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LET THE WITNESS ATTEST
On Creation and Days, Churches
see below at Section marked
Department of Bible ... Vol. 11, Ch.
and Bulletin Forty Five 2017
In this Chapter, we shall consider the fact that in Isaiah 55:4 there is a Messianic reference to the coming Celestial King as COMMANDER, LEADER AND WITNESS.
At length, the two former aspects have been considered in this volume, Let God be God! Now it remains to apply the third, the WITNESS. Matthew 24:14 declares this:
"And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
John 3:11-13 has this exposition from the lips of Christ:
"Truly, truly I tell you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and you do not believe, how will you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven."
HE delivers a WITNESS, the GOSPEL CONCERNING HIM is a WITNESS: and these attest. What then do they attest ? Christ attests by BEING GOD, the One who God is (John 14:9ff.). The Gospel attests through the Christ who as God did great things on earth in the form and figure of a man, what these things were, meant and how they apply (Philippians 2). BOTH of these are a witness, and the centre and core of the witness is CHRIST HIMSELF. Indeed His Father attested likewise, in the works done by Christ (John 14:9-11).
When you see God, you have found the ultimate, the finale, the commencement, before time was, who shall endure when our kind of time is a rind from the orange, and the tree bears eternal fruit. John the Baptist was a witness TO CHRIST (John 1:7-11):
"This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
How important was this exceedingly popular prophetic figure, John, the forerunner for the Lord Himself, to whom 'all the world' turned in the adjacent region! yet at that, his purpose was to be a WITNESS to THE WITNESS, the string of whose sandal he felt unworthy to loose! (Mark 1:7):
"There comes one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. Indeed have baptised you with water: but he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost."
Thus a witness to this Witness who in Himself declares who God is, WHO in being seen declares the nature of God, who in acting acts just as God does (John 5:19-23), who is addressed as "The God of me!" and God Himself (John 20:28, Psalm 45), is a fitting prelude to the work of witness. HOW did Jehovah declare Himself ? in the Son who has declared, shown, as it were unfolded, or led Him forth (John 1:18). Here then is such a witness as God brings definitively of Himself to mankind, so that He utters this marvellous word: "I am the way, the life and the truth."
AS HIMSELF, together with the Spirit (John 1:32), He bears witness of Himself, with the Father (cf. John 5:31), so that the works and the presence of the Father as in the baptism, as in the voice from heaven: these attest Him and work with Him (Matthew 3:17, John 12:28-30, 14:10).
He did not state that He resembled the truth, or was like it, or that the way was something He would show, or that the life was a thing in which He was versed: NO! I AM the way, the life and the truth. ONLY God is that (Isaiah 46:10, Psalm 102, Isaiah 45:19, 43:9-11, 48, 41:21ff.), and in this He has no competitors (cf. Psalm 89:6). No one else can compare, control, communicate the truth, over all, for all time, and being it, have it.
Here then is that witness, for it is He, the LORD who swore that to HIMSELF would every knee bow, and in HIM will all be justified of His people (Isaiah 45:23ff.), and that it is in looking to HIM that they are to be saved for there is NO OTHER SAVIOUR (Isaiah 43:10-11). That is why, when it is to CHRIST that every knee MUST bow, and it is HIM ALONE, and in Him that the name of Saviour is to be found, so that there is no other name (Acts 4:11-12), we realise at once, that this is God as man!
Two exclusives are ONE; two of the same UNIQUE function are ONE. If a surgeon's hands and these ALONE can work a work, then in finding two hands, we conclude, should they have this facility, they are HIS OWN TWO HANDS, and that he is one. While this is mere analogy, the principle is sure: each of two is uniquely ONE GOD. Hence each is of the Godhead, each personal, of the same nature (John 10:30, 5:19ff., Hebrews 1:3), each distinctive: one God in three persons is not an option, but a declarative necessity.
The point is inescapable, as is the fact that Christ is thus HIS OWN WITNESS as God, to God, the Son in this case pointing to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus the baptism in the three names, is a baptism not into flesh and God, but into God - Matthew 28:19, it is not blasphemous intrusion of man into the realm of God, or of salvation into the realm of a man as Saviour who is not God, but it is the very unique function of God vested in man whose name is placed next to His own, not in rank but in series.
The God who refuses to give His glory to another (Isaiah 42),
certainly does not do so in this baptism, since all the names are His own! He
does not contradict Himself but those who derogating Him, deny the definitive
manifestation of Himself that He made, for who dare present God in the person of
Himself, as the epitome of human seeking for God (John 14), except a madman, a
blasphemer or the Saviour who as God, became man that man might as saved, come
Thus in BOWING to Christ, they bow to God, and thus in this very act the prophecy is being fulfilled that it would be to the exclusive, unique God that this would occur (Isaiah 45:22-23), that to HIM would every knee bow, who alone is God, and to whom alone it is due. In view of His being so, even Christ, so is it asserted of Him as of God, who in asserting this bowing would be the case, did so in terms of His Godhead as distinct from all else, anyone else, anything else, alone glorious and eternal.
Indeed, the REASON given why they should look to Him, in Isaiah 45, is this, that HE is GOD, and there is NO OTHER: that is why they should look to Him and be saved. It is in these monotheistic, alone-deity terms that He proceeds that He has sworn by HIMSELF that to HIM every knee will bow. His unique function, salvation, and His unique Being, God, these are those of a Sovereign over life, who has no equal, in terms of whose nature there are two results, one salvation by looking in faith (cf. John 6:40), and the other bowing, so that He is Lord and Saviour, God and Author (cf. (Isaiah 45:12), sole repository of such honour, since none other has what it takes to take what should acknowledge it, and in so doing, find Him.
It is NOT in others but in Him, that salvation is to be found, it is NOT in others but in Him, that deity alone is found, it is NOT in others but in Him that the chosen seed of Israel will be JUSTIFIED! These things are the site, the place, the function, the prerogative of GOD ONLY, and it is thus that in looking to CHRIST (John 6:40), in being justified by CHRIST (Romans 3:23ff.), it is in bowing to CHRIST (Philippians 2), that this is fulfilled.
Does a fulfilment of a unique prerogative occur when it is given to another! Is the sole majesty of the alone God gain fruition when it is found vested as to precise unique function, in another ? Is the challenge that it is He and He alone who does these things and is this, met by the emphatic stress that it is in another that it is all met! These things are absurd contradictions, and Christ who endured the contradictions of sinners is here given some posthumous insults to add; but since He is not only One who WAS dead but IS alive for ever (Revelation 1:18ff.), then it is with the living God that these detractors, violators and despisers meet. He is His own witness, and blessed are those who so attest Him (Luke 9:23-26).
That is why Thomas did not blaspheme in saying TO CHRIST, with whom He was in normal conversation, "My Lord and the God of me!" That is why Hebrews does not blaspheme when it asserts that to HIM, it is written, "YOUR THRONE O GOD!" (THE GOD, being the word used!). OF deity there is ONE, as Isaiah so categorically and frequently is given to declare, and of pretenders there are many, comically dismissed with an attendant gravity at their fiasco of pseudo-faith in themselves and their pretensions (Psalm 82), so that the divine irony scorches almost the paper on which this is written: gods are they ? We will see, for they will die like man!
As to God, who in heaven and earth has none even LIKE HIM (Psalm 89:6): He, the word of God, was God and was with God. Attacks on Him are assaults on God, divestment of Christ as God are defilement of God's express image (and it is idolatry to worship images). This is war and it is war on God. To undertake it in His own name is not mere blasphemy (if it can ever be 'mere'), but plagiarism and a violation of nomenclature like that of signing someone else's name to a cheque. One trembles for such.
Naturally Christ Himself was worshipped since God is to be worshipped and NONE OTHER (Matthew 2:11, 14:33, 15:25, 28:17, Hebrews 1:6 - where the angels worship Him, Luke 24:51), in the last case, this occurring even after His removal to heaven. It is for this reason that confronted with His claim as ridiculous, that Abraham had rejoiced to "see My day", saying, You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham! Christ met it with a domain of reality which was staggering to those who wanted to stone Him for saying it. Let us look at this event (John 8:42-59).
Here the issue is whether it is possible for someone born into this world, yet before this, to have seen Abraham, who is not coincident in time in this world, indeed, for someone such to have known Abraham's feelings at His coming to this world. How could He know what Abraham was feeling, how know that Abraham, who many centuries before gone to heaven.
How then ? It was, Christ indicated, owing to the fact that He existed before Abraham, "Before Abraham was, I am". The issue is WHEN and WHERE He existed that He might know Abraham in such a way that He could detect a change of feeling on the part of Abraham at the realisation that NOW was the time for Him to come on His mission to earth. In answering that aspect, Christ not only asserted that He existed before Abraham did, but that the relationship which He had, and continued to have, to chronology had this feature, that it is not coming and going, but BEING. "I am." Thus He is asserting an ultra-chronological mode of existence, and an ante-Abrahamic being both. Naturally, He is also asserting what the NAME implies, for it is that of God as in Exodus 3:14, and that DEFINITIVELY of God, given by God for recognition of HIMSELF, to Moses!
Naturally, unbelievers considered this blasphemy, the attribution to oneself of divine status, or the derogation of divine status to something nearer to oneself, so they sought to stone Him. It was the same case as in John 10:30, where they actually STATED their ground for stoning, namely that He, being MAN, made Himself God. There was no trouble about making Himself mighty or some sort of superior person; it was as God that He was deemed to err. His meaning was so taken, and for this, statedly, He was to be stoned.
Christ's witness concerning Himself is devastatingly clear, and it is essential to salvation, for how would you BELIEVE Him, far less believe in Him, if you rejected His identity! Thus in SEEING the Son, you have salvation (John 6:40), and in identifying Him you see the Rock (Psalm 62:1-3), God Himself, on which the church is founded (Matthew 16:18), the Greek distinguishing petra, the basis of the Church, from little petros, Peter! (Cf. SMR pp. 98-99).
the large and living rock from the stone to be founded upon Him, the
identification of whom, so that one might be founded on HIM, is the stated basis
of the Church, Christ quickly went into action to demolish the presumption of
Peter who took it upon himself to charge Christ against the cross. Swiftly did
this disciple learn the difference between petros and petra
(Matthew 16:23), and that in the most categorical of terms! So to presume was
actually a devilish thing!
Philip as in John 14:9ff., in not realising that in seeing Christ he had seen the Father, was asked in view of this, if he had not known Christ in that long association! Yet knowing God and knowing Christ whom He had sent is statedly what is eternal life! (John 17:3). Realising His identity is crucial to the results, as faith in God is not faith in a vague, humanly created entity of the psyche, but in the God of creation, judgment and redemption, who knows His own mind, and whatever may be the confusion of men, knows who He is and to whom therefore man must come.
If there is one thing clear in the Bible almost above all others, along with the love of God, it is this, that the truth is paramount, unchanging and essential, and that God as God must be known in terms of His revelation of Himself, NOT in the revelations of the human psyche and its arrogating extravanganzas.
What then is to be said concerning Christ and knowing Him, realising Him ? It is an identification of faith (cf. Matthew 16:17), but it is an identification. It is an identification which results in appropriation, in taking Him by faith to oneself as the sacrifice for sin (John 6:50ff.), as Saviour who God ALONE is (Isaiah 43:10-11), but it is nevertheless an identification. Giving false identity papers to Christ is to assault heaven, defile the truth and to confront Christ.
Welcome as free, are those who desire this, to do it, in the face of the overpowering, all-surrounding evidence of the One who DID ALL that had to be done, to identify Himself in power, in word and in deed, to the most minute detail (cf. Matthew 26:52ff., John 5:25-44, Luke 24:25-26)! Yet not welcome as bound, are they to Him whom they reject (John 3:19,36). It is well to be warned concerning confrontation with the only One who ever showed the entire power of God, the entire fulfilment down to the date of death, of Scriptures of the Messiah, and the entire love that excelled all.
HE is His own witness, and those whom He appoints are His witness, for God has taken care of witness in Himself, the faithful witness (Revelation 1:5), Lord, appointing to others the function of mirroring this witness, not distorting it, like those curved mirrors which make such outlandish misrepresentations of what they seem to reflect! It is God as witness or man, and what is man that one should consider him in such a guise, when God has acted Himself. Faithful is He, and Faithful is His name (Revelation 19:11,13,16), the Word of God. When GOD's word is in action, let man follow and not lead! HE is the leader and in Witness the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. None is faithful as He, invariant, inerrant, invulnerable, able to destroy the power of death in justice (Romans 3:23ff.), dying the just for the unjust to bring us to God: His words are like fire, and His truth is His own.
Alas, however, this witness is as much baulked at as are the COMMANDER and the LEADER functions that the Lord uses toward mankind. How deviously how many have tried and do try to use His name for their inveterate enmity and hostility to GOD, who Christ is, God the Word, the Son, trying to demote Christ and in the process doing PRECISELY what the High Priest Caiaphas did, condemning the reality of God when He showed it en scène in the person of Christ, by divorcing this from God and following the tradition-made god of his own imagination. Caiaphas in this joined the craft of what were later to be the Jehovah's Witnesses and the sects that deny Christ, just as he joins the Liberals and those more modern cults which seek to make Christ a revolutionary, a man of social compassion or some other derogated personality moving in the mansions of man of this or that kind.
The anti-witness of Christ, the rejection of God's own coming AS GOD so that to HIM should every knee bow, this is as old as the coming of Christ, and will be as new as the coming of the anti-Christ, who has his own pretensions to being God, who thus will fulfil Christ's word concerning one coming in his own name! (John 14:30-31, II Thessalonians 2:4-10). Indeed, it is precisely an unwillingness to receive the truth which Paul here assigns as the reason for anyone being so deluded as to move in such humanistic terms, advancing man to the status of God, instead of seeing the glory of God in His humbling Himself to take the format of flesh.
Such a one, such a bogus pretender, without the testimony of God but with the mouth of arrogance, oh such a one as that they will believe and receive! this was Christ the Witness's testimony. As to Himself, alone authenticated, wholly attested, doing what the Bible of millenia has declared must be done by the Messiah, Him they would not believe (John 14:26-31). So it was stated, and because this is true, the world has spun itself like a top that topples, buzzing or humming, but not humble or helped.
When the God who is, is rejected, then the God-who-is-not, is worshipped by his devotees (as from the days of Deuteronomy 32:17-21), for this is the One who is, and in sending to the gallows or to the swamplands of perfidy in the heart, THIS SAME JESUS, all the sects and theologies who reject this, His deity, do just as did the Jews at the crucifixion> It is in this way or that, a rejection of the identity of God and an affirmation of their own ecclesiastical structure or self-doting thought. "They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God," He says, "they have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols" - Deut. 32:21. Small wonder then that Christ excoriated their cultural traditions by which they would nullify the word of God, and some even dare to imagine they were keeping what they so defiled.
As the Jew has suffered, nationally, so will these enemies of Christ, for this, though one weep for it, are just that, as Paul declared of other deviationists from this grand spectacle which only once adorned the universe, God as man (cf. Philippians 3:18). Seeking for their own god, whether in science or technology or space or themselves or their power or their ingenuity or their machinations or their philosophy or their fraudulent churches which reject the foundation, and stand in air, fit to fall, they acquire no special Gentile status as immune, but join Israel in its self-imposed exclusion (cf. Romans 11:18-22).
As to the designation of Paul, it is in this very next chapter, after reviewing the fact that the Person who is the Lord Jesus Christ was both in the form of God and held it nothing to be sought out that He should be equal with God (Philippians 2:6), therefore, but elected to become man and to serve as Saviour, that we find the contrast. In this Chapter 3, is the posting of those who are divergent from the truth, who evidently use His name in other ways, so as to be an issue, as "the enemies of Christ" (Philippians 3:18).
The major difference from other enemies of Christ is simply that the sects of this type are ORGANISED, like Hezbollah against the Jewish State's existence, and so in parallel here, against that of the actual Christ. In this, then, they resemble those who crucified Him, and His body being unavailable (they might not want it anyway), they defile and crucify His name (cf. Hebrews 10:26, where superficial spirituality that finds no base, is exposed).
On this, see Things Old and New Chs, 9, 10, Epilogue, Appendix.
How has CHRIST WITNESSED to the Godhead, of which as one of three PERSONS, He is, in power and performance, in purity and intractability to truth at any cost or price, in service in sacrifice even to the Cross, in raising the dead, in deadening the raising spirits of the vehement and the antagonistic (Matthew 23, 22, Luke 11:52-54), in outwitting His enemies not with guile but with godliness, building not with stone but with Spirit, fulfilling every last prophecy, even the date of His death as forecast (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), His resurrection so that ludicrous 'explanations' of His being unavailable for display or even for being found, were offered (Matthew 28:13ff.). Was His body stolen while they slept, the guards ? Is this the testimony of truth ? What OTHER witness would be believed who STATED that he was asleep when it happened ?
Yet the Lord performed His consolidation of His Church, His attestation of His eternal life, before all, even the scientifically persistent (John 20:20ff.), and meeting all tests caused His church to rocket into life, and to swamp an Empire which, like Israel, desired with passion to extinguish Him and His people, and slaughtered the Christians, only to have one Emperor in later time, declare himself ... a Christian!
This witness needs no woeful contradiction of man to fulfil it; He did not come to earth in order to have others acclaim who God is. It is HE who is the Christ, the One whose word is to be heard by any who are of His people (cf. Deuteronomy 18:18-19).
His word, work and the Bible which was completed at His command (John 14:26, I Corinthians 2:9ff., Revelation 22:19ff.), is its own attestation. Those who witness do not go back of Him, above Him, or beyond Him to say or show who Jehovah, the LORD is; for He has come and done it Himself. How puny those who with false prophecy that is not even fulfilled as with Jehovah's Witness and Seventh Day Adventism, changing the matter rather than admitting the fault, should unlike Him, whose word is truth and whose attestation is truth, dare to compare their witness with GOD HIMSELF as HIS OWN WITNESS. It is indeed not to them, but to Him that EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, to God Himself, Lord both of the living and of the dead: "For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living," as Paul declares (Romans 14:9).
As to that, there is only one such Lord! nor is there any other God (Isaiah 44-45), whose ways are His own, His lordship undivided and undispersed, His honour and majesty unshared (cf. Isaiah 42:8). Of others, the Bible knows nothing, and as God says of such devices, "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any," so that others seek to advance on the knowledge of God, and this is indeed what they do, and what constitutes the appalling blasphemy of all such action. Small wonder Hosea says of such things in his own day (Hosea 9:7), "the spiritual man is mad."
Such things are the work of patent delusion ... nothing! that is, except for the biblical prediction of false prophets (Matthew 24:24), which covers the case.
Let us now look at some of the errant ways of wrong development today, and in this case, we will look at a divergence breaking out in the Presbyterian Church in America, in which (or a tributary), this author was an ordained Minister for over 30 years, before being led out of it because of its long sustained, patent and gross departure from Scripture's requirements. In this case, it is the creation matter which is in view.
Here we use a Chapter published some years ago, but it is revised, extended and applied to the point of this chapter. This is Section A below.
After that, a United Nations movement is noted, and this too is considered in the light of false witness. These are of naturally of very different kinds. Thus the former is a work showing by its methods the deviation from doctrine; and the latter is a movement showing by its subversion, using theological terminology for secular purposes, that it too is prophecy outside the gate! This is Section B below (Ch. 13).
Both of these together, the one more subtle, the other more gross, evidence at our own time, movements of some substance, affecting many lives, with many ramifications, against the LORD AS HIS OWN WITNESS.
It should be clear that when it comes to professing Christians, one by no means presumes to judge, but merely applies the word of God. If they err, they err; and when it is contrary to the teaching of scripture, and sustained over time and test, then one MUST leave, for it has ceased to honour the Lord where test applies, and ALL things MUST be tested (Romans 16:17, I Thessalonians 5:21). AVOID is then the word, and avoidance does not entail DEALING.
First, then, let us consider the creation activity in the PC in America as Section A, and then the UN activity as Section B.
Indeed, the former has now been extended, so that it is best to complete this chapter with this element; and then to give the second illustration of the need of biblical authenticity in life and thought, in the next chapter, Ch. 13.
See The Pride of Life, the Prince of Life
and the Destiny of Man Ch. 1 and concerning Churches involved in various ways, see News 97 at this point.
See also on Days: The Bright Light and the Uncomprehending Darkness Ch. 9 and in overview broadly,
THY WORD IS WONDERFUL Ch. 6.
THE QUESTION OF DAYS AND DAZE
- DICTUM NOT DREAM
DID GOD MAKE DAYS IN DAYS OR IN DREAM-TIME ?
Is the thought unpleasant ? Yes, but the answer is more to the point.
(Note that all excerpts from our own works,
may be adapted or expanded as seems best for this use).
