On the Sixth Day God Created Man …


#1

I was reading Scott Hahn’s excellent book Hail, Holy Queen when I came across his teaching that the Gospel of John parallels the Genesis creation narrative – at least through the first 2 chapters …

John, it would seem, portrays his Gospel as the New Creation narrative. Both the Gospel and Genesis start “In the beginning …” and both count the days of Creation week. John’s Gospel, for instance starts when

• “In the beginning …” (John 1:1) = Day 1 +
• “On the next day …” (John 1:29) = Day 2 +
• “On the next day …” (John 1:35) = Day 3 +
• “On the next day …” (John 1:43) = Day 4 +
• “On the third day …” (John 2:1) = Day 7

There are many other similarities that corroborate this interpretation, few of them discussed in Dr. Hahn’s book. I will not cover them here for sake of brevity.

My point is that I think Hahn’s counting of days is wrong. The phrase “On the third day …” does not denote 3 days time but 2. Jews counted the current day a day as is evidenced by the use of this phrase elsewhere in John’s Gospel. We are told that Jesus died and was risen “on the third day”. Do the math. Jesus died on Good Friday and was raised on the Easter Sunday. That’s just 2 days as we count them, not 3. Jews counted days the same way we count stories of a building. If you enter on the ground floor, how many flights of stairs do you ascend to get to the third floor? The answer is 2, not 3, because we count the ground floor as being the first.

Thus the wedding at Cana does not occur on Day 7, it occurs on Day 6.

So I wanted to hear what some you had to think about this. Am I wrong? Am I missing something?

As to the significance of this point, I have appended a post to this one which discusses what I believe are the significant implications of this interpretation …


#2

So what difference does it make if Cana occurred on the Sixth Day or the Seventh Day in John’s Gospel?

At the wedding feast at Cana, Mary expresses concern to Jesus that the celebrants have run out of wine. Jesus responds, “It is not yet my hour”. Many exegetes believe “my hour” refers to the hour of his ministry, yet the expression “my hour” is used numerous times in John’s Gospel and it always refers unambiguously to the hour of our Lord’s passion (John 7:30, 8:20, 12:23-24, 12:27, 13:1, 17:1, 19:14). The footnote in the NAB makes this point.

So what is the point? Through John 2:1, we very quickly arrived at Day Six. Then Saint John stops counting days altogether. We are told instead that the “hour” has not yet come, the point of course being that we go from counting days to waiting on the “hour”. Throughout the Gospel narrative then, we are still on the Day Six, waiting for the “hour to come”. This expected “hour” does not come until Christ’s passion. Only then can we continue counting days so as to arrive at the Seventh.

The implication is this: In the Gospel of John, the Sixth Day begins at Cana, but it ends at Calvary.

The Sixth Day in John’s Gospel is a symbolic “day” that spans the entire ministry of Christ, a period of 3 years. To help digest the point, consider this question: What “work” did God accomplish on the Sixth Day in the Creation Narrative of Genesis? Easy right? It was on the Sixth Day that God created man. Similarly then on the Sixth Day in John’s Gospel God creates man anew.

The language of John’s Gospel is uniquely and overwhelmingly Genesis-like in its tone. Jesus tells Nicodemus in chapter 3 that a man that wishes to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven must be “born anew” or “reborn” (John 3:3). Saint John introduces this concept very early in his Gospel: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

In Genesis God created man in his image. We are told He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). In John’s Gospel, Jesus breaths spiritual life into his apostles: “he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22). These are the only two times in all of Scripture that God breathes on a person. They are almost certainly related.

Staying in the Gospel, we see that there are intriguing parallels between Cana and Calvary that indicate that the events that transpire at these two places bookend the three year ministry of Christ, framing this period of time as a symbolic “Sixth Day” in John’s Gospel:

• Cana occurs on the sixth day in John’s Gospel. Calvary occurs on Good Friday, the sixth day of the week.
• At Cana, Jesus gave the people choice wine to drink in abundance. At Calvary, Jesus said “I thirst” and the people give Jesus only a small amount of “sour wine” to drink.
• On the sixth day in Creation narrative of Genesis, Adam addresses Eve for the first and only time under the title of Woman: “she shall be called Woman” (Genesis 2:23). Jesus addresses his mother under the title of Woman twice: once at Cana and the second time at Calvary: “Woman behold your son” (John 19:26) In other words, Adam addresses Eve as Woman only on the Sixth Day. Jesus likewise only addresses Mary as Woman on the Sixth Day, once at its beginning and once at its end.

Thus Cana and Calvary both occur on the Sixth Day.

Furthermore, the Bible tells us that after the Sixth Day had passed, God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done”. Similarly, when Christ had finished his work upon the cross, he entered into his rest. This is to say that while he suffered on the Sixth Day performing the work of redemption, he rested entombed on Seventh Day “from all his work which he had done”.

[Continued on next post …]


#3

But if Cana is the Seventh Day as Dr. Hahn and some others have asserted, Christ did not “rest on the seventh day from all his work which he had done”. On the contrary, Cana represents the beginning of his ministry. This was when his work started. I think this is the symbolism behind the number of stone jars at Cana. Six is an incomplete, imperfect number because it is one from seven. Jesus’ first sign is to convert water to wine in six jars on this the beginning of the Sixth Day.

Seven is perfect because it represents completion. The Creation story in Genesis spans seven days – God creates the world in six days and rests on the seventh. In the same way, the Gospel of John through the first 19 chapters spans seven days – Jesus accomplishes his work in six “days” and then rests on the seventh.

Of course neither Genesis nor the Gospel of John ended after the Creation week. In Genesis, the Creation week is proceeded by the fall of man. In the Gospel, the new Creation week is proceeded by the ascent of man. Saint John affirms: “But to those who did accept him, he gave the power to become children of God.” (John 1:12).

