A Young Earth Friendly Old Earth Creationism

@swamidass this appears to be the classic Revelatory Day View. At one point I considered it, but was quickly deterred when confronted with Exodus 31:17, which tells us that the 6 days applies to God’s work (and by analogy our work week), not to Moses telling/revealing God’s work.

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I considered your exegesis (I don’t know what “literal” means) and agreed with some points and disagreed with other points. Historical concordism is a larger issue, not settled by exegesis alone.

I don’t know what you mean by figurative exegesis, and would likely reject the identification. But no, my approach is not driven by scientific concordism.

I’m looking for authorial intent.

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From the article…

However, the simplest way to understand the word “day” in Genesis 1 is a regular 24 hour day. As a traditional YEC, I stood by the fact the author says “and there was evening and there was morning” between each day, in a series of sequential days. I still stand by this fact! Nowhere else in scripture is such a convention used to convey long undefined periods.

The proviso I see, is that poetic and metaphoric use of words and entire concepts, in English, Hebrew, or any other language, is not constrained by dictionary definitions or other usage in the language. The use of a particular image can be unique to a given work. So evening and morning could legitimately be a poetic flourish.

I’ve got to do a Zoom meeting now but sometime soon I hope to describe my approach to Exodus 31:17— that the emphasis is not so much on the YOM/days per se as on the sevens. And that theme of sevens is not just about the sevens of days but the sevens of years (sabbatical years) and sevens of weeks of years (culminating in the Jubilee year.)

Yes it’s possible that day and night are used metaphorically, and we see some instances where they are used as such. But the integration of sequential ordinal days, and mornings and evenings, leaves most poetic attempts wanting. At best, I suppose the entire account could be a metaphorical parable of a man (who happens to be God) creating the universe in 6 days (ie the Analogical day view). I actually held that view for a while until I tried to fit Genesis 1-2 back into the narrative of Genesis 3-50. That’s when it falls apart.

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I’ll be interested to hear it. From my reading of biblical theology, it seems that all patterns of sevens, including sevens of years, come from the seven in Genesis 1 and not the other way around. It’s a work-rest motif. But I’m open.

I will add that I appreciated your emphasis on the phenomenological aspects of Genesis 1. I do allude to that in my article quite a bit. The NET translators make much mention of this as well. Yes, it was clearly written from a story teller’s perspective, as if Moses was watching creation as he was narrating. Hence the darkness was only on the face of the deep (due to cloud cover mentioned in other texts), not in interstellar space.

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Thanks @swamidass this was interesting. My answers a few months ago might have been completely different…

1) The “beginning” of Genesis 1:1 was not a single point in time, but an indefinite period of time - No. This is just another kind of gap theory.

2) Genesis 1:1 is a first act of creation, not a summary of, or part of the seven days - Yes, I’m leaning this way, as is obvious from my posts on this forum, now that I have a picture of the cosmology of Genesis. But I think it could be a both-and. Both the first act of creation and the summary of the first 6 days.

I agree with this.

This supports a distinction between the verse 1 activity and the activities of the six-day account beginning at verse 3. In the words of the 19th Century distinguished theologian, Geerhardus Vos:

“It [Genesis 1:1] is the initial bringing forth of material out of nothing, thus the so-called immediate creating, while in the following verses mediate creation is described.”[8]

3) The universe was created in Genesis 1:1, not during the six days - Yes, but no :joy:
The universe was created, but it wasn’t the universe we know today until the end of the 4th day. The 5th and 6th days concentrate on earth.

I’d agree with this;

In the words of Vos:

“Heaven and earth” is equivalent to the universe, for which Hebrew does not have any word .[10]

Several Biblical lines of evidence support this understanding, from the earliest chapters of Genesis up through the New Testament. In Genesis 14:18-24, Abraham invokes the title “Possessor of heavens and earth ” to describe God’s ownership over all things, from riches, to sandal straps, to the very food the soldiers were eating.

