Genesis 1-11: Myth or History?

By Prof. David J. Engelsma, A.B., B.D., Th.M.

      Everything about the topic of this polemical essay is wrong. There is absolutely no reason to set Genesis 1-11 off from the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament, and the rest of the Bible as a special, indeed dubious, kind of writing. There is no question whether Genesis 1-11 is historical. There may be no question about the historicity of Genesis 1-11. Merely to allow for the possibility that Genesis 1-11 is mythical is unbelief. Seriously to pose the question about Genesis 1-11, "Myth or History?" is to do exactly what Eve did when she entertained the speaking serpent's opening question, "Yea, hath God said?" (Gen. 3:1). Tolerance of doubt concerning the truthfulness of God's Word is revolt against Him and apostasy from Him.

       Nevertheless, the topic is forced upon us by the controversy of the present day. And it serves well to sharpen the issue: Genesis 1-11 is either myth or history. That section of Scripture is not, and cannot be, a third thing: mythical history, or historical myth.

       The topic is not seriously intended, as though it were an open question to the writer, and may be an open question to the reader, whether Genesis 1-11 is myth or history. Genesis 1-11 is history, not myth. This must be the presupposition, proposition, and conclusion of this article. Genesis 1-11 demands it.

       It is shameful that the topic is necessary in the sphere of Reformed churches. Has it really come to this in the Reformed churches, that the historicity of Genesis 1-11 must be defended? One can reply, correctly, that this is also the case in all the other churches, Protestant as well as Roman Catholic. Nevertheless, the Reformed believer so feels the shame of it that also the Reformed churches have proved vulnerable to the assault on Genesis 1-11 that he has no joy in publishing an article that makes this known. His spirit is rather that of David in II Samuel 1:19, 20: "How are the mighty fallen! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph." He experiences the sting of the apostolic rebuke in Hebrews 5:12: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God."

       Humiliating though the topic is, the issue must be confronted: the historicity of Genesis 1-11 is widely and increasingly denied, in evangelical and Reformed circles; and the historicity of the opening chapters of the Bible is of fundamental importance.

       In this article, the gospel itself is at stake among us. If we agree that Genesis 1-11 is myth, the divinity of Scripture—its "God-breathedness," as II Timothy 3:16 puts it—is denied, and thus is lost Scripture's authority, reliability, clarity, sufficiency, and unity. If Genesis 1-11 is myth, the message of Scripture is abandoned, for Genesis 1-11 is the foundation of the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the source of the gospel of grace. Martin Luther is our teacher here. Of the early chapters of Genesis, he said: "certainly the foundation of the whole of Scripture."

       The force then of the sorry, embarrassing topic of this piece is, "What are we to make of the foundation of the whole of Scripture? myth? or history?"

       The foundation of the whole of Scripture and, therefore, also of all that the whole Scripture teaches is a myth, the Christian church is being told today, by her own ministers, theologians, and scholars. A myth is a story that explains an important aspect of human life and experience. Often the story is of a theological, spiritual, and religious nature. But a myth is a story that never happened. The storyteller casts the myth in the form of events, events that occurred on earth among men. Usually these events involved the gods and their relationships with men and women. But these mythical events have no reality in actual fact; they are unhistorical. If read or listened to for entertainment, the myth is fictitious. If taught as the factual explanation of a certain aspect of human life, the myth is a lie.

       C.F. Nosgen gives this definition of "myth": "Any unhistorical tale, however it may have arisen, in which a religious society finds a constituent part of its sacred foundations, because an absolute expression of its institutions, experiences, and ideas, is a myth." [1]

       Heathen religions abound in myths. The Greek myth of Pandora's box explains evil in the world as the result of a woman's opening a box contrary to the instruction of the gods. The Babylonian myth Enuma Elish explains creation from the killing and dividing of a great monster, Tiamat.

