A STUDY OF THE BIBLE (CONT.)
It is a brave venture to study the Bible because what is contained in each word is so profound that every reading elicits more information. Hence there is no definitive end to the work because it opens to Eternity.
However, there is a need to record how we understand the information so as to allow for progress. This is particularly true of the account at the beginning of the Bible contained in the first 10 chapters which record the events of creation. This has heightened importance because in the account we find insights into the nature of Man and our relationship with our Creator.
2– The Story of Creation.
A) -YOM — this word is translated as “day”. The tendency is to think in terms of our concept of the meaning of that word as we understand it now. Thus, those who seek the plain meaning of the text are wedded to the idea that Creation took place in the six days of our week.
However, the biblical scholar Msgr. Isidro Puente y Ochoa, of the Diocese of Tijuana (B.C.,Mexico) points out that the word YOM is used in the Pentetuch in many various ways. For example:
time (Ex. 32:34; Lev. 13:14;Num.25:18; 30:9.);
in the time of (Gen. 47:9)
in those days (Dt. 19:17)
before (Gen. 25:33; Ex. 6:28)
immediately (Gen. 25:31, 33; 39:11)
as now (Gen. 50:20)
as long as (Dt.11:21)
daily (Ex 19:11;29:36; Num. 28:3)
from ( Ex. 10:6;12:15; Lev. 23:15; Dt. 9: 24)
until (Ex. 40:37)
in the future ( Gen. 49:1)
anniversary ( Ex.12:17)
since (Ex. 9:18; Dt. 4:32)
at the end (Gen.4:3)
It is clear that to assume the Hebrew word “Yom” refers to our 24 hour day is a serious error.
The Douay translation of the first five verses of Genesis is as follows:
l. In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
2. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over he waters.
3. And God said: Be light made. And light was made.
4. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness.
5. And he called the light Day and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.
Note that this is a very strange way to describe a “day”. For the ancient Hebrews a day began at evening ( sunset or we would call it 6 pm); and it would continue through morning to the next evening (again,6 pm).
However, here in the fitst day of Genesis the second evening is not mentioned. The same for each of the 6 days of creation.
The obvious reason is that THESE DAYS HAVE NOT YET REACHED THEIR END.
The acts of Creation described in each “day” really continue. It is clear that the continual creation of Light (for example) is still going on.
The Fathers have always considered that God’s act of Creation is always taking place.
Thus we can see that the “days” of Creation really recount a reality that far transends our usual interpretations.
For example: remember that some think that miracles are impossible because they contravene the laws by which God governs the Cosmos. However, the reality (as always held by the Church) is that every moment is a new beginning and so the Creator can modify the process as he please and so miracles take place.
St. Thomas reminds us that the Creator is pure Act; thus is is logical that his creation should be continuous in our eyes.
Thus, in our study of Scripture it is important to remember that the record of these event are an effort by God to have us see a reality of which we are only dimly aware.
WE must approach the Bible with great humility.