From Chaos to Cosmos:
A Critique of the Framework Hypothesis

Joseph A. Pipa, Jr., Ph.D.
Westminster Theological Seminary/California

(Draft January 13, 1998)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the claims of those who hold to the framework hypothesis view of Genesis 1.1 I hope I have treated their position fairly and that this paper may facilitate further discussion.

The framework hypothesis asserts that Genesis 1 is not to be taken as a literal, chronological account of creation, but rather a topical account which asserts God created all things. The Geneva Study Bible says,

Finally, some scholars argue that the 'days' of creation constitute a literary framework (vv.3-31 note) designed to teach that God alone is the creator of an orderly universe, and to call upon human beings made in the image of the creator God to reflect God's creative activity in their own pattern of labor (2:2; Ex.31:17). This 'framework hypothesis' views the days of creation as God's gracious accommodation to the limitations of human knowledge -- an expression of the infinite Creator's work in terms understandable to finite and frail human beings. This last group of scholars observes that the universe gives the appearance of great antiquity, that the phrase 'morning and evening' seems inconsistent with the 'day-age theory,' and that the notion of intervening ages between isolated 24-hour days is not apparent from the text.2

According to Blocher, the strength of this position is that it removes the possibility of conflict between the theories of modern scientists and the Bible and avoids the conflicts of sequence between Genesis 1 and 2. He says:

This hypothesis overcomes a number of problems that plagued the commentators. It recognizes ordinary days but takes them in the context of one large figurative whole; the differences in order between the two 'tablets' no longer cause difficulties, neither does the delay in the creation of the stars, nor does the confrontation with the scientific vision of the most distant past.3

Young cautions:

It is furthermore necessary to say a word about the relationship between Scripture and science. For one thing it is difficult to escape the impression that some of those who espouse a non-chronological view of the days of Genesis are moved by a desire to escape the difficulties which exist between Genesis and the so-called 'findings' of science. That such difficulties do exist cannot be denied, and their presence is a concern to every devout and thoughtful student of the Bible. It is for this reason that one must do full justice both to Scripture and to science.4

Those defending this position often begin their case with the evidence of Genesis 2, interpreting Genesis 1 in light of Genesis 2. They maintain that, since Genesis 2 is marked by a highly structured style and has thematic parallels with chapter 1, it may serve as the interpretative grid for chapter 1. Furthermore, chapter 2 offers a key to chapter 1 by establishing the necessity for normal providential preservation to be at work throughout the period of creation. In dealing with chapter 1 (including 2:1-3), the advocates maintain that the literary structure demands a topical rather than chronological interpretation. The intention of this paper is to examine some of the evidence offered by the proponents of the framework hypothesis and to offer proof that the internal evidence of Genesis 1 demands a sequential interpretation.

First, the proponents of the framework hypothesis maintain that, although Genesis 2:4-25 has the grammatical mark of sequential narrative, we should interpret it topically and not chronologically. Since chapter 2 has thematic similarities with chapter 1, we should read chapter 1 topically, as well, even though it has the grammatical mark of sequential narrative. Dr. Futato says that, although a chronological reading of Genesis 2 is the prima facie reading of the text, in light of internal and external considerations such a reading is not allowable: "External considerations (comparing Gen 2:4-25 with Gen 1:1-2:3) and internal considerations (the flow of the narrative in Gen 2:4-25), however, disallow a strictly chronological reading of Gen 2:4-25."5 He calls the account "dis-chronologized" and argues for a highly structured, topical account.6 He offers two arguments to prove this point. First, he uses Genesis 2:18,19 as evidence that one may not take chapter 2 chronologically:

Then the Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.' And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

Dr. Futato points out that the Hebrew grammatical form used in verse 19 (waw consecutive -- the next thing that happened was) is commonly used for consecutive narrative. If that were the case, however, in this section, man would have been created before the animals. He admits that the translation of the NIV, "Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground..." is syntactically correct, but says that such a translation is not the straightforward first option. He points out that Moses could have used another form to make the creation of animals precede that of man (waw+subject+predicate). His conclusion is that, although Moses uses the form of sequential narrative, he intends for us to think topically and not sequentially. In effect he says, that the grammatical form, though normally used in sequential narrative, may be used in a topical account.7

He bases his second argument for the topical arrangement of chapter 2 on the two-track form of the narrative (he calls it two strands): one track that deals with the creation of the vegetation and trees and the other with the creation of man. Again the two are arranged topically and not chronologically. He builds this on Dr. Kline's interpretation of 2:5-7. Dr. Kline suggests that verse 5 posits a two-fold deficit that had to be dealt with before there could be plants: "Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the Lord God had not sent rain upon the earth; and there was no man to cultivate the ground." Dr. Futato suggests that verse 6 deals with the first deficit and verse 7 the second. Verse 8, he says, introduces the two-fold account: 8a introduces the plants in the garden and its theme is developed in verses 9-14; 8b places man in the garden and its theme is developed in 15-25. On the basis of this division, he argues for the topical arrangement of chapter 2 and suggests that chapter 2 enables us to understand the structure of chapter 1: "Granted... the topical nature of Gen 2:4-25, we should not be surprised by the suggestion that the coherent reading of Gen 1:1-2:3 (that is, the reading that coheres internally as well as externally with Gen 2:4-25) is topical rather than chronological."8

It seems to me that Dr. Futato's analysis does not give sufficient consideration to Moses' style of writing history or the special structure he uses in Genesis 2:4. Admittedly, Moses arranges a portion of chapter two topically, but the second half of the chapter is chronological narrative. Furthermore, even if Moses arranges his material topically, we still would have no grounds to interpret the first chapter in light of the second. Iain Duguid comments:

'If Genesis 2 is non-chronological, then Genesis 1 is non-chronological' is faulty. On the same basis, one might argue that because John's gospel is non-chronological, Mark's gospel must be equally non-chronological. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to find a topical account building on a more chronological one.... To my mind, the nature of Genesis 2 does not prejudge the issue of Genesis 1 at all.9

Dr. Futato's analysis of Genesis 2:15-25 seems to be contrary to the force of the grammar. Hebrew grammars consistently point out that waw consecutive (used throughout this section and in chapter 1) is a singular mark of sequential narrative.10 Jouon says, "This form is very common in narratives. Usually a narrative begins with a qatal (historic perfect) and continues with a wayyiqtol (waw consecutive), which is followed, if need be, by other wayyiqtols,..."11 In Dr. Futato's analysis of chapter 2, he does not offer corroborative examples for interpreting a passage like Genesis 2:15-25, that has the grammatical mark of sequence, as topical. It would be helpful for Dr. Futato to give examples of passages with a series of waw consecutives that are topical.

Does this leave us, however, with a conflict between Genesis 2:19 and Genesis 1? No. Within the context of sequential narrative, the waw consecutive may be used to indicate a time previous to the time of the main narrative. Although its principle use is as an indicator of sequence, it may have the effect of recapitulation or the equivalent of a pluperfect in English. Jouon points out that, because of its frequent use in narrative, at times it loses its idea of sequence and may express simultaneous acts (Jer.22:15; Ruth 2:3) or logically anterior circumstances (Judges 16:23; 1 Sam.18:11).12

In Genesis 2:19, it communicates the idea of logically anterior circumstances. Waltke and O'Connor list pluperfect as a subvariety of epexegetical use. After interacting with Driver, they say, "Moreover, wayyqtl in the received text, the object of our grammatical investigation, must be understood to represent the pluperfect."13 They offer two examples of this usage from the Pentateuch (Num.1:47-49; Exod.4:11-12,18). Moses, in fact, uses the waw consecutive for logically anterior acts or as a pluperfect throughout Pentateuchal narrative. For example, in Exodus 11:1 Moses inserts a waw consecutive as a pluperfect into a sequential narrative in order to introduce a revelation previously given to Moses: "Now the Lord said to Moses, 'One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt...'" This section begins with the waw consecutive, but Moses introduces it in the middle of his last interview with Pharaoh (Exodus 10:24-11:8). As such 11:1-3 serves as a backdrop, a flashback so-to-speak, for his message to Pharaoh. The NIV translates Exodus 11:1 in the same way as it does Gen.2:19, "Now the Lord had said to Moses,..." For the sake of emphasis, Moses would use the waw consecutive as a pluperfect and then resume the chronological sequence of his narrative.

With respect Genesis 2:19 the context of chapter 1 describing man's creation after the animals suggests Moses uses the waw consecutive either as a pluperfect or a logically anterior circumstance. Leupold comments, "That in reality they (the animals) had been made prior to the creation of man is so entirely apparent from chapter one as not to require explanation.... It would not, in our estimation, be wrong to translate yatsar as a pluperfect in this instance: 'He had molded.'"14 In order to emphasize that man would find no suitable companion among the animals, Moses uses this grammatical form.15 Thus, we have no conflict with chapter 1 in Genesis 2:19. Nor do we find any compelling evidence to take the second half of Genesis two as topical rather than as a sequential narrative that uses a pluperfect.