THE REPORT OF THE CREATION STUDY
of the Presbyterian Church in America
allows magnificent but intrusive
liberty for the human spirit;
and moves with flamboyant ebullience into the realm of special permission,
even concerning the word of God.
It is time to pause and ponder, to revert to what is written.
It is not philosophy reading
the word of God, and appreciating it,
in its own light,
that is wanted,
but the eyes of understanding
giving to Him the honour that is His due,
and leaving philosophy with other vain things.
1. Let us hear how
the thing has progressed, quoting near its end
(a 90 page report, presented to Assembly):
Presently, we can admit that as recent creationists we are defending a very natural biblical account, at the cost of abandoning a very plausible scientific picture of an "old" cosmos. But over the long term, this is not a tenable position. In our opinion, old earth creationism combines a less natural textual reading with a much more plausible scientific version. They have fewer "problems of science." At the moment, this would seem to be the more rational position to adopt.
Recent creationism must develop better scientific accounts if it is to remain viable against old earth creationism. On the other hand, the reading of Scripture (e.g., a real Flood, meaningful genealogies, and actual dividing of languages) is so natural that it seems worth saving. Since we believe recent creation cosmologies are improving, we are encouraged to continue the effort.
Here is the old Presbyterian unwillingness to be clear, which has ruined its history in various places for almost a century. Its scholarship, once a dream of endeavour, now turns to philosophic options, as though the word of God were not in itself as clear as it says it is (Proverbs 8:8). If Paul could produce deep things to challenge, there is nothing of creation which is put as astonishing; and it is NEVER the Bible which is unclear. Instability in the expositors it is which is a chief thrust of the forces for divorces of the word from itself (II Peter 3:16).
Actually, as shown in such sites as
That Magnificent Rock Chs. 1, 7 E, 8,
in SMR Chs. 1, 2, 3,
in A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9,
in Stepping Out for Christ Chs. 2, 7, 8, 9, 10,
and Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Chs. 4, 5, 6,
Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13,
Joyful Jottings 3 -
the due use of scientific method leaves nothing to be desired in the way of clarity concerning creation. Indeed, logic positively shouts with joy in the presence of the word of God, not only as demonstrably so, but as impregnable in stability, and coherent in concept in the presence of the myths of the 20th century which developed into the mental manacles of the 21st., with their insoluble logical problems, born of their fallacious model (cf. Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host, The gods of naturalism have no go!).
The due approach to the text, as the justly famed author and Professor E.J. Young used to say, is to take it as it stands without regard for the special pleading of 'wisdom' from this world. That changes like a baby's nappy; the word of God never changes. Moreover, the more it is imposed on, whether by conservative philosophers or radical punters with thoughts, the less glory is done to Him who SAID IT, because it was RIGHT; and He who sent it because IT IS TRUE, speaks it with CLARITY as He declares (Proverbs 8:8), He being the source of the very brightness of light. If sometimes a thing must be searched out, this is a test and a challenge, by no means insoluble; and does one not do this with one's own students at times, in order that they may the better understand and more deeply construe! Yet one does not leave in doubt, what one is about...
As to His word: some of it is harder than other parts;
but there is never any excuse for delinquency with what is written,
as though a wise supplement from current society were necessary. At present,
the ludicrous character of the wisdom of society in the special area of
creation is so vast as to make mockery its very name (cf.
Aviary of Idolatry and
Laughing Stock, with Wake Up World! ...
Ch. 6); while the sobriety
and scientific rigour, logical coherence and vigour found in what the Bible
says, both in principle and in practice, makes any thought of a problem,
to distinguish from cultural captivity, or mere lassitude (cf. TMR
2. Now let us taste another point made in this special
REPORT for the PC in America.
(See also in this topic, Spiritual Refreshings for the Digitial Millenium Ch. 2)
There have been various attempts to resolve the dilemma of "solar days" without the sun. One suggestion is that perhaps the light bearers were actually created on the first day and only "appointed" to their respective roles on the fourth day. Those who pursue this line of argument usually propose that these heavenly bodies were hidden (from whom?) by some sort of cloud cover until the fourth day. Except for the fact that this assumption contradicts the clear statement in verses 14-19, such a scenario would pose no difficulty*1 to the Calendar-Day view, as it clearly does to those who posit "days" of eons in length. An alternative view (dating back at least as far as Basil), that is much more consistent with that proposed above, is that the light of the first three days was light emanating from God Himself, just as the description of the final state indicates that God will be the light, not the sun or moon. "And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb." (Rev 21:22) Thus the Bible opens with God shedding His light upon the creation and closes with the same.
COMMENT: There are various errors in this. In part but with considerable amplification, we shall quote from SMR.
The chief point is simply that it is NOT a matter of the Lord having presented these luminaries and then appointed them to their roles on day 4, as if there is some DIFFICULTY. It is a FASHIONING or MAKING that is in the text, not a CREATING in verse 16. There is a PURPOSIVE creation, or a moulding of FUNCTIONALITY for the purpose, and it is this which is emphatically in view.
In verse 14, they are to BE in the firmament
with the purpose of dividing night from day,
for being signs and for seasons,
covering days and years.
They are also to give light on the earth (v. 15).
Thus there is the issuance of light into the initial darkness, and we gain the institution and phenomenon of light. It does not stay. There is no conception of measurement of time but only of the difference between the kind of thing before light was made, and the kind when it is made and that as one preceded the other overall, so now it has a nocturnal going and a luminous coming (1:3-5). It is not made functional in the combination of ways specified for the fourth day, nor at this stage, with them all the purposes cited, nor with the additives themselves, nor is it said to have the precise form and enriched being which enables the later purposes to be fulfilled in full and function.
If it serves a primary function, in day one, that is all. The concept of making a creation account which uses the terms we have in use, and goes on using them in the same book but with entirely different meanings both from what we have, and understand by the term 'day', does not give an account of creation. It sacrifices it, and would give instead the result of intrusive, multi-definitional, contra-natural confusion. We are dealing with a creation and an itemisation of what God created, not with what He did not create.
In the text, we move by direction from attention to the basics in style and general, with what they at first imply, on to attention to the light in verse 4, to the specifics of the feature, light, which are now exposed to the intellect for viewing, as one seeks to survey the scene. In parallel, later at verse 20, we turn to the specific area of the seas, and their specialised features. That it should be imagined there is a problem, rather than a specification of presentation, as if by a lecturer's pointer, for diverse aspects and developments, as in all liberalism, is a massive task. Error is opaque.
It is as if God is not being permitted to speak (cf. Mark 7:7ff.). Moreover as we move from the primordial to the current, it merely adds elements of meaning to the text, exposing the implantation of different features into what is already basically assigned. Thus we come to the full structure and function of the created arena, in completed terms. The text adds specified meaning to terms, as creation proceeds, and then adds function till the norm of meaning is reached, not by twiddling the semantic dials, but by learning of the steps from generic kind to multi-purpose measurement specialisations and itemised purposes as they in principle now are.
Indeed, instead of using uncreated diversions in an account of created developments, which the text continually is, the alternative concept of supernatural light after the announcement of the topic, the creation of the heavens and the earth, as suggested in the extraordinarily diffuse presentation from the PCA on this matter, or imagining that a fully formed light source is in view, when no such thing is ever stated in the text till that phase is on the agenda (the terrestrial phase having been the cardinal topic of the first verses), it is best, in interpreting the text, to follow it, not supervise and impose on it.
This ignoratio elenchi, ignoring of the argument, is the chief fault of the diversion proposed by the departing church that authorised this semantic inventiveness. It is not known from the text how far the form, the fashioning in function and structure, of the day-time light source, which comes in the definition of day one, holds in day 5. What is known is that it is far from complete, needs more forming, just as the earth did in verses 2 and 4, in a celestial equivalent of a consistent text. This time, it is the turn of the heavens.*
But why imagine things and argue from a misstated source of ideas ? Assumption is irrelevant in interpreting what it is stated; it is this which is the key and course for interpretation, and God is to be given no assistance. He knows what He is doing already and says what He means (Isaiah 40 is exceedingly clear on this - for He needs no intrusive counsel from man! whether in text, or any other test of fidelity).
But what of the pronouncement of error overall, made in the PCA statement as
cited ? It is always best to realise that it is one thing to await in some individual, a realisation of an error, if it is not cardinal and propagandising; but to authorise error, the addition to Bible text of what is neither there nor warranted nor in the line of presentation, and misstate assault on the text in the process, averting its teaching as here can only be heresy, man giving God a lift up in clear expression.
What IS clear is this, that such an action is both presumptuous and misleading. I for one could not remain in such a Church, where the clear text was ridiculed and dismissed, as if to justify some intrusive substitute, unwarranted. It is in line with the poetic idea re Genesis, much extended and defended in an earlier Assembly; and this was a major feature in my own decision to leave the denomination without waiting on its authority to do so, just as I had to do with the PC of NZ, when they made light of the bodily resurrection of Christ, and I joined the RPCES, and was received as a Minister, by the same procedure.
Romans 16:17,as one example, is not shrouded in darkness... (cf. Separation and *2 below). And how some like dogs have howled! It does however give one occasion the better to appreciate some of the Psalms of David, as he wallowed in opposition, but kept a straight course.
Let us however return to the astronomical theme re light. It is not our present purpose again in depth to review the length of days 1, 2 and 3 on the consideration, noted by Professor Gleason Archer in his A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, that the text may signify the sun disclosed, or the concept of the light source invented earlier for day night consistency of meaning later, being as the text states, one of moulded or formed, rather than created in the fourth day (op.cit. pp. 177-178): the results we found were, practically, not wholly diverse in kind from the normal day conception we experience seven times per week. That is, in general terms, at the extreme; but of course the functions and the structural moulding needed are statedly imposed on the fourth day, and it is right to keep to that, including the multiplicitous light source being imposed. Nothing less can be imagined without violating the text*1pre.
The extent of the moulding and structural changes made after day one, where day is defined, and in day four, is unknown; but it is sufficient to fulfil the functions stated (not the giving of light here, with day and night type unrolled, for that was done already as stated, but its purposes and practicalities, components as they are known and were with format moulded, both in character and structural specifications). Indeed, there is the delightful continuity in specifications of generation(s), whether of mankind or the heavens, integrating all with a vastly emphatic and ingenious moulding to a relished continuity. This facility includes, as in the area of emphasis, a small addition TO THE PURPOSES of light in the site given to the topic, the stars.
In terms of the developing purposes in view in verses 14ff., they have a relatively small increment in illumination to give, and so a small reference in this purpose-built presentation.
As such they occur as man's site and situation, environment and provisions, amid a universe being brought into functional fulfilment in decisively defined stages, one ready for the account to follow, with the rest of history in one package and total continuity, both in character and structural specifications. Indeed, there is the delightful continuity in specifications of generation(s), whether of mankind or the heavens, integrating all with a vastly emphatic and ingenious moulding to a relished verbal and thematic oneness, like something moulded by fire. We do not have multi-definitional, non-explanatory, terms used in some exotic fashion, but the intent being to tell, explain, exhibit, put us in the picture of which we are part, allows use of language which fits our understanding, with only normal diversification, where it fits, as in Genesis 2, which retrospectively covers the whole Genesis 1 action to the point, in one, before developing its own components in the special area of man, the increasing focus.
What then ? The days might be different mechanically, if the mechanics were different; but it is precisely their general character and kind, we have reasoned (cf. SMR pp. 168-179, 190-197), that is clear, even if they are to be treated with care and precision, where the motions of these bodies (sun and moon individually, conceivably, on one interpretation), might not then have operated, and indeed their formation was necessarily incomplete as shown above. Days however without their basic mode of mechanics, and indeed without proto-mechanics designed but not yet fully operational (as in Poole's treatment) would be like papier maché substitutes for furniture, mere verbal machinations deployed for effect, not in this eminently practical account, for meaning where words do not change like the seasons of the year, or the works of French fashion designers.
Biblical days are correlated, then, quite explicitly with our world and its inhabitants, and in the divine action, there is a certainty of sequence that relates closely to the condensed coverage in Genesis 2:4. Present is no sense of arresting process. On the contrary: there is a sense of immediacy, there is a sublime monergistic or sole-worker emphasis, staccato commands coming like light into darkness, plenary power dictating and action happening to match with despatch. There is the utmost correlation between the divine power, mind and result in a manner which intimately associates with the use of the verb 'bara', indicating as its basic position, what we call creation, as distinct from mere forming. Thus Colossians 1 uses a most emphatic Greek term, in indicating that Jesus Christ created all things. Interspersed in Genesis are the formative actions, with the different verb we have in verse 14,16, which may mean making, forming.
When one refers to the Creator, in such a function, one is in the vein of what His power performs, as it is deployed in executing what He has in mind. We ourselves use such terms similarly, such that in our 'creations', process is not to the point: the idea and its outcome are closely related, and the more powerful the mind that has the idea, and the more profound, the more intense and intimate is its correlation, in general, with the outcome; and the more entirely irrelevant to the contribution in what is depicted, is anything else. Creation is a derivation of the one who creates; and where it is to God that we refer, it is to infinitude of creative power. Forming or moulding is then in another domain, less intense, not in the least presupposing anything such as what 'creating' constitutes, but broader and less demanding.
We have, then, earlier reasoned that the days of Genesis 1 are of a kind which correlates not with ages but with our rotational days. In the case of days 2-3, where there are not necessarily all the same rotational mechanisms at work, this is nevertheless the basic situation. We are speaking of the prima facie requirements of the text at this point. Day one, we reasoned, while not divorced from such a conception, held somewhat more richness of meaning, because of the institutional element, as distinct from the constitutional processes coming later; yet it also, in its monergistic irruption (Genesis 1:3), is not to be divorced from the character of the declaration.
The days of Genesis 1 are in line with the days we now have, once instituted, in their character. This fact correlates intensely with the monergism of method, the infinity of power of the Creator, and the terminology, so that anything further from patient, inventive process would be extraordinarily difficult to express. The presentation was first the institution of the platform, and then of the different parts upon it, all in the area of creation; this to be followed in each case by formation as further may be required, and performance of the thing created. There is crisp, sovereign, undeterrable fluency combined with the eloquent dynamism of speech.
Never was saying more clearly correlative to doing.
Thus, the intense emphasis on `spoke', and `was', is without doubt
an explicit indication
of the utterly irresistible (I should prefer even `resistless') power
and unhindered performance,
untouchable divine majesty... a streamlined and no-obstruction work pattern and procedure,
the production from infinite power.
To deny such things is merely to distort the words provided, which are as radical in terms of utter power performing, without restraint from anything or anyone, of utter resolve at work with exalted and majestic specifications fully fulfilled, as one could wish. It is nothing to do with vague nugatory thoughts, elements of distilled possibility, structural analyses abstracted, or even logical constructions outside the camp of actuality*1A. To imagine such sublimations would be like subliminal advertisements: ludicrous intrusions. Here there is neither money for it, nor good from it.
To continue: Archer, as noted, states that the Hebrew in Genesis 1:14 may be rendered,
"Let the luminaries in the firmament of heaven
be for the purpose of separating between day and night,
in order that they may be for signs, etc."
(This professor with Laird Harris has produced
The Theological Word Book of the Old Testament.)
Then verse 15 signifies their basic function as giving light (apart from being seasonal and signalising), once again, a verse on fire with purpose relative to BEING, verse 16 following with the performance, also stipulating purpose with specifics. IN verse 17, we find that
"God appointed them in the firmament of the heaven
to give light on the earth,
and to rule over the day and over the night,
and to divide the light from the darkness..."
WHY ? What is the point in so amazingly, so impactively precise and so strenuously brief a piece of writing, a very celebrity of terseness, in what could appear repetition ?
It is necessary for any view of the Bible which proceeds FROM plenary and immediate inspiration from God, as author to face this matter. If it were a mere matter of making and setting, while giving purpose, why not at least condense vv.15-18 ?
What however if the EMPHASIS and extensive specification coverage, be designed systematically to CLARIFY the situation, so that the DAY-DARKNESS alternation is now
a) given a multiple CALLING (verse
14), in terms of purpose and celestial specifications;
b) sequential with, but separated from the concept
of the basic LIGHT GIVING function,
c) made distinct from the IMPLEMENTATION
('and it was so') of the matter (verse 15),
in context with verses 16-18!
These last verses bear the responsibility of focussing interest on the precise WORK DONE IN FASHIONING THEM in the context of THESE 6 STATED PURPOSES, v. 16: while this with vv. 17-18 shows their being set in the framework of RULING, as the overall purpose. That, in turn, in the amplitude of the constellation of stars as likewise formed, remains relevant to the point of decisive direction knit with inimitable sovereignty! It is coded in majesty, styled in thrust, incisive in imprint, flowing in thought, developmental in dynamic.
We move from vast but simple illuminative fluctuation to multi-purpose rule in the domain of light, nothing wasted all meaningful. Thus, there is correlation with 1:1-3, differentiation, purposive definition and reflective oversight at the end, as of a work sought, wrought and now taught, clear, concise, particular, not to be confused with anything else, sui generis in the domain of forming and purpose for what is there.
Thus primordial preliminaries to give natural light with fluctuation are made into fashioned objects of multi-purpose precision, not just as in Genesis 1:9, a matter of appearing as a result of a former action, but distinguishable and visible as a result of THIS action, one of multi-purpose, precise-formed objects such as are now visible, as a result of the finesse of the specialised creative formation work now done (1:14), whether on earth or as now, in the heavens. We are talking about the supernatural creating and forming the natural, and the degrees of precision are noted as they go, whether resultants of earlier actions, or positive actions, purposes attached. These include sun and moon specifications, mutual relationships and such star completion as brought any and all pre-formations to the current type of version. All things have to be kept in mind always, without varying the perspective. There is diversification of language, and diversification of the type of action depicted: they match.
With these things in mind, THEN there is comprehensibility.
One can understand the addition of all in verses 16-18 if this be so. We are seeing
the work done to implement the purposes, to get transition from the verse
1 situation with the 'create' verb, to this with the 'make or form' verb.
It is not a mere parallel in this precise and brief account, to the "it
was so", but has an explicative force, otherwise not present.
Thus there is no separate verb in the reference to the stars,
"God made the two great luminaries, the greater light for ruling the day and the lesser light
Equally, it could read, He fashioned them. Thus Harris, Archer and Waltke, in their Theological Word Book of the Old Testament, note that relative to the alternations of the Hebrew term bārā specialising as 'create' and the one we now are considering, 'āsāh - 'to do' with all the similar options, this point. Concerning the latter, they state that it "may simply connote the act of fashioning the objects involved in the whole creative process." On the other hand, they point out, the other term, bārā, alternating in Genesis 1 with this one,' āsāh, "carries the thought of the initiation of the object" The heaven and the earth are initially brought to our eyes, in terms of bārā and we observe the forms, fashionings, formulations and insertions that are required.
In the vast tapestry of meaning available for inspection, we must choose what best fits the total and specific, the overall and the intimate context, with due regard for any contrasts and alternations, as just noted. Hence this translation of v . 16, as will appear yet more obviously in terms of the stress on purposes, in vv. 14-18, fits delicately and deftly.
"God fashioned the two great luminaries, the greater light for ruling the day and the lesser light
In the next sequence, in verse 20, to follow this episode, the waters, already present, are in parallel to this, given a purpose: to abound with living creatures. In vv. 14-16, light and expanse already being noted as present, the former with the normal pulsation denotable, of darkness and light, the new purposes are presented with new action to that point.
Each of these three verses is saturated with purpose, forged with the verb to make, form, fashion, or ordain, relating to that purpose, and the series is consecutive to this end. In translation, not only is each word, but each phrase, clause, intent, purpose and background to be considered. Collision of concepts or accretion of means unmentioned needs explanation; and where this is provided only by the translator, we are looking at something scarcely distinguishable from eisegesis.
When the translation is made without supplementary or contrary assumption, there is no apparent option. Day and night being terms used, and normalised, light being present in this domain, purpose being signified in this complex now past, the forging or forming must be seen relative to the purpose provided.
Fitting to consider too is the amazing majesty of it all: in v. 16, stars are added simply to the notation of the two significant heavenly bodies, sun and moon, "for ruling the night". The stars are merely part of the same sentence that has just been referring to the moon being formed. Each of the three has the same accusative prefix. Their parallel is intensive in the sentence.
The purpose of the moon being to rule the night, the sentence being one, it appears that the stars are here arraigned for the same purpose: ruling the night. Thus purpose embraces all three domains, sun, moon and stars, forming is the verb and ruling is the result: day and night. God does things, at His good pleasure, in scale, whether in the Exodus, the creation of space, or that of man!
This then in v, 16 is the simple narration of the fulfilment of purpose. This is the correlative of the movement from existence to purpose as the chief ingredient. For existence, it is so; for purpose, it is cited as fulfilled. That is all. Verses 17-18 further intensify the purpose and the setting in the expanse combination, as if to make it not only implausible but virtually incomprehensible if anyone should miss the transition of notation!
