Article 20201019

 


 

Considering the Possibility of a Creation Involving “Deep Time” (Part 2) – Rich Cloud, PPCF Chairman

 

(Part 2:  Exhaustive Concordance Study of Usage & Translations for Hebrew “TIME” Words)

 

Does the Hebrew language, both its words and grammatical structure, allow for both the expression and concept of longs ages of time in the Genesis 1 Creation account?
If so, does the idea of long ages describe God’s intent for the Creation Account?

 

Introduction

 

        The initial portion of this study, on key TIME words, has provided strong evidence for the availability of these words in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament to convey a meaning of extended long ages of indefinite time or “deep time” (hereafter DT).  Thus, it would seem that the concept of DT for the creation could easily have been expressed within the language of the Creation account (Genesis 1) to provide this specific message, if this was intended by God through Moses (see Part 1:  Sections 1 and 2).

 

        Part 2 of this paper will focus more directly on the available TIME language words for DT by considering a more in-depth examination of their respective usage within the Old Testament of God’s Word.  In Section 3 this examination will focus on key passages of Scripture containing these words.  This examination of each word will address time issues both as:  1) individual-single words, and  2) where these same words are used within word phrases with the intent to convey a DT meaning.

 

Section 3a

 

        This section will examine several passages which contain the first seven TIME words from Section #2, Part 1.  In the process of studying these passages, two additional Hebrew words – rahoq and sanah2 – were also recognized to provide additional time related content.  These two words are included below (#8 and #9), along with some additional lexical information for them.

 

        The selected passages for each TIME word will provide from a few to multiple examples for each word to complete an understanding for its respective use in Scripture within the context of time.  This will include each word’s usage as the individual TIME word (single) and its use within some larger phrasal constructs.  Thus, the intent in this section will be to select passages which best represent the usage of these individual words while also evaluating each word for its respective usage within the criteria of DT in expressing possible long ages.

 

        There will also be some selected passages which will incorporate the use of the word for “day” yom (singular) or “days” yamin (plural) to underscore how the use of this word, within selected biblical phrases, may provide an understanding of DT from a Scriptural context.  The ESV translation9 is used for all passages.

 

        1.    Uses of ad2

        The time expressed by ad2 is often a distinct onset in the past (singular).  It can also be used to express extended time, even eternal time within a larger biblical phrase.  It does not appear to be a word that easily expresses DT as the primary word, but as a word added to and aiding this intent within a constructed phrase.

 

        2.    Uses of et

        The time expressed by et is variable and can often be indistinct and extended or it can be specific to even a daily expression of time.  A common use is expressing time during the course of life.  It does not appear to be a word that is easily expressed within DT as the primary word, but as part of a common word construct added to and aiding this intent within a constructed phrase.

 

        3.    Uses of dor

        The overall singular use of dor generally references the idea of retaining and expressing information about the past and then providing the applied understanding to future generations.

 

        Various Phrase Types – There are three types of phrases, provided below, which were found to incorporate the idea of DT.

 

                The specific phrasal construct of dor-dor

                The overall phrase of dor-dor in Type #1 is similar to the single use of dor.  However, it can often be intended to emphasize the everlasting nature of retaining and expressing information about the past and providing it to future generations.  The usage of days (yamin) and years (sanah2) within the above Psalms text could allow a possible construction that would indicate an extended window of time or long ages to be understood within the proper context.

 

                This specific Hebrew word sequence of dor-dor-w’ is found 18 times in the Old Testament

                This phrasal construction is found mostly within the poetic portions of Psalms and Isaiah.  The specific phrases shown above for Type #2 use the construct of dor-dor-w’ (=and) and indicate a basic meaning of a continuous and everlasting outcome to future generations.  The added wording in the above Isaiah passage of “ancient” (olam) would provide a qualified and indefinite time frame within the larger phrasing of the verse.  The use of “forever” (olam) in the Psalm 89 passage appears to indicate a different meaning of everlasting for this Hebrew word.   Thus, this common wording emphasizes the importance of contextual meaning for words as they are used within each selected text.

