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Part 6 Age of the earth/universe – Framework, analogical, historic, gap, theistic views

I am continuing my discussion of an inside the church issue concerning the interpretation of Genesis 1.  Here are five more interpretations.

3. The Framework Interpretation

The distinctive feature of the Framework view is its understanding of days of the week as a metaphor. According to this interpretation, Moses used the metaphor of the week to narrate God’s acts of creation. Thus, God’s supernatural creative words or fiats are real and historical but the exact timing is left unspecified. The purpose of the metaphor is to call Adam to imitate God in work, with the promise of entering His Sabbath rest. Creation events are grouped in two triads of days:

Forming                                                         Filling

Day 1: light & darkness separated   Day 4: sun, moon, stars

Day 2: sky and waters separated   Day 5: fish & birds

Day 3: dry land & waters separated;         Day 6: animals & man

Plants & trees

4. The Analogical Days Interpretation

According to the Analogical view, the “days” of Genesis 1 are God’s workdays, analogous (but not necessarily identical) to human workdays. They set a pattern for our rhythm of work and rest. The six days represent periods of God’s historical supernatural activity in preparing and populating the earth as a place for humans to live, love, work, and worship. These days are broadly consecutive. That is, they are successive periods of unspecified length. They may overlap in part, or they may reflect logical rather than chronological criteria for grouping certain events on certain days.  The sun is not created until the fourth day[1].

5. The Historic Creationism Interpretation

The word used for “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 does not connote any specific length of time, nor does it necessarily mean that the next thing stated follows immediately. What God created in the first verse existed for an undefined period of time before God began the work of preparing the uninhabitable land for the habitation of mankind. The preparation of the uncultivated land and the creation of Adam and Eve occurred in the six literal 24 hour days of Genesis 1, as in Exodus 20:11. This view leaves open the possibility of an old earth, six literal days of creation, and a young humanity on the old earth.  The sun and moon are created in the initial act of creation in Genesis 1:1.

6. The Gap Interpretation

In this view, Genesis 1:1 explained a first creation. That happened, perhaps billions of years ago. Then, a catastrophic event, likely the fall of Satan from heaven, left the earth in the destroyed condition of Genesis 1:2. God responded to this disaster by re-creating the earth again, a few thousand years later in six literal days and repopulating the earth as recorded in Genesis 1:3-27. According to this view, the earth is from the first creation, and mankind is young because of the recent creation.

7. The Theistic Evolution Interpretation

In this view, God essentially began creation and then pulls back from working directly in creation and works instead through the natural process of evolution. The only exception was God involving himself directly again in making of the human spirit.  Some find this view an oxymoron; designed (Theistic) by chance (evolution)[2].  I personally struggle endorsing this view.

I want to reemphasize how old is the universe is an open hand issue and each person reading this blog needs to study to discover what you think best fits the scriptures.  All local pastors at Emmanuel Faith in Escondido and Mission Hills in San Marcos believe the Bible to be God’s Word, inspired and inerrant (without error) and needs to be read according to the intents of the authors and the type of literature; yet they differ in their interpretation of Genesis 1.

Remember the main reason for learning about science and the Bible is because God began his revelation with “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” God thinks science is important and so should we.

The other main reason was to strengthen your faith.  We need to grow in our knowledge that our faith is based on solid evidence; that God’s Word and science are compatible and they do not contradict.  The more we know how faith and science work together the more our love for God will continue to grow stronger.  And the more we will be prepared to share with others.

Go to part 7


[1] http://www.reasons.org/four-views-biblical-creation-account[Primary source for #1-4]

[2] Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears, Doctrine, Crossway Publ. Wheaton, Ill. 2010 pgs. 89-92 [Primary source for # 5-7]

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