And God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. And God saw the light; that it was good, and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Shedding Some Light On The Subject
I’ve begun this article with Genesis 1:3-5 because I believe this is where the creation account begins. By the way, some ask how there could be light when the sun and moon didn’t appear until Day 4? Like so many things, the answer lies in the Hebrew language. The word translated light in verse 3 is owr meaning illumination. In verse 14 speaking of the sun and moon the word is maowr meaning a luminous body, or light repository. The word literally means chandelier. In making the sun and moon, God was gathering the light into repositories that would provide it according to schedule. Note that in referring to the sun and moon the Hebrew word asah (to make something from something else) is used rather than bara (to create something from nothing). Like a chandelier the sun and moon are not the light itself but were designed to hold and disburse, or reflect, the light.
God Speaks Hebrew
In calling the light Day, He used the Hebrew word yom, a word that appears 2244 times in scripture. 1977 (over 88%) of those appearances clearly refer to a 24 hour period. And simple observation of nature tells us that the growth cycle of nearly every living thing is based upon alternating periods of darkness and light in relatively short intervals. Life as we know it could not long exist on any other cycle. This makes the view of long Creation “days” (where years and years of light were followed by years and years of darkness) difficult to imagine. The question is not how could He work so fast, but why did He take so long? Since He could have created it all in the blink of an eye, He was apparently creating a set interval. Darkness and night are also direct translations of chosek and laylah respectively, so there is no obvious reason to take any of these words other than literally unless you’re trying to reconcile evolution with creation, an impossible task.
On the other hand, the words for evening and morning provide a wealth of information when viewed in the original. Their roots also reveal the reason God began the day at sunset rather than midnight. Dr. Gerald L. Schroeder is a Hebrew scholar with a doctorate in physics from MIT. I had the good fortune of meeting him in Jerusalem where he lives on one of my trips to Israel. In his book, “Genesis and the Big Bang,” Dr. Schroeder explains that according to ancient Hebrew sages, the word for evening, erev, comes from a root meaning “mixed up, stirred together, disorderly.” It brings to mind the confusion we sometimes experience just at dusk, when the mixed up light and darkness can cause our eyes to play tricks on us. Boker, the word for morning, comes from a root meaning discernable, able to be distinguished, or orderly. This word recalls the clarity of vision that accompanies dawn.
That’s Against The Law
As a physicist familiar with the second law of thermodynamics (the Law of Entropy), Dr. Schroeder was astonished. Simply stated, the Law of Entropy explains that when left alone everything in the universe will deteriorate from order into disorder. For simple examples, just look around you. Even when you apply a regular program of maintenance to retard the process, everything you own, your home, your car, even your own body will sooner or later completely fall apart and stop working. Entropy is a natural law like Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravity and cannot be reversed.
By using these words for evening and morning in their particular order God reveals that in each day of creation He was overruling the Law of Entropy by bring disorder into order. This demolishes any argument that the earth came to be by accident or coincidence, or that man could have evolved from animals that evolved from fish, etc. Such a natural phenomenon is in and of itself impossible, since it requires that nature violate a fundamental natural law. Only the application of an external creative power superior to natural law could have brought about Earth and its inhabitants. To make sure we get the point, God repeated the phrase six times and caused His people to begin their day at sunset.
It’s About Time
By the Seventh day, God had finished all the work He had been doing, so on the seventh day He rested from all His work (Genesis 2:2). According to some Rabbinical sources, the underlying meaning of this verse explains no less than the beginning of time. Having completed the work of creation and placing man on Earth to subdue and take dominion over it God rested, and in so doing placed in motion all the laws that would govern man’s existence, including the duration of the day, the week, the month and the year. These time references were all established during the six days of creation and would remain throughout man’s tenure on Earth.
Now you know the adult version.