Genesis 1:5
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKJTLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(5) God called the light Day . . . Night.—Before this distinction of night and day was possible there must have been outside the earth, not as yet the sun, but a bright phosphorescent mass, such as now enwraps that luminary; and, secondly, the earth must have begun to revolve upon its axis. Consequent upon this would be, not merely alternate periods of light and darkness, but also of heat and cold, from which would result important effects upon the formation of the earth’s crust. Moreover, in thus giving “day” and “night” names, God ordained language, and that vocal sounds should be the symbols of things. This law already looks forward to the existence of man, the one being on earth who calls things by their names.

And the evening and the morning.—Literally, And was an evening and was a morning day one, the definite article not being used till Genesis 1:31, when we have “day the sixth,” which was also the last of the creative days.

The word “evening” means a mixture. It is no longer the opaque darkness of a world without light, but the intermingling of light and darkness (comp. Zechariah 14:6-7). This is followed by a “morning,” that is, a breaking forth of light. Evening is placed first because there was a progress from a less to a greater brightness and order and beauty. The Jewish method of calculating the day from sunset to sunset was not the cause, but the result of this arrangement.

The first day.—A creative day is not a period of twenty-four hours, but an œon, or period of indefinite duration, as the Bible itself teaches us. For in Genesis 2:4 the six days of this narrative are described as and summed up in one day, creation being there regarded, not in its successive stages, but as a whole. So by the common consent of commentators, the seventh day, or day of God’s rest, is that age in which we are now living, and which will continue until the consummation of all things. So in Zechariah 14:7 the whole Gospel dispensation is called “one day;” and constantly in Hebrew, as probably in all languages, day is used in a very indefinite manner, as, for instance, in Deuteronomy 9:1. Those, however, who adopt the very probable suggestion of Kurtz, that the revelation of the manner of creation was made in a succession of representations or pictures displayed before the mental vision of the tranced seer, have no difficulties. He saw the dark gloom of evening pierced by the bright morning light: that was day one. Again, an evening cleft by the light, and he saw an opening space expanding itself around the world: that was day two. Again darkness and light, and on the surface of the earth he saw the waters rushing down into the seas: that was day three. And so on. What else could he call these periods but days? But as St. Augustine pointed out, there was no sun then, and “it is very difficult for us to imagine what sort of days these could be” (De Civ. Dei, xi. 6, 7). It must further be observed that this knowledge of the stages of creation could only have been given by revelation, and that the agreement of the Mosaic record with geology is so striking that there is no real difficulty in believing it to be inspired. The difficulties arise almost entirely from popular fallacies or the mistaken views of commentators. Geology has done noble service for religion in sweeping away the mean views of God’s method of working which used formerly to prevail. We may add that among the Chaldeans a cosmic day was a period of 43,200 years, being the equivalent of the cycle of the procession of the equinoxes (Lenormant, Les Origines de l’Histoire, p. 233).

Genesis 1:5. God called, &c. — God distinguished them from each other by different names, as the Lord of both. The day is thine, the night also is thine. He is the Lord of time, and will be so till day and night shall come to an end, and the stream of time be swallowed up in the ocean of eternity. The evening — Including the following night, and the morning, including the succeeding day, were the first natural day, of twenty-four hours. Some, indeed, by evening understand the foregoing day as being then concluded, and by the morning the preceding night: but the Jews, who had the best opportunity of understanding Moses, who here declares the mind of God in this matter, began both their common and sacred days in the evening, see Leviticus 23:32. The darkness of the evening, preceding the light of the morning, sets it off and makes it shine the brighter.1:3-5 God said, Let there be light; he willed it, and at once there was light. Oh, the power of the word of God! And in the new creation, the first thing that is wrought in the soul is light: the blessed Spirit works upon the will and affections by enlightening the understanding. Those who by sin were darkness, by grace become light in the Lord. Darkness would have been always upon fallen man, if the Son of God had not come and given us understanding, 1Jo 5:20. The light which God willed, he approved of. God divided the light from the darkness; for what fellowship has light with darkness? In heaven there is perfect light, and no darkness at all; in hell, utter darkness, and no gleam of light. The day and the night are the Lord's; let us use both to his honour, by working for him every day, and resting in him every night, meditating in his law both day and night.Called to the light, day, ... - After separating the light and the darkness, he gives them the new names of day and night, according to the limitations under which they were now placed. Before this epoch in the history of the earth there was no rational inhabitant, and therefore no use of naming. The assigning of names, therefore, is an indication that we have arrived at that stage in which names for things will be necessary, because a rational creature is about to appear on the scene.

