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THE QUESTION OF DAYS AND DAZE
- DICTUM NOT DREAM
DID GOD MAKE DAYS IN DAYS OR IN DREAM-TIME ?
Is the thought unpleasant ? Yes, but the answer is more to the point.
(Note that all excerpts from our own works, may be adapted or expanded as seems best for this use.)
A More Extensive treatment of the subject of this Chapter
available at Let God be God Ch. 12, as here marked.
THE REPORT OF THE CREATION STUDY
of the Presbyterian Church in America
allows magnificent but intrusive
liberty for the human spirit;
and moves with flamboyant ebullience into the realm of special permission,
even concerning the word of God.
It is time to pause and ponder, to revert to what is written.
It is not philosophy reading
the word of God, and appreciating it,
in its own light,
that is wanted,
but the eyes of understanding
giving to Him the honour that is His due,
and leaving philosophy with other vain things.
See Let God be God Ch. 12
for a revised and extended presentation of this Chapter.
1. Let us hear how
the thing has progressed, quoting near its end
(a 90 page report, presented to Assembly):
Presently, we can admit that as recent creationists we are defending a very natural biblical account, at the cost of abandoning a very plausible scientific picture of an "old" cosmos. But over the long term, this is not a tenable position. In our opinion, old earth creationism combines a less natural textual reading with a much more plausible scientific version. They have fewer "problems of science." At the moment, this would seem to be the more rational position to adopt.Here is the old Presbyterian unwillingness to be clear, which has ruined its history in various places for almost a century. Its scholarship, once a dream of endeavour, now turns to philosophic options, as though the word of God were not in itself as clear as it says it is (Proverbs 8:8). If Paul could produce deep things to challenge, there is nothing of creation which is put as astonishing; and it is NEVER the Bible which is unclear. Instability it is which forces or divorces the word from itself (II Peter 3:16). Actually, as shown in such sites as
Recent creationism must develop better scientific accounts if it is to remain viable against old earth creationism. On the other hand, the reading of Scripture (e.g., a real Flood, meaningful genealogies, and actual dividing of languages) is so natural that it seems worth saving. Since we believe recent creation cosmologies are improving, we are encouraged to continue the effort.
That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 7 E, 8, in SMR Chs. 1, 2, 3, in A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9, in Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10, and Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Chs. 4, 5, 6, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium 13, Joyful Jottings 3,the due use of scientific method leaves nothing to be desired in the way of clarity concerning creation, and logic positively shouts with joy in the presence of the word of God, not only as demonstrably so, but as impregnable in stability, and coherent in concept in the presence of the myths of the 20th century with their insoluble logical problems.
The due approach to the text, as E.J. Young used to say, is to take it as it stands without regard for the special pleading of 'wisdom' from this world. That changes like a baby's nappy; the word of God never changes. Moreover, the more it is imposed on whether by conservative philosophers or radical punters with thoughts, the less glory is done to Him who SAID IT, because it was RIGHT; and who sends it because IT IS TRUE, and says it with CLARITY as He declares (Proverbs 8:8), He being the source of the very brightness of light.
As to His word: some of it is harder than other parts;
but there is never any excuse for delinquency with what is written,
as though a wise supplement from current society were necessary. At present,
the ludicrous character of the wisdom of society in the special area of
creation is so vast as to make mockery its very name; while the sobriety
and scientific rigour, logical coherence and vigour found in what the Bible
says, both in principle and in practice, makes any thought of a problem,
to distinguish from cultural captivity, or mere lassitude.
2. Now let us taste another point made in this special
REPORT for the PC in America.
(See also in this topic, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digitial Millenium Ch. 2)
There have been various attempts to resolve the dilemma of "solar days" without the sun. One suggestion is that perhaps the light bearers were actually created on the first day and only "appointed" to their respective roles on the fourth day. Those who pursue this line of argument usually propose that these heavenly bodies were hidden (from whom?) by some sort of cloud cover until the fourth day. Except for the fact that this assumption contradicts the clear statement in verses 14-19, such a scenario would pose no difficulty*1 to the Calendar-Day view, as it clearly does to those who posit "days" of eons in length. An alternative view (dating back at least as far as Basil), that is much more consistent with that proposed above, is that the light of the first three days was light emanating from God Himself, just as the description of the final state indicates that God will be the light, not the sun or moon. "And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb." (Rev 21:22) Thus the Bible opens with God shedding His light upon the creation and closes with the same.
COMMENT: There are various errors in this. In part but with considerable amplification, we shall quote from SMR.
The chief point is simply that it is NOT a matter of the Lord having presented these luminaries and then appointed them to their roles on day 4, as if there is some DIFFICULTY. It is a FASHIONING or MAKING that is in the text, not a CREATING in verse 16. There is a PURPOSIVE creation, or a moulding of FUNCTIONALITY for the purpose, and it is this which is emphatically in view. In verse 14, they are to BE in the firmament
with the purpose of dividing night from day,It is not our present purpose again in depth to review the length of days 1, 2 and 3 on the consideration, noted by Professor Gleason Archer in his A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, that the text may signify the sun disclosed, rather than created in the fourth day (op.cit. pp. 177-178): the results we found were, practically, not diverse in kind from the normal day conception we experience seven times per week.
for being signs and for seasons,
covering days and years.
They are also to give light on the earth (v. 15).
The case however may be even simpler*2.
Thus, and further, the first source for day and night conception and labour
itemisation in six steps, in the biblical text has already had its conception
and execution as shown in Genesis 1:3-5. The initial DISTINCTLY itemised action
was shown sufficient to make day and night operative, neither more nor less.
Much more is to be needed, as with the earth in its earlier pocket of
development up to verse 13, and this too will be formed by function-bearing
action from the Lord, different in stage, but irreversible in procedure, as the
initial is moulded into the developed. Thus comes the second procedural step for
the stated purposes in 1:14ff.. Thus the partly sufficient light source MADE
from the first, is next in vv. 14ff., MADE to be sufficient for all the stated
purposes by divine action. Anything easier to understand would seem difficult to
imagine.. . anything more internally symmetrical in method.
The days might be different mechanically, if the mechanics were different; but their character and kind, we have reasoned (cf. SMR pp. 168-179, 190-197), is clear, even if they are to be treated with care and precision, where the motions of these bodies (sun and moon, conceivably, on one interpretation), might not then have operated.
Biblical days are correlated, then, quite explicitly with our world and its inhabitants, and in the divine action, there is a certainty of sequence that relates closely to the condensed coverage in Genesis 2:4. Present is no sense of arresting process. On the contrary: there is a sense of immediacy, there is a sublime monergistic or sole-worker emphasis, staccato commands coming like light into darkness, plenary power dictating and action happening to match with despatch. There is the utmost correlation between the divine power, mind and result in a manner which intimately associates with the use of the verb `bara', indicating as its basic position, what we call creation, as distinct from mere forming. Thus Colossians 1 uses a most emphatic Greek term, in indicating that Jesus Christ created all things. Interspersed are the formative actions, with the different verb we have in verse 14,16, which may mean making, forming.
When one refers to the Creator, in such a function, one is in the vein of what His power performs, as it is deployed in executing what He has in mind. We ourselves use such terms similarly, such that in our 'creations', process is not to the point: the idea and its outcome are closely related, and the more powerful the mind that has the idea, and the more profound, the more intense and intimate is its correlation, in general, with the outcome; and the more entirely irrelevant to the contribution in what is depicted, is anything else. Creation is a derivation of the one who creates; and where it is to God that we refer, it is to infinitude of creative power. Forming or moulding is then in another domain, less intense, not in the least presupposing anything such as what 'creating' constitutes.
