The Consensus – An Interlude

The last number of posts have dealt with the question of Charles Spurgeon’s old-earth theology, and how he doesn’t break with the Reformed mainstream by holding it, because there was no consensus among the Reformed on the issue. In fact, there has been no consensus on the issue of creation days at all in church history. I have one more post about this, that will account for the rise of young earth creationism in evangelical circles, but before I post it, I wanted to share a number of quotes by noteworthy Reformed and conservative evangelical theologians on this issue. You’ll notice that I include voices from past and present, and across disciplines–so you’ve got historians, biblical theologians (Old and New Testament), and systematicians. You also see the various views represented, like the framework, day age, day of unspecified duration, and analogical days view. It’s not exhaustive, there are a number of theologians who have written major works on this, that I’ve left out. I title this as a consensus, and do so facetiously for obvious reasons. Be warned, this post is very long!

So, here’s the list (I particularly recommend those by James Montgomery Boice, Ernest Kevan, Graeme Goldsworthy, Bob Godfrey, and R. C. Sproul):

T. Desmond Alexander (Union Theological Seminary, Belfast), from his “Introduction to Genesis” in the ESV Study Bible (pp. 43-44): “Faithful interpreters have offered arguments for taking the creation week of Genesis 1 as a regular week with ordinary days (the “calendar day” reading); or as a sequence of geological ages (the “day-age” reading); or as God’s “workdays,” analogous to a human workweek (the “analogical days” view); or as a literary device to portray the creation week as if it were a workweek, but without concern for temporal sequence (the “literary framework” view). Some have suggested that Genesis 1:2, “the earth was without form and void,” describes a condition that resulted from Satan’s primeval rebellion, which preceded the creation week (the “gap theory”). There have been other readings as well, but these five are the most common. None of these views requires denying that Genesis 1 is historical, so long as the discussion in the section on Genesis and History is kept in mind. Each of these readings can be squared with other biblical passages that reflect on creation.”

Oswald T. Allis (former founding OT professor of Westminster Seminary) from his God Spake By Moses (pp. 159): “We may well hesitate to assert that the days of Genesis i must be taken literally as days of twenty-four hours. But we should not hesitate to assert that infinite time and endless process are no adequate substitute for or explanation of that fiat creation by an omnipotent God of which this sublime chapter speaks so clearly and emphatically. It is equally true that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” and that “a thousand years are as one day.”

Edgar Andrews, is Emeritus Professor of Materials at the University of London, apologist who debated Richard Dawkins, and author of Who Made God? published by Evangelical Press. This quote comes from an interview he did with Tim Challies after the book came out: “I really don’t like terms such as “young earth”, “old earth” and “Intelligent Design” (with ID in capitals!) because when you look more closely they are actually very ill-defined. I therefore don’t apply any of these labels to myself. My own non-negotiable position is that (1) the early chapters of Genesis are historical not mythological; they describe things that actually happened; and (2) the universe and all that it contains was created ex nihilo by God, who continues to sustain it. Beyond that I have my own theories (for example, that ‘Big Bang’ cosmology is consistent with a historical view of Genesis One) but respect the views of those who differ from me.”

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), important medieval theologian, indicates a “framework” pattern in his Summa Theologiae: “The first part, then, is distinguished on the first day, and adorned on the fourth, the middle part distinguished on the middle day, and adorned on the fifth, and the third part distinguished on the third day, and adorned on the sixth. (Q 74, Ar. 1).”

Gleason Archer, professor of Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, from his book Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (p. 59-60): “It would seem to border on sheer irrationality to insist that all of Adam’s experiences in Genesis 2:15-22 could have been crowded into the last hour or two of a literal twenty-four-hour day.”

Bill T. Arnold, Old Testament professor at Asbury and author of numerous books including Encountering the Book of Genesis. This quote comes from p. 22: “Yet as important as creation is theologically, the precise details of the process of creation seem unimportant in the opening chapters of Genesis.” Arnold also says on page 23: “We should not be too concerned with the issue of how long it took God to create the universe. Nor should this debate be used as a litmus test to determine who is really serious about Christ. This is not a faith issue. If it were important to know how long it took God to create the world, the Bible would have made it clear. The important lesson from Genesis 1 is that he did in fact created it, and that he made it orderly and good in every respect.”

