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Days of Proclamation--New Way to Interpret Genesis 1

Copyright 2004 G.R. Morton This can be freely distributed so long as no changes are made and no charges are made.
http://home.entouch.net/dmd/daysofproclamation.htm
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Related Pages:


Why I beleive Genesis is Historically Accurate

Plain Reading of Genesis 1

The Bible's Way of Telling Us the Earth is Old

Theory for Creationists

Evidence for One World Language

How God used Evolution

The Metaphysical Casino--Why I believe in Design

Early Church Fathers were not YECs--John Tobin's Essay

Genesis 1:11, Why the Bible teaches evolution


Genesis 1 is the pre-planning of the universe. This view is called the Days of Proclamation view. God proclaimed things in Genesis 1, nothing was yet created. It is the human narrator, who lived many billions of years after the origin of the universe who then gives a statement affirming that the proclamation was accomplished. He says to the effect that 'it was so.' but it doesn't say, 'and it was so INSTANTLY!'. The view that God created instantly comes from our long cultural view that God works like a magician rather than a careful planner. It is more fun to see God do tricks than to carefully work out his solution over time.
I might point out here that this view is really an ancient view, something I didn't understand until the end of 2004. This is from the Midrash Bereshith--the Talmud
"The Torah was to God, when he created the world, what the plan is to an architect when he erects a building.
The aleph, being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, demurred at her place being usurped by the letter beth, which is second to her, at the creation; the history of which commences with the latter, instead of with the former. She was, however, quite satisfied when told that, in the history of giving the Decalogue, she would be placed at the beginning, for the world has only been created on account of the Torah, which, indeed, existed anterior to creation; and had the Creator not foreseen that Israel would consent to receive and diffuse the Torah, creation would not have taken place." (Horne, 1917, p. 42)
Even a few of the Church fathers held views along these lines. Clement of Alexandria wrote:
"God's resting is not, then, as some conceive, that God ceased from doing. For, being good, if He should ever cease from doing good, then would He cease from being God, which it is sacrilege even to say. The resting is, therefore, the ordering that the order of created things should be preserved inviolate, and that each of the creatures should cease from the ancient disorder. For the creations on the different days followed in a most important succession; so that all things brought into existence might have honour from priority, created together in thought, but not being of equal worth. Nor was the creation of each signified by the voice, inasmuch as the creative work is said to have made them at once. For something must needs have been named first. Wherefore those things were announced first, from which came those that were second, all things being originated together from one essence by one power. For the will of God was one, in one identity. And how could creation take place in time, seeing time was born along with things which exist."

(Miscellanies 6:16) http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/02106.htm
Note that God's proclamations start most often with 'Let there be.". This is a possible indication of a planning activity. If I were to plan a luxury airliner, I might say something similar: let there be a bedroom, let there be sofas instead of airplane seats. Let there be good food. etc. But I didn't actually accomplish anything when I outlined my desires for the luxury airliner. That would come later when it was actually built.
If one takes this approach, then he can incorporate scientific data and he doesn't have to spend his life fighting every new scientific discovery as the YECs do. This approach leads to the reading of Genesis 1 like this:
God said: "Let there be light":
Narrator said: " and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."
God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
Narrator said: "And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
God said, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear:"
Narrator said, "and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth:"
Narrator said, "and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day."
God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth:"
Narrator said "and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."
God said, "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven."
Narrator said, "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day."

[Note that the narrator talks of God in the 3rd person ]
God said, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind:"
Narrator said, "and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth."
Narrator said, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat:"
Narrator said, "and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
By viewing Genesis 1 in this fashion, it is totally consistent with the ancient age of the earth and the scientific data.
1.There is no indication of WHEN the creation actually happened. The narrator merely indicates that from his perspective (long after Adam and Eve) it was an fait accompli.
2. It also makes sense of the plan that God had to allow the land and the water to bring forth life, which is exactly what evolution says. If I say, "Let Sam draw a picture," I am not the one drawing the picture but Sam is. Similarly, when God says, "Let the earth bring forth the living creature," it is the land who directly brings for the living creature. God delegated the creation to the land and water.
Thus, I beleive that Genesis implicitly teaches evolution
3. Genesis 2 becomes an account of the creation of man long after Genesis 1.
References
Charles F. Horne, The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East, Vol 4, Medieval Hebrew: The Midrash, The Kabbalah, transl. By W. W. Westcott et al, (New York: Parke, Austin, and Lipscomb, INC, 1917) available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/mhl/mhl05.htm
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