Re: Jude 14 and the age of the world

David Campbell (
Mon, 12 Apr 1999 16:53:04 -0400

>If anyone doubted the four or five thousand year old world in the early
>church, Origen would be a likely candidate. However, I have not seen any
>evidence that he did not accept that dating. Augustine questioned the
>literality of the seven days in Gen 1; but, he still rejected the idea that
>the earth was very old. He said, "They ...being deceived by a kind of false
>writing, that say: 'The world has continued many thousand years,' whereas the
>holy scripture gives us not yet six thousand years since man was made."

If I remeber the title correctly (I will look up details tonight), Reading
Scripture with the Ancient Church Fathers cites someone citing Origen on
this point.

>David: Also, there was at least recognition that Matthew omitted
> some names in his genealogy to fit the 14 person per unit pattern.
> Similar discrepancies occur in a number of passages, including the addition
> in Luke 3 of a "grandson" of Shem omitted in Gen. 10 and 11. I do not know
> one way or the other regarding early comments on such passages as these,
> but it seems likely that expositors would have at least recognized that
> perhaps a few folks were skipped in the Genesis genealogies.>>
>With Jude 14 in mind, I was thinking primarily of the genealogy in Gen 5.
>You may be right that Gen 10 and other OT genealogies may have been seen as
>more open than Gen 5 was. But, the hard concentration on the ages of those
>named in Gen 5 and the three generations which are clearly direct father-son
>made the genealogy almost irresistably incapable of being seen as incomplete.
> I doubt that even so different a thinker as Origen did not take it as
>complete. But, I am open to correction if anyone can give evidence that he
>or any other early church figure did not.

I do not have anything on hand regarding early church figures. However, I
do have some evidence regarding pre-1700's views. Sidney, 1866,
Conversations on the Bible and Science, cites a book published in London in
1656 titled A discourse upon the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth verses
of the fifth chapter of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, by which are
prov'd that the first men were created before Adam. He does not give an
author for this book. This at least implies that seven days plus the times
given in genealogies does not sum up to the date of creation, but that an
unknown additional amount of time is needed.

David C.