When I established this web site, its purpose was to gather research from diverse sources to try to determine what is true and what is false. Having been raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, I was taught that I was in the one true religion, the only religion that really understood the Bible. I was taught to see Bible truth in terms of black-and-white. I did not realize at the time that the so-called “truth” I accepted as fact was the result of eisegesis. This is a technique wherein one imposes one’s own ideas onto a Bible text rather than letting the Bible speak for itself. Of course, no one who teaches the Bible will accept that his or her teaching is based on eisegetical methodology. Every researcher claims to be using exegesis and deriving truth purely from what is found in Scripture.
I accept that it is impossible to be 100% certain about everything written in Scripture. For thousands of years, facts relating to the salvation of humanity were kept hidden and have been called a sacred secret. Jesus came to reveal the sacred secret, but in so doing, there are still many things left unanswered. For example, the timing of his return. (See Acts 1:6, 7)
However, the converse is also true. It is likewise impossible to be 100% uncertain about everything written in Scripture. If we cannot be certain about anything, then Jesus’ words to us that ‘we will know the truth and the truth will set us free’ are meaningless. (John 8:32)
The real trick is to determine how big the grey area is. We don’t want to push truth into the grey area.
I came across this interesting graphic which attempts to explain the difference between eisegesis and exegesis.
I would suggest this is not an accurate depiction of the difference between the two words. While the minister on the left is obviously exploiting the Bible for his own ends (One of those promoting the Prosperity Gospel or seed Faith) the minister on the right is also engaging in another form of eisegesis, but one not so easily identifiable. It is possible to engage in eisegetical reasoning quite unwittingly thinking all the time we are being exegetical, because we may not fully understand all the components that make up to exegetical research.
Now I do respect everyone’s right to express their point of view on matters that are not very clearly stated in Scripture. I also want to avoid dogmatism because I’ve seen the damage it can do firsthand, not only in my former religion but in many other religions as well. So, as long as no one is harmed by a particular belief or opinion, I think we are wise to follow a policy of “live and let live”. However, I don’t think the promotion of 24-hour creative days falls into the no-harm-no-foul category.
In a recent series of articles on this site, Tadua has helped us understand many facets of the creation account and has attempted to resolve what would seem to be scientific incongruities were we to accept the account as both literal and chronological. To that end, he supports the common creationist theory of six 24-hour days for creation. This doesn’t pertain only to the preparation of the earth for human life, but to the entirety of creation. As many Creationists do, he postulates in one article that what is described in Genesis 1:1-5—the creation of the universe as well as light falling on the earth to separate day from night—all occurred within one literal 24-hour day. This would mean that before it even came into existence, God decided to use the speed of the earth’s rotation as his time keeper to measure off the days of creation. It would also mean that the hundreds of billions of galaxies with their hundreds of billions of stars all came into being in one 24-hour day, after which God used the remaining 120 hours to put the finishing touches on the Earth. Since light is reaching us from galaxies that are millions of light-years away, it would also mean that God set all those photons in motion properly red shifted to denote distance so that when we invented the first telescopes we could observe them and figure out how far away they are. It would also mean that he created the moon with all those impact craters already in place since there would not have been time for them all have to occurred naturally as the solar system coalesced from a swirling disc of debris. I could go on, but suffice it to say that everything around us in the universe, all the observable phenomenon was created by God in what I must assume is an attempt to fool us in the thinking the universe is much older than it really is. To what end, I cannot guess.
Now the premise for this conclusion is the belief that exegesis requires us to accept the 24-hour day. Tadua writes:
“We, therefore, need to ask what of these usages does the day in this phrase refer to “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a first day”?
The answer has to be that a creative day was (4) a Day as in night and day totaling 24 hours.
Can it be argued as some do that it was not a 24-hour day?
The immediate context would indicate not. Why? Because there is no qualification of the “day”, unlike Genesis 2:4 where the verse clearly indicates that the days of creation are being termed a day as a period of time when it says “This is a history of the heavens and the earth in the time of their being created, in the day that Jehovah God made earth and heaven.” Notice the phrases “a history” and “in the day” rather than “on the day” which is specific. Genesis 1:3-5 is also a specific day because it is not qualified, and therefore it is interpretation uncalled for in the context to understand it differently.”
Why does the explanation have to be a 24-hour day? That is a black-and-white fallacy. There are other options that do not conflict with Scripture.
If the only thing that exegesis requires is for use to read the “immediate context”, then this reasoning might stand. That is the implication depicted in the graphic. However, exegesis requires us to look at the entire Bible, the whole context of which must harmonize with each minor part. It requires us to view the historical context as well, so that we don’t impose a 21st century mentality onto ancient writings. In fact, even the evidence of nature must factor into any exegetical study, as Paul himself reasons when condemning those who ignored such evidence. (Romans 1:18-23)
Personally, I feel that, to quote Dick Fischer, creationism is “faulty interpretation coupled with misguided literalism”. It undermines the Bible’s credibility to the scientific community and thus hampers the spread of the Good News.
I am not going to reinvent the wheel here. Instead, I’ll recommend that anyone interested read this well-reasoned and well-researched article by the aforementioned Dick Fischer, “The Days of Creation: Hours of Eons?”
It is not my intention to offend. I greatly appreciate the hard work and dedication to our cause that Tadua has exercised on behalf of our growing community. However, I feel that Creationism is a dangerous theology because even though done with the best of intentions, it unwittingly undermines our mission to promote the King and the Kingdom by tainting the rest of our message as being out of touch with scientific fact.