With respect to Moses symmetrical style, we will argue below that there is no tension between skillfully woven structure and chronological narrative. Admittedly, verses 5-8 may refer to a two-fold deficit and chapter 2 deals with certain aspects of the work of the first six days, but chapter 2 is not a parallel account of the creation as Blocher argues.16 Rather Moses, in 2:5-7, picks certain aspects of the creation account to lay the foundation for the creation of man, the planting of the garden, and the Covenant transaction.17

At this point, let us note Moses' use of special structure throughout the book of Genesis. Moses introduces this section of his narrative with the heading, "This is the account of the heavens and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven." Moses uses this heading 10 times in Genesis to introduce a new section. Invariably, what follows is not a restatement of what has been stated before but rather an account of the next generation. For example, Genesis 5:1 is not introducing the history of Adam, but the righteous line of Adam. When Moses uses this formula, he gives a brief summary of some aspect of what he just related and then proceeds to develop his account with new material that builds on the previous section (Cf. Gen.5:1,2 with 3ff). The proponents of the framework position agree with this analysis. Dr. Kline writes, "In keeping with the uniform meaning of this formula, Gen.2:4 signifies that what follows recounts not the origins but the subsequent history of the heavens and the earth. Gen.2:5ff. is thus identified as a record of the sequel to the creating of the world, not as a second account of creation,...."18 Thus, Genesis 2:4ff. is not a secondary account in conflict with chapter 1 nor is it a further account by which we test the chronological order of chapter 1.19 Gen.2:4ff is the account of man's being placed in the garden and brought into covenant with God against whom he rebels. This emphasis on the garden is accentuated by the unusual expression at the end of verse 4. Notice that Moses reverses the normal order and says, "Earth and heaven." By the change of order of heaven and earth Moses focuses our attention on what happened on the earth after the creation of man, particularly in the garden.

How does this heading (2:4) relate to our discussion of literary structure? Often when Moses introduces a new section, he begins with a topical recapitulation of the previous section, in order to lay the foundation for what follows. For example Genesis 6:9-13:

These are {the records of} the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. And Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth."

In these verses, Moses, as he introduces the narrative events of the flood, gives a topical summary of what he has just reported.

The purpose, therefore, of Gen.2:4-7 is not to offer commentary on chapter 1 nor to give a another account of creation, but to give a topical recapitulation of certain aspects of creation in order to lay the foundation for subsequent events. Dr. Kline's interpretation that verse 5 states two defects that had to be addressed before God created plants does not seem to take into account the topical recapitulation involved in Moses' style.

For example in verse 5, Moses does not describe all the plants of the earth, but two categories: "shrub of the field" and "plant of the field." Although commentators are divided as to what these plants were, most agree that these two terms do not include all the vegetation God made and that the reference points to the garden which God will plant (verses 8 and 9).20

Furthermore, Moses' subsequent account addresses the defects by pointing out that the garden was well watered and that God placed man there to cultivate it.21 The purpose of Moses' summary (5-7) is to demonstrate that the Garden was well suited for God's covenantal dealings with man; a delightful place that met all of man's needs. Young says:

To emphasize the beauty of the garden, but above all the goodness of God, a contrast is introduced. Man is to dwell as God's guest not in a waterless waste, but in a planted garden. The waterless ground of Genesis 2:5 stands in contrast to the well-watered Paradise which is to be man's earthly home.22

We conclude with Grudem's summary:

Genesis 2:5 does not really say that plants were not on the earth because the earth was too dry to support them... If we adopt that reasoning we would also have to say there were no plants because 'there was no man to till the ground' (Gen.2:5), for that is the second half of the comment about no rain coming on the earth. Moreover, the remainder of the sentence says that the earth was the opposite of being too dry to support plants: 'streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground' (Gen.2:6 NIV). The statement in Genesis 2:5 is simply to be understood as an explanation of the general time frame in which God created man. Genesis 2:4-6 sets the stage,... The statements about lack of rain and no man to till the ground do not give the physical reason why there were no plants, but only explain that God's work of creation was not complete. This introduction puts us back into the first six days of creation as a general setting -- into 'the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens' (Gen.2:4). Then in that setting it abruptly introduces the main point of chapter 2 -- the creation of man.23

Therefore, we see that Moses in 2:4-7 lays the foundation for the subsequent narrative of God's inauguration of the covenant in the garden. Because Genesis 2:4-7 is a recapitulation of certain key events in order to lay the foundation for the account of God's dealings with man in the garden, it ought not to be used as an interpretative grid for chapter 1.

We have already anticipated the second argument from Gen.2:4ff. Dr. Kline maintains that Genesis 2:5 states that God did not make plants before the earth had rain. According to Dr. Kline, these verses deal with the two-fold deficit (no rain and no man) that must be removed for the proper cultivation of plants. He concludes, "The unargued presupposition of Gen.2:5 is clearly that the divine providence was operating during the creation period through processes which any reader would recognize as normal in the natural world of his day."24 Later he adds, "Embedded in Gen.2:5 ff. is the principle that the modus operandi of the divine providence was the same during the creation period as that of ordinary providence at the present time."25 He applies this to the creation of plants on the third day, "Hence the twenty-four-hour day theorist must think of the almighty as hesitant to put in the plants on 'Tuesday' morning because it would not rain until later in the day! (It must of course be supposed that it did rain, or at least that some supply of water was provided, before 'Tuesday' was over, for by the end of the day the earth was abounding with that vegetation which according to Gen.2:5 had hitherto been lacking for want of water.)"26

Note, first, that the text is not dealing with a universal defect but highlights the placing of Adam in the garden. As mentioned above, a number of Dr. Kline's critics do not accept the two-fold deficit view of Gen.2:5. But, even if the two-fold deficit interpretation is correct, its reference is to the garden and not to the creation as a whole. Dr. Kline, himself, admits that 2:4ff is a topical introduction focusing on the garden: "This prepares for the central role of certain objects of the vegetable kingdom, i.e., the Garden of God and specially the trees in the midst of it, in the earliest history of man as recorded in the immediately following verses (cf. 2:8ff. and 3:1ff.)."27 Therefore, one ought not apply the reference to providence to the entire time of creation.

Moreover, even if his interpretation is correct, it does not disprove the chronology of chapter 1. While his interpretation does create problems for the day-age chronological interpretation, it fails to dislodge the order of Genesis 1. I see no immediate conflict between God's creating in an orderly manner (providing a source of water for the cultivatable plants and placing man in the garden to cultivate them) and the chronological order of Genesis 1. From the dry land, recently separated from the waters, God brought forth plants. Next in chronology he made the sun, which those plants needed, and, through the interaction of the sun with the water, mists or rain would have begun to function. This is consistent with what Dr. Kline says concerning Genesis 2:5ff. If he tries to say more -- namely, that Gen.2:5,6 teach that mist or rain was created before the plants -- he is forced to argue for the creation of man before the plants. In his scheme, however, man is created last. He fails to prove his conclusion, "But any strictly chronological interpretation of Genesis 1,... forces the exegete inescapably into conflict with the principle disclosed in Gen.2:5."28 Nothing in Genesis 2:5 says that there needed to be immediate rain, merely the provision.

Noel Weeks says,

There is nothing which clearly indicates that normal providence was functioning during the creation period. Whereas rain is mentioned as the normal way in which vegetation is watered, in 2:6 the earth is watered by the going up of a mist. We cannot infer from 2:5 that there had been a long period prior to the situation reported in that verse during which the earth had become dry. Rather it fits into the framework of God first providing the environmental necessity (water) and then making the plants. Certainly springs do continue as one of the ways in which the earth has been watered since creation but the concern of the verse is the way it first began. The actual beginning does not assume the operation of normal providence.29

Furthermore, there is no proof that this working of providence was exclusive. Young points out the problem with Kline's insistence that the present modus operandi of providence was the manner in which God worked in creation. He says, "At most it shows that such a mode may have been present."30 He points out that Kline's thesis is only valid if there was no record of supernatural intrusion. He states:

But such supernatural intrusion was certainly present in the creation of man (Gen.2.7). And the only works ascribed to the third day are creative works, not those of ordinary providence. Indeed, on no viewpoint can it be established that ordinary providential working prevailed on the third day. The only works assigned to this day were the result of special, divine, creative fiats. If ordinary providence existed during the third day, it was interrupted at two points by divine fiats. Even apart from any consideration of Genesis 2:5, therefore, it cannot be held that the present modus operandi of divine providence prevailed on the third day, nor does the appeal to Genesis 2:5 prove such a thing. On the contrary, all that is stated of the third day (Gen.1:9-15) shows that the works of that day were creative works and not those of ordinary providence. An appeal to Genesis 2:5 therefore does not support the position that the days are to be taken in a non-chronological manner.31

If God did not limit himself to acting by ordinary providence in subsequent history, why should we expect him to do so at creation. Some Framework advocates point out that one cannot follow the chronology of Gen.1, since that would necessitate extraordinary (miraculous) evaporation for the ground to be dry enough for plants. The extraordinary providence necessary would have been no different from what occurred when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea (Exod.14:21). Just as extraordinary providence works alongside regular providence in history, we may assume God operated the same way during creation.

Grossman concludes,

Kline's argument that Gen.2:5 provides evidence for ordinary providence in Genesis 1 contains a logical fallacy. Even if Gen.2:5 applies to the circumstances in Genesis 1 (which is questionable), it does not follow that ordinary providence alone was operating during that period of time. The presence of ordinary providence does not disprove the possibility of extraordinary providence. The text tells us in fact just the opposite.32

Actually, Genesis 1 teaches the operation of extraordinary providence during creation. Only if God created everything fully at once, would there be no place for supernatural preservation. The natural order of creation, through which the Spirit normally preserves and governs, is dependent on the whole ordered cosmos. Surely Genesis 1:2 assumes extraordinary providence when Moses describes the Spirit hovering over the original fluid mass at creation -- preserving, separating at the command of Christ, and perfecting. Or take for example gravity, tides, and the boundaries of water. Our providential system of gravity depends on the mass of the earth. Before the waters were separated on the second day, the ordinary factors involved in gravity would have been lacking. And tides depend on the moon. At the beginning, when the first created stuff was in existence, the Spirit held it together. Later, when the waters were separated from the waters, the Spirit would have held them in place. When the dry land was separated from the water, the Spirit would have kept the water within its boundaries until the moon was created. Thus, the text implies some acts of extraordinary providence, during the process of creation.33 Furthermore, the failure to separate creation as a distinct act from providence is a major theological blunder. Young concludes:

