I have a comment regarding your response to the question “If the Hebrew word “yom” in Genesis means a 24 hour period, why do you interpret it figuratively to be a period of time?”  I do not agree with your answer.  In NET translation it says “There was evening, and there was morning, a ‘x’ day”. So in my opinion it is natural to translate “yom” as a 24 hours day.  Any comments as to why my conclusion is wrong?


I believe that the context of Genesis chapter one demands the word “day.”   Given the phrase “morning and evening” the only English word which fits the context in Genesis 1 is “day”.   “Morning and evening, the first period” or “Morning and evening the first period of time” or “Morning and evening, the first days” (other possible translations of yom) would be awkward and would NOT  be the best translation into English in the first chapter of Genesis.  Whether or not these “days” are literal 24-hour periods is another question, but what is not in question is what is the best English word to use for yom in the first chapter of Genesis. The best English word to use there is “day.”

On the other hand, the translation, “Morning and evening, the first 24 hour day” that you suggest would be a bad translation. That would be more of an interpretation, rather than a translation.  No translator would put the phrase “24 hour day” into Genesis 1.  There is no Hebrew word corresponding to 24 or to the word hour in the original language. Some interpreters  believe the days are literally 24 hours.  I do not share that opinion, but, whatever our interpretation of the passage, it would be a rather blatant mistranslation to use “twenty-four hour day” in the place of yom.   I believe that the word we use in the translation will not settle the question of interpretation.  Translation is one thing and interpretation is another.  Translation demands the word day.   The proper interpretation of the word day is a debate that you and I will not settle.  It is based on context, cultural background, linguistics, theological presuppositions and many other aspects which would go into the interpretation.   If you interpret the days of Genesis to be literal 24 hour periods, that is fine, but you asked about the best translation and this would not be the best translation.  I hope this clears up the issue for you.

John Oakes

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