Order of Creation

Fred Phelps (Fred.Phelps@f7012.n2001.z12.telcom.lfa.com)
10 Jun 96 19:10:00 -0700

Hello everyone,

Last year I began again to seriously (by my very lax standards) study
various interpretations of early Genesis. I began thinking of the
implications of the well known structure of days of "forming" and
"filling" as explained, among other places, in Blocher's 1984(?) IVP
book, "In the Beginning". As a reminder:

Creation of Domains Filling of Domains

Day 1: Division of Light and Darkenss Day 4: Sun, Moon and stars
Day 2: Waters above (sky) and below (sea) Day 5: Birds and Fishes
Day 3: dry land and plants Day 6: animals and man

Hope I got it right without even looking at the text! Still hard to
move with a broken leg.

The first question is "Is this real and intended by the author or is it
just something some clever interpreter thought up?" To me, there is no
question that the pattern is not coincidental. Nit pickers (pesky
Bible scholars?) may complain that "plants" are not a "domain", but I
think, from an animal's perspective, they are. Think of forests. The
thing that really persuaded me was the way that fish and birds (or
"flying things") neatly appear in day five to fill the domains
separated in day 2.

Implications include: The puzzle of the sun's creation on day four
despite light on day one is immediately resolved. The sun is the body
which rules the domain of light (the day).

The existence of this pattern seems fatal to day - age interpretations
such as Dick's (although I respect your efforts greatly Dick and have
learned lots from your work). The order of creation presented is
topical and we need not seek to match the listed order with the order
of the fossil record. If we understand that, topically, whales belong
on day five, "before" land mammals on day 6, there is no sence in
hoping that the topical order and temporal will match. That they match
enough for someone like Dick or Hugh Ross to attempt harmonization is
an artifact of the obvious fact that man is last both temporally and
topically and that generally the creation and evolution have gone from
simpler to more complex.

It seems to me that the same argument eliminates the YECS literal
interpetation as well (see day 1 and day 4), although not quite as
dramatically as it destroys day-age.

The main problem with the topical interpretation seems to be that
temporal order is suggested by the days being numbered one through six.
I believe any valid interpretation of Gen 1 needs to explain both the
days and the above topical pattern. And, for this believing
semi-scientist, it needs to be compatible with an old earth. Both
Blocher's and Glenn's views
seem to pass this test
although I wish Blocher or someone would go into more detail when they
argue that the days are a "literary devise".

By the way, I would like to continue the origins discussion, but at a
less intense level. These e-mails cost alot to receive overseas on my
budget. Is there any way to encourage a resaonable number of messages
per day? One suggestion I have is for people like the now departed
(perhaps) Glenn and Dick not to chase every thread of discussion, but
to concentrate on the major points which really matter. And perhaps we
should have a suggested limit of postings per person per day? And

Fred Phelps