We have earlier reasoned that the days of Genesis 1 are of a kind which correlates not with ages but with our rotational days. In the case of days 2-3, where there is not necessarily the same rotational mechanisms at work, this is nevertheless the basic situation. We are speaking of the prima facie requirements of the text at this point. Day one, we reasoned, while not divorced from such a conception, held somewhat more richness of meaning, because of the institutional element, as distinct from the constitutional processes coming later; yet it also, in its monergistic irruption (Genesis 1:3), is not to be divorced from the character of the declaration.
The days of Genesis 1 are in line with the days we now have, once instituted, in their character. This fact correlates intensely with the monergism of method, the infinity of power of the Creator, and the terminology, so that anything further from patient, inventive process would be extraordinarily difficult to express. The presentation was first the institution of the platform, and then of the different parts upon it, all in the area of creation; this to be followed in each case by performance of the thing created. There is crisp, sovereign, undeterrable fluency combined with the eloquent dynamism of speech.
Thus, the intense emphasis on `spoke', and `was', is without doubt
an explicit indication
of the utterly irresistible (I should prefer even `resistless') power
and unhindered performance,
untouchable majesty... a streamlined and no-obstruction work pattern and procedure,
the production from infinite power.
To continue: Archer, as noted, states that the Hebrew in Genesis 1:14 may be rendered,
Then verse 15 signifies their basic function as giving light (apart from being seasonal and signalising), once again, a verse on fire with purpose relative to BEING. Realising that the Hebrew verb in view has a vast array of meanings and special usages, basically, do, form, fashion, and on to set, ordain, establish, appoint, and that in Psalm 104:19, it is used in the sense that God "appointed the moon for seasons", and that usage must relate to the entire scope of the context, special as well as general, purposive as well as sequential, we gain the following.
IN verse 16, we find that
"God appointed them in the firmament of the heaven
to give light on the earth,
and to rule over the day and over the night,
and to divide the light from the darkness."
WHY ? What is the point in so amazingly, so impactively precise and so strenuously brief a piece of writing, a very celebrity of terseness, in what could appear repetition ?
It is necessary for any view of the Bible which proceeds FROM plenary and immediate inspiration from God, as author to face this matter. If it were a mere matter of making and setting, while giving purpose, why not stop at verse 15, omitting 16 ? What however if the EMPHASIS is designed to CLARIFY the situation is that the DAY-DARKNESS alternation is now
THEN there is comprehensibility.
One can understand the addition of verse 16 if this be so. We are seeing
the work done to implement the purposes, to get transition from the verse
1 situation with the 'create' verb, to this with the 'make or form' verb.
It is not a mere parallel in this precise and brief account, to the "it
was so", but has an explicative force, otherwise not present.
In the vast tapestry of meaning available for 'asah we must choose what best fits the total and specific, the overall and the intimate context, with due regard for any contrasts and alternations, as just noted. Hence this translation, as will appear yet more obviously in terms of the stress on purposes, in vv. 14-18, fits delicately and deftly.
In the next sequence, in verse 20, to follow this episode, the waters, already present, are in parallel to this, given a purpose: to abound with living creatures, similarly. In vv. 14-16, light and expanse already been present, the former with the normal pulsation denotable, of darkness and light, the new purposes are presented with new action to that point.
Each of these three verses is saturated with purpose, forged with the verb to make or form or fashion, relating to that purpose, and the series is consecutive to this end. In translation, not only is each word, but each phrase, clause, intent, purpose and background to be considered. Collision of concepts or accretion of means unmentioned needs explanation; and where this is provided only by the translator, we are looking at something scarcely distinguishable from eisegesis. When the translation is made without supplementary or contrary assumption, there is no apparent option. Day and night being terms used, and normalised, light being present in this domain, purpose being signified in this complex now past, the forging or forming must be seen relative to the purpose provided.
Fitting to consider too is the amazing majesty of it all: in v. 16, stars are added simply to the notation of the two significant heavenly bodies, sun and moon, "for ruling the night". The stars are merely part of the same sentence that has just been referring to the moon being formed. Each of the three has the same accusative prefix. Their parallel is intensive in the sentence.
The purpose of the moon being to rule the night, the sentence being one, it appears that the stars are here arraigned for the same purpose: ruling the night. Thus purpose embraces all three domains, sun, moon and stars, forming is the verb and ruling is the result: day and night.
This then is the simple narration of the fulfilment of purpose. This is the correlative of the movement from existence to purpose as the chief ingredient. For existence, it is so; for purpose, it is cited as fulfilled. That is all. Verses 17-18 further intensify the purpose and the setting in the expanse combination, as if to make it not only implausible but virtually incomprehensible if anyone should miss the transition of notation!
Here accordingly, in v. 16, the PURPOSIVE element is strikingly presented, repeated in the sense of ruling, amplifying in the domain of stars. Without doubt this must be one of the most purposive, multiply purposeful three verses in the Bible: 14-16. 17-18 makes it a quintet! Five verses are insisting, persisting, decisively, incisively and concisely, in the most minimal of coverages, rich in grandeur, on PURPOSE to the point it is amazing. It states it in intention, in multiple performance accordingly, in retrospect. This disjunction and conjunction - diversity from what preceded and combination with its own formula and format - is as apparent as a cat beside an elephant. It is impossible to miss, or to negate; and what is never here present is mere verbosity. This is the PURPOSE section.
Purpose and the fabrication of the means, the appointment, the performance, the setting in functional place, all are dominant. The point is merely amplified by the consideration that verse 15, in terms which do not stress the purpose, unlike the context, already has, "and it was so", before verse 16 comes to the light, with its focus on fashioning! Having met the basic alternation, we now find the precise configuration and removal of obscuration, the casting forth of the light in designated fields of operation, with the functional precision for the purpose, amplified and re-stated. This is the purposive arena, and what is being constructed is the fulfilment of purpose, in the already existing domain of distinguishable night and light, day and night so-called, in an arena of terminological clarity. If the light had been diffuse, there is no call to attempt to make the terminology similar. That, it would be presumption itself!
Thus, the basic point is rampantly clear. DAY and NIGHT had already been ANNOUNCED in the ONE CONTEXT as OCCURRING BEFORE THIS ACTION OF VERSE 14, so that while the MEANS prima facie may have been missing and the thing direct and supernatural (i.e. light modulation without natural means), even though this whole account is the expression of things natural derived from the Supernatural One, in their created form and formulation: yet the terminology is coherent with the normal usage of 'day' which flows onto our present system, as the account proceeds. Accordingly, it would be a flat contradiction of genre, meaning, deposition and descriptive procedure, if there were verbal mutation, terminological truancy: there is the phraseology used, and it does not alter in KIND, any more than the living creations later on. We are dealing with specifics as appointed and found, and their commencement. What it is that commences is the thing in view, in each case: KIND of day or KIND of animal, or image bearer.
If the purpose is to be clear (as in Proverbs 8:8) and
not contrived, wreathed and so forth, as there indicated of the wisdom
of God, then the result is this: there is no slide in the usage of these
Real darkness such as we know in KIND at least was the nature of the case before the lights were made
to be for the purposes as outlined in verses 15-16: aims which are multiple and permanent in type.
That darkness and light may have been separated enough at least to be in the pattern and mould of day and night is obvious, if there were indeed a vaporous tumult or movement in the newly made, and indeed being fashioned into full operative efficiency, heavens above the earth. Nor is it some species of effort to make it easier, in steps: the purpose is at the outset clear. There is to be light with alternation from evening to the day it produces. Then when the other matters are set rapidly in place, there is to be an abundance of purposive intensity regarding the light, and a work of vigour ensues in meeting purposes now in order for the light, so that the environment is shocked into recipiency.
The action of verse 16 is a MOULDING one which would lead on to a PURPOSIVE specification: rather like making a car that moves, but then completing all the specifications so that the whole gamut of its operations is possible, afterwards.
This is then the clear intimation of the text regarding the reality of day and night, and its ready formulation in those terms, without difficulty of any kind. There is no excuse or ground for departing from the text, whether one conceives of the light and darkness this way or that. It is the permission for departure as if some problem warranted it, which is wrong, awry, amiss and perilous.
