Historical/scientific reading of Genesis 1

Because of Lost&Found being on a slippery slope over in the Help Im on a slippery slope, I decided to finally write up my views of Genesis 1 and how it can be read perfectly concordantly. I tried to find an open thread where this would fit, but couldn’t. It seems the last time someone spoke about the vaulted sky was 2017. In my write up I discuss the Days of Proclamation view and how it avoids the geological problems and I discuss the fraudulence of the idea that the Hebrews believed in a vaulted sky. As one guy said, Historians have been disproving the idea that such a vew was widespread for 70+ years and no one pays attention. The idea came from the Greeks, and entered the Septuagint from the Hellenized Jewish translators. Religious skeptics promoted this view in the early 19th century to have an argument that said: “Look how dumb those Christians were!” Anyway, my write up can be found at https://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/2019/06/days-of-proclamation-historical-reading.html,

I will stay on for a few days to take the slings an arrows that will doubtless come my way on this, which will prove my point that many people prefer that the Bible not be factually true. lol

As Frank Tipler wrote:

Of course, the real reason modern theologians want to keep science divorced from religion is to retain some intellectual territory forever protected from the advance of science. This can only be done if the possibility of scientific investigation of the subject matter is ruled out a priori. Theologians were badly burned in the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. Such a strategy seriously underestimates the power of science, which is continually solving problems philosophers and theologians have decreed forever beyond the ability of science to solve.” ~ Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p. 7

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Well, I believe Genesis is literal, historical fact, much like Jesus did. Oh…wait…Jesus didn’t know science, so he must have been wrong. (insert sarcasm) :slight_smile:

I agree with you. I’m going to put my discussion of the vaulted sky/flat earth from my web page out here so it is a bit harder to ignore.

from http://themigrantmind.blogspot.com/2019/06/days-of-proclamation-historical-reading.html

The Vaunted Vaulted Sky Flat Earth Cosmology .

As Younker and Davidson show, this is a topic that was actually developed by Biblical critics, and possibly has no basis in history. They say:

" Anyone who wishes to study ancient Hebrew cosmology will quickly discover that the common understanding among most modern biblical scholars is that the Hebrews had a “prescientific,” even naive, view of the universe. This understanding is built around the idea that the Hebrew word rāqîa‘, which appears in Genesis 1 and is usually translated “firmament” in English Bibles, was actually understood by the ancient Hebrews to be a solid, hemispherical dome or vault that rested upon mountains or pillars that stood along the outermost perimeter of a circular, flat disc—the earth. Above this solid dome was a celestial ocean (“waters above the firmament”). Attached to the dome and visible to observers below were the stars, sun, and moon. The dome also possessed windows or gates through which celestial waters (“waters above the firmament”) could, upon occasion, pass . "7

The idea that the Hebrews believed in a flat earth and solidly domed sky is a myth, as we will show. I will not deny that some people did believe in the vaulted sky, but they were rare and considered eccentrics. Elihu, when speaking to Job said,

Job 37:18 can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

Does this support the domed sky/flat earth? It sounds like it but maybe not. The word used for ’ skies ’ is more often translated as clouds than as skies, so it isn’t really clear he is speaking about the firmament ( raqiya ). Robert C. Newman points out that r i is not the normal word for mirror in Scripture. Younker and Davidson say:

" Newman, 15, also notes that ḥāzāq can mean “mighty” as well as “strong,” and mûṣaq literally means “poured out.” He concludes that since in this verse the context is on-going weather phenomena rather than creation, the following translation of the verse is preferred:Can you, with Him, spread out the mighty clouds, With an appearance of being poured out? ”"8

For context: Job 37 has words like lightning, thunders, snow, rain, whirlwind, cold out of north, frost, watering while wearing cloud, fair weather, wind. The chapter is speaking of meteorology, not cosmology. Given the uncertainty about the proper translation of the verse this does not provide certain evidence of a solid firmament, unless one is predisposed to looking for such evidence.

The vaulted sky idea has the ignorant Hebrews believing rain came through windows in the firmament. Wiki says:

" Rain, snow, wind and hail were kept in storehouses outside the raqia, which had “windows” to allow them in - the waters for Noah’s flood entered when the “windows of heaven” were opened ."9

The most important reason not to believe the nonsense above is that in Gen 7:11 it is the windows of shamayim (the sky), not the windows of raqiya (expanse)!. So, categorically NO; the firmament raqiya ) didn’t have windows through which water flowed.

The second reason is that there is plenty of Biblical evidence that the ancient Hebrews knew that rain came from clouds, not from windows in the sky. Since Job is the oldest book, this knowledge predates the rest of the Bible.

Judges 5:4“ the clouds poured down water ."
2 Samuel 22:12" the dark rain clouds of the sky ."
1 Kings 18:45" Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds,the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling "
Job 26:8 “ He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight .”
Job 36:28 “t he clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind .”
Job 37:11 “ He loads the clouds with moisture; he scatters his lightning through them .”
Job 37:13 “ He brings the clouds to punish people, or to water his earth and show his love.
Job 38:34 ““ Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?
Job 38:37 “ Who has the wisdom to count the clouds? Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens
Psalm 18:11 " the dark rain clouds of the sky ."

Now that we have established that Hebrews knew the source of rain–and weren’t quite as stupid as they are portrayed, we need to look at the history of the idea of the vaulted sky/flat earth cosmology to see how it happened. Multiple researchers have debunked this idea and it doesn’t seem to go away. No one seems to be listening. There are many points Younker and Davidson make:

  1. Some have suggested the Hebrews borrowed the vaulted sky/flat earth cosmology from the Mesopotamians. Lambert showed that the Babylonians didn’t have a vaulted sky.10 Their cosmology was quite different from a vaulted dome.

