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Does it matter to you if the Bible tells us how the world was created or just that it was created? If it does, the following article should bring your spiritual temper­ature to the boiling point. The following theory was surreptitiously taught to me while I attended classes in a Christian col­lege. Show your sensitivity to such attacks on your beliefs by searching for an answer that is scripturally sound, and then send your opinion or contribution to die Beacon Lights.

While studying the story of creation re­corded in Genesis 1-2, I found many dif­ferences between Genesis 1-2:4 and Genesis 2:4-25. For example, in Genesis 1-2:5 there is (1) a statement of fact, “And God said, Let there be light.” (2) An orderly account of creation in a seven day sequence. (3) A sequence of creation beginning with light and ending with man, and (4) many repeti­tious phrases. Compare this to Genesis 2:4-25 here there is: (1) No statement of fact, but an explanation, see Genesis 2:4. (2) No mention of the days on which things were created. (3) No sequence from man’s creation to women, and (4) no set pattern of phrases.

Why are there these differences? What reasons could there be? Why would Moses write the same story in two styles? Per­haps Moses in writing the Pentateuch first wrote the law and then wrote the reason for the law: namely creation and the fall. Accepting the above makes the differences understandable. If Moses did write Genesis after he wrote the law, creation would be seen in the light of Israel’s redemption, the Exodus. Then the account of creation became a theological confession that God is Creator as well as Redeemer. If this is the purpose of the creation account, then it matters little how creation took place. It matters only that it did take place and God is Creator. Genesis 1-2:4 and Genesis 2:4-25 combine with their differences to become one theological confession written by Moses in a literary framework declaring God to be Creator.

Moses was influenced by the society he lived in and by the literature of his day, just the same as we are. The form Moses used to convey the creation account was the Jewish workweek he lived in, six days of work and one day of rest. Also the writings of Moses’ contemporaries, the Babylonians, show similarities in form to Genesis.

“Both accounts of creation (that in Genesis and that in Enuma elish) mention a watery chaos …. The basic concept of heaven and earth is essentially the same . . ., and the sequence of creation acts is essentially the same: light, firmament, dry land, luminaries, and man, with God or the deities resting at the end of creation.” These similarities prove Moses was writing Genesis 1-2:4 in the literary form of his day. By comparing the creation account to the Jewish work week and the Babylo­nian writings we realize we must distinguish between faith and form. We accept as faith that God is Creator but acknowledge the how of creation to be in a literary form.

Moses was not writing to make the study of biology, geology, botany, etc. unnecessary. He was writing a creed of faith that God is Creator. This is what we must believe, that God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis is not telling us how the world was created, don’t make the “how” an article of faith. New facts on the “how” of our world are always being discovered. Accept God as creator and don’t be concerned with scientific facts which may weaken your faith. Believe only the infallible, inspired Word of God.

If the literalists still need further proof, examine Psalm 105:31 and 34 compared to Exodus 11:12-13. Here as in Genesis “and God spoke” simply means God has all power.

The view of creation I have just ex­plained is called the literary framework theory. In summary, this theory holds that God created the heavens and the earth because the infallible Word tells us this. It also defends the believer from scientific attack since it gives him a creed to cling to. If you are a thinking and conscientious Christian, creation becomes a beautiful article of faith when viewed in the light of the literary framework theory. 1

  1. Arnold B. Rhodes, The Mighty Acts of God (Richmond, Virginia, 1964), p. 29.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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