Here accordingly, in v. 16, the PURPOSIVE element is strikingly presented, repeated in the sense of ruling, amplifying in the domain of stars. Without doubt this must be one of the most purposive, multiply purposeful three verses in the Bible: 14-16. 17-18 makes it a quintet! Indeed, vv. 17-18 are quite explicit in showing this as a development from verses 3-5, there now being a RULING function, correlative to the new fashioning and formative work. Thus fashioning and the multiple purposes are jointly proclaimed, then the action of establishing them is exhibited, and then their effective dominion in their purposed function is shown. That is the voice of the quintet choir.
Five verses are insisting, persisting, decisively, incisively and concisely, in the most minimal of coverages, rich in grandeur, on PURPOSE to the point that it is amazing. It states it in intention, in multiple performance accordingly, in retrospect. This disjunction and conjunction - diversity from what preceded and combination with its own formula and format - is as apparent as a cat beside an elephant. It is impossible to miss, or to negate; and what is never here present in Genesis 1, it is mere verbosity. This is the PURPOSE section.
Purpose and the fabrication of the means, the appointment, the performance, the setting in functional place, all are dominant. The point is merely amplified by the consideration that verse 15, in terms which do not stress the purpose, unlike the context, already has, "and it was so", before verse 16 comes to the light, with its focus on fashioning! Having met the basic alternation, we now find the precise configuration and removal of obscuration, the casting forth of the light in designated fields of operation, with the functional precision for the purpose, amplified and re-stated.
This is the purposive arena, and what is being constructed is the fulfilment of purpose, in the already existing domain of distinguishable night and light, day and night so-called, in an arena of terminological clarity. If the light had been relatively diffuse, there is no call to attempt to make the terminology appear similar. That, it would be presumption itself!
Thus, the basic point is rampantly clear. DAY and NIGHT had already been ANNOUNCED in the ONE CONTEXT as OCCURRING BEFORE THIS ACTION OF VERSE 14, so that while the MEANS prima facie may have been missing and the thing direct and supernatural (i.e. light modulation without natural means), even though this whole account is the expression of things natural derived from the Supernatural One, in their created form and formulation: yet the terminology is coherent with the normal usage of 'day' which flows onto our present system, as the account proceeds.
Natural means in the case of the arrival of light are not hard to conceive, in a context of the creation of the heaven and earth. These as in day four, in terms of new specifications of function for the light source, which are treated in detail, will need moulding when that day would come, a working into format for the new function, as indicated in the verb; but the means-result procedure throughout indicates from the outset of the light command, something relevant, such as would form a (natural) basis for darkness and light. Without it, there would be a departure from the entire emphasis of the passage. God is providing natural means for divine commands. The concept that there is some 'problem' for this is like imaging that if one and one make two, two is too many. On the contrary, it is part of the system.
So too comes the continuity. Day, light and darkness, accounting for what is, is the revelation. How it is all generated into reality, is the account, terms being defined as is with notation of institution is the call. Light ? like this. Day and night ? like this. Life, like this. So it has come to be as it is. Such is creation and such the account.
Accordingly, it would be a flat contradiction of genre, meaning, deposition and descriptive procedure, if there were verbal mutation, terminological truancy: there is the phraseology used, and it does not alter in KIND, any more than the living creations later on. They too go on after their kind. We are dealing with specifics as appointed and found, and their commencement. What it is that commences is the thing in view, in each case: KIND of day or KIND of animal, or image bearer and what is so made is what is found. So we learn from the beginning what was the income for the outcome, the creation for that of heaven and the earth, with specifics within that creation spelled out as divinely decided for our instruction. It is not a class muddle or huddle. It is divine diction for a clear purpose: IN THE BEGINNING, it came, God brought it, and this is the account of how He did it, and our terms in their referents, are to be viewed in their proper and created place.
Thus Poole in his biblical commentary of such just and due fame, notes of v. 14, the "lights", that these appear condensations of the first light, more effective and functional. This is precisely the testimony of the text: the processive, the progressive, here in verse 14, shown in precise, multiple and multiplied functions. It so happens that it is also the view found in Matthew Henry's significant, six volume commentary on the Bible, expressed most naturally.
In view of the considerations adduced, including the ordinal nomenclature of each day, with its bipartite, morning and evening character, definitive of the meaning of the term, not only is assault on this development erratic; indeed, the very concept is contrary to the entire nature of the divine declaration.
The Lord is not suggesting scenarios, nor is He giving new meaning to the terms of everyday use, emphasised by the WAY they are used, and that repetitively. On the contrary, He is simply, decisively and sequentially declaring in understandable terms what is what and how what is, came to be at His instance. He shows how, why and in what order it came, with what contiguous developments, as if it were a manual for scholars on the one hand, and a statement for the layman on the other.
Into early history, it therefore progresses without interruption, but rather with situation cementing links, so that precisely that same sense of development from what is at the outset instituted, continues into human history: in each case, whether matter or man, the thing in view being exhibited in its nature, and with the repercussions of it, under divine control.
The Lord is not teaching us how to become spiritual entrepreneurs, using the raw material of His word, but students of grace, preferring the divine original to the traditions, so suppressive, autonomous, obscure and varied, of men. It is as in Mark 7:7ff.. What is needed is to take what is given; not to fashion it like mini-creators, into something else!
The word of God is clear to the one who understands (Proverbs 8:8); and the way to understand, sublime and functional, because wholly dependent on the speech of God, is this: Take it as it comes. Don't try to marry it, but rather receive it. Don't make it a basis for having a parade of the children of your own brain, but allow it to TELL you. It is then that its own intrinsic light, attested, unmolested by vagrant imagination, makes it so clear. It is then that on all sides it resounds with other scriptures, displaying one unchanging perspective, at peace with itself, as so many theologians are not with the text!
Let us then return to the point of terminology in Genesis 1.
If the purpose is to be clear (as in Proverbs 8:8) and
not contrived, wreathed and so forth, as there indicated of the wisdom
of God, then the result is this: there is no slide in the usage of these
Real darkness such as we know in KIND at least was the nature of the case before the lights were fashioned to be for the purposes as outlined in verses 15-16: aims which are multiple and permanent in type.
That darkness and light could have been separated enough, at least to be in the pattern and mould of day and night, is obvious, their modes penetrating in the successive ordering of things. Even if there were a vaporous tumult or movement in the newly made heaven above the earth, the heavens distinct above the earth, the light pulsing, the waters divided successively, until the relevant movement in vv. 14-18 completed the fashion and fashioning of it, indeed an ensemble being formulated and now formed into full operative efficiency: this merely explains the better, the force of the purposes found in 14-18.
Genesis 1:1 starts the creation with the heavens and the earth, 1:2ff. proceeds with the better formation of the RELATIVELY inchoate in more precise shape and serviceability, and the population of life into the unbound resources thus formed, while Genesis 1:!4ff. proceeds with the heavenly side of things, the terrestrial by this time having been greatly advanced in form. In this, similarly to the case with the earth, the time has come for more express moulding with precision for the purposes here stated in such amazing detail, and so we come to the light of common day, its purposes clarified, its means refined.
Nor is it some species of effort to make it easier, in didactic or metaphorical steps: the purpose is at the outset clear. There is statedly to be light with alternation from evening to the day it produces.
Then when the other matters are set rapidly in place as to the earth, there is to be an abundance of purposive intensity regarding the light, and a work of vigour ensues in meeting purposes now in order for the light, so that the environment is shocked into recipiency.
Was the earth then absent at v. 6 ? On the contrary, this is the next step in that domain. The earth source is very much present, and what follows comes into focus. Is it to be imagined that the entirety of the sequence is then forgotten, some 100 words later, when the heavens come into focus, at v.14 ? Why on earth should such confusion of point in a brilliant narrative be imagined! This is to intrude the bucolic into the beautiful, the unsystematic into one of the most systematic passages imaginable in its order and procedure in all things, and simple eisegesis.
All is now endued with eminent practicality, the institution of earth and heavens, the concentration on one and then the other, sequence is sated and the environment is functionally constructed, not waiting for absurd periods which do not allow the synthesis of living activities, or manipulation by some intrusive prating about imaginary purposes. We do not imagine that the earth is omitted from its basic beginning, when God starts more work on it, nor may we imagine that the heavens lack all that there initial functionality (v.3-5) implies. To do so, is to make the action-formation, institution-completion mould of the verses void. It does not say that our understanding should be without form and void, but that the earth was; nor that it was not there, but very much there, AWAITING further orders for further specifications.
So with the celestial, the heavens. Having all that in the nature of things is implied in morning and evening, which a simple light source could contribute, it is now, when the earth leaves centre stage for a moment, at least as primary notation, the new focus and what is needed for the intricate purposes now assigned, the moulding from matrix to multi-task array being held up to the eyes.
The purpose element is correlative in its amazingly strong, emphatically diverse force, to the intricacy of the moulding now in process in day 4. Evacuating verses 3-5 of their natural correlatives is nothing short of a divorce of pattern and program, progressive-processive step by distinct step style from the context, an invasion. For what ? to be able to make a new Genesis, with a new idea ? Why ? Its present idea COULD NOT BE CLEARER, without interpolation of what is foreign to the unfolding mode and the natural institutions to effect divine purposes which is the essence of the whole, from start to finish, the creation, and then the formation with information.
The divine purposes are stated with the utmost clarity, and in form, severity. The actions are sober and direct. It is no more a new form of literary expression than is any other chronology; it is merely in the grandeur of the scope that it surveys and the wonder of the One who provides the survey from such divine perspective, that the wonder and individuality consists. Any notion of hopping about conceptually, giving ideas about things in the midst of an arithmetical and product-fashioning parade merely contrasts with a stylistic majesty which is its own, with the simplicity and imperial character of the orders, and the notation of results and purposes.
The actions read precisely like those of a Josiah; but this time it is not a nation, but the universe which is in view. It resembles the operations of Joshua, but this time it is not an invasion of what is, that is to be found, but the creation of it and the formation of it into a fully operational, working model, where the logical assemblage is total in coherence, and indeed in vv.14-16 in particular is far removed from anything non-episodic, non-sequential, alien to purpose-on-initial product as its nature.
All that is needed is faith to receive it; and humility not to reconstruct it. It is enough to construct the universe and say how; it is too much to do it again in verbal form, on the part of one of the creations, as in turning precise, monergistic, sequential prose in a stated program into some kind of abstracted innovation, set in a class by itself, to allow manipulation, and divided into what is there and what is not, but is added. So do traditions arise to defy what is written, whether in 2000 AD or 100 BC!
Further, it is profitable to note more on verse 16. The action here is a MOULDING one which would lead on to a PURPOSIVE specification: rather like making a car that moves in structure, but then later, as a concentrated and applied act, completing all the specifications so that the whole gamut of its operations is possible.
Indeed, the stage is set for the heavens, not only verbally, but in parallel intimation with the earth.
Just as, following the creation of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1:1, there was some kind of earth, an entity requiring action, so we are in simple parallel from the one set of directions, to expect some kind of heavens, also and likewise requiring action. Verses 14-16 supply this, when the rest is ready.
When therefore their turn comes for attention, at Genesis 1:14-18, the inchoate state of the heavens is in its own turn, given moulding, and subjected to due forming to enable its full working order, just as was the earth, quite definitely present and ready as recipient for fabrication, was wrought on in verses 6ff..
Just what purposes were in view for the earth were in part duly spelled out and executed in 1:1-13; and so now at 1:14, is it the parallel case for the heavens, they too operative but only in a rudimentary way and deserving attention.
As the earth has its rudiments and so was a base for action (1:2), including light and its divine deployment (1:3-5); so is it with the heavens, already seen in operation in the specified light variation of 1:5, and now to be subjected to vigorous, sequential action as was the earth in 1:6ff..
The functional purposes are most clear, in both the domains stated in 1:1, namely the heavens and the earth. First there is the basic institution, with light, and its humanly normative fluctuation, set in the normal terminology for the same. Then each domain is focussed with detail and dynamic, in which the divine does not pause to dabble in needless detail, but in ample proportions, sets forth the immediate history of these foundlings, heaven and earth.
In the case of the earth, the movements of the divine on the creation are specified and collated. Then starting in verse 14, the divine attention is given to the astronomical aspect. Now we have the parallel in the processive, progressive work labelled, done and considered in review.
The simple fact is that Genesis 1:2 specifies that the earth WAS existence following verse 1, just as verse 14 takes up the celestial parallel. Forming in each case then proceeds. The text excludes any other option.
God created heaven and earth, done: we proceed to the earth case, as a topic, and are shown the divine actions and reasons, and then to the heavens case, as a focus, and are shown the actions and reasons. In each case, what is said to have been created, was; in each case, what was done about what was there, follows. Genesis 2 tells us that this is indeed how it was done.
Hence the heavens were there at verse 2's inception, like the earth; and thus there is no excuse any plausible, even conceivable, for pretending they were not, and that the evening and morning were a divine exercise in rambling exegesis, a flit of thought or a fit of forgetfulness. Being there, their exercise in whatever initial state, as paralleled in that of the earth, morning and evening can flow readily enough, for God knows what He is doing, and those who wish to indicate He could not have put them in a state which could in His view indicate light and darkness are clearly more knowledgeable than God. Such is the way of entrance for those who, entranced with the sophisticated follies of unbelief, set their hats and direct their thoughts to the horror of combining man's ever evanescent thought with the clear depictions of the divine.
This is then the clear intimation of the text regarding the reality of day and night, and its ready formulation in those terms, without difficulty of any kind. Whatever He does is seen as operative at the level of His action on the one hand, and its activities post-action on the other, ready for the next. This is simply the consistent way of things. In vv. 14-16 the purposive element on the basis of the original action to form and formulate for the initial result, morning and evening, is so highlighted that without this impetus to understanding it would be stylistically obtuse and superfluous, repetitious in a coverage where brevity is not merely present, but a work of art. Here then functional consequences must be inserted into the waiting vehicle in an emphatic focus on purpose, as when one might watch a potter in his work, and see him proceed to turn the top of the forthcoming vessel, with intricate care, into a usable lip, smooth and attractive.
There is no excuse or ground for departing from the text, whether one conceives of the light and darkness this way or that. It is the permission for departure as if some problem warranted it, which is wrong, awry, amiss and perilous. To actually sanction (splitting the infinitive reminds one of splitting from the doctrine of the Bible) things underivable from the text, is merely to add tradition to the text, and make a neo-Protestant Romanesque lunge. Let us be clear, the word of God is in authority and NOTHING else in doctrine. NO church has power to sanction what may not be gained by good and necessary inference from the text; and in this, the stress of the Westminster Confession is just (Ch. 1, VI).
Setting out such things in the name of the church for church comfort, connivance or acceptance is a breach not merely of agreement, alien to the word and spirit of the Confession's teaching, but of condition of membership. Worse, it is to use a church as an pseudo-autonomous entity, and bring in offence, on the one hand, and decline on the other. Against such things, exhortation must be made, and if not accepted, it becomes necessary to leave.
We therefore must cleave to the days as they go, so when they come, in basic notion. In this way, the author is not induced, if it were possible, to retract or to add or to differentiate without saying so, in his use of terms. It is true some thought does need to be given to the direct, miraculous, operations in days 1-3, including the institution at the first, as with regard to light; but it is also true that any real movement imported into that frame merely invents a novel feature, makes the account which is of ACTION AND RESULT to be divorced from its whole context, and passing by the specification of nature, becomes an incursive doctrine. "ADD NOT to His words lest He rebuke you and you become a liar," says Proverbs 30:6.
Sensitivity of conscience in any such domain is not merely permissible, but to be desired! From lack of the same, many churches have fallen into the mud, the thud scarcely noted as the delusive cultural approval of compromise resounds in the socially sated ear.
Indeed, in that way, the record would become not really an account but a combination of what it purports to be, a creation account, and what it neither purports to be nor presents at any demonstrable point: a series of partly explicated and partly submerged operations not noted, but operative nonetheless in the most basic of levels.
Such a diffuse concept contradicts the entire formulation and formula used throughout. Yet unfortunate as that appears, it is as nothing compared with the next step, where imagination gains no rein. It is then that we find, with these or such unwarranted preliminaries, the next and fateful step: the clear, well-known and normal usage of day and night which in verse 15 is EXPRESSLY designated in terms of the WORK of the formation and fashioning of the luminaries, is to be set against some entirely different sort of thing, not merely miraculously brought about by intrusive supervention in the laid out scenario, not only without announcement of that fact, but with total transformation of type from what follows*1B
Day becomes daze.
This begets a conception in which the same terminology in the same mini-context is to be attributed to NON-day and NON-night: the same vocabulary becoming stupefyingly mutant, and within a few words of each other. Day and night in the context of sun and moon AFTER day four, which is a virtual DEFINITION of the meaning, are now to be revised into an erratic concept, which junks these indications, before. Terminology becomes like an evolutionary dream, and clarity becomes an oddity at the will or taunt of the 'scholarship' which ignores the testimony continually made, in the text.
Who could pass such a paper at the most elementary of levels! Its slides are a slither and a wandering. Worse, to imagine that because God is great, He is not great on clarity in giving HISTORY, is merely a contradiction in terms, an evacuation of meaning, a nullification of phraseology, and of Proverbs 8:8. Moreover it comes close to lending insult to our Maker, as gratuitous as unguarded. It has, then, nothing whatever to do with interpretation of the biblical text either in its immediate or in its overall aspects.
Clearly therefore it is necessary to see genuine light and darkness gradings diurnal in portion, before day four; and while it is not a priori necessary to have these performed by the luminaries in precisely the present way: yet it is sufficient that they should loom and contribute something after this kind, although doubtless lacking in decisiveness just as the purpose of verse 14 had not yet been propounded and met. It could be argued that God could have turned OFF the light to create darkness, but this is to add to the text. The darkness-light progression is INSTITUTED, and proceeds as a specifically created thing, entity, duality, process following divine procedure antecedent to it, without alteration in kind, but with alternation of progress, as a thing in place, and working.
Darkness was. Day was. Day and darkness are both definable in terms at least in kind, of what we know as we find in the overall context. Though naturally the importation of more divine action than stated is unfortunate, its main danger is that it leads on as a precedent in principle. Like tripping on the sidewalk, it can lead to death by impact from a car when you are where you do not belong. It is, then, what follows that is fatal in this arena. It is the discordant divisiveness of double dealing with 'day'.
Thus, if we are to invent, then as soon as terms are arbitrarily defined to mean what they do not mean in the context, because of some desire, we are merely inventing the word of God, and may as well make a new gospel, in principle while at it. It is NOT WISE so to abuse the text. However, to reduce the term 'day' to a pair of discordant twins, this leaves the rest as mere fibrillation by comparison!
Let us then differentiate yet more completely. Thus, even if it were to be imagined that the darkness and light were supernaturally made to vary without the means in the first 3 days, it still remains that they were there. They happened. That is not in itself a DIFFICULTY initially. It is only difficult to the point that the Report INSISTS that the luminaries be not said to be there; and even then, it is so only to the point that this involves a completely gratuitous, stylistically obfuscatory intrusion into what is required by the text, and an alienation from the tenor of cause and effect duly following from supernatural invention, being outlined before our watching eyes. Only to that point!
Perhaps the extreme error of the situation makes one take enormity as almost pleasantry, by COMPARISON with what must and does follow.
Even though, accordingly, it is not at the critical outset, a FLAT contradiction of the dayspring indications, merely a truculent seeming metamorphosis into imagination without human exhibit, flat contradiction however is what it becomes in the light of the subsequent indications of day and night in their commencement specifications and functional code, as is the case with other commencements: plants, fish, flying things, cattle, man.
Therefore, by this time, the austere majesty of the text is humbled to the vision of the variable; its account of origins, which it claims to be, is made something else. The scaffolding of man is added to the word of God, and the imaginations of flesh become the focus. The word of God, nevertheless, remains. Humiliation brings no alteration, and all, in the end, all that is humbled, is the hapless and puny panzers of man.
The blitzkrieg brings
fury, but no light.
Energy for the Erratic is Not Parallel with Grounds for such Liberties
Let us survey the scene, then. The Hebrew, Let luminaries be in the heavens for the purpose of separating … (Archer's rendering, op.cit.) is purposively introduced, and completely harmonisable with the concept that the creation of the heavens and the earth included the cosmologically requisite elements, which in verse 14 are given a fashioning towards their precise specifications, one and all, as multiply announced in v. 15. The progressive institution mode is thus continued.
Their formation for the purpose stated in verse 16, is then merely summarising. Created at the point of stating creation in v. 1, they are formed for a purpose in vv. 14-16; nor is there is the slightest contradiction of the text in so saying, but in fact this provides the simplest of readings of it in conjunction with what went before; while it equally provides grounds for the special features of the text as noted above. It thus reads coherently and in an integrity of fluency.