We therefore must cleave to the days as they go, so when they come, in basic notion. In this way, the author is not induced, if it were possible, to retract or to add or to differentiate without saying so, in his use of terms. It is true some thought does need to be given to the direct, miraculous, constantly intervening substitute for structure in days 1-3, with regard to light; but it is also true that any real movement in that frame merely invents a novel feature, makes the account which is of ACTION AND RESULT to be divorced from its whole context, and passing by the specification of nature, it becomes an incursive thing. In that way, it would become not really an account but a combination of what it purports to be, a creation account, and what it neither purports to be nor presents at any demonstrable point: a series of partly explicated and partly submerged operations not noted, but operative nonetheless in the most basic of levels.
That however contradicts the entire formulation and formula used throughout. Yet unfortunate as that appears, it is as nothing compared with the next step, where imagination gains no rein. It is then that we find, with these or such unwarranted preliminaries, the next and fateful step: the clear, well-known and normal usage of day and night which in verse 15 is EXPRESSLY designated in terms of the WORK of the formation and fashioning of the luminaries, is to be set against some entirely different sort of thing, not merely miraculously brought about by intrusive supervention in the laid out scenario, not only without announcement of that fact, but with total transformation of type from what follows!
Day becomes daze.
This begets a conception in which the same terminology in the same mini-context is to be attributed to NON day and night: the same vocabulary becoming stupefyingly mutant, and within a few words of each other. Day and night in the context of sun and moon AFTER day four, which is a virtual DEFINITION of the meaning, are now to be revised into an erratic concept, which junks these indications, before.
Who could pass such a paper at the most elementary of levels! Its slides are a slither and a wandering. Worse, to imagine that because God is great, He is not great on clarity in giving HISTORY, is merely a contradiction in terms, an evacuation of meaning, a nullification of phraseology, and of Proverbs 8:8. Moreover it comes close to lending insult to our Maker, as gratuitous as unguarded.
Clearly then it is necessary to see genuine light and darkness gradings diurnal in portion, before day four; and while it is not a priori necessary to have these performed by the luminaries in precisely the present way: yet it is sufficient that they should loom and contribute something after this kind, although doubtless lacking in decisiveness just as the purpose of verse 14 had not yet been propounded and met. It could be argued that God could have turned OFF the light to create darkness, but this is to add to the text. The darkness-light progression is INSTITUTED, and proceeds without alteration in kind, but with alternation of progress, as a thing in place, and working.
Darkness was. Day was. Day and darkness are both definable in terms at least in kind, of what we know as we find in the overall context. Though naturally the importation of more divine action than stated is unfortunate, its main danger is that it leads on as a precedent in principle. Like tripping on the sidewalk, it can lead to death by impact from a car when you are where you do not belong. It is what follows that is fatal in this arena. It is the discordant divisiveness of double dealing with 'day'.
Thus, if we are to invent, then as soon as terms are arbitrarily defined to mean what they do not mean in the context, because of some desire, we are merely inventing the word of God, and may as well make a new gospel, in principle while at it. It is NOT WISE so to abuse the text. However, to reduce the term 'day' to a pair of discordant twins, this leaves the rest as mere fibrillation by comparison!
Let us then differentiate yet more completely with contrast.
Thus, even if it were to be imagined that the darkness and light were supernaturally made to vary without the means in the first 3 days, it still remains that they were there. They happened. That is not a DIFFICULTY. It is only difficult to the point that the reader INSISTS that the luminaries be not said to be there; and even then, only to the point that this involves a completely gratuitous, stylistically obfuscatory intrusion into what is required by the text, and an alienation from the tenor of cause and effect duly following from supernatural invention, being outlined before our watching eyes.
Yet, even at that, it is not yet a FLAT contradiction
of the dayspring indications, a truculent seeming metamorphosis into imagination
without human exhibit, which however it becomes in the light of the subsequent
indications of day and night in their commencement, as is the case with
other commencements: plants, fish, flying things, cattle, man. Therefore,
by this time, the austere majesty of the text is humbled to the vision
of the variable; its account of origins, which it claims to be, is made
something else. The scaffolding of man is added to the word of God, and
the imaginations of flesh become the focus. The word of God, nevertheless,
remains. Humiliation brings no alteration, and all, in the end, all that
is humbled, is the hapless and puny panzers of man. The blitzkrieg brings
fury, but no light.
Energy for the Erratic is Not Parallel with Grounds for such Liberties
Let us survey the scene, then. The Hebrew, Let luminaries be in the heavens for the purpose of separating … (Archer's rendering, op.cit.) is purposively introduced, and completely harmonisable with the concept that the creation of the heavens and the earth included the cosmologically requisite elements, which in verse 14 are given a fashioning towards their precise specifications, one and all, as multiply announced in v. 15. Their formation for the purpose stated in verse 16, is then merely summarising. Created at the point of stating creation in v. 1, they are formed for a purpose in vv. 14-16; nor is there is the slightest contradiction of the text in so saying, but in fact this provides the simplest of readings of it in conjunction with what went before; while it equally provides grounds for the special features of the text as noted above. It thus reads coherently and in an integrity of fluency:
Hence this PCA excuse for delving with considerable approval,
at a formal teaching level, into various figurative and imaginative substitutes
for the clear account of things in terms of terminology which is expressly
set in the astronomical realm, with stated purpose such as we see, is without
ground or verification. It is mere textual intrusion. It is regrettably
a case of setting at nought, or making vain, or making of no account the
word of God through your traditions, as Christ put it. Indeed, one has
the advantage that rarely before has the sheer effrontery of the matter
of tradition (outside Roman Catholicism) appeared as much as in this case.
Here the creation lab book is stated in practical and simple terms,
and yet it seems they have such trouble that all the worlds of philosophy
have to be entreated into it, lest it should be clear, and they should
understand and proceed with wisdom!
The facts ...
The facts are these: heaven and earth created; formations and formulations added; light and darkness from day one, so named, and purpose-making functionalities made apparent with their specifications stated and fully operative, in day four. The Hebrew admits of either view at this point - making in toto or forming for the purpose on day four; but the emphasis is without doubt on specialised purpose, which is the entire framework of this day. This together with the fact that verbally, this is a matter of formation and the original is creation as noted, and the terminological ‘problem’ for those who want a darkness and light in the context of day and night to mean something radically different from what it means when it is used some words later - an eisegesis extraordinaire, an inventive attention, a mutilation obstructive and invasive - means that there is in the end no liberty at all.
That is, as far as day is concerned,
uniformity of basic concept remains,
pad of performance origination institutes such known items from the first in an account via creation,
like the rocket pad before it takes off;
and difficulty is as unclear as the cloudy heavens in the beginning when the waters were gathered.
This is how it came; that it what it is; these are steps on the way.
There is one exception to that direct simplicity, which, however is not an exegetical option: it is to move from what is written to some construction at odds with the stated fact that this is the history of the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:1-4). It is presented as history; it is stated that THUS it was done. On the other view, it is NOT done thus, the terms do NOT mean what they are used to mean in the very context without intermission, are charged with mutation, and the purposive is turned into creation without warrant. Some would even go further and junk the whole precisely defined 'day' in verses 4ff., altogether.
If you can do such things, you can do anything. We can turn parables into literal works, literal works into parables, either into anything at the liberty and command of the reader: if such can be done, then writers are left mere midgets in the hungry maw of the readership. Definitions depart. Allegories enter with Origen. Originality becomes man's; longsuffering comes to the Author. If this be the case for authors, why write at all ! When God is back of it, it is more than unwise: it is invasive and cumbrous, to say no more, so to intrude into His word, who is perfection, and to manufacture structural imaginations without textual warrant of any kind, in the face of clarity and cohesion, in stated purposive precincts.