Those catechisms and creeds which have made a distinction between God's work of creation and his work of providence have exhibited a deep and correct insight into the teaching of Scripture. Creation and providence are to be distinguished, and it is not our prerogative, in the name of science, to place limits upon God's creative power.34

Having offered some critique of the framework interpretation of Genesis 2, I will now discuss chapter 1. The proponents maintain that the literary style and structure of Gen.1:1-2:3 demand a topical interpretation. With respect to style, Dr. Kline says:

The literary character of Gen.1:1-2:3 prepares the exegete for the presence there of a stronger figurative element than might be expected were it ordinary prose. This passage is not, of course, full-fledged Semitic poetry. But neither is it ordinary prose. Its structure is strophic and throughout the strophes many refrains echo and re-echo. Instances occur of other poetic features like parallelism (1:27; 2:2) and alliteration (1:1). In general the literary treatment of the creation in Genesis 1 is in the epic tradition.35

Young points out that one may not take Genesis 1 as poetry:

Genesis one is written in exalted, semi-poetical language; nevertheless, it is not poetry. For one thing the characteristics of Hebrew poetry are lacking, and in particular there is an absence of parallelism. It is true that there is a division into paragraphs, but to label these strophes does not render the account poetic.36

Young points out that we have poetic accounts of creation in Job 38:8-11 and Psalm 104:5-9. One only needs to compare them with Genesis 1 to note the differences.37

The proponents of Framework also claim that the language of Genesis 1 is highly anthropomorphic and thus we should take day and evening and morning as anthropomorphisms. Ridderbos suggests that Genesis 2:7; 2:2; and 3:21 all are anthropomorphic.38 The term anthropomorphic, however, refers exclusively to terms describing God and his work. We may not apply it to other phrases or descriptions. Young writes:

What, then, shall we say about the representation of the first chapter of Genesis that God created the heaven and earth in six days? Is this anthropomorphic language? We would answer this question in the negative, for the word anthropomorphic, if it is a legitimate word at all, can be applied to God alone and cannot properly be used of the six days. In speaking of six days Moses may conceivably have been employing figurative, literal, or poetical language, but it was not anthropomorphic. Hence, we do not believe that it is accurate to speak of the six days as an anthropomorphic mode of expression.39

Dr. Kline writes with respect to style:

The specific evidence for the figurative character of the several chronological terms in Genesis 1 has been repeatedly cited. The word 'day' must be figurative because it is used for the eternity during which God rests from his creative labors. The 'day's' subordinate elements, 'evening' and 'morning', must be figurative for they are mentioned as features of the three 'days' before the text records the creation of those lights in the firmament of heaven which were to divide the day from the night.... Purely exegetical considerations, therefore, complete the conclusion that the divine author has employed the imagery of an ordinary week to provide a figurative chronological framework for the account of his creative acts.40

The circular nature of Dr. Kline's argument hardly needs to be pointed out. Because he assumes "day" in 2:1-3 refers only to eternity, the term "day" has symbolical meaning throughout chapter 1. The assumption is gratuitous. He needs to prove that "day" is used exclusively as a metaphorical term on the seventh day. Furthermore, a biblical writer may use a term in more than one way in the immediate context (Paul's use of "nomos" in Romans 7). It is not proper to say "day" may not be interpreted chronologically, because one use of the term "day" is not literal in a paragraph that is structurally different from the remainder of the context. Moreover, even if Dr. Kline were correct about the symbolical meaning of "day" in Gen.2:1-3, that is not warrant to interpret "day" when used with an ordinal number (see below) as non-sequential.

With respect to "evening and morning", again a presupposition drives the conclusion. Is this phrase ever used symbolically? Does the absence of sunshine automatically rule out day and night? Again the conclusion is circular, based on Dr. Kline's assertion that there could be no day and night before the sun. In fact Genesis 1:4 states that "God separated the light from the darkness." Our positive argument below will deal with this in more detail.

Another reason offered to support a symbolical reading of chapter 1 is that the seventh day is not a literal day. According to Hebrews 4:3-4, the seventh day is an expression of God's eternal rest. I would agree that God's rest from creation is permanent and that the seventh day of creation is a picture of the eternal rest promised to Adam at the end of his probation. This theological significance, however, does not necessarily preclude that the day is a literal day. Young concludes:

It should be noted that the seventh day is to be interpreted as similar in nature to the preceding six days. There is no Scriptural warrant ever (certainly not Hebrews 4:3-5) for the idea that this seventh day is eternal.41

Moreover, even if it were not a regular day, it is still designated seventh in sequence by the ordinal number (see below that ordinal numbers demand sequence). In Gen.2:1-3, the eternal rest is the reality and the Sabbath day is a type and offer of that rest. We must not confuse the reality with the type otherwise the type loses its significance. In order for the day to serve as a type, Moses leaves the record of the end of the day open-ended.

The fact that he leaves out its conclusion does not imply it was not a regular day. Moses uses this same device in Genesis 14, when he introduces Melchizedek. According to Hebrews 5:6-10 and Hebrews 7:1-4, Melchizedek was a type of Christ, signifying how the Christ could serve as priest while not being of the house of Aaron.. The writer of Hebrews uses the silence of Genesis 14 to say that Melchizedek had no genealogy, parents, or death, that he might be a type of the eternal priest who received office by God's appointment and not by lineage. Most commentators agree that Melchizedek was a real person, who had parents and did die. Moses omits these facts from the record so as to lay the foundation of the typology. This is how we are to take the record of the seventh day. Prof. Murray, who sees the day as an open-ended expression of God's permanent cessation from his work of creation, nevertheless concludes:

... on the grand plane of his creative action, he rested on the seventh day. God's mode of operation is the exemplar on the basis of which the sequence for man is patterned. There can be little doubt, therefore, that in Genesis 2:3 there is at least an allusion to the blessing of the seventh day in man's week; and, when we compare it more closely with Exodus 20:11, there is strong presumption in favor of the view that it refers specifically and directly to the Sabbath instituted for man.42

This interpretation of the seventh day is most consistent with the commentary of Scripture in Exodus 20:11, "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." Weeks argues:

A far more crucial case of appeal to Genesis 1 is found in the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11. There the reason for the pattern of six days of work and one of rest is the activity of God in creation. Man is to imitate the model set by God. The notion of the precedent-setting role of the creation reappears here again.

This passage provides a crucial problem for the framework theory. The non-literal approach argues that the six days are not to be taken literally but are merely a framework in terms of which the events are reported. Why is this framework used? Sometimes this is represented as another anthropomorphism. God's creative activity is described in terms of a human work-week. However the fourth commandment says the precise reverse. God's activity is not described in terms of man's. Rather man's work-week is shaped by God's activity.

What can we infer about the narrative in Genesis 1 from this reference? At the very least there has to be some sort of divine activity which man can imitate. Further than that, it has to be an activity that is adequately represented by a pattern of six days of work and one of rest. Here the framework theory is shown to be untenable. For it alleges that the seven days of Genesis 1 are only a framework to describe events. God's activity did not have that form. How then could man imitate God's activity in the weekly cycle if God's activity was not originally as described in Genesis 1?43

Furthermore, a literal seventh day is the only consistent explanation of the idea of the seven day week which is found in the history of the human race before Moses wrote the Pentateuch. The weight of evidence points to a literal seventh day.

Moreover, any discussion of literary style needs to take into account Phil Long's insights on macro-genre. He says, "Genre criticism must resist the temptation to focus exclusively on smaller units of discourse and instead must be alert to the way in which the genre of a larger discourse unit affects every smaller discourse unit within it."44 The larger literary structure (the Book of the Bible) should shape our approach to the discrete parts. He concludes, "It is not wrong, of course, to study the smaller units; it is indeed useful and necessary. But final judgment on a smaller unit's import, historical or whatever, must not be passed without first considering the larger discourse of which the smaller is a part."45 The application to Genesis 1 is obvious. Even if chapter two is topical and chapters 1-3 use some figurative expressions, the book of Genesis is sequential, narrative history, therefore our analysis of the genre of chapter 1 must begin with the genre of the entire book.

Thus, we see that the arguments from style are inconclusive. In fact, as I shall seek to demonstrate below the style is sequential narrative.

With respect to structure, the proponents point out that Moses arranges the days in a very stylized framework with days 4-6 paralleling days 1-3. Kline suggests that Days 1-3 are the Kingdom and Days 4-6 the Rulers.


Days of Kingdom


Days of Rulers


Day 1:

Light and darkness separated

Day 4:

Sun, moon, and stars
(heavenly lights)

Day 2:

Sky and waters separated

Day 5:

Fish and birds

Day 3:

Dry land and seas separated,
plants and trees

Day 6:

Animals and man

Additionally, Dr. Futato points out that there were four creative acts in Days 1-3 and four in days 4-6, with two on day 3 and two on day 6. The first triad concludes with vegetation and the second with man, introducing the two-fold theme picked up in chapter 2. The purpose, therefore of the structure is to point out that God created all things and that man is the climax of the creation and appointed to rule over all the rest.46

In response, I admit that Moses uses a literary structure to reinforce the fact that God created with purpose and that man is the climax of creation. But are we forced to the conclusion that highly organized structure and symmetry rules out a sequential narrative? I shall demonstrate below that no problem exists.

Furthermore, the proposed structure is marked by a number of inconsistencies. The literary framework proposed by Dr. Kline does not work. A number of critics have pointed out the difficulties with the arrangement. Dr. Grudem gives a summary of these difficulties:

1. First, the proposed correspondence between the days of creation is not nearly as exact as its advocates have supposed. The sun, moon, and stars created on the fourth day as 'lights in the firmament of the heavens' (Gen.1:14) are placed not in any space created on Day 1 but in the 'firmament'... that was created on the second day. In fact, the correspondence in language is quite explicit: this 'firmament' is not mentioned at all on Day 1 but five times on day 2 (Gen.1:6-8) and three times on Day 4 (Gen.1:14-19). Of course Day 4 also has correspondences with Day 1 (in terms of day and night, light and darkness), but if we say that the second three days show the creation of things to fill the forms or spaces created on the first three days (or to rule the kingdoms as Kline says), then Day 4 overlaps at least as much with Day 2 as it does with Day 1.

