Sabbath and Creation

The Forester is arguing for a literal 6×24 creation from two justifications givens for the Sabbath pattern in the 4th commandment, one of which is clearly historical (the exodus) (and has been patiently waiting for a response). Kazooless also considers this argument fundamental enough to include in his capsule justification of his creation views. But the human 144-hour workweek is not the only scriptural Sabbath cycle patterned after creation. God also declared that that every seventh year, and every seven times seventh year, was to be a whole year of Sabbath rest. So we see that it is not simply eisegetical scripture-twisting to consider the creation workweek to be a more generic archetypical pattern than a literal 144 hours.

The 6×24 response, I’m sure, is “but God never says ‘because I worked 6 years and rested one year’; the absence of ‘day’ shows that while the commandment is an exact replica, the Sabbath year more loosely patterned on the archetypical creation workweek.”

So how about this: Heb 3-4 is an exhaustive treatment what the Sabbath means in the New Covenant. Check it out:

For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath,’They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

So let’s put aside the question of whether the seventh day of Creation remains a continuing rest for God. If Joshua had given the Israelites rest, how long would their rest have been? And this Sabbath rest which remains for the people of God — how long is it going to last? And how long is this “certain day, ‘Today,'” in which the unbelieving still have an opportunity to enter into that rest?

Obviously the common answer to all of these questions is “much more than 24 hours” — even though the exegetical argument is founded on the “seventh day” of Creation. So I would say that, given that as Christians we look to the New Testament to interpret the Old for us, it would seem that nailing down the length of the creation week to solar days misses the big picture.

[Update] Actually, let’s reconsider that question of whether God’s creation Sabbath is one literal day or not.

He has said, “As I swore in my wrath,’They shall not enter my rest,'” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Why is that “although…” there? It is there precisely to answer those who might say “The seventh day of creation is finished.” As follows:

  • Good guy: “Enter into God’s Sabbath rest!”
  • Bad guy: “What are you talking about? God’s rest lasted 24 hours, when his works were finished from the foundation of the world.”
  • Good guy: “Partly correct; God’s creative work is indeed finished. Yet elsewhere, God discusses the (unrealized) potential for people to enter his rest, although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. So the finishing of God’s creative work does not mark the end of his rest. He is still resting. It is still the seventh day. The fact that we Christians are able to enter his rest depends precisely on the fact that it is ongoing; that it didn’t just last 24 hours.”
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88 Responses

  1. Did you mean 4th commandment?

    Kazoo

  2. Oopx! Corrected. I hope I got the right day of the creation week…

  3. What about usages like ‘the great and terrible Day of the Lord’ (in Joel 2 or Malachi 4:5-6) or ‘in David’s day’? Are those to be read as literal 24-hour periods?

  4. I don’t find those examples terribly persuasive, since it is easily understood that sometimes Day can take a more general meaning. The particular question is whether it can take a more general meaning with respect to creation; thus I find Gen 2:4 to be more compelling.

  5. Agreed, for the most part. The same word is used throughout the the OT, though, in many different contexts.

    By the way, the link you just posted (for Gen 2:4) goes to an NIV translation, which doesn’t use ‘day’ at all. Were you looking for ESV or another translation?

  6. There; that should work; there were some stray characters in the URL, so BibleGateway was probably just using whatever it had last for each of us.

  7. Rube,

    Why is Gen 2:4 compelling? Why not just say that in Gen 2:4, “day” is non-literal, while in Gen 1, “day” must be literal because of the morning and evening refrain?

    E

  8. I appreciate the spotlight treatment, RubeRad, but you’ve ripped the teeth out of the argument, which was based on the two different justifications given for the fourth commandment, one of which (the exodus) is clearly historical.

    I would encourage anyone to read the original argument before responding:

    Your question 1.4 deals with the intended use of a passage, and you rightly deny that Genesis is a science book. The two versions of the Ten Commandments illustrate how Genesis is, in fact, intended to be used — as a history book.

    The two different fourth commandment rationales are the only variance between the Exodus and Deuteronomy accounts, indicating that they are interchangeable: one version is just as valid as the other (nobody claims to be an Exodus Ten Commandmenter versus a Deuteronomy Ten Commandmenter). “God brought you out of Egypt” is obviously a historical reference that provides a motivating rationale for observing the Sabbath. People often view Genesis as either symbolic or historic — but Deuteronomy shows that in Exodus, Moses (and God) looked to Genesis as a historic reference.

    A counter-argument would suggest that such an equation of mode is unwarranted — that Exodus provides a theologic rationale for the Sabbath, while Deuteronomy provides a historic. But this neglects the otherwise perfectly tight equation of everything else in the two versions of the Ten Commandments. Why allow for a switch of mode in one passage when all other sentences are exactly alike, not only in mode but in word? (It also neglects the fact that the historic rationale is the only one supported by nature — we actually do work six days and rest a seventh, as opposed to working six million years and then resting another million. God certainly could have designed us that way.)

    Another counter-argument would suggest that the Deuteronomy reference does not provide a rationale for Sabbath observance as a whole, but only for Jews to allow their servants to rest on the Sabbath (which Jews themselves were unable to do as slaves in Egypt). Perhaps, this line of thinking would run, between the issuing of the fourth commandment in Exodus and its reiteration in Deuteronomy, Jews had begun to insist that their servants continue working on the Sabbath so that they themselves could rest. However, this interpretation denies the double-bind of the statement that “the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.” Yes, Jews should be sympathetic to servants because they themselves knew what it meant to be slaves — but it’s not just that. Jews were prevented by Pharoah from taking days off to enter the wilderness to make sacrifices to God. Once God freed them from Pharoah, they no longer had any excuse to neglect Sabbath observance. So this historic reference serves as a rationale for all in Israel, not only servants, to heed the fourth commandment — just as the Genesis reference does.

    Your question 1.4 deals with the intended use of a passage. Between Exodus and Deuteronomy we have an even better example — actual use, by Moses and by God, who looked to both the creation of the world and the deliverance from Egypt as historical rationales for resting on the Sabbath.

    There’s a bit of followup discussion on that thread, culminating here:

    Although one version of the fourth commandment points to creation and the other to redemption, both provide justification and motivation by pointing backward to historical events. The exodus as a historical event; so is creation, in that a universe exists that God created. Should these historical events be taken literally? One version of the fourth commandment gives us no reason to question exodus history, written as it is by the same human author in an earlier book. The other version actually compels us to accept a literal creation, entangling as it does our seven-day week in a seven-day creation, again written by the same human author in an earlier book.

    If Genesis is not literal history but only poetic form, what we need is an explanation that (1) accounts for why Genesis is written in seven-day format that coincides with the mostly universal human experience of counting time in seven-day weeks, and (2) does so while preserving God’s first justification and motivation for following the fourth commandment.

    RubeRad, I’d appreciate an edit in the original post, as I feel it misrepresented my argument. I suggest this: “The Forester is arguing for a literal 6×24 creation from the two justifications givens for the 4th commandment, one of which is clearly historical (the exodus) (and has been patiently waiting for a response).”

  9. Looking forward, by the way, to the discussion, as I haven’t seen this particular issue discussed (or even posited) elsewhere.

  10. boy…talk about beating a dead horse…what is so hard to understand that “yes…something’s lay outside the rational for simply living well and not confusing the issue by trying to attain the ‘totality pill’ of all reason…

    and eosigesis is properly used as biblical “exigency”….quite spot reading so much trying to understand it all spot by spot…out damn spot out…

  11. you’ve ripped the teeth out of the argument

    That was the idea — thanks for graciously conceding! Wait, you wrote more stuff — guess I should go read it….

  12. I’ve made the update, but I still think my argument addresses the point by showing how the N.T. treats the historicity of the 7th day.

  13. Forester,

    The calling of Israel out of Egypt was a typological new creation, calling them through the parted waters. That’s the meaning of the two different reasons for the 4th Commandment. The Exodus event is a type of the creation event. Both provide reasons to obey God.

    You quoted: “If Genesis is not literal history but only poetic form, what we need is an explanation that (1) accounts for why Genesis is written in seven-day format that coincides with the mostly universal human experience of counting time in seven-day weeks, and (2) does so while preserving God’s first justification and motivation for following the fourth commandment.”

    Echo: Those who take an analogical view of Gen 1 do NOT say that it’s not historical but only poetical.

    Why is Gen 1 written in a 7 day week form?

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF3-96Kline.html

    You may consider that question answered.

    UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE OF COUNTING TIME IN WEEKS??!! I’m outraged that anyone could believe such a thing, since history nowhere near supports it. I’m actually upset at this claim. The only civilizations that have a 7 day week as a unit of time are Jewish, Christian, or Islamic. The 7 day week is a thing of special revelation only. No movements of any heavenly bodies give rise to the week.

    And I’ve already explained the two rationales for the 4th commandment above.

    E

  14. Well then, there’s an answer to this question then…

  15. Well then, there’s an answer to this question then…

    Considering that Echo’s answer was ipse dixit, your response can only be sarcastic! I myself have lived in a civilization with a 7-day week that was neither Jewish nor Christian nor Islamic.

    However, looking back at that thread I confess to forgetting this moment. It’s an easy concession that doesn’t affect the heart of my argument (the single variation in the two versions of the ten commandments informs us that Genesis 1 is historical). I’m still formulating my response to the counter in your original post.

    As for the ASA article — thank you, I’ll be giving it due scrutiny.

  16. Rome had no 7 day week, and Napolean wanted a 10 day week.

    The West is a civilization founded on Christianity. Our own country used to have laws against places of business being open on the Sabbath.

    The 7 day work week is not historically universal, but based on special revelation.

    Unless of course you’d like to offer some reason from general revelation as to why people might have had a 7 day week, or if you’d like to provide some evidence that ancient civilizations had a 7 day week. But maybe I’ll save you the trouble. There’s none.

  17. Rome had no 7 day week prior to it becoming Christianized anyway.

  18. Unless of course you’d like to offer some reason from general revelation as to why people might have had a 7 day week, or if you’d like to provide some evidence that ancient civilizations had a 7 day week. But maybe I’ll save you the trouble. There’s none.

    Did we post simultaneously? Are you arguing in the face of stiff concession?

  19. Oops, sorry!

  20. OK, 19 comments in, and nobody has interacted with (or even seems to have noticed) the point of the post: just as the commandment ties the human workweek to creation “days” (which is thought to reinforce the “literalness” of “days”), Hebrews ties the Christian’s “Sabbath rest”, of indefinite (even eternal) duration, to the “seventh day” of creation. Since literal 24-hourness obviously cannot apply in Hebrews, why must it apply in Exodus?

  21. It’s a good argument Rube.

  22. Rube,

    Before I read all the comments, I want to respond to the actual post itself. I realize that maybe I’ll be duplicating the comments of others, but I want to write my take on this before being influenced by the rest. I’ll come back to read the comments and then post another comment of my own.

    First of all, it seems like you wrote this one a little more quickly than others. It was very difficult for me to understand for sure what your point is. I ‘think’ you are saying that since we see the pattern of a 6 to 1 ratio of rest being applied to more than literal days, that we don’t have to read into Genesis’ creation account a literal 24/hr day. So am I correct here? And is this more pointed to the OEC vs YEC debate than the sabbatarian debate?

    You say:

    So let’s put aside the question of whether the seventh day of Creation remains a continuing rest for God. If Joshua had given the Israelites rest, how long would their rest have been? And this Sabbath rest which remains for the people of God — how long is it going to last? And how long is this “certain day, ‘Today,’” in which the unbelieving still have an opportunity to enter into that rest?

    Obviously the common answer to all of these questions is “much more than 24 hours” — even though the exegetical argument is founded on the “seventh day” of Creation. So I would say that, given that as Christians we look to the New Testament to interpret the Old for us, it would seem that nailing down the length of the creation week to solar days misses the big picture.

    I assert (Only to avoid taking up the huge amount of space. Joseph Pipa does an excellent job of defending this in chapter 8 of his book The Lord’s Day) that the answer to your question about how long this “rest” would have been is “an eternity.” This rest spoken of in Hebrews is something we grab hold of by faith in the here and now, and will fully enter into at the consummation, as long as we persevere (Heb 3:12-14. And we will persevere since it is Jesus Christ himself, or High Priest, who is the author AND finisher of our faith. Amen!

    But, I don’t see how this argument really amounts to much more than a hill of beans in defeating the view that the Genesis account is talking in terms of literal 24 hour days. Let’s look at your hypothetical conversation between the two guys:

    Why is that “although…” there? It is there precisely to answer those who might say “The seventh day of creation is finished.” As follows:

    Good guy: “Enter into God’s Sabbath rest!”

    Bad guy: “What are you talking about? God’s rest lasted 24 hours, when his works were finished from the foundation of the world.”

    Good guy: “Partly correct; God’s creative work is indeed finished. Yet elsewhere, God discusses the (unrealized) potential for people to enter his rest, although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. So the finishing of God’s creative work does not mark the end of his rest. He is still resting. It is still the seventh day. The fact that we Christians are able to enter his rest depends precisely on the fact that it is ongoing; that it didn’t just last 24 hours.”

    There is a very obvious mistake you make here in this pretend conversation. I started breathing on the day September 17th, 19xx. Let’s call that day “The 7th day.” Now, I entered into my breathing on “the 7th day.” I am still breathing. I have never stopped breathing since that day. Therefore, it must still be “the 7th day.”

    Silly, huh?

    There is no doubt that the word “day” is many times used to mean more than a literal 24 hours in scripture. That doesn’t take away the importance of context and good exegesis. The 4th commandment may not “prove” that the Genesis account refers to a literal 24 hour day, but it certainly speaks in terms of a literal 24 hour days being that there is no controversy whether it applied to a literal 24 hour day. Just think of the picking up of manna for two days worth on the 6th day. Realizing this tells us that there was no reason for the original hearers to doubt a literal 24 hour day view of the creation account.

    Now, did I totally miss the point of your post here? Or does it seem like I got it?

    for Christ the King,

    Kazoo

  23. Rube,

    Looks like I actually didn’t miss much after all.

    Echo, it’s not really all that good of an argument after all. See my comment above.

    Rube, you say:

    OK, 19 comments in, and nobody has interacted with (or even seems to have noticed) the point of the post: just as the commandment ties the human workweek to creation “days” (which is thought to reinforce the “literalness” of “days”), Hebrews ties the Christian’s “Sabbath rest”, of indefinite (even eternal) duration, to the “seventh day” of creation. Since literal 24-hourness obviously cannot apply in Hebrews, why must it apply in Exodus?

    You really haven’t shown that though. Let’s look at the Hebrews quote you cited again:

    For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my wrath,’They shall not enter my rest,’” although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

    The writer of Hebrews is speaking of another day. He is not speaking of the same day that God entered into His rest. So while today is still today, don’t hesitate, enter into His eternal rest (which began on the first “seventh day”). So it really isn’t tying the day to the Genesis day, but the rest to God’s rest.

    By way of following a rabbit trail, this “Sabbath rest” in verse 9 is the only time that the Bible uses the Greek word, at least as a verb. The noun form is found in the Septuagint several times and is always referring to the literal 24-hour observance of “The Sabbath” day (Saturday). It is a different word than all the other times we read of the sabbath rest in chapter 3 & 4 of Hebrews. God’s rest. This verse is saying that there remains a “Sabbath-keeping” rest for us, the people of God. It is what we observe every week as a sign looking forward to the consummation when we finally and fully enter into God’s rest, the eternal rest, which we are now in ‘by faith.’ This is not my view alone, but many theologians agree on this. Joseph Pipa and John owen to cite two.

    Kazoo

  24. Kazoo,

    I’m not sure, because these ideas are extremely taxing intellectually, but I think you are making God’s “eternal” rest the same as our “everlasting” or “unending” rest that we will enter into in glory. In other words, I think you are making God’s eternal rest LINEAR, when God’s eternal nature is not bound by time, but transcends time. God doesn’t BEGIN to rest IN HISTORY, but he is eternally at rest. He acts in history, to be sure, but he does begin to rest, he is eternally at rest, which rest is unchanging. When we enter into our so-called “eternal” rest in glory, it WILL be linear, like a mathematical ray. God’s eternal rest is not linear, because it has no beginning, because God has no beginning. Our rest will have a beginning point, a point that has not yet been attained. Our rest will not be eternal, but unending. We will still be linear creatures with a beginning. We will never transcend time. By contrast, God is simple; his existence is not divided into past, present and future. He created time – how can he be bound by it? I expect Rube to pick up this ball and run with it.

    E

  25. And is this more pointed to the OEC vs YEC debate than the sabbatarian debate?

    I didn’t intend to address the sabbatarian question at all.

    There is a very obvious mistake you make here in this pretend conversation. I started breathing on the day September 17th, 19xx. Let’s call that day “The 7th day.” Now, I entered into my breathing on “the 7th day.” I am still breathing. I have never stopped breathing since that day. Therefore, it must still be “the 7th day.”

