From: Brian Bucher <>
Date: Fri Feb 20 2004 - 17:47:41 EST

Hi Dick,

As my knowledge is not broad, but occasionally deep enough to
contribute, I'll offer a response on a particular issue in your post.

On Feb 19, 2004, at 11:42 PM, Dick Fischer wrote:
> Does the writer (Moses?) give us any similar clues to avoid our
> making the mistake of thinking that Genesis One is history?  No.  He
> left it for Hyers to figure out.  And if day three was four and day
> four was three in Genesis, Hyers never would have figured it out
> because that's the only clue he has.  Take away that seeming mistake,
> and he's got nothing.  The hymnic element, common in Hebrew poetry, is
> absent in Genesis 1-11.
> The biggest problem theistic evolutionists such as Hyers face is what
> to do with Scripture.  Typically, they proclaim the Bible to be "true"
> as an inspired piece of literature, but the truth stops short of being
> historically accurate.  Instead of Genesis 1 being a chronological
> sequence of events, the order of presentation becomes in Hyers' words,
> a "cosmogonic" order.
> If a "cosmogonic" order had been intended for the first chapter of
> Genesis we might wonder where else in the Bible did the authors use
> this technique?  Even though the sequence of books compiled in the
> Bible is not necessarily in the order in which they were written,
> every book of the Bible, and indeed the rest of Genesis too, presents
> its information in chronological order, although father-son
> genealogies are grouped for obvious purposes.

Here are the reasons for rejecting a chronological reading of the days
of Genesis 1 and instead preferring a Framework Interpretation

1. The obvious two-triadic literary framework in Genesis 1. Literary
frameworks should be regarded as an indication that strict chronology
may have been set aside.

2. The evidence that Day 4 is a return to the events of Day 1 and
describes in more detail how God separated the light from the darkness.
  This is shown by:
2.1 Same thematic content
2.2 Same purpose (to separate the light from the dark)
2.3 Lexical repetition indicating temporal overlay (dischronologization)

3. The argument from semantics showing that the days must mean normal
solar days. Neither abnormal non-solar 24-hour periods nor long ages
can be considered within the semantic range of the Genesis 1 creation

4. The argument from semantics concerning 'evening' and 'morning' shows
that the days must mean normal solar days. Neither abnormal non-solar
24-hour periods nor long ages can be considered to fit with the very
narrow semantic ranges of these words, that refer to the time of day
when the sun rises/sets.

5.The metaphorical interpretation of the Exodus 20/31 passages is most
consistent with the FI view on Genesis 1.

6. The result of analyzing the Cardinal, Ordinal, Ordinal pattern for
the days shows that Moses purposely avoided using the standard
grammatical pattern of enumerating time periods in his construction of
the Genesis narrative.
The most straightforward explanation for Moses avoiding the
time-period-enumeration pattern is that he did not intend to enumerate
time periods, but was constructing a narrative according to a literary
framework. This finding is an additional support for the Framework
Interpretation and cuts against those interpretations that espouse a
time-period-enumeration view such as the 24-hour and Day-Age views.

Full defense of these points can be found in my paper here:

and in the addendum, here:

Email me if you'd prefer PDF files. They're easier to read.

> Why call for some kind of sequence other than chronological for the
> first chapter of Genesis when it would be out of character for every
> other Old Testament sequencing of events from Genesis 2 on?

Temporal overlay is not out of character in the OT. See Buth's work
referenced in my paper.

> In essence, Hyers is a victim of his own preamble : "It is always of
> critical importance to know exactly with what type of linguistic usage
> one is dealing, and to apply the appropriate canons of
> interpretation," says Hyers.  Which is exactly where he falls flat.

Knowledge of the linguistic issues (semantic fields of 'day' 'evening'
and 'morning', lexical repetition being an indicator of temporal
overlay, the cardinal-ordinal-ordinal pattern, etc) shows that the text
should not be understood as teaching a chronological enumeration of
time periods.

Brian (yes, I'm beating the same drum it seems, oh well)
Received on Fri Feb 20 17:49:43 2004

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Feb 20 2004 - 17:49:44 EST