Re: Concordist sequence

From: Dick Fischer (
Date: Sun Jun 22 2003 - 21:23:00 EDT

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    David Campbell wrote:

    >Apart from the sun, moon, et al., the oldest thing mentioned each day is
    >in order with the astronomical/geological evidence. More discrepancies
    >arise with the attempt to put every thing mentioned on each day before
    >anything mentioned the next day. Thus, a more flexible concordist
    >approach ("possibly overlapping highlights" rather than "detailed, precise
    >log") works pretty well except for day 4.

    Concerning "day four," Gleason Archer comments:

             "Genesis 1:14-19 reveals that in the fourth creative stage God parted
             the cloud cover enough for direct sunlight to fall on the earth
    and for
             accurate observation of the movements of the sun, moon, and stars to
             take place. Verse 16 should not be understood as indicating the
             of the heavenly bodies for the first time on the fourth creative
    day; rather
             it informs us that the sun, moon, and stars created on Day One as the
             source of light had been placed in their appointed places by God with
             a view to their eventually functioning as indicators of time ('signs,
             seasons, days, years') to terrestrial observers. The Hebrew verb
             'as' in v. 16 should better be rendered 'Now [God] had made the
    two great
             luminaries, etc.,' rather than as simple past tense, [God] made."

    Instead of the word "create" in the passage cited by Archer, a different
    verb was used meaning "made" or "had made." This makes good sense. The
    Lord created heaven and earth on day one, but on day four the celestial
    bodies were available for earthly observers to use as measures of time.

    Some Bible scholars have put a strain on these passages, maintaining that
    the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. This is
    unwarranted. The emphasis in this verse is on the purpose for the heavenly
    bodies not their coming into existence.

    If we take "the heaven" from Genesis 1:1 to include the visible universe,
    or cosmos, then it would incorporate the sun, moon, and stars. Even if we
    just take the heavens to mean "sky," it would be strangely black without
    sunlight, moonlight, and starlight.

    The Expositor's Bible Commentary reasons:

             "So the starting point of an understanding of vv.14-18 is the view
             the whole of the universe, including the sun, moon, and stars, was
             created "in the beginning" (v.1) and thus not on the fourth day."

    In the creation account, the Hebrew word bara' means create, and always
    emanates from God. That can imply an ex nihilo creation, a literal out of
    nothing creation (Gen. 1:1), or the use of elements brought into existence
    previously as with primitive sea life (Gen. 1:21), also a man and his woman
    (Gen. 1:27). The word "made" used in Genesis 1:14-19, is the Hebrew 'asah,
    a more general term, and may mean "appoint" or "accomplish" in this verse.

    The Septuagint avoids confusion: "God indeed made the two great luminaries,
    the greater luminary for the regulations of the day, and the lesser
    luminary, with the stars, for the regulations of the night ..."

    Thus, on the first day God created the sun, moon, and stars in addition to
    the earth, and on the fourth day, God appointed the sun to govern the day
    and commissioned the moon and stars to rule the night.

    Had the sun not been created until the fourth day, we would be left to
    wonder what caused the demarcation between the "day" and "night" named on
    the first day (Gen. 1:5). Furthermore, from what we know about the physics
    of orbital objects, it would be impossible for the earth and its sister
    planets to circle a blank spot in space awaiting the sun's creation.

    Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
    Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

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