If it were possible to turn from such parameters, in innocence, as if they were mere figments and the imagination of man was paramount, then no text could be ‘safe’ from the ‘inventions’ which alas Israel was all too prone to make in dealing with things divine, in its own time likewise (Psalm 99:8). Of this, we find it written: HE the Lord, took vengeance on their inventions. In fact this sort of instability leads on to whatever downfall may be in view, unless revival comes; it is like eating too much fat.
It is, alas, presumptuous and it can lead to pride and parody in short time. It is not that those who say some of these things are of necessity heretics; it is that they are departing from the text and the PRINCIPLES of departure allow heresy in short order. No longer does the word of God RULE. It is a basis for thought, no more. It is moreover a departure from Biblical truth, which, however much one seeks to allay its significance, since it requires thought, yet is here not a case of intrinsic difficulty, but one of CREATING difficulty by justifying an additive framework (and once you start, there is no end).
It blatantly contradicts the divine specifications about His speech in Proverbs 8:8. It takes things into its own hands. It is as if it were intrinsically a hard thing to understand; hard only if anything at all, it is to understand the various confusing, or confused, variable and attenuated concepts, now meaning this, now that, now moving further now not so far, that are adduced, induced and produced, propounded and compounded in this PC in America Committee Report on Creation.
If it were a philosophical treatise, it could contain interest; as an option viewer for formal teaching in the church, it is appalling. It invites evil; it does not do what a Presbytery well might, provide pastoral delicacy for each according as able, in seeking to bring to the Bible. It OPENS the DOOR to it! This is principial error, not pastoral grace; and the thing is a great grief.
It is really rather ludicrous so that to keep, as it were,
a straight face is a work of self-discipline.
Could one endure in fellowship with such things ? Not organically, for the PRINCIPLE of departure inventively from the word of God is an intrinsic defect too profound for safety. If such things are to be TAUGHT, then one would need to depart (Romans 16:17*3). One could not consider that Biblical discipline was being kept when such things are allowed as FORMAL POSSIBILITIES FOR THE ELDERSHIP OF THE CHURCH, and FORMAL PRESENTATIONS BY THE CHURCH.
A case of putting off the day ... or procrastination ?
For years now the PC in America has allowed the statement, first rejected by a Presbytery but favourably over-ruled by the Assembly, not differentiating clearly between Genesis and poetry. This was virtually inconceivable laxity. Not for one hour, says Paul! For years, said this Church! Now its Committee appointed for the purpose has presented its appeal on vacuous grounds for variety such as is now being formalised into acceptance. In such a milieu one would not dare to tread. In this, the word no longer rules, and when this occurs, where shall the righteous flee ? Assuredly, one must regretfully reflect, not wisely into such doors as these. If it does not rule in one place, what is the rule of the Ruler ? It is adding to the word of God to add these interpretations which, in the laity, might be allowed with all the liberty in the world, while they ponder; but in those called to teach and to impart, not at all should such things be, lest those who should be encouraged, be subverted, and subversion moving on the waters of such principles, strike reefs without limit or cease.
When the Biblical doctrine of separation is similarly contravened, however (as attested of the PC in America, in Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium, Ch. 3, p. 44), it is clear that a church which takes the commands and the concepts of the Bible, at least in its teaching arena, more strictly, is needed. This is the case, for liberty FROM the word and BEYOND the word is not the one which is to be sought; but rather LIBERTY WITHIN the word! In Australia, we do not need such additions as these. It is not wise to have fellowship where this proceeds unabated; for even if a church body is not abruptly departed from the basics of the faith, it is still the teaching that the word of God is to be honoured and received or the believer is to depart.
Where the foundations are destroyed, where shall the righteous flee! (Psalm 11). It is to the Lord and His word, and to continue in them, that one flees. That is where one has begun, there by His grace, where one continues*2. Watchmen must warn, but must also heed their own warning! (Ezekiel 33).
We need the discipline of the word, in the word, from the word, and nothing added. In this, the realm of 'science' merely catches up, and has been doing quite a job of it in the last 50 years, as more and more of the simplistic substitutes for scientific method of many of its exponents, wrought by the philosophically passionate majority are unveiled. In this way, religious, agnostic and irrational propositions come like insurgents into science, and these invaders have become terminally ill, while confusion in the most explicit terms has resulted in some of the disciplines concerned. It has its comic side indeed (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-3, 8, 9 ), and its feeling of intrigue (cf. Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13).
With such we do not wish to walk or work, and indeed dare
not (Romans 16:17, Isaiah 8:20); and the concept that SCIENCE itself presents
some difficulty is as ludicrous as blind. It is SCIENCE in its philosophic
clothes which is in perplexity amid comic muddles and mutations in
It is the Bible which does not move. Not any one of the multitudes of its own words moves.
3. Now let us turn to the historical aspect as noted in the PC in America Report, for a little, in order to see those particular things more clearly.
First let us cite it once again:
Out of all of this literature it is possible to distinguish two general schools of thought on the nature of the six days. One class of interpreters tends to interpret the days figuratively or allegorically (e.g., Origen and Augustine), while another class interprets the days as normal calendar days (e.g., Basil, Ambrose, Bede and Calvin). From the early church, however, the views of Origen, Basil, Augustine and Bede seem to have had the greatest influence on later thinking. While they vary in their interpretation of the days, all recognize the difficulty presented by the creation of the sun on the fourth day.In noting these things we shall look at some expanded and adapted excerpts from other works on our site. The first, being short, is indented.
Puzzled as to when God created time, with the sun (by which our normal days are measured) created only on the fourth day, Augustine opted for instantaneous creation, with the "days" of Genesis 1 being treated as six repetitions of a single day or days of angelic knowledge or some other symbolic representation. Augustine’s view, with its emphasis on instantaneous creation, would have an influence through the Middle Ages and still be held by some, such as Sir Thomas Browne, at the time of the Westminster Assembly.
1) From News 51
As shown in the above reference to Cosmology, there was a whole school of theology, in the early centuries of the Christian Church: the Alexandrian. It was strongly emphasising that God needed no more than an instant to institute and complete creation. Clement affirmed that the world did not come into creation IN time, since time was something created with the world. The time may be what it was, is the emphasis of Augustine, and at ANY time, man might ask,2) FROM SMR SUPPLEMENT Ch. 2
Why not sooner ?
But in the infinitude of God's being, not limited, any time is insignificant compared with all of ours: this is Augustine's stress. Always, in his City of God, we find him quite assured about the exact creation coming to be. It is never anything processive, but rather, always magnificently and utterly deposited. It is to him a more academic, or if you like, non-creation aspect of time which fascinates him. HOW does time arrive for man in relation to the existence of God ? NONE is needed, and time is invented with man! This however is NOT to say that none is used; merely that it is a virtual irrelevance when one is in the domain of the foreknowledge, total conceptual completion and action of one so great as God.
When it comes to the text however as on p. 364, we learn that God "knows all times with a knowledge that time cannot measure" , which is true, but NOT that time therefore was not relevant to the creation. Rather Augustine is removing misunderstandings about what it was that was being done, since it was God who did it! We learn this, he says, that GOD MADE LIGHT and that He made it by HIS WORD, and found it good, and this, says Augustine, was nothing new to Him, but such is the perfection of His work, that this did not add to His knowledge but - in effect - implemented it.
Anything further from long ages or for that matter, evolution, it would be hard to imagine. Fully formed thought, independent in its own form of all processive time, acts with consummate maturity, and needs nothing as it does it. Non-processive time is a good description of the time that scholar envisages. Augustine himself could perhaps have spared himself some trouble if he had realised more clearly, that time is being brought into existence with the other creation, so that the initial processes of creation, as now known, before they are designated in our terms, are conceivably far removed from those aroused during the institution of time, that is, of serial, progressive time, where you wait one moment for the next to arrive, a wonderful novelty from eternity's all-embracive knowledge of the Almighty (Acts 15, Isaiah 42:9, 46:9-10).
