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De Moor VIII:23: The Time of Creation, Part 5a

Although God was able to create All things in an altogether perfect state in One Moment, He nevertheless willed to makes use of a certain Extent of Time, even indeed of the space of Six Days, Genesis 1 in comparison with Exodus 20:11, with the Seventh Day added as the Termination of the Work, Genesis 2:2.  That God was able to create all things in an altogether perfect state in One Moment, no one would call into question, who, 1.  duly acknowledges the Omnipotence of God, and, 2.  carefully considers that Infinite Power is no less required for that manner of fabricating the World that God was pleased to choose, than for the other manner, in which the whole work would have been completed in a Single Moment.



But the reasons why God willed to proceed thus by degrees through so many continuous days in this Work, 1.  are able not ineptly to be contemplated Positively; α.  so that thus we might be brought to contemplate the magnitude of so great a Work, upon which the Omnipotent God chose to spend such a space of Time.  β.  So that He might commend to our meditation the perfectly wise nexus of all things.  γ.  So that we might more readily acknowledge the truth of Creation, narrated to us in order and by parts, and might be all the more certainly convinced of the dependence of all things upon God.  δ.  So that He might give to us an example of painstaking continuation of Labor; and at the same time teach man to rest on the Seventh Day after six days of labor, after His own example, so that he might be free for divine worship, and might recollect with a grateful mind the memory of the Creation.


2.  But Negatively we reject the thoughts of those,


              α.  That in the Six Days of Creation find a Mystery of the Duration of the World through so many Millennia of Years, which in § 20 we have observed to be a Jewish Tradition, found also in the work of Menasseh Ben Israel, problem XI de Creatione.  And, although SCULTETUS[1] in his Medulla Patrum, page 1316, also mentions HILARY as attached to this opinion, yet it is to be said, both that the very thing asserted concerning this precise Duration of the World is too rash, and that the proof of it is no less rashly sought in the Six Days of Creation.  AUGUSTINE also rejects this assertion as overly presumptuous, shrewdly observing on Psalm 90:4, opera, tome 4, column 718, that the saying of Moses concerning a thousand years before the Lord after the likeness of the day of yesterday makes nothing for this, since in the same breath it is also added, after the likeness of a watch of the night, which is only three hours.  Now, the same expression is also turned by Peter, when one day is said to be to God after the likeness of a thousand years, 2 Peter 3:8, so that by this double expression the immutable Eternity of God might be emphatically signified; but not so that we might learn the fixed duration of the World.


Johannes Cocceius

              β.  Neither do we admit, that the Six Days of Creation with the Seventh day of Rest following prefigured the seven Periods of the New Testament, which nevertheless COCCEIUS, Curis Posterioribus ad Genesin, chapter II, § 5, attempts to make probable.  He does however speak quite modestly, saying that it is plausible, that God willed in these things to set forth a Type of future things….  But these things are valid only to the extent that it is evident from Prophecy, that these things are distinguished in time and described by God in that manner.  And similarly ad Exodum, chapter XXXI, § 6:  These things are able to be contemplated by occasion of the individual works that God did on the six days.  But perhaps he is to be considered overly clever, who thinks that the contemplation of those seven days was commended to the Israelites, for instruction in those things that under the New Testament were going to happen in Seven ages.  Thus I speak more modestly than others, who think it unworthy of the wise Theologian and Christian not to find here Mysteries of this sort, nor to be far from heresy.  Nevertheless, that prefiguration of Seven Periods, as Cocceius finds it in the Heptameron, in going through each our AUTHOR explodes, Præfatione in Apocalypsin, § LXXXIX, in which, if I might mention just one thing only as especially absurd and insulting, this occurs, that according to the Cocceian distribution of the Periods the Fourth Day, on which those shining Luminaries of Heaven were created, illuminating the whole world, must be considered as a type of the deepest darkness, into which through the increase of Papal Antichristianism the world and the church were plunged:  while the Fifth Day, on which only mute Fish with the Birds came forth, signifies that celebrated age of the Reformation, wherein the eternal Gospel was proclaimed to all nations again.  COCCEIUS himself, as those represented by the heavenly Luminaries, conjoins Antichrist, Bishops, and Kings and Princes advantageous to the Church.  But of what sort is this conjunction of opposites?  How incongruous is the representation of Antichrist through the benign and salutary light of the Sun?  While in the fifth period Fish are altogether passed over in silence, the consideration of which was also not very well agreeing unto this time:  see COCCEIUS in the passage cited from Curis posterioribus ad Genesin, chapter II, § 5, and the following counsel subjoined to that text:  At this point the tongue of the one dictating and hastening on falls silent concerning the Fish created on the Fifth Day, and makes no mention of the Beasts on the Sixth Day, of which he had made mention in the Fifth age, before it was necessary, etc., with our AUTHOR’S Præfatione in Apocalypsin de Septem Novi Testamenti Periodis, § XL, added.