Naming seems to be designating according to the specific mode in which the general notion is realized in the thing named. This is illustrated by several instances which occur in the following part of the chapter. It is the right of the maker, owner, or other superior to give a name; and hence, the receiving of a name indicates the subordination of the thing named to the namer. Name and thing correspond: the former is the sign of the latter; hence, in the concrete matter-of-fact style of Scripture the name is often put for the thing, quality, person, or authority it represents.

The designations of day and night explain to us what is the meaning of dividing the light from the darkness. It is the separation of the one from the other, and the orderly distribution of each over the different parts of the earth's surface in the course of a night and a day. This could only be effected in the space of a diurnal revolution of the earth on its axis. Accordingly, if light were radiated from a particular region in the sky, and thus separated from darkness at a certain meridian, while the earth performed its daily round, the successive changes of evening, night, morning, day, would naturally present themselves in slow and stately progress during that first great act of creation.

Thus, we have evidence that the diurnal revolution of the earth took place on the first day of the last creation. We are not told whether it occurred before that time. If there ever was a time when the earth did not revolve, or revolved on a different axis or according to a different law from the present, the first revolution or change of revolution must have produced a vast change in the face of things, the marks of which would remain to this day, whether the impulse was communicated to the solid mass alone, or simultaneously to all the loose matter resting on its surface. But the text gives no intimation of such a change.

At present, however, let us recollect we have only to do with the land known to antediluvian man, and the coming of light into existence over that region, according to the existing arrangement of day and night. How far the breaking forth of the light may have extended beyond the land known to the writer, the present narrative does not enable us to determine.

We are now prepared to conclude that the entrance of light into this darkened region was effected by such a change in its position or in its superincumbent atmosphere as allowed the interchange of night and day to become discernible, while at the same time so much obscurity still remained as to exclude the heavenly bodies from view. We have learned from the first verse that these heavenly orbs were already created. The luminous element that plays so conspicuous and essential a part in the process of nature, must have formed a part of that original creation. The removal of darkness, therefore, from the locality mentioned, is merely owing to a new adjustment by which the pre-existent light was made to visit the surface of the abyss with its cheering and enlivening beams.

In this case, indeed, the real change is effected, not in the light itself, but in the intervening medium which was impervious to its rays. But it is to be remembered, on the other hand, that the actual result of the divine interposition is still the diffusion of light over the face of the watery deep, and that the actual phenomena of the change, as they would strike an onlooker, and not the invisible springs of the six days' creation, are described in the chapter before us.

Then was evening, then was morning, day one. - The last clause of the verse is a resumption of the whole process of time during this first work of creation. This is accordingly a simple and striking example of two lines of narrative parallel to each other and exactly coinciding in respect of time. In general we find the one line overlapping only a part of the other.

The day is described, according to the Hebrew mode of narrative, by its starting-point, "the evening." The first half of its course is run out during the night. The next half in like manner commences with "the morning," and goes through its round in the proper day. Then the whole period is described as "one day." The point of termination for the day is thus the evening again, which agrees with the Hebrew division of time Leviticus 23:32.

To make "the evening" here the end of the first day, and so "the morning" the end of the first night, as is done by some interpreters, is therefore equally inconsistent with the grammar of the Hebrews and with their mode of reckoning time. It also defines the diurnal period, by noting first its middle point and then its termination, which does not seem to be natural. It further defines the period of sunshine, or the day proper, by "the evening," and the night by the morning; a proceeding equally unnatural. It has not even the advantage of making the event of the latter clause subsequent to that of the former. For the day of twenty-four hours is wholly spent in dividing the light from the darkness; and the self-same day is described again in this clause, take it how we will. This interpretation of the clause is therefore to be rejected.

The days of this creation are natural days of twenty-four hours each. We may not depart from the ordinary meaning of the word without a sufficient warrant either in the text of Scripture or in the law of nature. But we have not yet found any such warrant. Only necessity can force us to such an expedient. Scripture, on the other hand, warrants us in retaining the common meaning by yielding no hint of another, and by introducing "evening, night, morning, day," as its ordinary divisions. Nature favors the same interpretation. All geological changes are of course subsequent to the great event recorded in the first verse, which is the beginning of things. All such changes, except the one recorded in the six days' creation, are with equal certainty antecedent to the state of things described in the second verse. Hence, no lengthened period is required for this last creative interposition.

