A Debate between two fundamentalists (on the Creative Days in Genesis)


Title – A Debate:  Resolved, that the Creative Days in Genesis were Aeons, not Solar Days

Authors – Dr. W. B. Riley, for the Affirmative; Harry Rimmer, for the Negative

Publisher – Northwestern Bible Conference, August, 1929

These men are both: (1) ardent friends, (2) proud to be known as Fundamentalists, (3) subscribing to the same confession of faith, and (4) believe in the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God.

They call this a “friendly skirmish”.  They call each other – “beloved opponent” and “friendly enemy”.

Riley presents five absurdities:

  1. Calling a cosmic light a solar day as in Genesis 1:5
  2. Calling the evening and the morning of the second day a solar day and the evening and the morning of the third day a solar day as in Genesis 1:8 and 1:13, when as yet the rays of the sun had never reached the earth.
  3. Emphasizing the fact that it didn’t rain on the earth until two whole days had passed, as if that were an extensive drought.
  4. That God worked six solar days and then being weary rested one day, but so far as we know, has never worked since, while asking men to work six solar days, rest one, and then start straight in again.
  5. Taking six days to complete the earth as in Genesis 1: and requiring only one day to finish the heavens and the earth and all the host of them as in Genesis 2:24

And then Riley fortifies his argument with the expertise opinions of Dana, Dawson, Max Mueller, Hugh Miller, Sir William Thompson, Frederick Hedge, Dr. Taylor I. Lewis, and N.B. Scott.  Riley states that his position is “the uniform position of the Christian geologists of the world!”  “To recapitulate:  What the Bible teaches, what progressive nature suggests; what cosmology affirms; what the scholars accept, this is my faith, the world was not made in a solar day, nor yet in 164 hours!”

Rimmer presents twelve lines of evidence:

But first he says,

Mr. Moderator, Honored Opponent, Ladies and Gentlemen: perhaps in all the annals and records of the many debates held in the history of disputations, there has never been a more unique debate than this one.

Here is a synopsis:

  1. In every instance where “yom” is to be rendered as an indefinite period the context clearly shows this to be the case!
  2. The vast majority of cases where the word yom appears in the Hebrew text demand translation into the equivalent word, Day.
  3. Wherever the word yom is preceded by a numeral article we are forced to accept it as a literal day.
  4. The quibble of my respected opponent: that the rays of the sun had not reached the earth until the fourth day . . . what has it to do with the matter of time element in the first chapter of Genesis?  . . . A day is the diurnal revolution of the earth on its axis.
  5. And God said, “Light, exist; and light existed!”  The entire phrase is one of instant, absolute obedience to a pressing command, and implies an act consummated in the instant of its inception.
  6. Could God have accomplished the events of any of the six days in a period of twenty-four hours?  . . . For God, twenty-four hours was enough!
  7. Refutation of the great stronghold of the “era-ists.”  We do not say that in twenty-four hours God covered the entire earth with pine forests in their present profusion, with wild ducks by the millions, with humans by the myriads; but only that on each day in which a certain work is done the origin or beginning of that kind is recorded.
  8. We accept the solar duration of the days of Genesis is the apparent fact that Moses’ clear intention was to convey the twenty-four hour idea.
  9. We are in favor of the solar day idea because any other theory is merely a concession to the time element demanded by the evolutionary school of geology.
  10. The days of Genesis are solar days, as they follow the general Hebrew custom of dividing the day into evening, the beginning, and morning, the start of the daylight period. . . . Now we gleefully challenge our erudite and esteemed temporary opponent to give us a verse in the Hebrew text where a geological age is thus described, “And there was evening, and there was morning, one geological age.”
  11. The fact that Moses, the same man who penned the account of creation, is the same writer who makes a comment on this creative week, inspired so to do by God Himself, in the twentieth chapter of Exodus. . . . Are the Jews to work six geological ages and rest the seventh geological age?
  12. The Third Day of creation . . . The ocean is formed: the dry land appears: and botany is born!  . . . These plants lived some five hundred thousand years without any direct rays of the sun to nurture them [?]

About Todd Wood

I am a servant of Jesus in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Join me in seeking Jesus in this city.
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