Re: Concordist sequence

Date: Mon Jun 23 2003 - 21:59:08 EDT

  • Next message: Peter Ruest: "Re: Genesis and inspiration"

    Dick wrote,

    > 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
    > creation
    > 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 '
    > wayya
    > '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
    > that
    > 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."

    If one does mind the bizarre idea that "earth" in Gen 1 is a reference to the
    land of Israel, Sailhammer could also have been cited as agreeing with the
    concordist interpretation of Day 4 as simply being an unveiling of the sun, moon
    and stars.

    But, the three or four competent scholars who agree with this interpretation
    are no more than counterparts to the three or four competent geologists who
    agree with the YEC interpretation of the scientific data. Nor is it fitting to
    say that "Some Bible scholars have put a strain on these passages, maintaining
    that the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day." It is not
    "some" but the consensus of the Christian Church throughout history that Day 4 in
    Gen 1 is describing the creation of the heavenly bodies.

    Theophilus (2nd century) said, "On the fourth day the luminaries were
    made...the plants and seeds were produced prior to the heavenly bodies..."
    (Theophilus to Autolycus 2:15 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 2, pp. 100-101 )

    Origen (3rd century) said that on the fourth day "...God orders lights to
    come into existence." (Homilies on Genesis and Exodus, Washington, D.C.: Catholic
    University of America Press, 1981, p. 53)

    John Chrysostom (4th century) said "Sacred Scripture teaches us that the
    creation of this heavenly body [the sun] took place three days later, after the
    growth of all the plants..." (St. John Chrystostom, Homilies of Genesis 1-17,
    Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1985, p. 84)

    St. Basil (4th century) "The first day and night were not ruled yet by solar
    motion… …The adornment of the earth [with plants] is older than the sun…"
    (cited in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, Genesis 1-11, Downers
    Grove: IV Press, 2001, 7, 15)

    Ambrose (4th century) "Let everyone be informed that the sun is not the
    author of vegetation…The sun in younger than the green shoot, younger than the
    green plant…Look first on the firmament of heaven which was made before the sun. …
    Look at the plants of the earth which preceded in time the light of the sun…
    .Three days have passed. …the day too has its light, which is itself the
    precursor of the sun." (Hexamemeron 3:6, 4:1, cited in Ancient Christian Commentary
    on Scripture, Genesis 1-11, Downers Grove: IV Press, 2001, 15, 17)

    Ephrem the Syrian (4th century) said, "Light in its primordial form did not
    come from the sun, which had not yet been created." (cited in Ancient Christian
    Commentary on Scripture, Genesis 1-11, Downers Grove: IV Press, 2001, 7)

    Augustine (5th century) , "But the first three days of all had no sun, for
    that was made on the fourth day." (St. Augustine, The City of God 11:7, p 3l7)
    He reiterates this in his Two Books on Genesis against the Manichaeans

    Martin of Braga (6th century) said, "Genesis reports that the lights of the
    sun and moon were created on the fourth day." ("Easter," in Iberian Fathers
    Vol. 1, Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 1969, p. 106)

    John of Damascus (8th century) said, "It was into these luminaries that the
    Creator put the primordial we said, the sun was created on the
    fourth day." (St. John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith Book 2, Washington, D.C.:
    Catholic University of America Press, 1958, PP. 216, 220)

    Luther (16th century) commenting on Day 1: "Here, too, arises the question as
    to what kind of light that was by which the heavens and the earth in its yet
    unshaped and unadorned form was lighted, for then the sun and stars were not
    yet created." (Commentary on Genesis, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, repr 1958, 13)
    and "...they even discuss why God provided the earth with fruit on the third
    day before he had equipped the heaven with stars." (Luther's Works, Vol. 1,
    Lectures on Genesis, Chapters 1-5, St. Louis: Concordia, 1958, 38; cf. p. 5)

    Calvin (16th century) said, "It did not happen fortuitously that herb and
    trees were created before the sun and the order that we might learn to
    refer all things to him, he did not then make use of the sun or moon." (John
    Calvin, Commentary on Genesis, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1948, p. 82)

    This historic interpretation of Day 4 is also supported by the consensus of
    modern biblical scholars. I could name more, but let these evangelical OT
    scholars suffice:

    Keil and Delitzsch: "It is true the morning and evening of the first three
    days were not produced by the rising and setting of the sun, since the sun was
    not yet created." (Biblical Commentary on the OT, Vol 1, Grand Rapids:
    Zondervan, repr 1951) 51

    G. Ch. Aalders, Genesis I:58
    "The solar system by which we measure time was not creted until the fourth

    H. C. Leupold: "He who notices at once there was no sun to serve as a vehicle
    for the light observes the truth….The last three days are clearly controlled
    by the sun, which is created on the fourth day." (Exposition of Genesis, Grand
    Rapids: Baker, 1950) 52

    John Walton: "If we were to ask what the Israelite understanding of the
    physical structures connected with light were that allowed it to exist
    independently of the sun…[we would have to speculate]" (Genesis, Grand Rapids: Zondervan,
    2001, 79)

    Victor Hamilton: "It will perhaps strike the reader of this story as unusual
    that its author affirms the existence of light (and a day for that matter)
    without the existence of the sun, which is still three 'days' away….What the
    author states is that God caused the light to shine from a source other than the
    sun for the first three 'days.'" (The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17, Grand
    Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990, 121)

    Bruce Waltke: "Since the sun is only later introduced as the immediate cause
    of light, the chronology of the text emphasizes that God is the ultimate
    source of light. The dischronologization probably functions as a polemic against
    the pagan religions…" (Genesis, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001, 61)

    Kenneth Mathews: "The source of creation's first 'light' is not specifically
    stated. Since it is not tied to a luminating body such as the sun…. On this
    day [the fourth day] the luminaries are created and placed in the heavens…the
    creation of the sun and moon in v. 16 stands as the centerpiece." (Genesis
    1-11:26, Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996, 145, 153)

    Gordon Wenham: "There is no problem in conceiving of the creation of light
    before the heavenly bodies (vv 14-19). Their creation on the fourth day matches
    the creation of light on the first day of the week." ( Genesis 1-15, Waco:
    Word, 1987, 18)

    There is a clear solid consensus of Christian scholars both ancient and
    modern that Genesis 1 is saying that the sun was not created until Day 4---after
    light, after the firmament, after plants. Concordism's "interpretation" is
    accordingly a merely "private interpretation"



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