Day one - is used here for the first day, the cardinal one being not usually employed for the ordinal in Hebrew Gen 8:13; Exodus 10:1-2. It cannot indicate any emphasis or singularity in the day, as it is in no respect different from the other days of creation. It implies that the two parts before mentioned make up one day. But this is equally implied by all the ordinals on the other days.

This day is in many ways interesting to us. It is the first day of the last creation; it is the first day of the week; it is the day of the resurrection of the Messiah; and it has become the Christian Sabbath.

The first five verses form the first parashah (פרשׁ pārāsh) or "section" of the Hebrew text. If this division come from the author, it indicates that he regarded the first day's work as the body of the narrative, and the creation of the universe, in the first verse, and the condition of the earth, in the second, as mere preliminaries to introduce and elucidate his main statement. If, on the contrary, it proceeds from some transcriber of a subsequent period, it may indicate that he considered the creative work of the first day to consist of two parts, - first, an absolute creation; and, second, a supplementary act, by which the primary universe was first enlightened.

5. first day—a natural day, as the mention of its two parts clearly determines; and Moses reckons, according to Oriental usage, from sunset to sunset, saying not day and night as we do, but evening and morning. It is acknowledged by all, that the

evening and the morning are not here to be understood according to our common usage, but are put by a synecdoche each of them for one whole part of the natural day. But because it may be doubted which part each of them signifies, some understand by

evening, the foregoing day; and by

the morning, the foregoing night; and so the natural day begins with the morning or the light, as it did with the ancient Chaldeans. Others by

evening understand the first night or darkness which was upon the face of the earth, Gen 1:2, which probably continued for the space of about twelve hours, the beginning whereof might fitly be called

evening; and by

morning the succeeding light or day, which may reasonably be supposed to continue the other twelve hours, or thereabouts. And this seems the truer opinion,

1. Because the darkness was before the light, as the

evening is put before the

morning, Gen 1:5, Gen 1:8, and afterwards.

2. Because this best agrees both with the vulgar and with the Scripture use of the terms of

evening and morning.

3. Because the Jews, who had the best opportunity of knowing the mind of God in this matter by Moses and other succeeding prophets, begun both their common and sacred days with the evening, as is confessed, and may be gathered from Lev 23:32.

Were the first day; did constitute or make up the first day; day of being taken largely for the natural day, consisting of twenty-four hours: these were the parts the first day; and the like is to be understood of the succeeding days. Moreover, God, who could have made all things at once, was pleased to divide his work into six days, partly to give us occasion more distinctly and seriously to consider God's works, and principally to lay the foundation for the weekly sabbath, as is clearly intimated, Gen 2:2-3 Exo 20:9-11. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night,.... Either by the circulating motion of the above body of light, or by the rotation of the chaos on its own axis towards it, in the space of twenty four hours there was a vicissitude of light and darkness; just as there is now by the like motion either of the sun, or of the earth; and which after this appellation God has given, we call the one, day, and the other, night:

and the evening and the morning were the first day: the evening, the first part of the night, or darkness, put for the whole night, which might be about the space of twelve hours; and the morning, which was the first part of the day, or light, put also for the whole, which made the same space, and both together one natural day, consisting of twenty four hours; what Daniel calls an "evening morning", Daniel 8:26 and the apostle a "night day", 2 Corinthians 11:25. Thales being asked which was first made, the night or the day, answered, the night was before one day (m). The Jews begin their day from the preceding evening; so many other nations: the Athenians used to reckon their day from sun setting to sun setting (n); the Romans from the middle of the night, to the middle of the night following, as Gellius (o) relates; and Tacitus (p) reports of the ancient Germans, that they used to compute not the number of days, but of nights, reckoning that the night led the day. Caesar (q) observes of the ancient Druids in Britain, that they counted time not by the number of days, but nights; and observed birthdays, and the beginnings of months and years, so as that the day followed the night; and we have some traces of this still among us, as when we say this day se'nnight, or this day fortnight. This first day of the creation, according to James Capellus, was the eighteenth of April; but, according to Bishop Usher, the twenty third of October; the one beginning the creation in the spring, the other in autumn. It is a notion of Mr. Whiston's, that the six days of the creation were equal to six years, a day and a year being one and the same thing before the fall of man, when the diurnal rotation of the earth about its axis, as he thinks, began; and in agreement with this, very remarkable is the doctrine Empedocles taught, that when mankind sprung originally from the earth, the length of the day, by reason of the slowness of the sun's motion, was equal to ten of our present months (r). The Hebrew word "Ereb", rendered "evening", is retained by some of the Greek poets, as by Hesiod (s), who says, out of the "chaos" came "Erebus", and black night, and out of the night ether and the day; and Aristophanes (t), whose words are,

