Menu Close

Tag: The Word Day

The Word “Day” in Genesis 1-2: My Response to Dr. David Tee

dr david tee's library
Dr. David Tee’s Massive Library

Young earth creationists believe the universe was created in six literal twenty-four-hour days, 6,027 years ago. Everything science tells us about the universe says this view is wrong. For most Evangelical Christians, what science says doesn’t matter. Evangelicals always defer to the Bible when confronted with conflicts between science and the Bible. Why? In their minds, the Bible is a supernatural text written by a supernatural God. It is the book above all books, different from all the books ever written. It is an inexhaustible book that can be read countless times without exhausting its teachings. It is inerrant and infallible in all that it says, and Evangelicals believe every word in the Bible is true. When confronted with the plethora of errors, contradictions, and mistakes found in both English translations and the underlying Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts, Evangelicals are fond of coming up with novel, and, at times, irrational, ways to defend inerrancy.

Evangelicals tend to be Bible literalists. “Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent,” Evangelicals say. Of course, for those of us raised in Evangelical churches, we know this sentiment is a crock of shit. We heard preacher after preacher mold, shape, and reinterpret the Bible so as to gain a particular interpretation or meaning. Put one hundred Evangelical preachers in a room and ask them to interpret a particular passage of Scripture or defend a peculiar theological position, you will end up with numerous explanations and interpretations. Why is this? If there is One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism; if the Holy Spirit lives inside every Christian as their teacher and guide in everything pertaining to life and godliness, why can’t Evangelicals even agree on the basics of Christian faith? Evangelicals would agree that salvation is THE most important thing, yet ask them what a person must do to be saved or what are the prerequisites for salvation, be prepared for a litany of answers. If Evangelicals can’t figure out the nature and mode of salvation, how can they expect unregenerate people to figure it out?

Last week, I wrote a post titled Evangelical Literalism: A Day is a Day Except When It Isn’t. I showed that Evangelicals are only Bible literalists when it is convenient. As I previously stated, the Bible says God created the universe in six literal twenty-four-hour days. On this point, most Evangelicals agree. However, when the Bible says 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.

The word day — which is the same word as used in Genesis 1, clearly teaches that on the day Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree, they would die. Did they die? No. According to Genesis 5:5: . . . and all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. This means that there is an insurmountable contradiction between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 — one of many, by the way. Evangelicals have no room for Bible contradictions in their worldview, so they come up with novel explanations to explain why “day” in Genesis 1 is a literal twenty-four-hour day, but day in Genesis 2 is not. Instead of letting the text speak for itself, Evangelicals are duty-bound to defend the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible at all costs.

Dr. Dan McClellan talked about this issue in several short videos which follow. McClellan’s areas of specialization are Second Temple Judaism, early Israelite religion, textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, early Christology, the cognitive science of religion, cognitive linguistics, and religious identity. He earned his PhD at the University of Exeter.

Video Link

Video Link

Video Link

Another “doctor,” Dr. David Tee (whose real name is Derrick Thomas Thiessen), weighed in on my post. Tee allegedly has a doctorate, albeit from an institution he refuses to name. When asked about his refusal to share his academic credentials, Tee replied, “God knows, and that is all that matters.” Make of that what you will. Tee’s areas of expertise are “the Bible says,” “I am right,” and “unbelievers don’t know anything about the Bible.” Tee has been studying these issues his entire life, so much so that if Jesus himself came back from the dead and told him he was wrong, Tee would reply, “You aren’t a Christian, so you don’t know anything.”

Tee recently published yet another missive about me titled It is a Waste of Time. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

We wrote a guest post for the BG [The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser] website talking about how it is a waste of time to present real physical evidence to many unbelievers. You do not even have to present it to them but write about it and the naysayers come out of the woodwork.

Unbelievers will find a way to dismiss any evidence presented to them even when the evidence has been accepted by both Christian and non-Christian scholars, archaeologists, and other scientists.

….

The evidence for what we have just said is found in the title of an internet article written by an [Bruce Gerencser] atheist after he read our post on Answering Issues From Science. His title is- Evangelical Literalism: A Day is a Day Except When It Isn’t.

His first line is:

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

Despite thousands of years of accepted scholarship on the meaning of the word ‘yom’ and the words ‘evening and morning’ the unbelievers try to dismiss the evidence supporting the correct translation of those words.

Not only have we studied these words since Bible College days but we also rechecked what we knew and almost every website that came up in our search said the same thing- these words refer to a 24-hour day.

Accepting this correct rendition of those words is NOT being literal but holding to the truth. Unbelievers like to call Evangelicals literalists because that label helps them hide from the truth.

Sigh.(Why I Use the Word “Sigh.”) I believe I said in my post that the word day means a literal twenty-four-hour day. That’s the literal, actual definition of the word. So what’s Tee’s beef? That he is not being “literal” but “holding to the truth.” Huh?

Tee says my article is a response to a post of his, Answering Issues From Science. This is untrue. Tee wrote his post in July 2024. My post was originally written in September 2020.

Tee goes on to say:

First, he attacks us for the correct and truthful rendition of the word yom when it means a 24-hour day and then he attacks us for the correct rendition of the word yom when it does not mean a 24-hour day.

