How Long Are the Days of Genesis 1?

The Days of Genesis 1

I recently contributed to the revision of a BioLogos article on how we should interpret the “days” of Genesis 1.

“How Long Are the Days of Genesis 1?” is one of a number of articles on the BioLogos website that address Common Questions people have raised.

This article was originally drafted by Tremper Longman III and was edited with input from John H. Walton and myself.

You can read the article online here or (if you prefer) you can download a PDF here.

Genesis 1 and 2

A little under two weeks ago, I mentioned my previous BioLogos article (“What Is the Relationship between the Creation Accounts in Genesis 1 and 2?”), which had just been published.

You can download a PDF of that article here. Or you can read the article (along with comments from readers, and my subsequent responses) here.

Humans Created Mortal

Stay tuned for another online article in the journal Sapientia, where I will address the question of whether humans were mortal before the Fall.

 

 

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What is the Relationship Between the Creation Accounts in Genesis 1 and 2?

It’s been over two months since I’ve posted a new blog here.

Life has just been too busy. Besides the fact that my Seminary is in the midst of a major overhaul of their curriculum, I’ve been doing a lot of speaking and writing during the Fall and just didn’t have the time.

So, let’s see if I can turn over a new leaf in 2018.

As some of my readers know, I’ve been working with BioLogos, an organization that aims to help Christians think more deeply about the relationship between biblical faith and science, especially evolution. That deeper thinking is meant to be accompanied by gracious conversation about these issues, even among those who disagree.

A New BioLogos Post

My most recent BioLogos article was posted today.

It is entitled “What is the Relationship Between the Creation Accounts in Genesis 1 and 2?”

This one doesn’t explicitly address evolution.

The article begins by listing the evident contradictions or tensions between the accounts of creation in the first two chapters of the Bible, such as the different order of creative events.

This suggests we aren’t supposed to read these chapters as conveying scientific information. If we were committed to a scientific reading, we’d have to choose which chapter we thought was more scientifically accurate.

The rest of the article tackles the question of how we should read Genesis 1 and 2 together, in a manner that makes theological sense.

You can read the article (and comments from readers, including my responses) here.

You can download a PDF of the article here.

My BioLogos Posts from 2017

BioLogos recently announced their most read blog posts written in 2017.

Two of my blogs made the top ten list; one was number 3 and another was number 7.

Number 3 was my blog entitled “Evolution and the Historical Fall: What Does Genesis 3 Tell Us about the Origin of Evil?” (they did reverse my first initial and middle name in the listing, but I’ll let that pass and receive the honor).

Number 7 was my blog entitled “Humans as Imago Dei and the Evolution of Homo Sapiens” (there they got my name right).

My Earlier (2016) Blog Posts for BioLogos

If you’re interested, you can read my first two BioLogos blog posts (from 2016).

The first is called “Why Christians Don’t Need to Be Threatened by Evolution” (the title is pretty self-explanatory).

The second is entitled “The Ancient Universe and the Cosmic Temple.” it addresses the perceived tension between modern cosmology and the ancient biblical view of the world, with a focus on what the ancient view can teach us theologically.

I’m also working with BioLogos to edit and revise some new and existing posts (on topics like the days of Genesis and the proper approach to interpreting Scripture). My contribution is to help them deepen the biblical and theological aspects of the posts, as well as some style editing.

The multi-authored post called “How Long Are the Days of Genesis 1?” has now been published.

On Genesis, Job, and Psalms—Five Recent Essays Published

Five essays I’ve been working on for a while have recently been (or are about to be) published.

I wrote this essay last year for oral presentation at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies and then again at the Society of Biblical Literature. I conceived it as an introductory exploration of the phenomenon of vigorous prayer in the Bible, which grounds research I am currently doing for a book on lament vis-à-vis Abraham and Job. You can download the essay by clicking on its title (or here).

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  • “Reading Genesis 3 Attentive to Human Evolution: Beyond Concordism and Non-Overlapping Magisteria.” Chap. 4 in Evolution and the Fall, ed. by William T. Cavanaugh and James K. A. Smith (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017), 67–97.

This essay was written specifically for this collection, at the invitation of the editors. It was the first piece I ever wrote trying to relate the Bible to human evolution. I presented it at a conference in Spring 2015, which led to my becoming a Theological Fellow with BioLogos, writing blog posts for them, and giving a number of related presentations on the Bible and evolution. My approach both in this essay and in the subsequent blogs and presentations on the subject has been to listen to the Bible first, then explore how this might help us understand what scientists are telling us about human evolution.

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For a long time I had been mulling over my sense that most interpreters were misreading God’s response to Job’s complaints; instead of reprimanding Job for daring to question him, I understood God second speech as encouraging him (while his first speech functioned to critique his assumptions and enlarge his vision). So, some years ago I worked up my ideas into a paper that I presented at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies; this led to my being asked to give this paper as the Peter C. Craigie memorial lecture at the University of Calgary. Then I put it away for a while, but reworked it for presentation last year in a Biblical Studies Seminar at St. Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra, Australia. It is now published in their journal with the other papers from the Seminar.  You can download the essay by clicking on its title (or here).

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I’ve always prized Psalm 51 as an amazing articulation of the meaning of repentance. But like the Job paper (above), I had the sense that the traditional reading of this psalm as David’s prayer of confession did not fit the actual story in 2 Samuel 11–12. So I tried out my ideas on the topic a few years back at the Eastern Great Lakes Biblical Society and then at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. I revised the paper for presentation in 2015 in the “Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and the Theological Disciplines” Research Group of the Institute for Biblical Research. It is published in a volume of collected papers that have been presented in this research group over the last few years.

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This essay is an exposition of the story of the Garden of Eden, to show how it grounds the dignity of work and the equality of men and women in God’s original intentions for human life. Yet God’s intentions in both cases have been distorted by human sin (and our sinful perspective often leads to our misreading of this story). The essay was commissioned for the 150th anniversary of the founding of Roberts Wesleyan College and the title of the volume comes from the name of the newspaper (The Earnest Christian) published by B. T. Roberts, the founder of the College and of the Free Methodist Church. The essays also function as an earnest of the heritage of the College and of B. T. Roberts’s vision of socially embodied Christianity (he was an evangelical egalitarian back in the nineteenth century and wrote a booklet in 1891 advocating the ordination of women). Although the anniversary of the College was last year, the volume of essays is being published this summer.