And the Lord of Laws CALLED1 the light “Day, and the darkness [He] called ”Night.”
And there was evening, and there was morning, a first day.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Light and dark were in place in verse 4. Why would the Creator need to coin words for the light time ( יום YoaM) and the night time (לילה LaYLaH)? In the opening phrase we already have a created heaven and earth. So what is gained by naming heaven in verse 8, and naming Earth in verse 10 ?
Creation by speech is a much-discussed topic. But the timing doesn’t seem chronologically right.
Coining words is a profound aspect of creating here, showing us that words are not mere signals to refer to things. And yet, once light is introduced, to dispel the formless chaos, there seems to be a need for a new coinage for “day” and “night.”
Even more perplexing (the Torah, most non-humanly, always vexes us into thinking), there DOES seem to be words for evening ( ערב EReV) and morning ( בקר BoQeR). And the sun is not in place until verse 14, so how is there any day and night to name?
Similarly, the expanse or RACK of atmosphere and/or ever-expanding space ( רקיע RaQeeY[A]h ) is made in verse 8, but has to be named ( שמים SHaMaYiM ) “sky.” The dryness of a single continent is also already made, so what si gained by naming it “Earth” ( ארץ AReTS) in verse ? And if there was one continent, Pangea, with a single ocean around it, would not the term “seas” ימים /YaMeeYM (also verse 10) be chronologically off?
Genesis and all of Torah runs on Theo-logic, not our linear chronologic. Western bible critics are a fish out of water here. דבר DaVaR means “thing” as well as “word.” To exist, new Creations must have words in the Language of Creation coined by the Creator. And all the coinages here are for the object of all this Creation: Mankind.
The Creator is the source of light in a dark universe without form or molecules -- a world mortals can only begin to imagine in the age of cyberspace. A “day” for the Eternal is more like 1000 years human time (Psalms 90:4), with EON (indeterminate long period of time) a better rendition for יום YOAM (the Greek aōne only shifting nose-made nasals M/N ). But, anticipating the coming of homo sapiens, and human Bible readers, the Eternal uses the evening and morning that we mortals can understand, both literally, and hopefully, as metaphors.
The questions above all point to an overarching answer. This is not the usual human book recording the exploits of the writer, but a book by an unknowable writer with the human reader in mind. All the sketchy details of the Creation account display great care for the humans who will sit at this elaborately set eco-table.
The opening “light” or radiation of the Big Bang here is not about humanity. Only humans require sunlight, a lesser אור OWR, for ראיה R’EeYaH, seeing (note the reversal).
It is we mortals who must deal with grey issues, with mixed light, ( ערב EReV, evening) and the new clarity, examination time of ( בקר BoQeR, morning). It is only we who cannot see the Heavenly that need the word שמים SHaMaYiM, the realm on high). Only we who need traction to run or RACE ( רץ RahTS), need a word for the dry parts of planet EARTH or ארץ AReTS.
(All children of Adam will have that word for EARTH; after The Tower of Babel in chapter 11 some will reverse the AReTS/ EARTH word to TERRA.)
The namimg-creating issue does not end in Genesis 1. HaShem wants us to be co-creators who work on His garden. HaShem delights in this “image of G*d,” the gift of language given to Adam … to see what he will name the animals (Genesis 2:19). See the Animal Names chapter in our eBook, A Garden of Edenics.
The high heavens are the Lord’s but the earth if for us (Psalms 115:16). The roots of Edenic Language are divine, but the words are ours.