While many Christians claim that the Bible is the source of authority on every issue, most do not actually mean what they say. Usually there is at least some area where they do not permit the Scriptures to have the final say. One such idea is the framework hypothesis. This idea purports to fit millions of years of evolutionary imaginary time into Biblical history. As always, some very important things get damaged along the way. So let’s examine this idea and see just why and how it fails.
The Framework Hypothesis differs from the Day-Age theory in that, the Day-Age view holds that each day was millions of years long, the Framework Hypothesis makes no such claim. It differs from the Gap Theory in that the Gap Theorists believe that the millions of years came between the first and second verse of Scripture, while the Framework Hypothesis believes they were spread throughout the first and part of the second chapter. The Hypothesis postulates that Genesis 1 through Genesis 2:4 is a literary device designed to convey a poetic image of what is going on in creation. The argument goes that there are two triads in Genesis 1, where the first three days are one, the second three days are the other. These triads supposedly correspond one for one, so that day one corresponds to day four and so on. Therefore, according to the framework, the days are theological, not chronological.
The triads are supposedly grouped in this way because they represent two kingdoms. The first kingdom is that of created things, such as the earth, stars, matter and so on. The second is that of the creatures such as plants, birds, mammals and the like. The third kingdom the framework hypothesis proposes is that of the Creator King Himself.
It is important to emphasize here that this is not the same as a theistic evolutionary view. The Framework Hypothesis does view God as the direct creator of all things, in particular man and woman in the Garden of Eden. This is in contrast to the theistic evolutionary view that man evolved from some form of ape-like ancestor like the evolutionary fairy tale says.
The framework hypothesis sounds like a good explanation for combining the Bible with the millions of years of imaginary time. The only problem with this wonderful explanation is…it doesn’t work. In order for the framework hypothesis to work, Genesis must be read as something other than historical narrative. This just is not possible given the way the original Hebrew is written. The Hebrew grammar uses verb tenses which are indicative of sequences of events, not Hebrew poetry. As Answers in Genesis points out in their excellent article on this topic, the narrative of Deborah and Barak provides an excellent example of the difference between the two. Before the battle with Sisera, the text is in narrative. After the battle, the celebratory song is poetic. The difference is clear in the translation. Genesis 1 and 2 much more closely resemble the narrative than the poetic.
Further, claiming the days are not chronological is an absolute disaster. Suppose day six happened first. Where were the land animals put? There would have been no place for them to go. What if day two happened first? How could the waters have been divided when there were no waters? Or what if day three happened first. How did the plants survive without sunlight for millions of years? Attempting any kind of chronological rewrite on the text by claiming theology completely destroys any sensible reading of the text. Put plainly, claiming the days are not chronological introduces all manner of absurdities.
Of course, the worst of these problems is the death before sin problem. I’ve hammered on this point before but it bears repeating here. Any attempt, however small, to smuggle millions of years into the Bible, always comes back to this problem. The Bible says man brought death into the world by his sin. The Curse befell not just man, but everything in the creation, leading to the Creation groaning until now. (Rom 8:22). Millions of years cannot be reconciled with the Scriptures.
Much like all other postulations about creation which deny a historical approach to Genesis, the framework hypothesis does not hold up Scripturally under close examination. It would be wise to avoid this doctrine, and mark those who spread it, to ensure we do not compromise on the authority of the Word of God at its foundation.