Jason Lisle Says a Day Is a Day

This is supposed to convince us that the universe really is only 6,000 years old. It’s at the website of Jason Lisle — the creationist astrophysicist. He’s now running his own show, after previously working for ol’ Hambo’s Answers in Genesis, and then the Institute for Creation Research. The latest at his website is What Does “Day” Mean? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In Genesis chapter 1, God reports that He created the heavens and the Earth in a period of six days. Human beings were made on the sixth day, and given the number of generations between Adam and Christ, this must have happened a few thousand years ago. A straightforward reading of Scripture therefore indicates that God created the universe approximately 6000 years ago. But not everyone wants to accept that.

Those un-believers must be fools! Jason says:

Since our youth, most of us have been utterly brainwashed [Gasp!] with the idea that the Earth is billions of years old. We are told that science has demonstrated this, particularly by the method of radiometric dating of rocks. Of course, the scientific method by its very nature could never establish such a thing, and is in fact predicated upon biblical creation. [Huh?] But not many people realize this. Hence, even many Christians have fallen into the trap of “deep time.”

Have you fallen into the trap of “deep time” dear reader? Then pay attention! Jason tells us:

For this reason, many Christians are strongly motivated to read the Bible in such a way as to accommodate the hypothetical vast ages proposed by the secularists. And one of the most common proposed mechanisms is to assume that the days of Genesis chapter 1 are not really days at all, but vast ages millions of years long. The idea is often called the “day-age theory.” [M]any professing Christians think that when God said He created in six days, He really meant “six long periods of time, perhaps hundreds of millions of years each.”

That argument is sometimes used by old-Earth creationists. Wikipedia has an article on Day-age creationism. Jason continues:

Did God get confused? Did He really mean to say “six long ages” but then had a “senior moment” and accidentally said “six days” instead? I trust that no Christian would take such a heretical hypothetical seriously. [Heresy!] But then some people would say, “Ah, but the Hebrew word translated ‘day’ need not always mean an ordinary day.”

Jason then spends several long paragraphs discussing the fact that sometimes a day means a 24-hour day, and sometimes it means an age or an era. The meaning depends on the context. After an ark-load of that he says:

Genesis itself states what kind of literature it is. It claims to be a history book. This is stated in Genesis 2:4, “This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created,…” . The Hebrew word translated “account” (or “generations” in some versions) is ‘toledoth’ which has the basic meaning of ‘origins,’ ‘history,’ or ‘birthing.’ Genesis claims that it is recording the historical ‘birth’ of the universe.

Okay, okay — we get it. Genesis isn’t poetry. Then Jason’s essay gets weird:

And what of the immediate context? Does the text itself indicate non-literal usage of day by stating such? Clearly not. On the contrary, the context here demands that a day is a literal Earth rotation because that is how God defines a day in Genesis 1:5, “And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Notice that both literal uses of ‘day’ are clearly specified in this passage: an Earth rotation and the light portion thereof. That is, God names the light portion of Earth’s rotation ‘day’ – He is defining day as the daylight portion of Earth’s rotation. And then He describes the total day as an Earth rotation consisting of an evening and a morning. God defines the Hebrew word for day in terms of daylight / nighttime just as we do in English.

That’s very nice, but Jason neglects to remind us that according to Genesis, the Sun wasn’t created until day four, so the Earth’s rotation (not mentioned in Genesis) wouldn’t have had any day-night effect. Anyway, let’s read on:

So there can be no doubt that the first day is an ordinary day because God has clearly defined it as an Earth-rotation light/dark cycle in Genesis 1:5. But what about the other days of creation? God knew that people would want to distort those into vast ages. So, he specified that each of the six creation days was comprised of one evening and one morning, thereby disallowing any non-literal usage of day (Genesis 1:8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

This next excerpt may shock you:

So, the context of Genesis 1 disallows any non-literal usage of the word ‘day.’ There can be no doubt that God created in six days, each defined in terms of the light/dark cycle of Earth’s rotation, because that is what the text explicitly says.

Even if you’re convinced that the Genesis creation account says six literal days, that’s not quite the same thing as concluding that six-day creation is an established fact. But maybe Jason’s final paragraph will convince you otherwise. He says:

We must admit that the desire to stretch the creation week into millions of years does not come from the text of Scripture, but from secular thinking. It is always a great temptation to modify our understanding of the text to fit what we think we know. But this is a very slippery slope. After all, we “know” that people do not rise from the dead. Just visit any cemetery. Should we therefore interpret the Gospel accounts of Christ’s resurrection as non-literal? That would be heresy. [Gasp!] We would do well to remember the admonition given in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true but every man a liar.”

