Re: Days of Proclamation view--the neglected view

George Murphy (
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 08:43:00 -0400 wrote:
> At 10:34 PM 08/15/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
> > wrote:
> >> ONce again, your conclusion must rely upon the assumption that the Days of
> >> Proclamation view has been ruled out. If you make Genesis 1 as a set or
> >> proclamations made prior to the creation of the universe (with reports by
> >> the editor about what then happened) then the order of the proclamations
> >> doesn't need to match the order of fulfillment. Proclamation order and
> >> fulfillment order are independent. Thus the lack of correspondence of the
> >> proclamation order with the temporal order of fulfillment can not then
> >> constitute evidence that Genesis is non-historical. Once again, as with
> >> the conflicts between Genesis 1 and 2, the Days of Proclamation theory
> >> avoids that kind of problem. (see Dallas Cain's IBRI report which is in
> >> storage and I can't find the reference).
> >
> > This seems to me a very artificial interpretation & I can see no reason
> >to adopt it. What in the text itself tells us to make this distinction
> >between orders of proclamation & fulfillment?
> First of all, I am amazed that after all these years you have never taken
> the time to see what presuppositions I was using and what my beliefs were.

& I'm equally amazed that you didn't state them before when the question
of relationships between Gen.1 & 2 came up in our discussions.

> I finally found the reference for Cain's excellent book: Dallas Cain
> Creation and Capron's Explanatory Interpretation: A Literature Search,
> Research Report 27, (Hatfield: Interdisciplinary Biblical Research
> Institute, 1985),
> St. Basil in 400 AD held this type of view for day 1. He said that it was
> connected to eternity past and events on that day were not 'fulfilled'
> immediately.

Does this refers to Basil's Hexaemeron? There, in connection with Day 1, Basil
says (p.63 in the Nicene & Post-Nicene Father edition), "The first word of God created
the nature of light; it made darkness visible, dispelled gloom, illuminated the world,
and gave to all beings at the same time a sweet and gracious aspect. ... In an instant
it lighted up the whole extent of the world ...". This doesn't explicitly say that
fulfillment immediately followed command, but neither do I see any language suggesting a
The connection with eternity which Basil mentions (p.64) is the idea that the
"week of one day revolving seven times upon itself" has the character of eternity - kind
of like Plato's idea of time as "the moving image of eternity." I see no idea here of
a delay between command and fulfillment.
Basil does (like several of the fathers) see God's commands following 1:1 as
calling forth powers which he had given to matter when he first created it. AND he sees
the commands for the earth to bring forth vegetation &c as effective not only on that
particular day but for succeeding time, so in that sense the fulfillment of the creative
commands is still going on.

Whiston, a contemporary and friend of Isaac Newton, then
> extended the view by noting that there could be a long period of time
> between the command and the fulfillment of the command.

Even if one grants this there is nothing to suggest any break in the sequence
command-fulfillment-command-fulfillment .... . I.e., God's command "Let there be light"
is fulfilled with light before God commands a firmament. Thus making a long period of
time between command & fulfillment is simply a variation of the day-age interpretation &
doesn't change the ordering of events.

Then Frederick
> Capron in 1902 published 'The Conflict of Truth' in which he argued for the
> fulfledged Days of proclamation theory (although it was only a small part
> of the book). The following is from a recent re-write of Foundation, Fall
> and Flood, which a publisher, who approached me, is looking at right now:
> *****************Excerpt of Foundation, Fall and Flood**********
> Capron writes:
> "When we turn to the text, we observe that the history of each of the six
> days is uniformly introduced by the notable words, 'And God said, ? No
> reader, however superficial, can fail to be struck by this remarkable
> circumstance, that God on each day is in the first instance represented not
> to have done something, but to have said something (not to have made
> something, but to have commanded something)?"20

This seems to miss the point that God's command IS God doing something.
God's word does what it says.

