Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Sabbath as an Argument for Young-Earth Creationism

This week my "Sociology of Religion" class visited an Orthodox synagogue. When asked by the students about the age of creation, the rabbi promptly said "5770 years." (His son gently corrected him: "5771".)

This exchange prompted a student to ask one of her Orthodox friends how, exactly, he was taught the young-earth view growing up. He said that his parents relied on the Bible - as Christian young-earth creationists do, as well. However, this Orthodox Jewish family made a somewhat different argument than the Christian arguments that I have met with. They cited God's gift of the sabbath as evidence that the seven days of creation are normal, 24-hour days. God worked for a normal week, and then rested a normal day. Thus, when we are commanded to work six days but honor the sabbath, both weeks are of the same kind.

A sabbath-based argument strikes me as a distinctively Jewish way of making the case for young-earth creationism.

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