This below I just interpret to be two different categories of angels - one is morning stars, the other rulers (sons of God) but it is thought-provoking.

Job 38 confirms that, prior to the “foundation of the earth,” other parts of creation were already present, such as the sons of God (i.e. angels) and the “morning stars” (i.e. celestial bodies):

4) In Genesis 1:2, the already-formed earth was uninhabited and covered with a localized darkness - No. But I would have said yes before. But that’s because I had to let go of what my current notions of science were - that water is H20 and realize it can just be liquid and transparent. Ironically, it’s because those are the questions in science. So I don’t know if that’s reading science into the text or letting go of reading science into the text.

The old King James phrase, “without form and void,” has carried over into many modern translations. It conveys imagery of a chaotic swirl of disordered matter floating in the universe.

Yes! :grinning:

What about the “deep” in Genesis 1:2? Was it a fluid-like state of all existing matter, as John Gill proposes[13]?

When I read the above, I was so excited! This is awesome. A respected theologian came up with this before me. I actually quickly went through his commentary on the first few verses of Genesis and I agree with a lot of it.

Psalm 104:5-9, a passage that is widely acknowledged as a creation text, describes the “deep” of Genesis 1:2 as a sea of water covering the land as a garment, standing above the hills:

This is actually greatly disputed from what I looked up. I had recently studied Psalm 104 a lot. I believe it’s a mix of creation and flood story - the author sort of seeing them as one, but the emphasis is on the flood story in this section, especially verse 6. I believe it’s probably the most ancient text of the Bible. It has beautiful imagery of Jesus’ transfiguration, of creation after the flood. I think it could be read every day and you’d find something new in it.

Job 38:4 ​​​​​​​Where were you ​​​​​​when I laid the foundation of the earth … who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, 9 when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band. 10 and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, 11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther… (ESV, Emphasis added)

Once God created the “foundations of the earth”, the sea broke forth from its womb and was covered by dark clouds. These clouds likely correspond to the waters “above” which God would separate from the waters “below” on Day Two (Gen 1:7).

Yes on this sentence, but he skips verses here to make his point about his gap theory. Instead I think there’s mystery here as to these clouds and whether they’re the clouds of the heaven of heaven or not. I’ve comtemplated these verses a lot recently too.

5) The days of Genesis 1 are literal 24 hours days - Yes.

6) The earth was “made”, not “created”, by the decrees on the six days. There is a difference

I’d agree with this.

Notice that the actions that God performs between Genesis 1:1 and 2:1 result in the addition of the phrase “and all the host of them” in the bookend statement of 2:1. First God creates the “heavens and earth” (Gen 1:1). Next, He prepares and fills “all the host of them” (Gen 2:1). As expected, the six day narrative zooms into the constituent parts of creation – the observable sky, land, and seas – and ultimately into the garden by Day Six.

What are the “waters above”? Are they a cosmic sea enveloping the world or the universe?

He says no, I say Yes!

7) The Day 4 decree does not entail the initial creation of the celestial bodies, but the phenomenon of lights in the sky for a land-dweller - No, creation of celestial bodies.

8) The seven days focus on God’s decrees, while the fulfillments may have taken a long time - No.

9) “Good” means suitable for God’s purposes - Good means it reflects God’s goodness.

10) There are reasonable explanations for the existence of some pre-fall animal death - No, but Ezekiel will be the next book of the Bible I’m going to read because that reference I’m totally unfamiliar with.

That is a strange objection. So what? How do you know this version of gap theory is wrong?

How do you know?

Because a day is a day.

I’ve already explained my position that Jesus’ resurrection is a victory over physical death.

1 Corinthians 15

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

You have to twist this to make it mean spiritual death. Christ was raised from physical death. He was never spiritually dead. He was without sin.

The obvious context is that when Paul says “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive” it’s connected to the previous sentence using “for” - it’s describing the resurrection of those who physically died through Adam.