Herman Bavinck, Dutch Reformed theologian and author of the influential four-volume Reformed Dogmatics, he taught theology at the Free University of Amsterdam. He held what is now called the “analogical day view.” This comes from Our Reasonable Faith (p. 172-173): “Scripture itself contains data which oblige us to think of these days of Genesis as different from our ordinary units as determined by the revolutions of the earth. In the first place we cannot be sure whether what is told us in Genesis 1:1-2 precedes the first day or is included within that day. In favor of the first supposition is the fact that according to verse 5 the first day begins with the creation of light and that after the evening and the night it ends on the following morning. But even though one reckons the events of Genesis 1:1-2 with the first day, what one gets from that assumption is a very unusual day which for a while consisted in darkness. And the duration of that darkness which preceded the creation of light is nowhere indicated. In the second place, the first three days (Gen. 1:3-13) must have been very unlike ours. For our twenty-four hour days are effected by the revolutions of the earth on its axis, and by the correspondingly different relationship to the sun which accompanies the revolutions. But those first three days could not have been constituted in that way. It is true that the distinction between them was marked by the appearance and disappearance of light. But the book of genesis itself tells us that the sun and moon and stars were not formed until the fourth day.”

Here’s another one from Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (Vol. 2, p. 495-496): “It is nevertheless remarkable that not a single confession made a fixed pronouncement about the six-day continuum, and that in theology as well a variety of interpretations were allowed to exist side by side.  Augustine already urged believers not too quickly to consider a theory to be in conflict with Scripture, to enter into discussion on these difficult subjects only after serious study, and not to make themselves ridiculous by their ignorance in the eyes of unbelieving science.  This warning has not always been faithfully taken to heart by theologians.”

John Blanchard, author of the popular Ultimate Questions evangelism booklet says in his Does God Believe in Atheists? (p. 462): “As we might expect, the Bible is more concerned with questions of meaning than mechanism. For example, it does not give us a detailed explanation of how creation took place. Instead, it merely says of the universe and everything in it, ‘The Lord…commanded and they were created.’ Some theists see this as contradicting the Big Bang theory as presently understood, but others see no conflict here between science and Scripture. In Thinking Clearly about God and Science, David Wilkinson, a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, see Big Bang theory as ‘currently the best model we have which describes how God did it,’ and goes on to say, “Genesis 1 complements that description with the fundamental truth that the purpose, the source of order and faithfulness of the Universe can only be found in this Creator God.’ The word I have emphasized is important!”

Later Blanchard says (p. 462), “The massive gap between the positions of those who say that the earth is millions of years old and those who claim that a straightforward reading of Scripture teaches an earth only about ten thousand years old at most is impossible to dissolve, and Ian Taylor notes that each of the popular attempts to reconcile Genesis with science on this issue ‘mixes more or less science with more or less Scripture and produces a result more or less absurd.’ The issue is well discussed elsewhere; here, we need only recognize that the Bible’s specific focus is not on a precise chronology but on the comprehensive fact that ‘God…made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.’ God is the Author of everything (which means, incidentally, that he is the true origin of species).”

James Montgomery Boice, minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, founder of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and past president of the International Counsel on Biblical Inerrancy, wrote in Foundations of the Christian Faith (p. 163): “Is the sequence of the Genesis days to be compared with the sequence of the so-called geological periods? Do the fossils substantiate this narrative? How long are the ‘days’–twenty-four-hour periods or indefinite ages? And, perhaps most important, does the Genesis account leave room for evolutionary development (guided by God) or does it require divine intervention and instantaneous creation in each case? The chapter does not answer our questions. I noted a moment ago that the Genesis account is theological rather than a scientific statement, and we need to keep that in mind here. It is true that it provides us with grounds for constructive speculation, and at some points it is even rather explicit. But it is not written primarily to answer such questions; we must remember that.”

John Calvin, famous Reformed theologian of the sixteenth century. This is from his Commentary on the Book of the Psalms (p. 5:184): “The Holy Spirit had no intention to teach astronomy, and, in proposing instruction meant to be common to the simplest and most uneducated persons, he made use by Moses and other prophets of popular language, that none might shelter himself under the pretext of obscurity.”

R. Scott Clark, is an historical theologian with a PhD from Oxford, who teaches at Westminster California and is an expert in Reformation and post-Reformation theology. He is also a minister in the URC. In his book Recovering the Reformed Confession (p. 48) Clark argues that 6/24 creation should not be a test-case for Reformed orthodoxy. He says this: “[T]he debate over the days of creation has had little to do with the Reformed confession. Proponents of 6/24 creation as a mark of Reformed orthodoxy have been unable to explain the theological reason for making the 6/24 interpretation a standard for orthodoxy.”