       Scripture speaks of myths. In the Greek of the New Testament, Scripture speaks of myths explicitly: the Greek word is muthos, "myth." The King James Version uniformly translates this Greek word as "fables." But Scripture denies that the biblical message is based on, or derived from, myths: "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables (Greek: muthos), when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (II Pet. 1:16). It warns the saints, particularly ministers, against myths: "Neither give heed to fables (Greek: muthos)" (I Tim. 1:4). Nevertheless, Scripture prophesies that in the last days, under the influence of unsound teachers—"mythologians," we may call them—professing Christians will turn from the truth to myths: "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (Greek: muthos)" (II Tim. 4:4).

       This prophecy is now fulfilled in evangelical and Reformed churches in that men and women hold Genesis 1-11 for myth. They have turned from Genesis 1-11 as truth to Genesis 1-11 as myth. This is widespread. This prevails. Otherwise, we would not be forced to the shameful extremity of defending the historical reality of the events recorded in Genesis 1-11.

       Many Reformed people in North America learned that Genesis 1-11 is regarded as a myth, in reputable and influential Reformed circles, with the publication of the book, The Fourth Day, in 1986. [2] Since the author of the book was then a professor at Calvin College, the book and resulting controversy brought to light that the view of Genesis 1-11 as myth is held, taught, and tolerated at Calvin College.

       Four years later, in 1990, a similar work came out of Calvin College. This was titled, Portraits of Creation: Biblical and Scientific Perspectives on the World's Formation. [3] In a chapter entitled, "What Says the Scripture?" John H. Stek, at that time a professor of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, boldly asserted that Genesis 1 draws on heathen, Egyptian myths; is non-historical; is a "metaphorical narration"; and is, in short, a "storied rather than a historiographical account of creation."

       A third installment of Calvin College's ongoing denial of the historicity of Genesis 1-11 followed in 1995. In his book, The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabiblical Evidence, professor of geology Davis A. Young rejected the historicity of the account of the flood in Genesis 6-9. On the basis mainly of geology, Young declared that "there is no evidence whatsoever to indicate that human or animal populations were ever disrupted by a catastrophic global flood." The account of the flood in Genesis is Scripture's exaggerated—enormously exaggerated—description of some local flood or other once upon a time in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers: "The flood account uses hyperbolic language to describe an event that devastated or disrupted Mesopotamian civilization—that is to say, the whole world of the Semites." [4]

       But it would be a mistake to suppose that the mythologizing of Genesis 1-11 goes on only at the college of Howard Van Till and Davis Young and at the seminary of John Stek. It goes on almost everywhere in evangelical, Presbyterian, and Reformed churches. Rare is the church, seminary, or college where it is not found and tolerated, if not approved. Among the theologians, scholars, and teachers, it is the prevailing view. This means that in a very short time it will be the prevailing view of the people, if it is not already.

       One strategic center for teaching the myth is the Christian school, not only the Christian colleges, but also the Christian grade schools and high schools. The Christian schools in North America are full of the teaching that Genesis 1-11 is myth.

           Christian schools!

       To be sure, the term "myth" is seldom used in Reformed and evangelical circles. Those who are, in fact, teaching that Genesis 1-11 is myth will usually disavow "myth" as the proper description of that part of Holy Scripture. There is good reason for this. "Myth" has unsavory connotations. The Bible expressly denounces myths. Only the most radical (and candid!) of liberal theologians—the Rudolph Bultmanns—boldly call the Bible stories in Genesis 1-11 "myths." Hence, the evangelical and the Reformed mythologians are careful to use other terms. However, just as a rose by any other name smells sweet, so a myth by any other name still stinks.