 

                The specific Phrase Type #3 contains a dual phrase combination

                The phrasal construction for this verse has significant similarity to the Isaiah 58 passage (Type #2) above, but with some added context of time.  The basic phrase of “years of many generations” contains this combination – dor-dor-w’-sanah2.  The added phrase “days of old” contains this combination – yamin-olam.  The context for this understanding indicates that the extent of time, as referred to here, is from Abraham to Moses.  It would seem very easy to take this same basic phrase combination and add a context to it which describes a DT age in the distant and/or indefinite past.  Adding the preposition min (from) to the construct before “days of old” would provide a contextual meaning of an extended time such as DT (see Section #4, Part 3 for further development of this concept).

 

        4.    Uses of olam

The use of these two “enhanced single” structures (or short phrases), le-olam or ad2-olam, convey the idea of forever, but applied to a specific outcome.  Here forever would refer to either – to live, God’s name or God’s revelation.  This phrase alone speaks to time in an eternal sense and not directly to more specific ages of indefinite time.

 

        Various Phrase Types – There are three types of phrases, provided below, which were found to incorporate the idea of extended time, but not forever time.

                Phrase Type #1 describes long time past events but within the known history of time for the nation of Israel.  These all exist within a defined time frame of history.  Phrase structure is min-olam.  The context of the phrases set the limiting time length for each passage.

                Phrase Type #2 utilizes a phrase structure of olam-olam to indicate an enhanced understanding for the everlasting nature of the subject (usually God or some characteristic of Him or promise from Him).

                Phrase Type #3 is a more extended type of phrase to provide a statement that the outcome is of a continuous (kol=all) daily decision.  Phrase structure is yamin-kol-le-olam.  This usage describes an ongoing or forever outcome.

 

        The usage of olam, by itself or with common phrasing as incorporated in Scripture, can and often does describe time related concepts which involve extended and indefinite time.  This usually includes time from an eternal sense.  Specific instances within Scripture of an “extended time period” may be implied, but were not directly mentioned.  Within Phrase Type #2, which includes the use of min in some passages and as min-olam-olam, this may be understood within a phrasal construct such as “from everlasting to everlasting” or possibly “from ancient times” or “from times of old”.  Additional contextual structure may enhance the concept of DT even more by following this form and by using olam as a primary word.

 

        5.    Uses of orek

                Both of these Phrase Type #1 passages utilize the structure of yamin-orek and provide a meaning which includes a period of time of unknown length.  However, the general context of the structure, while allowing extended time, is further described in the passages as current to and within the writer’s life.  These phrases could be expanded by additional contextual wording, which could describe the idea of DT, such as “ages” or “of old”.

                Both of these passages utilize the structure of yamin-kol-orek (kol=all) and provide a meaning which includes an entire period of time with unknown length.  This general structure does fit with extended time, but in this passage the outcome is expected within the lifetime of those affected.  These phrases could be expanded by additional contextual wording, which could describe the idea of DT, such as “ages” or “of old”.

 

        Overall, the word orek does seem to provide additional enhancement for the idea of extended time and DT, when it is used within other contextual words, which would enable this understanding.  It does seem to be functional as a primary word within a phrase to express DT.  It could also be used as an additional word for this same purpose.

 

        6.    Uses of qedem

                The time expressed by qedem (single word) does often express extended time in the past (Psalm 74:12) but also eternal and even past time into the present (Psalm 78:12).

                The combined phrasing is le-min-rahoq + yamin-qedem.  This phrasing utilizes the Hebrew poetic structure to repeat and emphasis meaning.  The yamin-qedem phrase (days of old) indicates a past time of extended and indefinite length.  The le-min-rahoq phrase (long age) literally means “of the distant” and thus contains a similar meaning.  Both of these phrase constructs could be expanded by additional contextual wording, which could easily describe the idea of DT For additional understanding of rahoq see #8 below.