> Capron illustrated his view by the following:
> "When we read the 7th verse, 'And God made the expanse,' the question
> naturally arises, 'When did he make it?' To this question almost everyone
> will reply 'On the second day, the day on which the command, 'Let there be
> an expanse' was uttered.' But is it certain that this is the right answer?
> Clearly we are not necessarily committed to it; for the text nowhere
> states, either expressly or by necessary implication, that the effect was
> produced on the day on which the command was given; and if, as we are
> endeavoring to show, the words are added not as part of the narrative
> proper, but by the way of an independent explanation, there is obviously
> still less reason why we should of necessity be obliged to adhere to such
> an interpretation."21

Again, if this is to be any different from the usual day-age theory, one must
rearrange the order of events without, as far as I can see, any justification in the

> Capron applied the Days of Proclamation to the origin of the universe as
> shown by the quotation above. By applying the Days of Proclamation to all
> of Genesis 1, Capron solved the paleontological problems, like plants
> before the sun and insects after the trees. Proclamations don't have to be
> in the same order as the fulfillment. Capron solved the astronomical
> problems because if God created the universe in a process following His
> great proclamation, light had time to travel billions of light-years. With
> Capron's view, there is very little that science can discover which will
> falsify this view. Capron's view makes the Bible true." Copyright G. R.
> Morton, 1995, 1999
> ************end of excerpt************

Certainly IF you can
a) make the creation days long periods, and
b) rearrange the order of commands & fulfillments
then you can get a picture that looks a lot like a modern scientific description. But
then I think you've gotten quite far from Genesis 1 being a description of events as
they actually happened.
I understand the doctrine of creation in relationship with modern science to
mean that space-time and matter were and are called into being by God's Word, and that
the development of the universe and life within it have taken place and are taking place
because of the continual cooperation of God's Logos with the rational patterns (logoi)
present in & with matter by virtue of God's creative acts. That view is a result of
reading Genesis 1 together with other biblical texts with the help of theologians like
Basil, and of looking at modern science in the light of Christian throught. If that is
the essence of what you mean then we have no basic disagreement, but I would not call
this an historical reading of Genesis 1.

> What would make you want to accept such a view? Simply applying the rules
> you yourself laid out. Using your hermeneutic list I would claim that it is
> a reasonable interpretation. You wrote:
> >>> 7) Some important criteria which help to determine whether or not a
> text is "historical" - i.e., a narrative of events as they actually
> happened - are:
> a. Comparison of parallel or corresponding accounts within Scripture
> itself (e.g., the two Genesis creation accounts or the gospels). I.e.,
> internal evidence is to be considered.
> b. Comparison with evidence from extremal sources - geology, archaeology,
> extra-biblical texts. <<<
> Considering as you have already noted, Genesis 1 and 2 conflict (principle
> 7a), if interpreted as a single event, and as we have discussed, science
> gives a different order of creation from the biblical order of creation
> (principle 7b). Because of this, one must either believe in nonhistoricity
> or change the assumption that Genesis 1 and 2 are speaking of the same
> event. There is no reason not to change the assumption that I can see. Do
> you know of a reason to believe that Genesis 1 and 2 are speaking of the
> same event except for tradition?

Certainly as far as life is concerned they seem to be speaking about the same
things - plants, animals, humans. In particular, the creation of humanity is a central
(though not exclusive) feature of both.

> Now, your principle 1 says:'(1) The central and unifying theme of
> Scripture is Christ. We have not penetrated to the heart of a biblical
> text until we have seen its connection with this center. This corresponds
> in a way to the "rule of faith" of the ancient church."
> We can see the need to solve the problem in a way that does not cast doubt
> upon God as the creator. If God is not the creator, then His son probably
> isn't the savior. Genesis 1 is the place where it is proclaimed that God
> created the world. If we say that Genesis 1 isn't to be taken as history,
> then the very statement that God created the heavens and the earth is no
> longer a historical statement. That is why I argue for what I do.

Here, of course, is our basic difference. I don't think that it's necessary to
read Gen.1 & 2 as historical narratives in order to remove doubt about God as creator.
In fact, the popular equation of "belief in creation" with the common ways of reading
these accounts as historical narrative (which I realize you are modifying significantly)
is one of the reasons why many modern people have doubts about creation.

> Given this, the Days of Proclamation is a perfect solution to the problems.
> And the view isn't artificial--it is 1600 years old and has been held by
> very intelligent men in various forms.

It's a solution. I wouldn't say it's perfect & I think it's a stretch to
call it an historical reading of Gen.1, but it's certainly a lot better than some


George L. Murphy