chaos, night, and black "Erebus" were first, and wide Tartarus, but there were neither earth, air, nor heaven, but in the infinite bosom of Erebus, black winged night first brought forth a windy egg, &c. And Orpheus (u) makes night to be the beginning of all things. (Hugh Miller (1802-1856) was the first person to popularise the "Day-Age" theory. In his book, "Testimony of the Rocks", that was published in the year after his untimely death, he speculated that that the days were really long ages. He held that Noah's flood was a local flood and the rock layers were laid down long periods of time. (v) This theory has been popularised by the New Scofield Bible first published in 1967.

(m) Laert. in Vita Thaletis. p. 24. (n) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 77. (o) Noct. Attic. l. 3. c. 2.((p) De Mor. German. c. 11. (q) Commentar. l. 6. p. 141. (r) Vid. Universal History, vol. 1. p. 79. (s) ', &c. Hesiod. Theogonia. (t) &c. Aristophanes in Avibus. (u) Hymn. 2. ver. 2.((v) Ian Taylor, p. 360-362, "In the Minds of Men", 1984, TEV Publishing, P.O. Box 5015, Stn. F, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 2T1.

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
5. And God called …] That God should give names to things is to our minds a strange and almost unintelligible thought. To the Hebrews, on the contrary, it seemed a natural feature of the story. To them the Hebrew language was that in which the Divine Will was expressed; and, to their minds, the Hebrew name and the thing which it designated had been rendered inseparable by Divine Decree on the day of its creation.

Observe that the names “Day” and “Night” are given to “light” and “darkness,” although the heavenly bodies are not made until the fourth day.

and there was …] The “day” with the Hebrews began in the evening. It was reckoned from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Israelite writer, therefore, in speaking of the days of Creation, describes them as ordinary days with their succession of evening and morning. There is no need to suppose, as some have done, that the “evening” in this verse refers to the pre-existent darkness of Genesis 1:2, and that “morning” denotes the period of light before the creative work of the second day. In the mention of the days, the Hebrew story of Creation is perfectly simple and natural. With childlike faith, it told how the Creator completed His work in a time corresponding to six earthly days, each consisting of evening and morning. The hallowing of the seventh day, in chap. Genesis 2:2-3, presupposes the literal character of the previous six days.

Suggestions have frequently been made in the course of the last half century, that each of the six days is to be understood as a period of indefinite duration. But it is important to remember that the facts, with which modern science has familiarized us, respecting the antiquity of the earth, as shewn by geology, and our solar system, as shewn by astronomy, were wholly unknown until quite recent times. We must be careful, therefore, not to read back such notions into the minds of the writer and of those for whom he wrote this chapter. The assumption that the inspired record must be literally accurate has led to much misinterpretation of Scripture as well as to great mental confusion and religious distress.

The difficulties, which have been felt with regard to the mention of “days,” have arisen from the natural wish to reconcile the plain and childlike language of ancient unscientific Semitic story, which accounted for the origin of the world, with the abstruse and dazzling discoveries of modern Physical Science. The two must be kept absolutely distinct.