    God entered into his Sabbath rest instantaneously at the precise end of the 6th day/beginning of the 7th day. God’s sabbath rest (from his works of creation) has not ceased, thus it is ongoing. In particular, nothing happened 24 hours after he entered his 7th day rest: he did not stop resting, he did not commence creating. You cannot say “God worked for exactly 6 24 hour days, and rested for exactly 1 24 hour day, therefore so do we”.

    But I think you did miss the primary point; probably I didn’t write well. Lemme try again:

    YEC: “Ex 20:11 tells us that God’s creation days are just like the days of our workweek, i.e. 24 hours long”

    OEC: “Why would you assume that? Why not infer from Lev 25 and the Sabbath Year that God’s creation ‘days’ were each 1 year long? Or infer from the Jubilee that God’s creation ‘days’ were each 7 years long? What makes you pick the Ex 20 application of the Sabbath pattern to have primacy over the rest?”

    YEC: “Because Ex 20 actually says ‘Because God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th day‘, and that reiteration of ‘day’ is more forceful than talking about Sabbath Years (where God does not explain himself by tying to the ‘days’ of creation)”

    OEC: “OK, if your criterion is harping about “day” in association with inspired exegesis of the Sabbath, how about Heb 3-4, where we see explicit reference to the 7th day of creation, associated with long periods of rest — much longer than 24 hours?”

    YEC: “OK, now that I understand the brilliance and power of your argument, I humbly retract all of my former creation doctrines and sit at your feet, waiting to be filled from your wisdom”

    OEC: “Hey, worship God, not man. But OK, let’s talk about this ‘global flood’…”

    Somehow these arguments never pan out like I imagine…

  26. I expect Rube to pick up this ball and run with it.

    I’m not sure which direction to take it. Certainly God did not exert himself when he breezed into our timeline and created the world, but there was a certain last historical act of creation, after which he tells us that in some sense he rested, and the 6+1 pattern does define our week for us.

  27. I didn’t mean for you to take it in a direction, but I suspect it won’t be accepted, so the ball would be the argument, and running with it would be using it to convince.

  28. ROFL! Good stuff Rube, but still flawed.

    In Hebrews, the 7th day is not associated with “long periods of rest.” The 7th day is associated with God ENTERING his rest.

    Besides, this is still not very good exegesis. The point of the passage is God’s rest from his creative work. It happens to mention the 7th day because it is quoting earlier scripture, but again, it is quoting it for the purpose of drawing attention to the rest from work.

    In contrast, the Exodus passage is actually talking about their sundown to sundown day. It says they shall work 6 literal days and rest on the 7th literal day. Then it says because God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th day.

    This is very simple. Again, what are the original hearers going to think? Literal days. But, in Hebrews, there is no such close analogy. It isn’t talking about man’s literal day comparing it to God’s literal or day-age day. It isn’t concerned with making an analogy of the day. It is concerned with entering God’s rest.

    Hope I’m clear. All that said basically to say I think you’re stretching here. I’m fine with saying that the Exodus scripture the way I am interpreting it here isn’t proof that the creation days were literal. That doesn’t bother me. But let’s not unnaturally use a verse just to squeeze in our view of the creation week.

    Kazoo

  29. In Hebrews, the 7th day is not associated with “long periods of rest.” The 7th day is associated with God ENTERING his rest.

    So as Christians, we are exhorted to enter into the entrance into God’s rest? Not at all — Hebrews is talking about what God’s sabbath rest really means. Not working is just an antitype. The archetype is the eternal state of glorifying and enjoying God.

    It says they shall work 6 literal days and rest on the 7th literal day. Then it says because God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th day.

    That’s a nice thought, but God didn’t rest on the 7th literal day. His 7th analogical day has lasted for millenia, so far.

  30. I’ll try it again, since I’m the only one that really is wrestling with your arguments here. Last try though.

    Let’s look at Exodus. Chapter 20, verses 8 through 11:

    8 “ Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

    Six days you shall labor — Six days the LORD made…

    the seventh day you don’t work — the seventh day the LORD rested

    We learn elsewhere He is still resting. This DOESN’T automagically translate into it STILL BEING THE SAME DAY. What a leap of logic that is. He rested on the seventh, and kept resting on the eigth, and the ninth, and the tenth, so on and so forth until it has now been millenia. There is nothing forcing the millenia to become one day. That’s silly. Are you really going to try to tell me that we both have equal grounding to come to each conclusion? Are you going to try and tell me that you have stronger grounds for turning “the 7th day” into an analogical day? No way, dude.

    We absolutely know for sure that the left side of the column, man’s days, is speaking of literal 24 hour days. No question about that. The natural reading absolutely is that the right side of the column is also speaking of literal 24 hour days. There is no question about that either.

    Another thing to notice here, sort of a side note. Verse 10 says “the seventh day is THE Sabbath of the LORD. This is a literal 24 hour day, as we all will admit. Yet, it is the LORD’s Sabbath, too. It’s His day. In it, we should do no work.

    I know this is about the creation debate, but you’re a Presbyterian brother. Honor your fathers (the Westminster divines) and come back to the Standards wrt The Lord’s Day. :)

    You say:

    Not working is just an antitype. The archetype is the eternal state of glorifying and enjoying God.

    We finally end up in full in that eternal state (or as Echo puts it, unending state) of glorifying and enjoying God at the consummation. Until then, He has graciously given us the first day as The Christian Sabbath to enjoy and continue to be the antitype.

    Isaiah 58:13-14 (New King James Version)

    13 “ If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
    From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
    And call the Sabbath a delight,
    The holy day of the LORD honorable,
    And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
    Nor finding your own pleasure,
    Nor speaking your own words,

    14 Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
    And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
    And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
    The mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

    Blessings my brother,

    Kazooless

  31. Kazoo,

    It’s commonly acknowledged that the 7th day is actually still going on in some sense. That the day itself is eternal, because it has no morning and evening.

    So then, the argument doesn’t say that because the rest is eternal, therefore the day is eternal and unending. Nope, it says that the DAY is eternal AND the rest is eternal, therefore it’s an analogical week altogether.

    The lack of the morning and evening refrain from the 7th day is significant. Big time.

    E

  32. Warning: the following is speculation of a how-many-angels-can-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin caliber. That means the following, for the rest of this comment, is highly speculative.

    Theory: the evening and morning represent the separated light from darkness, the separated seed of the woman, seed of the serpent, separate but both present. The eschatological rest of God on the 7th day has no morning and evening, because the seed of the serpent (evening) has been cast out.

    John 1:5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    So then the fundamental point of the Sabbath day is to rest in God, away and apart from the world, as a little typological picture of heaven, resting with believers in a little shadowy slice of the eschaton, worshiping God.

    …and there is no night there.

    I thank you for your indulgence.

    E

  33. I think Echo’s right! Echo for President!

    E

  34. Doh! I sign that “E” without thinking sometimes!

  35. :)

  36. This one is full of ROFL’s.

    Doh! I sign that “E” without thinking sometimes!

  37. Mr. Larious, this is Mr. Smith. (“Hi, Mr. Smith”) Mr. Smith, this is Mr. Larious.

    “Hi, Larious!

    I do like your speculation though.

    And Jeff, you need to consider the lack of evening and morning. You’ve got a big problem using a literal Gen 1 interpretation with the Sabbath commandment, because there is no evening and morning for the 7th day, so there’s nothing there that can be literally applied.

    Are you going to try and tell me that you have stronger grounds for turning “the 7th day” into an analogical day? … The natural reading absolutely is that the right side of the column is also speaking of literal 24 hour days.

    If one were to approach Ex 20 alone, yes, that would be the most natural reading. But then you go to Gen 1-2, and you find that there is no evening and morning for the 7th day, and since the focus of the commandment is particularly the 7th day, one might easily infer that God is still in his 7th day of rest, so the tightness of the Ex 20 relationship is not that wooden.

    But the real point is that the natural reading of Heb 3-4 (esp. 4:3-10 is that “a certain day, Today” (gee, doesn’t that phrase, isolated all by itself, sound like he’s making an effort to refer to 24 hours?) is identified with the seventh day of God’s rest, which is shown to be ongoing.

    So I have no problem with a passage of the old testament having a particular, simple (simplistic), “natural” meaning to the original hearers, and that simplistic interpretation being wrong! The New in the Old concealed, the Old in the New revealed.

    Do you think an Israelite wandering through the desert, hearing Moses deliver the creation account for the very first time, would have “naturally” gotten the impression that the earth is round? That the earth revolved around the sun, or the sun around the earth?

    Don’t you think that a “natural” reading of the Mosaic law would give the message to the original hearers that “it is possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin”? Wouldn’t an original reader naturally assume that Levitical priests would be burning olive oil in 71 A.D.?

    And, in all honesty, if I were to time-travel back to the time of Moses, stand next to him explaining that God was speaking figuratively when he said “days”, I believe that nobody would be perturbed. They would go right on understanding the 4th commandment: God established a pattern, and we live it out.

    See, that’s the thing about patterns. They don’t have to be the same size as things that follow the pattern. Blueprints wouldn’t be that useful if they had to be actual-house-size. Reminds me of the funny scene from Zoolander, when Will Ferrell makes the implicit promise that he will build the “Zoolander center for kids who can’t read good”, by whipping the curtain off of a 18-inch high model of the building. Zoolander thinks it’s the real thing, though: “What is this, a school for ants! Do you think I’m stupid? The building is going to have to be three times as big as this!”

  38. Rube,

    You say:

    And Jeff, you need to consider the lack of evening and morning.

    And I reply only if I want to reason fallaciously

    Have you heard of the “Analogy of Faith?” (Of course you have, but asking it makes it more fun). Well, we interpret less clear scripture by more clear scripture. Hence Exodus 20. If we didn’t have that verse then we might have more questions about Genesis. But thank God for giving us more clear explanations.

    As to your reference to the round world and rotating around the sun, I’ll just point out that Forrester addressed this by explaining this is history, not science. Days fit into the history paradigm. How and what are more scientific.

    Lastly, there is no reason to READ INTO Hebrews an explanation of the 7th day as more than 24 hours. You just WANT TO because it makes you feel better about your compliance with the OEC take on things. There is still no justifiable reasons to doubt a literal 24 hour period. No proof, at least not yet.

    Cheers,

    Kazoo

    (Edited by Kazoo to fix above link. Sorry)

  39. I think the argument in your original post stretches things, RubeRad, subsequent discussion notwithstanding. Will drink some Mountain Dew tonight so I can post my thoughts.

  40. Lastly, there is no reason to READ INTO Hebrews an explanation of the 7th day as more than 24 hours. You just WANT TO because it makes you feel better about your compliance with the OEC take on things. There is still no justifiable reasons to doubt a literal 24 hour period. No proof, at least not yet.

    Nothing like imputing motives to someone…. Sounds like ‘neener, neener, neener’ to me.

  41. There’s NOTHING wrong with saying, hmmm, science tells us the earth is very old. Maybe we should go back to the text and examine it again to see if it supports that after all. Oh look, the TEXT does support that! Ha, I learned something.

    After all, I’m learning the original languages in order to help me interpret Scripture.

    E

  42. PS General revelation and special revelation cannot disagree.

  43. Impute motives, sure. Guilty as charged. I wouldn’t do that with you (Steve) since I don’t know you. But I know Rube and think he can take the friendly jab.

    Neeners, no, not unless you’re willing to concede that my arguments are the superior here, I guess.

    I would say “Let God be true and every man a liar” tells us that Echo’s statement should read: “There’s NOTHING wrong with saying, hmmm, science seems totells us…”

    Look, Rube asked in an earlier post if I would be willing to concede my view if enough “evidence” were to come to light. My sincere answer is “yes.” I don’t have all the answers or all the knowledge about this subject. But there isn’t undeniable evidence of this OEC at this time. My ‘feeling’ is that there never will be, but I’m willing to say that I could be wrong. Until that undeniable evidence appears, I am going to stick to the view that is just as undeniable and yet appears to put faith in the natural reading of God’s Word first. And yes, there is a hint of judgement in my feelings on this. If there weren’t, then I’d probably not have an opinion.

    I’m content to wait until there is undeniable evidence before I start having to wrestle with the scripture to make it fit. There are plenty more issues in scripture that do need wrestling with that I think are more important than the age of creation issues.

    In Christ,

    Kazoo

  44. Amen and amen. As Echo reminds us, “General revelation [i.e., the Creation around us] and special revelation [Scripture] cannot disagree.” With that in mind, I would have to say that any appearance of a disconnect between the Word and scientific observation is a result of our own fallible interpretation, either of the Word or of the physical evidence.

  45. General revelation and special revelation cannot disagree.

    any appearance of a disconnect between the Word and scientific observation is a result of our own fallible interpretation, either of the Word or of the physical evidence.

    Agreed and agreed.

  46. And with that, Steve, I’ll add my own “Amen” as well.

    :)

  47. I haven’t said anything here yet, though I’ve recently commented on other related Blogorrhea posts and I’ve been following this one with interest. I don’t want to sound like a “me too,” but I have to voice my unequivocal support behind Steve’s recent statement… something about which all YECs and OECs should be able to agree.

    My household’s particular stance (supported in part by my wife’s training and work as an environmental scientist) is that developments in scientific exploration of general revelation necessitate a review of the historical interpretation of the Word. But there’s no way to know for sure; it’s just very strongly (and, to us, convincingly) inferred. That doesn’t mean that I reject the possibility of YEC, only that I have an opinion that I’ll seek to defend when necessary… I feel Rube’s been doing a good job thus far, which is why I’ve contributed little on my own.

    In any case, I just wanted to uphold Steve’s conclusion as certainly correct and definitely shareable by all. That was a very incisive and astute way to put it.

  48. Look, Rube asked in an earlier post if I would be willing to concede my view if enough “evidence” were to come to light. My sincere answer is “yes.” I don’t have all the answers or all the knowledge about this subject. But there isn’t undeniable evidence of this OEC at this time.

    OK, so the precise point of the earlier post is that this (honest, and I thank you without gloating) shifts the whole debate from “144 hours vs. 13.7billion years” to “Is OEC evidence undeniable yet?”, to which Jeff et al say No, and I et al say Yes.

    Fresh Thoughts coming from me hopefully by tomorrow…

  49. And Amen to the love-fest. I agree with everything nice said by everyone.

  50. Well, with regard to evidence, and again, I only say this because of my view of the TEXT – evidence seems to (seems to Kazoo) suggest that the creation is very, very old.

    I don’t understand geological evidence. But one thing I do understand is that there are stars 14 billion light years away that we can see. Seeing them is seeing 14 billion years into the past. This is crystal clear and compelling to me.

    Sure, scientists may be wrong on their calculations. But how wrong could they be? It seems pretty simple. Light travels at a certain speed, this star is at a certain distance, voila.

    Maybe some new piece of information will come around at some point that proves this is drastically wrong. And maybe all the geological evidence is misinterpreted.

    But it seems to me that everything in our universe points to it being very big, and very, very old. I like to watch astronomy programs on TV. I find it dumbfounding, astonishing, amazing. To me, it is a greater God who created this vast universe, and I praise God for it.

    But anyway, my view of the text allows me to think that way.

    E

  51. Since we haven’t seen Rube reply to my comment about reasoning fallaciously, I will have to conclude that he sees that I am right. ;)

    Kazoo

  52. On another note, I take a minor objection to calling the 6-24 view the traditional view or the historical view. That implies that this is the oldest view of the text.

    Meanwhile, Rube has sought to demonstrate that the author to the Hebrews has an analogical view of the text.

    Also, we need to look at how Jews have interpreted the text long, long ago. Can we do so? I don’t really know, but I have heard that ancient Jewish interpreters had varying views of the text, but that many of them held to a framework type view, which is part of why Kline saw it that way.

    Besides which, the medeival church, who we have on record as probably mostly believing in the 6-24 view, doesn’t exactly have a very good track record of being exegetically correct. They had justification wrong for a millennium and a half.

    So the question must be, first and foremost, one of how to interpret Gen 1. Second, how did the apostles interpret it? They are in fact silent on it, with the possible exception of Hebrews as Rube has been trying to point out.

    But we have two problems. Hebrews 3-4 is a difficult passage, and Gen 1 is a difficult passage. No one should be overly dogmatic about how to interpret those passages who are not experts in the original language. I’m not in that group.

    But I would suggest that Job 38-39 also has something to say about how to interpret Gen 1. There, God seems to indicate to Job that he (Job) doesn’t know how God created, because he wasn’t there. This suggests that the details of creation are not in the Gen account, and to be sure, it’s a very abbreviated, undetailed, big picture narrative.

    The analogical view brings with it a profound humility before God, because it teaches us that we just don’t know, because we weren’t there. The passage is glorious and points us to acknowledge the greatness of God.

