Arguing in favor of a 24 hour day, Young Earth Creationists (YEC) often cite a verse from the Ten Commandments:
· Exodus 20:11 (ESV) For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Here is how their logic goes:
1. The Sabbath day is consistently a 24 hour day throughout Scripture.
2. The other days must also be 24 hour days. Why? If “day” represented a period of millions of years, as theistic evolutionists allege, then we should also expect that the Sabbath day would likewise involve millions of years.
3. However, the Bible would not have commanded us to rest for millions of years.
Against this, theistic evolutionists claim that the YEC is not justified in interpreting Scripture in this manner. Here is an example from the Biologos Foundation. Can you find the logical flaws:
· If “plain reading” means “what the words clearly mean in my language and culture”, then I suppose Exodus 20:11 could be used to support six day Creationism. But if that is really how we’re supposed to read Scripture, then 1 Samuel 2:8 means the earth is set on pillars, and Deuteronomy 21:21 means we should stone our rebellious sons, and John 15:5 means Jesus is a plant, and Roman 16:16 means we should kiss everyone we meet. The “plain reading” of Scripture leads to picking and choosing which verses we like and which we ignore. That is not a responsible way to read the Bible. There are reasons we don’t take the plain meaning of those other verses as the best interpretation of Scripture; that makes us at least ask whether there might be reasons not to take Exodus 20:11 and Genesis 1 in their plain sense. http://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/10-misconceptions-about-evolution#sthash.uFWdZLFY.dpuf
Did you find the flaws yet? First of all, Biologos is engaging in misrepresentation. Bible-respecting interpreters never argue that a “plain reading” means “what the words clearly mean in MY language and culture.” Instead, when we talk about the “plain reading” or “literal sense,” our goal is to recover the original intended meaning of Scripture. This entails a sensitivity to genre and the use of language in its original setting. If it’s a metaphor, we try to understand it as such. If hyperbole, then we attempt to understand it as hyperbole.
Secondly, Biologos claims, “The ‘plain reading’ of Scripture leads to picking and choosing which verses we like and which we ignore.” Certainly, “picking and choosing” fails to represent a high view of Scripture or the way we should try to interpret any piece of literature. By “picking and choosing,” we can draw out almost any interpretation we so desire.
While Biologos makes this charge, they fail to indicate even one verse that YEC leaves out of the equation. Meanwhile, to make it jive with Darwin, Biologos dismisses the entire historicity of the account of creation and the Fall (Gen. 1-3), in opposition to how the NT consistently understands these chapters.
Thirdly, Biologos reasoning tends to suggest that we cannot know with any certainty if anything in Scripture can be taken literally. If we cannot know how to interpret Exodus 20:11, then how can we know how to interpret the rest of the Bible. We might be taking poetry for historical fact.
Admittedly, Biologos has “reasons not to take Exodus 20:11 and Genesis 1 in their plain sense.” What then are their reasons? These are not reasons that arise from the way we ordinarily interpret a piece of literature. Instead, these are reasons imposed on the Bible from without – from the theory of evolution.
It is like interpreting the account of the Magis from an evolutionary psychological point of view – They had journeyed from their far-away land because they were in competition with other Babylonian wise men, who had become more influential. Therefore, the Magi journeyed, not because of a star (representing their hopes) or their desire to worship the King of the Jews, but rather a cynical quest to regain ascendency through a new and attractive “revelation.”
Through twisting Scripture to bring it into conformity with Darwin, theistic evolutionists no longer know what to believe. They advise me, “We have to remain humble about our interpretation of Scripture.” I only wish they would be equally humble about evolution.
Meanwhile, they are so humble about Scripture, that they are passively absorbing everything from the surrounding university culture. I therefore challenged them to go on record regarding their approval or disapproval of same-sex marriage.
Only two would reveal their hand. Both were in favor of it.