Dr. Jack L. Arnold                                    Equipping Pastors International                                           Theology Proper

 

Lesson 17

 

THE LITERARY FRAMEWORK VIEW IS POSSIBLE

 

I.                              LITERARY FRAMEWORK VIEW STATED:  The days of Genesis 1 are not intended to give a chronological sequence of events, but are rather a literary framework (poetic-like structure) which the author uses to teach us about God’s creative activity.  Therefore, Genesis 1 is a prose form of an old hymn celebrating the order of the cosmos as it presently stands but gives no chronology.

 

II.                           SUPPORT FOR THE LITERARY FRAMEWORK VIEW

A.         The poetic structure “evening and morning” shows it is prose not chronology (Gen. 1:5-6, 13, 19, 22, 31).

B.         The framework is constructed so that the first three days and the second three days correspond with each other.

 

         Days of Forming                                                                                                                                    Days of Filling

 

                                           1.  Light/Darkness                                                                                                                                                                               4.  Sun/Moon

                                           2.  Sky/Sea                                                                                                                                                                                                                   5.  Birds/Fish

                                           3.  Dry Land                                                                                                                                                                                                             6.  Animals/Humanity

 

C.          The 7th day refers poetically to the unending Sabbath rest.

D.        Genesis 2 is the chronological account and Genesis 1 is prose.  Genesis 2:5 would indicate that the days of creation were not literal 24-hour days, for it says there were no plants on earth because it had not rained, something that would not make sense in a six day creation, since plants can certainly survive three or four days without water.

E.         Genesis 1 gives no information about the age of the earth and it is therefore compatible with current scientific data which holds to a very old earth.

 

The arrangement of six “days” is a literary device the author uses to teach that God created everything.  The six “days” which are neither twenty-four-hour days or long periods of time, give us six different “pictures” of creation, telling us that God made all aspects of the creation, that the pinnacle of His creative activity was man, and that over all creation is God Himself, who rested on the seventh day and who calls man therefore to worship Him on the Sabbath day as well (Ronald Youngblood, How It All Began).

 

III.                       DISADVANTAGES TO THE LITERARY FRAMEWORK VIEW

A.         As hard as those who believe in the literary framework view try to do away with chronology in Genesis 1, it still seems to be there.

B.         The literary framework view is very new and has no historical support.  We should be wary of any new views.

C.          The literary framework view does harmonize with science and a very old earth, and there just may be too much desire to do this to get away from the knotty problems of harmonizing literal creation days with science.

D.        Exodus 20:8-11 states clearly that God rested on the seventh day from creative activity.  If God did not create the earth by working for six days and resting on the seventh, then the command to imitate Him would be misleading or make no sense.