Genesis Day Four Is Hump Day

I know a lot of people are doing Fr. Mike Schmitz’ Bible in a Year podcast. I’ve read the whole Bible before, but I’m jumping on the train this year. Albeit a couple days late.

So you may know that in the Creation story in Genesis, when it says “evening came and morning followed, the first day” — it’s really saying the name of the day of the week in Hebrew. And in Hebrew, it’s really “Day One,” because that’s how Hebrew names the days of the week.

Day One is the same as English’s Sunday, Spanish’s “domingo,” and so on.

So it’s pretty commonplace to observe that the week of Creation is divided into groups. Cosmic stuff is happening on Day One, Day Two, Day Three, and Day Four, and then animals and humans are happening on Day Five and Day Six, and then Day Seven/Day Sabbath is the end of the week, when God rests.

(Sabbath, or Hebrew “shabbath,” is yet another horrible/great Biblical pun. The phrase “shabath” means “He rested.” But “sheba” means “seven” and “shaba” means “to swear.” So it’s Day Seven, and the day God rested, and the sworn covenant day, all in one.)

Well… I noticed just now that Day Four, Wednesday, is indeed Hump Day. It’s not only the middle of the week, but the day when God creates the stars and Sun and Moon to time the years and seasons as well as give light. And then the next couple day are all about animals and humans, so it’s all different from then on.

A lot of Old Testament poetry and religious practice is about organizing the world into categories and distinctions, so it’s good to notice.

Four days plus two days plus one day. Everything building up. It’s not how modern people think, but it’s not a wrong way to do it. The very fact that Genesis is so easy to memorize shows that it’s set up well.

Right down to the horrible Biblical puns!


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3 responses to “Genesis Day Four Is Hump Day

  1. Peter J. Floriani

    And when you know binary math, this links perfectly since in base two the digits represent ones, and twos and fours, (not ones, tens, hundreds)… by which we see God as sovereign over Mathematics as well as Science Writ Large. Just like the Mediaevals understood, none of this false dichotomy between “the arts” and “the sciences” – but who reads Hugh of St. Victor these days? (Oh, sure it’s different, ’cause I’m a computer scientist… but I can give you citations for that too)
    Your comment on that much feared Genesis One reminded me of Jaki’s “Genesis One Through the Ages” – and I have something somewhere about this also, since to me it’s simply the usual rational way of naming the All by naming the major components, You can’t put a library into a Card Catalog, or onto the little “dewey decimal” chart at the foot of the stairs up to the stacks… or (even better) the text of your reference book as the TABLE OF CONTENTS !

    And that’s what this marvel ALSO is: the “table of contents” to “heaven and earth”….

    I always sigh when someone (usually a well-meaning youngster who thinks he’s being traditional) brings up one of the Big Three (Genesis One, Darwin, or – you know… Galileo) when all this is so pointless because everyone forgets about Col 2:2 and the Heart of Jesus in Whom ARE ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE.
    not just “theology” and not just “philosophy” – all of them. Scientia is far bigger than they imagine, even if they study Latin.

    Oh well. Thanks Suburban Banshee…some more for me to contemplate today. Now back to writing…

    PS if they whine about Galileo and say the earth does not move why don’t they whine about Gray and say there really are only four “humors” and that the brain is made to cool the blood and the heart only pumps one way?
    Or assert that Euclid is supreme and Pythagoras is his prophet, and then happily board a jet to fly across the Atlantic? Hee hee! And every last one of them has a smartphone… I wonder how that works with only four elements.

  2. Great comment! I thought there was something familiar, but I didn’t think about binary!

    I should have said that Fr. Schmitz talked about the usual parallel scheme:

    Day One, light and day and night, paired with Day Four, sun and moon and stars
    Day Two, firmament vs waters, paired with Day Five, sea creatures and flying creatures
    Day Three, land, seas and plants, paired with Day Six, land creatures and Man in charge
    Day Seven, God rests.

    But the beauty of categories is that you can divide things up different ways, without negating other ways of divvying things up.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds

    Do we know of Patristic (or later – or, indeed, earlier) attention to the luminaria/stellas and the duo luminaria magna, here, with respect to their influences on the waters and herbs and trees which preceded them, and, especially, the living creatures and man which followed them?

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