So what do you think? Is there anything to this?


#4

It would appear that the problem surrounds the counting of days because of the correlation of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Please be advised that there has been significant discussion on this issue and that there is probably plenty of available information to reconcile the issue.

One theory that has been posed has to do with the celebration of Passover as the beginning point. It has been argued that the calendar followed by the Essenes for Passover had a one day difference from the tradition of the Pharisees and others. It is also argued that the “upper room” was located in an ethnically Essene corner of Jerusalem. There are those that believe that Jesus followed the Essene tradition for Passover and that all of the subsequent events for the three days until the Resurrection follow accordingly.

I hope this helps.


#5

Pax,

I think you missed the point of the post. There is no problem with the counting of days from the Good Friday to Easter Sunday. I have absolutely no problem with the fact that Christ raised “on the third day” literally means – in our common vernacular – 2 days later.

In fact, I am using the fact that “on the third day” = 2 days later to challenge the theory that the wedding feast at Cana occurred on the Seventh Day in the Gospel of John i.e. Day 4 + 3 = Day 7. I assert it occured on the Sixth Day i.e. Day 4 + 2 = Day 6.

As to the precise mechanism that permits us to interpret “on the third day” as being 2 days later instead of 3, I do not care. That said, I’m not sure how your post answers my question. (Maybe its me though).

Regards,

RodK


#6

Using the Essene calendar for the Passover would mean that there was an extra day. It would literally be 3 days and not 2 between the crucifixion and the Resurrection. I found this explanation fascinating but I have never carefully researched it to see how convincing the explanation might be. I have only thrown it into the discussion to show that there is another way of figuring the days between the crucifixion and Easter. Hahn may have it right.


#7

The sixth day is implied when more wine shows up, which as we recognize today extends the party an extra day.


#8

These are from the pertinent footnotes from the NJB:

verse 35: The next day…(introduces 3rd day)

verse 39: …and stayed with Him that day. It was about the 10th hour.(4 pm, ends day 3)

verse 41: The first thing Andrew did was…(footnote aa–var. early in the morning Andrew…starts day 4)

verse 43: The next day…(starts 5th day)

verse 2:1: On the 3rd day…(starts 7th day)

This counts the 3 days in the fashion suggested by the OP.


#9

Pax,

OK I get it.

Thank you for your persistence in making me understand.

After a little research it appears that there is a minority school of thought that supposes that Christ might have been crucified on a Wednesday or Thursday relegating Good Friday to a myth.

Now if that were the case, then it would have been possible for Christ to be entombed three literal days i.e. three 24-hour periods. Advocates of this position assert that Jesus and his disciples would have celebrated Passover in conjunction with the Essene calendar so as to make the math right. The justification for this interpretation is taken from Scripture:

[40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40, RSV)

Three days and three nights would seem here to exclude the possibility that “on the third day” meant only two days time.

However, this interpretation is plagued with problems. For starters the Essenes where an extremist monastic Jewish cult that shunned Jewish society. Theirs was a renegade and illicit Passover by Jewish standards.

Most of the biblical evidence supports a Friday crucifixion. Only Mathew 12:40 stands in possible opposition. It appears however, and I am taking this from second hand sources, that the ancient non-canonical Jewish Talmud actually comments on the OT passage of Jonah and the whale. The author, a first century rabbi, explains that “one day and one night” is a Hebrew idiomatic expression which means a full day or any part of it. Thus there is not literal requirement that “three days and three nights” refers to three full 24-hour periods.

In fact, Scripture records just such a case. In Acts 10:1-24 Cornelius refers to a previous event as occurring “four days ago to this very hour” (Acts 10:30) when in reality it occurred three days earlier.

Bottom line is that the Essene calendar objection fails assuming a Friday crucifixion. Your point however is made. (I also understand that you do not personally advocate this theory.)

Thanks for you help,

RodK


#10

[quote=RodK]Pax,

OK I get it.

Thank you for your persistence in making me understand.

After a little research it appears that there is a minority school of thought that supposes that Christ might have been crucified on a Wednesday or Thursday relegating Good Friday to a myth.

Now if that were the case, then it would have been possible for Christ to be entombed three literal days i.e. three 24-hour periods. Advocates of this position assert that Jesus and his disciples would have celebrated Passover in conjunction with the Essene calendar so as to make the math right. The justification for this interpretation is taken from Scripture:

[40] For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40, RSV)

Three days and three nights would seem here to exclude the possibility that “on the third day” meant only two days time.

However, this interpretation is plagued with problems. For starters the Essenes where an extremist monastic Jewish cult that shunned Jewish society. Theirs was a renegade and illicit Passover by Jewish standards.

Most of the biblical evidence supports a Friday crucifixion. Only Mathew 12:40 stands in possible opposition. It appears however, and I am taking this from second hand sources, that the ancient non-canonical Jewish Talmud actually comments on the OT passage of Jonah and the whale. The author, a first century rabbi, explains that “one day and one night” is a Hebrew idiomatic expression which means a full day or any part of it. Thus there is not literal requirement that “three days and three nights” refers to three full 24-hour periods.

In fact, Scripture records just such a case. In Acts 10:1-24 Cornelius refers to a previous event as occurring “four days ago to this very hour” (Acts 10:30) when in reality it occurred three days earlier.

Bottom line is that the Essene calendar objection fails assuming a Friday crucifixion. Your point however is made. (I also understand that you do not personally advocate this theory.)

Thanks for you help,

RodK
[/quote]

RodK,

You are right in that I do not advocate any particular position on this issue. Although interested in this, I have never been able to study the fine points. You guys are helping me learn. Please keep up the good work.


#11

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