cannot accept it so you seek to press your evil doctrine. Six literal days of time is what it took. Even a 6th grader knows that if plants are created on one day and the sun is created on the next it has to be a literal day and not long periods of time less the plants die from lack of sun light.
Isaiah 48:18,Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 02:22:18 PM »
You are hilarious. The bible clearly teaches a 6 day creation. Your lack of faith cannot accept it so you seek to press your evil doctrine. Six literal days of time is what it took. Even a 6th grader knows that if plants are created on one day and the sun is created on the next it has to be a literal day and not long periods of time less the plants die from lack of sun light.



You don't pay a bit of attention to the posts proving my postition, and are left with only that which is left for you, to attack me personally!  Typical of all who are unable to respond in a qualified and responsible way TO THE ISSUES!  PROVE MY SOURCES TO BE FALSE, OR YOURS ARE AND YOU REMAIN REFUTED!


Quasar
 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 02:29:23 PM by Quasar »
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 03:29:37 PM »


You don't pay a bit of attention to the posts proving my postition, and are left with only that which is left for you, to attack me personally!  Typical of all who are unable to respond in a qualified and responsible way TO THE ISSUES!  PROVE MY SOURCES TO BE FALSE, OR YOURS ARE AND YOU REMAIN REFUTED!


Quasar
I gave you the bible and you do not believe the bible. You refute yourself and expose yourself for the false prophet you are.
Isaiah 48:18,Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2013, 12:33:29 AM »
I gave you the bible and you do not believe the bible. You refute yourself and expose yourself for the false prophet you are.



You have a big mouth of self righteous opinion revealing the epitome of dogmatic Scriptural ignorance.  Without a chance to prove a single facet of the Scriptural description of God and the origin of Jesus to be false!  Either prove the Scriptures supporting it to be false, or your views are!

http://deeperwalk.lefora.com/2011/12/10/whowhat-is-god-and-origin-of-the-pre-incarnate-jes-2/

FYI, Nowhere in the six day creation narrative will you find where God created the heavens and the earth!

Here is more for your edification pertaining to an very old earth age:

http://deeperwalk.lefora.com/2010/04/09/an-old-earth-agethe-gap-theory/


Quasar
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 12:25:31 AM by Quasar »
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

Offline Zaph

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2013, 08:04:06 PM »
Such biased dogmatic opinions are meaningless without verification with supportive material, which yours fails to provide.  Prove it!  By what qualifications do you contradict the expertise of the theologians who provided the material I posted,....

Wow! I'm actually kind of shocked at this statement. Are you a protestant? If I had to depend on "learned" theologians to understand what the Bible clearly says I might as well become a Catholic and have a priest interpret the Bible for me. Or become a Jew drink in everything the local rabbi says without question. Kind of reminds of the words of Christ speaking about the religious leaders of His day.... blind leading the blind.

There is no reason to distrust the Bible when it clearly says "evening and morning" were the first day. The only reason why people distrust the clear teaching is because the test the Bible by science rather than testing what science teaches by the Bible. The Bible is the standard not science.

It seems that I remember reading about a time in history when modern science taught the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2013, 12:35:49 AM »
Wow! I'm actually kind of shocked at this statement. Are you a protestant? If I had to depend on "learned" theologians to understand what the Bible clearly says I might as well become a Catholic and have a priest interpret the Bible for me. Or become a Jew drink in everything the local rabbi says without question. Kind of reminds of the words of Christ speaking about the religious leaders of His day.... blind leading the blind.

There is no reason to distrust the Bible when it clearly says "evening and morning" were the first day. The only reason why people distrust the clear teaching is because the test the Bible by science rather than testing what science teaches by the Bible. The Bible is the standard not science.

It seems that I remember reading about a time in history when modern science taught the earth was flat and the sun revolved around the earth.



Yes, evening and morning signify a day in the six day restoration narrative, but there is nothing in the Bible you are assuming that says a thing about it being 24 hours!  You might review Ps.90:4 and 2 Pet.3:8 where a day is as 1,000 years, or 1,000 years but a day to God.

The Bible revealed the earth was a circle for 2,800 years, according to Isa.40:2.


Quasar
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

Offline Zaph

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2013, 08:58:40 AM »
Yes, evening and morning signify a day in the six day restoration narrative, but there is nothing in the Bible you are assuming that says a thing about it being 24 hours!  You might review Ps.90:4 and 2 Pet.3:8 where a day is as 1,000 years, or 1,000 years but a day to God.

The Bible revealed the earth was a circle for 2,800 years, according to Isa.40:2.

Quasar, first let me apologize for the tone of my last post. It was uncalled for. I could have just as easily disagreed with you a bit nicer.

There is no other way to define "evening and morning". I also don't believe you can apply Psalms 90:4 to Genesis. There is no logic in that. David was speaking what things are like for God (and Peter just quoted David). David was not speaking about us or our world. We are not like God neither do we understand all His ways.

Offline Quasar

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Re: What does the Hebrew “yom” mean in Genesis 1 ?
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2013, 09:13:35 AM »
Apology accepted, Zaph.  There is no difference to a 1,000 year day for God's "evening and then there was morning as it is for our human 24 hour example of it.

Yes there is logic to Ps.90:4, as it is harmoniously supported by 2 Pet.3:8, together with other Scriptures, such as found in Heb.4:7, which together with other verses in the passage refer to the Millennial reign of Christ.


Quasar
"I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except by me."  Jn.14:6.

 

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