one day] So the Hebrew, not “the first day”; but “one day,” LXX ἡμέρα μία, Lat. dies unus.Verse 5. - And God called (literally, called to) the light Day, and (literally, to) the darkness he called Night. "None but superficial thinkers," says Delitzsch, "can take offence at the idea of created things receiving names from God. The name of a thing is the expression of its nature. If the name be given by man, it fixes in a word the impression which it makes upon the human mind; but, when given by God, it expresses the reality, what the thing is in God's creation, and the place assigned it there by the side of other things." The things named were the light and the darkness; not the durations, but the phenomena. The names called were day, yore, and night, layela, which, again, were not time-measures, but character-descriptions. Ainsworth suggests that yore was intended to express "the tumult, stir, and business of the day," in all probability connecting it with yam, which depicts the foaming or the boiling of the sea; and that layela, in which he seems to detect the Latin ululare, is indicative of "the yelling or the howling of wild beasts at night." Gesenius derives the former from the unused root yore, which signifies to glow with heat, while the latter he associates with lul, also unused, to roll up, the idea being that the night wraps all things in obscurity. Macdonald sees in the naming of the creatures an expression of sovereignty and lordship, as when Adam named the beasts of the field. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Literally, And evening was and morning was, day one. Considerable diversity of sentiment prevails with regard to the exact interpretation of these words. On the one hand, it is assumed that the first creative period is here described as an ordinary astronomical or sidereal day of twenty-four hours' duration, its constituent parts being characterized in the usual way, as an evening and a morning. In the judgment of Kalisch and others the peculiar phrase, "Evening was, and morning was," is simply equivalent to the later Hebrew compound "evening-morning" (Daniel 8:14), and the Greek νηχθήμερον (2 Corinthians 11:25), both of which denote a natural or civil day, though this is challenged, in the case of the Hebrew compound, by Macdonald. The language of the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:11) is also appealed to as removing, it beyond the sphere of doubt that the evening and the morning referred to are-the component sections of an earthly day. As to the proper terminus a quo of this initial day, however, the advocates of this interpretation are at variance among themselves; Delitzsch taking the terms ereb (literally, "the setting," from arab,

(1) to mix;

(2) to set, to depart, like the sun)

and boker (literally, "the breaking forth," from bakar, to cleave, to open) in an active sense, and applying the former to the first fading of the light, and the latter to the breaking of the dawn after the first interval of darkness has passed, thus reckoning the creative days from daybreak to daybreak; while Murphy and Kalisch, who agree with him in regarding the days as ordinary solar days, declare they must be reckoned, Hebraico more, from sunset to sunset. But if the first day commenced with an evening or obscure period (Has ereb no connection with arab, to mix? May it not describe the condition of things when light and darkness were commingled?), that can be discovered only in the chaotic darkness out of which the light sprang. Hence, on the other hand, as it seems improbable that this was of no more than twelve hours' duration, and as the presumption is that the light-period would be commensurate in length, it has been argued that day one was not a sun-measured day, but a period of indefinite extent. Of course the length of day one practically determines the length of all the six. If it was a solar day, then they must be considered such. But as the present sidereal arrangements for the measurement of time were not then established, it is clearly gratuitous to proceed on the assumption that it was Hence, neither is it to be accepted without-demonstration that they were not likewise periods of prolonged duration. It is obvious they were if it was; and that it was appears to be suggested by the terms in which it is described. This conclusion, that the creation days were long periods, and not simply solar days, is confirmed by a variety of considerations.

1. In the creation record itself (Genesis 2:4) the term is employed with an obvious latitude of meaning; standing for light as opposed to darkness (ver. 5); day as distinguished from night; and for a period of twenty-four hours, as in the phrase "for days and years" (ver. 14); and again for the whole creation period of six days, or, as is more probable, for the second and third days (Genesis 2:4).

2. General Scripture usage sanctions this interpretation of the word day as a period of indefinite duration; g. g. Zechariah 14:6, 7, which speaks of the time of our Lord s coming, and-indeed of the entire gospel dispensation, as יום אֶחָד unus dies, i.e. a day together unique, the only day of its kind (Delitzsch); and characterizes it as one of God's days, "known to the Lord," as if to distinguish it from one of man's ordinary civil days (cf. Deuteronomy 9:1; Psalm 90:4; Psalm 95:8; Isaiah 49:8; John 9:4; Hebrews 13:8; 2 Peter 3:8).

3. The works ascribed to the different days can with difficulty be compressed within the limits of a solar day. Taking the third day, e.g., if the events assigned to it belong exclusively to the region of the supernatural, nothing need prevent the belief that twenty-four hours were sufficient for their accomplishment; but if the Divine modus operandi during the first half of the creative week was through "existing causes" (even vastly accelerated), as geology affirms that it was during the second half, and as we know that it has been ever since its termination, then a considerably larger space of time than twice twelve hours must have been consumed in their execution. And the same conclusion forces itself upon the judgment from a consideration of the works allotted to the sixth day, in which not only were the animals produced and Adam made, but the former, being collected in Eden, were passed in review before the latter to be named, after which he was cast into a sleep by Jehovah Elohim, a rib extracted from his side and fashioned into a woman, and the woman presented to him as a partner.

