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Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by David Snoke, part 7

I return to my posts on David Snoke's A Biblical Case for an Old Earth. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006) The previous posts have considered what Snoke has to say about death before the Fall. (Here's the last one.) Snoke argues strongly, using Biblical evidence, that there was, indeed, animal death before the Fall, hence demolishing, in my opinion, one of the major arguments of young-earth creationism.

Snoke also deals with the question of the Sabbath, and the matter of whether or not the days of Genesis 1 were literal. Besides Genesis, itself, Exodus 20:8-11 also seems to say that God's creative actions were confined to seven literal days.

Snoke disagrees. First, he (as others have done) says that there was so much that was supposed to have happened after the creation of Adam that it couldn't have fitted into a single day. But his main argument is more direct:

To me, however, the best argument for equating the days of creation with ages comes from the precedent of God taught by the Sabbath law. I ask, "What did God do on the eighth day?" Does God work a six-day work week, taking every Saturday or Sunday off? After his Sabbath rest, did God pick up his tools and go back to work, taking another Sabbath seven days later? If God's activity is to be taken as an exact model for us, then this conclusion seems inescapable. Yet the rest of scripture does not support this. God's activity appears as a single continuity. (p. 102)

Snoke cites John 5:17, which says: But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” (all Bible quotations from the ESV) He also uses Hebrews 4:3-4, which, says Snoke, "clearly states that God's Sabbath rest did not end -- it continues up to this day." (p. 103)

Snoke argues, therefore, that scripture does not clearly teach that the days of Genesis 1 were literal 24-hour days.

I hope to post more on this book later.

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