  2. Early Church fathers rejected the solid vaulted sky. St. Basil said:

"I have said what the word firmament in Scripture means. It is not in reality a firm and solid substance which has weight and resistance; this name would otherwise have better suited the earth. But, as the substance of superincumbent bodies is light, without consistency, and cannot be grasped by any one of our senses, it is in comparison with these pure and imperceptible substances that the firmament has received its name. 11

"As Edward Grant notes, “ Most Christian authors and Latin Encyclopedists during late antiquity . . . thought of the heavens (i.e. celestial spheres) as fiery or elemental in nature, and therefore fluid . ”12

  1. Medieval Christian scholars didn’t commit to a solid dome cosmology

" During the late Middle Ages, most authors were vague and noncommital despite the fact that the very name firmamentum, with its implications of strength, power, and stability, and even of solidity and hardness, seemed to invite an explanation and thus to provide an occasion for the expression of opinions about its possible hardness or softness. "13

  1. In the 14th century scholars moved to a solid firmament and it remained that way for two centuries.

  2. Hard spheres were abandoned in the 16th century because of the observations of Tycho Brache and the comet of 1577 which proved there were no hard spheres. The comet seemed to plow right through those hard spheres without any effect.

  3. The idea of the vaulted cosmology came from religious skeptics.

" Historians Jeffery Burton Russell and Christine Garwood respectively debunk the long-held view among modern scholars that ancient philosophers and scientists of the early Christian church, late antiquity, and the Middle Ages believed the earth was flat. After an extensive review of the letters, papers, and books of all the major thinkers throughout these periods, Russell and Garwood made the surprising discovery that apart from a few isolated individuals, no one believed in a flat earth—indeed, the common consensus throughout this entire period among virtually all scholars and churchmen was that the earth was spherical. Where, then, did the flat-earth understanding of early Christian and medieval thought originate? They were able to trace its origin to the early nineteenth century when antireligious sentiment was high among many scholars and intellectuals. " 14

Russell wrote a piece on the internet debunking the flat earth which is part and parcel of this vaulted cosmology idea, and said:

" No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat. "15

And further how no one is listening.

" Historians of science have been proving this point for at least 70 years (most recently Edward Grant, David Lindberg, Daniel Woodward, and Robert S. Westman), without making notable headway against the error. Schoolchildren in the US, Europe, and Japan are for the most part being taught the same old nonsense. How and why did this nonsense emerge? "16

Russell’s article shows that it was Washington Irving, and Antoine-Jean Letronne who got the vaulted dome and flat earth going around 1800. Irving wrote the fraudulent story about Columbus being told that he would fall off the flat earth if he sailed west, when in fact Columbus was being told that China was far to far away for his ship to make it. Letronne was an academic with anti-religious biases’ who misrepresented the early church fathers, portraying them as believing in a vaulted domed sky and flat earth.

This falsehood became an easy story for Christian opponents to use on us. “Look how dumb those Christians are!” And as academia turned more and more away from Christian culture over the past 2 centuries, few want to look into this, change it, or tell the truth. Even Christian academics love this game, but as I said, they prefer their Bible false.

Biblical scholars need to rethink the idea of a solid firmament, which falls into the trap atheists lay for us. As long as we agree with them that the vaulted, domed sky/flat earth was what the Bible taught, we will continue to force falsehood on the Scriptures. I know it goes against the grain of a couple of hundred years of thinking, but raqiya -expanse, does not indicate solidity–firmament, it indicates exactly what space out there does–expand.

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I agree that the Raqiya was probably not a solid dome, but there’s nothing in the etymology of Raqiya that implies it is literally expanding. Rather, the word Raqiya implies broadness. Richard E. Friedman, in his commentary on the Torah, translates Raqiya as ‘space’.

What was the Raqiya then? I suggest it was probably the void created between heaven and earth, separating them. Notice how it is compared to the veil of the Tabernacle in Psalm 104:2? All other ANE cosmogonies I know of have a similar story, as do Indian, Chinese, African and Maori myths.

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Excellent. Thanks for drawing all that together.

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I would disagree about there being nothing in the etymology that implies literal expansion. Strongs says the root is Raqa,

7549 רָקִיעַ [raqiyaʿ /raw·kee·ah/] n m. From 7554

Of 7554 Strongs says:
7554 רָקַע [raqaʿ /raw·kah/] v. A primitive root; TWOT 2217; GK 8392; 11 occurrences; AV translates as “spread …” six times, “stamp” twice, “stretch” once, “beat” once, and “made broad” once. 1 to beat, stamp, beat out, spread out, stretch.

Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.

Brown-Driver-Briggs says this of Raqa and this is their ONLY definition:

[רִקּוּעַ] n.[m.] expansion;

Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 956). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

and The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says this about Raqa

רָקַע (rāqaʿ) stamp, spread out, stretch.

The basic concept in rāqaʿ is stamping, as with the foot, and what results, i.e. a spreading out or stretching forth. In the OT the foot-stamping connotation of rāqaʿ may be understood literally, indicating either a malicious glee (Ezk 25:6) or a threatening excitement (6:11). It may be used figuratively to describe beaten and crushed enemies (II Sam 22:43). In the Piel and Pual stems, the verb rāqaʿ acquires the sense of beating out precious metals, and of the spreading that results, e.g. to spread over (ASV, “overlay”) an image (Isa 40:19). For the gold of Ex 39:3 riqqaʿ, “hammer out” (RSV), is rendered “beat thin”; for the silver in Jer 10:9, “**spread **into plates”; and for the bronze in Num 16:39 [H 17:4], “make broad” (plates). rāqaʿ then comes to denote God’s spreading forth the tangible earth (Isa 42:5; 44:24), stretching out its land above the water (Ps 136:6), or spreading out the intangible sky (Job 37:18

Payne, J. B. (1999). 2217 רָקַע. R. L. Harris, G. L. Archer Jr., & B. K. Waltke (Eds.), Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed., pp. 861–862). Chicago: Moody Press.