4. The duration of the seventh day of necessity determines the length of the other six. Without anticipating the exposition of Genesis 2:1-4 (q.v.), it may be said that God's sabbatic rest is understood by the best interpreters of Scripture to have continued from creation's close until the present hour; so that consistency demands the previous six days to be considered as not of short, but of indefinite, duration.

5. The language of the fourth commandment, when interpreted in accordance with the present theory, confirms the probability of its truth, If the six days in Exodus 20:11 are simply natural days, then the seventh day, in which God is represented as having rested from his creative labors, must likewise be a natural or solar day; and if so, it is proper to observe what follows. It follows

(1) that the events recorded in the first five verses of Genesis must be compressed into a single day of twenty-four hours, so that no gap will remain into which the short-day advocates may thrust the geologic ages, which is for them an imperative necessity;

(2) that the world is only 144 hours older than man, which is contrary to both science and revelation;

(3) that the statement is incorrect that God finished all his work at the close of the sixth day; and

(4) that the fossiliferous remains which have been discovered in the earth's crust have either been deposited there since man's creation, or were created there at the first, both of which suppositions are untenable. But now, if, on the contrary, the language signifies that God labored in the fashioning of his cosmos through six successive periods of indefinite duration (olamim, aeons), and entered on the seventh day into a correspondingly long period of sabbatic rest, we can hold the opposite of every one of these conclusions, and find a convincing argument besides for the observance of the sabbath in the beautiful analogy which subsists between God s great week of olamim and man's little week of sun-measured days,

6. Geology declares that the earth must have been brought to its present condition through a series of labors extending over indefinitely long epochs; and, notwithstanding the confident assertion of Kalisch and others that it is hopeless to harmonize science and revelation, the correspondence between the contents of these geologic ages and those of the Mosaic days is so surprising as to induce the belief that the latter were, like the former, extended periods. First, according to geology, traveling backward, comes the Cainozoic era, with the remains of animals, but not of man next is the Mezozoic era, with the remains of fish and fowl, but not of animals; and underneath that is the Palaeozoic era, with its carboniferous formations, but still with traces of aquatic life at its beginning and its end. Now, whether the vegetation of the third day is to be sought for in the carboniferous formations of the Palaeozoic age (Hugh Miller), or, as is more probable, in the age which saw the formation of the metamorphic rocks (Dawson), the order disclosed is precisely that which the Mosaic narrative affirms was observed first plants, then fish and fowl, and finally animals and man; so that if the testimony of the rocks be admissible at all upon the subject, it is unmistakably in favor of the long-period day.

7. The opinion of neither Jewish nor Christian antiquity was entirely on the side of the natural-day theory. Josephus and Philo lent their sanction to the other view. Origen perceived the difficulty of having a firs. t, second, and third day, each with an evening and a morning, without the sun, moon, and stars, and resolved it by saying that these celestial luminaries were appointed "οὔκετι εἴς ἄρχας τῆς ἠμέρας καὶ τὴς νυκτὸς ἀλλ εἴς τὴν ἄρχην τῆς ἡμέρας καὶ τῆς νυκτός ('Com. in Genesin,' 1:16). Augustine similarly writes, "Qui dies cujusmodi sint, ant perdifficile nobis, ant etiam impossibile est cogitare, quanto magis dicere Illorum autem priores tres sine sole peracti sunt, qui quarto die factus refertur" ('De Civitate Dei,' lib. 11:6, 7). Bode likewise remarks, "Fortassis hic diet nomen totius temporis nomen est, et omnia volumina seculorum hoc vocabulo includit."

8. Heathen cosmogonies may also be appealed to as an indirect confirmation of the preceding evidence. Egyptian, Persian, Indian, and Etruscan legends represent the elaboration of the world as having been accomplished in a series of ages of prolonged duration. "God created in the first thousand years heaven and earth; in the second the vault of heaven; in the third the sea and the other waters of the earth; in the fourth the sun, moon, and stars; in the fifth the inhabitants of the air, of the water, and of the land; and in the sixth man," is the creation story of Etruria; and although in itself it has no validity, yet, as a traditional reflection of the Mosaic narrative it is not entirely destitute of weight.

