Lita Cosner earned a B. A. in Biblical Studies (Oklahoma
Wesleyan University) and an M.A. in New Testament
(Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). Her Master’s Thesis
is Jesus the Honorable Broker: A Social-Scientific
Exegesis of Matthew 15: 21–28. She is CMI’s full-time
Information Officer in the United States office.
it’s called “in the beginning”. But it’s a beginning point, not
a beginning age. The word ‘day’ (yom, hēmera) indicates a
quick progression in the creative activity. That these periods
of activity are seen as definitional of what days are is a very
good reason for concluding exegetically that the Creation
Days were actual days—i.e. periods of roughly 24 hours
characterized by a cycle of light and darkness.
One of the proposed strengths of Dembski’s argument
is that it allows for Adam’s sin to be the cause of death
and suffering over long ages, hence preserving Christian
orthodoxy while maintaining scientific orthodoxy. However,
this suffers from some critical weaknesses.
The analogy is that Christ’s death saved those who lived
before His death. But Scripture explicitly teaches this, and
does not teach that Adam’s sin had preemptive effects on the
creation. And Christ’s death itself has a theodicy component—
namely, how can a righteous God overlook the sins of the
‘righteous’ who died before Christ? Dembski’s argument
introduces rather than solves problems. How can Adam’s
sin actually affect the world before he sinned? This would
seem to put the significance of a human’s action on par with,
or even greater than, the significance of Christ’s redemptive
work. And the teaching of Paul in Romans 5 is that Christ’s
work is infinitely greater than Adam’s.
Dembski’s argument for kairological time is flawed in
almost every possible way. His main source for the distinction
between chronos and kairos is based not in study of the
original language of the biblical documents, but in modern
philosophy. The words chronos and kairos are not even in
Hebrew, the language the Genesis creation narrative was
originally written in. The translation of the Genesis creation
narrative in the LXX does not use chronos or kairos, except
for a single use of kairos on Day 4 to define the function of
the luminaries; the terms are not used to mark the time of
Furthermore, the Greek terms kairos and chronos are not
starkly different; their semantic ranges overlap considerably.
Chronos, not kairos, is used in the construction chronos
aiwnos to indicate events that happened ‘long ago’ without
defining when. Additionally, chronos can be used to discuss
the timing of theologically significant events. In fact, the two
words can be used by Paul in identical constructions to speak
about the timing of the coming of Christ.
If that weren’t enough, kairos as a special sort of ‘God’s
time’ could not be more foreign to its usage in the NT text.
While it refers to an ‘appropriate’ or ‘suitable’ time, or the
timing of seasons, harvest time, and so on, all kairos events
are located firmly on the earthly ‘timeline’. The idea itself
of ‘God’s time’ is not present in Scripture, precisely because
God is outside of time.
Neither kairos or chronos is used for ‘when God created’,
because as the event which stands at the beginning of the
‘timeline’, it is ‘special’. It is beyond pro chronōn aiōniōn ( 2
Timothy 1: 9), it is en archē. This specialness does not mean,
however, that it stands outside of the chronology of Scripture;
the language of Genesis 1 clearly establishes Creation Week
as the beginning point for chronology.
Since the idea of ‘kairological time’ is so wrongheaded and
contrary to the biblical evidence, why would anyone propose
such a solution? Only to attempt a theodicy in light of a long-age hermeneutic. However, this theodicy fails, because kairos
does not mean what Dembski needs it to mean, and it is not
used to describe ‘when God created’.
Thanks to Dr Michael Hildenbrand, Adjunct Instructor
of Old Testament and Hebrew at Liberty University Online,
for his help with sections of the paper relating to Hebrew
1. For clarity, the words chronos and kairos will appear in normal text when referring
to their philosophical usage, and in italics when they are meant as transliterations
of the Greek χρόνος and καιρός.
2. Dembski, W., The End of Christianity, B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN,
pp. 124–125, 2009.
3. Christian theodicy in light of Genesis and modern science, 20 April 2006,
billdembski.com, last accessed 13 March 2017.
4. Stone, A.P., Time as chronos and kairos: physical and metaphysical time, accessed
6 December 2016. See ref. 3, p. 13.
5. All LXX translations are from Pietersma A. and Wright, B.G. (Eds.), A New
English Translation of the Septuagint, Oxford University Press, 2007.
6. The phrase “like the time of a man” is not in the M T and so one cannot make an
assertion about which Hebrew word the translator was conveying with χρόνος.
7. Dr Michael Hildenbrand pointed out in private correspondence that this appears
to be an error in the UBS handbook, as this section of Daniel is in Aramaic.
8. Péter-Contesse, R. and Ellington, J., A Handbook on the Book of Daniel, United
Bible Societies, New York, p. 46, 1994.
9. Keil, C.F. and Delitzsch, F., Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 6, p. 683,
Hendrickson, Peabody, 1996.
10. Table constructed from list obtained from NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
entry, chronos, available at biblestudytools.com, accessed 26 October 2016.
11. Table constructed from list obtained from NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
entry, kairos, available at biblestudytools.com, accessed 26 October 2016.
12. See, for instance, Wanamaker, C.A., The Epistles to the Thessalonians, NIGTC,
p. 178, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1990.