       We ignore the liberals like Hermann Gunkel, who called Genesis 1-11 "legend," and the neo-orthodox like Karl Barth, who called the passage "saga." Our concern is the extent to which Genesis 1-11 is regarded as myth in reputedly conservative circles. In The Fourth Day, Howard Van Till described the opening chapters of Genesis as "primal," or "primeval history." The committee of the Christian Reformed Church that advised synod on the views of Van Till and his colleagues referred to Genesis 1-11 as "stylized, literary, or symbolic stories." [5]

       The Dutch Reformed scientist and author Jan Lever had earlier written two books that were translated into English in which he attacked the Reformed confession that Genesis 1-11 is historical. In his Where are We Headed? A Christian Perspective on Evolution, he vehemently denied that Genesis 1-11 is "an account of historical events…. Anyone who reads the Bible with common sense can reach the conclusion that a literal reading of the Genesis account is wrong." Rather, the opening chapters of the Bible are a "confession about God." [6]

       A recent book by notable evangelical theologians and other scholars, The Genesis Debate, has a number of these men insisting that Genesis 1-11 is unhistorical, indeed allegorical. One scholar is bold to state an implication of this view of Genesis 1-11 that fairly bristles with doctrinal implications, namely, that it is absurd to think that the human race descended from two (married) ancestors. Nevertheless, so the editor informs us, this scholar, like all the others, is "committed to the full inspiration and authority of Scripture." [7]

       Another prominent evangelical, Charles E. Hummel, in an InterVarsity publication, The Galileo Connection, contends that the first eleven chapters of Genesis must be seen as a "literary genre"; they are a "semipoetic narrative cast in a historico-artistic framework." Genesis 1-11 is not a "cosmogony," but a "confession of faith." [8]

       The Fuller Seminary theologian Paul K. Jewett prefers the designations "primal history" and "theologized history." Authoritative science has enabled us moderns to recognize the "childlike limitations of the understanding" of those who wrote the first eleven chapters of the Bible. Theirs was a "prescientific simplicity" when they told the story of "God's making the world `in the space of six days.' [9]

       Bruce Waltke, who was professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary at the time, wrote in Christianity Today that we must not read Genesis 1:1-2:3 as historical. Rather, we must take "an artistic-literary approach." He quoted Henri Blocher approvingly: the passage is "an artistic arrangement … not to be taken literally." Waltke concluded that Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a "creation story in torah ('instruction'), which is a majestic, artistic achievement, employing anthropomorphic language. [10]

       To refer to no others, in his book, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, John Frame, at the time professor of theology at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California, wrote that he is open to the possibility of interpreting Genesis 1 and 2 "figuratively" because of the findings of geologists that the earth is very old. [11]

       All of these men studiously avoid the use of the word "myth," although a couple of them give the game away by their description of the kind of stories they think to find in Genesis 1-11. Having denied that Genesis gives us "a picture of reality," Lever goes on to affirm that Genesis "does provide us with the fundamentals for a life and world view, a religious perspective on the nature of this reality, its finitude and its dependence upon God in becoming and in being." [12] This is the textbook definition of myth.

       Similarly, Bruce Waltke explains his own figurative interpretation of Genesis 1:1-2:3 by quoting H. J. Sorenson in the New Catholic Encyclopedia:

The basic purpose is to instruct men on the ultimate realities that have an immediate bearing on daily life and on how to engage vitally in these realities to live successfully. It contains "truths to live by" rather than "theology to speculate on." [13]

This is the classic myth.

       Avoidance of the term "myth" is of no significance. What is important is that the events recorded in Genesis 1-11 never really happened, never really happened as Genesis 1-11 records them as happening. Genesis 1-11 is not history, but myth. This world never did come into existence by the Word of God calling each creature in the space of six days, and then in the order set forth in Genesis 1. The human race never did originate from a man, Adam, who was formed by the hand of God from the dust, and from a woman, Eve, built by the hand of God from a rib of the man as we read in Genesis 2. Sin and death never did enter the world by the man's eating a piece of forbidden fruit at the instigation of his wife and by the temptation of a speaking serpent as Genesis 3 tells us. There never was the development of agriculture, herding, music, and metallurgy as Genesis 4 reveals. There never was a universal flood as taught in Genesis 6-8. There never was a Tower of Babel occasioning the dividing of the nations by confounding of the language as set forth in Genesis 11.