But, our Most Illustrious AUTHOR warns in a general way, Exercitationibus Textualibus XLII, Part V, § 20, that Historical Types are not able to be admitted with becoming certainty because of a simple Denomination of latter even from prior events.  For, that is able to be done because of a mutual Similitude of the same, from which alone do all Metaphorical expressions flow.  But hence he relates that he has quite frequently wondered, with what reason the wisest Men were able at this point to attribute so much to a simple Denomination, that the Creation of the whole world, through the first Six Days, and of Man particularly, which also happened before the Fall, they might establish as a Type of the Restoration of all things through Christ, after successive ages, and of the Renovation of particular Elect Men, with not greater foundation than the agreement more or less obvious, that sometimes under the appellation of Creation that work of divine Grace comes into the world and into a man.  Although that very language of Creation be applied to whatever greatest works of Divine Power, both common and natural, Psalm 102:18; 104:30; Isaiah 45:7; Amos 4:13, and less common, Numbers 16:30; Isaiah 4:5; Jeremiah 31:22; these things were neither signified by the first Creation, neither will they with good reason be presumed to signify the Renovation of the World and of Men.  Apart from the fact that a thing similar to Generation is wont likewise to be transferred to the Renovation of the World and of the Election, yet it ought not to be considered as a Type of this.

Nevertheless, the Most Illustrious JAN VAN DEN HONERT,[2] Theologiæ Typicæ, first part, chapter I, contends that the History of the Creation of Heaven and Earth was a Prophetic Type of the Economy of the New Testament.  But in his demonstration, 1.  it is supposed that the institution of the Division of the Economy of the New Testament into Seven successive Periods is evident from elsewhere in Sacred Scripture, for the illustration of which then a comparison with the History of Creation will be able to be suitable.  But that hypothesis is denied by us.


2.  If from the name of Creation being applied to the restoration of all things through Christ you conclude that this restoration is to be completed in an interval of Seven distinct Periods:  by the same right I might conclude that all those Seven Periods ought to be equal, just as the individual days of Creation were equal, containing the space of twenty-four hours.


The proofs of the illustrious Man fail:


α.  It is argued in § 2-4 from the Work itself, because the bringing in of the New Economy is called the Creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth, Isaiah 65:17; 66:22, which Peter awaited in his time, 2 Peter 3:13, and John saw, Revelation 21:1.  But, 1.  this argument fails, if you attend to the observation of our AUTHOR, which I just now produced out of his Exercitationibus Textualibus XLII, Part V, § 20.  That neither merely metaphorically or emblematically, but typico-prophetically, similar expressions are used in this business, would have to be proven by the illustrious Man, not dictated by authority.  2.  The context of Isaiah 65:17 and following pertains to the last times of the New Testament, rather than to the first introduction of the New Economy; see VITRINGA’S Commentarium on 2 Peter 3:13:  it has regard to the future Age; see VITRINGA’S Observationes Sacras, book IV, chapter XVI, pages 1073-1090; our AUTHOR’S Mantissam Observationum Textualium after Analysin exegaticam on Isaiah 53, pages 462-468, and Concionem Secularam Belgicam after Compendium Theologiæ Belgicum, pages 995-1021; add my Disputatione de Adventu Christi memorato 2 Peter 1:16, § 2.  In the same way a judgment is to be formed concerning the text in Revelation 21:1; see the Commentarium of our AUTHOR on the passage.  3.  Now, the proofs to be adduced here had to be all the firmer, since to teach by Types was proper to the Old Economy of Grace after the Fall, not so much to the time that preceded the Fall.


The illustrious Man insists, § 5:  “We judge that it is all the more to be affirmed, because the first members of the Evangelical Church are called, not only the First-born written in heaven, Hebrews 12:23, but also the first-fruits of the Creatures of God, James 1:18; which is only able to be understood with respect to the New Testament Economy and Church, because those men were the first-fruits of absolutely all creatures that pertain to this new world.”


