Re: St. Basil's 400AD view of the Days of proclamation
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 20:10:46 +0000

At 08:17 AM 08/17/1999 -0400, George Murphy wrote:

> Let's don't play the "Surely you've read ..." game. I don't read
>everything on this list, or everyone's web page, & you don't read
everything >I've written or all the authors I think are important.

But you have read posts in which I have spoken of this over the past years
because you responded to them.

> Note that Basil says here that God _perfected_ his works in this spiritual
>world. This does not refer to God's commands "Let there be light" &c
being made before
>the creation of the physical universe, commands which would only be
fulfilled much
> You are right that there are Platonic influences on Basil, but those of
>are perhaps more important here. Basil is talking about the creation of a
spiritual &
>intellectual realm before the physical universe, a la Origen, but not of
that realm as
>the pattern according to which the physical world would be made.

That is correct. The world if ideas is logically and 'temporally' prior to
the real world in such views. And in this sence that is precisely what the
DAys of Proclamation is saying. The proclamations are essentially in the
world of ideas, the planning if you will, of the universe. God didn't DO
anything in Genesis 1. He only spoke--He didn't even command. "Let the land
bring forth vegetation," could just as easily mean "Lets make is so that
the land will bring forth vegetation" as it could be "Land! Bring forth

And the verb which is translated saw, as in 'God saw' is often translated
as 'foresaw'. Even the seeing of God could be seeing in the future, which
is what one does when he plans future actions.

> Basil believed God created the material of the world "in the beginning" &
>it had the capabilities ("fully gifted creation" &c) to develop in accord
with God's
>command, _when God wanted it to_. But he doesn't say that all those
commands were
>given long before they were carried out.

As I told Paul, look at the post in which I quoted Foundation,Fall and
Flood. BAsil was the very beginning of the view. He didn't have a fully
developed theory of this. He did connect the first day with past eternity.
That is what I said so don't try to change it into a requirement that Basil
believe what I believe. He didn't. His was the first step on the road.

>> 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.
> We have no disagreement here & this seems to me one of the more important
>aspects of both Gen.1 & an adequate doctrine of creation.

Ahh good another point of agreement. They are too rare on this issue.

> While I am NOT saying that Genesis 1 is "poetry" in the strict sense
(again, see
>Gottwald's article in IDB for details), the parallelism characteristic of
Hebrew poetry
>often carries over into other literature (like "riding upon an ass, and a
colt the foal
>of an ass".) "God said, 'Let the waters bring forth ...' & So God created
..." has the
>same type of structure.

Or it has the structure of a person quoting God then observing from the
writer's temporal viewpoint of what had been accompllished before the
writer was born.
> I don't think "above" settles it. It's one thing to say that God's
command is
>only fulfilled after a lapse of time. As I noted, there is an important
sense in which
>"Let the earth bring forth ..." &c is _still_ being fulfilled. But it's
quite another
>matter to say in essence that all these commands were spoken & then that
they were all
>fulfilled. I.e., I see no reasonable way of reading the text that would
allow one to
>read it as meaning that the _command_ "Let the earth bring forth living
>preceded the _fulfillment_ of "Let the earth put forth vegetation" e.g.

Read it as a writer planning a novel. The writer thinks to himself, "Let
henry kill Suzy with a knife in the kitchen." The human novelist didn't
command Henry to kill Suzy--it was planning and outlining. Similarly, "Let
the earth bring forth living creatures" may simply be God planning for
evolution. If this is the case, then the YEC objection to evolution on
theological grounds is highly suspect. Under the DoP view, GOD PLANS AHEAD
BRING FORTH LIFE VIA EVOLUTION. The traditional way of reading Genesis
excludes evolution. My view shows that the Bible very well may have taught
evolution and the YECs misunderstand it.

>> > 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
> OK, my mistake. But what you're arguing isn't unfamiliar - e.g., Philo.

I know. Hayward, in Creation/Evolution calls this view 'the neglected
theory'. It is never taught and virtually unknown. But that is no reason to
reject it by fiat. It was Haywards interpretation of Genesis which was
instrumental in solving my first crisis of faith in the early 1990s. I had
reviewed Haywards book back in the mid 80's prior to its publication, but I
wasn't paying attention to his view of Genesis at the time. I first noted
it when I desperately needed it. Funny how things work like that. For this,
Hayward is a hero to me.

> It's a rearrangement of commands & fulfillments together, in the sense
>noted above. You're rearranging the chronology of Gen.1 - as most
traditional attempts
>to "harmonize 1 & 2 freely rearrange the chronology of Gen.2 to fit that
of 1. It seems
>to me that you're doing the reverse - which is neither more nor less

Agreed. If one wants to harmonize Genesis with science, something must be
rearranged. You rearrange the historicity; YECs rearrange science; I
rearrange and separate Genesis 1 from Genesis 2. And then it makes sense.
I never did understand or buy that 2 creation accounts view. Obviously the
two accounts are contradictory. If they refer to two different things, then
all is harmonious.

>> 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.
> 1) The reason I raise the issue is because the whole question which gave
>to this discussion is whether or not Gen.1 & Gen.2 can be "harmonized"
with both of them
>being read as historical narrative.

I view genesis 1 as the best account or attempt at explaining what
occurred PRIOR to the formation of the universe. It is historical in the
sense that it did happen. It is non-historical in the sense that it
happened before time with time equalling history. What I am interested in
is a true account of earth history, not a fictional account whether in
whole or in part, as you suggest.

> 2) I find it odd to call this an "historical" reading of Gen.1 since a
>part of it occurs in pre-history.

see above.

> 2) As I've indicated, I think you're reading some things into Basil -
>doesn't _in itself_ invalidate your interpretation.

If I am reading things into Basil, then others have read those same things
into him. I am not an original thinker. I just steal from everybody. :-)

> As I said, I think you're really stretching the meaning of "historical"
>with your interpretation.

see above.
>> > 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
>> >interpretations.
>> 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.

I do have a good search program, as well as a good memory. ;-)
> OK, I'm puzzled. You've just emphasized your, & YEC's, preference for an
>historical reading of Genesis. Earlier in this post you said your reading
was not
>"traditional" but was "historical." I understand that. Now at the end
you say you're
>NOT saying that the interpretation you propose of Gen.1 is historical. I
agree, but I'm
>not sure what you think you've done.

Well, I messed up and equivocated a bit.. There are four meanings for
historical. ONe can mean 'traditional'; one can mean it occurred within
time; and one can mean someone in the past
held this view; and fourth, it can mean a true account of events both
before and after the start of time.

My view is historical in the sense that someone in history believed this
view or parts of it, Basil, Whiston, and Capron and Hayward(and maybe
Dallas Cain, but I am not sure and he is still alive).

My view is historical in the sence that it very well might be a true
accound of events both before and after the start of time.

My view is not historical in the sense that it occurred within the confines
of time.

My view is not historical in the sense that it is traditional.

Hope this helps.


Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology

Lots of information on creation/evolution