Introducing Chad from Middle Ground

St. Cyprian claimed that the seven days of creation represented seven thousand years. And both Justin Martyr and Irenaeus linked “The day of the Lord is a thousand years” in Psalm 90:4 with the idea of Adam dying on the same day that he ate the apple.

There may have been additional Church Fathers with similar views. Those are the first which come to mind. So that’s three Church Fathers who could be described as embracing some sort of thousand-years association with Genesis 1 and 2.

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Take, for example, the “young earth friendly Old earth creationism”. Unless I’m confused, it would have to be a synthesis of both positions, not completely in agreement with either side as they currently stand. So that would seem to fit the Hegelian Dialectic.

By saying that a “middle ground” is better than either current position, wouldn’t that have to logically mean that the author is disagreeing with both sides?

A successful synthesis is often a refinement of both sides, which in time might be come to be accepted by both sides as an improvement on the thesis and antithesis, even if there might have been debate initially. That is how the dialectic works. The synthesis ends up extinguishing the synthesis-thesis.

But I don’t think that what @chad is after here, nor is it the main value. Even if a particular synthesis attempt is not successful, the dialogue about it is intrinsically valuable, and end in itself. Even if we cannot agree with each other, the ability to engage with one another is a relational synthesis that’s most people quickly see is better then the quagmire of opposing sides talking past each other, as so often happens in the creation wars.

That’s chiliasm. Not Day Age.

That view is not mutually exclusive with taking the days as literal periods of time. Again, it’s chiliasm. These guys were YECs, not OECs.

Really?

That seems to be a distinct question from Day Age. Can you produce some references? I am no expert here. Maybe you are right, but I don’t see it.

Yes, that’s exactly what I was saying. That’s the Hegelian Dialectic.

Hopefully he’ll chime in, because using the term “middle ground” seems to imply exactly that.

So is he attempting a synthesis of views, or not? If one of the opposing sides is correct, then no synthesis is needed. So by attempting a synthesis, we must be saying that neither side is sufficient at present.

I certainly agree with this. I don’t think we should talk past each other. However, I don’t see any need for synthesis whatsoever. The way to overcome theological disagreement is not to compromise (as is so often done in politics), but to go back to the source. What does the Bible say?

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Don’t get hung up on the eschatology; the main idea I’m getting at is that these guys believed that all of history would be completed in a total of 7000 years. Each literal day symbolized a 1000 years of history. It’s an appealing idea, even to me, but I have no idea if they were correct. Dr. Carter’s biblical timeline calculations don’t generally validate this concept.

Well, by attempting a synthesis, as I did in the GAE, you are implying that both sides have legitimacy. That means you are saying that both sides are right. So your logic does not follow. Even if one side is correct, doesn’t mean the other side doesn’t have legitimacy or even correctness in some ways.

That may be because you are a very linear thinker, and you seem have a very hard time seeing things from other people’s points of view. Even if you are right, though, there might be legitimacy to other points of view.

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In this case, that is what the GAE will end up being :wink: . There are always hold outs for the thesis or antithesis, and that’s where the debates are loudest, but most people are not so invested to turn their back on a good synthesis.

Yes, you are correct to flag this.

chiliasm is the claim that Christ will reign for a literal 1000 years on earth after his second coming.

The term “millennium” referring to that 1000 year reign is Latin while chiliasm comes from the Greek word CHILLIASMOS (some would prefer the transliteration KHILLIASMOS), which derives from CHILIOI, the Greek word for thousand.

So both chiliasm and millennialism refer to the 1000 year reign of Christ.

No, that’s not the extent of what it means, but only a part of it. It is the belief that each literal day is a symbol of 1000 years of earth history. It is a belief many early Christians held, at the same time as believing that the days God created in were literal days.

The days of Genesis and the Church Fathers discussion appears to be taking a different direction than what Chad was talking about. But I’ll just add that Origen emphasized that the first part of creation week couldn’t involve 24-hour days because there were no celestial bodies for making that unit of time meaningful. And Clement of Alexandria saw Genesis 2:4 (“in the day that God made the heavens and the earth”) as reason to consider the six days of creation as figurative days.

So @Chad was no doubt thinking of the variety of views among the Church Fathers. His statement which set off this discussion can be debated as to how Church Fathers views compared with modern day views on day-age interpretations but his point that they reached their positions “without any knowledge of modern science” is quite valid.

Worth noting, in the early centuries of the Church, chiliasm was basically what we today would call premillennialism. (I grew up in a Dispensationalism tradition, which was complete with colorful easel charts of the seven thousand-year dispensations of God dealing with mankind through history. The Schofield Bible was de rigueur for every card-carrying Dispensationalist.)

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If he means to imply they rejected a literal interpretation of God’s creation in Genesis 1, then it’s not valid in most cases. Their beliefs about 1000 year periods of time prefigured by the days exist on top of a literal reading.

I would prefer to focus on what @chad actually wrote.

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Psalm 90:4: For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.

I read this as an ambiguous mathematical statement suggesting that God is outside the constraints of time, not that there is any definitive equation of God’s time to man’s time. Could mean 12 hours, could mean 24, could mean 8 depending on the night watch shift…and the verse uses the term “like yesterday” not day and “like” is not definitive.

2 Peter 3:8: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Peter reinforces this using the ambiguous term “as” suggesting that it is an open ended analogy, otherwise he would have used “is” or “equals”.

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Yes, but is also very interesting that @PDPrice is not committed to saying days = 24 hour days. That’s seems to raise surprising questions about why he thinks Scripture demands a young earth.

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I can’t imagine where you got that from. I take the days as literal, “24 hour days”, just like the vast majority of those in the early church.

But only in some Genesis contexts and not others.

Where did I get this idea…see here:

That’s pretty close to views I’ve encouraged, like Proclamation Day.

This admission may expose some of the more general problems with polemics. If we come bruising for a fight, we may not be able to see or disclose how we actually can make space for other points of view. All the same, I am glad you note here that this could be true, and perhaps you’d even want it to be true.

Who knows, right? Maybe they were right and the earth actually is older that 6,000 years. Pretty interesting thought to explore. :slight_smile:

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Nope, no confusion here. You can look at some of my quotes and research the issue for yourself.

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