I Respond, that this Insistence proves Nothing.  a.  for the title of First-born has regard, 1.  to children born before others from men, who were of old created at length on the sixth day, and thus ought to pertain to the sixth Period.  2.  And also to the prerogatives that under the Old Testament were applicable to the First-born above their lesser brethren.  3.  Πανήγυριν καὶ ἐκκλησίαν πρωτοτόκων ἐν οὐρανοῖς ἀπογεγραμμένων, the general assembly and church of the first-born written in heaven, the illustrious WESSELIUS, distinctly from the Spirits of just men made perfect, or the Church Triumphant in Heaven, explains at length of the Church universal and Catholic, militant in this world, which comprehends those Elect and Believing of every Place, Race, Sex, Condition, State, and Time, even those that lived of old from the beginning of the world, and those that are going to be alive at the end of the ages:  all whom, relatively to the First-born of the Patriarchs and Israelites, he clearly shows with good reason to be marked with the title of First-born, even indeed those written in heaven, in his Fasciculo Dissertationum, etc., Dissertation XIV, § 5, 6, Dissertation XVI.


b.  Believers are called the First-fruits of the Creatures of God with respect to the Ceremonial Laws of God concerning the first-born both of men, and of animals, but also concerning the first-fruits springing from the earth, to be consecrated to God.  Now, believers are able thus to be designated in opposition to reprobates and all other creatures, because they are chosen out of the world, which lies in wickedness,[3] and consecrated to God.  But also κτίσματα/creatures are able to be understood more strictly of new creatures, renewed in the image of God, Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10, which new Creatures are in turn men, so called with respect to the Creation of the first man in God’s Image, which happened at length on the sixth day.  Ἀπαρχή τίς, a kind of first-fruits, of these Creatures, the converted Jews at that time in the Apostolic age might be called with relation again to the first-fruits offered to God under the Old Testament, which were promising a greater harvest and were the beginnings of the same, 1.  Because these First-fruits were to be consecrated to God, before the sickle would be sent forth into the harvest of the Gentiles, which then would follow.  2.  They were also First-fruits in comparison with their Jewish posterity, who in a far great number were to be converted to the Lord in the end of days, Romans 11:25-27.  But thus also nothing is elicited out of the expression of James to prove the Periodico-typical sense of the history of the Creation of the World:  since with respect to other times also mention is made of First-fruits of this sort.  All Israel, consecrated unto God as a peculiar people, over against the Nations and before other Nations admitted to communion with God, goes under this title, Jeremiah 2:3; Revelation 14:4, in comparison with verse 1:  First-fruits  are also mentioned, and thus are designated either those that the Lord had separated for Himself, and whom He had kept free from the communion of Idolatry and Superstition in the Papacy before the Reformation:  or those that at the beginning of the Reformation were going forth from the Roman communion, and were Precursors of a great many more to follow.


β.  The illustrious HONERT appeals to the Time of the Hexameron, which God devoted to the Creation, with the Seventh day of Rest following, § 6.  Now, from this he forms an argument of this sort, § 7, 8:  “That the seventh day has typico-prophetic significance, as Paul affirms in Hebrews 4:1-11, we dare not to deny.  But now, if that seventh day had typico-prophetic significance, it is not to be doubted, that all that time, of which the seventh day was a part, and which obtained its completion on the seventh day, was a prophetic type.  Especially, since God, after the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, not only willed the seventh day of each hebdomad to be a prophetic type, but also had regard to the whole space of seven days in the various ceremonies of the Mosaic Economy, and made express mention of the same in Prophecy, Isaiah 30:26.”


I Respond:  1.  The typico-prophetic significance of the Seventh Day, even according to Paul in Hebrews 4, does not have particular regard to a Seventh Period of the New Testament, but to the Spiritual Rest to be brought in by Christ at the end of days, that is, under the New Testament, and to be possessed inchoately by believers the whole time of the New Testament, but perfectly in the heavenly Canaan.  2.  It does not follow that, because the seventh Day has a typico-prophetic significance, one may also affirm the same concerning the six preceding days:  contrariwise, God extracted it from the number of the days of the week, and willed that it be consecrated in a peculiar manner to Himself, while He left the six days as common to man to attend to servile works.  Whence what Ceremonial Holiness, and hence the consequent typico-prophetic significance, is to be assigned to the seventh Day, the same come to be denied to the antecedent six days.  3.  The number of seven days was able to be chosen in other Mosaic Ceremonies on account of the perfection of this number, without respect to seven successive Periods of the New Testament Church.  4.  In Isaiah 30:26 again, Seven Days are mentioned in the place of many, on account of the perfection of the number, and the first and most ancient period of days completed in Seven days, after which again a new computation begins:  and by an elegant similitude it is indicated, that the Light of Grace is to be marvelously increased beyond the Light granted in former times, as if the Light of the seven days, concentrated into one, at one and the same time should shine in the world.


