“This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” (Genesis 2:4, emphasis mine)
The Hebrew word “yom” means a day – literally a 24-hour period – and we can see it demonstrated by six “evening and morning”-s throughout Genesis 1. As we turn the page, we read the phrase “in the day” (b’yom: yom attached to a –b proclitic indicating to a in/among/within type of preposition).
However, some use the Genesis 2:4 “in the day” way too metaphorically in order to justify longer timeframes of the Creation account in Genesis 1, most often to allow the Bible to “harmonize” with evolutionary theory. The thinking is, yom can refer to a period longer than an evening-to-morning day, since yom of Genesis 2:4 encompasses all six “days” of creation. Consider the following quotes:
“As early as Genesis 2:4 we see yowm in the singular with an attached infinitive used to indicate an extended period of time.” (accuracyingenesis.com)
“Here, the word ‘day’ (yôm) refers to all six creation days, a period longer than 24 hours. . . . the wording of this verse challenges the assertion that the word ‘day’ (yôm) in the creation account can only refer to a period of 24 hours.” (Hugh Ross, A Matter of Days, NavPress, 2004; p. 76. From creationbc.org)
The sad truth is that this assertion of an “extended” period of time for the b’yom of Genesis 2:4 is a textbook “it does not follow” fallacy. Case in point: Hugh Ross’s admittance in the above quote that yom “refers to all six creation days” (of Genesis 1), before proceeding to change the meaning of yom in Genesis 1 to a period of ages or aeons. However, if the context of Genesis 1 dictates six “evening and morning” solar days – which it certainly does, then Dr. Ross commits a non-sequitur by abandoning the very context of Genesis 1 he set out to judge.
[White Rabbit: The above non-sequitur is a good example of a Ph.D. committing a logical fallacy. We must always judge claims by content, without being intimidated by academic accomplishments].
In a more objective context, the phrase “b’yom” in Genesis 2:4 is an idiomatic expression similar to the English “at that time” or “back then”, but basically meaning “when”. This idiom is evidenced in other biblical passages (such as Gen. 35:3, Num. 10:10, or Psa. 20:1). Additionally, yom appears in other idioms and expressions, but as in all cases of biblical extrapolation, we make a final determination of a phrase’s meaning by context, context, and more context. In the context of Genesis 2:4, it is referring to the other things created during the timeframe – plants, animals, and man. Therefore, I understand that this b’yom is an idiomatic expression referring to the time when each of these things were created as a whole.
Taking such clearly demonstrated idioms out of context to suit a cause, like harmonizing evolutionary theory, is misrepresentation. I fear that such misrepresentation occurs when a mindset (i.e. theistic evolution) trumps over what the Bible says in its original context.
This will certainly not be my last post challenging such misuse of Scripture, and the fallacies surrounding them, all the while presenting what the Bible truly says.♦