Sunday, December 22, 2013

Framework Hypothesis, the analogical view and the idea of analogy

Earth, the visible cosmos, was made to mirror the invisible world of heaven. The lower, terrestrial register was so designed that it contained replicas of realities in the upper register Glory-realm, including likenesses of the God of heaven. Nor was the visible world alone the scenes of such ectypes. Heaven too was filled with images of the God of Glory in the form of the angel "sons of God," like Elohim their Creator-Father and accordingly also called 'elohim, "gods" (Ps. 82:1).

—Meredith G. Kline, God, Heaven and Har Magedon: A Covenantal Tale of Cosmos and Telos (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006), 31

The Framework Hypothesis states that the Genesis creation account is a literary retelling of the historical creation of the world. The various elements of Genesis 1 are basically literary, almost like how a poem expresses truth in a manner that has literary embellishments attached to it. Thus, while it is wrong to say that the Framework Hypothesis is merely figurative, yet it is correct to say that the elements of the Genesis 1 accounts in the Framework Hypothesis are not historical. Genesis 1 as a whole is historical, while the particulars are not.

One way of how the Framework Hypothesis works is to postulate the idea of the two registers. The upper register has to do with the heavenly realities, while the lower register has to do with earthly realities. Using a two-register cosmology, Genesis 1 is seen as being true for the upper-register, thus it is God's "historical understanding" of creation from the viewpoint of the upper-register. If one follows M.G. Kline in embracing the two-register cosmology, then one could attempt to say that even the particulars of the Genesis 1 account is "historical," since it is historical according to the Upper Register. However, does this two-register cosmology actually work?

Kline utilizes the language of archetype and ectype. In the Reformed tradition, Franciscus Junius explicated the archetype/ectype principle to denote the qualitative difference in knowledge (epistemic-ontologically) between God and Man. God in se has archetypal knowledge, which is qualitatively different from Man's knowledge. God has His own ectypal knowledge, which is a true reflection of His archetypal knowledge. God's ectypal knowledge is then transmitted to Man by revelation. What Man can know is therefore purely ectypal. We only know that there is an archetypal knowledge, not what it actually is.

As it can be seen, this archetypal/ ectypal distinction seems to be distorted by Kline in the two-register cosmology. For in Kline's system, we CAN know the upper register archetypal knowledge. Genesis 1 is now archetypal, not ectypal; upper register, not lower register. But it may be objected, Kline does not mean by "archetype" what the Reformed scholastics mean by "archetype." If so, what does this upper register refer to, if it is neither actually archetype nor is it truly "ectype"? A true ectypal system (epistemologically) is given to Man for revelation, and thus it must be "lower register." If however the difference is spatial not epistemic, with the "upper register" being the heavenly realm populated by angels, then Genesis 1 cannot be "upper register" either, for the location of the creation events is not the realm of angels but planet earth! Either way, Kline's two-register cosmology does not work.

The idea of analogy, just like Kline's postulation of the two-register cosmology, just cannot work. The issue is this: Is Genesis 1 archetype or ectype? We must say it is ectype. But if it is ectype, how can it be considered an analogy from God's point of view? How can we speak about "God's work week," since the only record of God's work week is the Genesis 1 account of God "working" 6 literal days and resting on the 7th day? But if we deny the plain reading of Genesis 1, then there is no other area in Scripture in which there is the portrayal of God working 6 days and resting on the 7th, ectypally. If we actually hold to the archetype/ ectype distinction, then Genesis 1 cannot be God's analogy, but rather Man's side of the analogy — an actual historical 6+1 days which functions to show us the 6+1 pattern of our work week.

The whole idea of relegating Genesis 1 to mere analogy therefore is flawed from the beginning. While this does not preclude the Framework Hypothesis, it does preclude the Two-register cosmology that is held to by Kline which he had added to his Framework view.

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