What biblical support is there for the belief that a creative day is 7000 years long?

by JWB 27 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • TheOldHippie

    " So, the WTS has basically derived its creative day doctrine from "Christendom", leading all the way back to some of the so-called Church Fathers. "

    Technically not the Church fathers, but the Apostolic fathers, as we are talking of the period around year 80-150, the ones who had known the apostles themselves; the Church fathers belong to the next century(ies). I happen to be reading the apostolic fathers and also early church history just now. The belief has, as others have stated, been abandoned, and especially so after the new and revised edition of "All Scriptures inspired" was published, where it states about Genesis that it refers to the time period starting "in the beginning" in stead of the "47025 BC" or whatever was stated. More nebulous today, yes, but "millions of years" for each day is used.

  • Ucantnome

    please don't think I'm taking issue with you personally as I appreciate your input. Maybe I'm not making myself clear enough?

    I think it was probably me who misunderstood your question.

    Why not have a ten thousand year 'creative day' counting from 4026 BCE?

    the reason I believed the creative day was limited to 7000 years was due to 1914 as the end of the gentile times and the thousand year reign of Christ beginning within one generation of this date. this limited the day to being 7000 or there abouts. if we accept the7th creative day started in 4026 bce and ends at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ when he hands everything back to his his father.

  • Leolaia

    Interesting thoughts, OldGenerationDude. I agree that P's creation narrative is dependent on ANE mythological concepts, and it has an internal structure with correspondences between the days in the two halves. I do not agree however that the sequence is non-linear (the days are numbered sequentially), that the correspondences are true doublets in that they describe the "same events". P's statement in Exodus 20:8-11 refers to a sequence of six days of labor in which Yahweh " made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them", followed by a day of rest (cf. also Exodus 31:17, "I n six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed "), which is the divine model for the human work week, and parsimony would favor an interpretation of Genesis 1 that similarly has six days of work and one day of rest. The correspondences do not reduce the number of days, or identify the different days with each other, but rather show how God's creative activity was orderly with days 1-3 producing the different domains of the cosmos through division (a theme drawing on ANE concepts) and days 4-6 populating these domains ("all that is in them") in the same order. The division of light and darkness in Day 1 is temporal not spatial, and so what is created in Day 1 is the sequence of day/night (with primeval darkness banished to the night) which in Day 4 is populated with the sun, moon, and stars in order to govern (l e memšeleth) the domains into which they are placed (cf. Psalm 136:7-9, "the sun to govern the day, the moon and stars to govern the night"). These domains of light and darkness exist in their own right, cf. Job 38:12, 19-20: "Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place ... What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?" The Enuma Elish has a similar concept: first Marduk determines the zones and stations for the months and days of the year and then later he causes the moon to shine and "entrusts" to him the night.

    I also disagree that this reading of the narrative would require a waiting of three days before there could be light to separate day from night; what is created in v. 15 are "luminaries" (lim'ôroth) that shine light (leha'îr), but what was produced in v. 3 is light ('ôr) itself. There is no necessary reason why this light must come from a luminary that isn't created until the fourth day. John Day has noted the parallels between P and Psalm 104, and we have in v. 19-20 references to the sun and moon and their role in marking the days and seasons, but light itself is manifestation of Yahweh's glory: "Yahweh wraps himself with light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters...He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved" (v. 2-5). So light itself pre-exists the luminaries, and the domains of day and night (alternating periods of light and darkness) also pre-exist the luminaries. This may seem like an odd concept to us, but it accords well with Hebrew cosmology. The sun shines in the firmament but the firmament itself (the sky) shines with its own light that brightens and then dims each day; the firmament is solid and sparkling like ice (cf. Ezekiel 1:22) and in Psalm 104 we read that God's abode in heaven is above the firmament (cf. also Job 22:12-14, Psalm 29:10, Isaiah 40:22), so it would make sense that the glory of God shines through the sparkling firmament (cf. Job 26:13, "by his breath the skies became luminous"). I notice too that Genesis 1:14 states that the luminaries were placed "in the firmament of heaven" (birqîa` haš šamayim ); if days 1 and 4 represent the "same events" and if they are followed by days 2 and 5, which again represent the "same events" respectively, then we would have the luminaries placed inside a domed firmament that is not made until later. I would rather take the narrative at face value and have a sequence of six days that is structured in the manner described above.