Time was being manufactured with all else; and its processes were successively evoked, by which its passage is often measured! Humpheys touches on this matter in a practical manner, but it is there in necessary essence at all times! In Augustine's City of God, we find numerous expressions of this fait accompli character of creation, as far as conception, knowledge and prior standards and certainties are concerned (e.g. see op.cit. pp. 373, 378, 364, 381, 393, 395, 397, 409).
In reality, there is dominion and there is actuality which needs neither subject nor situation. God can make, like an artist, ever so many pictures of times; and possibilities actualise as and how He will. There is simply no limit.
Our type of time is to be understood as to its institution in only one way: the way which the only One who knows, being there at the inception of this sort of time, describes. The Biblical description is meticulously clear and decisive. There is however nothing even approaching a problem; merely a delight to the imagination to consider the other things that might have been. In science, however, our concern is with what is, something systematically 'forgotten' in the whole ludicrous episode of Darwinianism.
Yet let us not attack science properly so-called, which follows scientific method (cf. That Magnificent Rock Ch.1) .
Indeed, many are the great scientists, and even ones great in the history of science, who have been decisive in their insistence on the fixity of the created kinds, with no concession to imagination and myth. Kepler, Robert Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton, Jule, Lord Kelvin, Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, all appear as maintainers of God's own divine action in creation.
- It is merely
- this parasitic philosophy
- in terms of which many scientists have become preachers of illusion
- rather than observers of fact
- and makers of theories to accord with it,
- which is to be attacked.
Naturally, there were some early church impacts. However
even in those quoted by Ross, there is a
tendency for the 'thousand years is as a day' approach to the days of Genesis 1, on the part of some; while
the early church Bishop Ambrose from the same quotations, is clear in his Genesis 1 24-hour reference,
simply and properly allowing the usage of 'day' in appropriate settings, for other purposes, as it is with us.
In the thousand year approach, moreover, the time in view is co-ordinate with the life-spans of the first
men Biblically addressed, and not of a disproportion wholly alien. Whatever philosophic or fanciful
inputs may have affected some here, they did in such cases not wholly violate the sense of the record.
This is so, even if at this point, some disregarded with the blinking of momentary little faith, or
inadequate application, the clear evidence of the text. The issues, though of real interest, were less pointed
than is now the case.
This is despite the fact that he had a reputed tendency towards the allegorical! Discursive though, indeed, is far different from ecclesiastical formulation and acceptance. Thinking is not teaching.
In fact, the case, as the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia points out (vol. 3, p. 302), is that the Alexandrian school, influenced by Philo, tended to disregard time, emphasising that God needed "no more than an instant for the creation of the world". Clement, it is noted, denies that "the world was created in time, since time came into existence with created things", a view closely followed by Augustine at this point, he notably emphasising the conception that "the world was made, not in time, but with time", in his City of God (p. 350, Ch. 11). This he deems to follow from his (very limited) definition of time, though at that, himself strangely ignoring his own definition's clear fulfilment during the processes of the days as they brought the paraphernalia of process into being. Such is the impact of philosophy, which had a major and notorious invasion in the case of Origen. A large insistence on the part of those so influenced is noted in Schaff, such that there was for this school, a conception of a "practically instantaneous" Creation.
This is rather different from the concept of vast ages... as is the "literal interpretation of six days as six periods of twenty-four hours, generally given in orthodox dogmatics from Luther on" (Schaff, loc.cit.) in much post-Reformation work. Indeed, to turn now to J.D. Davis of Princeton, in his famed 4th. Edition (rev.) Bible Dictionary, pp. 157-158, we find this statement relative to the historical emphasis following the Reformation: "During the next 300 years the narrative was understood to mean that God created the universe in one week of seven consecutive days of twenty-four hours each. At any rate, the works of the six days were more than six acts; God spake, to use a significant Biblical term, eight times (verses 3, 6, 9, 1, 14, 20, 24, 26)."
Accordingly, we find in the most scholarly 24 vol. work of Keil and Delitzsch, Commentaries on the Old Testament (1864-1868) p. 51, on Genesis:
But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, or years of thousands of years, but as simple earthly days.Matthew Henry in his notable Commentary (1710) states of the first day:
This was not only the first day of the world but the first day of the week. I observe it to the honour of that day, because the new world began on the first day of the week likewise, in the resurrection of Christ, as the light of the world, early in the morning.Schaff-Herzog (op.cit., p. 301) also notes of "Judaism Proper" that:
Here not only is the creation of heaven and earth out of nothing strongly emphasized, but special stress is laid on the relative nothingness of weakness of the creature in comparison with God... In harmony with the unconditional supernaturalism... it is not surprising to find the six creative days of Genesis taken in the strict literal sense...Such matters scarcely affect the current issue of 'time' in utter severance from the Genesis explication; a fresh young earth is still in view, even after 7000 years, for the more 'adventurous' of those noted!
Certainly that particular case departs in the instances
quoted, though not in the case of Ambrose, from rotational days for the
6 fiats; as it does from the Scripture. It is however not so apparently
constrained by consideration of time needed for evolution in general.
At that, with Aristotle behind them, it would scarcely be surprising if
some stooped so far. (Aristotle was clear on the fixity of species now,
less so on their origination, with the tendency of Plato towards some 'stuff'
on which action could occur.) It is to be noted that the 'thousand year'
clan moreover are using one scripture on another, rather than obviously
alien premises to depart from what is written.
Augustine far from contemporary idiosyncrasies
Finally, it is important to realise from the references given, that Augustine is not in the least looking to the processive, as in some of these pseudo-creative fantasies wrought and brought into Genesis. It is the opposite. Everything is already worked out in God, nothing changes in his conception of heaven, and earth is the mere recipient. It is NOT the case either that he is saying that creation was instantaneous, though it is a word-result case. He merely asserts that it is nothing whether it was or not, in terms of power and majesty, planning and perfection prior to the event. He is keenly aware of the passage of process in the days, but never even begins to assert that the days are to be extended, or dismissed; merely that it is difficult to find a formula that fits them all.
He allegorises a little, yet not as an interpretation of the creative process, but in seeking underlying understanding of any message inherent in the text. Augustine and his school cannot be accurately used to assemble resemblance to any of the current options being proposed. He seems a little obscure at times in his treatment of time, as if change is impossible in heaven, even as a preferred or entertained mode: for in the end, God is the Lord and heaven is a vast conglomerate of souls, indeed one in which war is stated to have occurred in Revelation 12. Again, Augustine tends to bog down in treating time’s institution, for after all, what is involved is merely the institution of created, serial time where waiting is endemic, process normative and normally not optional. He even begins to transgress into eternity for created beings, though he tries to curb the process, as if angels cannot be treated as made in time, and hence are beyond time.
However, they CAN be treated as invented in any creative formula or format for the time mode or component which God proposed and was pleased to make operative. They must be regarded as subject to demand, command and hence to execution of intent, or failure, in some sort of capacity for sequence. This requires FOR THEM, some kind of time. Their institution is to a realm in which time has constraints and commands take effect, including their own effecting of commands.
All that is under command by nature, is not God, is created, and is subjectible to time constraints of a variety of possible modes, and doubtless more of these, also, than may be thought. Their institution in such modes is creation, and what is not so subjectible by its own nature is God. What He subjects in whatever mode, being created, is however subjectible at His will, and by His word, both written and effectual, as in the word of God and by the word of God. So the chasm is complete, creature and creator, command and sequence, knowledge and totality.
Indeed, if there can be war in heaven, there can be forms of time at the divine good pleasure, though of course never as an intrusion or necessity, merely as an invention for any good purpose of creative kind. WE are not the only creation; it is nonetheless the creation of the heavens and the earth which Genesis indicates. There ARE angels, which not there mentioned.
