This thread is a transition from a previous thread, and the linchpin post between the two can be found here.
Although the term “mosaic creation” might sound like something produced for an arts and crafts fair, “Mosaic creationism” (MC) is the term I’m going to use to describe the view I currently hold regarding creation of the universe. The qualifier “Mosaic” refers to the fact that this view of “creation” is derived from reliance upon the testimony of Moses. No one else in the Bible testifies to the “six days and then rest” - but practically all of the Bible testifies to Moses’ veracity and divine support. Most importantly, Jesus affirmed Moses’ reliability.
While Moses provides our only complete biblical creation account, it is an account whose six-day outline has been institutionalized in the practice of Sabbath. Thus from ancient Israel to the present day, any individual, family, tribe, sect, or nation practicing the Sabbath has been bearing implicit witness to the six-day time frame of creation.
MC holds that Moses was not communicating science, but he was communicating history - the latter subject requiring less in the way of accommodation than the former. Also, in describing creation, Moses was describing a set of supernatural events - which should not catch us by surprise since we see supernatural events related elsewhere in the Bible, especially in the ministry of Jesus. Granted, Moses was describing six particularly stupendous days, and he was not there to witness them himself, but his ministry and testimony were attested by God through substantial supernatural involvement. In the Bible, both supernatural and natural processes are equally of God, and both are inseperable parts of the history presented to us in the Bible. The Copernican revolution rightly decided that there was no conflict between the Bible and science, primarily because the Bible never sought to speak scientifically. However, the conflict between the Bible and history that science would ultimately generate (i.e. scientifically-generated history or SGH), had not yet arisen. That conflict has since arisen and is with us today; it underlies all creationist disagreements. MC seeks a resolution to the conflict between the Bible and SGH, not between the Bible and science (for, as we said, there is no conflict between the latter pair).
Assumptions of Mosaic Creationism
1. Jesus is Lord - Nothing could be more important.
2. The Bible is the word of God - That said, I eschew the doctrine of inerrancy, primarily because it leads to a focus on immaterial issues. Rather, I focus on the prophets as reliable messengers for the Lord in heaven giving us the Old Testament and the apostles as reliable messengers for the Lord on earth and in heaven giving us the New Testament. Thus the Bible comes to us through human speech, but it conveys to us the word of the Lord. (It should go without saying, but this means that its historical claims, most notably the resurrection of Christ, are true.)
2.a. Sola Scriptura - The classical Protestant doctrine.
2.b. The Priesthood of All Believers - The classical Protestant doctrine.
2.c. The Perspecuity of Scripture - The classical Protestant doctrine.
2.d. The Sufficiency of English Translations - While I believe it’s wise and helpful to use tools and consult experts that bring the Bible student insight from the original languages of the Bible, I do not think that Christianity is like Islam where only the orginal Arabic Quran is considered the word of God. As long as the translation is faithful to the original texts, an English version of the Bible should be useful to us as was the Seputuagint was to the New Testament church.
2.e. On the Age of the Earth and Evolution - The Bible is not explicit about the age of the earth and evolution. That is, there is no verse in the Bible that contains the word “evolution” or the phrase “age of the earth.” Therefore, whatever the Bible says about these things, if it says anything at all, must be inferred.
2.f. On Explicit and Implicit Teaching - Because the Bible is an ancient text with timeless truths, and we live in modern times, a believer must look to it for both explicit and implicit teaching - knowing that an ancient text cannot be expected to be explicit about every modern issue.
2.g. On Important and Unimportant Issues - What distinguishes important modern issues from unimportant modern issues is that the former are about morality, the believer’s walk with a righteous God, while the latter are matters of mere intellectual curiosity.
2.h. On Clarity of a Biblical Teaching - A believer cannot predict in advance the degree of clarity he will achieve in understanding a specific important modern issue. His trigger for trusting and obeying is a conscience-driven awareness about the Lord’s mind on the matter and what He would have the believer do in response.
2.i. On Obedience and Intellectual Acumen - The Lord grants understanding of His word to those who humbly trust and obey what has already been revealed to them. Academicians are just as able to humble themselves in this way as anyone else; however, intellectual prowess is no substitute for this humility, and intellectual prowess alone does not attain to the understanding of God.
3. Distinguishing MC from YEC - The term “young-earth creationist” (YEC) carries a stigma in the 21st century. In using the term MC, I am not trying to avoid this stigma. The source of this stigma is that many, if not most, educated people in our age consider it ridiculous to think that the the universe was created in six days only thousands of years ago. In that sense, MC is no different from YEC and I accept whatever stigma is attached to that view. Why then distinguish MC from YEC? First, because I don’t think of the earth as “young.” I think of it as ancient. Thousands of years is a long, long time. The use of the term relative term “young,” while valid, can be misleading. Second, and more importantly, because YEC views typically have a scientific component. (Many critics of YEC would say it is a “pseudo-scientific” component, but that is an argument outside the scope of MC.) Mosaic Creationism has no scientific component. MC’s recognize and respect that the vast majority of the scientific community thinks that abundant scientific evidence from multiple lines of inquiry (Geology, Astronomy, and Biology, to name just three) disallows a six-day creation thousands of years ago. The MC view is that the universe and earth do indeed appear “old” from a scientific point of view but are really not (not entirely unlike the earth appearing immobile while actually being very mobile). In any case, I don’t see the Bible teaching science.