    Many 6-24 folks think this isn’t true, and some analogical folks get upset about that. But understandably so. We aren’t liberals, we aren’t evolutionists trying to downplay the sovereignty or greatness of God. So, I just thought I’d throw that little apologetic out there.

    E

  53. Echo,

    Just a reminder about this thread: https://ruberad.wordpress.com/2007/08/14/white-hole-cosmology/

    Rube doesn’t buy it, and I don’t have time to read what you wrote back then, but it IS at least a possible theory that can explain a young universe. Someone still has my book so I can’t go back to it right now.

    Kazoo

  54. Since we haven’t seen Rube reply to my comment about reasoning fallaciously, I will have to conclude that he sees that I am right. ;)

    You’re the one that is linking a literal evening and morning human Sabbath to a missing evening-and-morning creational Sabbath. And that’s beyond arguing from silence; that’s what is known in the arguin’ biz as “bare naked assertion”. Or perhaps guilt by association (since the 6th day has evening and morning, and the 7th day is right next to it…)

  55. Someone still has my book

    Not me; perhaps “ME” (the elder)? Or perhaps Jack? Do you know who has it?

  56. God seems to indicate to Job that he (Job) doesn’t know how God created, because he wasn’t there. This suggests that the details of creation are not in the Gen account

    Didn’t Job live well before Moses, so he would not have had access to the Genesis account? Is there any understanding of whether Moses was inspiredly documenting an existing oral tradition, or whether he received fresh revelation (like a vision in Revelations)? It seems the family tree at least from Abraham on, if not from Noah or even Adam, would have been the former.

  57. Looks like I’m appearing right as things are winding down. Oh well. If anyone still has the patience for it, here goes. I’ve read the thread thus far but see so many points of entry it’s difficult to select one. So I’m returning to the original post and building (or tearing apart!) from there.

    Original Argument: in Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses delivered a rationale for the fourth commandment that referenced an event included in his earlier writings as literal history. In Exodus chapter 20, Moses delivered a different rationale for the fourth commandment. The exceedingly tight equation of words between these two versions indicates that Moses considered them to be, for all intents and purposes, identical, the second a recitation of the first. The only difference is the fourth commandment rationale, which in Exodus 20 referenced a different event included in Moses’ earlier writings. Because Moses provided a literal (not allegorical) historical reference in Deuteronomy 5, and because the two versions of the ten commandments are so equal as to be considered identical, we can conclude that Moses provided a literal (not allegorical) historical reference in Exodus 20.

    (Put another way: with sabbath stakes as high as the death penalty, it’s nice to know that God really worked for six days, and didn’t just say He did.)

    You provided two counterarguments. Hoping I understand them correctly, I’ll summarize each before responding.

    Counter 1: Other sabbaths patterned after the creation week spell out timeframes other than seven literal days, so the fourth commandment sabbath is not necessarily patterned after seven literal days.

    Response 1: Other sabbaths were decreed after the original sabbath given in the very heart of the law, the ten commandments (Exodus chapter 20). We understand them as an elaboration on the ten commandments. In fact the entire law of Moses is derived from the ten commandments, rather than from the creation week. A fine, color-coded and Calvin-approved summation of the law of Moses’ derivation from the ten commandments can be found here: https://ruberad.wordpress.com/calvinlaw

    So the question of how these sabbaths reflect on the creation week is muted, because the fourth commandment stands between them. Whether the original sabbath is based on a literal seven-day creation week remains open to question; perhaps it is, perhaps it isn’t (a matter that remains subject to the Original Argument above). But additional sabbaths unpack the principles of the heart of the law of Moses in much the same way Jesus did in the sermon on the mount (Matthew chapters 5-6), showing that we’re not intended to take the ten commandments at their literal minimum, but rather as a holistic way of life. While the larger cycles of work and rest show what God intended for mankind’s pattern of activity, they do not necessarily throw into ambiguity God’s original modeling of that pattern in the creation week.

    Besides (and this is a tongue-in-cheek segue), the longest sabbath time period is fifty years — which doesn’t buy nearly enough ambiguity to allow for an old earth. Why ditch a seven-day creation cycle in favor of a seventy-times-seven-year creation cycle? Hardly worth it if the goal is to reconcile with naturalistic observations. Which brings us to your second argument …

    Counter 2: Because Hebrews chapter 4 refers to a seventh day rest that is longer than 24 hours (and indefinite in length), the other six days of creation must also be longer than 24 hours (and indefinite in length).

    Response 2: This argument attempts to force the text to say something that’s not there.

    In this passage the writer to the Hebrews employed a beautiful metaphor based on one of the most universal Inherit the Wind-type questions that has occurred to nearly everyone who’s ever read Genesis: “So what did God do on day 8?” We all know how calendars work — you count seven columns across, then drop down a row and count again. We all resume work after our sabbath; did God?

    Evidently not — He finished creation in the first six days, and it was good. Since then we haven’t seen additional creative works coming from on high. Ergo God must still be resting; ergo the seventh day must still be on. Creation, once completed, needed no further work. The dynamic here is finished action, then ongoing rest. We see this emphasis in verse 3:

    Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, “So I declared an oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.'” And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.

    Why the “and yet”? Because the Psalm 95 quote indicates that in the past, entering God’s rest had been a possibility — a possibility still open because God’s work of creation, once finished, remained finished. It’s an inverse affirmation: the writer could as easily have said “And yet God is resting until today and beyond”. God’s completed work enables God’s perpetual rest. They are two different timeframes set against each other.

    Your counterargument draws these timeframes together, lumping an indefinitely long seventh day with a likewise indefinitely long six days. But that’s not how the writer to the Hebrews saw them: it was the finitude of the first timeframe (the completed work of creation) that led to the perpetuity of the other (ongoing rest).

    I’m not overinterpreting. This exact theme — finitude, then perpetuity — runs throughout the entire book of Hebrews. A few highlights:

    Chapter 1 — Past prophets gone; Son sits at right hand forever (verses 1-4). Creation is finite and will end; God is infinite (verses 10-12)
    Chapter 2 — Jesus suffered death; Jesus now glorified (verse 9). Jesus tempted; Jesus helps those being tempted (verse 18)
    Chapter 5 — Jesus “once made perfect”; Jesus the source of “eternal salvation” (verses 8-9)
    Chapter 6 — Impossible for those once enlightened to fall away (perpetual faith) (verses 4-6)
    Chapter 7 — Priests die; Jesus has permanent priesthood (verses 23-25). Priests made many sacrifices; Jesus sacrificed once for all (verse 27-28).
    Chapter 8 — Teachings about God will be obsolete; all will know God (10-11).
    Chapter 9 — Priests offered goats and calves; Jesus spilled his own blood once for all (verses 12, 25-26).
    Chapter 10 — Bulls and goats don’t take away sins; Jesus sacrificed once for all (verses 1-14)

    The phrase I see repeated throughout Hebrews is “once for all.” It’s a theme that celebrates the perpetual above the finite. Sometimes the finite is weak and powerless (former blood sacrifices, death of priests); sometimes the finite is perfect and complete (Jesus made perfect through suffering). Either way, throughout the entire book of Hebrews, what was past has now either given way to or brought about the eternal blessings we enjoy.

    So when I reread Hebrews chapter 4, I don’t see any unity between the seventh day rest and the working days of creation. What is stressed instead is the finitude of God’s completed good work, resulting in the perpetuity of His rest, which He invites us to share.

    To argue, then, that an indefinite day of rest means the other six days were also indefinite misses the point. Could the other six days have been longer than 24 hours? Sure they could have. Does Hebrews chapter 4 prove they were? Not at all. This passage stresses the finite, finished, completed, that’s-all-folks timeframe of God’s work in creation.

    Compared to infinity, of course, six billion years is finite. But then, so is six literal days. (Perhaps, if I may force a mathematical objection, even moreso.) Over all, what Hebrews chapter 4 shows us about the timeframe of creation is that we need to be heading downward in our estimation, not upward. In terms of time, God’s rest dwarfs His work.

    Which brings me back to the original argument above.

    I still think the two versions of the fourth commandment indicate we should read Genesis as literal history. I wouldn’t find the testimony of these two witnesses so compelling if any of the following factors were different:

    – if it weren’t the same author referring to his own writing
    – if the two versions of the ten commandments weren’t equal in all other ways
    – if this were the rationale for some other law, not one of only ten in the very heart of the law
    – if the second rationale pointed to a historical event less documented, harder to understand, or less central to Jewish identity (ie the Nephilim, or even the global flood)
    – if the penalty for breaking the fourth commandment wasn’t as severe as death

    That’s not to say I reject naturalistic observations that suggest longer timeframes. As I’ve admitted elsewhere (RubeRad will attest), I’m not as clear on geological and astronomical issues as I am on the biological. I do approach such conclusions skeptically, however. I ask questions, I probe for assumptions and holes, and I suspect that one day science — even humanistic science! — will show a much younger age for our universe.