Hence this PCA excuse for delving with considerable approval, at a formal teaching level, into various figurative and imaginative substitutes for the clear account of things in terms of terminology which is expressly set in the astronomical realm, with stated purpose such as we see, is without ground or verification. It is mere textual intrusion. It is regrettably a case of setting at nought, or making vain, or making of no account the word of God through your traditions, as Christ put it (Mark 7:7).
Indeed, one has the advantage
that rarely before has the sheer effrontery of the matter of tradition (outside
Roman Catholicism) appeared as much as in this case. Here the creation lab book
is stated in practical and simple terms, and yet it seems they have such trouble
that all the worlds of philosophy have to be entreated into it, lest it should
be clear, lest they should
understand and proceed with wisdom!
The facts ...
The facts are these: heaven and earth created; formations and formulations added; light and darkness from day one, so named, and purpose-making functionalities made apparent with their specifications stated and fully operative, in day four. The Hebrew admits of either view at this point - making in toto or forming for the purpose on day four; but the emphasis is without doubt on specialised purpose, which is the entire framework of this day and on any formation relative to it, letting the heavenly aspect now receive attention, after its initial specification, just as earlier in the Chapter, the earthly formings were noted. This is the happy order of progression, both for each, and from the one to the other in one of the most orderly discourses one could find.
This together with the fact that verbally, this is a matter of formation and the original is creation as noted, and the terminological ‘problem’ for those who want a darkness and light in the context of day and night to mean something radically different from what it means when it is used some words later - an eisegesis extraordinaire, an inventive attention, a mutilation obstructive and invasive, what does it imply ? It means that there is in the end no liberty at all. Specifications for light and darkness, day and night are provided. Imagined by some, to have been different though the same terms were used, they are nevertheless developed formed as is the continual mode in the chapter after the expression of creation: and the purposive emphasis which directs and indeed alone explains the otherwise repetitive character of the text in verses 14-16, matches the text in its clarity and pith.
Just as step by step, each a prelude for the needs of the next, are to be seen re the EARTH in vv. 9ff., and its increasingly forged identity and operation and contents, so re the HEAVEN in vv. 14ff., we have the same sense of structure for purpose, and progress for consummation. The ENTITY is in each case there, whatever is implied in it, and then the ACTUALITIES are forged. So in v. 14 the heavenly matter is addressed, as in Archer's translation, or in any case in a purpose-moulded statement, and then we see not repetition, that it was so, and THEN that He set them there, but that He first fashioned them with purposes more precise in mind (seasons, years), and it was so, and then endued them with a ruling function, a multiplicity of precise function which demands review in those terms. Here the difference for example from vv. 11-12 is this: that each has an intent and the 'it was so', but in the case of 11ff., we are simply told of the obedience of the earth to this institution - "and the earth brought forth", whereas in vv. 14-16, we ALSO have a DIVINE ACTION TO FOLLOW this, "Then God fashioned ...".
Our point is simply this: the emphasis is on the fashioning as a feature, it is a litany of lordship in sequence, where a mass of procedure being condensed, not simply as in seed-plant, but as in point of matrix furnished in THIS way and in THAT way for THIS purpose and for THAT, the interstices of the thing need further review. We are getting a close-up and we need to SEE it happening in the forging sense, as both precision and purpose are expanded into the light of common day as we know it, so that it is no longer merely morning and evening, as already institution in this move from the Creator, in steps, to the creation, but now years and night and stars and heavens in a vast composure, an intricate composition of vast purposes and vast mouldings.
Summary of formation-purpose fulfilment in v.16 follows from the intricacy of the arrangements imposed into the light source arena, a summary of the new situation relative to creation's known situation, at the genesis level. Had this been a de nouveau situation, formulate, make, set off, then the usual method could have been followed, He said and it was so, and this then happened. Here it is said and it is so; but after this, there is first a divine action introduced in v. 15 after its being so, and then this formulative conclusion in v. 16.
THIS is precisely what God did with the assembled situation as already noted, its terms and the actions meaning what those terms are normatively taken to mean, except to the degree any additive is yet to be, as is specified in vv. 14-16. He took the celestial already not only CREATED but made to work in terms of morning and evening, and then, using the same terms, He indicates what is to be done, and then gives the overview of the celestial module for the more perfect indications of the total celestial role RELATIVE to the creation, man, this world and all that was to follow for it in the sphere of its more ultimate purposes, which are then narrated, not in strange, semi-magical seeming, abstruse ways, but each point, as with Abraham, naturally being there, after the creative originals to give it place, formed and forged to fulfil to the uttermost the highly precise purposes in view. .
Thus, the earth is not taken as requiring a new statement in v. 2, but is there for action after v. 1; and so with the heavens, after v. 1, when their turn comes, they too are there for action, the forming as specified, with the vastly directive purposive content provided, almost in case anyone should forget so soon, the duality and the complementarity of proceedings, heaven and earth created, then earth's modes, then those of the heavens, till all is fully formed and ready. Each has what is initially provided, before the next step. Series and sequence logically and chronologically are not only tied in substance, nature of progress, but arithmetically, and not only this, in terms of arithmetically stated days and nights, so that not only the meaning of the term 'morning' is found to be correct, but the sequence in arithmetic order merely stresses that the events are capable of systematic steps, first the first, secondly the second. To dissociate what God has joined, to divide what God has put together, to divorce the sequence arithmetised, and the terms given successive meaning such that what IS is given its ORIGIN, is to make a new Genesis.
The issue is not small. It is nothing less than daring to invade Genesis with culture-made concepts which vary from generation to generation, and to impose a different sequence, with a different terminological meaning than that to which the words give point, at every stage, to make an exception from numbers, from meaning, from sequential adequacy of one before the next, to upset a prime ordering feature tabbed in sequence, like an itinerary which is to be taken in terms of some concept or other, that is not sequential, turning numbered days into dissolute segments of whatever you wish, with no constraint but desire.
Problems invented mean text dissented; terms made mutant mean text disputed; structure ignored means stricture implied. It is a hideous assault.
It is always better not to assault, but to receive assault from the word of God, to find from its formulations and not to inform it with one's own.
That is, as far as day is concerned,
uniformity of basic concept remains,
and pad of performance origination
institutes such known items from the first in an account via creation,
like the rocket pad before it takes off;
and difficulty is as unclear as the cloudy heavens in the beginning when the waters were gathered.
They are not other in kind, in capacity, in coherence, in meaning, in time, in chronological notation, in system, in stuttering, in staggering, in revision minor or major. Each thing created, then instituted, then formed and provided with more data for its field, is dispersed as by a wind, but surely not that of the writer, who is made increasingly irrelevant to a roving reader-intrusion. Not one vision, but two come into synthetic relationship, as addition is made to the word of God. It adds non-sequence to sequence, non-presence to stated presence, diverse meaning to the use of terms, and turns into an uncertain and variable turgidity, what is not merely consistent in itself sequentially, but eminently so, as presence, purpose, performance criteria are followed.
Earth base ? to be sure, there but without form and void, this earth; but now look at waters and seeds in succession. Heavens base ? to be sure, now and equipped with light and morning and evening alternation of the same; now look at forming stars and moon in all their intricacy, populating the heavens with precise-purpose-correlations needing review in v.16, where purpose-performance parallel summarises this incursion as a purpose-program. The past HAS BEEN STATED, in the light-darkness alternation and vocabulary chosen; the NEXT is added, and new depths provided for what HAS BEEN STATEDLY DONE.
Not merely is there consistency, there is a cohesion like that of the human body. The embryo is THERE, when sited, and develops from that point. So the heavens and the earth are THERE, when cited, and sited, and AS cited, with all that each statement implies in the progression from the mind of God via creation to institution; and then via institution to completer purpose statement and execution. It is like seeing a beautiful jet-engine, and insisting that the exhausts do not MEAN exhaust but that they are ways of looking at the intake. Words are given new meanings, functions as stated are subtracted, what is married is divorced, what is kin is made alien. There is and can be no excuse for this unmandated man-handling of the text of the Bible.
In the end, it seems the liberals have made some latter-day captives after all, with some afraid to adhere to the text, apparently lest someone be offended: but with scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees in modern garb, and social Herodians, what does it matter ? Some will bring up straw men; it is only a matter of a match and they are gone.
What however has no match is the clarity and force, the power and the endurance, the indefeasibility and the joyous factuality of the word of God. Snivelling sleight of hand is irrelevant to its majesty; clarity comes with reverence for its integrity. This is a reward: adhere to it, and it sings with harmony and grandeur, accuracy and adequacy. Leave it one joy, and as with a medical prescription, you are quickly displaying nothing so much as your own ignorance, in daring to dabble in the divine (for the mouth of God is … divine, its utterance clad with divine competence), and inherit a host of evils.
There is one great and flaring exception to that direct simplicity. This, however, is not an exegetical option but an energetic work of the flesh, thrust into the text like a tornado into a community.
This, it is to move from what is written to some construction at odds with the stated fact that this is the history of the creation of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:1-4). It is presented as history; it is stated that THUS it was done. On the other view, it is NOT done thus, the terms do NOT mean what they are used to mean in the very context without intermission, so that they are charged with mutation, and the purposive thrust in v.14-15, being bypassed in thrust, is turned in effect, into initial creation without warrant. Some would even go further and junk the whole precisely defined 'day' in verses 4ff., altogether, allegorise them, or accord to their definitive repetitiveness, a systematic hiatus. It almost seems that anything is acceptable so long as it is not deducible from the text.
If you can do such things, you can do anything. We can turn parables into literal works, literal works into parables, either into anything at the liberty and command of the reader: if such can be done, then writers are left mere midgets in the hungry maw of the concepts promoted for the readership in such approaches as that of the Report. Definitions depart. It is in such cases, that one readily finds allegories enter with Origen. Originality becomes man's; longsuffering comes to the Author. If this be the case for authors, why write at all !
Indeed, when God is back of the writing, it is more than unwise: it is invasive and cumbrous, to say no more, so to intrude into His word, who is perfection, and to manufacture structural imaginations without textual warrant of any kind, to alter definitions, to invent grounds other than those given, with enormous emphasis and total explicatory power. To do this in the face of clarity and cohesion, in stated purposive precincts is an enormity which to suffer, makes the gigantesque the minuscule.
- It is indeed intolerable to have
- this area and arena presented
- as ground, therefore, for the usage of various fictional, arbitrary, variable, intrusive IDEAS about what MIGHT be meant,
- about what parable, parody, pre-fabrication of structure from the mind of man, the reader, is to find accepted as sound and reasonable:
- when there is no slightest ground for moving from the concept of consistent use of terminology,
- clear use in terms of stated purpose of the narrative and the light,
- and the fact that the creation’s history has been given.
If it were possible to turn from such parameters, in innocence, as if they were mere figments and the imagination of man was paramount, then no text could be ‘safe’ from the ‘inventions’ which alas Israel was all too prone to make in dealing with things divine, in its own time likewise (Psalm 99:8). Of this, we find it written: HE the Lord, took vengeance on their inventions. In fact this sort of instability leads on to whatever downfall may be in view, unless revival comes; it is like eating too much fat.
It is, alas, presumptuous and it can lead to pride and parody in short time. It is not that those who say some of these things are of necessity heretics and so outside the faith; it is that they are departing from the text and such PRINCIPLES of departure as these, allow heresy in short order. No longer does the word of God RULE. It is a basis for thought, no more. It is moreover a departure from Biblical truth, which, however much one seeks to allay its significance, since it requires thought, yet is here not a case of intrinsic difficulty, but one of CREATING difficulty by justifying an additive framework (and once you start, there is no end).
It blatantly contradicts the divine specifications about His speech in Proverbs 8:8. It takes things into its own hands. It is as if it were intrinsically a hard thing to understand; whereas hard only if anything at all, it is to understand the various confusing, or confused, variable and attenuated concepts, now meaning this, now that, now moving further now not so far, that are adduced, induced and produced, propounded and compounded in this PC in America Committee Report on Creation.
If it were a philosophical treatise, or liberal excursion FROM the text, it could contain interest for those who follow those modes; but as an option viewed for formal teaching in the church, it is appalling. It invites evil; it does not do what a Presbytery well might, provide pastoral delicacy for each according as there is need and it is able, in seeking to bring fidelity to the Bible. Then private views gradually forming might be understood and quietly proceed. Instead, it formally OPENS the DOOR to vague erraticism, while making erroneous criticism of what the text does teach in one of the most emphatically directive, systematic and chronologically precise depictions imaginable! Such action is principial error, not pastoral grace; and the thing is a great grief.
It is really rather ludicrous so that to keep, as it were, a straight face is a work of self-discipline. Indeed, from a slightly different aspect, this is to reject categorically, as unacceptable because of imaginary difficulties, what is the only solution in kind, to the meaning of the Bible in this arena. It alone requires no attenuation, addition or departure either from biblical usage in ordinal numbers, or consistency of terminology.
Ignoring this culturally disdained but factually accurate position, oddities are sanctioned by the church, or by the one in question here. What is it that this is, or how might it be characterised ?
It is to make novel ideas not in the least deducible from the text, to be acceptable teaching, and not to be content with what is either directly stated or is demonstrable by good and necessary inference (the Westminster Confession's just and apt depiction of interpretation). Thirdly, it is to bring disrepute on the word of God by having a body called a 'church', exhibit either uncertain ambivalence on uncertain ideas relative to the word of God, as if it were itself a creation of some diffidence, or else to adduce ideas not deducible from the text, as if these were the meaning of the text, imaginations for the word of God. It is not a good exchange. In this, the PCA has defiled its inheritance, dallied with doctrine, defied orders and how could one stay or participate! (Romans 16:17, cf. Separation).
To take the last: In the analogy of a day the actual world was created, but it was not actually created in this way, for it was the analogy of a system, and it was not actually systematised in the way stated! How much more vain could be made, the word of God, in this new creation, alas not of a new heavens and a new earth, of a new tradition of man, culturally manufactured and thrust in with all the old disregard for reverence where the mouth of God has spoken. In such ways, the word of God is made vain by their (new) traditions, as the Pharisaical reformation of the Church, the tradition plus text certification, proceeds. What endorses such things has no authority; and what submits to such things has no place to judge, being ready rather for judgment.
What more nonsensical than this patronising pomp of inert phraseology! If a name could be manufactured to meet it, could it be neo-liberalism, that liberal attitude to the word of God which suppressing what is there, introduces what is not, to the applause of various cultural pundits or principles! The addition: you do not SAY what you are doing; you just do it.
Mark this well: it is not only the invention, the innovative exchange of text for imagination, for what is NOT able to be deduced from it. It is far more: for it includes the distortion of the text leading to the abortion and condemnation of its actual clear, comprehensive, serial, cause and effect, uniform definition of terms procedure. It not only brings in invention, it brings out and exports what is written, defiling it with meretricious criticism which not even begins to be able to stand upon examination, as has been shown.
Thus it both adds and it subtracts, it invents and extracts. It both pursues the inadmissible and the undemonstrable, as if thought were wedded to text and both constituted some sort of semantic continuum of joint authors of the Bible, God and church in line with Romanistic procedure, and excludes the inevacuable meaning of the text. It presents a new Bible in this creation account and makes a wide margin for ideas, while removing the textual traffic lane from usage, which remains as provided, and cannot be rendered invisible. It converts and subverts, here alas not men and evil in that order, but the text in disorder. But the word of God is not a suggestion box for the mind of man to stir subjectivities which are then declared acceptable!
To sanction or countenance such unhallowed initiatives, both positive and negative, is nothing less than to blink where Phinehas to his honour, refused to be silent! (Numbers 25:7). Indeed, it is not his MODE of rejection which is to the point, but the rejection itself. Call it divisive if you will, it divided righteousness from unrighteousness; and it was incisive, for he held no social gathering to consider the case, while disease spread. That, it is an illustration (cf. Ezekiel 23:5-30); but the point is the direction of the action and its unequivocal concentration and result.
Could one endure in fellowship with such things ? Not organically, for the PRINCIPLE of departure inventively from the word of God is an intrinsic defect too profound for safety. If such things are to be TAUGHT, then one would need to depart (Romans 16:17*2). One could not consider that Biblical discipline was being kept when such things are allowed as FORMAL POSSIBILITIES FOR THE ELDERSHIP OF THE CHURCH, and FORMAL PRESENTATIONS BY THE CHURCH.
They can by no means be shown by good and necessary inference to be what the scripture declares, and their formal authorisation represents a breach of covenant, an outlandish innovation, a movement on the part of the PCA into a realm wholly diverse from that envisaged in the system of doctrine in the Westminster Confession, to its very heart. Continuance in it could be gained only by sacrificing the elemental provision that one adheres ONLY in official mode and authority, to what is declared in or deducible from the Bible. Proverbs 30:6 arises like thunder. Does any want to be found a liar, exposed to such designation! Whatever the thunder of covenant-breaking man, one prefers this to the displeasure of disregarding the fear of God, whose holiness is felicity and whose word, without admixture or addition, subtraction or qualification, is truth.
A case of putting off the day ... or procrastination ?
For years now the PC in America has allowed the sad statement, first rejected by a Presbytery on clear grounds, but favourably over-ruled by the Assembly, seemingly infiltrated by factiousness and culture, one not differentiating clearly between Genesis and poetry. This was virtually inconceivable laxity. Bear with this ? Not for one hour, says Paul! (Galatians 2:5).
For years, said this Church!
Not for one hour, says Paul! (Galatians 2:5). Neither then could we nor did we remain. The wisdom of such a step was later abundantly confirmed, for what can over-rule the detection of textual addition rules in the additive mentality which in effect makes of a Protestant body, an unillustrious addition to such traditionalistic conceptions as in the case of Romanism, made the Reformation necessary. One must point out, moreover, that whether or not a church was allied by nationality or otherwise with Romanism, a clear demarcation for or against heresy does not cease because of personal or denominational involvement: you do not need to BE in a sect, to expose it; and should you fail in this, so far from being too noble to bother, it is mere evasion. But what of the PC in America ?
Now its Committee appointed for the purpose has presented its appeal on vacuous grounds for variety, such as is now being formalised into acceptance. In such a milieu one would not dare to tread. In this, the word no longer rules, and when this occurs, where shall the righteous flee ? Assuredly, one must regretfully reflect, not wisely would any move into such doors as these. If it does not rule in one place, if liberty to luxuriate in culture without biblical grounds is to be the way, what is the rule of the Ruler ? (cf. Mercy Outdistances judgment, Ch. 13).
It is adding to the word of God to add these interpretations which, in the laity, might be allowed with all the liberty in the world, while they ponder; but in those called to teach and to impart, not at all should such things be, lest those who should be encouraged, be subverted, and subversion moving on the waters of such principles, strike reefs without limit or cease. Instead, for years, the folly concerning Genesis as poetic was permitted! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 9, The Biblical Workman Ch. 7, TMR Appendix.)
Not for those years did one remain in such an ecclesiastical body as this PC in America. What you state must be demonstrable, not the lazy object of floating romancing in the clouds of fantasy, where what is presented is statedly what occurred, in a record and a composition of what occurred from first to last. To life to the clouds of thought what is stated to be the code for composition of man and his environment, his fall and his deliverance, his judgment and his destiny, is to accost the Creator and TELL Him in contradiction, so that He might say, WHEN and WHERE did I authorise the production of poetic licence into the stated course of history.
When the Biblical doctrine of separation is similarly contravened, however (as attested of the PC in America, in Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium, Ch. 3, p. 44), it is clear that a church which takes the commands and the concepts of the Bible, at least in its teaching arena, more strictly, is needed. Continuance in such a way as that, being not permitted, far less authorised by Romans 16:17 for example. This is the case, for liberty FROM the word and BEYOND the word is not the one which is to be sought; but rather LIBERTY WITHIN the word! In Australia, we do not need such additions as these and it is grievous that a Church moving into this forbidden realm should be in fellowship with the PC of Australia (Proverbs 30:6, Matthew 5:17-20, cf. SMR Appendix D).
It is not wise to have fellowship where this proceeds unabated; for when a church body is simply departing from any of the basics of the faith, in such a case as this, it is still the teaching of the word of God that it is to be honoured and received, or the believer is to depart (Separation 1997). Re-invention of Genesis 1 in man's terms of addition to the statements, definitions and structure of the text, is not an option; and where some poetical or restructured Genesis 1 is in view, the confirmed defilement precludes persistence.
Where the foundations are destroyed, where shall the righteous flee! (Psalm 11). It is to the Lord and His word, and to continue in them, that one flees. That is where one has begun, there by His grace, where one continues*2. Thus, with months proceeding and evil abounding, expanded and not compressed, and this in the context of the other banes, one did not fail to observe the continued failure to respond to the challenges made, or continue in the midst of a body which alas had swallowed up the RPCES and with it, the addition made to its doctrine, and passed in its Assembly in the year of my arrival, and which is increasingly unseparated to the word of God: so what remained of the bond of the bond was cut. How could one continue in league with such treatment of the word of God.