                The combined phrasing of yamin-min-qedem for this verse is similar to Phrase #1 with the added preposition min (from long ago).  This provides a context which indicates a past time of extended and indefinite length (i.e., DT).

 

        The time expressed by qedem (in a phrase) does often express extended time in the past, but it also expresses time from the present to the eternal future with the purpose for this being utilized in the present.  It does seem to be functional as a primary word within a phrase to express DT.  It could also be used as an additional word for this same purpose.

 

        7.    Uses of tamia

                The time expressed by tamid is often unspecified while being extended and even eternal in character.  It is commonly used as single word and having an adverbial function so as to enhance meaning and continuity of the verse within time.  It does not appear to be a word that can easily express DT as the primary word but as a descriptive word to emphasize extended time.

 

        During this study and examination of various verses listed within the concordance resource8, I came across two additional TIME related words which help to provide an extended and indefinite time frame context.  These are listed as #8 (rahoq) and #9 (sanah2).

 

        8.    Uses of rahoq

        The usual meaning for the Hebrew word rahoq is to indicate a measurement of distance and not time.  In some contexts, however, where time is indicated by the context of the verse, it incorporates the meaning of “distant”, especially with a preposition like min (from).  In this context it can then express the idea of “from the distant past”.  The use of rahoq would appear to be a word that could easily express and enhance the meaning of DT as part of a larger phrasal construct.

 

        9.    Uses of sanah2

                The single word is often used for a specific age of an individual or the life time of an individual.

        The usage of sanah2 can provide a means to emphasize either a limited or an extended period of time based on the context of the phrasal construct.  It may also convey a message of forever or eternity.  Thus, sanah2 could provide needed structure help define the meaning of DT (either as a lifetime or as an indefinite long ages) as part of a larger phrase.

 

        Comment – In the Stambaugh article3 and within the section “III. Paradigmatic relations of yom, parts 2 to 4”, several of these selected TIME words were mentioned as providing an understanding which would convey “long time past and ambiguous time”.  These words are specifically mentioned:  olam, qedem, dor, tamid, ad2, et.  In the Grigg article4, he also goes into some additional lexical detail for several key TIME words along with their use to express:  1) a single long age event,  2) continuous long age events, and  3) ambiguous time.

 

Section 3b

 

        This sub-section of Section #3 is provided to examine the use of yom and yamin within the context of time plus the related use of this Hebrew word (in both singular and plural) with the prior discussed TIME words.  The intent is to understand how the use of yom and yamin may help to provide a context of meaning for a phrase expressing DT.

 

        10.    Uses of yom and/or yamin

                The overall consistency found within these verses for the textual usage of yom, which are each authored by Moses, would strongly indicate a common meaning for yom as a typical full day of 24-hours and not an extended period of time.

                Yamin as a single word has its meaning set by the context of the passage.  Often where a period of time is involved the phrase includes linguistic helps such as prepositions to help define the time line indicated (see Judges 17:6).

                These three passages use a prepositional phrase (in the/that day).  This appears to be the singular form of day (yom).  Only the word for “day” (yom) is known from the Hebrew text (i.e., information in concordance8).

                In these uses, yom is utilized within a prepositional phrase.  The key understanding within the individual context of these verses is the overall meaning of an undefined, but limited window of time for the completed outcome.  None of these occurrences would indicate both an undefined and extended period of time or DT.

                Both of these passages use the phrase (yamin-kol = all), which limits the meaning of time to the lifetime (all of the days) of the individual mentioned.  Thus, the plural yamin, as the primary TIME word in these passages, has both a limited and definite timeline.

                These three passages use the phrase (ha-yamin-kol), where ha = the and kol = all.  In all cases, these passages do provide an unspecified period of time, but not a time frame beyond the subject’s lifetime.  Thus, the plural yamin, as the primary TIME word in these passages, has a limited, but indefinite timeline, which is within the lifetime of the subject.

                The use of the plural yamin within the context and the phrasal construct for this verse would provide the probable understanding for an undefined and extended period of time.  Even so, the time frame is within the life time of the author.

