The 7000 year "Creative Day"
When I was a youngster, the creative days of Genesis 1 were always referred to as being 7000 years long. I believe the 1975 hoo-hah was related to this teaching as 6000 years since Adam's creation plus a 1000 year reign neatly wraps up a 7000 years seventh day of rest.
In another thread Narkissos quoted a WT article from 1983 that repeats the 7000 year day teaching.
I don't think anyone much younger than me, or anyone who bacame a JW in the last 10-15 years is aware of this belief. I think it has been quietly shelved.
What was the rationale for the 7000 year day teaching? When did the WT start this idea? When was the last "official" reference for the teaching in magazines or books?
Did you realise that the WT ever taught that one creative day was 7000 years? When did you join and leave?
The 1983 Awake! article was the last reference I found from the 2002 CD-Rom.
The first is Watchtower 1.1 1951:
Does that mean that God is still resting in that sense? Yes, it does. Note Psalm 95:7-11 where God states that he swore that the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness would not enter into his rest, and that was about 2,500 years after creation. And since Paul counsels Christians to enter into God?s rest, it must have continued until his day, 4,000 years after creation. Other scriptures indicate that God?s day will continue until the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ, thus giving it a total length of 7,000 years.?Heb. 4:11; 1 Cor. 15:25-28; Rev. 20:5, 6.
Then the days mentioned in Genesis chapter 1 were not 24 hours long? No; remember that the sun did not shine upon the earth until the fourth day and it is the sun that gives us the 24-hour day. Besides, from such sciences as geology it appears that both plant and animal life have been on this earth far more than 6,000 years. Note too that the entire period of creation is referred to as "the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven". (Gen. 2:4, AS) A day in the Bible is not always 24 hours long; 7,000 years for each of the creative days as well as the rest day is consistent with the Scriptures.?2 Pet. 3:8.
I remember this coming up the first time the old blue creation book (early 1980's?) was studied at the Group and also when reading the old green Daniel book (published in the 1950's?) for private study. It was a very dishonest book, and I remember one guy saying so. He left the JW's... why didn;t I listen to him closer??? There's a 'critical analysis' of that book at http://www.aetheronline.com/mario/Heretic/critical.htm and it mentions this issue citing a 1/1 1986 QFR...
This is the whole section on the 7000 year thing....
p27, par 7 - when you say "millenniums", you mean each creative day was only 7000 years long
Today there is overwhelming evidence that the creative "days" must have been far longer than "millenniums" - they were undoubtedly millions of years long at least.
Why then is our "official" viewpoint still that each day was only 7000 years long? ( w87 1/1 30 Questions From Readers).
Ironically, from time to time our publications indirectly admit that each creative day must have been millions of years long, yet, the "official" figure is repeatedly set at 7000 years.
For example, in the Awake!, September 22, 1986, on page 18, paragraph 4, (prepared by, as is stated in big lettering, "a nuclear physicist of many years experience in both research and industry in the field of radioactivity"); it clearly says that from radioactive dating "WE LEARN THAT THE EARTH ITSELF HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR A FEW BILLION YEARS".
Fine, so the earth is billions of years old.
Now, if rocks that are reliably dated to be about 3 billion years old CONTAIN CLEAR SIGNS OF EARLY BACTERIAL LIFE, DOES THIS NOT MEAN THAT THE CREATIVE DAYS HAD ALREADY BEGUN BILLIONS OF YEARS AGO?!
Why do we adamantly adhere to a viewpoint that flies in the face of fact?
Also, why in par 14 does the separation of the waters from the land have to ?no doubt involve tremendous earth movements (catastrophism)?? Would not a slow, natural process taking millions of years also be in agreement with Genesis 1:9,10?
Clearly it would.
Why then the need to resort to fantastic events like catastrophism, a term seldom used in science, and which only applies to uncommon things like mass extinctions caused by meteorite impacts?
In this day and age, the 7000-year creative day argument stands out in stark contrast to the other reasonable and sound views that we hold as Jehovah?s Witnesses. This causes many informed people (like the ones I work with) to dismiss us without giving us as much as a second thought.
And it all seems so unnecessary, since modern scientific facts can very easily be reconciled with Genesis.
The Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained book had an extensive discussion of the process of creation from Genesis 1, and was filled with statements like "49,000 years ago, God did such and such," or "It was 29,000 years ago when such and such appeared on the earth," and so forth -- with such seeming precision.
I tried to find the book on the WT CD and interestingly it is omitted -- their books only go back to 1970 even those the WT and Awake magazines go back to 1950....
The 49,000-year concept is last stated in the January 1, 1987 Awake!:
***w87 1/1 p. 30 Questions From Readers ***In ancient Israel a cycle of 49 years was followed by a Jubilee year (50th year). Does that Jubilee correspond to the period following God?s creative week of 49,000 years?
Because the number 49 occurs in both cases, it might seem that the Jubilee would foreshadow the time following the end of a creative week of 49,000 years. But for mankind in general who receive God?s approval, what occurred during Israel?s Jubilee corresponds more with what will occur during the Millennium, the last thousand years of such creative week, not what follows after that week. Consider the basis for this:
First, the Mosaic Law required that every seventh year be a sabbath for the land; crops were not to be sown, cultivated, or harvested. After the seventh Sabbath year (the 49th year), there came a special Jubilee year, the 50th year. It was a sabbath during which the land was again to rest. More importantly, liberty was proclaimed. Hebrews who had sold themselves into slavery were freed from indebtedness and servitude. Also, hereditary land was returned to families who had been forced to sell it. So the Jubilee was a time of release and restoration for the Israelites.?Leviticus 25:1-46.