So, no, I can’t agree that there is nothing in the etymology that suggests expansion, especially when BDB gives expansion as the meaning of the root word of raqiya.

If you have other sources I would love to be made aware of them.

My pleasure, If people smarter than I had cared to solve some of the Biblical problems, they could have done this a lot sooner. It took my whole lifetime to come to this view.

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I’m going to put the guts of my Days of Proclamation view with the above discussion of the solid dome cut out, just so it will be on this site. References can be found on my web page. There is a bit more on my web page, the introduction, but I think it is important to see if anyone will tell me that my science sucks. I would love to hear of that. I am doing this so no one can claim that Genesis 1 HAS to be scientifically false, at least not without giving someone an option of it matching reality. Genesis 1 does NOT have to be a poem, it does NOT have to be anti-evolutionary, it does NOT have to be designed to avoid teaching science, It can be viewed as thoroughly scientific and thoroughly the work of the Creator, who is the only one who would KNOW what happened at creation. A FINALLY GOD DOES NOT HAVE TO ACCOMMODATE HIS MESSAGE TO FALSEHOODS AND STUPIDITIES OF NEOLITHIC CULTURES!!!

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The Days of Proclamation View

The Days of Proclamation view of Genesis 1 is an overlooked interpretation which avoids the problems above and allows us to really believe the account. It says Genesis 1 only consists of proclamations about what the Universe would be like. Nothing was created at the time of the proclamation. The phrase ’ and it was so ’ was added by the human author, telling his readers, look around, this was accomplished. What the account doesn’t say is as important as what it does say. No where does the human writer say: "and it was so, instantly ". The assumption that each proclamation was instantly fulfilled is a long-held belief, but one that isn’t really in the Scripture. There are eight proclamations on 7 days, day three has two. With each proclamation, I will break the Scripture up between what God said, and what the human writer added to show how the Days of Proclamation view work.

The picture above shows the relation between Genesis 1 and 2. The Days of Proclamation (DoP) view holds that Genesis 1 is the pre-temporal planning of the universe. I will discuss the ancientness of this view in Proclamation 1. The DoP places time between Genesis 1 and 2.

I come from an old earth/evolutionary perspective, as will be seen below. I believe billions of years separate Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. Young earth creationists can use the Days of Proclamation view to avoid Lee’s criticism by changing the amount of time this view places in between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and still hold to their time scale. While I think young-earthers hold to an invalid time scale, there is nothing to stop a young-earth person from avoiding Lee’s criticism via this means.

Is Genesis 1 Historical?
Genesis 1:1 is an executive summary of the rest of the chapter. In the Beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. To those who believe in God, this verse seems to be obviously true. But because many Christians believe Genesis 1 is not scientifically accurate, I did a informal poll over the years. I have asked hundreds of Christians if Genesis 1:1 is a historically and scientifically accurate statement. Even those who claim there is no science in Genesis 1 will say it is historically and scientifically accurate, and then say the rest of the chapter is scientific mush. Only one liberal Christian in all those years said, it wasn’t accurate. I never could understand his reasoning. But if Genesis 1:1 is historically accurate, why can’t the rest be accurate as well? I think it can be.

The Days of Proclamation might be hinted at in Genesis 1:2, " The earth was formless and void. ./" What could that mean? Looking up synonyms for formless we find that tohu , formless, means, without plan , without design , without configuration, without pattern , without structure, without framework . This strongly hints that God had not yet set up the plan for the earth. If form is the opposite of formless, then what St. Basil says is interesting, with regards to this view, " The form of the world is due to the wisdom of the supreme Artificer ."2 The earth was formless because the Creator hadn’t formed the plan. Genesis 1, I believe, is the outline of that pre-temporal planning. Looking up synonyms for bohu , void, we find it means, bare, empty, and lacking. Again, it appears that there is no plan in place for what would fill the earth.

Proclamation 1

Genesis 1:3.
Proclamation : Then God said, “ Let there be light ”;
Human writer’s addenda : " and there was light".
Information from what isn’t said : It doesn’t say “and there was light instantly”

The account has God saying " Let there be light "; it doesn’t have Him saying " Let there be light and there was light ". That would make no sense. The phrase, " and there was light ", is the editorial statement of the human author. " Let there be light " is the statement of God; " and it was so " is the statement of the human writer… This is how the Days of Proclamation view approaches each of the proclamations in Genesis. Remember, this is the pre-temporal planning of the universe. The ‘and there was light’ was added to the account maybe billions of years after the proclamation.

Pre-temporal is both a logical and an old view.