 

        Key Point:  None of the uses for yamin as the primary TIME word will provide a meaning, either as a single word or in phrases, which could indicate or suggest a significant period of time, such as DT.  However, when the plural yamin is used within some larger, phrasal constructs and where another TIME word is the primary, then yamin can be used to enhance the intended meaning to include constructs, which could convey DT.  This idea will be described and explored more in Section #4.

 

Conclusion to Part 2

 

        This current extended study of the key Hebrew TIME Words from Part 1, and the examination of their usage within Old Testament passages of Scripture, has provided additional strong evidence for the availability of these same words to convey a meaning of DT.  As was previously expressed in the Conclusion to Part 1 of this paper, it would seem that the concept of DT for the creation could have easily and clearly been expressed within the language of the creation account (Genesis 1) to provide this specific message as needed and if intended by the author.

 

        The general structure to express this idea of DT in Scripture has best been demonstrated by focusing on utilizing phrasal constructs to accomplish this.  This type of language convention is commonly seen within multiple passages of Scripture and has been used to convey the specific context of time intended by the passage.  After the completion of the current Scriptural study examining the usage of Hebrew TIME words, it would seem nearly impossible for anyone studying the textual passage contained in the Genesis 1 Creation account to try and support a DT view for this text as written.  Further, when considering the two key questions and one statement, previously recorded in the Introduction Section of Part 1, the choice to hold to a DT view for the Genesis 1 passage would be at its core to call into question the integrity of God and His Word to us.

 

        Part 3 of this paper will focus directly on the application of phrasal constructs to the TIME words studied in Sections 1 to 3.  In Section 4 of Part 3, a further examination will occur by building and examining some combined phrases which will utilize these available TIME words to express with even greater and directed emphasis the idea of DT.  From this entire study of Sections 1 to 4, the expected outcome is that we will clearly see that God intended to convey a meaning for Genesis 1 that factually expresses a recent time frame for Creation and a timeline of only a few thousand (~6000) years.

 

    Rich Cloud
    [email protected]

 


 

1 Recommended websites for more Biblical Creation information:

1.   Institute for Creation Research

2.   Answers in Genesis

3.   Creation Ministries International

        Doing a simple word (yom or day) or phrase search (meaning of day) in these recommended websites will provide numerous paper choices to examine.  Doing a simple phrase search (genre of Genesis, long age, deep time, compromise old earth) in these recommended websites will also provide numerous paper choices to examine about the general meaning of time within the creation account.

 

2 Statistical breakdown for the genre of Genesis:  http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Statistical-Determination-of-Genre-in-Biblical-Hebrew.pdf and https://www.icr.org/article/biblical-hebrew-creation-account-new-numbers-tell-

 

3 Article by James Stambaugh:  https://creation.com/the-days-of-creation-a-semantic-approach

 

4 Article by Russell Grigg:  https://creation.com/how-long-were-the-days-of-genesis-1

 

5 The spelling used for referenced Hebrew words in the paper will include the transliterated English spelling.

 

6 Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible – English Standard Version (ESV); Copyright © 2013; Dr. Spiros Zodhiates and Dr. Warren Patrick Baker D.R.E; AMG International, Inc.; Nashville, TN.

 

7 Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible – New International Version (NIV); Copyright © 1996; Dr. Spiros Zodhiates; AMG International, Inc.; Nashville, TN.  This Bible provides a complete list of Hebrew (Old Testament Lexical Aids) and Greek (New Testament Lexical Aids) words with key words for each further highlighted by including more in-depth usage and information content about the word and its meaning.  Word number designations are Kohlenberger number based.

 

8 The NIV Exhaustive Concordance; authors Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III; Copyright © 1990 by The Zondervan Corporation; Grand Rapids, MI.

 

9 A number of online sources for Scripture exist for use.  The source I used is Bible Gateway Classic, English Standard Version (ESV), Copyright © 2008, Crossway, Good News Publishers.

 


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