Yes, and? The question of gap theory: what happened before day 1? Many other days. How do you know there were not days before day 1 when Scripture does not tell you?

You haven’t read the GAE completely yet, but I actually agree with you and take it as physical death too. That does not rule out gap theory, or @chad’s theory. Now what? :slight_smile:

I suppose I just have to finish the book. Honestly wrapping my mind around your arguments in the book and how you fit some kind of biblical puzzle together that doesn’t actually go together has been harder than learning cosmology. So I’m having to work really hard to make time to finish it and then I forget what argument you were making when I last read it. Almost halfway :see_no_evil: but TBH, I’m so thankful that I just believe all humans are humans since the book makes my head spin. It’s not helping your argument to feel like you must have a Ph.D to read your Bible correctly or that you have to pick between 5 options in the text but actually the right one is the Ph.D version. :slight_smile: I was going to wait again for a review after I finished the book to say that but yeah…I liked the sections on the image of God and antipodeans. I’d appreciate more history of that.

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Well, the way @naclhv puts it:

The technical part just shows it is possible with modern science. The actual reading of Scripture, however, is just a plain literal reading of Genesis.

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@thoughtful, thanks for interacting with my article!

  • No. This is just another kind of gap theory.

This is not a gap theory. A gap theory leaves a “gap” of time between two verses or statements, such as a speculated time of Satan’s judgement and pre-Adamite flooding between the phrase “God created the H&E” and “the Earth was without form and void”. What I’m suggesting leaves no gaps between words or phrases, but rather understands the word re’shiyth itself as encompassing a period of time. As demonstrated, this word invariably suggests a period of time, whether a short time or long time.

This is actually greatly disputed from what I looked up. I had recently studied Psalm 104 a lot. I believe it’s a mix of creation and flood story

Psalm 104 has heavy creation imagery, including “light” (v2, Gen 1:3), the laying the foundations of the “earth” (v5), the covering of the “deep” (v4,cf Gen 1:2), and the gathering of waters (v8, Gen 1:9). If it has a secondary purpose of describing God’s providence after the flood, that would further my case that the “deep” is referring to water covering an already created planet. Other swirling matter, or cosmic ocean theories are based on speculation, not on scripture interpreting scripture.

Yes on this sentence, but he skips verses here to make his point about his gap theory. Instead I think there’s mystery here as to these clouds and whether they’re the clouds of the heaven of heaven or not.

The verses I skipped are simply elaborating, symbolically, on the foundations of the earth, portraying them as a cornerstone. It has nothing to do with proving any kind of gap, but rather saving space in the article. The bottom line is, this section of Job 38 is speaking of the formation of the earth and sea, at a time when thick darkness covered the earth (v9), and it attributes it to a “cloud”. Regardless of the cloud’s composition, this, along with other creation texts, paint the picture of an earth that is already formed, covered by water, and having darkness on its surface due to cloud cover. No cosmic swirls of all universal matter, or cosmic oceans, etc.

What are the “waters above”? Are they a cosmic sea enveloping the world or the universe? He says no, I say Yes

Question: If the supposed cosmic “deep” was split into a terrestrial sea and an outer-edge-of-the-universe sea, with the heaven filling the entire space in between, how is it that birds are said to be flying in that whole space (Gen 1:6)? Birds don’t fly throughout the whole universe.

8) The seven days focus on God’s decrees, while the fulfillments may have taken a long time - No.

If you haven’t read this point in detail, I’m asking you re-read a couple times, absorb it, and give it a fair shot. It’s purely exegetical, and I believe it is the key bridge for a middle ground.

10) There are reasonable explanations for the existence of some pre-fall animal death - No, but Ezekiel will be the next book of the Bible I’m going to read because that reference I’m totally unfamiliar with.

Do you agree that there was a snake inhabited with an evil devil?
Do you agree that this devil was already evil prior to the fall?
Can we not then at least say that spiritual evil had somehow inhabited the physical world to some degree?

