St. Basil's 400AD view of the Days of proclamation
Mon, 16 Aug 1999 21:33:38 +0000

At 08:43 AM 08/16/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:
> & 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.

George, I have stated them here on this forum several times over the past
few years. They are stated on my web page. I don't know what more I could
have done. I don't think you were paying attention.

> Does this refers to Basil's Hexaemeron? There, in connection with Day 1,
>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

Basil was a Platonist and believed in the world of ideas that preceded the
present(actualized) world:

"Thus the writer who wisely tells us of the birth of the Universe does not
fail to put these words at the head of the narrative. "In the beginning God
created;" that is to say, in the beginning of time. Therefore, if he makes
the world appear in the beginning, it is not a proof that its birth has
preceded that of all other things that were made. He only wishes to tell us
that, after the invisible and intellectual world, the visible world, the
world of the senses, began to exist."
St. Basil, Homily I, one can get this electronically at:

THis opens the door for a period of time PRIOR to the creation in which God
worked to plan the universe.

"5. It appears, indeed, that even before this world an order of things(1)
existed of which our mind can form an idea, but of which we can say
nothing, because it is too lofty a subject for men who are but beginners
and are still babes in knowledge. The birth of the world was preceded by a
condition of things suitable for the exercise of supernatural powers,
outstripping the limits of time, eternal and infinite. *****The Creator and
Demiurge of the universe perfected His works in it****, spiritual light for
the happiness of all who love the Lord, intellectual and invisible natures,
all the orderly arrangement(2) of pure intelligences who are beyond the
reach of our mind and of whom we cannot even discover the names."
St. Basil, Homily I, one can get this electronically at:

**** Emphasis mine. That phrase implies that God perfected things prior to
the actual creation. THis implies that God PLANNED things before the
creation and didn't create them when he planned them. Then Basil holds that
the first day was connected with eternity past:

And the evening and the morning were one day.(4) Why does Scripture say
"one day the first day"? Before speaking to us of the second, the third,
and the fourth days, would it not have been more natural to call that one
the first which began the series? If it therefore says "one day," it is
from a wish to determine the measure of day and night, and to combine the
time that they contain. Now twenty-four hours fill up the space of one
day--we mean of a day and of a night; and if, at the time of the solstices,
they have not both an equal length, the time marked by Scripture does not
the less circumscribe their duration. It is as though it said: twenty-four
hours measure the space of a day, or that, in reality a day is the time
that the heavens starting from one point take to return there. Thus, every
time that, in the revolution of the sun, evening and morning occupy the
world, their periodical succession never exceeds the space of one day.

But must we believe in a mysterious reason for this? God who made the
nature of time measured it out and determined it by intervals of days; and,
wishing to give it a week as a measure, he ordered the week to revolve from
period to period upon itself, to count the movement of time, forming the
week of one day revolving seven times upon itself: a proper circle begins
and ends with itself. Such is also the character of eternity, to revolve
upon itself and to end nowhere. If then the beginning of time is called
"one day" rather than "the first day," it is because Scripture wishes to
establish its relationship with eternity. It was, in reality, fit and
natural to call "one" the day whose character is to be one wholly separated
and isolated from all the others. If Scripture speaks to us of many ages,
saying everywhere, "age of age, and ages of ages," we do not see it
enumerate them as first, second, and third. It follows that we are hereby
shown not so much limits, ends and succession of ages, as distinctions
between various states and modes of action. "The day of the Lord,"
Scripture says, "is great and very terrible,"(5) and elsewhere "Woe unto
you that desire the day of the Lord: to what end is it for you? The day of
the Lord is darkness and not light."(1) A day of darkness for those who are
worthy of darkness. No; this day without evening, without succession and
without end is not unknown to Scripture, and it is the day that the
Psalmist calls the eighth day, because it is outside this time of weeks.(2)
Thus whether you call it day, or whether you call it eternity, you express
the same idea. Give this state the name of day; there are not several, but
only one. If you call it eternity still it is unique and not manifold. Thus
it is in order that you may carry your thoughts forward towards a future
life, that Scripture marks by the word "one" the day which is the type of
eternity, the first fruits of days, the contemporary of light, the holy
Lord's day honoured by the Resurrection of our Lord. And the evening and
the morning were one day."
St. Basil, Homily II, one can get this electronically at:

Since Basil has connected the first day with eternity past, he now talks
about how the beginning of time is not time. But he does hold to an
instantaneous creation of the entire she-bang.