Later Clark says (p. 49), “From the middle of the nineteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century, virtually none of the leading Reformed theologians held or taught that Scripture teaches that God created the world in six twenty-four-hour periods.”

One more from Clark (p. 49): “Most importantly, one’s view of the length of the creation days is an improper boundary marker, because it does not arise from the interests of the Reformed confession itself but has been imported from fundamentalism. The elevation of an extraconfessional, exegetical disagreement to the level of a boundary marker, despite the fact that there is nothing obviously at stake in Reformed theology as confessed by our churches, is a strong indicator of the presence of QIRC [Quest for Illegitimate Religious Certainty] (an anticonfessional fundamentalism) in our midst.”

Millard Erickson, a notable evangelical scholar and professor of theology at Truett Seminary, from his Christian Theology (p. 382): “While the age-day theory seems the most plausible conclusion at present, we cannot be dogmatic. The age of the universe is a topic which demands continued study and thought.”

Norman Geisler, a famous Christian apologist and author of a wide range of books, from his When Skeptics Ask (p. 229): “Of course, there are many Creationists who argue for an old earth. Biblically, this position that the word for day is used for more than twenty-four hours even in Genesis 2:4, the events of the sixth day surely took more than twenty-four hours, and Hebrews 4:4?5 implies that God is still in His seventh-day rest. If the seventh day can be long, then the others could too. Scientifically, this view does not require any novel theories to explain the evidence. One of the biggest problems for the young earth view is in astronomy. We can see light from stars that took 15 billion years to get here. To say that God created them with the appearance of age does not satisfy the question of how their light reached us. We have watched star explosions that happened billions of years ago, but if the universe is not billions of years old, then we are seeing light from stars that never existed?because they would have died before Creation. Why would God deceive us with the evidence? The old earth view seems to fit the evidence better and causes no problem with the Bible.

W. Robert Godfrey, an historical theologian in the Reformed tradition and president of Westminster Seminary in California, this is from his book God’s Pattern for Creation (69-70): “How does Genesis use the word day in its early verses? That question is important since the days of creation are the most apparent part of the structure Moses gave to the introduction of Genesis. It is also important since many people today argue that it is obvious that the word day must mean a twenty-four-hour day in Genesis 1. We need to see that the word day is used in as many as seven different ways in the short space of Genesis 1:1-2:4. First, ‘day’ in Genesis 1:5 means daylight – in our experience twelve hours, not twenty-four hours. Second, later in that same verse ‘day’ means the whole day of evening and morning, apparently twenty-four hours long. Third, the first three days of Genesis 1 – at least according to the traditional interpretation – are distinct as presolar days. We cannot know with certainly how long such days would be. Fourth, the solar days after the creation of the sun are another use of the word day. Fifth, the seventh day of Genesis 2:1-3 is at least described differently from the other days in that evening and morning are not mentioned relation to is. Sixth, in Hebrew the numerals of the sixth and seventh days are preceded by the definite article, whereas there are no definite articles preceding the numerals for the other days….Finally, and significantly, Genesis 2:4…the word day stands for the whole period of the creative activity of God. This use of the word ‘day’ is particularly significant because it shows that in summarizing the work of creation at the beginning of the first of the generations in Genesis, Moses says the creation took place in a day.

Graeme Goldsworthy, is lecturer in Old Testament at Moore Theological College in Sydney, Aus., is a key figure in the resurgence of biblical theology, and is likened to a modern-day Geerhardus Vos. His book According to Plan is an influential introduction to biblical theology, in it he says (p. 92): “Why does Genesis 1 describe creation having taken place in six days? Different answers have been given to that question, ranging from ‘because that’s the way it literally happened,’ to ‘because such an artificial arrangement is an aid to memorizing details.’ It is true that the Hebrew word for day (yom) is used throughout the Old Testament for the normal day as we know it. But it is also true that it is used for longer periods of time.”

Another one from Goldsworthy (p. 92): “When we face such ambiguities, that is, when more than one possible way exists of understanding something in the Bible, the gospel must instruct us since it is God’s final and fullest word to man. It is clear from the gospel that God created all things for a purpose, and that he exercises his rule over creation by his word. It is not at all clear from the gospel that the creation too place in six twenty-four hour periods. Nor is it clear from the gospel that it did not happen in that way. The question is not whether the Bible tells the truth, but how it tells it.”