So there you have it, dear reader. Genesis must be read literally — and believed! If you still have doubts, we hope you come to your senses before you find yourself in the Lake of Fire.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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36 responses to “Jason Lisle Says a Day Is a Day

  1. We must admit that the desire to stretch the creation week into millions of years does not come from the text of Scripture, but from secular thinking. It is always a great temptation to modify our understanding of the text to fit what we think we know. But this is a very slippery slope. After all, we “know” that people do not rise from the dead. Just visit any cemetery. Should we therefore interpret the Gospel accounts of Christ’s resurrection as non-literal? That would be heresy. [Gasp!] We would do well to remember the admonition given in Romans 3:4, “Let God be true but every man a liar.”

    The idea that the earth turns on its axis rather than that everything else revolves around it comes from “secular thinking,” too, and is explicitly contradicted in the Old Testament.

    As for the resurrection of Jesus, we should indeed interpret it as “non-literal” and indeed fictional. Had any such thing happened, the Romans would surely have heard of it and immediately taken measures to verify it, and there would be accounts of all this in contemporaneous Roman records. There aren’t.

    Of course, I suppose there could have been a cover-up by the Roman “deep state.” . . .

  2. Let us suppose that the Earth is round, and that it turns beneath the Sun, making the successions of day and night.
    This means that any act of God takes place when it is Day on half of the Earth and night on half of the Earth. It takes place at sunrise at some places, and at sunset at others, at noon at others. And at a couple of places, where there is the midnight sun effect.
    And, btw, the Sun is placed in the Firmament in order to mark th passage of days, as the Bible clearly and explicitly tell us, on day 4.

  3. Why would an astrophysicist prefer the myths of bronze age scribes to radiometric dating? And, of course, the size of the universe, and the time it takes for photons to get here from distant galaxies which were unknown when the bible myths were created.

  4. Among various people who came to the conclusion that the account of Genesis 1 did not tell us the Young Earth interpretation: Augustine, the Scofield
    Reference Bible, William Jennings Bryan, and a great number of 21st century Christians and Jews.
    That all of these people came to that conclusion from “secular thinking”, whatever that may mean, is a plain example of the Genetic Fallacy.

  5. Michael Fugate

    Good point TomS, When and where did day 1 start? The text read literally seems to say that it is day over the entire earth for 12 hours and night over the entire earth for another.

  6. chris schilling

    Jason Lisle is off the spectrum. He makes Rainman look like a model of clarity and level-headedness, in comparison. As if the Bible weren’t interminable enough, Lisle has to exegetically masturbate over every goddamn line, as if any of that stuff was interesting or important. Enough, already!

    Chris is gettin’ upset!

  7. It sounds like poor Jason is automatically assigning a 24 hour time span to the day (one full day/night cycle), yet there is no accounting for presuming this is true. Does his bible explicitly say 24 hours? And as previously pointed out, the sun was not even created on the first day. We know too that the earth’s rotation is tidally slowing as the moon moves further from the earth.

  8. TomS: God obviously had a preferred time zone when he was using the day-night cycle to schedule his workload.

  9. “particularly by the method of radiometric dating of rocks”
    Note how carefully and wisely Jaybird avoids to discuss the operational vs. historical science topic.

    “the desire to stretch the creation week into millions of years comes from secular thinking ”
    Always good to know that according to Jaybird scientists like Max Planck were secular thinkers. So I rather think that Jaybird’s dictionary differs somewhat from the regular ones.

    secular thinking = using the scientific method and other stuff Jabird doesn’t like.
    scientific thinking = accepting those 6000 years without any further do.

  10. “Let God be true but every man a liar.”
    BWAHAHAHAHA!
    I almost missed this. Jaybird is a man, so obviously he’s a liar, especially when “interpreting” scientific conclusions and Biblical texts.
    Also I forgot to add that according to Jaybird one St. Augustinus was guilty of “secular thinking” too. The great man from Hippo apparently, like TomS already pointed out, already concluded that the context of Genesis 1 only allows a non-literal use of the word “day”. Apparently it’s in his De Genesi ad Litteram. This book also says:

    “Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an unbeliever to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking non-sense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.”
    Yup – the great man from Hippo more or less predicted this nice blog.

  11. I always wonder how the earth was suddenly captured by the sun on day 4. Can somebody explain that to me? It looks like flat earth with a sun on top is the only solution.

