The historical evolution of dating in america
In the fourteen centuries prior to the Westminster Assembly numerous commentaries on the days of creation in Genesis 1-2 were produced.
It cannot rank with the significant theological debates of our time (within Protestant and evangelical circles) such as whether there can be such a thing as legitimate, biblical Systematic Theology, whether human language is capable of conveying absolute truth, whether truth is propositional, what ought to be the churchs doctrine of scripture, can the churchs traditional doctrine of divine impassibility be biblically sustained, is it time to jettison the historic Christian formulation of the doctrine of God, does the church need to modify its commitment to the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith, and more.
Nevertheless, behind this matter of the Genesis days, and connected with it, are issues of some significance to the Bible-believing Christian community.
We do not appeal to this history as finally authoritative; the Bible alone must have the final word.
But a recounting of history may provide for us some helpful boundaries in this debate and give us a sense of what the best theological minds of the ages have done with this issue.
of Chicago Press, 1912) lists more than 130 authors of works on the six days of creation from Origen in the 3 Robert Letham in his more recent article In the Space of Six Days: The Days of Creation from Origen to the Westminster Assembly, Westminster Theological Journal 61:2 (Fall 1999), adds several more to the list, including many whose writings the Westminster Divines would have known.
Out of all of this literature it is possible to distinguish two general schools of thought on the nature of the six days.
He regards them as 24-hour days, but he acknowledges the problem of the sun being created only on the fourth day.
His solution: Before the luminaries were created as its vehicles the light caused day and night by being drawn back and sent forth. This explanation drew some criticism, with the result that Basils brother, Gregory of Nyssa, later wrote a treatise defending his brother against those critics who alleged obscurity in the explanation of the making of the light and the later creation of the luminaries. Although Ambrose (c.
In his De Principiis IV, 3, 1 he says, What person of any intelligence would think that there existed a first, second, and third day, and evening and morning, without sun, moon, and stars?