    I also cannot see what compels reading the narrative as having numbered half days rather than regular full days. The rhythm of the sequence is one of light and darkness, day and night, and that would necessarily involve full days. You say: " Only half a Hebrew day is mentioned in the first six days, each beginning with 'evening' but instead of ending with the next night they stop halfway at 'morning' ". I don't read the creation narrative this way at all. The work performed each day PRECEDES the evening, and then that evening is followed by morning. The narrative does not instead have (1) evening, (2) work, and then (3) morning; it is (1) work, (2) evening, (3) morning. The narrative is often interpreted to assume that the day begins in the morning instead of the evening, but I do not necessarily think that is the case here. The parallel with the Israelite work week suggests that God performs his creative activities during the daytime: "The sun rises, and they steal away ... then people go their work, to their labor until evening" (Psalm 104:22-23). Each creative act from day 2 onward has the act occurring after morning dawns. And then after the work is performed, evening falls. So that is why the narrative is structured the way it is; the focus is on the creative act which does not occur when the day actually starts in the evening but when it is daytime, when Yahweh labors between morning and evening (the references to evening and morning are thus proleptic). That the day-night sequence first begins in the evening can be seen in what is related about day 1: Yahweh's creative act (declaring "Let there be light") necessarily precedes the shining forth of light, and so takes place prior to the dawn on the first day. Then God continues his work during the daytime by naming the period of light ("Day") in contrast to the preceding period of darkness ("Night"). Then after this first day, God works only in the daytime (between morning and evening).

  • JWB

    Leolaia, thanks for your continuing contributions. I am trying to test the WTS doctrine in the context of its own belief system, which as we know accepts the orthodox view of what constitutes the true canon. So they would consider Enoch to be extra-biblical and not inspired. However, I would encourage those who want to aquaint themselves with what you point to as the Bible's literary context to look into 1 Enoch as it makes for quite an interesting read.

    OldDudeGeneration, thanks for giving your analysis of this topic.

    TheOldHippie, I stand corrected on the use of 'Church' in connection with those early writers. Of course, whether or not they really had known the apostles, and more importantly faithfully transmitted their views, is a whole new subject in itself.

    Ucantnome, I appreciate your response. The 1914 date, as I understand it, from the JW perspective, is based on giving Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 4) a 'greater fulfillment', yet another belief based on an extra-biblical teaching (please see this thread: www.jehovahs-witness.net/watchtower/beliefs/224491/1/A-second-fulfillment-of-Daniel-4-10-17-the-thread-by-which-their-spiritual-authority-hangs).

  • Ucantnome

    The 1914 date, as I understand it, from the JW perspective, is based on giving Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 4) a 'greater fulfillment'

    I think also when i was baptised Daniel 7 and Matthew 24:30 along with Psalm 110 and Revelation 12 being the birth of the kingdom and the evidence that "this good news of the kingdom" birth was being preached on a worldwide scale made the interpretation of the Daniel 4 acceptable to me. This then fitted in with the end of 6000 years of the 7th creative day.

    "But notice that Jesus was talking about the time of the end, when he said: "THIS good news of the kingdom will be preached." Yes, the good news of the King at hand would again be preached, meaning that the Kingdom had been obtained by the King and that he had returned to exercise Kingdom power."

    (WT 66 page 215)

    “In the face of the relatively small proportion of the world’s population that has put faith in the “thing heard [from] us” or proclaimed by us, it can truthfully be said: “They did not all obey the good news.” This explains the saddening state of a the world of mankind today.

    Man’s Salvation Out of World Distress At Hand (WTBTS 1975) on page 232

    I was one who had faith in this good news in 1975. A year early they had published .

    "Evening of the Seventh Creative Day Begins, 4026 BCE"(God's Eternal Purpose Now Triumphing for man's Good WTBTS1974)

    To me the end of 6000 years in 1975 of the 7th creative day was significant as it tied in with having faith in the good news of the birth of the kingdom in 1914.

    At least that's how i understood it.

  • mP

    its funny how the wts accepted the date of 4026 bce as the creation of adam even though it was made by a c of e minister. then again they also accepted a boble compiled by catholics. go figure, they call them satan but they use their math and compilation....

  • OldGenerationDude

    Leolaia, I am not writing a testimony to my own personal beliefs. I'm Hebrew. My people don't hold to Christian theology. While you state that you don't believe in some of what I wrote, that is fine with me. I am not necessarily writing what I believe here, but what mainstream Christian theology states. So I am perfectly happy with your personal convictions on the subject, and your views or belief on the subject neither negate what I wrote nor have a bearing on the religious views of my ancestors.

    Jewish theology on this subject is very different than what has been presented here, even very different from what I wrote. Since it isn't applicable to the discussion (Jews are unconcerned with the Adventist views adopted and held by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the whole heaven and afterlife thing of the Goyim), I just cited what I had learned from my education in Christian theology. Please do not mistake my writings for a personal testimony.

    Again, I am happy for you that you have strong personal convictions in whatever it is you believe as I do for any of my exJW sisters or brothers, theist, atheist, or otherwise.

  • Leolaia

    Oh I definitely wasn't expressing personal beliefs, and I'm glad too you weren't either, because I know when personal convictions are involved, it can complicate things in a discussion. This is certainly one of the most interpreted portions of the Bible and so there are definitely some very strong opinions on interpretation among many readers. I was simply trying to lay out the reasons why I find the stated reading problematic compared to other alternatives.

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