  12. “… but Jason neglects to remind us that according to Genesis, the Sun wasn’t created until day four …”

    The ancient Hebrews did not recognize that the sun causes daylight. Since dawn occurs before the sun is visible and complete darkness does not occur until after the sun goes down, they thought that the sun was secondary to daylight, as in a flaming chariot that followed the daylight. You can also see this in Revelations where the sun is described being a black as sackcloth in the daylight and the moon is blood red. They had also obviously failed to recognize that the moon merely reflects sunlight and thought that it gave off its own light.

    Each creation day in Genesis is described as the evening and the morning was the Nth day. They reckoned that each day started in the evening and continued until afternoon the next day. These primitive views embarrassed the more sophisticated believers so serious reinterpretation was required.
    Hence Lisle is actually correct in his interpretation of what the ancient Hebrews meant by a “day”. He is incorrect in the significance of the literal interpretation magically superseding modern knowledge about how the universe actually works. The gods never know more than their inventors.

    Of course the believers that endorse the day/age hypothesis totally fail to recognize that the bible stories are fictional and the rational thing to do would be to disbelieve the fables, rather than to continually invent lame apologetics in an effort to hide their embarrassment and continue to insist that they are some fanciful ultimate truth revealed to some ancient tribe.

  13. I failed to also note that the sun is biblically described as racing under the (obviously flat) Earth to the point where it comes up in the next daylight.

  14. @hans435
    About the Sun appearing in the firmament only on day 4.
    The explanation that I’ve heard is that there had been a cloud cover which parted on day 4, making the Sun visible (to any hypothetical eyes, no animals existing before day 5). Of course, there
    Is no Biblical indication of that, it being only a secular-naturalist-based speculation. Why not just observe that with God, anything is possible? And note that this explanation removes any biblical basis for the Sun, Moon and stars being creatures of God. Of course, this objection only has any effect if one has an extended attention span.

  15. Jason Lisle……. “No reason or logic allowed’. Everything we need to know is in this 2000 year old book . Impressive.

  16. Also. I’m wondering why science deniers are okay with rejecting the term “deep time” when referring to the science of geology and yet utilize the term “deep state” as if this conspiracy theory term, hatched in the fertile minds of “news” analysts, is real. Its a conundrum

  17. Coffee-spewing line of the day:

    “Then Jason’s essay gets weird:”

  18. Just one of the many cases in which the Bible takes a flat Earth for granted, no matter how vehemently creationists insist that it doesn’t.

  19. A couple of issues:
    1. That the Earth is billions of years old:
    … the scientific method by its very nature could never establish such a thing, and is in fact predicated upon biblical creation.
    How does the nature of the scientific method prevent from establishing such a thing?
    2. He brought up this point, so take Matthew 12:38 “…shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jesus died on Friday afternoon and was raised early on Sunday morning. That is two nights, a small part of one day (a few hours of Friday), one full day (Saturday), and on Sunday, was the resurrection before or after sunrise?

  20. @TomS
    “On the fourth day of Creation Week, God made the sun, the moon, the planets, and all the stars – billions of them …”
    I copied that from creation.com, so it must be right. None of your cloud cover nonsense. You need to take the Bible literally. You can’t just pick and choose. So either the earth was going around a non-existing sun right from the start, or the earth was captured into its present orbit by the sun on day 4. Mind you there weren’t any people onboard yet to live through that.

    I still prefer the flat, stationary earth theory.

  21. @hans435
    Actually, Genesis 1:14 and following says about day 4 that God made the Sun, Moon and stars. Thati is, literally, it says that God made two lights, and (as far as I know) everybody agrees that the two lights are the Sun and the Moon. (This author didn’t like to even use the names of those pagan gods. Other Biblical authors were not so shy.)
    It is difficult to escape the impression of a flat, stationary Earth.

  22. Michael Fugate

    Indigenocentric – is the proper context.

  23. Theodore Lawry

    Why did Jason Lisle go to all that work of getting a PhD in astronomy from Boulder, when all he does to defend creationism is amateur Biblical scholarship? Why doesn’t he use his expertise to reveal the flaws which he believes must exist in all the astronomical evidence of great age? How can a 6,000 year old universe have red giant and white dwarf stars, for example? Inquiring minds want to know!

    Lisle’s silence is a backhand admission that the flaws do not exist! Maybe that’s why he no longer works for Answers in Genesis or the Institute for Creation Research.