    Whew. Mountain Dew’s wearing off, time for bed. Have at it, West Coasters!

  58. Forrester, nice!

    Echo, by historical, I meant Genesis itself is written as a history book, not science book. I didn’t mean it to say that the church has held this view “historically.”

    Rube, I just can’t get the humor written down like you can. I don’t know if anyone noticed, but I was arguing from silence that you changed your mind when I pointed out that you were arguing from silence. :)

    Kazoo

  59. Rube,

    I have heard that some say that Job was written before the Pentateuch. I don’t believe that. Nor do I believe that the Gen narrative is Moses compiling oral tradition. I have seen no evidence that that is so.

    E

  60. Forester,

    You said: “it’s nice to know that God really worked for six days, and didn’t just say He did.”

    Echo: you have set up a false dichotomy between univocal on the one hand, and equivocal on the other. You’re saying that God must have worked for 6 24 hour periods, or the narrative is meaningless and untrue. The third option is analogy.

    Response 1: What you say here seems to lack a distinction between moral law and ceremonial law. Is the celebration of the 7th day Sabbath moral or ceremonial law? (My own opinion is that it’s a little of both.)

    Furthermore, you said: “they do not necessarily throw into ambiguity God’s original modeling of that pattern in the creation week.”

    Echo: agreed. The year of jubilee can point to the weekly Sabbath observance on a grander scale without harming the 6 24 view.

    You said: “Ergo God must still be resting; ergo the seventh day must still be on.”

    Echo: But I’ve a counter:

    John 5:16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

    You said: “God’s completed work enables God’s perpetual rest. They are two different timeframes set against each other.”

    Echo: But what if you say that God’s rest here signifies his ruling over the creation? That he sits enthroned above creation? How could he rule over creation before it was created?

    And my remark that the redemption of Israel out of Egypt was a type of creation remains unanswered. :)

    E

  61. Echo:

    I agree that Job wasn’t written before the Pentateuch, but I do believe that the events it depicts took place before the time of Moses (and probably before Abraham as well).

    Also, while Moses probably heard some (though obviously not all) of the Genesis stories recounted as oral tradition, his act of writing was still inspired by God and not by human storytellers. Where oral tradition breaks down in the generations-long “telephone game,” God’s direct revelation to Moses allows Genesis to be a true and error-free account.

  62. I have heard that some say that Job was written before the Pentateuch.

    That’s not what I meant; my impression was that Job lived before the Pentateuch was written — perhaps before Noah, but certainly before Abraham, and thus before Moses, and thus before there was any written creation account to influence Job 38-39. Unless Moses wrote down an inspired version of a pre-existing oral tradition to create the Genesis account; in that case Job might have had access to the same oral tradition. Or the other possibility is that Moses was shown visions of Creation (as John was shown visions of the New Creation), and wrote down entirely innovative special revelation. That’s my question, although I don’t expect anyone to have any answers.

  63. Good Job, forester; kudos to you and your Mountain Dew for being so clear and direct. I especially like the way you draw out the “finitude, then perpetuity” theme throughout Hebrews.

    And yet I see the whole point turning back my way with a different (correct) answer to the question “What did God do on the 8th day?” We are not yet in the 8th day. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence. There were six days in which God executed his decrees by works of creation, and we are now in the 7th day, when God has rested from his works of creation, and is executing his decrees by works of providence.

    In the 8th day, God will again create — a New Heavens and a New Earth. The “not yet” of our own new creation will become completely “already”, when our corruptible bodies are be raised incorruptible.

    Viewed with this schedule, your paradigm of “finitude, then perpetuity” doesn’t work — or at least not the same way. For instance, “God’s revelation through prophets; then God’s revelation through his son” will yet change.

    In the consummation, we will not need any Word (written or living) to mediate knowledge of God to us — we shall see him face to face.

    Another example: “earthly priests; then a perfect high priest who was sacrificed once for all.” Right now, Christ is our mediator to the Father — his imputed righteousness protects us from judgment for our intrinsic sinfulness. But when we are glorified, we will no longer have the stain of original sin, and we will have direct fellowship with God the trinity, rather than having access to God through Christ.

    To round it out (this is not necessarily a Hebrews example) “slaves to sin; then slaves to righteousness” — we are currently in the better state of being subjects in God’s kingdom, rather than in the Kingdom of darkness. But in the consummation, as joint-heirs with Christ, we will also inherit authority, and will be reigning with him.

    In short, in the consummation, Christ will retire from his three offices of Prophet, Priest, and King over us. Retire = rest.

    So as I see it, there are two cycles, that establish your “finitude, then perpetuity” patterin in a larger scope: finite creation then finite rest; incorruptible re-creation then perpetual rest.

    A final note: I don’t see sixness anywhere in the re-creation to parallel the sixness of the first creation, but on the other hand, it does better illustrate the cyclical nature of the Sabbath commandment, for God did not just work six days and rest forever, but after his seventh day of rest, he will work again; just as we do every week.

  64. Unless Moses wrote down an inspired version of a pre-existing oral tradition to create the Genesis account; in that case Job might have had access to the same oral tradition. Or the other possibility is that Moses was shown visions of Creation (as John was shown visions of the New Creation), and wrote down entirely innovative special revelation. That’s my question, although I don’t expect anyone to have any answers.

    RubeRad,
    Well said. Either view makes sense in the context of the Hebrew culture. They didn’t have a written language until around the start of the second millenium BC. Everything prior was passed through the oral tradition. Both views allow for an inspired writing by Moses (or whoever the author of the Genesis/Job accounts turns out to be).

    Both views allow for a combination of the ‘actual’ and allegorical, just as the book of Revelation shows actual future events (e.g., possibly the two witnesses) and the allegorical (e.g., the multi-headed beast, etc.).

    So why is Genesis held to a different standard? Many/most YECs hold to a literal view of the creation account, while allowing for an allegorical view of Revelation. Because Genesis sounds like real events?

  65. Another note; your use of the NIV pulls quite a different flavor out of Heb 4:3, with period at the end of the quote, and a new sentence beginning with “And yet”. ESV agrees with NASB and KJV by using only a comma, and continuing the same sentence with “although” (although in KJV, the verse is incomprehensible!) Of course, not knowing Greek, I can’t justify one flavor over another.

  66. Because Genesis sounds like real events?

    Your local OEC advocate will be happy to point out many features of Gen 1 that don’t sound like real events, for starters light, evening and morning without a sun.

  67. forester, I just now noticed that I totally jacked up the first sentence of my post by trying to insert your requested update. Hope it looks better now!

  68. Your local OEC advocate will be happy to point out many features of Gen 1 that don’t sound like real events, for starters light, evening and morning without a sun.

    The same could be said about the ten plagues of the exodus — another example of God acting in cycle.

  69. There is a difference between “unreal” and “supernaturally real”. God separating the firmaments, or creating man and animals from dust, a river flowing as blood, frogs hopping everywhere, the virgin birth, the resurrection — all sound like very real, concrete things — albeit with supernatural causes.

  70. That’s my point. I frequently get the YEC argument, “Well, it says ‘morning and evening’ and ‘day’, so that obviously means 6×24. It has to be literal days!”

    Uh huh.

    As a previous poster pointed out, we weren’t there. God could have created it in 6 days or in 6 seconds or 6 billenia (is that a word?). We can make our best guess as to how it transpired, but the most important part of the creation narrative remains Gen 1:1. God did it for us. Everything else is of lesser importance.

  71. Arguing about whether Job is pre-Genesis or post-Genesis is not very fruitful. The point is that there is a more detailed account of creation’s mysteries in Job, and the Gen narrative is obviously very simple and abbreviated.

    I said so many other things worthy of discussing, only for them to be ignored. Disappointed.

  72. Grrr! I just had a whole new post finally ready for publishing, and WP vaporized it on me!

    Disappointed.

  73. Aw gee, that’s too bad. Maybe God was telling you that you’ve unfinished business in this thread. Ahem.

  74. Rube:

    That’s what offline blog editors (or at least drafting posts in a local word processor/text editor) are for!

  75. I know, and I have the ScribeFire plugin for FFox and everything!

  76. Continually we see a pattern here of people looking at Genesis and saying “Boy, this is unclear. Gosh, why did God leave out morning and evening? Maybe it is analogical. Hmmm, that could be the reason!”

