What is your view of the Creation account in Genesis? (Part 2)

The following series of posts are my brief answer to this question. Today I share with you part 2 of my answer:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

My first contention, mentioned at the end of Part 1, pertains to human testimony and God’s ultimate revelation of the creation account from Adam to Noah to Abram to Moses. Some theories, such as the framework theory, conclude that the creation account is structured in light of the Sinaitic covenant in which Moses was writing Genesis as a ‘preamble.’ In contrast though, it has been noted by some that the book of Genesis is structured in accordance with the word ‘generation.’ This then could easily imply that writings (before Moses) were in existence as historical record in which Moses was God’s instrument of compilation. Now, I acknowledge that all of these things are theories, but it only makes good sense that God’s people would have actually had records of God’s work before Israel was constituted as a covenant nation at Sinai. With this alternate theory stated, it does not follow that the best theory of the books origin is as a mere ‘preamble’ to the Sinaitic covenant for Israel. This makes a framework theory of Genesis chapter one unnecessary because it was not strictly written as a critic of the ancient-near eastern pagan worship that Israel had seen in Egypt. Further information provided to us in Exodus clearly affirms that Israel maintained their faith in the Creator God as their cries to Him were heard. If Israel did not know of the previous covenants before Sinai, then why is it that the Hebrew midwives feared God? (Exodus 1) Why is it that God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when the people cried out to God in their slavery? (Exodus 2) The only way to explain these things is to conclude that the information in Genesis was readily available to the Israelites well before Moses ever came on the scene. Thus, in conclusion, it does not follow that the framework theory of Genesis chapter one is the primary meaning or purpose of the creation account. Instead, we must consider the evidence that shows the Genesis creation account is a historical record of creation, just as the rest of the book of Genesis is a historical record of the genealogies of God’s people leading up to Joseph in the land of Egypt.

My second contention deals directly with the meaning of the word ‘day’ in the Genesis account. I do acknowledge that the meaning of the Hebrew word for ‘day’ can mean something other than a 24-hour period, but I intend to show that an alternate meaning of the word is not necessary or encouraged by what is written in the Genesis account of creation or the account at Sinai. First, any other scholarly reading of the rest of the book of Genesis lends itself to an understanding that God created each thing, in each day, with respect to the human concepts of ‘morning and evening.’ In other words, no one questions the other occurrences of the words ‘day’, ‘morning’, or ‘evening’ in other places within Genesis. Thus, one does not need to imagine much beyond a normal earth day cycle for the meaning of the word ‘day’ in Genesis chapter one. This is more clearly seen in what follows with chapter two of Genesis – there the seventh day may be viewed as an un-ending day in which God rested from all His labor. This understanding of the seventh day must be contrasted with the six days of creation to understand that they were in fact finite periods of time. ‘Morning’ and ‘evening’ do not occur on the seventh day. So if we cannot then conclude that the days were 24-hour earth days, what were they? Well, as another theory (the Day-Age Theory) often states – with the sun, moon and stars not appearing until the 4th day, we do not know how long the days were since we tell time based on the earths rotation around the sun, etc. But this argument fails to take into account the language of ‘morning’ and ‘evening.’ Not only does it fail to take into account the language of Genesis one, but it also fails to account for the testimony of God at Sinai where He says, in the Ten Commandments, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day.” The reason for this statement is not to newly structure the nation of Israel in their work week. Instead, it is to re-affirm the covenant of creation in which man was always to work six 24-hour days and then to rest on the seventh in anticipation of entering God’s un-ending rest once man had completed his work to fill the earth and subdue it. In other words, God created the world in such a way that man would understand how he was to work. This then leads me to my third point of contention.

The testimony of God in creation was given for the purpose of revealing himself primarily through mankind as His image-bearer. This means we must understand that an ‘old earth’ theory decentralized the glory of God in the creation account by opening up our minds to the idea that history went on for thousands of years before the glory of God was displayed in man as the image bearer. Note how the Apostle Paul speaks of these things, “For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God.” (1 Cor. 11:7, emphasis mine) God is not playing some hide and seek game about why and for what purpose He created the universe in six 24-hour days and rested on the seventh. Jesus himself points out that man was not made for the Sabbath, but that the Sabbath was made for man. (Mark 2:27) Thus, once again, we see the anthropocentric nature of the creation account in Genesis chapter one. An old earth makes no sense of God creating mankind as his image bearer. As many scholars know, the context and meaning of ‘images’ in the Ancient near-east would have meant that God did not place an image bearer in his creation for thousands or millions or billions of years! This is tantamount to God saying that He himself was not King of His creation! Are we as Christians really willing to say that about God?

Lastly, I would like to close by arguing my fourth point regarding the nature of the living things that God created. It is clear, from Genesis chapter two, that God created the creatures of the earth, especially man, in physically mature states. It was not as though the ‘chicken came after the egg’ in God’s account of His creation. It only stands to reason then that God would have easily created the universe in a short period of time, but in a physically mature state that could easily have the appearance of age without actually having existed for for more than 6 days.

To be continued… on Monday, Part 3 will be published.

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