The universe is one domain. Angelic powers are another. In Genesis, it is not indicated that angels were not made, but rather how the universe of heavens and earth, cosmological, astronomical, terrestrial, were made. There is CREATOR and CREATION, and Christ, Himself increate, made all in the made category, whether in the realm of visible or invisible (Colossians 1:16). That is the nature of the position. Of Creator there is but ONE as Isaiah indicates. Of the subjectible to His declared mode of existence, and to His command, there are many. These, the rest are what He made. FROM HIM are all things, says Romans 11:33. ALL THINGS were created for Him (says Revelation 4:11). HOW He created is the current question, and the time frame is the current mode of enquiry.
Hence there is much made; and time is made as in Romans 8:29ff., and all that is not God is created. In and WITH time is the universe made. It is having episodes from day one, as in the creation of light, its division from darkness (indicated in the form of institution, not some mere intrusion), and the summary, evening and morning, day one. This in series with the rest, thus is making the days an ensemble of kind, being even serially numbered and listed as a temporary entity. THIS is the mode of time which the divine mind has construed, and construing, constructed. It is not at all possible to make them a divergent kind, in listing them. GOD has listed them as one. It is assuredly not for our imaginations to list them as diverse, far less in invasive disregard of precise definition that duly comes. What! And shall we make new modes for angels as well, and more thoroughly intrude human thoughts into the Creator’s mind!
Augustine, himself most true about the completion of the matters beforehand in the divine mind, about the invention of time, about time being created, the world with it, about the instantaneity which is quite easy for God, nevertheless neither affirms no process, nor distances process in the least, but if anything constricts it. Yet for all that, he is rather pedantic seeming in his insistences on time as being so odd, so that its institution makes for verbal play and at times obscurity in his writing, where he becomes ambivalent in appearance, between divine knowledge and human knowledge, seeking some kind of cognisance as the criterion: but this only in that there is something to know! And that, it is the step in view, to which he tends to look with a virtual, if not actual, instantaneity. He is, nevertheless, emphasising the irrelevance of time to the power and majesty of God, prepared and all powerful, rather than dismissing its occurrence.
Hence the view of Augustine and that school is not so
far from that of Basil and Ambrose and Bede, who move on the basic actual
day approach, with whatever frills and flounces. Indeed, we must realise
quite categorically, that modes of approach to the 4th day are of interest,
but they are not in the same domain at all, as modes of approach to the
days per se! This is diversification within a common basis of straightforward
days, with whatever adornment; or ditching of the definition in the context
of creation of kinds of things to the present array; or both!
4. A DAY of Darkness and Not Light (Amos 5:18)
Modes and Methods
There can be a phase in the divine apportionment in the mind of the Lord which, while not our time, is a time related or sequence conceived thing, or a sequentially oriented mode for some purpose conceived. There is no slightest difficulty about that. There can be a sequence of events in which serial time is instituted, processively, progressively if the divine will is to that effect. The instruments of natural measurement do not need to be complete at first, if the desire is to indicate divine lessons about structure and function, or purpose and preliminary.
But THEY DO need to be as stated, a formal, basically
homogeneous thing for the series called ‘day’ to be anything other than
a slide, a contortion and an obscurantist medley of thought, barren of
WHO, after all, is TELLING this history ? Is it
man, or God! The actual use of the SAME pattern of words, and not merely
a numerical enclosure, for the continuing days past one to the end, makes
it abundantly clear that if the thing could be called day once, it has
a substantial reality so akin to the rest as to belong to that family of
events. This in itself does not require that the sun as an object minus
precise and consummate function, came before the day four; but it moves
greatly in that direction. It is the fact that the darkness is specified
on the one hand, as an interval between successive and succeeding light,
and as a thing instituted, and formally divided from light, and that this
is continued after the purposive indications about the moulding of the
luminaries for their multiple purpose function, in conjunction with the
stars, that makes the interpretation that the sun was earlier created but
not in its full effectuality for chronological purpose, so important.
Difficulties ! Excuses ?
The main point is this: there is no ‘difficulty’ about the days as what they become in the account indicating how we got what we have, which of course includes the thing called ‘days’. Even if you want to have some supernatural, miraculous, anti-natural, non-processive action making the curtains of light to be swung back, for darkness, which erupts into the context like a hidden volcano: even this is no excuse for imagining that the days are some unearthly thing, some strange event, which we really must scratch our heads about and tinker with ... It is not as if the Lord had not spoken, as if He had no series, were not accounting for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and were in some kind of clutch of verbal desire, to use common terms, commonly and clearly designated, in strange esoteric senses, even in the midst of a series, interrupting with supernatural invasion not mentioned, and natural means not stated.
Therefore, whatever one’s preference, to intrude or not, to obscure the clear concept of sequence and basic homogeneity or not, in the days after one, there is no vestige of excuse for compressing the days, or expanding them into some alien thing, with some hidden means, when the point of the account is to make clear the history of the thing, the commencement exercises of God in erecting that College called earth, so that we understand how what is, came to be. Unhistorical historians may be so if they wish, and they form a genre, a fantasy arena of literary co-creators in any discipline, romancers with reality, producing not figures but fantasies as if fact.
There can be such; but the Lord is not one of them. If He indicates history, history it is. If He were using an account of how it all came to be, to use His terms, carefully integrated, in the clearest POSSIBLE manner into the present, to mean something wholly diverse, what would it resemble ? it would be like someone being married, who, when signing the register, declares: But of course this signature does not relate to that marriage. I suppose that could be done; anything could be done; but not with reason.
In fact, there are times when it begins to appear that the Lord’s word is taken under tutelage, as if HE could not or was not disposed to do what Proverbs 8:8 says of WISDOM. However HE has said the way we are to follow His word. It is clear, not twisted, contrived; it is all clear to him who understands. ONE way in which that happens is this: it is followed as it comes, not invaded as it goes. The way to keep it so, therefore, is not to so patronise the Almighty’s expression that it is mere butt for our exploration of our own thoughts, but to regard it as a decisive, assured and certain deposition of what He wants us to understand. True it is, to be sure, that some may at times try to press OUT of His word, what He did not plan to put into it, and hence there are numerous quarrels as some try to insert this, or that, or talk of lack of clarity, when there is lack of conformity to what He HAS stated, and no more.
However, in this case, it is the HISTORY which He is telling, and the COMMANDS and the DAY, like the MAN, are the thing created with which we have to do, the items which He is explaining as to its commencement, placing in their genre. Therefore, to assume He is not using the term indicating the genre, when He proceeds to employ it in the most categorical of terms to indicate, as with man, the present situation, and when in this chronological case, He even compresses it all into an event-labelled, and logically cohesive series: this is to create. Yes man then becomes a creator too. He is a creator of meanings contrary to the word of God; and all his efforts to be ‘nice’ and tolerant of this and that, become an intolerance of what is written, and the clarity in which it is statedly written, and the purpose for which it is statedly written.
A discursive thrust in some church member is one thing; however a failure to deal with the domain of poetry once invoked for an historical declaration of commencement exercises, and a mere verbal slap followed by theoretical inclinations, dignified into codification: this is another. It becomes a luke warm ‘handling’ of the word of God from which one does well to distance oneself, keeping rather to what is written. As to day, it is not a question of 24 hours, but of the TYPE of day we now have, with the SIGNIFICANCE we now have, whether the earth rotated more or less slowly, and whether the signals went out in this or that way. It is the genre, the movement in kind with our own, which is in view. From that one can vary only with danger to wisdom and weakening to others.
