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Thursday, August 7, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 2

Genesis 1:2-5
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
The First Day. - Though treating of the creation of the heaven and the earth, the writer, both here and in what follows, describes with minuteness the original condition and progressive formation of the earth alone, and says nothing more respecting the heaven than is actually requisite in order to show its connection with the earth. He is writing for inhabitants of the earth, and for religious ends; not to gratify curiosity, but to strengthen faith in God, the Creator of the universe. What is said in v. 2 of the chaotic condition of the earth, is equally applicable to the heaven, "for the heaven proceeds from the same chaos as the earth."

"And the earth was (not became) waste and void." The alliterative nouns tohu vabohu, the etymology of which is lost, signify waste and empty (barren), but not laying waste and desolating. Whenever they are used together in other places (Isa 34:11; Jer 4:23), they are taken from this passage; but tohu alone is frequently employed as synonymous with 'ayin (OT:369), non-existence, and hebel (OT:1893), nothingness (Isa 40:17,23; 49:4). The coming earth was at first waste and desolate, a formless, lifeless mass, rudis indigestaque moles, hu'lee a'morfos (Wisdom 11:17) or cha'os.

"And darkness was upon the face of the deep." tªhowm (OT:8415), from huwm (OT:1949), to roar, to rage, denotes the raging waters, the roaring waves (Ps 42:7) or flood (Ex 15:5; Dt 8:7); and hence the depths of the sea (Job 28:14; 38:16), and even the abyss of the earth (Ps 71:20). As an old traditional word, it is construed like a proper name without an article (Ewald, Gramm.). The chaotic mass in which the earth and the firmament were still undistinguished, unformed, and as it were unborn, was a heaving deep, an abyss of waters (a'bussos (NT:12), LXX), and this deep was wrapped in darkness. But it was in process of formation, for the Spirit of God moved upon the waters, ruwach (OT:7307) (breath) denotes wind and spirit, like pneu'ma (NT:4151) from pne'oo (NT:4154). Ruach Elohim is not a breath of wind caused by God (Theodoret, etc.), for the verb does not suit this meaning, but the creative Spirit of God, the principle of all life (Ps 33:6; 104:30), which worked upon the formless, lifeless mass, separating, quickening, and preparing the living forms, which were called into being by the creative words that followed. rchp in the Piel is applied to the hovering and brooding of a bird over its young, to warm them, and develop their vital powers (Dt 32:11).

In such a way as this the Spirit of God moved upon the deep, which had received at its creation the germs of all life, to fill them with vital energy by His breath of life. The three statements in our verse are parallel; the substantive and participial construction of the second and third clauses rests upon the whyth of the first. All three describe the condition of the earth immediately after the creation of the universe. This suffices to prove that the theosophic speculation of those who "make a gap between the first two verses, and fill it with a wild horde of evil spirits and their demoniacal works, is an arbitrary interpolation" (Ziegler).

Verse 3. The word of God then went forth to the primary material of the world, now filled with creative powers of vitality, to call into being, out of the germs of organization and life which it contained, and in the order pre-ordained by His wisdom, those creatures of the world, which proclaim, as they live and move, the glory of their Creator (Ps 8). The work of creation commences with the words, "and God said." The words which God speaks are existing things. "He speaks, and it is done; He commands, and it stands fast." These words are deeds of the essential Word, the lo'gos (NT:3056), by which "all things were made." Speaking is the revelation of thought; the creation, the realization of the thoughts of God, a freely accomplished act of the absolute Spirit, and not an emanation of creatures from the divine essence.

The first thing created by the divine Word was "light," the elementary light, or light-material, in distinction from the "lights," or light-bearers, bodies of light, as the sun, moon, and stars, created on the fourth day, are called. It is now a generally accepted truth of natural science, that the light does not spring from the sun and stars, but that the sun itself is a dark body, and the light proceeds from an atmosphere which surrounds it. Light was the first thing called forth, and separated from the dark chaos by the creative mandate, "Let there be," - the first radiation of the life breathed into it by the Spirit of God, inasmuch as it is the fundamental condition of all organic life in the world, and without light and the warmth which flows from it no plant or animal could thrive.