Moreover, the parallel between Days 2 and 5 is not exact, because in some ways the preparation of a space for the fish and birds of Day 5 does not come in Day 2 but in Day 3. It is not until Day 3 that God gathers the waters together and calls them 'seas' (Gen..1:10), and on Day 5 the fish are commanded to 'fill the waters in the seas' (Gen.1:22). Again in verses 26 and 28 the fish are called 'fish of the sea,' giving repeated emphasis to the fact that the sphere the fish inhabit was specifically formed on Day 3. Thus, the fish formed on Day 5 seem to belong much more to the place prepared for them on Day 3 than to the widely dispersed waters below the firmament on Day 2. Establishing a parallel between Day 2 and Day 5 faces further difficulties in that nothing is created on Day 5 to inhabit the 'waters above the firmament,' and the flying things created on this day (the Hebrew word would include flying insects as well as birds) not only fly in the sky created on Day 2, but also live and multiply on the 'earth' or 'dry land' created on Day 3. (Note God's command on Day 5: 'Let birds multiply on the earth' [Gen.1:22].)

Finally, the parallel between Days 3 and 6 is not precise, for nothing is created on Day 6 to fill the seas that were gathered together on Day 3. With all of these points of imprecise correspondence and overlapping between places and things created to fill them, the supposed literary 'framework,' while having an initial appearance of neatness, turns out to be less and less convincing upon closer reading of the text.47

Dr. Futato adds a second argument from internal evidence, by comparing days 1 and 4.48 He maintains that day 4 makes no sense if seen as a chronological progression. On day 1 God created light and separated the light from the darkness. Furthermore, he called the light "day" and darkness "night." The record of day 4 also mentions that the purpose of the heavenly bodies was to separate the light from the darkness, day from night. Therefore, it is not possible for this to be chronological, since this is the exact same activity. Dr. Kline agrees, "In terms of chronology, day four thus brings us back to where we were in day one, and in fact takes us behind the effects described there to the astral apparatus that accounts for them. The literary sequence is then not the same as the temporal sequence of events."49 Dr. Futato points out that Moses follows the pattern used in chapter 2:8 of a general statement that is then unpacked.50 Even if this literary device were used here, it does not fit the relation of the other days in the two triads.

A closer reading of the text, however, suggests a clear chronological progression. In the structure of the framework, in order for Day 1 to fit the pattern of Days 1-3 it must be environment or kingdom. On day 1 Moses is not describing the rulers of light (the heavenly bodies) but the reality of light. We all recognize that the sun and stars are not the only source of light. Day 1 describes the creation of the physical phenomenon of light (energy/light). Leupold asks, "But it ill behooves man to speak an apodictic word at this point and to claim that light apart from the sun is unthinkable. Why should it be? If scientists now often regard light as merely enveloping the sun but not an intrinsic part of it, why could it not have existed by itself without being localized in any heavenly body?"51

Furthermore, on Day 1 the separation of light from darkness is not an act of providence but a distinct creative act: "God separated the light from the darkness" (v.4). Darkness was created in the first creative act (vv.1,2). The next recorded act is creation of light and distinguishing light from darkness. As God separates the two, he assigns the names to them that have to do with the general creation order and the passage of days "day" and "night." In following the pattern of the entire chapter, God's assignment of names is the assignment of purpose. Grossman says:

At this point it needs to be recognized that the language used in Gen.1:5 to describe God's naming of the light and darkness is in complete conformity with naming-language elsewhere in the Old Testament. There is no reason in the text or in general Old Testament usage to think that this is anything but a naming of physical light and darkness. In particular, there is no reason to think that we are here dealing with a naming that is allegorical or metaphorical.52

The name "day" is assigned because it designates the most observable purpose of light; and "night" the most observable purpose of darkness.

Day 4 then is a clear progression from day 1. The use of the waw consecutive suggests progression.53 For the purpose of day 4 is to assign the governors -- the heavenly bodies (v.16) -- of the most observable phenomenon of light and darkness. Therefore, the most important purpose of the luminaries (a different word from light) is to govern the separation of day and night (v.14) and to serve as well to mark time (monthly and annually). Furthermore, they will serve as signs for navigation and shall influence agriculture and the tides. Thus, day 4 is not a simple repetition of day 1 nor is it a resumption/expansion description of one creative event. On day 1, God separated light from darkness. On day 4, he appoints the luminaries to serve in that capacity. Young summarizes:

Day four and day one do not present two aspects of the same subject. Indeed, the differences between the two days are quite radical. On day one light is created (_____); on day four God makes light-bearers. No function is assigned to the light of day one, but several functions to the light-bearers. God himself divides the light which he has created from the darkness; the light-bearers are to divide between the light and the darkness. It is important to note this function. The light and the darkness between which the light-bearers are to make a division are already present. They have manifested themselves in the evening and morning which closed each day. How a division was hitherto made between them we are not told; it is merely stated that God divided between them (1:4). From the fourth day on, however, the division between them is to be made by light-bearers. This one consideration in itself is sufficient to refute the idea that days one and four present two aspects of the same subject. The light-bearers are made for the purpose of dividing between already existing light and darkness. Day four, we may assert with all confidence, presupposes the existence of the lights created in day one and the darkness which was mentioned in verse two.54

Does this interpretation not require some extraordinary providential procedure for the alternation of light and darkness? Yes, but in light of what we say above about the necessary interaction of general and extraordinary providence, this creates no problem. Therefore, it is consistent with the text that even as God extraordinarily held things in place until all the necessary elements for ordinary gravity and tides were created, he moved in the electronic field to cause electrons to give off light.

So I maintain that there is nothing in the text that demands a non-chronological, topical structure. Young summarizes Aalders on this point:

Aalders then adduced two considerations which must guide every serious interpreter of the first chapter of Genesis. (1) In the text of Genesis itself, he affirmed, there is not a single allusion to suggest that the days are to be regarded as a form or mere manner of representation and hence of no significance for the essential knowledge of the divine creative activity. (2) In Exodus 20:11 the activity of God is presented to man as a pattern, and this fact presupposes that there was a reality in the activity of God which man is to follow. How could man be held accountable for working six days if God himself had not actually worked for six days? To the best of the present writer's knowledge none has ever answered these two considerations.55

Above I raised the question, "Are we forced to the conclusion that highly organized structure and symmetry rules out a straightforward, sequential narrative?" In order to answer this question, we must answer two other questions: Is there internal evidence requiring chronology? Is there any conflict between a literary structure and a chronological order?

First, having shown that the style and structure of the text do not demand a non-chronological reading, we ask is there evidence in the text that demands chronology? Regardless of Dr. Kline's claims to the contrary, the grammatical structure (the use of the waw consecutive and factual non-figurative language) demands a straightforward sequential reading. Grossman writes:

When we look into the actual language of Gen.1:4-5 we find no extraordinary grammar or word usage. This is an essential point in the face of all the rhetoric about poetry and figurative language that is bandied about in the literature on this passage. Spoken phrases are used very matter-of-factly to describe the actions of God in creation, phrases which use very common Hebrew word and idiom. The form of language used here is not unique, with unusual nouns and verbs; the language could be describing any of the hundreds of historical events reported in the Old Testament. The Hebrew in verse 3 reads literally, 'And God said, "let there be light," and there was light..' Our translations have no problem giving us the sense perfectly. There is nothing here that does not come across in English. The content of the words, that is, the ideas they convey, are indeed astounding. As the psalmist says in amazement, 'For he spoke, and it was, he commanded, and it was standing' (Ps.33:9). However, the syntax used to convey these ideas is perfectly ordinary.56

Dr. Grudem adds:

Finally, the strongest argument against the framework view, and the reason why comparatively few evangelicals have adopted it, is that the whole of Genesis 1 strongly suggests not just a literary framework but a chronological sequence of events. When the narrative proceeds form the less complex aspects of creation (light and darkness, waters, sky, and dry land) to the more complex aspects (fish and birds, animals and man) we see a progressive build up and an ordered sequence of events that are entirely understandable chronologically.57

Derek Kidner agrees:

Yet to the present writer the march of the days is too majestic a progress to carry no implication of ordered sequence; it also seems over-subtle to adopt a view of the passage which discounts one of the primary impressions it makes on the ordinary reader. It is a story, not only a statement. As with all narrating, it demanded a choice of standpoint, of material to include, and of method in the telling. In each of these, simplicity has been a dominant concern. The language is that of every day, describing things by their appearance; the outlines of the story are bold, free of distracting exceptions and qualifications, free also to group together matters that belong together (so that trees, for example, anticipate their chronological place in order to be classified with vegetation), to achieve a grand design in which the now of time-sequence, now of subject-matter, control the presentation, and the whole reveals the Creator and His preparing a place for us.58

Much about the text demands a chronological interpretation. First, the text has the grammatical mark of sequential narrative, the waw consecutive. Dr. Futato agrees that this grammatical device is commonly used for consecutive narrative.59 In Genesis 1, each creative act and each creative day is introduced by the waw consecutive. Granted that occasionally the waw consecutive is used topically, is there any evidence of an entire narrative (like Genesis 1) using this grammatical mark in any way other than to signify consecutive narrative?