To teach such things is an inconceivable step from ecclesiastical
purity and fidelity towards that incremental traditionalism which reflects
with complacency on its own and its adopted scribes, who in the former
days were such that not only did they not enter into the kingdom, but they
hindered those who would do so. Indeed, said Christ in that highly matured
case: "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away
the key of knowledge. You did not enter in yourselves, and thos who were
entering in you hindered" - Luke 11:53. Again in Mark 7:7, we find
the other perilous precipice to which this additive and authorising phenomenon
leads, has lead and will lead till He come: "...
in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Alas the contemporary trends of weakening in the reformed faith areas are but one more illustration of the falling away. Special to them - though they are not alone, are various special areas of weakness. For this see The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, End-note *2. These include creation, women elders in violation of the Biblical mandate (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 10-11), and separation. The failure to separate from Biblically forbidden areas (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7) of course is a large part of the reason for the cultural dominion which begins to be seen in the conformity to the form of this world, despite its irrationality. Evil company does not promote good customs, as Paul declaims! Here a little, there a little, it is downgraded. Where it WILL not depart, then that action is left to the believer him/herself!
This is a spiritual and not a psychological engagement. One may think in many ways, but when it comes to teaching, authority resides ONLY in what is incorrigibly written, and is not found in imagination... even less so, if it were possible, when one is ecclesiastically cautioned about the absurdities of scientific philosophies of paganism, as if they had any logical standing. Theories of patent absurdity are enthroned like Dagons. Such submissions of the force of what is written in the word of God, to the dimness of what is the passing shadow of the fraudulent form of this world, erratic, inconstant and blatant, are amongst the Babylonian captivities of many, who might have been freed. It would be improper not to warn. It would be unscriptural to join them*1 when that Jerusalem which is above, is yet free, nor shall the gates of hell prevail against it!
This, then, is one illustration of the trend which has much earlier been noted (The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, End-note 2), and indeed set in the Index under Theological Ism-itis, with special reference to "the Reformed Faith", in its contemporary movements of head and style.
See these references for further on this aspect.
It is not at all that this IS the Reformed Faith (an undesirable term in that it tends to congeal with some ambiguity, about this or that - it is always better to refer to the Biblical faith, or the system in the Westminster Confession, to the compilation of this with the Declaratory Statement as FORMALLY if not functionally, in the Presbyterian Church of Australia, since 1991 or some other clear construction). It is however a contemporary trend amongst many who, making much of the phrase, make less of its portent and import, by the appearance of relative indifferentism on basic Biblical issues such as creation, female authority in the church (A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 10-11), the endemic and traditional danger of many to act as if to summarily short-circuit the love of God for the ultimately lost (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 1, End-note 1, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11), and a conception at times seeming almost implicit, that the errors of former times alone are worthy of debunking at the systematic level, and that organic growth in doing the same now is not needed.
That of course is traditionalism; and it was fatal to the Pharisees (Mark 7:7). It has not lost its ancient power. A living church is to be constantly aligning; not idolatrising some who did some things, and sharing in their errors; or adding to their errors in a listless obliterative focus on good things, as if other good things could by no means be found. Thus the Lutheran testimony on justification by faith was excellent, following Paul; but a failure to be ample enough in continuing application of the word on all sides has now led to this infamous declaration with the Roman Catholics, 1999, in which, with all but grim humour - say gaunt - this VERY THING, this Lutheran emphasis, is now in recession through accommodation to what condemns it, has condemned it and continues to condemn it at Trent. (Cf. SMR pp. 1045ff., 1059ff..)
If that is not irony, if that is not the very ground of exhortation, what then would be!
This preoccupation without adequate fidelity on all sides, as if one element were a substitute for all, or some for all, or some system for all the word, this complacency which can so readily arise and which needs constant watchfulness from all to avoid, is now leading, it would seem, a large and 'conservative' Presbyterian Church, my own former denomination, one of the last sizeable bastions of obvious populous power in this field, into a slack attitude to the word of God, far from their own standards and further from the Bible. So does the 'ism-itis' infect. Its ravages do not cease out of courtesy: it is not a courteous infection, but a grave infraction.
This IS ONE ILLUSTRATION of that trend in some Reformed circles, then, noted long ago as detailed above, which we would be happy to live without!
Nevertheless it is a WARNING! The Lutherans (Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 4) had something similar in peril from undue specialisation (though the emphasis was excellent); and they have gone ... even further! they make intimate postulations with dogmatically unrepentant Rome. It is NOT at all the case in many of these affairs, that there is ERROR in the original emphasis, as in the Lutheran stress on justification by faith; but rather it comes in the undue lack of other emphasis. Indeed, even this can proceed to the point of some ambivalence on the infallibility of the word of God which has been exhibited relative to the PC of Australia (cf. The Biblical Workman, Ch. 8, pp. 125ff.), even in its most reformed and renovative mode!
There are other arms with which, and into which, the church of the living God must go.
- This is the peril of being safe in the arms of a shibboleth - or two.
The pathology and its ways, of these trends to omissions and commissions, are all too apparent. It is time to heed and not time to folow such things! It is by no means trendy, shallowly to follow trends; and if it were, it would by no means make it better. In fact, the ways of this world need antidote constantly from the pure word of God, not from quotable traditions, as men receive honour from one another (John 5:44-45).
As the following presentation, in the text above, demonstrates at length, there is no such contradiction, but rather the most intimate correlation of concepts in terms of revolutionary days.
It is therefore ironic and rather prophetic to find in the formulation of this disastrous document of the PCA, this categorical admission. SINCE there is no such trouble as is vacuously affirmed, therefore the reality remains even in this document, that "such a scenario would pose no difficulty to the Calendar-Day view, as it clearly does to those who posit 'days' of eons in length"!
It is quite true, it does not. This is in substance indeed the ONLY understanding that is not eisegetical intrusion. It lacks all problems for that simple reason.
UPDATE: The error of the PCA Report of the Creation Study Committee, we find from the issue of CREATION, Sept-.Nov. 2000, p. 6, has been compounded by the decision of the June General Assembly of that body, instead of remitting the Report to lower courts in the Church for 2 years of study, to do something quite different. It "voted instead to immediately accept ‘diversity of views’ on the days of Creation."
This seals this erratic departure from the teaching of scripture, found in some of the more exotic presentations of the Report, into formalised coverage, hence subverting the scripture by tradition, a performance which, whatever they 'find' of the days of creation, was indeed in this case at Assembly level, of the ‘instant’ variety. How we hasten to that great day of the Lord when He shall cry no more delay, and return AS the LIVING word, unmolested, ineluctable and righteous! How do the apostasies rise like the great swellings of vanity which rage towards the nether shore (II Peter 2:18). It is not mere personal error here, but consolidated ecclesiastical ruling.
PCA situation, a word is in order. A Church cannot expect to retain biblical
authority, outside all biblical context (cf. Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, Ch.
2), when it re-writes a highly significant section of Genesis. The case is
similar when a Church teaches as apt, appropriate or to be received as
acceptable, what is incapable of being deduced from the biblical text. In so
doing, it attacks the underlying system of doctrine in the Westminster
Confession, and the principlr of Proverbs 30:6, which forbids such action
explicitly (Ch. 1, 6).
This breaching of the covenant underlying all co-operation means that separation commands like Romans 16:17 may be applied, and separation is at once authorised since to "avoid" is not to banter. The case is worse when many months have been passed in ineffectual effort to gain reply to basic questions. Athanasius, for example in a famous case, endured the wrath of those who were wrong, in their Arian impulsions, more than once.
The Biblical faith suffers no addition, far less replacement or adventitious excursions. Open grounds of the categorical rejection of trhe Statement of the PC in America are provided and have never been met. Biblical theologians are not novelists, and taking up one's cross is not painless. Glory be to Jesus Christ who makes everything worth it.
For the Biblical teaching on separation, in detail and categories, see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.7. Ch.7. Not only Romans 16:17, Isaiah 8:20, but many commands bear on this. II Thessalonians 2:15 advises us to stand fast in what has been taught, whether by Paul or the things received, and 3:6 proceeds to ask people to withdraw where there is disorder and failure to keep to this standard.
The fact that there is a particular exemplification of this does not alter the principle in view at all; indeed it reinforces it.
2:12-17 teaches with a beautiful aptness, agility and intensity:
"For the day of the Lord of hostsIt is hard to cease quoting from this passionate purity and fiery beauty of truth; but it is well to read on!
