Re: Hyers' Article - Still Cods Wallop!

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Sat Feb 21 2004 - 10:45:53 EST

Brian wrote:

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

I readily admit that the pattern will make some sense if you align the
first three days with the second three. If it made no sense as a
chronology, and I was convinced that somehow it had to be true anyway, then
this method will move us along to more important stuff in later
chapters. But I think you would admit that if we must resort to a "device"
to get us over awkward passages of Scripture, and later find out that we
simply misunderstood the original intent, that we should discard the device
when we discover it isn't necessary.

>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)

You mean because light and dark, day and night are mentioned a second
time? The words are the same, the intent is different I believe. There is
no need for the heavenly bodies to function as signs until there are
sighted creatures to appreciate them.

>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 'days'.

We can beat this horse to death if you like and it will never make a lick
of sense. If the writer of Genesis intended to convey that the entire
creation from Big Bang to Adam's operation took less than one calendar
week, 144 hours, then the writer is wrong. Live with that if you prefer.

>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.

It might if we didn't have a good example from Scripture to the contrary.

In Psalm 90, humans are likened to grass. "In the morning it flourisheth,
and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth" (Psa. 90:6).

Perry Phillips comments:

         I know of no grass that literally springs up in the morning
         and then is dead by the same evening. Rather, the psalmist
         has in mind the life cycle of grass in the Levant, which begins
         its growth with the November rains and dies with the hot, dry,
         March, desert winds. In this psalm, therefore, "morning"
         stands for the period of growth and "evening" stands for the
         period of death.

Perhaps you've read Henry Morris's take on it:

         Having separated the day and night, God had completed
         His first day's work. 'The evening and the morning were
         the first day.' This same formula is used at the conclusion
         of each of the six days; so it is obvious that the duration of
         each of the days, including the first, was the same.
         Furthermore, the 'day' was the 'light' time, when God did
         His work; the darkness was the 'night' time when God did
         no work--nothing new took place between the 'evening' and
         'morning' of each day.

Does Morris not know that the earth has always been half in sunlight and
half in darkness? As stationary creatures, we experience day and night,
but to the God of the universe, essentially there is no day or night.

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

Ah, "metaphorical." Maybe all of Genesis is metaphorical or
allegorical. If you believe that, live with it.

>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

"Standard"? What was the standard when Genesis was written?

>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.

No, "straightforward" is exactly that; six follows five follows four
follows three follows two follows one. That's straightforward.

Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
Received on Sat Feb 21 10:54:00 2004

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