4. Defining the Testimony of Moses - The testimony of Moses is considered to be the Torah - that is, the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch (namely, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). For the Torah to be the testimony of Moses, it is not required that he have been the scribe of every word or even of any word. It is required, however, that whatever was written, if not written by him, was written at his direction and with his approval. In that sense, He is the author of the Torah. (The account of Moses’ death in Deut 34 is considered an acceptable exception.)
5. Defining “the Law of Moses” - The term “Law of Moses” as found in the Bible can be legitimately used in a narrowly-defined sense as well as in a generally-defined sense. The generally-defined sense is the one I just gave for the testimony of Moses. The narrowly-defined sense would mean the specific statutes and ordinances God gave Moses for ancient Israel to live by. Since these statutes and ordinances are found within the Torah, the narrowly-defined sense is a subset of the generally-defined sense. Unless stated otherwise, references to the Law of Moses in MC are in the general sense of the term - that is, synonymous with the testimony of Moses. This general sense is that which is employed in Luke 16:29, 31; 24:27, 44; John 1:45; Acts 26:22; 28:23.
Defining Mosaic Creation (MC)
An MC views creation as having taken place during one miraculous week of six days followed by a day of rest, which occurred thousands of years ago as testified to by Moses. That week breaks down as follows:
Six Days: Three separate passages (Gen 1-2; Ex 20:8-11; Ex 31:12-17) state that creation was accomplished in six days, followed by a day of rest. Since both the earth and the first human were created during that week, and since the Bible’s genealogies trace back to him, the age of the earth would number in the thousands of years. Even if there were some gaps in the genealogies, it would only extend this time line by, at most, thousands of years - not billions. Note that it’s not so much that I think that any proper reading of Gen 1 must take “yom” to be a typical day, but that “six days” as found in these three passages when considered together must be taken as six typical days. And all the more so given how any reference to “six days” is always understood elsewhere in Scripture, most dramatically in the Joshua 6 conquest of Jericho.
The Day of Rest: The three passages mentioned above (especially Genesis 2:1-3) state that God rested - that is, ceased - from the work of creation because He had completed it. This would disallow any form of progressive creation. That is, creation cannot be continuing until today - which evolutionary creation would require. The MC view is that it was completed as stated in Gen 2:1-3. This does not mean that nothing new would ever come from the creation - for one thing, there’d be new humans and animals produced on a constant basis. What it does mean is that God fully and completely created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them in the six days before the day of rest - everyone and everything coming afterward, new and otherwise - being a outworking of that creation. The “new heavens and new earth” of which Isaiah and the apostles spoke are another matter entirely.
If scientifically-generated history (SGH) trumps biblical history, MC fails.
If the Torah is not the testimony of Moses, MC fails. (Therefore, if the documentary hypothesis is true, MC fails; that is, if material portions of the Torah are not from Moses, MC fails.)
If Jesus does not affirm the reliability of Moses’ writings, MC fails.
If Gen 1-2; Ex 20:8-11; Ex 31:12-17 or Gen 2:1-3 are being misinterpreted, MC fails.
(I’m not saying that MC couldn’t fail for other reasons; it could. I’m just trying to identify its most obvious points of vulnerability.)
I am framing the thread in this way because I have been repeatedly told that it is my assumptions that are inhibiting my ability to see the matter of evolutionary creationism clearly. Putting those assumptions on full display and available for critique should address that. It may even be that the discussion leads to my becoming aware of unconscious assumptions that are also behind my view*. I am open to all that. But I also say that those of you responding must be prepared to offer me alternative assumptions to take their place - that is, the alternative assumptions that you hold. For it cannot be that anyone is an assumption-less reader of the Bible. If Evolutionary Creationism is superior to Mosaic Creationism (that is, if EC is closer to the truth than MC), it is my fervent hope that such becomes abundantly apparent through any discussion that ensues from this OP.
*(If that happens, I should probably revise this OP accordingly; in fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the entire argument I’ve written is insufficiently succinct and probably needs significant revising or at least tightening. At this point, however, I’m erring on the side of fuller disclosure of my view and its underlying assumptions. Nevertheless, sorry for the wordiness of this OP.)
List of Revisions:
8/6/17 - The original post was published.
8/7/17 - Added to the “The Day of Rest” section above to be more clear about what “creation” entails per suggestion of @RyanG here.
8/7/17 - Revised the early paragraph that begins “MC holds that Moses was not communicating science” per the suggestion made in the first section of @Christy’s post here.
8/9/17 - “Assumptions” and “Stipulations” numbered to allow easier reference. “Defining Mosaic Creationism” broken out as a separate section with heading.
8/11/17 - Item 2.a. added to “Assumptions” per suggestion from @Chris_Falter here.
8/11/17 - Added sentence about historical claims to Assumption #2 per suggestion by @Bill_II here.
8/12/17 - Added a fifth “stipulation” based on the explanation in this post from me below.
8/12/17 - Added a note to the fifth stipulation for clarity’s sake per this post from @Christy below.
8/12/17 - Added “Does ancient history really matter?” to the fifth stipulation.
8/14/17 - Added sentence to third assumption per suggestion of @Chris_Falter given here.
8/14/17 - Made various additions and revisions to “Assumptions” based on interaction with various respondents. (All changes are sub-items of #2)
8/14/17 - Removed the fifth stipulation (explained in this post).
8/15/17 - Closed out my participation at BioLogos below.