In fact, the Westminster Confession requires as basic that no doctrine be taught except what may be demonstrated from the Scripture, and this wandering feature is now more like remonstration than demonstration, vagrancy than conformity. Hence this, my personal severance as a Minister in good standing in this body for over 30 years, is response to unruliness and breach of grounds of association in the PCA, requiring the Bible in that implacable place. It remains, and one is happy to remain with it, with nothing bound but what it declares. Nor have I changed, that I may leave; but it has changed that I must leave.
Watchmen must warn, but must also heed their own warning! (Ezekiel 33). Failure to observe this has caused untold failure, as if continuing in a corrupt firm were an option for the sake of the partners, when the very continuation is a toleration which the law, to take the parallel, might not appreciate in an honest man! What you are bound to is God or man; and where man departs, you have no option to become a rebellious watchman yourself!
We need the discipline of the word, in the word, from the word, and nothing added. In this, the realm of 'science' merely catches up, and has been doing quite a job of it in the last 50 years, as more and more of the simplistic substitutes for scientific method of many of its exponents, wrought by the philosophically passionate majority, are unveiled. The mechanism phase, the chance and wandering phase, the irrationalist phase come and go, and nothing changes except their popularity over time, and as to this, it not only happens but has to happen as first the one, and then the next, and so on, is shown ludicrous (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 2, 3, Little Things Ch. 5, Earth Spasm, Ch. 1, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth Ch. 7, Spiritual Refreshings ... Ch. 13, News 100, Stepping Out ... Ch. 9, Ancient Words ... Chs. 9, 13).
In high contrast, the biblical statement is constantly verified in ways which would be amazing were it not for the fact of God, which such pseudo-science, yielding now here, now there to philosophy's vagrancies, ignores. That, it is like ignoring the ground on which you stand, which in word at least, is airy, but not apt.
In this way, religious, agnostic and irrational propositions come like insurgents into science, and these invaders have become terminally ill, while confusion in the most explicit terms has resulted in some of the disciplines concerned. It has its comic side indeed (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-3, 8, 9 ), and its feeling of intrigue (cf. Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13).
With such we not only do not wish to walk or work, and indeed dare not (Romans 16:17, Isaiah 8:20), nor is one biblically free to be conjoined in such comradeship of pilgrimage, though it is not for us to condemn such institutions, but merely the teaching (II Timothy 4:2, Proverbs 24:11), and to keep the commandments: for the fear of God is clean and enduring, not craven but delighted. It is as when one contemplates a warming, blazing and energised fire, embraced by the wonder with which it is imbued. Reverential adoration in practical dress is to Him whose it is, and majesty, purity seven times sure, is the character of His word. To foul it is to be befouled.
Before such immutability of truth, the concept that SCIENCE itself presents some difficulty is as ludicrous as blind. It is SCIENCE in its philosophic clothes which is in perplexity amid comic muddles, and mutations in virtual multitudes. It is the Bible which does not move. Not any one of the multitudes of its own words moves.
The difficulty of the Report being an invented oddity from roving imagination or confusion, itself an invasive source of difficulties, contrary to the text and its structure, has one all but humorous feature. Its own words indicate that the result would be easy (interpretation) if the text were read with straightforward simplicity. This at least is verified. Unfortunately they add contra-textual fallacies to invent difficulty; but their initial acknowledgement, when these are subtracted, being obtuse, and invented, leaves their initial thought correct.
It IS easy, indeed to follow the text, the flow, the foundations of the passage in its progressive and permanent provision of events which specify the way of creation, and then merge without seam into history with further information, this time concerning those created. Thus it moves from the generation of the world to the generations of mankind, and thus to their degenerations on the one hand, and the Lord's arising to the gift of regeneration. Genesis 2 affirms of Genesis 1, that this was how it was done, namely the creation, just as later Chapters show how man's own operations followed, and further response from the Lord.
As to Genesis 1, and its scope, it is worth noting that Sarfati's Refuting Compromise Ch. 2 gives a sound summary of items requiring to be violated if one wishes to move from the creation record to something thrust into the context by irreverent, irrational and intrusive thought from man. As is clear in Romans 5, there is a simple cohesion in all doctrines from creation to salvation, and the concept of adding what is not there, by unwarranted intrusion and unexampled displacement of text and disregard of total context becomes merely outlandish, an insert from another source, a siting from the domain of roving culture, yielding illicitly a composite creation record and a composed creation from man and God in unauthorised combination, like putting arsenic in aspro, and not changing the notation on the box.
Harmony of the biblical verses is immense, intense and cohesive in structure, definition and detail, succinctly clear, decisive in presentation, abhorring addition as is fit for the word of God (cf. Proverbs 30:6). Read as it is, it gives reality as it is, with sublime and sovereign directness, without the webs of complexity woven only by the human mind.
There are then no difficulties, but those of disfaith (q.v.), proudly sporting the manacles of philosophic invasion, or 'faith' fidgeting in confusion. Even this might be difficult to explain, were it not both so common over the ages, and so clear from prophecy that it would come to be common (Deuteronomy 32, II Timothy 3:1-5 with I Timothy 6:16, II Peter 2:1). In Matthew 24:24 as in Jeremiah 23:20, doctrinal departure appears to be approaching plague proportions.
As to the concern with time, we shall consider this further, but at the more prosaic level of dating, an extensive review of this topic*3 in TMR Ch. 7 E and associated references there found, reveals that there is no problem with the young earth concept, the bulk of simple, straightforward attestations of relevance being crisp, clear and remarkable; that the radiometric assumptions which have sometimes seemed other, are in fact grossly presumptuous in kind, unreliable in performance, being merely proof by assuming what is to be proved, in the forms of antecedent and processive criteria, and then applying this. The assessment of the movements of the velocity of light in particular has now moved to new dimensions of enquiry, and underlying assumptions of uniformity here are merely erratic.
In sum, what is direct, is for a young earth; while what is radiometric for large ages, is falsified by begging the question in a point now revealed as not even susceptible to that*4. One has found upon multi-partite review, that one COULD NOT rationally believe otherwise except by forsaking reason. A time of thousands of years sits like a crown on the undenuded mountains of the earth, the contents of the oceans, the supernovas of the heavens, the cooling of the globe, the magnetic manifestations of its past, as also the surface of the moon and the quaint self-contradictions of geology on any other basis. It is just a matter of examining what is there, in terms of scientific method, and following it, allowing cohesion, consensus and NO rule by assumption.
While this is merely peripheral to questions of interpreting the text of Genesis 1, it is best to remove illicit and delusive concepts and presuppositions from the arena, while we are at it, since so few seem able or willing or both, to consider what is written, rather than what is smitten by the invasive pre-conceptions of marauding man (cf. Mark 7:7ff.).
A FURTHER ASPECT OF
FROM THE TEXT AND THE ISSUE
Now before we turn to point 3, the historical aspect as noted in the PC in America Report, let us add here some further aspects of the presentation, as found above. We find some peripheral material that in thoroughness it might be well to expose.
Thus it is in the PC of America report, indicated "that the light of the first three days was light emanating from God Himself, just as the description of the final state indicates that God will be the light, not the sun or moon. 'And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb.' (Rev 21:22) Thus the Bible opens with God shedding His light upon the creation and closes with the same."
Such a view, whoever may or may not have held it, in no way is tantamount to turning the day notation kept throughout Genesis, into something undefined and different. Let us however look at the concept, which taken by itself is wholly different in divergence from the aeon concept.
As presented in the Report, however, this "light emanating from God Himself" is ambiguous. If it is meant to suggest non-created light, we note merely that this is a record of creation, using the terminology of norm, to inform. In the book of Revelation, this creation is past as a process, even the new heavens and the new earth having been created (cf. Isaiah 65). Here, moreover, the emphasis is "face to face" with God, not on the topic of created media.
Thus instead of this unity of uncreated light and uncreated light (on
such an interpretation of Genesis with Revelation),
from first to last, we come in fact to a diversity:
uncreated light being brought into being (a strange concept for the 'uncreated'
to inhere in what is expressly said to have been in the realm of the 'created' in Genesis 1:1;
but let us say, being brought into application where it was not so before - Let there be light!).
Quite simply, since this is CREATION, it is not fitting
for an inventory including uncreated light.
|2) uncreated light BEING, which is far more fitting! but still contrary, since creation is not akin to what is uncreated, whether by irrational contradiction, or irrelevant insertion.|
If on the other hand, the concept is created light without using a luminary or light resource from the newly invented 'heavens' adequate for the day and night variation, something material in its nature, then we are being told to add to the word of God and to postulate a light source not stated, when we are shortly acquainted with light sources which ARE available. What makes such a postulate far more amazing is this, that on such a basis, LIGHT is pronounced, DAY AND NIGHT (opposite in order, as the darkness yields to morning-creating light sequence) are announced, and then light sources are announced, whereas this philosophy of man would have us insert into the text a light source of some other kind, kept secret in the very midst of what is proclaimed, named and specified, while vast operations on water and cloud proceed, which, being done, in fact allow light to assume its normal purposive functions. Such is the beautiful logic of the text.
To say no more, this is scarcely an adornment to any theory! It tends to allegorise, or spiritualise a record of what God did in bringing to pass that specific entity called creation, to add, to dispense, to proceed with a certain knowledgeable, insertive assertion.
Further, if it is meant, this light, in the earlier verses of Genesis 1, to be a created light, then the unannounced method of correlating with 'day' and 'night' in a manner of presentation, a style which is emphasising the sequence from creation throughout the record, would be misleading. Terms and settings indicative of one thing, would be used to be indicative of another. Before such an insertion could be tolerated for one moment, in terms of competence in communication, one would have to annul the stylistic portent, predominance and procedure, and to bring in a mystic strangeness, and a collision of concepts.
This can be done, often is done, one fears, for example in political speeches; however to import it into the word of God is intractably contrary to the perfection of diction implied. In any case, to butcher and push, both for expository purposes, is actually to introduce an addition from one's own mind; and when the text requires nothing added, then this is what should be added! This then is what is to be done, and the terms are to be interpreted consistently, the explanations consistently with the terms, and the purposes consistently with the actions, whether CREATION or FORMATION relative to purpose, or even OPERATION according to purpose.
In must be stressed in this case, that since the waters under the heaven were first in need of a spacious expanse (1:7-8), and then of a distancing from land, nothing could be more obvious than the degree of obscuration at first total of course in the watery complex, and then vastly affected by enormous water movements. In verse 14, this question of degree is clarified and the instruments appear, in literary as in astronomical sequence, with their purpose to match their appearance, while its modulation is stringently, multiply and emphatically announced to cover the need in function, as formerly in formation. Things are cleared up, both atmospherically, hence enabling luminary and illumination purposes to proceed, and structurally, the grounds of the afore-stated alternation and action, brought to light with the light itself.
Thus created light potentiated for its purposes comes into full primal force at the commencement of creation, just as uncreated light comes in Revelation, into full functional force in the new creation, relative to man, where means give way to immediacy, so making the DEVELOPMENT from the creation to its consummation.
Thus the parallel made, by the PC in America document, falls in its own terms, and in the nature of movement from creation back to immediate presence before the Creator, which otherwise is merely dimmed and damaged with a spiritual obscuration.
The contrast, not the parallel, is both important and imperative. It is the essence of the culmination to have it so!
The comedy, which is another feature in this aspect of the report just noted, and linked above, comes in the little aside - 'hidden from whom'. The idea is to be satirical against those who consider that the manifestation of what had been hidden by water, of necessity, is now announced together with the purposes which such manifestation of light, in its orderly procedure and stated means, implies.
This sort of comedy, when as here it is a red herring, is most revealing about the nature of the presentation. It has with propaganda this in common, that it is irrelevant, that it is ad hominem (that is, it tries to bring an assault on the presenter which would disqualify or embarrass), and that it is absurd.
It is, in this arbitrary seeming Church report to bolster this new philosophical deviation from the orderly development and presentation of the text, here is a case of ignoratio elench, a bypassing of the point at issue without seeming to do so, a commendable form of propaganda for those who approve such things.
The fact that the light sources, till announced, are unavailable for all the purposes structurally and functionally assigned to them, and that is so of necessity in the interim after "Let there be light", even though they be present continually in primordial operation (e.g. in verses 4-5), is to be seen in the context. Thus, this is so when at first there was literally no terrestrial space which would enable visibility FROM the earth, to provide for the growing awareness of how our earth and its human functionality and astral features came to be: this is the point. It is not to some non-present human viewer that the report is given, but to human viewers caused to see how their own situation developed, so that what was obscure is now clear, and what could not at first operate in the assigned features, did then in form as it does now operate. Thus is the text light and the perspective it imparts visibility.
Such irrelevances as this in the Report, which mocks the idea of anything being hidden (‘from whom’) are an excellent testimony to the devious character of such gross distortion of the text as this programme pursued, wittingly or otherwise, and hopefully the latter. It misses the ENTIRE point of the program. God did, and now reveals to the eye of faith what the act divine wrought.
The space having been created, as noted in Genesis 1, the stretched out expanse between the waters of sea and cloud, and the earth doubly detached, first from mere liquidity, with clearing skies, and then from overall liquidity, with clearing land, these solar and astral bodies with their roles in space and for earth, and the nature of these roles, the formation and the information, are dually and intimately disclosed.
In this way you see an excellent example of neo-evangelicalism, which tends always to depart from what is written, and with the special feature of strong affirmation of it, constitute the modern day traditionalism with affirmation, that is so rife in Romanism, was so rife in Pharisaism, and is always a buttress for those who want to have FORM of godliness, whatever may happen to the text itself! In so doing, of course, there is a fulfilment, a verification of the prophetic stipulation of II Timothy 3:1-5.
What else is indicative of such a
trend, even where some measure of orthodoxy, is at times
It is in this way that female elders become increasingly tolerated in such settings, for fellowship, ordination or both; that separation as a divine directive concerning false teaching, is separated from (as occurred in the PC in America when one of those DIRECTED to withdraw the denomination from what in the Assembly's opinion was a polluted ecumenical organisation, DID NOT DO IT, and was afterwards not disciplined, but rather commended); or that the love of God is encased in a narrower scope than Colossians 1:19ff. could ever tolerate or accept, as in severe Calvinism, so that oddities of theology are stressed and before you can well realise it, you have a confessional church, not a biblical one, a formal religion and not a dynamic one. Tradition being satisfied, there is far more tolerance of mere divergence from the text of the word of God.
This is the trend with many, and it is a stop-gap only on the broad way to amalgamation through misinformation and disinformation, confusion and psychological mechanisms.
Often it is a question, as apparently in this case, with whatever confusion and combinations of conscious purposes, of suppressing what is written to achieve a prepared policy and polity, contrary to scripture and in accord with secular thought, which for its part changes almost like the movement of a bees' wings, with its fashions. This, in turn, is precisely similar to the situation laceratingly exposed by Christ, like a surgeon showing students a cancer just dissected, as in the record of Mark 7:7ff.. Small wonder such became perhaps Christ's most bitter enemies, for their cover-up was a specious dissemblance, a combination of man and God, philosophy and scripture, for all the world like taking someone to 'Niagara Falls' (word perfect), but changing the definition, by various devices. Where one then would arrive is anybody's guess.
Let us however revert to the Genesis reality.
Day and night, heaven and earth, features an life, their origin from God, to adorn the light of common day and form our habitable globe, these things are the sure and orderly passage of events. Its components, the aqueous, the geological, the biological, the spirit of man, and so forth, are the topic, and the terms are used with a precise, factual formulation in total parallel to the actual events, that coming, made what is here a form fit for and embodying life; and the explication is in the terms in use for our universe, hence meaningful and instructive.
The idea that terms change meaning, are mutable, exotic, is simply a dictator in exegetical clothing, an intrusion of secular hope into spiritual account, and a defilement of sound communication. God however, in His word, is clear (Proverbs 8:8, John 8:43), if you follow carefully by His grace WHAT HE SAYS.
Thus, in this derivation for the purpose of understanding, carefully gained from the divine account, the terms relate to what is known, not only to introduce us to what was NOT known, but to the derivation. Terms do not wander like lost stars, slipping, sliding into philosophical permutations and combinations, but those used with explicatory fore are bound from first to last, following each phase of creation, the thing intrinsically explaining itself, not asking for supplementary answers to compete with those given in the text. DO NOT ADD! is the word continually to be held in mind with the word of the Almighty; and the other is this, DO NOT SUBTRACT. With these two sign posts followed, straight indeed is the way, and narrow (cf. Matthew 7:15).
To assume sloppy writing is both unwise and unnecessary, and does not constitute exegesis, but criticism, one which however not merely assaults the text, but renders it so self-contradictory in usage, as to make it meaningless.
It is one procedure of neo-evangelicalism in practice, to do such things. Whatever the purpose, the result is obvious, since what is made meaningless can have any desired meaning inserted, and what is the word of God, thus becomes the word of man, marvellously affirmed and meaninglessly held. Small wonder does it appear that the wrath of Christ was against such actions to the extent it was, as seen with such divine energy of condemnation in scriptures such as Matthew 23, 22:41ff - or that they sought to drill Him (Luke 11:52), and later to kill Him (John 8:40), and were not satisfied till, doing this, they had unwittingly activated the divine plan of salvation which had millenia before surveyed the scene in prophecy and foretold their hatred (Isaiah 49:7, 52-53), their killing, its mode and His resurrection of body! (cf. Joyful Jottings 22 -25).
Now let us turn to the historical aspect
as noted in the PC in America Report, for a little,
in order to see those particular things more clearly.
First let us cite it once again:
Out of all of this literature it is possible to distinguish two general schools of thought on the nature of the six days. One class of interpreters tends to interpret the days figuratively or allegorically (e.g., Origen and Augustine), while another class interprets the days as normal calendar days (e.g., Basil, Ambrose, Bede and Calvin). From the early church, however, the views of Origen, Basil, Augustine and Bede seem to have had the greatest influence on later thinking. While they vary in their interpretation of the days, all recognize the difficulty presented by the creation of the sun on the fourth day.
Puzzled as to when God created time, with the sun (by which our normal days are measured) created only on the fourth day, Augustine opted for instantaneous creation, with the "days" of Genesis 1 being treated as six repetitions of a single day or days of angelic knowledge or some other symbolic representation. Augustine’s view, with its emphasis on instantaneous creation, would have an influence through the Middle Ages and still be held by some, such as Sir Thomas Browne, at the time of the Westminster Assembly.
In noting these things we
shall look at some expanded and adapted excerpts from other works on our
site. The first, being short, is indented.
1) From News 51
As shown in the above reference to Cosmology, there was a whole school of theology, in the early centuries of the Christian Church: the Alexandrian. It was strongly emphasising that God needed no more than an instant to institute and complete creation. Clement affirmed that the world did not come into creation IN time, since time was something created with the world. The time may be whatever it was, is the emphasis of Augustine, and at ANY time, man might ask,
Why not sooner ?
But in the infinitude of God's being, not limited, any time is insignificant compared with all of ours: this is Augustine's stress. Always, in his City of God, we find him quite assured about the exact creation coming to be. It is never anything processive, but rather, always magnificently and utterly deposited. It is to him a more academic, or if you like, non-creation aspect of time which fascinates him. HOW does time arrive for man in relation to the existence of God ? NONE is needed, and time is invented with man! This however is NOT to say that none is used*5 ; merely that it is a virtual irrelevance when one is in the domain of the foreknowledge, total conceptual completion and action of one so great as God.
When it comes to the text however as on p. 364, we learn that God "knows all times with a knowledge that time cannot measure" , which is true, but NOT that time therefore was not relevant to the creation. Rather Augustine is removing misunderstandings about what it was that was being done, since it was God who did it! We learn this, he says, that GOD MADE LIGHT and that He made it by HIS WORD, and found it good, and this, says Augustine, was nothing new to Him, but such is the perfection of His work, that this did not add to His knowledge but - in effect - implemented it.
Anything further from long ages or for that matter, evolution, it would be hard to imagine.
Fully formed thought, independent in its own form of all processive time, acts with consummate maturity, and needs nothing as it does it. Non-processive time is a good description of the time that scholar envisages. Augustine himself could perhaps have spared himself some s if he had realised more clearly, that time is being brought into existence with the other creation, so that the initial processes of creation, as now known, before they are designated in our terms, are conceivably far removed from those aroused during the institution of time, that is, of serial, progressive time, where you wait one moment for the next to arrive, a wonderful novelty from eternity's all-embracive knowledge of the Almighty (Acts 15, Isaiah 42:9, 46:9-10).
