In this post I want to hit on what is known as the “literary framework” view of Genesis 1. Basically, this view suggests that what happens on each of the creation days makes no scientific sense — but makes very good sense in terms of a deliberate literary design to show a correspondence between days 1 and 4, 2 and 5, 3 and 6. If this literary arrangement is deliberate, it not only explains why the science makes little sense — it argues that science wasn’t the point from the beginning.
For the record, I’m not married to this view, though I think it does point to deliberate literary arranging of the material. My view doesn’t depend on this literary arrangement being correct, though. I think Genesis 1 (and all the creation accounts of the Bible – fodder for the next post) have nothing to do with scientific information but are about theology — and specifically, a theological polemic directed against other ANE cosmologies and deities.
Here is a pretty decent explanation of the literary framework view. Not too long; essentially a distillation of Meredith Kline’s articulation of the idea (Kline is a favorite OT scholar for me; he passed away not too long ago).
I anxiously await your upcoming posts on this issue. I have recently become very interested the creation accounts of the OT (I am writing a paper on it now), especially Gen 1. I found Walton’s arguments in The Lost World of Genesis One quite compelling, but I am even more interested in reading your thoughts on the OT creation accounts as theological polemics. My OT prof this summer advocated this position. Because it was a summer session and a bit more hurried, we only spent one class period on the issue, but it was terribly interesting. When he read Gen 1 against accounts from Egyptian texts, it seemed as plain as day. So, again, I am anxious, maybe even excited, about your posts on this issue.
yep; I’ll do one or two on this.
Good – “It is heaven time, not earth time, not time measured by astronomical signs”. We ALL know time is relative. It all sounds good to me, up until…
Ouch! – “Evolution Disclaimer”. I was enjoying it up till then.
“We reject as invalid any interpretation of Scripture which achieves harmony with natural revelation at the price of sound exegesis. All Biblical interpretation must conform to the analogy of Scripture”
Is this the “ROYAL WE”? Rather narrow minded. Galileo might have to go back and re-evaluate the FACT that the sun revolves around the earth. Anyway, not worth arguing about. Evolution is worth many pages, but it has all been said before. I don’t want to get into any discussions about it, other than to say I believe that my belief in God, Jesus, and the bible are not incompatible with evolution. Best regards.
I think the “We” represent s the Presbyterian Churches view. I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t state that if that is there stand, separate issues should be distinguished in a hotly debated are like this were tension runs high at times. Not that it has anything to do with me being part of them lol.
Sorry about that – my last post on the subject – I promise.
I see the Literary Framework document was from the Orthodox Presbyterian church, and the Science and Religion document I mentioned was from the Presbyterian Church of the USA at
I have no idea about which is the dominate church, other than one is left, one is right (leaning, that is).
No apology needed Gary, I dont agree with every stance in my Church, i expect that is everyones experience who looks at things like these seriously. Maybe that MSH church thing was not such a bad idea after all 🙂
just skip that – I posted it for the framework discussion, not this.
Depends what you mean by “evolution”.
I guess I didn’t like the thought that, if this is a doctrine of a church, they do not allow “wiggle-room” for believers of other ideas. They can believe whatever they want. But I hope they aren’t throwing people out with other beliefs. I don’t think this is Presbyterian – I googled and got a pdf at
that seems to indicate a different opinion (more along the lines of Methodists), although I don’t know if this is in anyway an official Presbyterian site….long-winded, but they state
“the General Assembly of our own church (The Presbyterian Church in the United States) officially concluded: that the true relation between the evolutionary theory and the Bible is that of
noncontradiction and that the position stated by the General Assemblies of 1886, 1888, 1889 and 1924which had interpreted Scripture as being opposed to the theory of evolutionwas in error and no longer represents the mind of our Church.”
I would be interested in who the “We” represents, just from a reference point of the entire document, because I’d like to keep the document for the “Literary Framework” material.
A very generic comment:
Despite secular science surrounding common descent (look what happened to Lucy and others), it may be that the original kinds evolved into the various species that existed. I’ve looked at creationism, ID and evolution and I am quite undecided as to what is sound in all areas of science from each proponent (microbiology, astronomy, geology, anthropology). There is not one single proponent that has figured everything out correctly. So it’s not about deciding which proponent is correct (all or nothing type of decision).
i think humanity is in Devolution :oP
It seems double standards to me. On the one hand they adopt a “figurative” approach, on the other hand they insist on a presupposition of a 24 hour solar day, which is an empirical observation. I really cannot understand this insistence.
The bible is a difficult book for many to understand. However, God’s grace is simple. Many seek to please God with their own works of righteousness in the flesh. However, the bible is spiritual and can only be followed through faith in Jesus Christ. Here is a great bible study website that opens up the bible spiritually for those who have trouble understanding it.
Meredith G. Kline…very persuasive as Mike attests he was one of his favorite OT scholars:
Mark Futato also wrote an article on Genesis 1 and Genesis 2:5 answering one of Kline’s articles back in 1958. Very enlightening. Indeed, Genesis is thematic, not just in Gen 1-2 but throughout. There are doublets all over genesis, actually 26 according to Thomas L. Brodie:
Kline is always worth reading; I don’t always agree with him, but he’s always stimulating.
Oops, the first link is the wrong one, it’s this one: