Response to Dick Fischer's "The Days of Creation: Hours or Eons?" 

A. van der Ziel
Department of Electrical Engineering
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

In this paper Dick Fischer discusses the age-old problem whether the world was created in six days or in six periods of indefinite duration. I would like to make a few comments on this problem. 

 The problem always arises when the scientist or theologian or philosopher has mixed up his theology, his science and his philosophy without first asking the questions: What does the biblical text want to say, and what does the scientific fact teach us?

In my opinion, the problem is erroneously formulated. The world was not created in six days but in seven days, since the day of rest should be included. When one looks carefully at the text of Genesis 1, one sees that a seven day week is superimposed on the creation account. If one omits the sentences: 

"And the evening and the morning were the first day,...and the evening and the morning were the second day,...and the evening and the morning were the third day,....and the evening and the morning were the fourth day,...and the evening and the morning were the fifth day,...and the evening and the morning were the sixth

"And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which He had made. "And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." 

Then we see that none of the creation <MI>events<D> are omitted and that the separation between the events and the superposition is complete.  What is the theological meaning of this superposition? By making it, the author of Genesis 1 lets the Genesis story culminate into the Sabbath day as a day of rest, of worship and of praising God. In contrast with the six periods of indefinite duration, which is an obsolete scientific interpretation of Genesis 1, the text itself now states clearly that the work of creation culminates in a Sabbath day of worship and praise. This is a <MI>theological<D> statement that does not answer the question of
the duration of creation but rather stresses the <MI>aim<D> and <MI>purpose<D> of creation. 

In my opinion it would be a great step forward if the members of the ASA and the members of the creation society would get together in this work of praise and worship of God, rather than using infighting, as exemplified by the quotation: 

"If Evangelicals can't be trusted in a simple matter such as the age of the
earth, which can be easily verified, then how can they be believed on the doctrine
of vicarious atonement?" 

What does the remaining list of creation events signify? It says that God is creator of all that is, or as Luther puts it in his Small Catechism: "I believe that God created me and all creatures."

If the ASA and the Creation Society members could get together in their common confession of God the Creator, this would again be a great step forward. When these two steps are taken, the question of days versus eons becomes unimportant.