Second, a study of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and of our location in the stream of time strongly indicate that each of the creative days (Genesis, chapter 1) is 7,000 years long. It is understood that Christ?s reign of a thousand years will bring to a close God?s 7,000-year ?rest day,? the last ?day? of the creative week. (Revelation 20:6; Genesis 2:2, 3) Based on this reasoning, the entire creative week would be 49,000 years long.
Noting the similarity in numbers, some have compared the 49 years of the ancient Jubilee cycle to such 49,000 years of the creative week. Reasoning this way, they have thought that Israel?s Jubilee (50th) year should prefigure, or foreshadow, what will come after the end of the creative week.
However, bear in mind that the Jubilee was particularly a year of release and restoration for people. The creative week largely relates to the planet Earth and its development. But with regard to the outworking of God?s purpose for man on earth, the globe itself has not been sold into slavery and thus is not in need of liberation. It is mankind that needs that, and humans have existed, not for 49,000 years, but for about 6,000 years. The Bible shows that some time after Adam and Eve were created, they rebelled against God, thus coming into captivity to sin, imperfection, and death. According to Romans 8:20, 21, Jehovah God purposes to liberate believing mankind from this slavery. As a result, true worshipers on earth "will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God."?See also Romans 6:23.
While the small group selected to be taken to heaven have had their sins forgiven from Pentecost 33 C.E. onward and thus already enjoy the Jubilee, the Scriptures show that the liberation for believing mankind will occur during Christ?s Millennial Reign. That will be when he applies to mankind the benefits of his ransom sacrifice. By the end of the Millennium, mankind will have been raised to human perfection, completely free from inherited sin and death. Having thus brought to an end the last enemy (death passed on from Adam), Christ will hand the Kingdom back to his Father at the end of the 49,000-year creative week.?1 Corinthians 15:24-26.
Consequently, for believing mankind with earthly prospects, the liberation and restoration that marked the Jubilee year in ancient Israel will find a fitting parallel during the coming Millennial Sabbath. Then liberation and restoration will be experienced. That will be under Christ?s rulership, "for Lord of the sabbath is what the Son of man is."?Matthew 12:8.
Curiously the Watchtower 87 did not come out when I searched "7,000 years"... only when I limited the search to "Watchtower". Never mind...
Second, a study of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and of our location in the stream of time strongly indicate that each of the creative days (Genesis, chapter 1) is 7,000 years long. It is understood that Christ?s reign of a thousand years will bring to a close God?s 7,000-year ?rest day,? the last ?day? of the creative week.
How did they get away with that statement without even hinting at the Eve discrepency? Does it imply that we are now within the 1,000 year reign of Christ -- because the preceding 6,000 years, as their chronology indicates, had already ended some years before?
What they must assume, to prevent this conclusion, is that Adam lived now for almost 30 years within the 6th creative day. And every year that passes increases the amount of time Adam must have lived alone before God finished his creation. How long would it have taken God to realize that Adam needed a mate like all the animals he created had?
There is also a discrepency of a different sort. WT eschatology claims that Jesus began ruling as king in 1914. So did the 1,000 year reign begin 90 years ago way back in 1914, or is it still future?
You are 100% right. I joined the JWs in 1988 and was baptised in 1991. I wasn't aware of the 7000 year teaching. They told me that the creative days were on undeterminable length. I accepted that, because I'd already been taught at school about how the earth was billions of years old etc. I could live with them telling me that mankind had only been here for a few thousand years.
You raise a good point regarding how this teaching was quietly shelved.
Another tacit assumption is that it has to be a round figure.
Yes, I see there is a complete discussion of the subject in a 1998 "ct" book (?) which carefully avoids saying anything but "thousands of years"... However, the 7,000 y. figure has never been officially cancelled by any "new light", has it?
The last direct mention of a creative day being 7,000 years long was in this magazine (I think).
g833/22 p. 15 Evolution, Creation, or Creationism?Which Do You Believe? ***
days of Genesis chapter 1: "a first day," "a second day," and so forth, 7,000 years each.
Since then the WTS uses the ambiguous phraseology of "thousands of years (without any article on the 'new light'), which threw many long-time JWs for a loop.
1998 Creator book chap. 6 p. 93 An Ancient Creation Record?Can You Trust It? ***
The fact is, the Bible reveals that the creative "days," or ages, encompass thousands of years.
A person can see this from what the Bible says about the seventh "day." The record of each of the first six "days" ends saying, ?and there came to be evening and morning, a first day,? and so on. Yet, you will not find that comment after the record of the seventh "day." And in the first century C.E., some 4,000 years downstream in history, the Bible referred to the seventh rest "day" as still continuing. (Hebrews 4:4-6) So the seventh "day" was a period spanning thousands of years, and we can logically conclude the same about the first six "days."
g026/8 p. 10 Reconciling Science and Religion ***
According to Bible usage, a day is a measured period of time and can be a thousand years or many thousands of years. The Bible?s creative days allow for thousands of years of time each.