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ASK CHALCEDON ~ Understanding the Sixth Day

By Mark R. Rushdoony
September 17, 2012

From a letter by R.B.L. ~

I frequently order books from your store which I distribute freely as part of my personal ministry. I recently purchased the book Towards a Christian Marriage which my wife & children highly recommend and to be among the list of books for free distribution.

I read the book myself and I agree with them. However, may I just be clarified on a certain point. On page 7, paragraph 1 of the book, Rev. R.J. mentioned "It is significant that it was only after a long period, apparently after Adam had tended the garden of Eden and had named the animals-that God made Eve for him." "Eve was not created immediately; she appears on the scene only after a considerable time:.."

Personally, it's quite difficult for me to reconcile this to my understanding of the "sixth day" account of Genesis 1:27-31, where God created Eve on the sixth day? I would be grateful to know your thoughts & receive your recommended material for my further study.

Mark Rushdoony's response:

My father did believe that there was likely a period of time before Eve was created, though he was not adamant about it. My inclination is to agree with his position, but it can be argued either way. The apparent contradiction between Genesis chapters 1 and 2 is based, in part, on a presumption that these two chapters are a single chronological account.

My father held to the view that Genesis was a compilation of historical accounts that Moses edited into one. This is not a "higher criticism" view that denies the authorship of Moses (like modern views of Isaiah, for instance). It is based on a recurring phrase in Genesis, namely, "These are the generations of..." This phrase can mean, "These are the generational, or family, records of..." In other words, what we have in Genesis may be the historical records of the patriarchs themselves, actual first-hand accounts that existed in Moses' time that were incorporated into a single writing. These toledoths, as they are called, are signatures or bibliographical footnotes as to the source of what Moses compiled into Genesis, the book of "beginnings." The first toledoth ends after Genesis 2:4 or perhaps in the middle of verse 4 where it says, "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created..." The second toledoth goes from that point to Genesis 5:1 where it says plainly, "This is the book of the generations of Adam..." Notice the first toledoth, unlike all those that follow, does not have a patriarch's name attached to it. There was, of course, no one to witness the events of the creation week. That is a record, not of human authorship, but one that had to have been given by God himself, presumably to Adam. Chapter 2 verse 4b or verse 5 then begins Adam's personal historical narrative. This would account for the partial repetition in Genesis 2.
If these toledoths have any meaning, they are at least logical breaks in the narrative. The beginning of chapter two is describing the end of the creation week, day seven. (Chapter divisions are man-made divisions). The first toledoth ,though, includes the beginning of chapter 2 and includes day 7. Adam's account then begins in either 2:4b or 5. He starts by saying, in effect, "This was the world into which I was introduced." It is not a complete account of creation, as it mentions the plant life of day 3, touches on the water cycle, and then skips days 5 and six until his creation (for the sake of brevity I will not speculate why these things alone are mentioned). Adam then describes both his creation beginning in verse 7 as well as Eden and God's commands regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam was "put to work" before the creation of Eve, which is related beginning at verse 18. The work of naming the animals is told (presumably by Adam) in the context of his exercise of dominion. This is where my father thought that a passage of time was certainly implied. Adam worked at naming the animals but was without a helpmeet, or suitable helper in his dominion work. Thus, God created Eve and instituted marriage.

Henry Morris, downplayed the naming of the animals to just that, words attached to the animals, rather than a scientific description of the animals that would be useful in the work of dominion. He suggested Adam did all that in as few as five hours! That seems like a lot to cram into one day, but we are told this was done before Eve was made. Also, it seems like the need of companionship and help would not be so evident on the first day. This is where a passage of time seems to be a logical inference. The whole point of the account of Eve and marriage was that this covenantal marriage was to be a means by which the two could better proceed with dominion. Remember, Eden was sinless, but it was without tools, shelter, fencing, or any kind of capital. All that had to be formed by Adam's long-term work. There are three ways to accumulate capital. One is by gift or inheritance. God did give Adam an ideal environment with adequate resources. A second method is by work. This was Adam's job, and the whole point of marriage was that a wife was to help support her husband in his work of dominion. A third method of acquiring capital, by the way, is theft, to get it without work. This, my father felt, was part of the motive behind the fall (the story of which immediately follows Eve's creation and calling), Satan's promise that there was a better way, a short-cut to dominion without work, one where they could instantly "be as gods" (Gen. 3:5) and get around the work of dominion. Something that is very clear in Eve's sin was that she failed in her responsibility to help Adam be a dominion man and, in fact, encouraged him in sin. They tried to shortcut dominion by obedience and work by stealing divinity from God.

The question then is how we reconcile the reference to God's creation of male and female on day 6 in 1:27-28 and the more detailed description of chapter two where events intervene with at least the naming of the animals implying a passing of time. The account related in chapter two implies the passage of some length of time. The real question, then, is whether verses 26-28 of Genesis one necessitate Eve's creation on the sixth day. If we look at Genesis chapter one we can hold to six 24 hour periods and still see references to God's ongoing providence (I am definitely not suggesting a day-age position, though). There are references to what these fiat creations would do on the days following. For instance, the night-day cycle is repeated. The primary purpose of that is to show it was a 24 hour period of time, but it never suggests each one was a special act of God. It was the pattern that continued and still continues. The propagation of seeds and fruit that started on day three went on and still goes on. The creation of the heavenly bodies was for signs and seasons not yet obvious, but certain to come. You see, each part of the creation involved a decree. The creatures of day 5 were to bring forth abundantly, but that did not imply on day 5 only, but was a continuation of the creation decree. Likewise man was told to have dominion and multiply, but that could not have happened in a single day. When verse 27 refers to the fact that God created both the man and the woman it does come after the creation of man. Is this a forward-looking statement as with the above examples? Admittedly, it is different because Eve's formation required a divine act.
I am not sure we can firmly settle this question and I concede that the Genesis 1:26-28 reference is a very strong argument in favor of Eve's creation on day 6. I have no problem with people being dogmatic about that as the only possible view. I also think my father's point that Adam was first of all required to begin his dominion work and show himself responsible is clearly established in Genesis 2. Is it possible that all that work of Genesis 2 was crammed into day 6? Yes, it is, so I think it best not to belabor the issue.

Another question is how much time elapsed between the creation of Eve at the end of chapter 2 and the fall in Genesis 3. I'll let that one go because the Scriptures do not address it.

 

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Mark R. Rushdoony

Mark R. Rushdoony graduated from Los Angeles Baptist College (now The Master’s College) with a B.A. in history in 1975 and was ordained to the ministry in 1995.

He taught junior and senior high classes in history, Bible, civics and economics at a Christian school in Virginia for three years before joining the staff of Chalcedon in 1978. He was the Director of Chalcedon Christian School for 14 years while teaching full time. He also helped tutor all of his children through high school.

In 1998 he became the President of Chalcedon and Ross House Books, and, more recently another publishing arm, Storehouse Press. Chalcedon and its subsidiaries publish many titles plus CDs, mp3s, and an extensive online archive at www.chalcedon.edu

He has written scores of articles for Chalcedon’s publications, both the Chalcedon Report and Faith for all of Life. He was a contributing author to The Great Christian Revolution (1991). He has spoken at numerous conferences and churches in the U.S. and abroad.

Mark Rushdoony lives in Vallecito, California, his home of 40 years with his wife of 42 years and his youngest son. He has three married children and nine grandchildren.

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