γ.  The not at all uncommon mention of the Septenary number, says HONERT, § 9, in the Sacred books agrees with this, as well as the incredibly frequent application of the same to the times and conditions of the Evangelical Church, which from the first use of this number in the greatest event, with so many arguments sought from the Sacred Codex lending support, we believe not to be able to be without the greatest justification, as I suppose.


I Respond:  1.  That the septenary number is applied elsewhere in the Sacred Codex to Seven successive Periods of the New Testament Church, is a doubtful hypothesis.  2.  We have hitherto seen no firm argument for the typico-prophetic significance of the History of the Creation produced out of the Sacred Codex.


δ.  HONERT adds in the same place, § 9:  “Especially since the analogies between the natural works of these seven days and the spiritual works of the Seven Evangelical Periods are so clear, indeed, as clear as can be.”  Which by a particular comparison of the works of the individual days he busies himself to show, § 10-16.  To which we submit for comparison what things the illustrious MARCKIUS has in his Præfatione in Apocalypsin, § LXXXIX.  While, besides the things previously mentioned, now we only note, 1.  that mere similitude does not imply a prophetic Type:  2.  That that similitude was not so very clear in all things, but was artificial enough in many.  a.  To the Heavens and the Earth created on the first day are compared in turn the passages in Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1, not quite reaching to this from the things previously mentioned.  b.  Not only in the Third Period, I say with the AUTHOR, but also in the first, did the plants of God spring up; indeed, at that time was the true moment of the Germination of the Church.  c.  How far is the Creation of the heavenly Luminaries to furnish brilliantly shining light upon the earth, and the many salutary uses of that light and most pleasing influx for terrestrial animals and men, from representing Anti-christian Darkness; has already been observed above.  How little, in addition, do the several Passages of Scripture that HONERT alleges in § 13 agree with the history of the Fourth Day of Creation; how rashly also are the same referred to some fourth Period, even a casual investigation of the same will be able to show.  d.  While the many Fish, no less than the Birds, were created for the advantageous and agreeable use of man, it is strange that in the Fish does he only understand Heretics, and does not understand believers in some Fish in the same way as the Birds, Ezekiel 47:9, 10, while all the Birds do not even represent believers with equal aptness.  e.  Let experts judge, whether on the Fifth and Sixth Period are mentioned matters peculiar to these Periods above all others; and whether to this precise Period of time pertain also the Passages cited, especially in § 15.  f.  Finally, the Perfect Rest of the Seventh Day does not agree with the Seventh Period, if in this Period Israel is at length converted, the Gentiles are brought in in greater plenty, etc., to which the periodic division of Cocceius leads:  indeed, thus God will truly create something new in this Period; as the text of Isaiah 65:17, 18 also pertains to the last time.


In order to resolve the Objection, which the illustrious Man proposes to himself in § 17, he responds, that he seeks the typico-prophetic significance here, not in the things themselves, but in the Creation of them; not in the very Creation considered in the abstract, but in the order and series of time in which they were created.  But does he rightly Seek in this way a typico-prophetic significance in the history of the Creation?  From the things previously mentioned, I do not believe so.


In § 18, the illustrious Author takes it as demonstrated in § 2-5, which will readily be demonstrated not at all to be such from a collation of those things that I have written above.


Finally, in § 19, the illustrious Man again inculcates, that many things have an emblematic and typico-prophetic significance in various respects at the same time.  But it had to be demonstrated, that a thing in the history of the Creation also stands thus.  For which the example of many things in the Legal Economy, alleged by the illustrious Man, do not make:  since we acknowledge that the Legal Economy was Typical; we still desire the same to be proven of the History of the Creation.


[1] Abraham Scultetus (1566-1624) was a German Reformed scholar, theologian, and historian.  He served as court preacher to the Elector of the Palatinate, and also as Professor of Old Testament at the University of Heidelberg.  He was chosen as a representative of the Palatinate to the Synod of Dordt.

[2] Jan van den Honert (1693-1758) was a Dutch Reformed theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Utrecht (1727-1734), and later at Leiden (1734-1758).

[3] 1 John 5:19.

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