This person is just being irrational, and illogical and needs to say something outrageous to get Christians upset. When Christians are going for the truth, they are not being literal, they are being accurate. The word ‘yom’ has several meanings, just like the English word ‘day’ has.

It all has to do with context. The words ‘evening and morning’ provide the context to translate the word yom as a literal 24-hour day. The verse quoted above has the context that tells translators and students of the Bible to not translate the word yom as a 24-hour day.

The person who wrote that article flies in the face of accepted and legitimate scholarship and not just from the Christian side of the debate. There are those people claiming to be Christian who will side with the author of those quoted words. Augustine of Hippo was one of them and they are all wrong.

The reason they are wrong is because they do not want to accept God’s words but have already accepted what secular science and scientists have said. Instead of believing in an all-powerful God who can create in 6 24-hour days, they prefer to accept the words of dead humans who were unbelievers.

Tee proves my point, as does Dr. McClellan above. There’s no justification for “day” meaning a literal twenty-four-hour day in Genesis 1, but meaning something different in Genesis 2. The only reason Evangelicals are forced to interpret these verses differently is their commitment to Bible inerrancy. Adam and Eve, according to the inerrant, infallible Word of God, should have died on the very day they ate the fruit from the tree. That they didn’t means there is a contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2.

Tee says this about my post:

Those words show a complete misunderstanding of bible translation, hermeneutics, exegesis, and other scholarly biblical tools. They are spoken to protect the speaker from realizing the truth of Genesis 1 & 2.

Who is trying to keep people from the “truth”? It is Tee and his fellow inerrantists who are trying to force the Bible to fit their peculiar theology. Instead of letting each book of the Bible and each author speak for themselves, Evangelicals are duty-bound to make all the puzzle pieces fit. This is called univocality. In August 2009, Dr. McClellan wrote a short article titled On the Univocality of the Bible. Here’s what he had to say:

A common misapprehension among amateur and some professional Bible scholars is the assumption of the univocality of the Bible. According to this assumption, the Bible manifests a single theological and ecclesiastical paradigm which allows exegetes, in their minds, to appeal to and synthesize texts separated by several centuries and virtually irreconcilable worldviews in the interest of the extrapolation of doctrine and, secondarily, administrative guidelines.

I believe the root of this assumption is the belief that the Bible contains all the necessary information for the institutionalization and administration of a community of faith, which, in my opinion, seems to be related to the idea of biblical inerrancy. After all, conflicting theologies would all but undermine the “God-breathed” nature of all scripture, according to the more conservative definitions of inerrancy.

….

I take a different approach to interpreting doctrine in the Bible. I make no confession of biblical inerrancy, and I believe the biblical texts are in no way free from theological speculation, propaganda, polemic, rhetoric, and human error. I think that asserting the univocality of the Bible tangles up the exegete in the hermeneutic circle and in attempts to reconcile theological and administrative inconsistencies to contemporary dogmas.

While most Bible scholars aren’t often caught up in bickering about contradictions in the Bible and other apologetic arguments, I believe the assumption of biblical univocality still wriggles its way into academia. It is primarily manifested in attempts to homogenize or reconcile the theologies of diachronically distinct cultures and peoples. Early monarchic perspectives on the divine council, for instance, were not identical to those of Second Temple Judaism, which incorporated a conflated pantheon, an expanded angelology, and a more transcendant view of YHWH. Anthropomorphic perspectives of deity changed, as did ideas of monotheism, salvation, the source of evil, corporate responsibility, law, scripture, priesthood, nationalism, cult, and pretty much everything else. The New Testament, in and of itself, is no exception. I think these considerations need to be addressed before one can assert that “the Bible says” one thing or another, or that a scripture in John or the Psalms should be interpreted according to a specific paradigm because it is expounded upon that way in Genesis or Isaiah.

By the way, Dr. McClellan has had his own run-in with “Dr.” Tee. Tee, using a plethora of aliases, has spread his academic “expertise” far and wide across the Internet. Typically, he wears out his welcome and is sent packing. This, of course, appeals to his persecution complex. Tee reminds me of Evangelical street preacher, the late Jed Smock. (Please see My Life as a Street Preacher — Part Three) Smock and his wife, Cindy, preached on college campuses. Smock, who told me he hadn’t sinned in years, was famous for calling women wearing clothing he deemed sinful whores. On occasion, Smock’s vulgarity led to someone kicking his ass. Smock considered his beatings persecution. They weren’t. Smock got his ass kicked because he was a bully. Tee goes to Christian and atheist websites alike to share his Fundamentalist interpretations of the Bible. When rejected, he continues to “defend” what he calls the truth. Inevitably becoming argumentative and disparaging those who disagree with him, Tee ends up getting banned. In Tee’s mind, he is being persecuted for standing up for the truth.

For those of you raised in Evangelical churches, how did your pastors explain away the contradiction regarding the word “day” in Genesis 1 and 2? Please leave your astute observations in the comment section.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

Connect with me on social media:

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. All first-time comments are moderated. Please read the commenting rules before commenting.

You can email Bruce via the Contact Form.

Bruce Gerencser