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up -
And it shall be brought low -
Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up,
And upon all the oaks of Bashan;
Upon all the high mountains,
And upon all the hills that are lifted up;
Upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall;
Upon the ships of Tarshish and upon all the beautiful sloops.
The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
And the haughtiness of man shall be brought low:
The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day,
But the idols He shall surely abolish."
One can warn and depart and continue where it is not so, but rather where the word of God rules without compromise in its warm intensity and immensity of conspectus, beauty of scope and certainty of utterance. It HAS STOOD and will stand, for it is of the LORD!
REVIEW OF LIGHTS AND LIGHTING FOR THE WORLD
Creating, forming, appearing, disappearing, lighting arrangements for ONE WORLD!
In Genesis 1:9, the dry land is to 'appear' BY action being taken so that what was not in existence before, the dry, came into existence and was thus made to appear. It did not come from nothing, but was a refinement and refurbishing in the existing milieu of water. It was a progressive act to bring one action through a beginning to a closer development to what was desired.
In 1:14, what is instituted as the natural light source, in terms of the entire presentation of divine order being made into natural action (verses 2-3), specified by normative usage, for 1:14-16, now comes into the distinctively celestial occupation. We turn here from the initial generality to the terrestrial specialisation just finished, to the celestial.
Thus the terrestrial already formed into significant function in verses 5 and following, has a celestial additive. The earth is now duly on its way from the initial lack of formation and information, and so the heavens come into focus, with their entirely parallel treatment.
This part also then is now honed from prior existence in merely basic form, into something conforming precisely by crafting, to a set of now applicable purposes. These are spelt out most carefully in vv. 14-16. Thus the earth and the heavens in their sequences, in that order, received the form and void movement to the specialised and cohesive more precisely.
God had already made the light and its first function already worked, His initial natural action being put in place in the most orderly of manners. In each case, in due order, He acted. He proceeded next in this line, to make the earth to be formatted and multi-functional, forming specified dry land and waters, amid the light, on the one hand, and then turning to form the display centre for light, into not one but two deftly illuminative virtual globes - oh, and the stars also! These were an adorning development in the total purpose of providing astronomical light. The short reference without even adding a verb for it in v. 16,, but relying on the solar and lunar already in place, is notable. It is making it very clear that the stars here had a primary function as light providers for the earth. They adjoined sun and moon in this function. The method of presentation as of production, is strenuously purposive: from nothing (but God) to the formless and void first invention, to its labour divisions in days and nights, dependent on the introduction of light as a specific fiat, to the two domains of development, heaven and earth. It is all cohesive, progressive.
Thus meaning is even made clear in the first vast burst of information in such grandeur, following creation, the formation of dry land. The inchoate, it is described as being "without form and void", so that the build up procedure is introduced. We are essentially to move not from nothing (but God) to something, now, but from creation total and without tether, into the matter of giving form and annulling void, development upon development being moulded, moved, amassed, inserted into place, the earlier the condition for the latter.
That is the nature of the astronomical architecture, specialised from v. 14, and the terrestrial, from the first, with its lacking form and function. In this Chapter, the day and night numerical aspect is made clear at once, for this is the mode of action, the division of divine labour, and the announcement of light provision is sufficient for night and day, making the format secure to the understanding at once. It depends on what was made in the illuminative first fiat. This does not equal nothing in these contexts, but something adequate for what is shown in function that follows.
The specialised work of FORMING is thus given the verb for forming, an entirely natural thing to do, for it fits the task in view and confirms that light source being initially instituted is one thing, while adapting and moulding it precisely and giving it the specifications for its new functions is another: this is precisely FORMING. That is why the term is used. That is the specialised meaning it can provide as distinct from creating, and the precise action here in view.
The concept therefore, NOT of having sun and moon fully formed, shrouded for long periods, and then exposed is not relevant either to the scripture or to any criticism of the exposition. TO be sure, where someone wants to have that long age scenario, there is a pressing problem, for it is distortion of the sustained character of the text from first to last, and this, not only in Genesis 1, but in the rest of this book. Definitive exposition is not given in order that it should be thrown away, as if a notice that smoking is prohibited is to be 'interpreted' to mean that it is compulsory.
The long and short ideas, the intrusive dream and the biblical exposition differ by billions of years, as in conformity and non-conformity to the text: the biblical and the apostate. This should not be a cause therefore of confusion, because in the biblical account insistence is made that the institution of results through the consistent and normative use of natural developmental apparatus, is the modus operandi. If you want to make an exception, you are free to intrude your own usage; but this is the specified and observable character of the events exposed. You proceed from the inchoate to the sufficiently formed for a stage, to the next stage, and efforts to distort or subdue this fact are not even relevant to its meaning.
When to institute a generic light source, or as in 1:14-16, something formed now into specialised function, this is the way: take this instituting action, and then proceed on that basis. There is no duplication of reference as speciously indicated in the PCA attack. On the contrary, is the generic: the general and the specialised, the initial and the more formed, the conformity of all to provision and particularisation IN DUE COURSE. This course is short, eminently so in the defined definition of day, which proceeds to be used without alteration of innovation in the sense given in the opening of the handbook, specifying how heaven, earth, man, sin, sacrifice came into being, in what terms and on whose behalf, and with what agents, and in what stages. This is a stark reading of creation, institution, stages, individual and more total results which you can take or leave; and earth has nothing else to compare. Many have tried to crash into it, but challenge as in a tennis tournament, only leaves the champion the more obvious, as every assault falls in inconsistency, ignoring of the text, or joint authorship with whoever wants to revise the source book, into some kind of philosophical biography of preference. For philosophy, write one. For integrity, let each keep his name to his own.
That then is the textual continuity in method, and it is followed here. FIRST the source adequate for night and day, THEN the forming, the crafting, for a series of allied purposes which required this, which accordingly is specified with the term most normally signifying this very thing, here or anywhere else, as a norm. Just so, at first we read of the enveloping waters, and then of God forming the firmament, diversifying this generality for a series of purposes. The initial deposit was given more form for more purposes, in the earth. Thus verse 7. In due course, verse 26, the heavens and the earth are now jointly able to be a scene for the scenario of man, the developed stage, brought into existence in summary executive manner, step by step, topic by topic, parallel by parallel.
Further, in this presentation, the difference is not in different senses meaning of the verb to form, but in the same sense. It conforms to forming, and forming to the context. This very term can be used widely, but as to emphasis here on norm, forming is it, providing a contrast with create deemed worthy to be specified in the cases in view. It is not good to suppress God's use of words, used in the same context, and using differential emphasis, transforming the meaning and the method.
There is the difference, either "Let there be lights in the space" or "let lights in the space of heaven be for ..." We find literally, Let be lights in the expanse for ...There seems no reason to depart from Archer's rendering thus this particular text. It is an enunciation of what to do about the light put there, distinguishing initially night and day, in order to make this turned into a multitudinous source. Functional at first, the source worked for night and day; formed and forged at last, with additives and mouldings, it becomes now functional for refined purposes as specified. Just as there was a question what to do with the day-night light source put in place initially, when more demanding and developed points came duly into view, so now there is the answer. THESE are the purposes, and for these, even add the stars. That is the sense of flow in the context, as you move from its form and style of reference to sun and moon, and then in a sweeping moment, stars!
If there was one relatively undifferentiated light source for day and night operation as initially made clear, now there were to be several, forged and formed, a purpose built for multi-function, with the stars a multitudinous extra in the format direction, relative to the entire display of functions for the purposes so carefully defined in the text. That they are magnificent is not the present point: it is that they constitute part of the light sources now crafted into being, and transferred into specified operation.
Indeed, in 14-16, as we come back from terrestrial things to celestial ones, and just as the void earth was to be formed, so the only initially forged light source is here given attention, in a perfect parallel, in one of the most methodical pieces of straight prose one could imagine.