Hello, friends! We’re still taking a good long look into why I am a Young Earth Creationist, and we’ve reached the point where we’re looking into the text of Genesis to see what the Bible says. This is an unpopular technique these days. Most people would prefer to talk about the Bible without actually seeing what it says, but I’m a bit of a traditionalist that way. Call me old fashioned, just don’t call me late for dinner! [rim-shot]
We’re looking at objections to a literal six day interpretation of the six days of Genesis chapter one, and today’s objection comes from Genesis chapter two. Genesis chapter two gives us a little more detail about day six, and here in comes one of the weirdest objections to a literal interpretation of the days of creation. Genesis 2: 19 says
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
Day six objection to literal days
This objection comes as people try to make guesses about the number of animals Adam would have had to name. As you can see, the text does not offer this level of detail. However, some people have still managed to assign rather large numbers to the task.
One argument I read suggested that there would be over 100,000 animals to name. I have no idea where this number comes from as they didn’t explain their math. I suspect some people think God simply brought every single animal he had made to Adam in some huge animal line. I suppose they would have to be lined up by height since they couldn’t do it alphabetically yet?
Think about it…
Let’s suppose these people are right. Let’s give them all 100,000 animals. Now let’s assume Adam could name 100 per day. That’s 1,000 days of animal naming. Now let’s double it just to fit in all the other things that happened that “day.”
You get “day” six lasting around five and a half years.
Here’s where I have my first objection to their objection. I find it entirely implausible that the author would use the word DAY to both refer to a period lasting five and a half years as he allegedly does here on “day” six, and for one lasting about 13 BILLION years as he allegedly does for “day” one. Even if you’re going to lump a five year series of events together under one word, surely you have the sense to find a different word for a prior 13 BILLION year series of events in the narrative? Who on earth divides a timeline up in such an odd, unbalanced way and then uses the same word to refer to all the bits and pieces? These people must assume that Moses was drinking rather heavily when he put all of this together.
My more literary objection to their objection comes from just a few lines earlier. Verse 15 says this to set up the scene;
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
The story in chapter two has narrowed our field of vision from the earth down to the garden of Eden. We’re no longer discussing all of the earth’s going’s on, but we’re told that the Man is in the garden. Also, this is the realm which God has given him to rule over. He’s working and taking care of the garden and so it seems this naming business is given as part of his garden stewardship job. It only makes sense then that the following events refer to the events in the garden and not globally. In short, it makes sense that the reference to “all of the wild animals” could very easily me meant to refer to “all of the wild animals in the garden.” This would cut down the workload considerably.
Finally, I would like to point out what the text does NOT say. It does not say Adam examined each species with care and gave them an appropriate Latin based name utilizing binomial nomenclature. When Adam was shown a giraffe, he probably did not say, “Giraffa camelopardalis.” In fact, I suspect he did not even say “Giraffe.” He might have said, “Rupert,” or “David,” or “Betty.” When a farmer goes about naming his animals, he may know one of them is a “cow” but he will name it “Daryl,” or “Phillis.” When a man buys his family a dog, he lets the children name it, and they don’t call it “canis domesticus.” They call it “Fluffy,” or “Spot.” What makes us think Adam was any different? Here was God, having just built this place for his children to live in, and he brings all of these animals to his newly made son, Adam. What else was happening here but a new father letting his son name his new pets? It’s not like God needed help naming things. Psalm 147:4 tells us this about God:
“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.“
I think he could handle naming a few animals. Even if there were 100,000, there are a lot more stars up there than that. God would not need help. I think he let Adam do it, perhaps for fun, perhaps so he could feel a sense of ownership in the garden. Maybe it was just part of the job. I think it most likely to be a combination of all of these.
All things considered, I believe there is no just cause to doubt the narrative as presented in Genesis. God did make the world and all that live in it in six days, and Adam got to give some of them names. What we think of as “White Tailed Deer” (or Odocoileus virginianus) may very well have been “Nummy-Muffin CocoButter.” But hopefully not.