Is viewing Genesis 1 as pre-temporal sensible? Absolutely it is. No matter whether one believes all of Genesis 1 is pre-temporal planning of the universe, or believes these statements immediately created the light, part of this first proclamation is pre-temporal. When God said 'Let ', there still was no light, time or space. When God said ’ be ’ there still was no light, time or space. The first part of this sentence is clearly a pre-temporal event until the sentence is finished and light comes into being. So even if one rejects the Days of Proclamation view which has all of Genesis 1 as pre-temporal planning, there is no getting around the fact that the first creative proclamation was stated logically prior to the universe’s existence. So why not take a look at how a pre-temporal interpretation of Genesis 1 improves the fit between science and the Bible. Secondly, both Christians and Jews have taken at least parts of this passage as pre-temporal. Nachmanides, a medieval Jewish rabbi, said the whole Torah was written prior to the creation of the world. He explains why Moses doesn’t list himself as author:

" The reason for the Torah being written in this form [namely, the third person] is that it preceded the creation of the world , and needless to say, it preceded the birth of Moses our teacher. ” 3

St. Basil, looking at Genesis 1:3-5, notes that there is an oddity in the account. Instead of saying “the first day,” the Hebrew says " was one day ." New American Standard translates it this way. The Hebrew word e-hat is the word for one, and it is translated everywhere else in the Bible as “one”, “single”, or “only”, but never as first. Basil suggests that this day is connected with eternity past.

" If then the beginning of time is called one day rather than the first day, it is because Scripture wishes to establish its relationship with eternity . It was, in reality, fit and natural to call one the day whose character is to be one wholly separated and isolated from all the others . "4

Earlier in his essay, St. Basil had presaged the above statement with:

" The birth of the world was preceded by a condition of things suitable for the exercise of supernatural powers, outstripping the limits of time, eternal and infinite. "5

The first day was eternity past plus the first day of creation. With these two statements, St. Basil began the path to the Days of Proclamation view by making the first day, pre-temporal.

The Importance of Light in Genesis 1:3

Liberal Christians, by this I mean those who do not believe the early Genesis accounts contain history or scientific information. will often agree that Genesis 1:3 is historical and scientifically accurate. I am a physicist so Genesis 1:3 tells me much about nature. To me it is quite interesting that the pre-planning mentions light first. It is fundamental to the nature of the universe. It is implicit in the nature of light. When God called light into existence, we know that the velocity of light is measured in distance divided by time. Light’s existence requires both time and space to exist. Because light travels in space-time and the shape of space-time is controlled by the gravitational field, we also know that gravity was in existence. General Relativity is about both gravity and the space-time that comes with it. Gravity is one of the fundamental forces in nature. Light is a form of radiation formed by time-varying electrical and magnetic fields so we know electromagnetism existed. . Further, since science shows that at high temperatures, electricity, magnetism and the weak force (responsible for radioactive decay) are all one force, we know the electroweak theory was in existence. To explain this a bit more, while at high temperatures, electromagnetism and the weak force are one, at our temperatures, they split into two different forces. This simple sentence “Let there be light,” proves God was thinking about 3 of the 4 fundamental forces in the first planning event.

Science tells us that the first thing that came into existence in the big bang was light. The first 30-50,000 years after the big bang was an era dominated by radiation, called the radiation era. During the radiation era, it was too hot for quarks to condense and hold together to form particles. So, with the very first proclamation we know a lot about the universe. Thus with this simple statement we know that 3 of the 4 fundamental forces of nature are in existence, and we match what we know of the big bang. Thus, I think that proclamation is as true as is the Genesis 1:1.

Proclamation 2

Genesis 1:6-7:
Proclamation : Then God said, “ Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.
Human writer’s addenda : God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
Information from what isn’t said : It doesn’t say when God made the expanse in relation to the proclamation.

Some will find this section very eisegetical (reading modern things into the Scripture) but as I said above, God has to communicate truth both to Neolithic farmers and to 21st century scientists. There is a way to interpret this proclamation as scientifically true. As it is currently interpreted. as showing a vaulted domed sky, this is a troublesome proclamation and it is ridiculed by skeptics. Interestingly, that idea might have come not from the Hebrews but from the Greeks. There was a mistranslation of the Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate translates, raqiya , as 'firmament. but etymologyonline explains why it is a bad translation. That site says:

" Used in Late Latin in the Vulgate to translate Greek stereoma “firm or solid structure,” which translated Hebrew raqiya, a word used of both the vault of the sky and the floor of the earth in the Old Testament, probably literally “expanse,” from raqa “to spread out,” but in Syriac meaning “to make firm or solid,” hence the erroneous translation." 6

So, why did the Septuagint use stereoma as the translation for raqiya ? A fascinating article which traces the idea of the vaulted sky, says that Hellenized Jews, knowing of Ptolemaic science bent the translation so as to match what they thought was known about the heavens. Since the Ptolemaic system had 8 solid crystalline spheres with stars, sun, planets and moon embedded in them, the Septuagint translators chose stereoma to match Greek beliefs. Expanse doesn’t have the same meaning as firmament. Thus the vaulted sky idea ultimately came from the Greeks, from their understanding of the Ptolemaic system, and thus wasn’t demonstrably a Hebrew idea. Further, it is quietly likely that the Syriac meaning of rqi a was influenced by the Septuagint as well, causing the dictionary compilers to call it make firm.

Raqiya does not mean solid, it’s root is ‘expansion’, which is very interesting, of one thinks of the expansion of space. In my opinion, this word should never have been translated ‘firmament’. It was a bias caused by the Septuagint and the Vulgate… Because of the Vulgate, firmament made it into both Strong’s and Brown-Driver-Briggs concordances on Hebrew. Frankly, using ‘firmament’ absolutely makes the Bible false, because it gives the view that the sky was a solid dome separating waters above this solid dome from the waters below. We know this is false from Science. If you want a false Scripture, read no further, there is no point in wasting your time. Those who suggest to me that we can’t interpret the Scripture in any other way than the way the Neolithic Hebrews read it, condemn the Bible to be scientifically false with no hope of it ever being interpreted consistently with science. If the Bible is false, it shouldn’t be believed.

