The Days Of Creation: An Historical Survey Of Interpretation -- By: Jack P. Lewis

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 32:4 (Dec 1989)
Article: The Days Of Creation: An Historical Survey Of Interpretation
Author: Jack P. Lewis


The Days Of Creation:
An Historical Survey Of Interpretation

Jack P. Lewis*

I. The Bible

“Day,” used variously in Genesis 1–2 for the period of light (Gen 1:5, 18), a period of evening and morning (1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31), and in an idiom that means “in the time when” (2:4), passed into the Samaritan Pentateuch, the LXX, the Vg and the English versions with the same sort of variety. The literary pattern of six days followed by a seventh is attested in the ancient Middle East and in the Akkadian Enuma Elish (5:16–17) and Gilgamesh (11:142–146, 215–218) epics. It is also frequent in Ugaritic epics.1

The hallowing of the seventh day (Gen 2:1–2) presupposes the literal character of the six days. Primarily interested in declaring the power of God, the writer of Genesis would have known nothing of the millennia now assumed by geologists and paleontologists. Creation in six days with cessation on the seventh is noted in the law of Moses as the basis of the Sabbath (Exod 20:11; 31:17; Deut 5:12).2 Otherwise no further notice is taken of the days of creation in the canonical books of the OT.

Pseudepigraphic surveys in which past history is revealed to a seer (Jub. 2:1–33; 2 Enoch 28:1–33:2) include surveys of the seven days.3 A vision giving a survey of the days of creation is found in 4 Ezra 6:38–54 and a survey without mention of days in Sib. Or. 1:5–37. R. H. Charles claims that the later creation accounts of Anastasius4 and of Isadore of Seville5 are dependent upon Jubilees.6 If the days are considered other than ordinary days, no notice is taken of the fact.

* Jack Lewis is professor of Bible at Harding University Graduate School of Religion i...

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