The Days of Genesis First Article -- By: Edward J. Young

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 25:1 (Nov 1962)
Article: The Days of Genesis First Article
Author: Edward J. Young


The Days of Genesis
First Article

Edward J. Young

“We do not read in the Gospel”, declared Augustine, “that the Lord said, ‘I send to you the Paraclete who will teach you about the course of the sun and the moon’; for he wanted to make Christians, not mathematicians”.1 Commenting on these words, Bavinck remarked that when the Scripture, as a book of religion, comes into contact with other sciences and sheds its light upon them, it does not then suddenly cease to be God’s Word but continues to be such. Furthermore, he added, “when it speaks about the origin of heaven and earth, it presents no saga or myth or poetical fantasy but even then, according to its clear intention, presents history, which deserves faith and trust. And for that reason, Christian theology, with but few exceptions, has held fast to the literal, historical view of the account of creation.”2

It is of course true that the Bible is not a textbook of science, but all too often, it would seem, this fact is made a pretext for treating lightly the content of Genesis one. Inasmuch as the Bible is the Word of God, whenever it speaks on any subject, whatever that subject may be, it is accurate in what it says. The Bible may not have been given to teach science as such, but it does teach about the origin of all things, a

question upon which many scientists apparently have little to say. At the present day Bavinck’s remarks are particularly in order, for recently there has appeared a recrudescence of the so-called “framework” hypothesis of the days of Genesis, an hypothesis which in the opinion of the writer of this article treats the content of Genesis one too lightly and which, at least according to some of its advocates, seems to rescue the Bible from the position of being in conflict with the data of modern science.3 The theory has found advocacy recently both by Roman Catholics and by evangelical Protestants.4 It is the purpose of the present article to discuss this hypothesis as it has been presented by some of its most able exponents.

1. Professor Noordtzij and the “Framework” Hypothesis

In 1924 Professor Arie Noordtzij of the University of Utrecht published a work whose title may be translated, God’s Word and the Testimony of the Ages.5 It is in many

respects a remarkable book and contains a useful discussion of the relationship between...

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