So how do we get out of this problem? Consider, Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate … " Separate has two different meanings, the first is to “divide”, and that is the meaning normally given to this verse. This meaning leads to falsehood. The second meaning is “force apart”. If we use this meaning then the verse reads: Then God said, “ Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it force apart the waters from the waters. ” This indicates continuing action as opposed to finished action when separate means divide. Further, ’ force apart ’ is more consistent with the meaning of raqiya 's root, expansion.

With this meaning, then we can match modern science, and there are several possible ways to match modern science. My favorite, because it is simple is that it might refer to the expanse between the clouds and the earth, which we see every day. It is a fact that updrafts keep the clouds afloat, so maybe this is what it is referring to. The updraft of air acts moves the water up and away from the earth and only when the drops are too big to be held up by the updraft, do they fall as rain. If you watch a cumulus cloud growing, you can see it getting taller, spreading up and away from the earth.

Secondly, while the Neolithics couldn’t have known of this, we all know of the expanding universe. Galaxies are separated from each other by the expansion of space itself. This is why the use of raqiya is so interesting. It is like there is a double entendre here, as some have observed dual meanings in Biblical prophecies. Space’s basic nature is to expand, in the sense of forcing things apart. Space expands because of quantum mechanical properties of space, which generate the cosmological constant for general relativity. Now you can see the match from this possibility–Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate waters from waters. This could be the separation of galaxy from galaxy, or it could be the collapse of matter to form planets in a solar system, where gravity’s pull separates the areas of the nebula going into one planet or the other. All of these interpretations makes Day two proclamation match science.

If one of the latter two interpretations is true, why did the Hebrews say waters? Well, they had no word for matter, and water seems quite common in the galaxy. Both gases in space and stars in gravitational fields can flow, like water when gravitational interactions are just right. When galaxies collide one can see stars flowing from one galaxy to another. See the picture below. You can see the bridge of stars flowing from one to the other.

[discussion of the vaulted sky/flat earth cosmology cut out but can be viewed above or on my web page.]

Proclamation 3
Genesis 1:9
Proclamation : And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place , and let the dry land appear :
Human writer’s addition : " and it was so ."
Information from what isn’t said : doesn’t say when dry land appeared.

To match this proclamation, all I have to do is to follow Wiki’s article, History of Earth.17 When the earth first formed, there were no continents, no oceans. The earth’s surface was a basaltic crust lying over magma, melted rock. As the convection of this hot fluid proceeded, the minerals began to separate, with the lighter minerals being granite and forming the seeds of the continents. Just before 4 billion years ago, these proto-continents were formed and the water had begun to condense, causing erosion and the formation of sedimentary rocks. Once the oceans formed, erosion began, and we find the earliest sedimentary rocks prior to 4 billion years ago.18 Also, a clearly layered sedimentary rock is said to be 3.9 billion years old.19 This proclamation, made pre-temporally, was fulfilled long after the big bang, but early in earth history.

Proclamation 4

Genesis 1:11
Proclamation : And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth:
Human writer’s addenda : and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Information from what isn’t said: Doesn’t say when.

This is the point at which I must disagree with my young-earth brothers and sisters. The plain reading of this passage is that the earth is doing the work of bringing forth the grass etc. One has to ignore the grammar to claim that the earth didn’t bring forth this life. Look at the words, " Let the earth bring forth… .". God ordered the earth to bring forth life. This means the earth was doing the work. While God gifted to the earth the ability to produce plants, it was actually the earth that did the bringing forth. This is mediated creation.

The idea of mediated creation was held by many of the church fathers. St. Augustine believed that God put potentialities into creation which developed later in other days:

" For Augustine the seminal reasons have a real physical existence, but in the creation act recorded in Genesis 1 they were not produced with definite bodily form. They did not exist actually but only potentially, and contain as potential all possible species of particular things."20 " Augustine stresses that everything was created before it appears on the earth, so that things are not created at the time when they appear. "21

St. Basil wrote that it was the earth that travailed to obey God:

" Let the earth bring forth. See how, at this short word, at this brief command, the cold and sterile earth travailed and hastened to bring forth its fruit ".22

He further writes that God gifted the earth with grace and power to bring forth life!:

" At these words Let the earth bring forth, it did not produce a germ contained in it, but He who gave the order at the same time gifted it with the grace and power to bring forth. " 23

John Chrysostom agrees that the earth was awakened to bring forth life:

" What is really remarkable and surprising is that the one who now by his own word awakens the earth to germination of so many plants and demonstrates his own power surpassing human reasoning, " 24

Chrysostom says it was the waters which were activated by God’s spirit, so that the waters brought forth life.

" but what does this word mean, the Spirit of God was carried on the waters? It seems to me that it reveals to us that the waters possessed an effective and vital virtue . They were therefore not stagnant and motionless, but they moved with a certain activity. For every body that rests in total immobility is completely useless, while the movement makes it fit for a thousand uses. " 25

Chrysostom says this about the ability of the waters to produce life:

" Therefore the Holy Prophet said that the Spirit of God was carried on the waters, to show us that they possessed an energetic and secret force, and it is not for no reason that Scripture expresses thus; for it wants to dispose us to believe what it will tell us later that animals were produced from these waters by the command of God, creator of the universe. "26

Yes, by the command of God, but the water did the work.

So, now we see that God didn’t directly create the plants but indirectly created them by empowering the created earth and waters to bring forth life, we can see here, that this is consistent with evolution. If only Christians had paid attention to grammar, we might not have the problem with accepting evolution that we have today in the church.

