Debunking the Framework Hypothesis (2)

Today we return to this article by Dr. Robert V. McCabe and Tim Chaffey. In this excerpt they explain one aspect of the Framework Hypothesis’ interpretation of Genesis 1 and refute it.

The Two Triads of "Days" argument is a premise that all Framework advocates agree with. Framework supporters claim that the two triads of "days" is a topical parallelism where the topics of days 1–3 are parallel with those of days 4–6. About the parallel nature of days 1 & 4, Mark Futato states, "Days 1 and 4 are two different perspectives on the same creative work."3 Returning to the overall topical arrangement the entire creation account, Kline writes, "The successive members of the first triad of days [days 1–3] correspond to the successive days of the second [days 4–6]."4 In other words, days 1 and 4 are simply two different ways of stating the same event, as are days 2 and 5, and days 3 and 6. The following chart is representative of that used by many Framework advocates and reflects this topical parallelism.5 

Day

Formation of the World

(Items Created)

Day

Filling of the World

(Items Created)

1

darkness, light

4

heavenly light-bearers

2

heavens, water

5

Birds of the air, water animals

3

seas, land, vegetation

6

land animals, man, provision of food

At first glance, it may seem as if these writers are on to something. However, a closer look reveals some problems with this argument. First, this supposed semi-poetic construction is inconsistent with the fact that Genesis 1 is a historical narrative. Hebrew scholar Steven Boyd has clearly shown that Genesis 1 is written as historical narrative rather than poetry. Hebrew poetry commonly utilizes a high percentage of imperfect and perfect verbs. By contrast, Hebrew narrative is marked by a high frequency of waw-consecutive preterite verbs that indicate a sequence of events in past tense material. Comparing Judges 4 and 5 shows a good example of these differences. In Judges 4, the account of Deborah and Barak defeating the forces of Sisera is explained in historical narrative. The following chapter is a poetical song describing the same event. The difference in language is readily apparent even in English translations. The same is true with the historical narrative of Genesis 1 and poetic descriptions of creation activities such as those found in Psalm 104. After studying and cataloging 522 texts, Boyd concluded that Genesis 1 can be classified as narrative with a probability of virtually one.6

Second, the above chart is inconsistent with the text of Genesis 1:1–2:3. Water was not created on the second day, but the first. Genesis 1:2 states, "The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." This occurred prior to the creation of light on the first day. So perhaps days 1 and 5 should be viewed as parallel. Another problem with this chart is that the "heavenly light-bearers" of day 4 were placed in the "heavens" of day 2 (Genesis 1:14). This is problematic for the Framework advocate who believes days one and four are the same event viewed from different perspectives, because this must have occurred prior to the event described in days 2 and 5. How could the stars be placed in something that did not exist yet?

Third, the order of events is crucial here. The Framework proposes that the days are not chronological, but theological. However, if one rearranges the chronology, then it breaks down into absurdity. The waters of day 1 must exist for them to be separated on day 2. On day 3, the dry land appeared from these waters. The sun, moon, and stars of day 4 were placed in the heavens (expanse, firmament) of day 2. The birds of day 5 flew on the face of the firmament of day 2 and multiplied on the land of day 3. Finally, mankind was made to rule over all of creation (Genesis 1:28). Any attempt to rearrange days of the creation week forces impossibilities into the text.

In the final analysis, the Framework's reinterpretation of Genesis 1:1–2:3 as a topical account of two triads of days is an illegitimate approach that fails to accurately interpret the creation account.

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