Robert Grossteste (c. 1168-1253), medieval bishop, argued for a literary framework in his Hexaemeron: “It is fitting to the beauty of a disposition that when things are disposed according to an odd number, the first should match the last, the second the penultimate, and the third the antepenultimate, and so on: until one reaches the one in the middle, which has a special privilege relative to the things that are disposed on either side.”

Wayne Grudem, author of the influential Systematic Theology, wrote in it (p. 294): “”The finite nature of man and the incredibly large number of animals created by God would by itself seem to require that a much longer period of time than part of one day would be needed to include so many events…If the sixth day is shown by contextual considerations to be considerably longer than an ordinary twenty-four-hour day, then does not the context itself favor the sense of day as simply a ‘period of time’ of unspecified length?”

Grudem also says regarding Young Earth and Old Earth Creationism (p. 308): “Both views are possible, but neither one is certain. And we must say very clearly that the age of the earth is a matter that is not directly taught in Scripture, but is something we can think about only by drawing more or less probably inferences from Scripture.”

David Helm, a council member of The Gospel Coalition, president of The Charles Simeon Trust, PCA minister, noted speaker and author. This comes from the book he co-wrote with Jo Dennis called The Genesis Factor: “Many today in conservative Christian circles are convinced that the days of Genesis must be literal twenty-four-hour days. This approach to Scripture is, one could argue, a ‘tradition’ in its own right–we could call it ‘biblical literalism.’ Adherents of this school of interpretation see the ‘days’ of Genesis 1 as seven literal twenty-four-hour days, and they often…calculate the age of the earth to be no less than six thousand years and no more than ten thousand years. For the biblical literalist, this is the plain meaning of the text. Adherents to this view find no reason to read it in any way other than literally. For them the conclusions of science regarding the age of the earth must be erroneous, since those conclusions contradict the literal interpretation of the text. This view is what most of the media and even the general public think of today when using the term ‘creationism’…However, creationism is the truest biblical sense does not require that we bind the verses of Genesis 1 in so literal a straitjacket. In actual fact, a creationist is anyone who associates God or a Supreme Being with the origin of the universe. It is possible to hold the view that God created the universe, but without the added baggage of the tenets of creationism.” On page 122 they argue for the Framework understanding of the creation days (see footnote 3).

Charles Hodge, professor of theology at Princeton, a noted Reformed stalwart. In the first volume of his Systematic Theology (p. 570): “The word day, as used throughout the chapter [Genesis 1] is understood of geological periods of indefinite duration…the word day is used in Scripture in many different senses…and in this account of the creation it is used for the period of light in antithesis to night; for the separate periods in the progress of creation; and then, ch. ii. 4, for the whole period.”

Michael Horton, a well-known Reformed theologian, host of the White Horse Inn radio program, author of important books on Reformed theology, he also teaches systematic theology at Westminster Seminary in California. This comes from his The Christian Faith, a recent systematic theology (p. 381): “It will not surprise those who have read thus far that I take the says of creation to be analogical. That is, they are not literal twenty-four hour periods, but God’s accomodation to the ordinary pattern of six days labor and a seventh day of rest, which he created for humankind.”

R. Kent Hughes, pastor and respected preacher at College Church, Wheaton, author of numerous books. This quote is from his preaching commentary on Genesis (Vol. 1, p. 23): “Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Seminary, has noted that those who believe that the Bible teaches that creation took place in six twenty-four-hour solar days include such greats as John Calvin (though Warfield says he was open to other views), William Henry Thornwell, and Louis Berkhof. Others of equal stature have believed that the six days of Genesis did not limit God’s creating actions to the 144 hours of six days. These include the ancients Augustine and Aquinas, the Puritan William Ames, the great nineteenth-century defenders of orthodoxy Charles Hodge, A. A. Hodge, and B. B. Warfield, and prominent twentieth-century defenders of the faith such as J. Gresham Machen, J. Oliver Buswell, Donald Grey Barnhouse, and Francis Schaeffer.”

Walter Kaiser, a distinguished Old Testament professor from Gordon Conwell and author of widely used texts on the OT, from his Hard Sayings of the Bible (p. 104): “I would opt for the day-age theory, given all that must take place on the sixth “day” according to the Genesis record. Incidentally, this day-age view has been the majority view of the church since the fourth century, mainly through the influence of Saint Augustine. Kaiser also said in his Towards an Old Testament Theology (pp. 74-75): “he notes, contrary to claims by young earth creationists, that a simple reading of the text would lead the reader to the conclusion that the author is using the term ‘day’ with quite a bit of elasticity.”