           Genesis 1-11: Myth!           

       This is the prevailing opinion in evangelical, Reformed, and Presbyterian seminaries, schools, publishing houses, and churches at the beginning of the 21st century.

       Myth is also the implication of the "framework-hypothesis." This is an explanation of the six days of Genesis 1 and of the seventh day of Genesis 2:1-3. The theory is occasioned by doubt concerning the literality of the account in Genesis 1:1-2:3 because of the loud testimony of modern scientists that the universe is billions of years old and that its present form is due to evolution.

       The framework hypothesis denies that Genesis 1:1-2:3 makes known what actually took place in the beginning. Rather, the very human, but inspired author told a story whose point is that God created the world in some unknown way and over the span of unknown time. (In fact, the defenders of the framework hypothesis will be found holding that God created the world exactly as evolutionary science decrees: by evolutionary process over billions of years.) The storyteller of Genesis, so runs the hypothesis, hung his story on the framework (utterly fictitious!) of six days of creation and one day of rest. There is nothing factual about the days with their evening and morning, including the seventh day; nothing factual about the order of the days; nothing factual about the individual acts of creation on each day, or about any of the details whatsoever. Presumably, the unreality of the passage would extend also to God's trinitarian conversation within Himself before the creation of man in Genesis 1:26.

       This is how one of the leading proponents of the theory, who also did much to popularize it among conservative Reformed people both in the Netherlands and in North America, described it.

In Genesis 1 the inspired author offers us a story of creation. It is not his intent, however, to present an exact report of what happened at creation. By speaking of the eightfold work of God he impresses the reader with the fact that all that exists has been created by God. This eightfold work he places in a framework: he distributes it over six days, to which he adds a seventh day as the day of rest. In this manner he gives expression to the fact that the work of creation is complete; also that at the conclusion of His work God can rest, take delight in the result; and also … that in celebrating the Sabbath man must be God's imitator. The manner in which the works of creation have been distributed over six days is not arbitrary. [14]

       The name by which this understanding of the foundational chapters of the Bible calls itself is itself the refutation of the theory: "framework hypothesis." The faith of the church may not, and does not, rest upon a "hypothesis." The church's faith must be absolutely certain knowledge that has clear, infallible, divine revelation as its object and that receives Genesis 1:1-2:3 for what it itself and all the rest of Scripture claim that it is: history.

       The rejection by the framework-hypothesis of the historicity of Genesis 1:1-2:3 implies the mythical character of the more detailed description of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:4ff., the mythical character of the account of the fall in Genesis 3, and the mythical character of the rest of Genesis 1-11, which depends upon Genesis 1-3. For Genesis 1:1-2:3 includes the account of God's creation of a first man and a first woman in His own image. If this account is not historical, neither is the tightly linked account of the fall of these two fabulous persons.

       Ridderbos himself acknowledged that the framework-hypothesis implies death in God's world long before, and altogether apart from, any possible "fall" of humans, which according to Genesis 3:17, 18 and Romans 8:19-22 is the cause of death in the creation. Ridderbos also admitted that the framework-hypothesis opens up the church to Jan Lever's teachings of man's biological descent from the beasts. [15]

       Fundamental to the historicity of Genesis 1-11 is the reality of the days of Genesis 1:1-2:3, each consisting of one evening and one morning; the factuality of their order, as of the acts, or rest, of God on each of them; and the literality of the record of them.

           What explains the view of the opening chapters of Scripture as mythical?