  24. @Theodore Lawry
    How can a 6,000 year old universe have red giant and white dwarf stars, for example?
    This is just one example of the kind of question which creationists have been famous for avoiding.
    How does there come to be nuclear fusion in stars? Can’t the supernatural make the stars to shine without resorting to natural processes?
    Why does God plant all those false clues to the age of the Universe? Can’t he make a universe which makes its true age evident?
    Why does God plant all of those false clues as to the authorship of the Bible?
    Why did everybody think, before the rise of modern science, that the Bible said that the Earth was stationary in the center of the universe? Only after science discovered that the Earth is a planet of the Sun, were people able to discover the subtle clues hidden in the Bible?

  25. Michael Fugate

    Still can’t understand how believing Genesis requires a flat earth would make YECs appear any more ridiculous.

  26. @Michael Fugate
    YECs don’t like to be perceived as accepting a Flat Earth. Even geocentrists distance themselves from belief in a Flat Earth.
    Of course, today it is difficult to imagine anything appearing too ridiculous to be believed.

  27. Y’all realize that the great astrophysicist and Biblical scholar, Lie-sle, is still using the Ussher Chronology published in 1650. The Bible doesn’t say squat about time and even Ussher used other sources to compile his chronology.

    Also, I find it totally LOL-aughable, ROTFL and LMAO, that Lie-sle incorporates the “rotation of the Earth” into his fantasy … as if! I’m pretty sure the Sun rose and the Sun set but the Earth, he no move, right Galileo?

  28. Stephen Kennedy

    Michael.
    That is the real irony here. The creationists somehow realize that even though the bible clearly implies a flat Earth, proclaiming that would make them look ridiculous but they lack the insight to understand that preaching a 6,000 year old Earth makes them look just as ridiculous as flat earthers.

  29. What seems just as uncomfortable to the standard YECs as the Flat Earth is geocentrism.
    While the Flat Earth was rejected overwhelmingly by Bible believers about 2000 years ago, give or take a couple of centuries, geocentrism was accepted universally up until the rise of modern science.
    Therefore, I argue, one cannot claim that geocentrism in the Bible is obviously not meant literally, a fact.
    Why did not anyone notice it, if it is obvious?
    And I also argue that the scientific evidence against geocentrism is not easily accessible to the public without education at the level of college level physics, astronomy or mathematics.
    The evidence against a Flat Earth is easily accessible. Therefore, one can argue that one can say that the evidence is enough to justify second thoughts about the surface meaning of the problematic texts.

  30. I think the main reason for YE creationists to shy away from a flat earth is that they cannot admit that they were wrong. That would make them weak in the eyes of their supporters.
    That’s another thing which distinguishes them from real science.

  31. @hans435
    Indeed.
    Like a politician who cannot admit that he was wrong, or apologize even to an ally. As if that were a sign of weakness.

  32. @TomS: “geocentrism was accepted universally”
    Only if you limit the universe to the christian world. The Arab astronomers started to doubt Ptolemaeus’ geocentrism as early as the 11th Century. I wouldn’t be surprised if they influenced Indian and Chinese astronomers, but need confirmation.

  33. @FrankB
    Thank you. I should have said that it was universally accepted that the Bible was describing a geocentric universe.
    There were some who explored the possibilities of different models of the heavens. But no one picked up any clues from Scripture that it was only meant figuratively. It isn’t obvious, except if one’s reading is done like a modern, and we all know what that leads to.

  34. I like Theodore Lawry’s comment:
    Why did Jason Lisle go to all that work of getting a PhD in astronomy from Boulder, when all he does to defend creationism is amateur Biblical scholarship?

    The comment gets into the core of the problem of Jason Lisle. Lisle didn’t get to where he was because the science led him there.

    First off, Jason Lisle’s PhD came a couple of decades after Lisle was indoctrinated into YEC as a kid.

    Open question is, did Lisle just want a PhD to become a YEC hired gun or was he sincerely interested in the topic, but could never overcome the mental hurdle placed on him during his impressionable years, so instead tried to unsuccessfully blend reality with his childish world.

    There may be other possibilities, but the critical point is that what Lisle believes and asserts has nothing to do with science, it is all about Lisle’s prejudices instilled into him during childhood. This makes anything his spouts mere drivel.

  35. Theodore Lawry

    @Troy “Open question is, did Lisle just want a PhD to become a YEC hired gun or was he sincerely interested in the topic

    Lisle joined Answers In Genesis as soon as his thesis was accepted by the University of Colorado. The date of his thesis is given as 12/2004 on NASA’s astronomy abstract service, and Lisle was supporting creationism on a CNN show hosted by Paula Zahn, as a speaker for Answers In Genesis, on 29 Nov. 2004.

  36. @Theodore
    Pretty damning evidence.