Proclamation 5

Genesis 1:14
Proclamation : And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth :
Human addenda : and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. Information from what isn’t said : Again, it doesn’t say when God made the two great lights.

This proclamation is so easy to fit with the knowledge of modern science that I almost don’t know what to say further. The sun formed billions of years after the big bang, and so did the moon. Some stars in our galaxy formed very early in cosmic history.27 Never the less, they were formed, I think all can agree.

Proclamation 6

Genesis 1:20

Proclamation : And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Human addenda : And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Information from what isn’t said : again, no claim that this happened instantly.

Yes verse 21 says " And God created… " but He did it by making the waters capable of bringing forth the living creatures.

This passage is one that is particularly criticized by Biblical critics for having fowl created with fishes, something that didn’t happen in the geologic record. Fish first appear in the Cambrian period, about 530 million years ago, and birds arose in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago. If we Christians insist that this verse has to be interpreted as instantaneous creation, then we doom the scripture to being false. In my mind, if there is an interpretation that allows the Bible to be factually true, we should take it.

I should talk about the birds here. The phrase as translated in Genesis 1:20 in King James as:

" fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven ."

Open firmament is an oxymoron. Firmament is solid, not open. Even the Hebrews knew that birds didn’t bump into a solid object in the sky. This is a hint that raqiya should be translated as expanse, as the NASB says: let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”

The bolded part in
Hebrew is………: al,… ha-ares,……. al,……. pene,……… raqiya,……… has-sa-ma-yim
Strong’s meaning: above, earth,… across, . the face,. of the firmament,… of the sky

I have put commas between the English corresponding to the Hebrew. Note that al, is translated differently in its two occurrences. pene is translated “before” 77 times, and sometimes as “before the face of.” Given this and what we have said before, about raqiya , this phrase could be translated as “above the earth before the expanse of the sky” and it would be perfectly correct scientifically, not holding to the idea that birds could bump into a solid wall up there and in some sense recognizing that so much of the expanse is far beyond the birds–outer space. As I have said, if there is a way to interpret the Bible as true, let’s take that path. To do otherwise, and then claim it is Gods word is illogical.

Proclamation 7

Genesis 1:24
Proclamation : And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind:

Human addenda : and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. Information from what isn’t said : Doesn’t say the creation was instant upon God proclaiming it.

Again, we see the earth doing the work of bringing forth these living creatures. God empowered the earth, but the earth did the work. Again we see the statement God made but the proclamation makes it clear that God did it indirectly by means of the earth.

I think it is time to talk about the phrase “after their kind.” This phrase is often claimed to rule out evolution but it doesn’t. The phrase means, “of various kinds”. Strong’s translates it “according to its kind.” This means, crocodiles, deer, cows, cats, dogs, rats, etc. These are the kinds of animals. The phrase says nothing about the reproductive abilities of the animals. If it did, the sentence would say, “And God made the beast of the field reproduce beasts of the field after its kind.” Since it doesn’t say that, we can say, the phrase means " of various kinds " again through the mediation of the earth by the empowerment of God.

Proclamation 8
Genesis 1:26
Proclamation : And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Human addenda : So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Information from what isn’t said : Doesn’t say when man was created.

While the proclamation was a plan of what God was going to do, this proclamation is different than the ones above. This proclamation says that He (Trinity?) will make man, directly, and in His image. He didn’t use the earth to create us, or at least not all of us. Our bodies show many similarities with the great apes, including non-working genes, called pseudogenes that we share with them. This does show our bodies evolved, but, and this is important we are unique in that we have God’s image.

Many of my atheist friends will roll their eyes at the claim that we humans are unique. Well, we have a symbolic language, and our language does not come from the same part of the brain that language of the apes comes from. Indeed, the area of our brain that produces language is unique among the animal kingdom. Ian Tattersall writes:

" Indeed, Jane Goodall believes that vocalizations are so closely tied to emotional states that ‘the production of a sound in the absence of the appropriate emotional state seems to be an almost impossible task for a chimpanzee.’ Even among chimpanzees, the sound production appears to be controlled in the brain by the ancient structures of the limbic system and the brain stem, which we’ll read about shortly and which are involved in emotional response. The ‘higher’ centers of the brain do not appear to be much involved. This is a far cry (sorry!) from language as we humans know it, which is initiated in those higher centers the cerebral cortex) and is dependent on production and interpretation of sounds in isolation from the emotional states of the speaker and hearer. It is also dependent upon rules of grammar, syntax and so forth that are totally absent from the sound combinations chimpanzees make. So, no. Not only do chimpanzees not have language; they don’t even have an incipient form of it. "28

Alone among the animal kingdom, humans wear clothing. No, a hermit crab shell is not clothing. He didn’t make it, he just absconded with the shell. Even the Ona and Tasmanians, the most abjectly poorest humans on earth when they met Europeans, had articles of clothing, small as they were.

Alone among animals, humans can control fire.29

Humans are the only species to cook food.30

As Aristotle noted millennia ago, man is a rational animal. No other animal pursues knowledge for knowledge sake.

Humans are the only animals to engage in mathematics via proving theorems. This is just one of the many ways we exhibit symbolic abstract thinking. No other animals do that.

No other animal produces art as humans do. Yes, some collect objects for display, like bowerbirds, but none make multicolored pigments to paint objects, and only paint when encouraged to do so by human trainers. None do it in the wild.

Humans are the only creatures who try to figure out where we came from.31.

Humans have a unique sweating system. I won’t get into it here, but it is. This reminds me of God telling Adam, “By the sweat of your brow”.