Ernest F. Kevan (1903-1965), was a noted British Reformed Baptist, founding principal of London Bible College, and close associate of Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He wrote influential works on the Moral Law and puritanism. In his article on “Genesis” in The New Bible Commentary (p. 77), he said: “It is contended by some that this is an ordinary day of twenty-four hours. In support of this it is pointed out that the periods of evening and morning are specifically mentioned, but there are serious difficulties in the way of accepting this interpretation.”

J. Gresham Machen, famous Princeton theologian, defender of the faith, founder of the OPC and Westminster, and Reformed theologian. This quote is from his The Christian View of Man recently reprinted by Banner of Truth (p. 131): “It is certainly not necessary to think that the six days spoken of in that first chapter of the Bible are intended to be six days of twenty four hours each. We may think of them rather as very long periods of time.”

H. M. Ohmann, a minister in the Canadian Reformed and (Liberated) Reformed Churches, a conservative scholar, and Old Testament professor. On comparing a non-literal reading of the Genesis days to a non-literal reading of the resurrection says: “Is it feasible to have the length of the days of creation play the role the resurrection of Christ has in the doctrine of the Church, and in the biblical evelation? The truth and reality of the resurrection of our Saviour in the history of revelation is the main point of interest throughout the Bible (esp. the New Testament). I simply remind the reader of 1 Corinthians 15 and many other passages in the letters of Paul. ‘Do you ever notice an equal importance being attached to the length of the days of creation in the rest of the Bible? Did you ever give that a thought?’” From Lux Mundi (Dec. 2000).

John Piper, well known Reformed author and pastor, from the Desiring God website: “Now, when it comes to the more controversial issues of how to construe Genesis 1-2 about how God did it and how long it took him to do it, there I’m totally sympathetic with a pastor who is going to lay his view down, having studied it, and is going to say to his people, “Here is my understanding of those chapters. These six days can’t be anything other than six literal days, and so that’s how long God took to do it. And this universe is about 10 or 15,000 years old. Though it looks old, that’s the way God made it. He made it to look old,” or something like that. Or he might take another view that these days are ages. Or he might take Sailhamer’s view, which is where I feel at home. His view is that what’s going on here is that all of creation happened to prepare the land for man. In verse 1, “In the beginning he made the heavens and the earth,” he makes everything. And then you go day by day and he’s preparing the land. He’s not bringing new things into existence; he’s preparing the land and causing things to grow and separating out water and earth. And then, when it’s all set and prepared, he creates and puts man there. So that has the advantage of saying that the earth is billions of years old if it wants to be—whatever science says it is, it is—but man is young, and he was good and he sinned.”

A. W. Pink, well-known Reformed bible expositor and author, this comes from his book Gleanings in Genesis (p. 13): “Nothing is said which enables us to fix the date of their creation; nothing is revealed concerning their appearance or inhabitants; nothing is told us about the modus operandi of their Divine Architect. We do not know whether the primitive heaven and earth were created a few thousands, or many millions of years ago. We are not informed as to whether they were called into existence in a moment of time, or whether the process of their formation covered an interval of long ages.”

Vern Poythress, is a New Testament professor at Westminster (PA), he has a PhD in mathematics from Harvard, and a PhD in NT. He taught math before studying at Cambridge and now rights on a whole range of subjects including the sciences. In his Redeeming Science, published by Crossway (p. 114): “Genesis 1-3 furnishes important direction, precisely because it provides an important framework; it gives us the meaning for grasping the big picture. It puts the all-powerful God at the sovereign origin of all. It provides a substantial beginning for a doctrine of God, of nature, of man, of sin, and of the Sabbath. It gives a clear basis for the weekly Sabbath pattern. But besides the issue of the Sabbath, what else do we gain from thinking that God created the world in the space of 144 hours, instead of 24 hours, or one hour, or 48 hours, or 3 years–or a billion years? Not much, really. The exact amount of time makes no difference theologically.”

