A Telling in Six Ordinary Days

Garrett’s book is Rethinking Genesis; I don’t have anything else off hand (but this is familiar in my field and probably easy to Google…try “revelation day view”).

If you mean, “I’m trying to give an ‘out’ or way for people of a certain commitment to put 2 and 2 together,” then I get it. Otherwise, help me out.

I mentioned Wiseman and Garrett, and added Ramm.

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I am no defender of this, so do not misinterpret my explication. I think the claim is that scribes would often update copies with modern dialect and the modern names of places. Also, the original tablets would not have been in hebrew. They would have been translated to hebrew.


I understand you’re not advocating this. The evidence of scribes doing this is later than would fit the earliest of proto-history (of course, we don’t really have evidence of any practice that early).

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I’m asking a different question.

I’m not saying the passage is teaching day-age or that God was intending to communicate this. Rather, I am saying the author was intending to communicate his perception of a telling, that he knew it was a telling, and expected his audience to know it was a telling too.

If that is the case, we can ask (theologically not hermeneutically) why God might have done a telling this way? If we think there is validity to the scientific account, we can see some obvious reasons why God would have told the story this way. There is no way, for example, he could have given a vision of an inflationary membrane and the big bang in some way understandable by ordinary perception. He didn’t try. Instead he symbolically told the story (no scientific content), in a telling that was literally reported to us.

A six ordinary telling is also a really long telling, but also within the range of ordinary perception. He couldn’t tell the story in years or ages without losing the observer’s attention. So it makes sense, even, that these are six-ordinary days. This comes to suggest (though not quite teach) that this was a really long period of time over which God created everything, because a six day telling is a very long telling.

That is not concordism (in a negative sense), right? It is just showing there is some theological coherence to this reading.

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It’s an option…assuming that Gen 1 is teaching something (scientific?, historical?). This works especially for those who think Gen 1 is teaching creatio ex nihilo. It’s also assuming the details of Gen 1 were revealed to the human author (within the rhetoric you’re supposing), rather than Gen 1 being a creative theological reflection apart from direct revelation. I’m fine with either.

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I’d say Genesis is teaching us of our origins…How we got here, which instructs us in who we are and who is God. Origins can be described from multiple points of view (including scientific and historical). I’d say Genesis 1 was given to be understood through the ages, both in the original context and into our time. There is a timeless quality to it, which is why I resist mapping it too closely to scientific claims (which are bound to our moment).

You are right. It does seem to take that view. Though I am not sure exactly what the theological reflection could be upon if not an account of origins.

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I don’t think I’m disagreeing with this. In fact, I mentioned that it is a telling NOT from an eyewitness to the events. I can theoretically or, perhaps, philosophically make the double referent argument you suggested. However, as I’m reading some of the early Lutheran theologians, they seem to be saying something more akin to @deuteroKJ – why?

Now –

– perhaps as a way to rhetorically get a conversation going and dislodge preconceptions about old earth, day age theories, or whatever in my particular scenario it may be helpful. It may be really helpful if I can start to grasp what “my” early theologians meant by discussing the days of genesis mainly in a homiletic context – which, I think relates to this,

the theology that follows will always be debatable and under-determined by the text.

I’ll run it by a theologian or two tomorrow to see what they say!

This seems exactly right to me.

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I hope you can unpack that for me too.

One aspect i don’t get in this discussion is why people don’t read the first chapter in a more christocentric way.
We have a parallel of Genesis 1:1-2 in John 1:1-3… I teaches us that all things were created through Jesus Christ. So when a christian reads that God commanded there to be light… and there was light. He must understand that the Father’s will was done through the logos (Jesus). And the light is a product of Christs wisdom. This implies a process.The most important spiritual truth of new testament Christianity is not explicit in Genesis 1 and we must read it in between the lines perse.

So why treat it as a detailed comprehensive explanation of the act of creation? Its not even explicit on the most important truth of Creation… That Jesus is the one through whom all things are made.
If we understand this, then a lot of the presumptions in a literal interpretation will have to be abandoned. And we will have to understand that Genesis is a very condesned version of the entire process and only reading Genesis will not give us an accurate picture of creation in the area that matters most.