Humans are the only species who can chose to be evil on either an individual or a massive, organized scale.

Humans are the only species to engage in pornography.

We have come to the end of the Days of Proclamation view. I feel it is the only way to interpret Genesis 1 in which it will be scientifically true. People can and will continue to avoid conflicts with science by saying that Genesis 1 isn’t meant to convey scientific information, because it is poetry (which it is not quite like Psalms), or because God didn’t intend it to teach science (How they know God’s intent when He didn’t state it, is never made clear). That is their choice and freedom, but such views miss an opportunity to address the criticisms atheists throw at the Scripture. At the very least, I hope this discussion will help someone who is on that slippery slope, beginning to see the problems in Genesis as insurmountable.

Even if the creation account of Genesis 1 is true, the Hebrews would of had a ANE biased world view and saw the earth was flat and underneath a sky dome which the throne of God was above governing all things 3-2%203%20Tiers

Also this doesn’t seem to answer the issue that we have two different creation accounts between Gen 1 and 2.

Also if we take the apostasy if Israel and Judah as true as told in 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings then it is possible that Israel had a true knowledge of the world but got corrupted when they started to accept the gods of other nations, maybe a good possibility.

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Also on the part in which you say God is lying about telling about creation. I feel that God simply told early humans that He was Creator and allowed humans to fill in the open spots and try and explain the creation of the universe as they knew how it was made. Thus, God is true in stating that He is Creator but allowed humans to make a story of creation in a way that could make sense but the Spirit of God kept the story in the home message, that Yahweh and Yahweh alone made the universe and not the gods of the nations and that humans are chief as being made in His Image.

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Did you even read anything in what was written about how this view came to be or are you just ignoring it? The proper way to deal with a challenge to one’s ideas is to show WHERE the challenger is wrong. The improper way of handing this situation is to just repeat what is challenged. If you are going to show where I am wrong, I will gladly engage, if you are only going to repeat what I have presented evidence showing that it is a canard, then I will listen.

I will point out that the Babylonian’s never put out their cosmology in one source. Lambert student put it together from various sources and it isn’t a vaulted heavens, contrary to what you are told. Remember, when challenged, deal with the challenge, don’t just repeat what is challenged.

"Lambert’s student, Wayne Horowitz, attempted to piece together a Mesopotamian cosmology from a number of ancient documents, but it is quite different from anything found in the Hebrew Bible. Horowitz’s study suggests that the Mesopotamians believed in six flat heavens, suspended one above the other by cables. When it came to interpreting the stars and the heavens, the Mesopotamians were more interested in astrology (i.e., what the gods were doing and what it meant for humanity) than they were in cosmology. There is no evidence that the Mesopotamians ever believed in a solid heavenly vault. Randall W. Younker and Richard M. Davidson, The Myth of the Solid Heavenly Dome: Another Look at the Hebrew (Raqia), Andrews University Seminary Studies, No. 1(2011), 125-147, p. 127 https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3130&context=auss

HI Sealkin, this is one of the issues that has caused me to mostly cease debating with people. In point of fact and I don’t mean this harshly, what you feel is not really important to what are the facts of the matter. Many times in my life I have felt good about something only to be proven horribly wrong. My feelings got mugged by a gang of brutal facts. This happens all the time when one drills for oil. One can’t be right all the time, one hopes to be right about 1/3 of the time in that profession, I beat the 1/3 but a small bit, but, some of my best ideas for where oil was, the ones I felt very strongly about, were dry holes. Don’t tell me what you feel, sealskin, tell me what facts you have to bring to the table. Feelings will mislead every time.

Okay then, despite the YEC model being the most true to the account of Genesis 1 it fails to explain the millions of years we have found in the layers of the earth which contradict the YEC model of 6,000 years. Fact is that YEC fails to explain this (unless its the grave conspiracy of the evil scientist who wish to sway kids away from the Bible or God made it look millions of years old to test people) also if the Flood was truly global and chaotic and dinosaurs were around in the Flood then why don’t we find human, animal and dinosaur bones scattered across the soil layers? That right there along with an accurate reading of the age of the earth is what made me leave YEC and return back to EC. Thus I am left with the oddity of Genesis 1 and 2 and what to do with them. They are simply stories that tell the simple truth that God and God alone is Creator of the universe. My foundation and corner stone is Jesus Christ, not Genesis 1.

Sigh, another example of why I hate debate: You obviously haven’t read what I wrote. I am an evolutionist, I know the earth was created 4.5 billion years ago, and the cosmos something like 13.7 billion years ago, and my view says there are billions of years between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2.

I know it is easy to get on autopilot and attack anyone who says the Bible is concordant, but really, you should read what is written before arguing against my position as if I am a YEC. Help me out here. What part of the sentences below, taken from my post above, is unclear about who I am and what position I take?

"I come from an old earth/evolutionary perspective, as will be seen below. I believe billions of years separate Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. "

“This is the point at which I must disagree with my young-earth brothers and sisters. The plain reading of this passage is that the earth is doing the work of bringing forth the grass etc.”


“If only Christians had paid attention to grammar, we might not have the problem with accepting evolution that we have today in the church.”

