Grey Thoughts
Creation - Biblical Interpretation
Rusty over at New Covenant has a new post on Phased projects and the language of genesis one.

Whilst I very much enjoy reading Rusty's posts, I think his committment to billions of years is coloring his reasoning here. Rusty's post tries to link a manager describing a phased project to a group of people with no interest in describing the actual time taken to complete each phase, to the language used in Genesis One describing God's description of how he created, well, creation.
He Concludes...
Yet, what if my intentions were to present the schedule of this project to a group of people, not to inform them of the duration of the project, but to definitively state for them who was in charge of the project and to set up the foundation for the six phase pattern I would later use in guiding them?

I'd probably give them something like that of Genesis 1.

So I thought I would recast the text of genesis one in terms of such a meeting.
Our manager, Tom, leads into the meeting

Tom: In the beginning ACME co decided to created the Widget.
Tom: Now the widget had no specification and ACME Co brainstormed the widget project.
Tom: And R & D designed the widget. And there was evening, and there was morning-the first day.
Bob: What??? You expect us to design the Widget in a single day? What are you, insane!??
Tom: No, no no. You don't understand, when I am saying the first day, what I am really saying is the first phase of the process. Understand?
Bob: Well why didn't you say phase then? And Why the reference to evening and morning. That certainly confuses things doesn't it. How can a phase have an evening and morning?
Tom: Look! You are just going to have to understand, that when I am talking about evening and mornings and first or second or whatever days, what I am really saying is that that is just the first or second step of the project.
Bob: Oh. Okay.
Tom: And Engineering Created the purchasing requirements for the widget And there was evening, and there was morning-the second day.
Janet: Look. I don't really understand why you can't just say Second Phase instead of all this evening and morning and second day rubbish. I mean, you try taking the minutes of the meeting. It's not like I know shorthand. Besides, it is clearer to use second phase.
Bob: Yeah! Thats right! Are you trying to confuse us? Why can't you just speak plainly? How much longer is this going to take?

I'm sorry. But all this shows is how much rationalization is being put into trying to make the bible fit with man's theories about the age of the earth and universe. How could the bible be clearer?

My question for Rusty is two-fold. How could Genesis 1 be rewritten to be clearer to the reader
1) If creation actually took millions and billions of years
2) If creation took 6 days

I think you will find it is harder to make the bible clearer if (2) is true, and a lot easier to rewrite it to be clearer if (1) is true
Hi Alan,

Thanks for two things: 1) reading my post and, 2) writing a post of your own about it!

All kidding aside, I would argue that your criticism reflects the concern I have regarding what we 21st century Western thinkers exhibit when we look at the Genesis 1 account. The reason it doesn't state, in specific terms, how long the creation took, or how long ago it happened, is because that is not the point of the narrative. Nor, I would also argue, would it have really mattered to the people the original narrative was written to. We must remember that the books of the Bible exhibit various literary styles (e.g., narrative, wisdom, letters, etc.) and that they were written to specific groups of peoples (e.g., the Hebrews after their exodus, Judah in exile, the church in Corinth, etc.). In properly understanding the text we must be careful not to bring to the table questions that the original recipients would not have brought.

So I would posit that your two questions are potentially both non-sequitirs. It does not follow that the Genesis 1 account should specifically indicate billions of years or 6 24 hour days.

But I do believe that the entire Bible (including the Genesis 1 account of creation) should be in harmony not only with itself, but with the natural realm (despite our limited understanding of the natural realm).
I think you have missed the point.
The language, as used, certainly seems to indicate a definite time period for genesis 1.
Your example shows clearly how if the purpose was to merely describe the process without reference to time periods, it does a very bad job of doing so (by clearly indicating time periods, it could be considered seriously misleading).

I guess I would modify my question to ask then, how could genesis 1 be rewritten to indicate indeterminate periods of time.
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