    And yet we ignore the rule that less clear passages are to be interpreted by the more clear. Reading Exodus is certainly much more clear about the meaning of ‘day’ wrt the creation account. See my arguments above. I don’t want to repeat them.

    Thanks,

    Kazoo

  77. Responding to this response from RubeRad:

    I accept your correction; I never was big on eschatology. (You made me laugh — first you wrote “I especially like the way you draw out the ‘finitude, then perpetuity’ theme throughout Hebrews,” then you pointed out its error!) You provided a great reminder of the glories of the kingdom still to come — an inspiring read.

    Still, I’d like to explore the degree to which this eschatological correction impacts our 6×24 discussion. Even you left some wiggle room:

    Viewed with this schedule, your paradigm of “finitude, then perpetuity” doesn’t work — or at least not the same way.

    The term finitude seems fine; the problem with perpetuity is that it suggests something incorrect about the full timeline. My intent was to address only past and present, as Hebrews chapter 4 does (the writer emphasizes today as an opportunity for decision, since God’s rest has extended that long). Perpetuity captured that, but it also extends indefinitely into the future. Considering the “already / not yet” tension, that’s not entirely problematic: we already have eternal life because we have the Son now, etc. But it leaves out the not yet, as you rightly addressed.

    So I suggest a rewording that may not be as poetic, but is perhaps more helpful: “brevity, then longevity.”

    Brevity conveys a mild (and correct) sense that events from the first timeframe were scripted to end. Even the sacrifice of goats and calves, which stretched over hundreds of years, was brief in the sense that 1) it was never meant to extend forever, and 2) it was dwarfed, both in timeframe and essence, by the perfect sacrifice that replaced it.

    While longevity suggests that events from the second timeframe persist unto today and will most likely persist into the future, it does not insist that they will persist for eternity: perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t.

    These aren’t perfect terms; you’re welcome to suggest better ones. (For a while I played with “completion, then incompletion” before rejecting them). The effort to nail them down is worthwhile because this two-timeframe theme is used throughout Hebrews, with the first timeframe finished, the second continuing. That observation makes me wonder whether your eschatological correction, while helpful in general, really does refute the interpretation I offered.

    And yet I see the whole point turning back my way with a different (correct) answer to the question “What did God do on the 8th day?” We are not yet in the 8th day. God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence. There were six days in which God executed his decrees by works of creation, and we are now in the 7th day, when God has rested from his works of creation, and is executing his decrees by works of providence.

    In the 8th day, God will again create — a New Heavens and a New Earth. The “not yet” of our own new creation will become completely “already”, when our corruptible bodies are be raised incorruptible.

    All very correct, but you stepped into a three-timeframe mode: creation, governance, re-creation. That’s not the focus of Hebrews 3-4. If we consider a timeline of all time, past – present – future, the writer to the Hebrews was focused in this passage on the timeline’s left half: the first timeframe (creation) yielded the second (rest), and the second (rest) persists unto today.

    “Focused” in that last line is an understatement — the action in the left half of the timeline is what provides part of this passage’s urgency and its sense of wonder. Hundreds of years ago our fathers rebelled and lost their opportunity to enter God’s rest, but amazingly, God’s offer still stands. Today is still the point of decision! Long ago God created the world, then rested on the seventh day — and it was wonder enough that His seventh-day sabbath extended until the time of our fathers. But they were rejected. Was all hope lost? No — God’s sabbath continues, and He still invites us to join in His rest!

    Following the line of thought in Hebrews chapter 4:

    We would expect the offer to enter God’s sabbath to be closed because He rested long ago:

    … And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.” (verses 3-4)

    Moreover, we would expect the offer to be closed because He rejected our fathers long ago:

    And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.” (verse 5)

    Amazingly, God’s sabbath persists unto today, as does the offer to enter it:

    It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience. (verse 6)

    The seventh day extended surprisingly long, at least from our forefathers to David, as evidenced by the continuing decision point of Today:

    Therefore God again set a certain day, calling it Today, when a long time later he spoke through David, as was said before: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (verses 7-8)

    The seventh day has extended even from David to us:

    There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (verse 9-10)

    Throughout the passage the writer expresses amazement at the duration of the second timeframe (unexpectedly longer than the first timeframe, extending through our fathers to us) and uses that amazement to convey a sense of urgency about embracing God’s offer. The two-timeframe theme (brevity, then longevity) is right there, tangled up inseparably in this passage’s message.

    So while I’ve accepted your correction as eschatologically useful, I don’t see it at play Hebrews chapter 4. And that brings us back here (with new terms substituted in):

    So when I reread Hebrews chapter 4, I don’t see any unity between the seventh day rest and the working days of creation. What is stressed instead is the brevity of God’s completed good work, resulting in the longevity of His rest, which He invites us to share.

    To argue, then, that an indefinite day of rest means the other six days were also indefinite misses the point. Could the other six days have been longer than 24 hours? Sure they could have. Does Hebrews chapter 4 prove they were? Not at all. This passage stresses the finite, finished, completed, that’s-all-folks timeframe of God’s work in creation.

    Compared to infinity, of course, six billion years is finite. But then, so is six literal days. (Perhaps, if I may force a mathematical objection, even moreso.) Over all, what Hebrews chapter 4 shows us about the timeframe of creation is that we need to be heading downward in our estimation, not upward. In terms of time, God’s rest dwarfs His work.

    Which brings me back to the original argument above.

    You’re right to interpret Scripture with Scripture. The Exodus and Deuteronomy versions of the fourth commandment indicate that Moses regarded Genesis as literal history. You pointed to Hebrews chapter 4 for a fuller understanding, but this passage is at least inconclusive (and possibly supportive of a brief, six-day creation). I’m left wondering whether you pointed somewhere other than my original argument because, in the absence of additional Scriptural evidence to the contrary, you find it compelling.

    Do you find this compelling?

    in Deuteronomy chapter 5, Moses delivered a rationale for the fourth commandment that referenced an event included in his earlier writings as literal history. In Exodus chapter 20, Moses delivered a different rationale for the fourth commandment. The exceedingly tight equation of words between these two versions indicates that Moses considered them to be, for all intents and purposes, identical, the second a recitation of the first. The only difference is the fourth commandment rationale, which in Exodus 20 referenced a different event included in Moses’ earlier writings. Because Moses provided a literal (not allegorical) historical reference in Deuteronomy 5, and because the two versions of the ten commandments are so equal as to be considered identical, we can conclude that Moses provided a literal (not allegorical) historical reference in Exodus 20.

    If not, please refute it!

  78. Echo (and others?), I know you’ve posed questions and challenges that I haven’t yet addressed. I’m slow, so I’m taking this one step at a time. I’ll circle back when I get a chance.

  79. Many, many words, Forester, and all very good, but #2 is asking me to play catch with a frisbee, and you know where my priorities lie! I would just like to say that all of this discussion (yes, all of this eschatological discussion) that has emerged from Hebrews, is what we should be doing also with Genesis. In the face of that true purpose, the question of 144 hours vs. billions of years is paltry.

  80. ! I would just like to say that all of this discussion (yes, all of this eschatological discussion) that has emerged from Hebrews, is what we should be doing also with Genesis.

    :-)

    In other words, I will soon be called upon to reconcile Genesis chapter 1 with Genesis chapter 2. (Gulp!) Fair enough.

    Let’s just try to wrap this one up before the main event.

  81. Scratch that, I misread. You meant the opposite — that we should be elaborating on the salvation message in Scripture, not the physical details of who-when-what.

    Agreed. Those moments in our discussion are definitely more edifying. But in terms of creation I do think we need to wrestle with this issue (in two comments from you beginning here):

    Remember, the primary purpose of the Exodus was not bringing people out of Egypt. I would place that purpose at least third place, behind (1) Typifying the redemption to come through Christ, and (2) displaying God’s glory and power.

    If in fact archaeological science “discovered” that there was no historical Exodus, that would completely compromise the first- and second-tier purposes. If God did not in fact bring people out of Egypt, then he did not in fact foreshadow Christ, nor would God have in fact demonstrated his power.

    Not that you doubt whether God created — not at all. But an oversimplification has serious theological and evangelistic implications. More on that later.

  82. Forester,

    Patiently waiting.

    E

  83. The two-timeframe theme (brevity, then longevity) is right there,

    I’d still call it at least a three-timeframe theme; the urgency of “today” is because it is only a “certain day,” with an expected end. When the rest ends, Day 8 commences a new cycle again.

    Do you find this compelling?

