Debunking the Framework Hypothesis (3)
Reformed Free Publishing Association
Today is the 3rd installment of an excerpt from this article. Today we consider the Framework Hypothesis’s argument that the 7th day of creation is a long period of time. Please feel free to respond in the comment section below.
The second argument supporting the Framework position is that the seventh day of the creation week is an unending (or at least long and still continuing) period.7 This premise is a standard argument for Framework advocates since it reputedly proves that the first Sabbath is ongoing, and, therefore, implies that the other six days are each metaphors for extended temporal periods.8 Two items are alleged to support the unending nature of day 7. First, while each of the six days of the creation week are concluded by the evening-morning formula, the description of day 7 in Genesis 2:1–3 omits the evening-morning formula implying that it is an ongoing period. Second, Hebrews 4 confirms this understanding of day 7 with the motif of an eternal Sabbath rest.
In response to this argument, it is necessary to notice how "evening" and "morning" are used in the creation account. The clauses "there was evening" and "there was morning" have a function in the creation narrative of marking a transition from one day of creation to the next. This is to say, an "evening" denotes the conclusion of a period of light when God suspends his creative activity of one day and the "morning" marks the renewal of light when God resumes his work. Just as the fiat ("let there be" or an equivalent) and fulfillment ("it was so" or "there was") expressions used on each day of creation are not needed on day 7 because God's creative activities are finished, so there is no need to use the evening-morning conclusion because God's work of creation is concluded. Thus, the omission of the evening-morning formula on day 7 neither proves nor implies that this day was unending.
In addition, Hebrews 4 provides no substantive evidence indicating that day 7 is an eternal day. The eternal rest presented in Hebrews 4 is based on an analogy with God's creative rest in Genesis 2:1–3. Based upon the Mosaic omission of the evening-morning conclusion, the author of Hebrews is able to use the first Sabbath as a type patterned after God's eternal rest. We should further note that the actual kind of rest in Genesis 2:2–3 is completely different than the rest in Hebrews 4:3–11. The rest of Genesis 2:2–3 is a cessation from divine creative activity. Only the Creator can cease from that activity. It is absolutely impossible for the creature to experience that cessation. However, the Sabbath-rest of Hebrews 4:3–11 is a rest that the people of God actually experience. Therefore, the "rest" in both contexts cannot be identical. The Framework position assumes that the "rest" of Genesis 2 is identical with Hebrews 4. However, instead of assuming that the "rests" of Genesis 2 and Hebrews 4 are identical, Framework advocates need to demonstrate this identity.
Moreover, notice that Hebrews 4 never states that day 7 is continuing. It says that God's rest is ongoing. He started His cessation from divine creative activity on that day, but the day itself has not continued. Imagine that a person leaves for week-long vacation on a Friday. On Tuesday, he could say that he is still resting from work, but that does not mean that Friday is continuing.
Finally, this argument actually proves too much, or at least would, if it could be shown day 7 is unending. If day 7 is ongoing because it lacks the evening and morning phrase, then this seems to be an unintentional admission that the first six days are normal-length days because they do have "evening and morning."