Creation Pt. 5: The Revelatory-Day Theory

Just like the Literary Framework View, the Revelatory-Day Theory is a non-chronological approach to understanding Genesis 1. Meaning that this view does not take the events in the creation account as happening in the order they are presented in. Also like the Literary Framework View, this interpretation is able to neatly adapt itself to modern science, since it makes no claims about timing and order of creation.

The central claim of this view is that God revealed the creation account of creation to Moses in a vision that lasted six literal days. One proponent of this view, Bernard Ramm, summarized the view as following:

“We believe . . . that creation was revealed in six days, not performed in six days. We believe that the six days are pictorial-revelatory days, not literal days nor age-days. The days are means of communicating to man the great fact that God is Creator, and that He is Creator of all.” [italics original] [1]

This view understands Genesis 1 as presenting not the order, timing, or actual acts of creation, but rather the topical or logical ideas of creation.[2] Further detailing this view, P.J. Wiseman had these points to make:

(1)The six days divided from each other by an evening and morning, do not refer to the time occupied by God in his acts and the duration of the process of Creation.
(2)The six days refer to the time occupied in revealing to man the account of creation.
(3)God rested (lit. ceased) on the seventh day not for his own sake but for man’s sake, and because this revelation about Creation was finished on the sixth day, not because of that day (or period) the creation of the world was finished.
(4)The narrative of Creation was probably written on six tablets. Later, it also appears to have become the custom in Babylonia to write the story of Creation on six tablets.
(5)There is good and sufficient evidence to show that the first page of the Bible is the oldest document which has come down to us [3]

There are however, some weaknesses to this view.  First of all, while there can be no doubt that much of Genesis 1-11 was revealed to Moses, when reading the creation account we see no evidence or language to suggest any sort of visionary experience.[4] Indeed, the whole book of Genesis is written as a historical narrative meant to show the origins of the Hebrew people (also taking into consideration that the creation account is written in a poetic fashion).

When God finished His creative activity we read that He rested on the seventh day. It is difficult to understand just how exactly God can be conveyed as resting in a visionary experience. Furthermore, if Wiseman’s remarks about the seventh day merely being the day God “ceased” the vision are accurate, then it would seem to evacuate the significance and importance of memorializing this event in the form of the Sabbath day for the Jews.

[1] Ramm, Bernard. The Christian View of Science and Scripture. Qtd. in “What Is the Revelational Day Theory?” by Stewart, Don.

[2] Wolf, Herbert. An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch. 103.

[3] Wiseman, P.J. Clues To Creation In Genesis. Qtd. in “What Is the Revelational Day Theory?” by Stewart, Don.

[4] Wolf. An Introduction to the Old Testament Pentateuch. 103. 

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