John Sailhammer, Old Testament scholar and former professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, from his out of print Genesis Unbound (p. 13-15): “… in Genesis 1:1 –“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Since the Hebrew word translated “beginning” refers to an indefinit period of time, we cannot say for certain when God created the world or how long he took to create it. This period could have spanned as much as several billion years…”

Francis Schaeffer, a famed apologist and old earth creationist, from his Genesis in Space and Time (p. 59): “What does day mean in the days of creation? The answer must be held with some openness. In Genesis 5:2 we read: “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” As it is clear that Adam and Even were not created simultaneously, day in Genesis 5:2 does not mean a period of twenty-four hours. In other places in the Old Testament the Hebrew word day refers to an era, just as it often does in English. See, for example, Isaiah 2:11,12 and 17 for such a usage. The simple fact is that day in Hebrew (just as in English) is used in three separate senses: to mean (1) twenty-four hours, (2) the period of light during the twenty-four hours, and (3) an indeterminate period of time. Therefore, we must leave open the exact length of time indicated by day in Genesis.”

R. C. Sproul and Robert Wolgemuth, in their book What’s In the Bible (p. 4-5) say this: “Thoughtful and convincing arguments among Bible scholars swirl around the exact amount of time God used in creation. Were the six ‘days’ of creation a form of poetry and symbolism, or were they literally twenty-four-hour days? I certainly encourage you to join me in the exploration of this issue. However, as I have done with my students over the years, I find that it is always dangerous to shout where God has whispered. Either way, the Bible is crystal-clear as to the ‘Who’ of creation, and ultimately that will have to be enough.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Victorian Baptist minister in London, known as “prince of preachers.” This is from a sermon called “Election” from the New Park Street Pulpit 1 (p. 318): “Can any man tell me when the beginning was? Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvelous skill, before he tried his hand on man.”

Another quote from Spurgeon, from his sermon “The Power of the Holy Ghost.” “In the 2d verse of the first chapter of Genesis, we read, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” We know not how remote the period of the creation of this globe may be—certainly many millions of years before the time of Adam. Our planet has passed through various stages of existence, and different kinds of creatures have lived on its surface, all of which have been fashioned by God. But before that era came, wherein man should be its principal tenant and monarch, the Creator gave up the world to confusion. He allowed the inward fires to burst up from beneath, and melt all the solid matter, so that all kinds of substances were commingled in one vast mass of disorder. ”

Justin Taylor, editor of the ESV Study Bible, VP of editorial at Crossway, and famous blogger: “I don’t believe that Moses was at all concerned about the length of time in which God created the world and prepared the garden. In fact, the church has not historically been overly concerned about such issues. But since it is a preoccupation of our scientific age to inquire into the duration of the creation account, responsible interpreters must eventually lay their cards on the table and reveal their position (even if they get accused of heresy in the process!).”

Miles Van Pelt, is professor of Old Testament and academic dean at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson), he is also the co-author of Basics of Biblical Hebrew, a standard text in bible colleges and seminaries (as well as his Basics of Biblical Aramaic). In an unpublished paper delivered for ETS in 2009, he gave a thoroughly exegetical defense of the framework interpretation, where he concluded: “[T]he days of Genesis 1 are not to be interpreted as solar, sequential days. Rather, they provide readers with a framework for understanding the work of God that has become the sabbatical pattern for the life of God’s people.” I have a copy of this if anyone wants it emailed.

Rowland S. Ward, an Australian Reformed minister who is very conservative says: “I would contend that scientific creationism in its most usual forms is not a consistent development from a truly Reformed understanding of Scripture.”

Benjamin B. Warfield, famous Reformed theologian and professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, from his Biblical and Theological Studies (p. 261): “The question of the antiquity of man is accordingly a purely scientific one, in which the theologian as such has no concern.”

Edward J. Young, former professor of Old Testament at Westminster Seminary and writer of the influential book on the doctrine of inspiration called Thy Word is Truth published by Banner of Truth. This quote comes from the article he wrote in the Encyclopedia of Christianity (vol. 3, p. 242): “But then there arises the question as to the length of the days. That is a question which is difficult to answer. Indications are not lacking that they may have been longer than the days we now know, but the Scripture itself does not speak as clearly as one might like.” This quote comes from Studies in Genesis One (p. 104): “If the word “day” is employed figuratively, i.e., to denote a period of time longer than twenty-four hours, so also may the terms “evening” and “morning,” inasmuch as they are component elements of the day, be employed figuratively. It goes without saying that an historical narrative may contain figurative elements. Their presence, however, can only be determined by means of exegesis.”



Filed under creation, quotes, reformed theology

2 responses to “The Consensus – An Interlude

  1. Pingback: Seventh-Day Adventism and Young Earth Creation | RearViewMirror

  2. history of interpretation-check out a book titled “Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives” by Peter C. Bouteneff-peace

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