Second, the use of "day" with the ordinal number demands a sequential reading. An ordinal number is a number that reflects order: "First, second, third, etc." Though the number "one" in verse 5 is not an ordinal (in a list the cardinal number "one" is at times used for "first" cf. 2:11), the numbers "second" through "seventh" are. When an ordinal number is used with "yom" (day) not one example of non-sequence can be found. In the Pentateuch, Moses uses ordinal numbers with the word "yom" well over one hundred times. Every use involves sequence and, with the possible exception of Gen.2:1-3 (the seventh day) all appear to be twenty-four hour days. In fact, in the entire Old Testament every use is sequential and with the possible exception of Hosea 6:2 -- "He will revive us after two days; he will raise us up on the third day..." (the third day may be the specific day of deliverance and even if there is a figurative use of "day" the order is still in effect) -- all are twenty-four hour days. Thus, the text demands chronology. Young writes:

It is this remarkable fact of progression, both in method of statement and in actual content, which proves that the days of Genesis are to be understood as following one another chronologically. When to this there is added the plain chronological indications, day one, day two, etc., climaxing in the sixth day (note that the definite article appears only with the sixth day) all support for a non-chronological view is removed.60

Third, "evening and morning" suggest a completed day. Dr. Futato rightly points out that this idiom does not represent a twenty-four hour day. He explains the idiom metaphorically, as the day appointed for man's work. Thus, God's work is portrayed after analogy of the way men work. But his metaphorical explanation does not seem to adequately explain this phrase. In addition to Genesis 1, Moses uses the phrase three times: Ex.27:21 and Lev.24:3 referring to the priests' responsibility to keep the lamps trimmed during the night; and Num.9:21, referring to the shekinah cloud over the camp at night. All three times the phrase refers to a literal night. Thus, the phrase suggests that night (a period of darkness) was a part of the day just as we refer to day as not only the light but the whole period of light and darkness and the passage of the one to the other. Grossman points out:

Unfortunately many commentators have missed this point and have tried to fit in the whole twenty-four hour period between the evening and the morning. As Skinner so aptly points out, 'The Jewish day may have begun at sunset, but it did not end at sunrise; and it is impossible to take the words as meaning that the evening and morning formed the first (second, etc.) day.' This leads to the conclusion that the days of Genesis 1 are counted not from evening to evening, but from morning to morning. Each of them ended with an 'evening and morning,' that is, with a night which in [sic] ended at sunrise.61

Thus the phrase "evening and morning" also suggests chronological sequence of days.

Fourth, I would point out that the Bible in other places interprets Genesis 1 as describing specific, discrete events that are chronological. Paul refers to the creation of light as a specific creative act, "For God, who said, 'Light shall shine out of darkness,' is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light..." (2 Cor.4:6). Peter refers to the specific event of the third day, "For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water" (2 Peter 3:5 cf. Psalm 104:5-9; Job 38:8-11).62

Moreover, the Bible confirms the pattern of six days and the order of the days. We have already noted the divine commentary in Exodus 20:11. Psalm 104 seems to reflect the order of Genesis 1. Weeks points out:

Psalm 104 is a poetic commentary on Genesis 1. It follows the order of events of the creation days. In the earlier part of the psalm the emphasis is on creation as a display of God's glory and as his servant. The parallels are Day 1: v.2a; Day 2: vv2b,3; Day 3: vv.5-18; Day 4: vv.19-23; Day 5: vv.24-26. Fresh water for the creation is a concern in verses 10-13. What is significant is the point at which it occurs in the psalm. It occurs in the account of the third day, between the emergence of the dry land and the mention of vegetation.63

Furthermore, the Bible takes at face value the fiat and fulfillment nature of creation. Psalm 33:6,9 "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."

Christ's use of "from the beginning" to refer to the time of the institution of marriage in Matt.19:4 and Mark 10:6 suggests that God made man chronologically close to the events of Genesis 1:1-25. The phrase "From the beginning" seems to be a linguistic tag to Genesis 1:1. Cf. 2 Peter 3:4.

Therefore, we have prima facie evidence that Genesis 1 is to be taken as sequential narrative. As Weeks concludes:

The question was raised earlier whether the careful construction of Genesis 1 excluded a literal interpretation. We find no evidence of such thinking in the passages from the rest of Scripture which allude to it. Surely all indications point to the literal reading as the most natural, the most in harmony with the larger context, and the most supported by the rest of Scripture.64

Exegetically, the framework theory raises more problems than solutions. A sequential approach to Genesis 1 is the most consistent with the data of the text.

Having shown that the text demands a sequential reading, we ask the second question, is there any conflict between a literary structure and chronological order? Blocher says yes:

To put it plainly, both the genre and the style of the Genesis 1 prologue, as our introductory chapter saw them, provide strong grounds for presuming in favour of the literary interpretation. We discerned a composite literary genre, skillfully composed. We admired its author as a wise man, supremely able in the art of arranging material and very fond of manipulating numbers, particularly the number seven. From such a writer the plain, straightforward meaning, as in two-dimensional prose, would be most surprising when he is setting out the pattern of seven days. For such a writer you would expect the sort method which is discerned by the 'artistic' interpretation.65

God, however, often operated in a way that gave significance and theological purpose to numbers and Moses skillfully crafted the record of theses acts. For example, Moses arranges the plagues (Exodus 7-12) into three groups of three leading to the climax of the tenth. In plagues 1,4,7, Moses is sent to Pharaoh early in the morning with a warning (7:15; 8:20; 9:13). Plagues 2,5,8 are introduced with a warning to Pharaoh (8:1; 9:1; 10:1). Plagues 3,6,9 are sent with no warning (8:16; 9:8; 10:21). This structure is not as elaborate as Genesis 1, but shows that God and Moses can use a structure with symmetry in chronological development. The structured account of the plagues does not detract from their sequential order.66

Young summarizes:

In the first place, from the fact that some of the material in Genesis one is given in schematic form, it does not necessarily follow that what is stated is to be dismissed as figurative or as not describing what actually occurred. Sometimes a schematic arrangement may serve the purpose of emphasis. Whether the language is figurative or symbolical, however, must be determined upon exegetical grounds. Secondly, a schematic disposition of the material in Genesis one does not prove, nor does it even suggest, that the days are to be taken in a non-chronological sense. There appears to be a certain schematization, for example, in the genealogies of Matthew one, but it does not follow that the names of the genealogies are to be understood in a non-chronological sense, or that Matthew teaches that the generations from Abraham to David parallel, or were contemporary with, those from David to the Babylon captivity and that these in are paralleled to the generations form the Babylonian captivity to Christ.... Why, then, must we conclude that, merely because of a schematic arrangement, Moses has disposed of chronology?67

Weeks answers the question of "How do we know that structure and literalness are incompatible? We are thrust back upon the text itself. As already mentioned, were we to judge from the repetitions and emphasis of the text itself, we would come up with enough material to disturb at least some proponents of the framework hypothesis."68

Why then structure? Are there explanations that are at least as consistent with the structure and more faithful to the grammatical structure and movement of the text? Yes. The controlling framework of the chapter seems to be verse 2, "And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters." The rest of the chapter records the progressive shaping and ordering of this chaotic, void, dark mass; progress from chaos to cosmos.69 In progressively dealing with the "defects" God first creates an environment in a progressive fashion -- light, atmosphere and earth, sea and dry land, and vegetation on the dry land -- and second, he creates the inhabitants of the environment, again moving progressively -- heavenly bodies, creatures more removed from man, animals, and man. The structure makes the creation account memorable. Such a method would be very useful in an oral culture. Furthermore, the structure within each day asserts that each distinct part of the creation was made immediately and absolutely by God. Each day is, so to speak, a self contained unit, whose structure implies completion. We may describe the internal structure as the word of creation -- God said and God made (vv.1,6,9,11,14,20,24,26); the word of fulfillment (vv.7,9,15,24); the word of name and purpose (5,8,10,14-18,22,28ff.); and the word of delight (vv.10,18,21,25,31).70 This structure leaves no doubt that each act was completed on its respective day.

I would conclude this section by pointing out that the order of the text is in fact consistent with the progressive order with which God acts even in supernatural events. We note the same orderly progression of events in the all the great works of God (the covenant in the garden, Israel's deliverance from Egypt, the unfolding of progressive revelation, the incarnation, and the events leading up to the completed work of Christ). We notice the same pattern in the supernatural application of redemption. God works with discernible order. The creation account unfolds progressively with each creative act laying the foundation for the next. The work of Day 2 (separation of waters above from the waters below) is necessary for the events that follow. The division of dry land from water is necessary for the creation of plants on Day 3. The work of Day 4 depends on the work of Day 2. The creation of sea creatures, flying things, and animals on Days 5 and 6 presupposes the work of Day 3. The creation of man is the fitting climax (Gen.2:7,19). Ridderbos says, "It is clear that the work of creation culminates in the creation of man. In a certain sense it may even be said that all the rest is preparatory to the creation of man."71

At this point I would like to consider two theological questions and one methodological one. First, if our exegesis is contrary to the "findings" of modern science, should we not reexamine our exegesis to determine if the Bible teaches what we claim. After all we do not want to make the mistake the Roman Catholic church made with respect to the findings of Copernicus and Galileo, when the church condemned their theories of a heliocentric universe.

There are two important differences in the conflict of Genesis 1 with the theories of modern science and the discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo. First, the conflict of Copernicus and Galileo with the church was philosophical and not exegetical. Copernicus and Galileo based their theory on Platonism, while the Roman Catholic church was committed to Aristotelianism72; whereas with respect to origins we have a major collision between the Bible's fiat creation in six, sequential days and the scientific theories of origin, the order of development, and the age of the earth.

