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Evangelical Literalism: A Day is a Day Except When it Isn’t

bible literalism

All young-earth creationists are literalists, that is except when they aren’t. Let me illustrate this for you.

Six times in Genesis 1 the Bible says, the morning and even were the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth day.  Young-earth creationists are emphatic that these days were literal 24 hour days.

In Genesis 2:1, the Bible states that on the seventh day God ended his creative work. According to other verses in the Bible, God rested on the seventh day. So God only rested one, literal 24 day?  I don’t know of any young-earth creationist who believes this.

God gave Adam the following command in Genesis 2:15-17:

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it, And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Did Adam eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Did Eve? Of course they did.  Did they die on the very day they ate the proverbial apple? Nope. According to Genesis 5:5:

and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

Do you see the point I am making? Young earth creationists are literalists until it contradicts their interpretation of the Bible, then all of a sudden Adam dying on the day he sinned is meant to be taken metaphorically or the word day really means a period of time.

I will repeat what I have said countless times: no one, not even Ken Ham, takes every verse in the Bible literally. Whenever it suits them or whenever it will bolster their argument, Evangelicals are quite willing to abandon literalism.



  1. Avatar
    Matt Martin

    A few years back I listened to a podcast in which one of the feckless sons of the odious Fred Phelps tried to explain why we should execute homosexuals but it’s perfectly fine to eat shellfish.

    He reasoned that Christ’s death and resurrection (yeah I know) had done away with the obligation to observe Jewish ceremonial law (ham for everyone!) but that the moral law (keep your hands off each other boys) remained in force.

    He was less able to explain how this interpretation of the Holy Writ conformed with Matthew 5:18 :

    For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

    It was amusing to listen as he tried, however.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      I think Matthew 5:16-18 is a death blow to Christian who says we are not under the law. Even as pastor, I came to see that YES, we are under the law. Now, how in the hell do I explain this? 🙂

  2. Avatar

    It’s small mercy that they don’t. Some scary, scary stuff in there. For every time they cite something as in the “old covenant” remember they used to use it when convenient. Take slavery for example, it’s rare to find a person in the U.S. that would defend it openly now, yet they used to use the Bible to defend it. Point is there interpretation has changed ever so slightly with the culture. So if the interpretation was wrong back then how do you know if it’s right now?

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