Because a day is a day.

Yes, but a day is defined by a pattern of day and night on the now-lit surface of the earth. Until such a pattern was made visible and mankind was place to use such a measure, the concept of “day” was unnecessary for any entities created prior to that. I’m sure you would agree that there were angels at the time of creation, a time before “days” were ordained in Genesis 1. Days are only important for humans, not for pre-Adamic matter, angels, animals, plants, etc.

The obvious context is that when Paul says “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive” it’s connected to the previous sentence using “for” - it’s describing the resurrection of those who physically died through Adam.

I agree with all of this. Nothing in my position downplays the fact that Adam was created by special creation. He was the head of humanity federally. His sin brought physical death as a consequence to his lineage. Christ, as the new representative, brings life and physical resurrection.

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See here for my definition of the expanse.

Notice it vs 20 says the the birds fly across the face of the expanse. This would be the part closest to earth.

When scientists definitely make the discovery of the cosmic sea as I explain in my post they are close to, in your telling that will be an interesting discovery that has nothing to do with what God says in His Word. In a more literal straightforward reading, we get to praise God that it’s described throughout His word! Read my entire post for explanation. Long, but worth thinking about.

I appreciate your zeal about all of this :slight_smile:
I personally have a hard time with equating a 21st+ century fluid-like dark matter with the early Hebrew conception of the “deep” or “waters”. We shouldn’t be expecting ancient pre-scientific readers to get that at all, but we should rather expect modern readers to go back to their context. They knew water, fire, earth, land… They didn’t know quarks, dark matter, black holes. Moses wrote phenomenologically. He wrote what He saw with words He knew could describe those things.

Notice it vs 20 says the the birds fly across the face of the expanse. This would be the part closest to earth.

As for your understanding that the “face” of the firmament is the closest to the earth, I believe the Hebrew word Panym (face) would actually convey the opposite sense. The same word is used to describe the “face [panym] of the deep” in Genesis 1:2, or the surface of the fluid. If that fluid were split into two fluids, one on earth and one zillions of miles away, then each body of fluid would have it’s own surface, one on earth and one zillions of miles away (the raqyia - firmament). So you would have to accept birds flying (or should I say swimming LOL) on the surface of those outer cosmic waters zillions of miles away. It doesn’t work for me. Clouds make way more sense for the outer waters. The ocean makes sense for the surface waters. Both came from the original watery ocean, not cosmic dust. This is clear from the use of the Hebrew word Towm throughout scripture. It’s always means deep water, never dust or particles or other cosmic material (See Job 41:31, Ps 42:7, 69:2, 104:6, 107:24, 135:6, Jonah 2:3, Hab 3:10, Zech 10:11).

Thanks for interacting. Keep being a Berean!

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Thanks for reading my post! Notice I was NOT saying birds are flying on the face of the cosmic sea. I’m saying they’re flying on the surface of the expanse. I explain that I see the expanse as the visible sky - it may have a definitive “line” in science where it holds back the sea - like the edge of our galaxy, but it likely doesn’t. The expanse in Genesis 1 is described as being between the waters below and the waters above.

I’m not suggesting that ancient readers would have any scientific knowledge. Only that they would have knowledge of waters as beams of the upper chambers, as in Psalm 104, and know that beyond the visible sky is a cosmic sea. I just think we’re on the cusp of scientifically understanding that cosmic sea, rather than seeing space as filled with nothing (which I now also understand isn’t scientifically correct anyway but probably still a popular idea) :slight_smile:

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Thanks for clarifying :slight_smile:
I pictured your model being like the proposed Ancient Near Eastern model, with a hard firmament holding back the outer cosmic ocean. I’ve haven’t dealt much with a mixed model that has the Raqyia as the sky, but the waters as an outer ocean. I guess you’ll need scientific discovery to support that one. Blessings.

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