Furthermore, the scientific theories are driven by presuppositions that are contrary to the supernatural. Copernicus and Galileo did their scientific work in a context of their faith and Scripture. Copernicus wrote in the Preface of book on heliocentrism, "And if they should dare to criticise and attack this theory of mine because of some passages of scripture which they have falsely distorted for their own purpose, I care not at all;..."73 The presuppositions of the secular scientists have been well documented by Bolton Davidheiser, a biologist, in his book Evolution and Christian Faith.74 Also, the shifting sands of scientific opinion demonstrate that scientists are not in agreement with respect to origins or even the age of the earth.75

Second, although Scripture speaks idiomatically about the sun moving or standing still, we know upon exegetical reflection that the biblical writers did not use those idioms in order to explain the relation of the earth to the sun. They spoke idiomatically even as we do today. Therefore, we find no contradiction between the Bible and a heliocentric universe. In this paper, I have sought to establish that Genesis 1 intends to communicate sequential order. As such it must govern our scientific conclusions. Further, Scripture, in the Pentateuch, the Poetical books, the Prophets, and the New Testament, uniformly treats the events of the creation account as discrete, factual events (Deut.4:32; Ps.33:6,9; Isa.42:5; 45:7,12; John 1:3; Acts 17:24,26; 1 Cor.11;9; 2 Cor.4:6; Heb.1:23; 11:3; 2 Pet.3:5). Young states: "It is questionable whether serious exegesis of Genesis one would in itself lead anyone to adopt a non-chronological view of the days for the simple reason that everything in the text militates against it."76

Dr. Grossman observes, "The opinions of science may cause us to consider whether we have indeed correctly understood the Bible and so urge us to a careful restudy of it; but they may not be allowed to tell us whether or not our understanding of the Bible is true. That understanding must be based on honest exegesis of the Bible alone."77 We must beware of the danger of trying to accommodate the claims of science in our exegesis. Dr. Kline remarks, "The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about cosmic origins."78 In effect, seeking to free the Bible from criticism, the view frees science from God's Lordship. Grudem comments,

However, we must recognize that one aspect of the attractiveness of this theory is the fact that it relieves the evangelical of the burden of even trying to reconcile scientific findings with Genesis 1. Yet, in the words of one advocate of this theory (Blocher), 'So great is the advantage, and for some the relief, that it could constitute a temptation.' He wisely adds, 'We must not espouse the theory on grounds of convenience but only if the text leads us in that direction.'79

The second theological objection is in opposition to Kline's two tiered structure of reality. Dr. Kline maintains that there is a two-tiered structure of reality; the eternal heaven (God's personal dwelling place) and time space history: "Central in biblical revelation is the relation of God, whose dwelling place is heaven's glory (Ps.115:16), to man on earth. A two-registered cosmos is thus the scene of the biblical drama, which features constant interaction between the upper and lower registers."80 Much of what Dr. Kline asserts about the heavenly sphere and the earthly sphere may be an accurate assessment of the relation of the supernatural and the earthly. What is problematic is the application of the two-registered cosmos to the creation account in Genesis 1. On the basis of this two-tiered system, he suggests that Genesis 1 at times describes what is going on in heaven (v.1,26) while other times the reflection of those events on the earth. He says that the creation of heaven, the role of the spirit, the creative fiats, and God's Sabbath are upper register, while the creation of the earth, the deep, fulfillments, and Sabbath ordinance are lower register. He concludes, "The six evening-morning days do not then mark the passage of time in the lower register sphere. They are not identifiable in terms of solar days, but rather relate to the history of creation at the upper register of the cosmos. The creation 'week' is to be understood figuratively, not literally -- that is the conclusion demanded by the biblical evidence." The "biblical evidence" is his two register cosmos, that he imposes on the text. Weeks points out:

Those who favour a non-literal view of Genesis 1 fall back upon a number of other arguments. Essentially they argue that God's activity, while described in terms of our weekly cycle, is in terms of some other divine 'timetable'. The problem with this argument is that it introduces something not said in any Biblical text and certainly not expressed in this particular text. Surely what they are arguing for this text would hold for any other description of God's activity. That is, though expressed in terms comprehensible to man, it really means something else. God's activity is in some other realm and in terms of some other system.81

In his analysis, Kline seems to confuse the eternal decree, historical events that occur in heaven, and the divine activity of God the Son and God the Spirit in space-time sphere of creation. Furthermore, none of his proof texts suggests two levels of reality. He refers to the Job account in which the story begins in a heavenly council followed by events in the life of Job. The story of Job is not an earthly parallel of heavenly reality, but rather the events on earth were results of factual, sequential events in heaven. Thus, there is a cause and effect relationship. As in the case of Job, whenever we read in the Bible of things happening on earth as a result of heavenly acts, the things are understood as historical consequences of what God is doing currently in heaven. Grossman points out:

Kline's position makes an arbitrary distinction by taking the creative acts of God to be real as they are reported, while taking the time elements of days, mornings and evenings, and their numbering as figurative. There is no base in the text for such sifting. Even worse, no method has been suggested for the distinguishing the real from the allegorical in such historical narratives as Genesis 1 which can be applied without destroying the text's ability to communicate anything authoritatively.82

Without intending to be disrespectful, I think Dr. Kline's two-register theory is too obtuse to be helpful. As Grossman says, "The reasonings of Kline are too arcane to be the basis for overthrowing the far more natural reading of the passage as a chronological account."83

With respect to methodology, I would offer three objections. First, methodologically the framework theory seems to violate a number of exegetical principles. The interpretation seems to be forced. We should take the literal sense of the text unless such is clearly figurative or contradicts the context or the clear teaching of Scripture.84

With respect to this, Ridderbos says, "One who reads Genesis 1 without prepossession or suspicion is almost bound to receive the impression that the author's intent is to say that creation took place in six ordinary days. But we cannot stop here. He is bound also to receive the impression that the earth was created first, and afterwards the sun, moon, stars, etc."85 He rejects this interpretation. What, however, in the context or the teaching of Scripture would lead him to do so?

Weeks asks:

In the absence of any Biblical evidence to the contrary, and the presence of frequent references to the narrative as historical narrative, the obvious way to read the text of Genesis 1 is the obvious way. It is impossible for God to use a misleading form of description.... If Genesis 1 was not meant to be taken as a literal account, why was it written that way?86

Young states, "If Moses had intended to teach a non-chronological view of the days, it is indeed strange that he went out of his way, as it were, to emphasize chronology and sequence."87

Furthermore, the theory neglects to demonstrate that it is based on the essential spade work of grammatico-historical exegesis. For example, it seems to me that we should begin with the grammatical structure (the use of the waw consecutive, the ordinal number with "day", etc.) and not the literary.88 We need to pay attention to the individual words and connections. Up to this point I have seen little discussion of the linguistic and grammatical details of Genesis 1.89

Moreover, we should pay attention to Genesis 1's relation to the remainder of the book. It is a prologue. As Young says, "It sustains an intimate relationship with the remainder of the book. The remainder of the book (i.e., The Generations) presupposes the Creation Account, and the Creation Account prepares for what follows. The two portions of Genesis are integral parts of the book and complement one another."90 Moreover, it seems backward to begin with a subsequent chapter, that is clearly a new division (The Generation...), to interpret the introduction of the whole.91

The method also seems to fail in letting Scripture be the interpreter of Scripture. Young's comment is apropos, "The New Testament regards certain events mentioned in Genesis one as actually having taken place. We may safely allow the New Testament to be our interpreter of this mighty first chapter of the Bible."92

This leads to the second concern, namely the arbitrariness of the method. For example, Moses' style in chapters two and three is as figurative if not more so than chapter 1 (description of the creation of man; a talking serpent; God's making clothing): why are not these acts made symbolic? Why are not chapters two and three made non-literal? Or, as we point out above, why is the flood account a chronological narrative and Genesis 1 is not? Or why do we allow for supernatural intervention later in the Pentateuch (the plagues, crossing the Red Sea, the clothing of the children of Israel not wearing out) but demand that only ordinary providence has been at work in the midst of the omnipotent creating work of God? It seems to me the method has no exegetical brakes. Each decision is made on the basis of the presuppositions of the interpreter. Is this the way we want to instruct young men and women to interpret the Bible?

Which leads to my third concern. Because it is arbitrary, it is pregnant with disastrous consequences. Let's take them in order. The theory cuts at the heart of the Sabbath as a creation ordinance permanently binding on all people. Young points out, "There are, however, serious difficulties in any attempt to square a non-chronological scheme of the days of Genesis with the fourth commandment.... And a non-chronological scheme destroys the reason for observance of a six-day week followed by a seventh day of rest."93

Another consequence is macro-evolution. A number of advocates like Youngblood, hold to evolution as the means by which God brought the animals into existence. Dr. Kline says it is possible.94 Not only is macro-evolution possible, according to the framework, but also there is nothing in the theory to keep one from concluding that man evolved from lower animals and that God gave a particular man, Adam, a soul at some point in the evolutionary process.

Furthermore, contrary to inference of the testimony of Scripture, some proponents, like Dr. Kline, postulate the death of animals before the fall. Weeks comments:

Of great significance for the interpretation of the creation account is the question of whether death is here understood in general, or whether it refers only to human death. If death came into the world only with Adam, then all evolutionary reconstructions of the development of animals would be excluded. Obviously without animal death there is no animal evolution. Furthermore the periods represented by fossils must occur after man's sin.

It is natural to connect Romans 5 (14) with the statement in Romans 8:20,21 about the whole creation being subjected to futility. Paul's reference here is obviously to the curse placed upon the ground in consequence of man's sin. If we add this to the statement in Genesis 1:30 that the plants are given to every animal as food, then the natural inference is that animals were originally vegetarian and that animal death was also not present before sin.95

Another consequence suggested by some proponents of the framework theory is that the flood did not destroy all people that lived on the earth. Again we see the danger of applying theories to the text and ignoring the specific language of the text:

And all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died, thus he blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were blotted out from the earth;... (Genesis 7:21-23).96

These are positions held by some who hold to the Framework theory. Each conclusion is consistent with the interpretative principles involved in the theory. The problem as mentioned above is that there are no internal brakes. Only the individual's orthodoxy will keep him from all of these and further conclusions such as: Adam was not an historical person, but a symbol; Eve was not created from Adam; plagues were simply providential events ordered by an all-knowing God. Then we are a step removed from no miracles and no physical resurrection.