       This view has not been the tradition of the church for some 1700 years after the apostles. All freely acknowledge that the tradition of the church has been to take Genesis 1-11 as historical. Much less is this view the tradition of the Reformation. Luther is representative of the tradition of the Reformation in his lectures on Genesis. Referring to Eve's temptation by the serpent, Luther wrote:

"Through Moses [the Holy Spirit] does not give us foolish allegories; but He teaches us about most important events, which involve God, sinful man, and Satan, the originator of sin. Let us, therefore, establish in the first place that the serpent is a real serpent, but one that has been entered and taken over by Satan, who is speaking through the serpent. [16]

           A little later in his commentary, reflecting on the first three chapters, Luther wrote: "We have treated all these facts in their historical meaning, which is their real and true one." [17] "Nobody," he added, "can fail to see that Moses does not intend to present allegories, but simply to write the history of the primitive world." [18]

       Neither is the view of Genesis 1-11 as myth due to exegesis of the chapters themselves, or to exegesis of the New Testament passages that refer to Genesis 1-11. The most liberal of the critics of Genesis 1-11, including Julius Wellhausen and Gerhard von Rad, acknowledged that Genesis 1-11 purports to be history and science. The writer thought that he was giving a cosmogony and intended to give a history. Wellhausen wrote:

"Yet for all this the aim of the narrator is not mainly a religious one. Had he only meant to say that God made the world out of nothing, and made it good, he could have said so in simpler words, and at the same time more distinctly. There is no doubt that he means to describe the actual course of the genesis of the world, and to be true to nature in doing so; he means to give a cosmogonic theory. Whoever denies this confounds two different things—the value of history for us, and the aim of the writer. While our religious views are or seem to be in conformity with his, we have other ideas about the beginning of the world, because we have other ideas about the world itself, and see in the heavens no vault, in the stars no lamps, nor in the earth the foundation of the universe. But this must not prevent us from recognizing what the theoretical aim of the writer of Gen. 1 really was. He seeks to deduce things as they are from each other: he asks how they are likely to have issued at first from the primal matter, and the world he has before his eyes in doing this in not a mythical world but the present and ordinary one. [19]

       Although von Rad excluded Genesis 1:1-2:4a from this analysis, he judged concerning the rest of Genesis 1-11 that with the Jahwist it would be misdirected theological rigorism not to recognize that what he planned was, as far as might be with the means and possibilities of his time, a real and complete primeval history of mankind. No doubt, he presented this span of history from the point of view of the relationship of man to God; but in the endeavor he also unquestionably wanted to give his contemporaries concrete knowledge of the earliest development of man's civilization, and so this aspect too of J's primeval history has to be taken in earnest. [20]

       Is there anyone who dares to deny that Christ and His apostles regarded the persons and events recorded in Genesis 1-11 as historical, and taught the New Testament church so to regard them, in Matthew 19:3-9; John 8:44; Matthew 24:37-41; Romans 5:12-21; I Corinthians 11:7-12; I Timothy 2:12-15; II Peter 3:5, 6; Acts 17:26, and other places? No one derives the conception of Genesis 1-11 as myth from sound exegesis of these New Testament passages. Indeed, the recognition of Genesis 1-11 as historical by Christ and the apostles in New Testament Scripture is an extreme embarrassment for the evangelical and Reformed mythologians.

       There is not the slightest opening in the confessions of the Reformation—binding documents for all Reformed and Presbyterian theologians—for taking Genesis 1-11 as myth. On the basis of Genesis 1-3, in Articles 12-17, the Belgic Confession teaches creation, the creation of man out of the dust, and the fall of man by means of the devil speaking through the serpent as history. The Heidelberg Catechism does the same in Lord's Days 3 and 4. The Westminster Confession of Faith explicitly requires that the days of Genesis 1 be understood as historical reality: "It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost … in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good" (4.1).

       Why then have evangelical and Reformed men come to question the historicity of Genesis 1-11?

