(This post follows up from the post The Framework Hypothesis & Church Unity)
I received the following comment, from Dr. Scott Clark, on a previous post. I much appreciate Dr. Clark's willingness to dialogue, since I think it worthwhile to discuss the Framework (or Analogical) View. My reply being somewhat lengthy, I decided instead to start this new post.
1. Even E J Young, who advocated something like the Framework in the 40s and then criticized it in the '60s admitted that the first three days could not have been solar days since there was no sun. That doesn't seem like a remarkable observation.
2. Absent the sun we can't talk meaningfully about 6-24 creation. Who knows what the nature of days is without a sun? I don't and I doubt the Israelites did and I doubt that Scripture encourages us to speculate about what happened.
3. Some of us who wrote the letter adhere to the FI and some to an Analogical View. Hence the conjunction. We were simply calling for toleration of a view that does not contradict our standards or affect the system of doctrine contained therein (in distinction from some modern formulations of covenant theology which do either contradict the standards explicitly or implicitly).
4. Once more, to assume that a non-6-24 view implies or teaches that the creation days were non-historical is a petitio principii. There's nothing about either the FI or the Analogical view that implies that the days were not historical. It merely takes an agnostic view (as I do) or it says that the length/nature of the days is indeterminate. Once God says, "let there be" in some sense "history" begins. Strictly, as I understand things, time exists from the point at which there is some way to measure it (e.g., the sun). I'm not a scientist, so I may be wrong about these things but I can't see how the days cannot be "historical" but it is a history that we cannot describe in much more detail than we have from Scripture simply because of the absence of data. I suspect that absence of data is intentional and it's an exegetical mistake to try to make the text answer questions it wasn't given to answer.
This quest to make the text answer questions it doesn't mean to or to impose ecclesiastical policy (e.g., "we must hold 6-24 creation") on such a basis is what I call QIRC in my book, Recovering the Reformed Confession.
Thanks for your response.
1. Actually, I agree with much of what you say regarding 6-24 creation. However, I think you are largely attacking a straw man. It seems clear to me that Scripture teaches: (1) the Genesis days are defined as periods of light and darkness (Gen.1:5) and (2) Days 4-7 are solar days (Gen.1:16-18). I would have no great concern if you were to argue, like Herman Bavinck, perhaps, that solar days may have been of longer duration before the Fall or Flood.
2. On the other hand, in your earlier post you said your view is close to that of Dr.Robert Godfrey. But Dr. Godfrey says “the days and week of Genesis 1 are presented to us as a real week of 24 hour days” (God’s pattern for creation, p.85). So, Godfrey, and presumably yourself, seem to concur that the Bible does present 6-24 creation.
3. From my perspective, it is not clear that Framework or Analogical Views differ significantly. They both seem extremely vague when it comes to describing what the creation "days" actually are and what the word “historical” really means. What does seem clear is that they deny Genesis says anything of historical or scientific significance about either the sequence or duration of the creation events. Indeed, it seems to me that these views entail that Genesis 1 says absolutely nothing of historical or scientific significance other than that God made everything. Please correct me if this not so.
The problem, as I see it, is not that we are asking questions the text cannot answer but, rather, that you are questioning the content of what the text presents. The problem is not one of adding to Scripture but, on the contrary, of subtracting from it.
4. I find your exegetical basis for such denial very weak. The only ground you gave was the claim that Gen.2:4 says creation occurred in a day. Godfrey uses the same argument (twice even: p.81 and p.90). Yet, as both you and Godfrey surely know, this argument is entirely spurious (see my critique). This is hardly serious scholarship. Other exegetical arguments commonly stated against the traditional view are little better.
5. Why, then, should we doubt that creation occurred as Gen.1 presents it? The real motive seems obvious: modern science. In your 2001 letter you strongly deny this. You write “Kline’s viewpoint is driven by his redemptive-historical...method of interpretation, not a desire to placate the arrogance of modern autonomous science. To imply something else borders on slander”.
But listen to what Kline himself said:
“Surely natural revelation concerning the sequence of developments in the universe…and the sequence of appearance of the various orders of life…would require the exegete to incline to a not exclusively chronological interpretation of the creation week” (1958, WTJ 20:146-157)
“To rebut the literalistic interpretation of the Genesis creation week propounded by young earth theorists is a central concern of this article…The conclusion is that as far as the time frame is concerned, with respect to both the duration and sequence of events, the scientist is left free of biblical constraints in hypothesizing about origins.”
“…I regard the widespread insistence on a young earth to be a deplorable disservice to the cause of biblical truth.” (1996, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 48:2-15).
Given such words, one might be excused for wondering: was Kline interested primarily in honestly exegeting Genesis--or in deconstructing it so that the scientist is left free of "biblical constraints"?
Does Dr. Godfrey differ from Kline? Godfrey begins his book by thanking Kline for his encouragement (p.11) and concludes it by linking defenders of the traditional view of Genesis with "anti-intellectualism" and denouncing creation science as a "pseudo-science" (p.91).
6. If adherents of Framework/Analogical just want tolerance and are really agnostic about the actual nature of the creation days, as they claim, why such hostility against adherents of the traditional view? Shouldn't they at least be open to the possibility that the traditional view is the one God intended? Why should taking the Bible at face value earn me the epithet of "anti-intellectual pseudo-scientist"?
7. Why do I make a fuss about Genesis 1? Because much more is at stake than just the creation days. It involves introducing a new epistemology and hermeneutic that place unwarranted priority on secular science, at the expense of Biblical inerrancy and authority. It undercuts the historicity of the rest of Gen.1-11. For example, an historical Adam and his fall are very plausible given the traditional reading of Genesis 1; they become untenable once one accepts secular chronology. For more details read my article The cost of an old earth.
8. In short, we should be consistent in working out a worldview based on the sovereignty of God and the primacy of His Word. This entails, among other things, that we judge science in the light of Scripture, rather than vice versa.