Hence it is said in Genesis 1:5, "God called the light Day, and the darkness Night;" for, as Augustine observes, "all light is not day, nor all darkness night; but light and darkness alternating in a regular order constitute day and night." None but superficial thinkers can take offence at the idea of created things receiving names from God. The name of a thing is the expression of its nature. If the name be given by man, it fixes in a word the impression which it makes upon the human mind; but when given by God, it expresses the reality, what the thing is in God's creation, and the place assigned it there by the side of other things.

"Thus evening was and morning was one day." אחד (one), like εἷς and unus, is used at the commencement of a numerical series for the ordinal primus (cf. Genesis 2:11; Genesis 4:19; Genesis 8:5, Genesis 8:15). Like the numbers of the days which follow, it is without the article, to show that the different days arose from the constant recurrence of evening and morning. It is not till the sixth and last day that the article is employed (Genesis 1:31), to indicate the termination of the work of creation upon that day. It is to be observed, that the days of creation are bounded by the coming of evening and morning. The first day did not consist of the primeval darkness and the origination of light, but was formed after the creation of the light by the first interchange of evening and morning. The first evening was not the gloom, which possibly preceded the full burst of light as it came forth from the primary darkness, and intervened between the darkness and full, broad daylight. It was not till after the light had been created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morning; and this coming of evening (lit., the obscure) and morning (the breaking) formed one, or the first day. It follows from this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to evening, but from morning to morning. The first day does not fully terminate till the light returns after the darkness of night; it is not till the break of the new morning that the first interchange of light and darkness is completed, and a ἡερονύκτιον has passed. The rendering, "out of evening and morning there came one day," is at variance with grammar, as well as with the actual fact. With grammar, because such a thought would require 'echaad אחד ליום; and with fact, because the time from evening to morning does not constitute a day, but the close of a day. The first day commenced at the moment when God caused the light to break forth from the darkness; but this light did not become a day, until the evening had come, and the darkness which set in with the evening had given place the next morning to the break of day. Again, neither the words ערב ויהי בקר ויהי, nor the expression בקר ערב, evening-morning ( equals day), in Daniel 8:14, corresponds to the Greek νυχθη̈́̀ερον, for morning is not equivalent to day, nor evening to night. The reckoning of days from evening to evening in the Mosaic law (Leviticus 23:32), and by many ancient tribes (the pre-Mohammedan Arabs, the Athenians, Gauls, and Germans), arose not from the days of creation, but from the custom of regulating seasons by the changes of the moon. But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days. It is true the morning and evening of the first three days were not produced by the rising and setting of the sun, since the sun was not yet created; but the constantly recurring interchange of light and darkness, which produced day and night upon the earth, cannot for a moment be understood as denoting that the light called forth from the darkness of chaos returned to that darkness again, and thus periodically burst forth and disappeared. The only way in which we can represent it to ourselves, is by supposing that the light called forth by the creative mandate, "Let there be," was separated from the dark mass of the earth, and concentrated outside or above the globe, so that the interchange of light and darkness took place as soon as the dark chaotic mass began to rotate, and to assume in the process of creation the form of a spherical body. The time occupied in the first rotations of the earth upon its axis cannot, indeed, be measured by our hour-glass; but even if they were slower at first, and did not attain their present velocity till the completion of our solar system, this would make no essential difference between the first three days and the last three, which were regulated by the rising and setting of the sun.

(Note: Exegesis must insist upon this, and not allow itself to alter the plain sense of the words of the Bible, from irrelevant and untimely regard to the so-called certain inductions of natural science. Irrelevant we call such considerations, as make interpretation dependent upon natural science, because the creation lies outside the limits of empirical and speculative research, and, as an act of the omnipotent God, belongs rather to the sphere of miracles and mysteries, which can only be received by faith (Hebrews 11:3); and untimely, because natural science has supplied no certain conclusions as to the origin of the earth, and geology especially, even at the present time, is in a chaotic state of fermentation, the issue of which it is impossible to foresee.)

Genesis 1:5 Interlinear
Genesis 1:5 Parallel Texts

Genesis 1:5 NIV
Genesis 1:5 NLT
Genesis 1:5 ESV
Genesis 1:5 NASB
Genesis 1:5 KJV

Genesis 1:5 Bible Apps
Genesis 1:5 Parallel
Genesis 1:5 Biblia Paralela
Genesis 1:5 Chinese Bible
Genesis 1:5 French Bible
Genesis 1:5 German Bible

Bible Hub
Genesis 1:4
Top of Page
Top of Page