Time was being manufactured with all else; and its processes were successively evoked, by which its passage is often measured! Humphreys touches on this matter in a practical manner, but it is there in necessary essence at all times! In Augustine's City of God, we find numerous expressions of this fait accompli character of creation, as far as conception, knowledge and prior standards and certainties are concerned (e.g. see op.cit. pp. 373, 378, 364, 381, 393, 395, 397, 409. City of God, Modern Library NY, Random House, 1950).
All is eternally foreknown, time is created, events follow logical order, light may have had a material source before Day 4 (op. cit. p. 351), institutive matters are not the same as constitutive ones, and hence there is a difference; but anything FURTHER from God being bound to process, limited by events, immersed in creative processes of a constraining or time-containing pressure, loitering or lingering rather than issuing the commands from total knowledge to total nothing to institute rather than this, creation, could scarcely be imagined. The 'difficulty' imagined for Augustine in the PC in America report is not a logical one. He envisages with ease various possibilities such as that noted above.
He is chiefly wrought up about angels and where they were created, toying slightly with some idea that they might fit into the creation of 'light', though he by no means removes light from its material aspects. The realms of creation in the eternal domain of spirit devoid of material aspects is another theme, for the heavens and the earth of which Genesis speaks are shown to be those dowered with materiality in all cases; and though man has also spirit, and animals soul or life of specifiable dimensions past the merely material, yet these things are INVOLVED with the material; and what is not is not in view in this account of the universe in its materiality. It puts no limit on the creation of what is not the heavens and the earth in the definition provided, within the regions of divine action, so that indeed Satan might visit man on the created earth.
As to creation, "He preceded them, not by the lapse of time, but by His abiding eternity" (p. 397). "He knows all times with a knowledge that time cannot measure," (p. 364). "These works are said to have been completed in six days ... not because God required a protracted time, as if He could not at once create all things, which then should mark the course of time by the movements proper to them ..., " he declares (pp. 374-375), putting into words a thought about number, while asserting the total needlessness of protracted time, or indeed any, for God in creation. He speaks with ease of Adam on the day after his creation, in evident assumption of time in the normal sense (p. 393): "The first man himself, in short, might, the day after, or the very day of his creation, have asked why he was created no sooner."
Indeed, Augustine (loc.cit.) is more concerned with the order of creation of angels and earth, of the nature of time in God and for man or angels, in its derivation as such, than here in its sequences. These are deemed rather more dim than is that celestial knowledge by which angels may know it, in the vision surrounding it; but for all that it has a manner of being, and so leaving his chronological excursions in his beloved ontological arena, he moves back into the light of common day, and its (relatively unimportant but extant) functions and facilities, and so in practice readily uses it.
Thus while he seems to love to interweave spiritual and material things in various consummate perspectives, he yet always comes back to the fact that there is a clear presentation in the Bible, of logical order as provided in what strikes him as most arresting, namely a discernible sequence with time. Such is the procedure of creation, sovereign and abrupt though it was. He searches for reasons for time being so utilised; demands that we realise it was created with and as a constitutive element in heaven and earth creation, as a style of thing to exist: and these things apart, he simply uses the day by day revelation as a fact. He would like to know more, but does not discern less. Time as any sort of container for creation, with any sort of extensive character, is the opposite of his considerations; and his excursions into varied questions of possibility as he surveys various heresies, is only bucolically to be confused with any sort of confusion or consternation on the topic.
His comparative reticence on time comes from his insistence on completion in concept before all time, and the unfolding of time into existence with creation. Timeless concentration thus becomes with-time creation, in a neat burst of divine creativity with all thought and understanding merely surging into the recesses of space and time, like an explosion. It is however one ordered, and one of mind into matter, of spirit into its contrivances, not a rattling about of bits of matter. Nothing could be further from the intense spirituality of his concepts of consummate knowledge and wisdom, utterly complete, coming like a tsunami, when the divine counsel sees fit, to thrust the domains into place.
In reality, there is dominion and there is actuality which needs neither subject nor situation. God can make, like an artist, ever so many pictures of times; and possibilities actualise as and how He will. There is simply no limit.
Our type of time is to be understood as to its institution in only one way: the way which the only One who knows, being there at the inception of this sort of time, describes. The Biblical description is meticulously clear and decisive. There is however nothing even approaching a problem; merely a delight to the imagination to consider the other things that might have been. In science, however, our concern is with what is, something systematically 'forgotten' in the whole ludicrous episode of Darwinianism.
Yet let us not attack science properly so-called, which follows scientific method (cf. That Magnificent Rock Ch.1) .
- It is merely
- this parasitic philosophy
- in terms of which many scientists have become preachers of illusion
- rather than observers of fact
- and makers of theories to accord with it:
- which is to be attacked.
Indeed, many are the great scientists, and even ones great in the history of science, who have been decisive in their insistence on the fixity of the created kinds, with no concession to imagination and myth. Kepler, Robert Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton, Joule, Lord Kelvin, Clerk Maxwell, Michael Faraday, all appear as maintainers of God's own divine action in creation.
2) FROM SMR SUPPLEMENT Ch. 2
Naturally, there were some early church impacts. However even in those quoted by Ross, there is a tendency for the 'thousand years is as a day' approach to the days of Genesis 1, on the part of some; while the early church Bishop Ambrose from the same quotations, is clear in his Genesis 1 24-hour reference, simply and properly allowing the usage of 'day' in appropriate settings, for other purposes, as it is with us.
In the thousand year approach, moreover, the time in view is co-ordinate with the life-spans of the first men Biblically addressed, and not of a disproportion wholly alien. Whatever philosophic or fanciful inputs may have affected some here, they did not in such cases wholly violate the sense of the record.
This is so, even if at this point, some disregarded with the blinking of momentary little faith, or
inadequate application, the clear evidence of the text. The issues, though of real interest, were less pointed than is now the case, the bundle less compiled, with philosophic naturalism.
This is despite the fact that some had as they have, a reputed tendency towards the allegorical! The discursive though, indeed, is far different from ecclesiastical formulation and acceptance. Thinking is not teaching.
In fact, the case, as the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia points out (vol. 3, p. 302), is that the Alexandrian school, influenced by Philo, tended to disregard time, emphasising that God needed "no more than an instant for the creation of the world". Clement, it is noted, denies that "the world was created in time, since time came into existence with created things", a view closely followed by Augustine at this point, he notably emphasising the conception that "the world was made, not in time, but with time", in his City of God (p. 350, Ch. 11).
This he deems to follow from his (very limited) definition of time, though at that, himself strangely ignoring his own definition's clear fulfilment during the processes of the days as they brought the paraphernalia of process into being. Such is the impact of philosophy, which had a major and notorious invasion in the case of Origen. A large insistence on the part of those so influenced is noted in Schaff, such that there was for this school, a conception of a "practically instantaneous" Creation.
This is rather different from the concept of vast ages... as is the "literal interpretation of six days as six periods of twenty-four hours, generally given in orthodox dogmatics from Luther on" (Schaff, loc.cit.) in much post-Reformation work. Indeed, to turn now to J.D. Davis of Princeton, in his famed 4th. Edition (rev.) Bible Dictionary, pp. 157-158, we find this statement relative to the historical emphasis following the Reformation: "During the next 300 years the narrative was understood to mean that God created the universe in one week of seven consecutive days of twenty-four hours each. At any rate, the works of the six days were more than six acts; God spake, to use a significant Biblical term, eight times (verses 3, 6, 9, 1, 14, 20, 24, 26)."
Accordingly, we find in the most scholarly 24 vol. work of Keil and Delitzsch, Commentaries on the Old Testament (1864-1868) p. 51, on Genesis:
But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, or years of thousands of years, but as simple earthly days.
Matthew Henry in his notable Commentary (1710) states of the first day:
This was not only the first day of the world but the first day of the week. I observe it to the honour of that day, because the new world began on the first day of the week likewise, in the resurrection of Christ, as the light of the world, early in the morning.
Schaff-Herzog (op.cit., p. 301) also notes of "Judaism Proper" that:
Here not only is the creation of heaven and earth out of nothing strongly emphasized, but special stress is laid on the relative nothingness of weakness of the creature in comparison with God... In harmony with the unconditional supernaturalism... it is not surprising to find the six creative days of Genesis taken in the strict literal sense...
Such matters scarcely affect the current issue of 'time' being used in utter severance from the Genesis explication; for a fresh young earth is still in view, even after 7000 years, for the more 'adventurous' of those noted!
Certainly the merely allegorical case departs from the scripture, though some like to use a complex of allegory and actuality; and the emphasis is on the immediate, in the most wholesome departure from the modern stretch-socks desire, not the naturalistically annexed. In the case of many, there is this vast trend to take the days as modern in style, OR LESS! In the case of Ambrose, we look at rotational days for the fiats.
Thus much of the variation is not so apparently constrained by consideration of time needed for evolution in general, but of time NOT needed for divinity in particular! The former constraint is merely an abutting adjunct to the word of God, suitable for those who do not know the scope of the divine mind, which invented our own, and who imagine that Moses wrote to primitives, or unenlightened minds, whereas the scope of human knowledge, mathematics, law and culture at Ebla, long before Abraham, is such as befits laws such as Moses wrote, obviously to a people of capacity to comprehend.
No, neither is God, nor was man incapable; and all that is incapable appears to be the mind of modern man, via his culture, to realise the power of God, the strength of His never pitted word, and the weakness of the ever erratic mutabilities of science, made far worse as it seeks to find from the present the abyss of the past, let alone creation, so that endless naturalistic theories pile themselves, layer on layer, as if there were nothing better to do than to dream.
Without reason, they misuse reason, and hence never agree either with each other or with the truth. How could they ? They are born in rebellion, and raised in unreason! This is so well attested elsewhere in this site, that merely the index references will be given at this point, to naturalism, evolution. Nevertheless, one could note TMR, Wake Up World! Chs. 4-6, Earth Spasms ... Secular Myths ..., and for dating, see Models and Marvels Ch. 7 E and related references there given.
At that, with Aristotle behind them, it would scarcely be surprising if some older scholars stooped so far as to be naturalistically enchanted. (Aristotle was clear on the fixity of species now, less so on their origination, with the tendency of Plato towards some 'stuff' on which action could occur.)
Indeed, It is to be noted that the 'thousand year' clan moreover are using one scripture on another, rather than obviously alien premises to depart from what is written. At that, the irrelevance of the TIME WE FEEL as the Lord delays His return till He is ready, which must be constrained by His purposes, and relates to our perception of waiting, to the TIME HE TOOK when He specifies the mechanics, which relates to His power as He depicts it, is gross. In purpose and style, these are in contrast, the one to show our need of patience, the other to show His irresistible and divine power to create.
When David calls on the name of the Lord, when the Psalmist indicates that he is heard on the day he cries, we are not to be assuming thousand year days! When the Lord indicates morning and evening in a structured setting leading on to normal history, we are not to assume dissident days. What the Lord does in His overview of history in terms of our expectation, topic one, is not what the Lord does in His institution of days, topic two. In the former case, we may expect thousands of years, and have had two (but little more seems indicated - see Answers to Questions Ch. 5). In the latter, we are TOLD in terms of evening and morning days, associated with the astronomical instrumentalities used for the purpose; and our expectation accordingly is in terms of what the text says.
It is precisely the enormity of such transference
of topic and purpose which evokes astonishment; but for all that, it is only
when it is linked to making peace with the secular mechanics, which philosophy
not science has invented, that one sees not only indifferent exegesis, but
direction invasion of the text.
Augustine far from contemporary idiosyncrasies
Finally, it is important to realise from the references given, that Augustine is not in the least looking to the processive, as in some of these pseudo-creative fantasies wrought and brought into Genesis. It is the opposite. Everything is already worked out in God, nothing changes in his conception of heaven, and earth is the mere recipient. It is NOT the case either that he is saying that creation was instantaneous, though it is a word-result case, as creation fiats come. He merely asserts that it is nothing whether it was or not, in terms of power and majesty, planning and perfection prior to the event. He is keenly aware of the passage of process in the days, but never even begins to assert that the days are to be extended, or dismissed; merely that it is difficult to find a formula that fits them all.
He allegorises a little, yet not as an interpretation of the creative process, but in seeking underlying understanding of any message inherent in the text. Augustine and his school cannot be accurately used to assemble resemblance to any of the current options being proposed. He seems a little obscure at times in his treatment of time, as if change is impossible in heaven, even as a preferred or entertained mode: for in the end, God is the Lord and heaven is a vast conglomerate of souls, indeed one in which war is stated to have occurred in Revelation 12. Again, Augustine tends to bog down in treating time’s institution, for after all, what is involved is merely the institution of created, serial time where waiting is endemic, process normative and normally not optional. He even begins to transgress into eternity for created beings, though he tries to curb the process, as if angels cannot be treated as made in time, and hence are beyond time.
However, they CAN be treated as invented in any creative formula or format for the time mode or component which God proposed and was pleased to make operative. They must be regarded as subject to demand, command and hence to execution of intent, or failure, in some sort of capacity for sequence. This requires FOR THEM, some kind of time. Their institution is to a realm in which time has constraints and commands take effect, including their own effecting of commands.
All that is under command by nature, is not God, is created, and is subjectible to time constraints of a variety of possible modes, and doubtless more of these, also, than may be thought. Their institution in such modes is creation, and what is not so subjectible by its own nature is God. What He subjects in whatever mode, being created, is however subjectible at His will, and by His word, both written and effectual, as in the word of God and by the word of God. So the chasm is complete, creature and creator, command and sequence, knowledge and totality.
Indeed, if there can be war in heaven, there can be forms of time at the divine good pleasure, though of course never as an intrusion or necessity, merely as an invention for any good purpose of creative kind. WE are not the only creation; it is nonetheless the creation of the heavens and the earth which Genesis indicates. There ARE angels, which are not there mentioned.
The universe is one domain. Angelic powers are another. In Genesis, it is not indicated that angels were not made, but rather how the universe of heavens and earth, cosmological, astronomical, terrestrial, were made. There is CREATOR and CREATION, and Christ, Himself increate, made all in the made category, whether in the realm of visible or invisible (Colossians 1:16). That is the nature of the position. Of Creator there is but ONE as Isaiah indicates. Of the subjectible to His declared mode of existence, and to His command, there are many. These, the rest are what He made. FROM HIM are all things, says Romans 11:33. ALL THINGS were created for Him (says Revelation 4:11). HOW He created is the current question, and the time frame is the current mode of enquiry.
Hence there is much made; and time is made as in Romans 8:29ff., and all that is not God is created. In and WITH time is the universe made. It is having episodes from day one, as in the creation of light, its division from darkness (indicated in the form of institution, not some mere intrusion), and the summary, evening and morning, day one.
This in series with the rest, thus is making the days an ensemble of kind, being even serially numbered and listed as a temporary entity. THIS is the mode of time which the divine mind has construed, and construing, constructed. It is not at all possible to make them a divergent kind, in listing them. GOD has listed them as one. It is assuredly not for our imaginations to list them as diverse, far less in invasive disregard of precise definition that duly comes. What! And shall we make new modes for angels as well, and more thoroughly intrude human thoughts into the Creator’s mind!
Augustine, himself most true about the completion of the matters beforehand in the divine mind, about the invention of time, about time being created, the world with it, about the instantaneity which is quite easy for God, nevertheless neither affirms no process, nor distances process in the least, but if anything, he constricts it. Yet for all that, he is rather pedantic seeming in his insistences on time as being so odd, so that its institution makes for verbal play and at times obscurity in his writing, where he becomes ambivalent in appearance, between divine knowledge and human knowledge, seeking some kind of cognisance as the criterion: but this only in that there is something to know! And that, it is the step in view, to which he tends to look with a virtual, if not actual, instantaneity. He is, nevertheless, emphasising the irrelevance of time to the power and majesty of God, prepared and all powerful, rather than dismissing its occurrence.
Hence the view of Augustine and that school is not so far from that of Basil and Ambrose and Bede, who move on the basic actual day approach, with whatever frills and flounces. Indeed, we must realise quite categorically, that modes of approach to the 4th day are of interest, but they are not in the same domain at all, as modes of approach to the days per se! This is diversification within a common basis of straightforward days, with whatever adornment; or ditching of the definition in the context of creation of kinds of things to the present array; or both!
TIME FOR PROCESS of a natural kind to manifest
itself is a characteristically modern demand, based on modern appetite. It is
opposite both in terminology and thrust, to the text, which allows nothing to
impede, delay, a command, but only for further steps, as in the clearing of
obscuration of water relative to the enumerated purposes of light, which are to
be sought as wrought, from the text.
Let us then revert to time.
5. A DAY of Darkness and Not Light (Amos 5:18)
Modes and Methods
There can be a phase in the divine apportionment in the mind of the Lord which, while not our time, is a time related or sequence-conceived thing, or a sequentially oriented mode for some purpose conceived. This He may implement at will, in any time-domain. There is no slightest difficulty about that. There can be a sequence of events in which serial time is instituted, processively, progressively if the divine will is to that effect. The instruments of natural measurement do not need to be complete at first, if the desire is to indicate divine lessons about structure and function, or purpose and preliminary.
But THEY DO need to be as stated, a formal, basically
homogeneous thing for the series called ‘day’ to be anything other than
a slide, a contortion and an obscurantist medley of thought, barren of
WHO, after all, is TELLING this history ? Is it man, or God! The actual use of the SAME pattern of words, and not merely a numerical enclosure, for the continuing days past one to the end, makes it abundantly clear that if the thing could be called day once, it has a substantial reality so akin to the rest as to belong to that family of events. This in itself does not require that the sun as an object minus precise and consummate function, came before the day four; but it moves greatly in that direction.
It is the fact that the darkness is specified
on the one hand, as an interval between successive and succeeding light,
and as a thing instituted, and formally divided from light, and that this
is continued after the purposive indications about the moulding of the
luminaries for their multiple purpose function, in conjunction with the
stars, that makes the interpretation that the sun was earlier created but
not in its full effectuality for chronological purpose, so important.
By this time, no loop-hole is left. The continuity, which incidentally goes
right on to normal history after creation, is simply there, as we are told that
this is the work God did in creation, and the vocabulary continues.
Difficulties ! Excuses ?
The main point is this: there is no ‘difficulty’ about the days, as what they become in the account, indicating how we got what we have, which of course includes the thing called ‘days’. That is merely the transition from origin to actualities so originated, with terms in common.
Even if you want to have some supernatural, miraculous, anti-natural, non-processive action making the curtains of light to be swung back, for darkness, which erupts into the context like a hidden volcano: even this is no excuse for imagining that the days are some unearthly thing, some strange event, which we really must scratch our heads about and tinker with ... It is not as if the Lord had not spoken, as if He had no series, were not accounting for the creation of the heavens and the earth, and were in some kind of clutch of verbal desire, to use common terms, commonly and clearly designated, in strange esoteric senses, even in the midst of a series, interrupting with supernatural invasion not mentioned, and natural means not stated.
Therefore, whatever one’s preference, to intrude or not, to obscure the clear concept of sequence and basic homogeneity or not, to utilise the supernatural itself as means in a common setting of creation in some irresolvable way, in the days after one, there is no vestige of excuse for compressing the days, or expanding them into some alien thing, with some hidden means, when the point of the account is to make clear the history of the thing (Genesis 2:1-4): the commencement exercises of God in erecting that College called earth, so that we understand how what is, came to be. Unhistorical historians may be so if they wish, and they form a genre, a fantasy arena of co-creators in any discipline, romancers with reality, producing not figures but fantasies as if fact.
There can be such; but the Lord is not one of them. If He indicates history, history it is. If He were using an account of how it all came to be, to use His terms, carefully integrated, in the clearest POSSIBLE manner into the present, to mean something wholly diverse, what would it resemble ? it would be like someone being married, who, when signing the register, declares: But of course this signature does not relate to that marriage. I suppose that could be done; anything could be done; but not with reason.
In fact, there are times when it begins to appear that the Lord’s word is taken under tutelage, as if HE could not or was not disposed to do what Proverbs 8:8 says of WISDOM. However HE has said the way we are to follow His word. It is clear, not twisted, contrived; it is all clear to him who understands. It COULD NOT POSSIBLY be clear when romancing enters without the textual discipline. In that way, the sky is the limit, the earth its orphan.
How do we follow His word ? ONE way in which that happens is this: it is followed as it comes, not invaded as it goes. The way to keep it so, therefore, is not to so patronise the Almighty’s expression that it is mere butt for our exploration of our own thoughts, but to regard it as a decisive, assured and certain deposition of what He wants us to understand. True it is, to be sure, that some may at times try to press OUT of His word, what He did not plan to put into it, and hence there are numerous quarrels as some try to insert this, or that, or talk of lack of clarity, when there is lack of conformity to what He HAS stated, and no more. It is like brigands: if you do not keep the law, originality is free!
