A Refutation of the Framework Hypothesis’ “Ordinary Providence Argument”

The following article was part of the Minority Report of the Committee to Study the Framework Hypothesis for the Presbytery of Southern California of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, October 15-16, 1999. It is also found in Kenneth L. Gentry and Michael R. Butler, Yea Hath God Said: The Framework Hypothesis/Six-Day Creation Debate (Eugene Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2002). Continue reading

Essay. Genesis 2:5 and the Framework Hypothesis

Advocates of the Framework Hypothesis recognize that considerations of the literary structure of Genesis 1 is not in itself sufficient to establish their conclusion that the narration of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 is topical and figurative rather than chronological and literal. They, therefore, have put forth a supplementary argument based on considerations from Genesis 2:5. Meredith Kline is the originator of the argument, but many others have picked up on it. Mark Futato summarizes it thus:

The [“Because It Had Not Rained”] article demonstrated that according to Gen 2:5 ordinary providence was God’s mode of operation during the days of creation. Since God’s mode of operation was ordinary providence, and since, for example, light (Day 1) without luminaries (Day 4) is not ordinary providence, the arrangement of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 must be topical not chronological.

Kline and Futato contend that Genesis 2:5 provides an important insight into how we are to understand the creation week. Since, on this interpretation, God used ordinary providence (rain) to maintain earth’s vegetation, we should infer from this that ordinary providence was the modus operandi of the creation week. That is, God’s ordinary way of maintaining his creation obtained during the period of his creation of the heavens and earth and was only punctuated at certain intervals by his creative fiats. This being the case, it is obvious, for example, that the creation of light on one day and light bearers on another is a violation of ordinary providence. And so we are not to read Genesis 1 as a chronology of God’s creative works, but as a “semi-poetic” topical arrangement of how God fashioned the world in its present form. Continue reading