Am I wrong to suggest such dangers? No. Not if they are a consequence of an interpretative method. Notice I am not discussing the danger of the Framework theory, but the danger involved in the interpretative methodology the proponents use.

A large number of scholars oppose the theory. In my opinion, the proponents have not really interacted with their critics. I hope I encourage the proponents to present their case less dogmatically and not to caricature or dismiss lightly the objections to the theory.


The sources I used are: Meredith G. Kline, "Because It Had Not Rained," WTJ 20 (1957-58), 146-157 (referred to as Kline 1 in the remainder of this paper); Meredith G. Kline. "Space and Time in the Genesis Cosmogony," Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith 48 (1996) 2-15 (Kline 2); Henri Blocher. In the Beginning (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1984); a lecture by Dr. Mark Futato, Cassette recording of lecture at New Life Presbyterian Church, Escondido, CA.; Mark Futato, "Because It Had Rained: A Study of Gen.2:5-7 with Implications for Gen.2:4-25 and Gen.1:1-2:3" (Unpublished paper, March 14, 1997); and N.H. Ridderbos. Is There a Conflict Between Genesis 1 And Natural Science? (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Co, 1957).


Geneva Study Bible, p.7. Unfortunately the author of this section apparently caricatures the view that Genesis 1 is a record of a literal six day creation. Though the purpose of this paper is not to establish exegetically the position that the days in Genesis 1 are to be taken as 24 hour days, this is the position of the author and some of the evidence given about the creation is corroborative to this end.


Blocher, 50.


Edward J. Young. Studies in Genesis One (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1964) 51,52.


Futato, "Because It Had Rained" 13.


Futato lecture.


Dr. Futato uses the same argument comparing Genesis 2:8 and 15.


Futato, 20.


Private correspondence.


Paul Jouon and T. Muraoka. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew: Part Three: Syntax (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1991), p.389-393; J. Weingreen. A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrew (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967), p. 90-92; Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990), p. 543-553.


Jouon, p. 390.


Ibid., 393.


Waltke, 552. Dr. Futato points out that the waw consecutive used as a pluperfect must meet one of two criteria: lexical repetition or when the context or historical background ("knowledge of the real world") suggests that "a previous event or situation is being provided" (13 n.27).


H.C. Leupold. Exposition of Genesis, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,1970), I, 130. Cf. Franz Delitzsch. A New Commentary on Genesis. Trans. by Sophia Taylor (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, 1978) 141.


Notice how this instance satisfies the criterion above in note 13, "when the context or historical background 'knowledge of the real world') suggests that 'a previous event or situation is being provided.'"


Blocher, 27-38.


Leupold, 112,113, says the reference is to the third day while Young, 64, says, "If, on the other hand, Genesis 2:5ff. simply describes the preparation of the garden of Eden, it may not be applicable at all to the third day, but may rather be fitted into the sixth."


Kline 2, 11.


Blocher argues that Genesis 2:4-3:8 is a second tablet of creation (27-38). Such an interpretation does not take into account the significance of 2:4 and is highly arbitrary. Young writes, "In the first place Genesis two is not, nor does it profess to be, a second account of creation. Although it does mention creative acts, this is a sequel to the creation narrative of Genesis one and a preparation for the history of the fall contained in chapter 3" (59).


Young asks, "Does Genesis 2:5 intend to state that the entire earth was barren, or is its purpose rather to show that in contrast to a waterless waste, the abode of man was to be a garden? Perhaps this question cannot be settled entirely, and it is the part of wisdom not be [sic] dogmatic, although the latter alternative has much to commend it" (61); Leupold says, "the fact that certain forms of plant life, namely the kinds that require attentive care of man in greater measure, had not sprung up" (112). Futato argues for "wild vegetation that grows spontaneously after the onset of the rainy season... (and) cultivated grains" (3).


Leupold points out the unique nature of this river: "This is a very unusual situation. We know of no parallel to it. We know of streams uniting to form one major stream. Here the reverse is true: one major stream becomes four" (123). I do not see how this conflicts with Dr. Futato's interpretation that rain was necessary for the existence of the river. The emphasis of the text is on this mighty river that was in the garden.


Young, 61.


Wayne Grudem. Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 303. Even if verse 6 refers to rain, Grudem's comments remain valid. Nor does Grudem's contention that the main point of the chapter is the creation of man invalidate his remarks on Gen.2:4-6. E.J. Young argues for the possibility that verse 5 refers to the garden: "Two reasons are given why plants had not yet grown. On the one hand it had not rained, and on the other there was no man to till the ground. The garden cannot be planted until the ground has been watered, nor can it be tended until man is on hand. Both of these reasons, therefore, look forward to man's home, the garden, and to the one who is to inhabit that garden. At this point, however, an exegetical question arises. Does Genesis 2:5 intend to state that the entire earth was barren, or is its purpose rather to show that in contrast to a waterless waste, the abode of man was to be a garden? Perhaps this question cannot be settled entirely, and it is the part of wisdom not be [sic] dogmatic, although the latter alternative has much to commend it" 61. For further discussion of this section see Leupold, 111-114 and Derek Kidner. Genesis (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1972), 58-60. Kidner makes a case that the account refers to creation as it was on day 1.


Ibid., 150.


Ibid., 151.


Ibid., 152.


Kline 1, 149.


Ibid., 152.


Noel Weeks. The Sufficiency of Scripture. (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1988) 108.


Young, 64.


Young, 64,65. Furthermore, Dr. Kline's reasoning involves a logical fallacy. One may not prove the truth of a universal from the truth of a particular. For example, one may not argue that because many of the best professional baseball players are from Latin America all the best professional baseball players are from Lain America. Therefore, particular evidence of ordinary providence during creation, may not be used to prove universal ordinary providence during creation.


Robert E. Grossman. "The Light He Called Day," MJT 3/1 (1987), 28.


Proponents of the Framework argue that I am assuming the order of the text and thus am building on an unproven assumption. Genesis 1:2, however, clearly states supernatural preservation. Furthermore, it seems that if ordinary providence prevailed, the sun and moon would have had to be created first and a very normal order would have prevailed which would point to a relatively young earth. Ordinary providence as we know it would rule out evolution. Furthermore, the ecological system we know would require insects, birds, and animals for propagation and spread of plants.


Young, 101,102. The Westminster Standards clearly distinguish the two (WCF ch. IV,V; L.C.14-20). Psalm 104 also distinguishes these two works of God.


Ibid., 155. Blocher's arguments on literary style may be found on 18-20, 32-38, and 50,51. For example he says, "Since the passage is constructed like the utterances of a Wisdom writer, the most prudent course is to suppose that God inspired this writer as he did the authors of Wisdom literature, not by short-circuiting him but, on the contrary, by directing and bearing along his meditation" (34). He fails to account for the context of Genesis 1. Duguid says, "Thus it is important to reflect upon the fact that Genesis 1 does not occur as an isolated poem in the Psalms (where we should almost certainly interpret it as a piece of wisdom literature) but rather as the beginning of Genesis 1-11 and of the Book of Genesis and the Torah and the historical narrative which runs unbroken from Genesis-2 Kings."


Young, 82,83. Cf. Ridderbos, 35,36.


Ibid., 83. Weeks ask that if it is parabolic where is the interpretive key? "What is the key to the interpretation of this so-called 'parable'? How do we know that we are not pressing a detail which is not meant to be interpreted but functions just as part of the story" (104)? He points out that there is no context nor previous history to help us. "Thus the only clues to the interpretation of the 'parable' must lie within itself. Perhaps we should see as significant those details which show repetition, or to which our attention is drawn by some part of the structure. Let us examine some such aspects of Genesis 1. 'After its kind' is one such repeated phrase. Surely the repetition, along with the clear allocation of separate creative events to different days, is meant to teach us something. The obvious thing it could teach is that living things were created to reproduce within prescribed limits. Thus the theory of evolution is excluded... Another example is the parallelism of the first and second triad of days. Surely the obvious interpretation points to the preparation of the environment before the introduction of the creature into it. Are we to take it from the account that God actually did engage in that work of preparation? If he did not, then what does the passage teach" (104,105)?


Ridderbos, 30.


Young 57,58.


Ibid., 157.


Young, 77,78 note 73. Blocher appeals to the statement of Jesus in Jn.5:17 that the Father is still working. He says "Jesus' reasoning is sound only if the Father acts during his Sabbath; only on that condition has the Son the right to act similarly on the Sabbath. Jesus stresses, 'My Father worketh even until now' (RV); God's Sabbath, which marks the end of creation but does not tie God's hands, is therefore co-extensive with history" (57). The most Blocher proves is that God's Sabbath is during history. Young is seeking to refute Kline who claims that the seventh day is eternal. With respect to Blocher's argument, Weeks suggests, "Blocher argues that Jesus' argument only has validity if God is working on his sabbath, then Jesus may work on the sabbath. But there is another way of understanding the argument. The argument would have equal force if God was working the regular weekly sabbath. In context, the work in question would not be primarily a work of creation or providence but the work of redemption and mercy" (114).


John Murray. Principles of Conduct (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1964), 32.


Weeks, 112,113. He concludes his argument: "We need some specific indication from Scripture for treating Genesis 1 differently from any other passage describing God's work in the creation. Exodus 20:11 is the most relevant passage. Instead of indicating that God's 'week' is wholly other than a human week, it relates the two" (114). Dr. Futato seeks to answer this objection by showing that in the parallel passage, Exodus 31:14-17, God figuratively "refreshed himself." In my opinion, he fails to distinguish an anthropomorphic expression that describes something that took place at a historical point in time. On the seventh day, God did something analogous to our resting. In his resting he did something analogous to our refreshing ourselves. Like most anthropomorphisms he did this within an historical context. Compare Gen.2:7. God's referring to himself as a potter does not imply that he did not create man at a specific moment of time.


