Mohler concludes that the literary theory ultimately rejects inerrancy and ought not to be accepted. He also argues that the framework theory does not properly take the sequential nature of Genesis 1:1-2:3 into account and also ought to be discarded. Mohler also discards the day-age view because he does not think it can account for the exegetical and theological issues related to the historicity of Adam and the Fall. This leads Mohler to take a 24-hour calendar day theory because of the exegetical and theological issues at stake in this debate.
This has been a heated topic in Christian circles for many years. I recently attended a conference on science and faith where during one panel several of the scientists and theologians involved confessed that a large part their time was usually spent answering questions about the age of the earth and those discussions almost always became confrontational. Views on creation have led to Old Testament Professors leaving both Westminster Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary in recent years.
A few years ago the PCA General Assembly commissioned a committee to study this issue and report back. This report was later adopted by the PCA as a guideline that Presbyteries may use if they wished for evaluating candidates for ordination. The committee looked at the following positions:
- Calendar-Day – Argues that “day” in Genesis 1:1-2:3 refers to six literal 24-hour calendar days.
- Day-Age – “Day” refers to a period of indefinite time and the focus of the passage is on God’s creative activity but not a literal description of the time that creation took.
- Framework – Notes that there is a correlation between the spheres of nature created on days 1-3 and the inhabitants in days 4-6 (for example, seas on day 2 and the fish on day 5) and so this is a literary tool that Moses used to teach Israel about the Creator and to give them the divine pattern for work and rest but “day” is figurative in the passage.
- Analogical Days – Argues that the “days” are God’s work days and these are analogous but not identical to our calendar days so they refer to consecutive divine activity but not to a definite period of time.
- Other interpretations – The biggest one included here is theistic evolution.
The study committee concluded that all of the four major views could be harmonized with Scripture without compromising the essentials of our faith (notably theistic evolution is excluded here). They held that ministers must believe the following truths in order to be orthodox:
- that Scripture is in the inerrant Word of God and is self-interpreting;
- that Genesis 1-3 are fully historical;
- that Adam and Eve were uniquely created as the first parents of the human race;
- that Adam was the covenant head of the human race;
- that the curse and resultant discord in the universe is a result of Adam’s first sin;
- that the incomprehensible God has clearly revealed himself in nature;
- and, that he revealed exactly what he intended.
Other seminars from the 2010 Ligonier Conference:
Ed Stetzer - "The Brave New World of New Media"
Burk Parsons - "Taking Captive New Media for the Church"
Al Mohler - "The Hyper-Socialized Generation"
John MacArthur - "Why Did Jesus Have to Die?"
Michael Horton - "Is the Doctrine of Inerrancy Defensible?"
John MacArthur - "Does the Doctrine of the Divine Decrees Eliminate Human Will?"
R.C. Sproul - "What is Evil and What is its Origin?"
R.C. Sproul Jr. - "Why Do Christians Still Sin?"
Derek Thomas - "How Do We Know Which Interpretation Is Right?"
Steven Lawson - "Is the Bible Just Another Book?"
Alistair Begg - "Is the Exclusivity of Christ Unjust?"
Burk Parsons - "Is Calvinism Good for the Church?"
Derek Thomas - "If God is Good How Could He Command Holy War?"
R.C. Sproul - "Can We Enjoy Heaven Knowing of Loved Ones in Hell?"