Re: Hyers' Article - Still Cods Wallop!

From: Brian Bucher <>
Date: Sun Feb 22 2004 - 21:55:51 EST

Hi Dick, thanks for your comments. I'll just add a few more. I've
snipped quite a bit, so anyone trying to follow along should probably
pull up Dick's last email as well.

On Feb 21, 2004, at 10:45 AM, Dick Fischer wrote:
> 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.

I'll certainly admit that, but since we're not 'resorting' to a device,
I don't think it would apply to the FI. If we end up finding that the
FI misconstrues the original intent, then we should abandon it.

Saying "it isn't necessary" isn't the best way to put it, because it
makes it seem as though we're adding something to the text that we
don't think is inherently there. It's the Framework itself (along with
other details) that moves us away from a chronological view.

> 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.

I'm not sure what the different intents would be here. Gen 1:4 says
"so God separated the light from the darkness" which I take as his
intent. Gen 1:14-18 says God created created the lights "to separate
the day from the night" and "to separate the light from the darkness"
which are clearly statements of intent.

So, while there were additional reasons given such as 'to preside over
the day and night,' it seems that the purpose of separating the light
from the dark was common to both. We can add more to this, but I don't
think we can take away this purpose from either 'Day'.

> 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.

Here I'd point out the difference between meaning and referent, as
explained in the paper. The fact that the writer _means_ normal solar
days is evidence against thinking he is _referring_ to normal solar

> 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.

Yes, this may (or may not) be a decent counter example. Given that
it's in a highly poetic passage, it's more likely that the words still
retain their normal meaning while not having their 'usual' referent.
This is the hallmark of metaphorical usage, which is found abundantly
in poetic material like the Psalms.

Even if it should be considered a counter example, it is alone as far
as I know, which doesn't offer much strength to wanting to expand the
semantic field for the Genesis 1 uses.

I think it's far better to gladly admit that the YOM of Genesis 1
_mean_ normal solar days, and then turn around and use this fact
against the 24-hour view.

> 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.

I'm not sure if you're actually trying to establish some sort of point
here, or just venting.

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

The standard was Ordinal, Ordinal, Ordinal...
The two idiomatic patterns were Cardinal, Cardinal, Cardinal
See Steinmann's paper for the original research or my critique for a

> 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.

Not when Moses purposely avoids the standard time-period-enumeration
pattern and instead uses Cardinal, Ordinal, Ordinal which was used when
simply counting things. It's the perfect way to construct a narrative
while indicating that the narrative is a literary figure.

Hope this adds something to the discussion.

Received on Sun Feb 22 21:56:24 2004

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