V. Philips Long. The Art of Biblical History. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 46.


Ibid., 49.


Dr. Futato's insights on the polemic against Baal do not exhaust the purpose of the chapter. For example, the emphasis on the role of sun, moon, and stars in 1:14-19 is a polemic against the worship of the worship of the heavenly bodies. See Ridderbos's discussion on the purpose of Genesis 1, 56-65.


Grudem, 302. See also Young, 55-76 and Grossman, 28-30. Kline (Kline 2, 15, n.45) says that Blocher refutes some of Young's analysis. Basically Blocher states that Young's analysis misses the point, but does not really interact with it.


Futato, 20-22.


Kline 2, 8.


Ibid., 21, "In other words, Days 1 and 4 are another application of the synopsis-resumption/expansion technique employed on a variety of levels in Genesis 1 and 2."


Leupold, 52. Young adds, "in an area so filled with mystery and about which we know so little, who can dare to assert that Moses is in error in declaring that light was created before the sun? Can one prove that the presence of light demands a light-bearer? What about the lightning flash? May there not have been rays of original light? We do not know; what can be said with assurance is that at this point Genesis makes no statement that scientists can disprove" (88).


Grossman, 15.


Dr. Futato argues for temporal overlay: "Here both criteria are met: lexical repetitions abound between Day 1 and Day 4, and light without luminaries is not part of the real world in which the original audience lived" (22). When comparing 1:3-5 with 14-19 the repetition of "light", "darkness", "day", and "night" do not seem significant when verse 14 uses "luminaries" in the place of "light" and the purpose is to separate "day from night". In fact the criteria point much more to 2:19 being a temporal overlay. Moreover, the children of Israel would have been quite familiar with a supernatural division between light and darkness. Twice they experienced such a division. First, in Egypt (Exodus 10:21-23) when a supernatural darkness prevailed in Egypt for three days and a supernatural light in the houses of the children of Israel during that time. Second, at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:20) when the cloud created a supernatural division of light and darkness between the camp of the Israelites and the camp of the Egyptians.


Young, 96,97.


Young, 47. I believe this claim is as true today as when Young wrote it.


Grossman, 10.


Grudem, 303. Grossman, 20,21 and Kidner suggest that verses 5 and 6 refer to the creation at its very beginning in Genesis 1:2.


Kidner, 54,55. With respect to the ordinary impressions on the reader see Young, 66-68.


Futato, 12,13.


Young, 99.


Grossman, 24. Cf. Young 89.


Weeks comments on Peter's use of the narrative of Genesis 1: "He is taking it for granted that what the text reports about the earth being separated from the waters is to be accepted. No argument is built upon the narrative. Peter simply makes the connection between the circumstances of the world's creation and the circumstances of the following judgment. Since no argument is built upon details of the narrative we cannot press Peter's use. Yet it is another case in which the narrative is simply accepted as it stands rather than having its 'symbols' interpreted" (112).


Weeks, 100. In this Psalm the reference to animals, man, and sea creatures introduced out of order may be explained by the fact that the Psalm is explaining the purpose of use of the various parts of creation.


Ibid, 116.


Blocher, 50,51. Blocher's genre analysis on pages 27-38 is unconvincing. Outside the reference to the Spirit hovering, nothing in chapter one suggests parabolic or metaphorical language.


Dr. Kline in Kingdom Prologue demonstrates that Moses's account of the flood (Gen.6:9-8:22) is a highly structured, literary account (131,132, 136-9). He does not suggest, however, that it is not chronological.


Young, 65,66; cf. Weeks, 106f. Young also deals with the argument from the book of Revelation by pointing out that it is a different genre of literature: "Together with the book of Daniel it forms a unique literary genre which is not matched or equalled by the non-canonical apocalypses. It is not always to be interpreted in the same manner as writing which is truly historical. If, therefore, there are passages in Revelation which are to be interpreted in a non-chronological manner, this in itself is really an irrelevant consideration. It has nothing to do with the manner in which the historical writing of Genesis one is to be interpreted. If Revelation is to be a guide for the interpretation of Genesis one, then it must be shown that Genesis one is of the same literary genre as Revelation. This, we believe, cannot be successfully done" (76). Moreover, even if the various visions overlap they are revealed in successive order marked by ordinal numbers.


Weeks, 107,108.


Some framework advocates maintain that verse 2 describes two defects: unformed and unfilled. Days 1-3 address the first deficiency while days 4-6 the second. Dr. Futato says, "Parallel to Gen 2:5 with its twofold problem, Gen 1:2 presents a twofold problem: 1) the earth was 'formless and void' and 2) 'darkness was over the surface of the deep'" (17). I think it best to see a threefold deficit which God remedies in reverse order: unformed, unfilled, and dark. Darkness is remedied on day 1; formlessness on days 2 and 3; and void on days 4-6. Leupold sees a fourfold deficiency: unformed, unfilled, dark, and a primeval deep, 46,47.


With respect to the formula, Young writes, "It perhaps accurate to say that the account of creation is told in terms of fiat and fulfillment, although not even this arrangement is carried through consistently. Hence, it would seem that the primary interest of the writer was not a schematic classification or arrangement of material. His primary concern was to relate how God created the heaven and the earth. There is enough in the way of repetitive statement and schematic arrangement to arrest the attention, and when it has arrested the attention, it has fulfilled its function. The arrangement of the material serves the purpose merely of impressing upon the reader's mind the significance of the content" (86).


Ridderbos, 61, cf. 69.


Charles Thaxton points out that the "proof" for heliocentrism given by both Copernicus and Galileo was primarily philosophical. The church's response was aimed at the rejection of Aristotelianism and not Scripture: "Nor was the opposition to the heliocentric theory due to dogma and obscurantism; instead it was due to its inclusion within a neo-Platonic philosophy at a time when the prevailing philosophy was Aristotelian. Not until Galileo a hundred years later was heliocentrism embraced by any major scientist outside the neo-Platonic tradition. And not until Newton was heliocentrism given a physical mechanism. Until then the controversy rested entirely on religious and philosophical grounds." In Nancy R. Pearcey and Charles B. Thaxton. The Soul of Science. (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1994) 65,66. He quotes Dillenberger on the Reformers' approach: "'The classical Reformation figures, including Luther, Calvin, and Melanchthon, belong to the period in which there was no compelling reason for accepting the Copernican system'" (41). Cf. Weeks, 97.


"Dedication of the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies by Nicholas Copernicus (1543) to Pope Paul III" in Harvard Classics vol. 39. (New York: D.A. Collier & Son) 59,60. Concerning Galileo, Thaxton observes, "But Galileo's behavior cannot be understood unless we accept his own claim that he was a true believer and that he placed religion alongside science as a source of the genuine information about the world" (Thaxton, 40).


Bolton Davidheiser, Evolution and Christian Faith. (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1969).


Grossman, 8. See note 4. See World. March 1, 1997, 12-15.


Young, 100.


Ibid., 8. See note 4. Cf. Young, 100-103. I am not by these remarks impugning the motives of any particular proponent of the framework theory.


Kline 2, 2.


Grudem, 302.


Kline 2, 2. Are there similarities between Kline's "two-registered cosmos" and Barth's two "histories" described by Ridderbos on pages 13,14?


Weeks, 113.


Grossman, 30. The framework proponents refer to the book of Revelation for heavenly acts that led to non-sequential events. First, the genre of literature is different. Second, the sequence in Revelation has to do with the order of the opening of the seals, etc. and does not rule out a sequential description of parallel events.


Ibid., 29.


I understand this to be the historical reformed principle of hermeneutics. Turretin says, "We must not rashly and unnecessarily depart from the proper literal sense, unless it really clashes with the articles of faith and the precepts of love and the passage (on this account for from other parallel passages) is clearly seen to be figurative," Francis Turretin. Institutes of Elenctic Theology. trans. by George Musgrave Giger and edited by James T. Dennison, Jr. 3 vols. (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1992) I, 153.


Ridderbos, 29.


Weeks, 115.


Young, 100.


See L. Berkhof. Principles of Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975) 67-166.


I am not suggesting that such work has not been done but that it would be helpful to see what grammatical evidence points to a non-sequential reading of chapter 1.


Ibid., 105


Dr. Futato addresses this methodological problem in note 4, page 2. He says it really does not matter where we begin, "All Scripture is to be used to interpret all Scripture. We often know more about the beginning of a story once we have gotten to the end." He gives an example from Numbers 19. The problem with the example is that it is one story, whose meaning becomes clearer as one reads it. This example fails to take into account the unique role of Genesis 1:1-2:3 as the prologue to the whole book and not just to 2:4ff, which is the first "toledoth". Chapter one needs to be looked at in light of the whole that it introduces and not interpreted by a few verses of the first "toledoth".


Ibid., 105.


Young, 78,79. Dr. Kline's system does away with the Sabbath as a permanently binding moral law of God. Dr. Futato develops the Framework in order to preserve the sabbath ordinance.


Such a procedure, however, would violate the principle that ordinary providence was the only way God operated during the period of creation.


Weeks, 109. Weeks admits that some want to limit Romans 5 to human death. In the entire Bible, however, there is no hint of animal death before the fall or that animals ate anything but vegetation.


Nothing in the context or the rest of Scripture suggests that this is hyperbole. The compounding of universal terms point to total destruction. Peter's commentary on this seems conclusive when he writes that "eight persons were brought safely through the water" 1 Peter 3:20. Leupold says, "The frequent recurrence of the word 'all' emphasizes the completeness of the destructive work of the flood" (305). Some suggest that the presence of the Nephilim in Numbers 13:33 proves that all mankind was not destroyed because the Nephilim are mentioned in Genesis 6:4.