    It seems compelling at first, as long as you think about the sabbath commandment only in terms of its implications for the human workweek. But the creation week is not about 144 hours any more than the resurrection is about 72 hours.

    So the Israelites are to observe the Sabbath because God created in six days and rested one, because God made an eternal sabbath for man (and not man for the sabbath). In Deut, the Israelites are to observe the Sabbath because God gave them rest from slavery in Egypt, because Christ fulfilled the Covenant of works, and at the resurrection, entered his sabbath rest (which we are also enabled to enter).

    So there is the sign of the literal workweek on the one end, and the ultimate thing signified — eternal Sabbath rest — on the other end. Through both paths (Ex/Deut), there is an intermediate sign (creation days, or redemption from Egypt). So there has to be a literal/figurative interface somewhere in both paths from sign to signified. And whether that interface is between commandment and mediate sign, or between mediate sign and ultimate sign, doesn’t seem very important.

  84. I’d still call it at least a three-timeframe theme; the urgency of “today” is because it is only a “certain day,” with an expected end.

    Yes, that’s true — if we had eternity to decide there’d be little motivation to do so. The writer doesn’t threaten the end of decision time, but you’re right that it’s implied. So we can agree the three-timeframe theme is there without disagreeing about the brevity-longevity relationship between the first two timeframes.

    When the rest ends, Day 8 commences a new cycle again.

    Also agreed, making all three timeframes brevity-longevity-perpetuity.

    It seems compelling at first, as long as you think about the sabbath commandment only in terms of its implications for the human workweek. But the creation week is not about 144 hours any more than the resurrection is about 72 hours.

    Agreed in principle, not in totality. I don’t care about 144 hours either; I care about the message of salvation, part of which is entailed in (at least) two theological lessons in Genesis chapters 1-3. Old Earth Creationism may insist that it makes no theological compromises, but I believe it does make one, making salvation appear to the world as unnecessary, if not outright irrelevant. (More on this later when I can provide a full explanation. I don’t mean to be coy — just haven’t fully processed my own thoughts yet.)

    So the Israelites are to observe the Sabbath because God created in six days and rested one, because God made an eternal sabbath for man (and not man for the sabbath). In Deut, the Israelites are to observe the Sabbath because God gave them rest from slavery in Egypt, because Christ fulfilled the Covenant of works, and at the resurrection, entered his sabbath rest (which we are also enabled to enter).

    So there is the sign of the literal workweek on the one end, and the ultimate thing signified — eternal Sabbath rest — on the other end. Through both paths (Ex/Deut), there is an intermediate sign (creation days, or redemption from Egypt). So there has to be a literal/figurative interface somewhere in both paths from sign to signified. And whether that interface is between commandment and mediate sign, or between mediate sign and ultimate sign, doesn’t seem very important.

    I like how you’ve expanded this to three stages as well. I’m just confused by the way they’re organized. The path I see you suggesting:

    A –> B –> Z
    commandment sign –> mediate sign –> ultimate thing signified

    Exodus fourth commandment –> creation days –> eternal sabbath rest
    Deuteronomy fourth commandment –> redemption from Egypt –> eternal sabbath rest

    I’m becoming confused because the middle signs above aren’t really “intermediate”; they came first. We understand both A and B as prefiguring the eternal sabbath rest to come, but according to our earlier discussion beginning here (this is a digest):

    RubeRad: Clark very helpfully points out that the reason the Sabbath commandment is different in the two presentations is to highlight the dual purpose of the Sabbath: it is about Creation, and it is about Re-Creation (redemption). Remember, the primary purpose of the Exodus was not bringing people out of Egypt. I would place that purpose at least third place, behind (1) Typifying the redemption to come through Christ, and (2) displaying God’s glory and power.

    the forester: May I clarify? You are saying that, as a third-tier purpose, the actual bringing people out of Egypt is not all that important to you … that if in fact the archeological sciences discover that God did not in fact bring people out of Egypt, this would not compromise in your mind the accomplishment of His first- and second-tier purposes of foreshadowing Christ and demonstrating His power.

    RubeRad: That’s a pretty silly question. If in fact archaeological science “discovered” that there was no historical Exodus, that would completely compromise the first- and second-tier purposes. If God did not in fact bring people out of Egypt, then he did not in fact foreshadow Christ, nor would God have in fact demonstrated his power.

    Similarly, if the historical resurrection were to be “disproved”, then Paul’s preaching is in vain and our faith is in vain. But that does not invalidate the parallel truth that making Jesus’ body be alive was not the primary purpose of the Resurrection. The primary purpose, again, was Redemption.

    The Sign is always less important than the Thing Signified.

    Rereading this, it doesn’t make sense to position acts like creation or redemption from Egypt between Mosaic Law and ultimate consummation (unless you were somehow prioritizing?). The acts came first, and serve as a less-important-but-still-important factual foundation for the realities to come. Tracing the literal/figurative path, then, is a recitation of my original argument:

    A’ –> B’ –> Z
    first sign –> mediate sign –> ultimate thing signified
    God acts in fact –> God commands us to act in fact –> God consummates

    actual redemption from Egypt –> Deuteronomy fourth commandment –> eternal sabbath rest
    actual creation days –> Exodus fourth commandment –> eternal sabbath rest

    Because the mediate sign in Deuteronomy references the literal historical fact of redemption from Egypt, and because the two versions of the ten commandments are in all other respects identical, we’re led to understand the mediate sign in Exodus as referencing six-day creation as literal historical fact.

    Whether or not you agree with that, we’re about to beat the horse dead. (“Too late for that, forester!”) So I’d like to suggest a distillation that you and I may both agree with in the hope of moving forward. We can always keep this thread going, but right now I’m more interested in the other one. So how about this:

    1. General revelation and special revelation cannot disagree.
    2. Natural observation indicates other than a six-day creation.
    3. A literal reading of Genesis indicates a six-day creation.
    4. Deuteronomy seems to indicate Exodus intended a literal six-day creation.
    5. If natural observation can be trusted to calculate the age of creation, Exodus cannot have intended a literal six-day creation, Deuteronomy notwithstanding.
    6. If natural observation cannot be so trusted, and if no other Scripture indicates otherwise, Exodus did indeed intend a literal six-day creation.

    Everything hinges on the “seems to” in point 4. Anyone can agree that it seems to without committing to it, and I’ve given them one whopper of an out in point 5 (plus a backup out in point 6, allowing for additional Scripture).

    You may think I’m giving away the farm. Perhaps I am — this may be too much concession, and you (or others) may show me ramifications of these words I don’t intend. But for now, hoping to move forward, I’m comfortable with this synthesis. Let me know if you do, too.

    By the way, though I agreed with this statement from Steve earlier …

    any appearance of a disconnect between the Word and scientific observation is a result of our own fallible interpretation, either of the Word or of the physical evidence

    … I will be proposing a third possibility.

  85. Forester, two weeks later I finally read this. I don’t think it all hinges on 4, but rather on 5, and I anticipate that your third possibility is that “natural observation cannot be trusted to calculate the age of creation”, which I think is equivalent to “General revelation and special revelation CAN disagree.”

  86. I’m becoming confused because the middle signs above aren’t really “intermediate”; they came first.

    I’m not speaking chronologically, but logically, in terms of what references (symbolizes, signifies) what. The commandment references/symbolizes/signifies creation/re-creation, which in turn symbolizes Christ.

  87. RubeRad: I don’t think it all hinges on 4, but rather on 5

    No big point here, but for the record, by the “everything” in this line …

    forester: Everything hinges on the “seems to” in point 4. Anyone can agree that it seems to without committing to it

    … I meant my effort to distill our discussion to a handshake so we might move to the other thread. Sorry for not being more clear. Yes, you are absolutely right, the (Herculean) task for me now is laid out in point 5.

    RubeRad: … and I anticipate that your third possibility is that “natural observation cannot be trusted to calculate the age of creation”, which I think is equivalent to “General revelation and special revelation CAN disagree.”

    BUZZ — wrong! You’ll just have to wait for it. :-)

    But this is a fun time to point out Echo’s seeming self-contradiction. He’s the one who first postulated the axiom “General revelation and special revelation cannot disagree” — only to argue later that Genesis 1 describes a flat earth. Say again? Do they disagree after all? Echo would employ Steve’s caveat of interpretation to say no — the seeming disconnect is due to poor hermeneutics.

    Notice, however, that Steve’s caveat is a double-edged sword. Both revelations require interpretation.

  88. I agree with Echo’s postulate + Steve’s caveat. Both general and special revelation are infallible; our interpretation of both is fallible.

    Patiently waiting for your mysterious third option though…

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