crochet1949 wrote:We're in agreement on most of that. However -- it Does matter how long the process of creation took. There's a verse that says that to God one day is a thousand years and a thousand days is like a day. And that's where the Long days of creation come in for lots of people. God created 'time' for Our sake, not His. But in Genesis 1 -- 'and the evening and the morning' were the 1st day, etc. right down to the 6th day and then God rested. And He blessed the 7th day. God was setting up our 'work week' for us. The Saturday Sabbath which turned to Sunday after Christ rose again on the 1st day of the week. But I'm getting WAY off topic.
I think anyone has missed the purpose of Genesis 1-2:3 if they focus in on time -- often missing that it is about identifying and establishing Israel's God as the one true God of all creation.
I doubt you'll change your mind, however, here are three points I'd hope gives you pause to think.
1) On which day of creation do you believe the Sun was made? (Day 4, right?) Do you see any repetition on Day 4 that could point back to Day 1? ("night" and "day", separating "light" from "darkness"). There's repitition here, but why is Moses pointing back to Day 1? There are definitely the same, only more details presented on Day 4, right?
2) We know Genesis 1 comes to an end around around Genesis 2:3. One reason we know this is because it is written in different prose to Gen 2:4+. In the original Hebrew, there is a stylistic form used for Genesis 1, that is, the writer likely intended it to be sung as a hymnic chant (great for passing on orally, given printing press wasn't then had and most people couldn't read, such would lend itself well to an important oral tradition).
Some might not classify it as "poetry" which is often associated with rhyme today. Yet, "rhyme" wasn't so important important in Hebrew "poetry" (as you can tell by reading less controversial Scripture elsewhere, such as the Psalms). Rather, Hebrew poems commonly use repetition, chiasmus, parallelism, and the like. Note, NIV translation
reproduce the text with hanging indentation to mark the poetic structure. To quote from a source, "Each section begins with an anaphora: "And God said . . .
" Each section ends with epistrophe: "And there was evening, and there was morning--the . . . day.
" Likewise, after the first two days, we have the artistic repetition of the phrase "And God saw that it was good,
" leading up to a final crescendo, "and it was very good
" in Genesis 1:31."
3) Should we understand Days 1-3 to be intended as literal days? I'm not talking 24-hours, I'm talking REAL
literal days intended involving the Sun rising and setting in accordance to the "evening and morning" refrain at the end of Day 1, and Day 2, and Day 3. Yet, the Sun isn't made until Day 4. How is this possible?
Given, points 1-3 above, I believe there is strong justification to take a closer look at the literary structure, the way in which the author structured the writing, other than a straight top-to-bottom approach. Many writers orchestrate their writings into "frames" or in a certain way to serve their desired purposes, and given the form of writing used in Genesis 1 perhaps we can identify more to such? Here we shouldn't forget this whole Genesis 1 passage to Genesis 2:3 is about establishing Israel's God as the one true God of all creation. That's the objective Moses wants to achieve in whatever literary framework, style and form he adopts.
So then, what structure could there be? In addition to the "poetic" elements, many note a "parallelism" that exists between Day 1 where God separates the light from darkness, and Day 4 which contains this too as well as more information on how God separated the light from darkness, the Sun in the sky, stars for seasons etc. This can mean the two days actually cross into/are related to each other. If a parallelism is indeed a true structure adopted, then we ought to see this trend continue for the following days.
So lets look at Day 2 and Day 5, notice anything in common?
- Day 2: 6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven.
Day 5: Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
Next, look at Day 3 and Day 6:
- Day 3: Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”... Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
Day 6: Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after [ag]their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”
The parallelism here is impossible to miss, I'm sure it's not just coincidence that we have God setting up the different "domains" (or "kingdoms") on Days 1-3 and then providing greater details of their being populated on Days 4-6.
Then on Day 7 we have God resting and blessing the seventh day (the Sabbath which Israel were to keep). Keeping the Sabbath symbolised Israel's God as Lord of all creation, and so keeping it was a way for Israel to remember and honour their God as the One true God of all creation. Interestingly, the seventh day of rest isn't closed, but in Hebrews 4 we are encouraged to enter into "that rest" (God's), the Sabbath day of rest. So, a 7-day framework is very important theologically to Israel (and us today as Christians who enter into God's rest via Christ), so a 6-1 structure was most effective to adopt by Moses and God (given we accept divine authorship also). It's like the finishing touch, polish, divine seal of the whole creation story as that of Israel's God over all creation.
What then of historical truth? Many want to discard, but I think such is throwing the baby out with the water. Evidently, this is also a story that talks of a historical origins, of cosmogony, the earth and creatures including ourselves. One can't just call Genesis 1 symbolic, there are clear historical literal truths being communicated. Unlike some, I also do not believe chronology should be entirely removed, for it seems clear to me the parallelism in Days 1+4 (especially these, since Day 4 reiterates Day 1 events), Days 2+5 and Days 3+6 -- that these days are to be joined together to form a type of joint chronology.
Thus, the basic order is three-fold (a Trinitarian foreshadowing even?) based upon kingdoms -- the heavens and stars, then seas and air and sea life and birds, and finally the land, vegetation and animals. Days 1-3 are an accounting of the kingdoms, and Days 4-6 an accounting of filling them out (luminaries and creatures), yet 1+4, 2+5 and 3+6 are to be taken together. Don't just take my word for it though, re-read Genesis 1 with these new insights.