One should actually read what one is attacking…

@gbob upon looking back and taking a much closer look at your blog it seems that you are not YEC as I first assumed when I briefly read the article and saw you trying to defend a “historical reading of Genesis” and thus I have a question? It seems you support the Day-Age Interpretation/Gap Theory in which creation took long epochs but still in the order as told in Genesis 1? While I see the temptation in using this the issue I see is why would God need to stretch out events so long in the span of seven like days but over the course of billions of years? To me it seems pointless and a non-concordist view is a better way of understanding Gen. 1. For me personally, the Ancient Near Eastern Cosmology Interpretation is the best way of explaining the Genesis creation account. Correct me in any area that u got wrong in trying to understand in what you are trying to point out in the blog

Hi Sealskin, Once again, it is clear that if you read my post, you haven’t understood it or alternatively, I wrote so badly that it is not clear. I don’t think it is the latter given that I outline each day and show what is said and what isn’t said by each of the proclamations. Genesis 1 is entirely pre-temporal planning. Nothing was created in Genesis 1 only the plan for the universe was made.

No, I do not support the Day-age interpretation, which is quite scientifically unsound. While trained in physics, I worked as a geophysicist, which required me to learn geology, and eventually I was managing Ph. D.s in geology because I knew it well enough. My view is the Days of proclamation interpretation, which is quite different from Day Age. Day age says that each day is an age and the things that happened on that day happened in that age. Which is pure geological bunk. As I point out in my article, fish and birds (day-age 6) were not created anywhere near the same day age, fish evolving in the Cambrian and Birds in the Jurassic. But if Day 6 is mere planning for the universe, then God can plan things in any order he wishes to, just like a human designer can plan a building from the top down if he wants to. The day age interpretation still has all the order of events problems that the YEC interpretation has. Go actually read the Days of Proclamation post above and you will see that it is quite different from Day Age, because I put all of Genesis 1 as the pre-planning of the universe, and all of it is pre-temporal. Day Age is post creation and it simply doesn’t match reality.

Edited to add: I am defending a literal interpretation of Genesis!

I think this is a salutary warning to all of us here, @gbob. It’s easy for us to see people such as yourself saying things that we’ve heard YECs say, such as Genesis 1 being “historical” or “literal” and then jump to the conclusion that you’re a YEC yourself when you’re not. I’ve made that mistake myself with other people here on this forum.

It became obvious to me though that you’re not a YEC when you started talking positively about the Days of Proclamation view. YECs view any interpretation of the days in Genesis 1 other than as literal sequential 24 hour days in the Earth’s reference frame, six thousand years ago, as unbiblical pseudo-Christian “compromise” at best and outright heresy at worst.

(Incidentally, if I recall correctly the Days of Proclamation view was the one expressed by Alan Hayward in his book “Creation and Evolution.” It was the first old-earth creationist book that I ever read, and it made a whole lot more sense to me than LSDYEC even at the tender age of seventeen.)

Ah, I see. My bad, now seeing what you say it makes a lot of sense now from the point of view that you present. My apologies. While this view seems to make a lot of sense I might have to look into it more and see if this view can take the place of my long held ANE cosmos view.

Hi Jammycakes, (what a moniker, I like it, lol)

As Marshall Janzen said to me here, I am one of a kind. I don’t go with the crowd, unless I think the crowd is correct. Ever since my YEC days, I decided to never again believe what people said unless the data made it very clear that it they are right. Data and facts is all that matter. But one thing I have learned over the years is that crowds create an echo-chamber and no one inside that chamber questions the assumptions that go into whatever it is that they believe. This applies to YEC, it applies to political parties; it applies to accommodationalism, and it applies to Christianity itself. What caused my 10 year crisis of faith was that I questioned the very basis of Christianity and its assumptions. It took a long time for me to figure out an answer to the question, “If early Christians were as bad at handling observational data and logic as are the modern Christians, how can I believe in the resurrection?” Two things got me past that question. I doubt many YECs or accommodationalists would die for their belief in that regard–the disciples were all put to death for what they believed. The second thing that got me over it was my Turkish translator experience I posted on this board a few weeks ago. Still looking for the woman who was the third witness to that event.

Yes, Alan Hayward was the first guy I heard the Days of Proclamation from. I reviewed his book for errors prior to its publication. Thus, I had some correspondence with him before he passed, (I assume he is gone I might be wrong. haven’t heard from or of him in a long time). Anyway, Alan’s view of it was that it applied only to the creation of the earth, and geologically, that won’t work. In my book, Foundation Fall and Flood, I modified the view to apply to the formation of the universe. It fits like a glove there.

But I wasn’t the first to apply it to the formation of the universe, that honor goes to Capron, in 1902, The Conflict of Truth. J. O. Means had suggested Days of Proclamation in 1855, all the days were pretemporal, but I don’t know what he applied it to–the formation of the earth, like Hayward or the origin of the universe like Capron and I.

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No problem. It has happened to me before. We all make too many assumptions and then move on them. Sigh, it is a human thing and when I do it, it bothers me a lot because I have violated what I swore not to do again, when I left YEC.

As to the ANE cosmology, one needs to go look at the Hebrew and consider alternative possible translations.Translators have their biases too. One friend of mine, an atheist, Bob Schadewald, who passed away about 15 years ago, wrote an article where he claimed that the Bible taught flat earth and vaulted ceiling. He of course delighted in making Christianity look bad. I wish he were still here, as my conversation on that issue would be much different now. He claimed,among others, that Daniel’s dream of the tree meant that the Bible taught a flat earth. A Dream? Really? If my dreams were an indication of what I believed, I would be able to swim through the air flying up to the sky (an actual dream as a kid), or I would be able to go from place to place instantly. Sheesh, I liked Bob, but his prejudice didn’t allow him to see that using a dream as evidence of a flat earth was kind of a stretch (no pun with raqiya intended. lol)

thank you for the kind words when you said: "While this view seems to make a lot of sense " Such compliments are rare for a guy like me who marches to a very different drum.