However, in this case, it is the HISTORY which He is telling, and the COMMANDS and the DAY, like the MAN, are the thing created with which we have to do, the items which He is explaining as to its commencement, placing in their genre. Therefore, to assume He is not using the term indicating the genre, when He proceeds to employ it in the most categorical of terms to indicate, as with man, the present situation, and when in this chronological case, He even compresses it all into an event- labelled and logically cohesive arithmetic series: this is to create.
Yes man then becomes a creator too. He is a creator of meanings contrary to the word of God; and all his efforts to be ‘nice’ and tolerant of this and that, become an intolerance of what is written, and the clarity in which it is statedly written, and the purpose for which it is statedly written.
What however of the nature of a church in its
stand, posture, doctrine,
and that of a single member ?
A discursive thrust in some church member is one thing; however a failure to deal with the domain of poetry once invoked by a licentiate, relative to Genesis, in the biblical arena of an historical declaration on creation commencement exercises, and a mere verbal slap followed by theoretical inclinations, dignified into codification: this is another. That is the thing, in principle, which happened in the PC in America, and its defilement was merely a beginning.
What is laxity for a young ordinand, in permitting such violation of the textual integrity and development, becomes outrage and dissidence from the divine when the church which overruled the rightly concerned Presbytery in that case, makes its own notions a clarification, a code or an acceptable consensus.
It becomes a luke-warm ‘handling’ of the word of God from which one does well to distance oneself, keeping rather to what is written. As to day, it is not a question of 24 hours, but of the TYPE of day we now have, with the SIGNIFICANCE we now have, whether the earth rotated more or less slowly, and whether the signals went out in this or that way. It is the genre, the movement in kind with our own, which is in view. From that one can vary only with danger to wisdom and weakening to others.
To teach such things is an inconceivable step from ecclesiastical
purity and fidelity towards that incremental traditionalism which reflects
with complacency on its own and its adopted scribes, who in the former
days were such that not only did they not enter into the kingdom, but they
hindered those who would do so. Indeed, said Christ in that highly matured
| "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away
the key of knowledge.
You did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered" - Luke 11:53.
Again in Mark 7:7, we find
the other perilous precipice to which this additive and authorising phenomenon
leads, has lead and will lead till He come:
in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."
Alas the contemporary trends of weakening, in the reformed faith areas, are but one more illustration of the falling away. Special to them - though they are not alone, are various special areas of weakness. For this see The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, End-note *2. These include creation, women elders in violation of the Biblical mandate (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 10-11), and separation. The failure to separate from a body indulging in one or more of these Biblically forbidden areas (cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 7) of course is a large part of the reason for the cultural dominion which begins to be seen in the conformity to the form of this world, despite its irrationality. Churches concerned for culture pills, themselves arid and acid, are already in the grip of folly: for the wisdom of this world, as Paul precisely declares, is vain and void.
Evil company does not promote good customs, as Paul declaims! Here a little, there a little, it is downgraded. Where it WILL not depart, then that action is left to the believer him/herself!
One can understand the sorrow of Jeremiah (9:1), both before and after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was marvellously proficient at hearing the word of God like a lovely song (as noted in Ezekiel 33:31-33); and then disregarding it with glorious aplomb. Glory however does not remain in that mode of address... Isaiah's challenge of 8:20 remains as true today as it was then.
It is not for churches to authorise as 'acceptable' what the word of God does not present; or to ignore what it does. They are not divine adjusters, but divine executives, bound by the word of the Master. Their song must be as He directs it, whether the people hear or not.
This is a spiritual and not a psychological engagement. One may think in many ways, but when it comes to teaching, authority resides ONLY in what is incorrigibly written, and is not found in imagination... even less so, if it were possible, when one is ecclesiastically cautioned about the absurdities of scientific philosophies of paganism, as if they had any logical standing of a "more plausible scientific version."
Here one sees both an erroneous motivation, and an uninformed susceptibility to the current impasses of science falsely-so-called, which are in crisis and confusion, whereas creation is clearly attested by all major scientific law, observation of process, and application of scientific method (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 7, 8).
Alas the implausibility of the philosophy of our times, already in mutually colliding parties, never satisfying the facts, always ignoring much so that the other parties can correct them: this is revered despite its patent irrationality, and cleaving to this idol is too well here seen as one motivation, and its propaganda style détente as worse; while the invasion of the scripture to match it to these already ageing errors of philosophy in science, merely makes a fracture from friction, that between naturalism and text, to become one more lifeless concession to the erratic and anti-verified thoughts of those who start without God, and seem too easily to appeal, to those who know better.
Theories of patent absurdity are enthroned like Dagons. Such submissions of the force of what is written in the word of God, to the dimness of what is the passing shadow of the fraudulent form of this world, erratic, inconstant and blatant, are amongst the Babylonian captivities of many, who might have been freed. It would be improper not to warn. It would be unscriptural to join them*1 when that Jerusalem which is above, is yet free, nor shall the gates of hell prevail against it!
This, then, is one illustration of the trend which has much earlier been noted (The Biblical Workman Ch. 8, End-note 2), and indeed set in the Index under Theological Ism-itis, with special reference to "the Reformed Faith", in its contemporary movements of head and style.
See these references for further on this aspect.
It is not at all that this IS the Reformed Faith (an undesirable term in that it tends to congeal with some ambiguity, about this or that - it is always better to refer to the Biblical faith, or as entirely subordinate to it, the system in the Westminster Confession, and better yet, to the compilation of this with the Declaratory Statement as FORMALLY if not functionally, in the Presbyterian Church of Australia, since 1991; or if not, then to some other clear construction that covers the essential case).
It is however a contemporary trend amongst many who, making much of the phrase, make less of its portent and import, by the appearance of relative indifferentism on basic Biblical issues such as
female authority in the church (A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 10-11),
the endemic and traditional danger of many to act as if to summarily short-circuit the love of God for the ultimately lost (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 1, End-note 1, Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11),
and a conception at times seeming almost implicit, that the errors of former times alone are worthy of debunking at the systematic level, and that organic growth in doing the same now is not needed.
That of course is traditionalism; and it was fatal to the Pharisees (Mark 7:7). You stylise some philosophic additive to the scripture, to help, then make it rule, then officially or actually, simply feel content if this is kept, the word of God in the interim losing its OWN SUFFICIENCY and domain, to your own thoughts, as a church or other body, or a person.
The word of God however has not lost its ancient power. It is not powerful because it is ancient, but ancient because it is God's. As such, the millenia fail to mutilate it, only the friends within seeming to succeed, and this not by reason, but often by a treason as irrational as it is intrusive.
A living church is to be constantly aligning; not idolatrising some who did some things, and sharing in their errors; or adding to their errors in a listless obliterative focus on good things, as if other good things could by no means be found. Thus the Lutheran testimony on justification by faith was excellent, following Paul; but a failure to be ample enough in continuing application of the word on all sides has now led to this infamous declaration with the Roman Catholics, 1999, in which, with all but grim humour - say gaunt - this VERY THING, this Lutheran emphasis, is now in recession through accommodation to what condemns it, has condemned it and continues to condemn it at Trent. (Cf. SMR pp. 1045ff., 1059ff..)
If that is not irony, if that is not the very ground of exhortation, what then would be!
This preoccupation without adequate fidelity on all sides, as if one element were a substitute for all, or some for all, or some system for all the word, this complacency which can so readily arise and which needs constant watchfulness from all to avoid, is now leading, it would seem, a large and 'conservative' Presbyterian Church, my own former denomination (PC in America), one of the last sizeable bastions of obvious populous power in this field, into a slack attitude to the word of God. Far from their own standards and further from the Bible. So does the 'ism-itis' infect. Its ravages do not cease out of courtesy: it is not a courteous infection, but a grave infraction.
This IS ONE ILLUSTRATION of that trend in some Reformed circles, then, noted long ago as detailed above, which we would be happy to live without!
Nevertheless it is a WARNING! The Lutherans (Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 4) had something similar in peril from undue specialisation (though the emphasis was excellent); and they have gone ... even further! they make intimate postulations with dogmatically unrepentant Rome. It is NOT at all the case in many of these affairs, that there is ERROR in the original emphasis, as in the Lutheran stress on justification by faith; but rather it comes in the undue lack of other emphasis. Indeed, even this can proceed to the point of some ambivalence on the infallibility of the word of God which has been exhibited relative to the PC of Australia (cf. The Biblical Workman, Ch. 8, pp. 125ff.), even in its most reformed and renovative mode!
- This is the peril of being safe in the arms of a shibboleth - or two.
There are other arms with which, and into which, the church of the living God must go.
The pathology and its ways, of these trends to omissions and commissions, are all too apparent. It is time to heed and not time to follow such things! The word of God must not lie fallow while fellows philosophise. Indeed, it is by no means trendy, shallowly to follow trends; and if it were, it would by no means make it better. In fact, the ways of this world need antidote constantly from the pure word of God, not from quotable traditions, let alone such out of context or inadequately expounded, as men receive honour from one another (John 5:44-45).
6. SUMMARY AND TRANSITION
This then is the first example, taken while the mutation was occurring, seen in the failure of men to accept the witness of Christ in His word, who of course in Matthew 19 made it clear that God was speaking and speaking truth in the account of creation, as indeed likewise in Matthew 5:17ff..
Here is creation being re-cast in a way so ludicrous, in the misuse of terminology and irrelevant argument including propaganda technique, and the use of example illicitly to extend beyond its actual contribution, that one sees the necessity of getting to the WITNESS which is Christ, and taking the word of God without dilution or false imputation or tradition or philosophy (I Corinthians 1), just as it comes.
As to such ecclesiastical mutation: Not thus is one dutifully and for the glory of the Lord to fulfil one’s ordination vows to seek the purity of the church, and to safeguard it. Not thus is one to beware of the LEAVEN of the Pharisees, or to avoid the neo-missionary revisionism of the Sadducees. The word of God by itself, of itself, from Himself, this is the core; and quietness in Him and in it is the only quietus. It is the written revelation of His mind, the sole authorised communication of God to man in written form. It needs no help. Its integrity is its own. Its reward is spectacular, for in this way, the thing goes, nothing loose, nothing missing, all explained; the oak paneling is now not painted white, and the natural grain of His speech being conserved, its full force and beauty is experienced, its logic stability, its law truth.
Next, in Chapter 13, we turn to the United Nations case, to which one writer directed this author, and here it is not a church, but something with much of the sound of one that is talking, and talking so suavely and subtly that one is at once reminded of the nature of that socio-political power, and of its devious dabblings in religion, predicted for the Devil's Antichrist, the Devil's Messiah, to come. He is of course all talk, and this is not he; but it is reminiscent in style, and a good advance opportunity to test the waters.
Can such things really be ? One might wish not, but the fact is that until all this is done, this final blare of evil, then the wonder of being with the Witness Himself, and not only His word (cf. II Peter 1:19), with Christ at the coming resurrection of which His is the guarantee, portent and preliminary (cf. Isaiah 26:19, I Corinthians 15), must wait. Let all this therefore come, and let us lift up our hearts as instructed, and as we are moved by the light within (Colossians 1:27, Luke 21:28) and the word of God written, without.
As the following presentation, in the text above, demonstrates at length, there is no such contradiction, but rather the most intimate correlation of concepts in terms of revolutionary days.
It is therefore ironic and rather prophetic to find in the formulation of this disastrous document of the PCA, this categorical admission. SINCE there is no such trouble as is vacuously affirmed, therefore the reality remains even in this document, that "such a scenario would pose no difficulty to the Calendar-Day view, as it clearly does to those who posit 'days' of eons in length"!
It is quite true, it does not. This is in substance indeed the ONLY understanding that is not eisegetical intrusion. It lacks all problems for that simple reason.
UPDATE: The error of the PCA Report of the Creation Study Committee, we find from the issue of CREATION, Sept-.Nov. 2000, p. 6, has been compounded by the decision of the June General Assembly of that body, instead of remitting the Report to lower courts in the Church for 2 years of study, to do something quite different. It "voted instead to immediately accept ‘diversity of views’ on the days of Creation."
This seals this erratic departure from the teaching of scripture, found in some of the more exotic presentations of the Report, into formalised coverage, hence subverting the scripture by tradition, a performance which, whatever they 'find' of the days of creation, was indeed in this case at Assembly level, for its own part, of the ‘instant’ variety. How we hasten to that great day of the Lord when He shall cry no more delay, and return AS the LIVING word, unmolested, ineluctable and righteous! How do the apostasies rise like the great swellings of vanity which rage towards the nether shore (II Peter 2:18)...j It is not mere personal error here, on the part of some individual, but consolidated ecclesiastical ruling.
Re this PCA situation, a
word is in order. A Church cannot expect to retain biblical authority, outside
all biblical context (cf. Sarfati, Refuting Compromise, Ch. 2), when it
re-writes a highly significant section of Genesis. The case is similar when a
Church teaches as apt, appropriate or to be received as acceptable, what is
incapable of being deduced from the biblical text. In so doing, There it attacks the
underlying system of doctrine in the Westminster Confession, and the principle
of Proverbs 30:6, which forbids such action explicitly (Ch. 1, 6).
This breaching of the covenant underlying all co-operation means that separation commands like Romans 16:17 may be applied, and separation is at once authorised since to "avoid" is not to banter. The case is worse when many months have been passed in ineffectual effort to gain reply to basic questions. Athanasius, for example in a famous case, endured the wrath of those who were wrong, in their Arian impulsions, more than once.
The Biblical faith suffers no addition, far less replacement or adventitious excursions. Open grounds of the categorical rejection of the Statement of the PC in America are provided and have never been met. Biblical theologians are not novelists, and taking up one's cross is not painless. Glory be to Jesus Christ who makes everything worth it.
*1pre Purpose and Procedure, Definition and Detailing
It is not our present purpose again in depth to review the length of days 1, 2 and 3 on the consideration, noted by Professor Gleason Archer in his A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, that the text may signify the sun disclosed, rather than created in the fourth day (op.cit. pp. 177-178): the results we found were, practically, not diverse in kind from the normal day conception we experience seven times per week.
The case however may be even simpler (see inset below). Thus, and further, the first source for day and night conception and labour itemisation in six steps, in the biblical text has already had its conception and execution as shown in Genesis 1:3-5. The initial DISTINCTLY itemised action was shown sufficient to make day and night operative, neither more nor less. Much more is to be needed, as with the earth in its earlier pocket of development up to verse 13, and this too will be formed by function-bearing action from the Lord, different in stage, but irreversible in procedure, as the initial is moulded into the developed. Thus comes the second procedural step for the stated purposes in the heavens, 1:14ff..
partly sufficient light source MADE from the first, is next in vv. 14ff., MADE
to be sufficient for all the stated purposes by divine action. Anything easier
to understand would seem difficult to imagine.. . anything more internally
symmetrical in method.
REVIEW OF LIGHTS AND LIGHTING FOR THE WORLD
Creating, forming, appearing, disappearing,
lighting and allied arrangements for ONE WORLD!
In Genesis 1:9, the dry land is to 'appear' BY action being taken so that what was not in existence before, the dry, came into existence and was thus made to appear. It did not come from nothing, but was a refinement and refurbishing in the existing milieu of water. It was a progressive act to bring one action through a beginning to a closer development to what was desired.
In 1:14, what is instituted as the natural light source, in terms of the entire presentation of divine order being made into natural action (verses 2-3), specified by normative usage, for 1:14-16, now comes into the distinctively celestial occupation. We turn here from the initial generality to the terrestrial specialisation just finished, to the celestial.
Thus the terrestrial already formed into significant function in verses 5 and following, has a celestial additive. The earth is now duly on its way from the initial lack of formation and information, and so the heavens come into focus, with their entirely parallel treatment.
This part also then is now honed from prior existence in merely basic form, into something conforming precisely by crafting, to a set of now applicable purposes. These are spelt out most carefully in vv. 14-16. Thus the earth and the heavens in their sequences, in that order, received the form and void movement to the specialised and cohesive more precisely.
God had already made the light and its first function already worked, His initial natural action being put in place in the most orderly of manners. In each case, in due order, He acted. He proceeded next in this line, to make the earth to be formatted and multi-functional, forming specified dry land and waters, amid the light, on the one hand, and then turning to form the display centre for light, into not one but two deftly illuminative virtual globes - oh, and the stars also!
These were an adorning development in the total purpose of providing astronomical light. The short reference without even adding a verb for it in v. 16,, but relying on the solar and lunar already in place, is notable. It is making it very clear that the stars here had a primary function as light providers for the earth. They adjoined sun and moon in this function. The method of presentation as of production, is strenuously purposive: from nothing (but God) to the formless and void first invention, to its labour divisions in days and nights, dependent on the introduction of light as a specific fiat, to the two domains of development, heaven and earth. It is all cohesive, progressive.
Thus meaning is even made clear in the first vast burst of information in such grandeur, following creation, the formation of dry land. The inchoate, it is described as being "without form and void", so that the build up procedure is introduced. We are essentially to move not from nothing (but God) to something, now, but from creation total and without tether, into the matter of giving form and annulling void, development upon development being moulded, moved, amassed, inserted into place, the earlier the condition for the latter.
That is the nature of the astronomical architecture, specialised from v. 14, and the terrestrial, from the first, with its lacking form and function. There is preparation and there is culmination, step by step, not only in various cases in Genesis 1, but even in the movement from the style and setting of Genesis. 1 itself, to Genesis. 2 in its duly developmental theme,arousing the natural question in the reader: what next ?
Creation and formation, these are the issues, steps, this is the signature: composure, disclosure, sequential development, logical in kind, lordly in manner, short in duration but with simply enormous emphasis on materiel production and conformity to function, in a unique and eminently methodical sequence. Like the surpassing of all CEOs, the Lord not only initiates the realm of what is to exist, creation, with help from none or from any system, with that glorious freedom which is His, but shares with us from His own declarative word which precedes the inexorable action, such steps and progressions which He deemed best, first on earth, and then starting again at v.14, in the heavens. Whether the tight progression be on the same day, or another, the principle is the same.
In Chapter 1, the day and night numerical aspect is made clear at once, for this is the mode of action, the division of divine labour, and the announcement of light provision is sufficient for night and day, making the format secure to the understanding at once. It depends on what was made in the illuminative first fiat. This does not equal nothing in these contexts, but something adequate for what is shown in function that follows.
The specialised work of FORMING is thus given the verb for forming, an entirely natural thing to do, for it fits the task in view and confirms that light source being initially instituted is one thing, while adapting and moulding it precisely and giving it the specifications for its new functions is another: this is precisely FORMING. That is why the term is used. That is the specialised meaning it can provide as distinct from creating, and the precise action here in view.
The concept therefore, NOT of having sun and moon fully formed, shrouded for long periods, and then exposed is not relevant either to the scripture or to any criticism of the exposition. TO be sure, where someone wants to have that long age scenario, there is a pressing problem, for it is distortion of the sustained character of the text from first to last, and this, not only in Genesis 1, but in the rest of this book. Definitive exposition is not given in order that it should be thrown away, as if a notice that smoking is prohibited is to be 'interpreted' to mean that it is compulsory.
The long and short ideas, the intrusive dream and the biblical exposition differ by billions of years, as in conformity and non-conformity to the text: the biblical and the apostate. This should not be a cause therefore of confusion, because in the biblical account insistence is made that the institution of results through the consistent and normative use of natural developmental apparatus, is the modus operandi. If you want to make an exception, you are free to intrude your own usage; but this is the specified and observable character of the events exposed. You proceed from the inchoate to the sufficiently formed for a stage, to the next stage, and efforts to distort or subdue this fact are not even relevant to its meaning.
When to institute a generic light source, or as in 1:14-16, something formed now into specialised function, this is the way: take this instituting action, and then proceed on that basis. There is no duplication of reference as speciously indicated in the PCA attack. On the contrary, is the generic: the general and the specialised, the initial and the more formed, the conformity of all to provision and particularisation IN DUE COURSE. This course is short, eminently so in the defined definition of day, which proceeds to be used without alteration of innovation in the sense given in the opening of the handbook, specifying how heaven, earth, man, sin, sacrifice came into being, in what terms and on whose behalf, and with what agents, and in what stages.
This is a stark reading of creation, institution, stages, individual and more total results which you can take or leave; and earth has nothing else to compare. Many have tried to crash into it, but challenge as in a tennis tournament, only leaves the champion the more obvious, as every assault falls in inconsistency, ignoring of the text, or joint authorship with whoever wants to revise the source book, into some kind of philosophical biography of preference. For philosophy, write one; they all do. But for integrity in this case, let each keep his own name to his own product, and no confuse it with the Bible and its declarations, limiting definitions and continuing usage of terms as indicated.
That then is the textual continuity in method, and it is followed here. FIRST the source adequate for night and day, THEN the forming, the crafting, for a series of allied purposes which required this, which accordingly is specified with the term most normally signifying this very thing, here or anywhere else, as a norm. Just so, at first we read of the enveloping waters, and then of God forming the firmament, diversifying this generality for a series of purposes. The initial deposit was given more form for more purposes, in the earth. Thus verse 7. In due course, verse 26, the heavens and the earth are now jointly able to be a scene for the scenario of man, the developed stage, brought into existence in summary executive manner, step by step, topic by topic, parallel by parallel.