@swamidass and the others:

This updating would be the only explanation for placing the Philistines in conversations with Abraham… since the Philistines hadn’t replaced the Canaanites on the coast until MORE RECENTLY than 1200 BCE.

This means the time of the replacement of terms/names is ALSO more recent than 1200 BCE.

While there are few takers of such a timeline… It would be internally consistent with the identity of Moses … since the Exodus of Moses would ALSO have been more recent than 1200 BCE… which is what Exodus tells us (the Exodus avoided the Way of the Philistines because of their aggressive nature).

[To @anon46279830, Thoughts? ]

Because of Egyptian hegemony over all of Canaan between the Hyksos and the Philistines, Exodus HAS to have occurred just before the Sea People period or just after (see Harris Papyrus for a surprising level of corroboration!).

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Yes, absolutely agree. I should have included this in my first post as a part of one of six thoughts. I believe it may be part of the early Lutheran’s homiletic approach to the days as Lutheran peaching always drives to Christ and his atoneing work for us

And here is where I get a little nervous. What does it mean to read between the lines and how do you know that you’ve got the correct interpretation of between the lines? I take @swamidass to be doing just this and he is Christ centered!

I am more comfortable reading Genesis 1 in light of Christ and holding modern science and what Genesis 1 ‘literally’ says in tension, perhaps paradox. Christ gives me the freedom to explore options with Genesis 1, but I can’t get too excited about any of the options as a perfect match between science and Genesis.

Yes, couldn’t agree more with the last half of this statement, and would agree with first half except I think one can still presume literalism with what you are saying. Stateside, I think what you are pointing out is Christ does not require a biblicism with Genesis or, put another way, a fundamentalist literalism.

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This is a genuine risk. Especially when lay people do this.One thing denominations can do is state key points such as God being creator, Creation being the work of the Triune God, the historicity of Adam etc as key dogma… and give freedom to the laity to follow their conscience in how the interpret the details…
Even when we read Luther’s commentary on Genesis. He starts off by highlighting the difficulty of interpreting the details of the text.
Assemblies of God has such an approach…

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I’m with you on this and I think it is the historic Lutheran position even after Luther. However, something happened in the American context where this approach is generally frowned upon, at least in terms of creation, for laity and professional church workers alike!


That’s a pity… wasn’t the maxim
Unity in essentials, in non essentials liberty, in all things charity?..
Anyway, these discussions are hard to resolve.

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Perhaps we should have a thread on this where I take the position it should be more than a hypothesis and you that it is a hypothesis at best.

Say you used your knowledge of NT Greek to translate a parchment into English. 3,000 years later someone comes along and notices your document describes events which occurred before the origin of the English language. They therefore conclude that your account must have been originally invented by you, not an account from an earlier time period. I am sure how you can see that this would be unfair. Now in our present times we have practices which mitigate against this- for example you might have footnotes or a forward where you explain you were translating from an earlier document in a language which DID exist at the time you describe. But such practices were not in place “back in the day”.

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@gbrooks9 I accept the date of the Exodus as explained by Dr. Bryant G. Wood. 1406-1446 B.C. It has the most textual support once the “City of Ramses” is explained. The scribes had a habit of updating place names, much like we would if there was a document that said “Persia”. We would change it to “Iran” because that is what it is called now. This could explain the reference to the “land of the Philistines” as well. The Philistines themselves may not have been well-established 200 years earlier in that location, but someone was.


I don’t hold to dual intent. I hold to inspiration which teaches there are two authors with the same intent. However, the divine author knows more than the human author. My view of Genesis 1 is that both authors intend to provide an historical narrative of creation. The difference is that God knows that someday we will discover through science the truth of Genesis 1 while I don’t think the human author has any idea that will happen.

Should have written dual author.

If I am understanding you correctly, you are suggesting that God told the story to Moses while on Mt. Sinai over a six day period. In other words, six of their 40 days together were spent telling Moses the creation story.

I actually think this may have some merit.

I don’t think the idea God performed the events over six 24 hour days has any merit. Even if you had six 24 hour days separated by millions of years, I don’t think that would work.

But a six day telling might work. It’s interesting to think about.

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Correct, I misspoke, sorry! The point is that @swamidass was picking up a little ambiguity in your thought earlier and I sensed that a similar ambiguity might be leveled against Josh’s notion of a six day telling.