"Perhaps these words "In the beginning God created" signify the rapid and
imperceptible moment of creation. The beginning, in effect, is indivisible
and instantaneous. The beginning of the road is not yet the road, and that
of the house is not yet the house; so the beginning of time is not yet time
and not even the least par-title of it. If some objector tell us that the
beginning is a time, he ought then, as he knows well, to submit it to the
division of time--a beginning, a middle and an end. Now it is ridiculous to
imagine a beginning of a beginning. Further, if we divide the beginning
into two, we make two instead of one, or rather make several, we really
make an infinity, for all that which is divided is divisible to the
infinite.(3) Thus then, if it is said, "In the beginning God created," it
is to teach us that at the will of God the world arose in less than an
instant, and it is to convey this meaning more clearly that other
interpreters have said: "God made summarily" that is to say all at once and
in a moment.(3) But enough concerning the beginning, if only to put a few
points out of many." St. Basil, Homily I, one can get this electronically at:

The first part of this seems to imply that the beginning was not the
creation. the begining of time is not time. This implies as does the
passage above, that there are events that supercede time prior to the
beginning. Then Basil does seem to say that when God created the heavens
and earth, he did it instantaneously. But recall from the first passage
that God perfected his works before the creation. That is a Days of
Proclamation type of interpretation.

I would point out that Basil's interpretation had nothing to do with modern
science because he knew none.

> 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
>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.

Absolutely. That is an ancient justification in Christian theology for a
gifted creation as Howard van Till would describe things. Basil does see a
gifted creation.

> 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
>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.

Yes there is. and this is the contribution by Capron and Hayward. (which
due to my computer theft a couple of months ago and my books and notes
being in storage I won't be able to do justice to his view).

Look at Genesis 1:3-5. It says,
3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the
light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening
and the morning were the first day.

The Hebrew of course has no quotation marks. But we can be quite sure that
the Bible doesn't mean: And God said, "Let there be light: and there was
light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light
from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he
called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

Where everything after 'And God said' is in quotation marks. God didn't say
all the rest of the material. All that God said was "LET THERE BE LIGHT".


"And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from
the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called
Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

Some editor or writer said that. When did that writer say all that? He
couldn't have said it before or at the creation. THE WRITER HAD TO HAVE
SAID THIS *AFTER* THE CREATION. This is the writer's statement.

So what Capron noticed was that God never actually created anything in
Genesis 1. All God did was make statements. Nothing but statements. The
writer, who lived after creation was a finished product tells us what
happened in the WRITER'S past. There is absolutely NO indication of WHEN
God actually created the universe.

THere is no statement: "Let there be light IMMEDIATELY!"

There is no statement: "Let there be light INSTANTANEOUSLY!"

There is not statement: "Let there be light IMMEDIATELY AFTER I CEASE THIS

The assumption of command-fulfillment is just that. An assumption!!!!!!!
One that we have lived with too long. One that we have come to accept

To the writer, the creation WAS a fait accompli. But that doesn't mean

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

No. God never says that He is doing something instantaneously when He
commanded. THis is assumption pure and simple--a popular assumption I
grant-- but still an assumption.

Of capron's quote you wrote:
> Again, if this is to be any different from the usual day-age theory, one
>rearrange the order of events without, as far as I can see, any
justification in the

see above

> Certainly IF you can
> a) make the creation days long periods, and

NO, NO, NO. The creation days are not long periods in this view. The

> 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.

THis is NOT a rearrangement of God's commands. IT IS A REARRANGEMENT OF

> I understand the doctrine of creation in relationship with modern science
>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.

I find it odd that you, who advocate a nonhistorical reading of Genesis,
would raise such an issue. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.
I wouldn't call it a traditional reading of Genesis. You are correct. But
it is a historical reading of Genesis, since Basil read at least part of
Genesis 1 in the way I do. He read the first day as being connected with
eternity past.

> 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
>is one of the reasons why many modern people have doubts about creation.

Now, maybe it isn't necessary to you. It is to others, like me and my YEC
brothers. And IF Genesis 1 can be read in a fashion that avoids clashes
with science, why shouldn't we do it as a strategic necessity if for no
other reason? Why would we not prefer a historical view of Genesis. Do we
want non-history for non-history's sake? Is non-history a necessity? I
don't think so. But sometimes I think you do think it is a necessity.
> 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

At last! Thank you. An acknowledgement that it is a solution. I very much
appreciate that. I really do. It has only take 3 years or so to get to
this point. By the time I am 358 years old, I will have someone else
acknowledge this. :-)

And IF I ever called this a 'historical' reading of Genesis, I would stand
corrected that it is NOT a historical reading of Genesis. I don't think I
did, but who knows maybe you have a good search program and can find where
I messed up like that.

Thank you, Thank you Thank you.


Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology

Lots of information on creation/evolution