It should come as no surprise that I am a creationist. I believe in the Biblical account of Creation. It is this belief in the Biblical account that makes me question a statement common among my fellow creationists. “Creation occurred within six consecutive literal 24-hour periods.”
It’s not the six that I balk at, nor the consecutive. It’s the 24-hour periods part. Now, I’m readily willing to admit that creation may have occurred in six 24-hour periods. I just fail to see how the Scripture backs up that assertion.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. —Genesis 1:14-19
God created the sun on the fourth day of creation, and made it a sign for “seasons, days, and years.” Thus we have the creation of the solar day. Obviously, then, from the fifth day of creation onward, a day was 24-hours long, with rare exceptions (Joshua 10:12-14, 2 Kings 20:8-11). However, prior to the fourth day of creation, the day/night cycle was not based on the sun (Genesis 1:16-18), but rather on a light that emanated from God Himself (Genesis 1:3-5).
My point is not that creation was accomplished by evolution. That’s ridiculous. God spoke, and it was done (Psalm 33:9). Also, I doubt that the length of the pre-solar days were drastically different from the solar days. After all, God both invented the concept of “day” and also set the sun to rule over it.
Instead, my point is that when we stand up for the Bible, we must be careful that we are standing up for what the Bible says, and not what we think it says. I’ve written about how a failure to do this leads some Christian leaders to actively recommend to young men (and women) that they break God’s commands against divorce, because they conflate Biblical and governmental definitions of marriage when reading the Bible.
Every day, I come across people who are gifted in exegetical gymnastics. The other day I had someone try to make the case to me that God never compels compliance, and that God would never enact a law compelling Sabbath observance. I read Numbers 15:32-36 to her. Cane Caldo recently wrote of a sermon in which a priest used Jesus’ statement “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” to teach that, among other things, “Good Christians don’t hate their family; usually because they have Christian families.”
The only way to know whether an idea or an argument is Biblical is to take it back and compare it to the Bible. The only way to do this in practical life is to be intimately acquainted with the actual words of Scripture. It only by study that one can rightly divide the Word of Truth. Know the Bible, and then when assertions are made that contradict or go beyond scripture are made, you will not be able to help noticing them.