       This has been possible because of the doctrine of Scripture that has gained entrance into the churches. Scripture is regarded as a human book formed by a historical process. In Genesis 1-11 Scripture is a weak, fallible word of man on origins. John Romer is probably a little strong for some evangelical and Reformed defenders of a figurative interpretation of Genesis 1-11, but he does accurately indicate what is going on in these circles as regards their doctrine of Scripture. In a semi-popular work on Scripture titled Testament, Romer states that the book of Genesis introduces us to the "world of myth." "Myth," he describes as "a sacred tale. . . carefully designed [to] deal with the deepest issues of the day." How this has come about in the Bible, Romer explains this way:

This whole process began when the sagas of Mesopotamia were carefully re-examined by the authors of Genesis and the thoughts and structures of that most ancient story were turned to the purposes of Israel and their most singular and solitary God. [21]

       Second, and no less significant, is the desire of evangelical and Reformed scholars to accommodate the church’s thinking to the thinking of the world, the desire to make Christianity conform to the culture. This runs deep and strong in contemporary Protestant theology. The churches have abandoned the antithesis: the absolute spiritual separation between the world of the ungodly and the holy people of God, between the mind of the enemies of God and the mind of Christ in His friends.

       One aspect of this suicidal mania is the conviction that to be respectable, to be attractive even, to educated modern man, the churches must adapt their thinking, their confession, and their Scriptures to the most recent scientific theory. They call the latest scientific theory "general revelation." Since the reigning theory is Darwinian evolution, Genesis 1-11 must dance to the tune played by that infidel scientist and his atheistic theory.

       The Roman Catholic writer, Zachary Hayes, is refreshingly honest as to the reason why both the Roman Catholic and the Protestant churches now regard Genesis 1-11 as mythical. "The flat (sic), historical interpretation of Genesis is gone from virtually all theological presentations outside strictly fundamentalist (sic) circles.... The account is largely fictional in character and contains many symbolic and mythical elements...." The cause of the churches' new view of the opening chapters of the Bible is not exegesis of Scripture: "It would be quite incomplete to try to account for these changes solely in terms of the internal development of biblical exegesis." Rather, the cause is modern scientific theory, particularly Darwinian evolution: "The familiar theory, which was laden with inadequacies from the start, has become almost incomprehensible for a Christian who views the origins of the human race in terms of some form of evolution." Hayes gives fair warning: "One cannot open up the possibility of holding some form of evolution without opening a Pandora's box. Those who open that box must be willing to assume responsibility for dealing with the kinds of problems which emerge in many areas of theology." [22]

       Many evangelical and Reformed scholars and churches are less candid in their explanations, or less developed in their thinking, but they all indicate that their revised view of Genesis is due to the pressure of modern science, that is, the theory of evolution. The Christian Reformed "Committee on Creation and Science" consigned all of Genesis 1-11 to the realm of the unhistorical. The passage is a "special kind of historiography"; it gives us "primeval history." The reason for this analysis of the passage was "the impact of general revelation upon our understanding of special revelation." "General revelation" is modern evolutionary scientific theory. [23] N. H. Ridderbos indicated the underlying reason for his framework-hypothesis concerning Genesis 1 and 2 when he argued that "on any other view ... there arise grave difficulties with respect to natural science." [24]

       What the cowardly churches are doing was perfectly symbolized by one of the most ironic incidents in church history. Upon the death of Charles Darwin, the Church of England buried that atheist, who did as much to destroy the church of Jesus Christ as any man in the modern era, with full honors in Westminster Abbey, with old, admitted reprobate Thomas Huxley carrying the casket. This really happened.

       None of this implies that the mythologians do not take Genesis 1-11 very seriously and that they do not find much fine, spiritual meaning in this unhistorical section of Scripture.

           On the contrary!

       The story of creation brings out Israel's dependence on Jahweh, Israel's rejection of the heathen deifying of the creation, and Israel's confession that their God is God alone. The story of the fall is Israel's recognition that man is inherently sinful and needs redemption.

       But none of this fine, spiritual and helpful application of Genesis 1-11 carries any weight, for it all rests on … myth. It is all man's explanation of man's fictitious account of things.
It all lacks … well, reality.
It is not sound doctrine.
It is not truth.