Further, in this presentation, the difference is not in different senses meaning of the verb to form, but in the same sense. It conforms to forming, and forming to the context. This very term can be used widely, but as to emphasis here on norm, forming is it, providing a contrast with create deemed worthy to be specified in the cases in view. It is not good to suppress God's use of words, used in the same context, and using differential emphasis, transforming the meaning and the method.
There is the difference, either "Let there be lights in the space" or "let lights in the space of heaven be for ..." We find literally, Let be lights in the expanse for ...There seems no reason to depart from Archer's rendering thus this particular text. It is an enunciation of what to do about the light put there, distinguishing initially night and day, in order to make this turned into a multitudinous source. Functional at first, the source worked for night and day; formed and forged at last, with additives and mouldings, it becomes now functional for refined purposes as specified. Just as there was a question what to do with the day-night light source put in place initially, when more demanding and developed points came duly into view, so now there is the answer. THESE are the purposes, and for these, even add the stars. That is the sense of flow in the context, as you move from its form and style of reference to sun and moon, and then in a sweeping moment, stars!
If there was one relatively undifferentiated light source for day and night operation as initially made clear, now there were to be several, forged and formed, a purpose built for multi-function, with the stars a multitudinous extra in the format direction, relative to the entire display of functions for the purposes so carefully defined in the text. That they are magnificent is not the present point: it is that they constitute part of the light sources now crafted into being, and transferred into specified operation.
Indeed, in 14-16, as we come back from terrestrial things to celestial ones, and just as the void earth was to be formed, so the only initially forged light source is here given attention, in a perfect parallel, in one of the most methodical pieces of straight prose one could imagine.
FOR AN OPEN LETTER ON THE TOPIC, SEE BELOW.
APROPOS the Presbyterian Church in America
in terms of the doctrine adopted on creation
GENESIS ONE, STRUCTURE AND FORM
There are certain biblical limits to where a Bible-believing Minister can consistently be, or in
what participate and accept as qualities of a church in which he is placed. One such case has concerned the Presbyterian Church in America and Genesis provides an illustration in the field of creation. Let us look.
First however note that this Chapter as one whole provides the background for this letter
and the letter covers the situation more personally.
There is a certain magnificence in Genesis One in its logical simplicity, force and method.
Order is of the essence. Stages are the mode of expression.
Thus first we have the placing of something there to be spoken of - namely a heaven and earth, of which the lack of form and preparation in particular is a marked feature. However, it is now there. That is the basic point.
God did it by creation. That begins.
Then there is a reference to looming creative power operative (1:2), and we find that the stage setting is to be equipped with light. While it is not said that the light of the first day was also "without form and void", as this wording might be rather difficult to imagine, though not impossible, yet that is the area of discourse here. Smooth certainty and ready meaning is the impact. In this, division of time and space and form and format is crucial, as part of its staggeringly wonderful wedding of brevity and clarity.
Thus in terms of the mode implicit re the earth and its development, episodes, events are highly specific, inclusive of this, exclusive of that, and set in structured stages in FORMATION with more information to come. By the time we reach in this account, the fourth day, we are in the very midst of insertion of what is specified at the time when it is specified, as a mode.
As explained in the text of this presentation now being made, the stress on PURPOSE and precision in the account of added information and formation in a given field, may readily be accounted for in one consistent way. Here this is the specification time for fully and multi-functional light, not only with the initial structure for division into days at all, along with having a heavens at all, but into discrete units of creativity into creation.
Here in vv. 14ff., purposes and stars appear as additional formations as we ascend in information. Thus here in addition to the differentiation, in its due course, of the light which divides day and night into fulfilment of a number of particular desires for light, there is the definitional record that it is here that the stars were formed. This is their staging post ; and here is their formation into stardom executed.
When the word of God tells me that day four is the division in which these are formed, I then know it and am surprised that so many appear lightly to pass over this fact. Certainly something or other might have been in some proto-format when diurnal light and darkness were formed; but we do not know at the outset, for one simple reason: we are not told. All we know is that some form of as yet undifferentiated light source sufficient to demarcate day and night was formed, along with an empty and void earth. The worker is God; the works are His, and as He adds input, He expresses what it is.
Whether this light source, in a realm of placing nature's specialities side by side in an emphatic day by day account, moving as it were from the mist of the primordial to the matrix of high specialisation, had one major source, or several or what would be stars in this or that stage: this we do not know for the same reason: we are not told. The mode of development is however as clear as the sun in the sky now. Day defining light is created, and later more time defining means are imprinted with purpose, along with further differentiation in the form of stars.
Day four, then, shows the items of illumination being forged and formatted for purpose-driven existence in a number of categories, and the stars becoming an entity such as we now have as part of our creation, in the now multiply inhabited and formatted heavens.
In moving from the first verses, several detailed verses are given to the development of land and seeds in it, and then starting with verse 14, several more come, including the heavenly composition, in the singularly sovereign, divided and distinct processes. It is in essence structure, basics and then formations.
This Genesis account is a triumph of compression. Everything fits perfectly. Information is given in stages, and where a question might be posed at one stage, it is answered in another. No major point is left in a poetic mist, a confused gabble or an idle disposition, Everything basic is counted, accounted and placed where it is, as what it is STATED to be WHEN it is stated to be. The basis of what is the site for our present terms, day or night or stars, is all given as to an avid class of students. NOW you KNOW, resounds Genesis 2.
To fiddle with this is monstrous, for anyone even pretending to follow the text. As for confusing the initial light creation when the earth is without form and void, with the later specifications set forth with such clarity and emphasis in vv.14ff., after seeing the mode in the preceding verses, tied up in the now available day-night numbering system, it makes of what is written a mere launching pad for inventive thought, inapplicable to the text. It becomes an eisegesis extraordinary and a rupture of the method, so stunningly obvious, being followed in the text.
What could be simpler and clearer, than the presentation at the outset of an undifferentiated heaven and earth, with the addition of the mode for statement for steps, that is to say, day and night, at the same level. What we know then certainly and for sure, concerning this light source, is ONLY that it is created as something sufficient for the result, at that stage limited to day and night! Such are the stated results in this presentation of the work of super-nature into and on nature.
It is no more confusing than noting that a hand has a thumb and four fingers: they are assimilated, conjugated, distinctive. They are formats. They are not expressions of mystic processes. They are created differentials, each in place, like the days. Their method of joining is crucial to the reality of a hand.
What however of this virtual mockery by the PCA of simple numerical differentiation in assigned layers of preparatory and perfecting, as the reading for Genesis 1 ? It involves, in short, this PCA summary assault on one of the most structured accounts in the Bible, and indeed that could be found, leading to a liberty for re-writing in Genesis. In this, there is shown in their assessment of this part of Genesis, a confusion of the progressive mode of narration in the first book of the Bible, and presumption in imagining that what is not in the text stated to be so, may both be added and made a basis for assault in the New Genesis.
This brings a shuddering jar, in a realm where the essence is taking what is given (and no more, not letting the imagination rove) and finding the next step WHEN given. In what is written, the steps come in due course as new information arrives to build into a situation in certain respects blank beforehand, and therefore not capable of duplication. The substance: then the development. Is that so very hard ?
Is it then a mental matter or one of will ?
What is to fill the information gap which structure allows, this then comes when it is so to be filled, and not from reckless seeming disregard of the actual mode of deposition. To act as if this disciplined detailed, methodical masterpiece is not numerically sound for creation, in steps, is alas a failure to differentiate between announcement of base for method, and the steps in the method. The base is the beginning in various areas of creation. First is found the relatively undifferentiated, this point being very emphatic in the text at the outset. Then in stages come systematically the stages that turn on developments in structure, in function, in specialised purpose, and in correlation. Such is the trend as applicable.
Such an attempt, therefore, to repudiate the numerical order of the text, even sanctioning a turning from the way the scripture here is in this way given, as if one should or must conform to some imaginary dictates of the reader, is not only contrary to its plain text. It even proceeds to dismiss the entire order in its declared setting, in terms of a numerical system that is not only plain but obtrusively so. It proceeds to allow for it to be transformed into something else altogether. Indeed, if that could be done, anything could be.
That is a major element in this matter. It is indeed as if the statement in Genesis 2:1-4, that this is the way it was done, and thus were finished all His works, were immediately repudiated. No, it isn't, says the rebellious student! In fact, some of us think differently from this, altogether! and we are authorising that! Authorising is a considerable advance even on tolerating in the field of theological regression.
If a Church sanctions this, it unsanctions its authority by its abuse, and its teaching by ecclesiastical wilfulness. It violates the bonds of biblical fidelity. If you want the latter, this is not it. Authority reposes in the word of God because He is God, and not in the word of man (I Thessalonians 2:13).
Where then is biblical fidelity (Isaiah 8:20)! Where the word of God is so treated, and truth is so distorted as the actual text is attacked, there is no place for the one who is told in this same Bible to avoid those who create divisions from the doctrine received (Romans 16:17). Avoidance is not easy to construe as meaning to continue under the due authority of such a body. Obedience to Christ remains. There is always joy in that, whatever the sorrow.
As a departing body becomes a different church from its base, in this case both un-Presbyterian and unfaithful to the word of God, so it breaks the bonds of association. Its toleration of such things makes it another type of body, and the difference concerns liberty: of the Lord to be Lord and of His servants to be servants. It is great continually to bow before the One who alone deserves it in truth. It becomes a privilege to be absent where His word is invaded. My former church has expressed itself and approved its dealings in this field at length. My taking the initiative in the step of severance from it on this issue, is therefore confirmed in depth and detail. I do not have the liberty to do otherwise, being warned by the Bible, the word of God and through faith electing to follow it.
Hence, in all conscientiousness the answer in this chapter, the document in which this open letter is set.
where some of the types of errors noted here and elsewhere in this Chapter may be found.
It is good to note that there is seen to be history in the creation, the fall and the redemption, but that the creation is re-made or re-modelled beyond the text, which is invaded by imagination, in the end becomes perilous as well as a distancing of the divine from the human. When dealing with God, one must always realise that one must be DEALT WITH, in instruction, discipline, formation, information. While this in no way limits the fellowship, it does remove autonomy.
Sometimes, as in this case, it is less gross than in many; but the results of this sort of chronology conversion into logical concepts instead, a sort of architecture of the mind instead of that of history, has not only the principial error of adding to the word of God (Proverbs 30:6). It has procedural consequences.
If God should have liked to waft thoughts of the type invented in the PCA, to us in words of a different type and clear presentation, then if in this, why not in more ? When the principal of the land of Nod is found, that of wandering, as in stealing a cent, why not more ? If it is not directive, who then IS ? If it be a man or church, this is the beginning of the end. It is necessary to let God be God, and when He or His word is subdued to mortal imagination, confrontation, be it never so smooth, then His majesty is offended, and His purity is polluted in the practice of such a body, which, as in bodily health, has its results in due time.
The word of God is so pure that one prefers, as in this author's own case, to divest oneself of any denomination which finds this sort of practice acceptable, rather than enjoy the fruits of belonging where fellowship can no longer be without one's becoming an accessory (see Separation 1997). It is sad, and the solution is so simple: Remove this unfortunate document, the Creation Report, so that it is not a document favoured by Assembly, repent of the overturning of the Assembly's overturning of the Presbytery's ruling, which excluded from the ministry a young person who saw Genesis in terms of poetry, and make that repentance public. Make the biblical text the direct Church rule and let the Presbyteries resolve on a case by case basis what to do with variations.
After all, some may be confused, some unscholarly, some unable on examination to defend their ideas, and these may repent; again, others may in the refining milieu of discussion, break from inventions thrust IN God's word. While it is indeed true that an Assembly can resolve matters which do not resolve themselves, yet when it does, there is no need for a construction of available heresies. It is a matter of allowing the free roving of sincere thought on the one hand, and disallowing any formulation which is not point by point REQUIRED by the Bible. If people have private thoughts, and they discuss them that is their affair; but if they are going to publicise them as truth, let alone ecclesiastical formulations, this has to stop. It is the word of God which is truth. There is no other basis for belief.
Let it be a day of miracle in a structure of method and structure, let it be a day of imaginative marvel, digesting the statements as if they were food and the mind of man a digestive apparatus, making the pabulum palatable to the taste, it is all one. Fiasco imparts its presence to faith, and God is co-author. This in no way presupposes the intent of anyone; it merely looks at the results of adding human light to the divine one, and making a medley. Alas, it is always odious and often dangerous, never to be suffered. Again, it is one thing if someone has loose or vague or intemperate views on some feature in himself; it is another when it is actively taught, presented at the formal level, or even issued with some measure of incitement!
For the Biblical teaching on separation, in detail and categories, see The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.7. Ch.7. Not only Romans 16:17, Isaiah 8:20, but many commands bear on this. II Thessalonians 2:15 advises us to stand fast in what has been taught, whether by Paul or the things received, and 3:6 proceeds to ask people to withdraw where there is disorder and failure to keep to this standard.
The fact that there is a particular exemplification of this does not alter the principle in view at all; indeed it reinforces it.
It is not a matter of the simple roving thought of the individual saint. Where the church adopts a position, takes a stand and the stand is a fall from the word of God, it is time to warn, as one has done in the case of the PC in America in many things over decades, and if necessary as the position grips and does not depart, to depart oneself to cleave to those where the word of God is not abased, nor the thought of man exalted.
In that day, of judgment, the Lord ALONE will be exalted. It is well to begin... now!
2:12-17 teaches with a beautiful aptness, agility and intensity:
"For the day of the Lord of hosts
Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
Upon everything lifted up -
And it shall be brought low -
Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up,
And upon all the oaks of Bashan;
Upon all the high mountains,
And upon all the hills that are lifted up;
Upon every high tower, and upon every fortified wall;
Upon the ships of Tarshish and upon all the beautiful sloops.
"The loftiness of man shall be bowed down,
And the haughtiness of man shall be brought low:
The LORD alone shall be exalted in that day,
But the idols He shall surely abolish."
is hard to cease quoting from this passionate purity and fiery beauty of
truth; but it is well to read on!
One can warn and depart as one has had in all faith and conscience to do, and continue where it is not so defiled; but rather where the word of God rules without compromise in its warm intensity and immensity of conspectus, beauty of scope and certainty of utterance. It HAS STOOD and will stand, for it is of the LORD!
Let us note from TMR Ch. 7, part of the conclusions there found to be attested, below.
From a strictly scientific point of view, the writer would have to say:
1. The date is not at all known.
2. The preponderance of evidence favours a young earth.
3. The difficulties of dealing with the divergence on dates, among evidences, are not great for a young earth, but seem insurmountable for an older one.
4. Much more would need to be known before any idea could be given.
From a Biblical viewpoint, the read-out might be this:
5. The Biblical date for life is certainly in thousands of years only.
6. The absolute initiation date is unsure, but almost certainly the same.
7. The huge agreement of the great mass of evidence with these propositions is what is to be expected; and the lack of concurrence on all sides is equally what is to be expected when knowledge is making such sciences outdated in a few years.
There is no systematic problem whatever on a Biblical perspective, whereas the other option has insuperable difficulties at the outset with its cosmology leaving total ignorance in many spheres. Failure to recognise this, and nothing else, is making the scientific problem. No problem in this field exists for the Bible believer. Where science keeps within its competence, its accord with the Bible is notable. As shown in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, 3 MAJOR PHYSICAL LAWS are IMPLIED! (pp.330ff. in that work).
As to the First, The Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy, Scriptures fundamental to this include: Isaiah 45:12, 48:12-13, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:3, 11:3.As to the Second, The Second Law of Thermodynamics (see the above cited work, pp. 330ff., and Index), Scriptures to the point include: Isaiah 51:6, Psalm 102:25-27, Hebrews12:25-27 with II Peter 3:10. As to the Third, the Law of Biogenesis, consult Genesis 1:11,21,25,28. Also relevant here are Matthew 24:35, 19:4ff., Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 4:24.
For a production dating back well over three millenia, its irrefutable statements to this effect show prodigious performance characteristics, not merely unparalleled, in their total prophetic setting, but in sharp contrast to any production of any science. Contemporary Science, in comparison with this BASIC LAW SIGNIFYING BIBLE, is an infant in arms as to constancy and consistency.
The Bible does not change, goes deep, and stays there. It gave knowledge from thousands of years ago, duly confirming this in the New Testament: knowledge of what ? Of the basic character of the 3 crucial laws of physical science taught to it through the scientific methodology: information, observation, data based laws.
The Bible spoke, science echoes. Science is after all the ordered thought of man in such areas; and where it keeps to its mandate of method, such agreement is not surprising.
It is of course fascinating as a commentary on recent generations of philosophically gyrating thought (contemporary models in vogue), that evolutionism, organic naturalism is neither confirmed by categorical evidence, sustained by correlative laws, implemented to the eyes of observation nor available for test, as it cringes in the twilights of time, wanting, always wanting something to redeem it from its lost estate. What has not got it, will not produce it! ... is far to simple! The Bible however does not however alter. There is never a reason why it should.
It may be noticed that one used the term 'Science'. The actual science, however, not as a philosophic substitute for thought, but as a disciplined procedure in observation, inference, creation of hypotheses, verification, refinement, validation and rejection or confirmation: this continues (*4) as it has for so long, quite a useful pursuit. It has the wit not to play God, or to tell Him it doesn't want to play with Him any more, because of aspirations of its own. That is for the quasi-respectable pseudo-'Science'.
As to that, and consequences of not taking God to heart: notice that the Bible declares that man as he is, is blighted both by sin and the curse on the earth, and needs redemption. Re-creation (not mere recreation) is declared as a fundamental necessity for the inhabitants of the earth to so much as continue in their order and their function here. Further, it is stated that this fact is to appear with increasing obviousness over time... our time! The creation and what was done in this sphere subsequently in the curse (SMR Ch.2, S1-S33, pp. 179-190, 472-498), require a further act of creation for which the parameters are clear, were long stated, and without which the climax will duly arrive (like a medical prognosis, but this one is certain). Then, said Christ: "Except those days were shortened, there should no flesh be saved" - Matthew 24:22.
These laws of denying the dominion of Jesus Christ and their results ("the law of sin and death" - Romans 8:1), they with the others, they progress and continue as stated... in the Bible. The mouth of Jesus Christ is the mouth of a truth which is invariably verified under due test.
See on dating, TMR Ch. 7 E, with references. However, the changing weft of scientific formulations, and the enormous confrontational collision of hundreds of Ph.Ds on both sides of the divide, together with the false premises and question-begging procedures involved, do not even press the necessity, in any case, to abide by what is written when interpreting it, not to re-write for the sake of someone else's desires ... or one's own. In fact, on dating, one cannot find any way rationally to meet ALL the facts, except in the case of an earth some thousands of years old, only. The implications and ramifications are treated in the reference above, and its subsidiaries in detail.
See also The Defining Drama Ch. 3, Christ, the Cumulative and the Culmination Ch. 9, Cascade of Mercy, Torrent of Truth Ch. 6
Augustine is struggling, somewhat delightedly - for he seems to love an intellectual tussle, with metaphysical aspects of time. In some ways, he can appear like a great child, pondering things obvious to him, or stimulating and arresting, but not the normal content for perhaps many others, now or in a given culture.
Here in this work, his line of thought, taking all aspects noted into account, might be summarised like this. Ah time! what a mystery lies here. We have it, but how does it work outside ourselves (sub-topics arise). Of course, coming to actuality, the LORD COULD do all creation immediately, and as far as power is concerned, so far from this being a problem to Him, it would be but a small exhibition of His power. Such things are to Him like some microcosm in mind to us!
I wonder, his musing in effect proceeds, why six was the chosen mdeium. It is not at if it were a power limitation, or circumscribing because of need. Then he goes into strange voyages no doubt more like the free thought of his day, about numerology, that have rather a fantastic appearance now, but it is discursive thought.
Six however it was to be, and six it is! That is the conclusion. HENCE as noted in the text above, he speaks often enough of the particular day in the revealed creation series that he has in mind, day three or six or whatever it may be, whatever becomes relevant when it comes to the next line of fact or thought, about the individual days as so called. To imagine he is limited to immediacy or any other unscriptural oddity in terms of creation mode, is utterly erroneous, and to miss the combination of metaphysical pondering, practical thought, efforts to account for everything in waves of thought, and then a gliding back to the fact of the text, which commands entirely, whatever thoughts of his may have been evoked.
As to pondering, he indicates he could have gone on longer, if length of his volume were no problem. In this series of days as given, selecting as items come and go, he then moves without quarrel or question. He has just been thinking, as is his wont, not correcting, squashing or re-writing the text, and so speaks without question within it.