Definitive Question for “Young Earth” Creationists

John C. Rankin (April 19, 2009)

Young earth creationists say that their concern is to take the Bible “literally.” They believe the purpose of Genesis 1 is to place all of creation into six 24-hour days.

But is this literal or “literalistic?” That is, does it impose a 19th and 20th century millenarian or fundamentalist view on the biblical text?

I take the Bible on its own terms, according to its literary genres, thus, “literally” in the fullest sense of the word.

In Genesis 1:5, and in subsequent verses, the days are defined: “there was evening, and there was morning.” This is the language of an ancient near eastern or Hebrew day — 24 hours from the human perspective.

Thus, if the young earth creationists are correct, this requires the earth on its axis, revolving around the sun, beginning on the first day. But the sun, moon and stars are not created until the fourth day.

How then can a “literal” day exist on each of the first three days if it cannot be measured, according to the use of language in play? Literally?

Or is there something else is at play?

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