       I need to pay as much attention to Genesis 1-11, if it is myth, as I do to the story of Pandora's box, or to the myth of Marduk slaying and cutting up the monster Tiamat, or to the fairy tale of "Little Red Riding Hood." When the preacher who takes Genesis 3 as myth tells me that I need a redeemer in view of man's fallenness, I have but one response: "Did man really fall just as recorded in Genesis 3?" If not, I need no redeemer; rather, I need to evolve higher.

       When the theologian who explains Genesis 2 as a myth calls me to live in one-flesh fidelity with my wife (and I notice that as the churches increasingly accept Genesis 1-11 as myth, they decreasingly call me to live in one-flesh fidelity with my wife), I have this question: "Is Genesis 2 a factual account of a historical institution of marriage by the Creator Himself?" If not, I am not bound by any law of faithfulness in marriage. I may live just as I please in marriage, or outside of marriage.

       The child of God must have history in Genesis 1-11. Christianity must have history there, history that is clearly and reliably set down by divine inspiration.

End Notes

1 C. F. Nosgen, cited in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, vol. 4, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967, p. 765. For a forthright acknowledgment that “myth” is, in fact, man’s own creation of history, see W. Taylor Stevenson, History as Myth: The Import for Contemporary Theology, New York: Seabury Press, 1969.

 2 Howard J. Van Till, The Fourth Day: What the Bible and the Heavens are Telling Us about the Creation, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986.

 3 Portraits of Creation: Biblical and Scientific Perspectives on the World’s Formation, ed. Howard J. Van Till, Robert E. Snow, John H. Stek, Davis A. Young, Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990.

 4 Davis A. Young, The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabiblical Evidence, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995. The book was reviewed in the November, 1995 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal. The quotations are found on pages 311, 312 of the book.

 5 “Report 28: Committee on Creation and Science,” in Christian Reformed Church in North America: Agenda for Synod 1991, Grand Rapids: Christian Reformed Church, 1991, pp. 367-433.

 6 Jan Lever, Where are We Headed? A Christian Perspective on Evolution, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970, pp. 25, 27. See also Jan Lever, Creation and Evolution, Grand Rapids: Grand Rapids International Publications, distributed by Kregel’s, 1958.

 7The Genesis Debate: Persistent Questions about Creation and the Flood, ed. Ronald Youngblood. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990. H. Wade Seaford, Jr. scoffs at the descent of the race from two parents on p. 163. Youngblood praises Seaford's commitment to the inspiration of Scripture on p. viii.

 8 Charles E. Hummel, The Galileo Connection: Resolving Conflicts between Science & the Bible, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1986. See particularly pp. 214, 217.

 9 Paul K. Jewett, God, Creation, and Revelation: A Neo-Evangelical Theology, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991, pp. 16, 478-484.

 10 Bruce Waltke, “The First Seven Days: What is the Creation Account Trying to Tell Us?” Christianity Today, April 12, 1988, pp. 42-46.

 11 John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God, Phillipsburg, New Jersey: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1987, pp. 314, 315. Frame calls this figurative interpretation a “revised exegesis.”

 12 Lever, Where are We Headed?, p. 23.

 13 Waltke, “The First Seven Days,” p. 46.

 14 N. H. Ridderbos, Is There a Conflict between Genesis 1 and Natural Science?, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957, p. 45.

 15 Ibid., pp. 70, 71. To his credit, Ridderbos did not try to hide these implications of the framework-hypothesis. Neither did he minimize the importance of them. He spoke of “two profound problems.”

 16 Martin Luther, Luther's Works, vol. 1, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, Saint Louis: Concordia, 1958, p. 185.

 17 Ibid., p. 231.

 18 Ibid., p. 237.

 19 Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel, Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1973, p. 298.

 20 Gerhard von Rad, Old Testament Theology, vol. 1, New York: Harper & Row, 1962, pp. 158, 159.

 21 John Romer, Testament, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988, pp. 33, 39.

 22 Zachary Hayes, What are They Saying about Creation?, New York: Paulist Press, 1980.

 23 “Report 28,” pp. 379-384.

 24 Ridderbos, p. 46.

November 2000

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