Verse 4. The expression in v. 4, "God saw the light that it was good," for "God saw that the light was good," according to a frequently recurring antiptosis (cf. Ge 6:2; 12:14; 13:10), is not an anthropomorphism at variance with enlightened thoughts of God; for man's seeing has its type in God's, and God's seeing is not a mere expression of the delight of the eye or of pleasure in His work, but is of the deepest significance to every created thing, being the seal of the perfection which God has impressed upon it, and by which its continuance before God and through God is determined. The creation of light, however, was no annihilation of darkness, no transformation of the dark material of the world into pure light, but a separation of the light from the primary matter, a separation which established and determined that interchange of light and darkness, which produces the distinction between day and night.

Verse 5. Hence it is said in v. 5, "God called the light Day, and the darkness Night;" for, as Augustine observes, "all light is not day, nor all darkness night; but light and darkness alternating in a regular order constitute day and night." None but superficial thinkers can take offence at the idea of created things receiving names from God. The name of a thing is the expression of its nature. If the name be given by man, it fixes in a word the impression which it makes upon the human mind; but when given by God, it expresses the reality, what the thing is in God's creation, and the place assigned it there by the side of other things.

"Thus evening was and morning was one day." 'echaad (OT:259) (one), like ehi's (NT:1520) and unus, is used at the commencement of a numerical series for the ordinal primus (cf. Ge 2:11; 4:19; 8:5,15). Like the numbers of the days which follow, it is without the article, to show that the different days arose from the constant recurrence of evening and morning. It is not till the sixth and last day that the article is employed (v. 31), to indicate the termination of the work of creation upon that day. It is to be observed, that the days of creation are bounded by the coming of evening and morning. The first day did not consist of the primeval darkness and the origination of light, but was formed after the creation of the light by the first interchange of evening and morning. The first evening was not the gloom, which possibly preceded the full burst of light as it came forth from the primary darkness, and intervened between the darkness and full, broad daylight.

It was not till after the light had been created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morning; and this coming of evening (lit., the obscure) and morning (the breaking) formed one, or the first day. It follows from this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to evening, but from morning to morning. The first day does not fully terminate till the light returns after the darkness of night; it is not till the break of the new morning that the first interchange of light and darkness is completed, and a heemeronu'ktion has passed. The rendering, "out of evening and morning there came one day," is at variance with grammar, as well as with the actual fact. With grammar, because such a thought would require 'echaad (OT:259) lªyowm (OT:3117); and with fact, because the time from evening to morning does not constitute a day, but the close of a day.

The first day commenced at the moment when God caused the light to break forth from the darkness; but this light did not become a day, until the evening had come, and the darkness which set in with the evening had given place the next morning to the break of day. Again, neither the words `rb (OT:6153) wyhy (OT:1961) bqr (OT:1242) wyhy (OT:1961), nor the expression bqr (OT:1242) `rb (OT:6153), evening-morning (= day), in Da 8:14, corresponds to the Greek nuchthee'meron (NT:3574), for morning is not equivalent to day, nor evening to night. The reckoning of days from evening to evening in the Mosaic law (Lev 23:32), and by many ancient tribes (the pre-Mohammedan Arabs, the Athenians, Gauls, and Germans), arose not from the days of creation, but from the custom of regulating seasons by the changes of the moon. But if the days of creation are regulated by the recurring interchange of light and darkness, they must be regarded not as periods of time of incalculable duration, of years or thousands of years, but as simple earthly days.

It is true the morning and evening of the first three days were not produced by the rising and setting of the sun, since the sun was not yet created; but the constantly recurring interchange of light and darkness, which produced day and night upon the earth, cannot for a moment be understood as denoting that the light called forth from the darkness of chaos returned to that darkness again, and thus periodically burst forth and disappeared. The only way in which we can represent it to ourselves, is by supposing that the light called forth by the creative mandate, "Let there be," was separated from the dark mass of the earth, and concentrated outside or above the globe, so that the interchange of light and darkness took place as soon as the dark chaotic mass began to rotate, and to assume in the process of creation the form of a spherical body. The time occupied in the first rotations of the earth upon its axis cannot, indeed, be measured by our hour-glass; but even if they were slower at first, and did not attain their present velocity till the completion of our solar system, this would make no essential difference between the first three days and the last three, which were regulated by the rising and setting of the sun.

(Note: Exegesis must insist upon this, and not allow itself to alter the plain sense of the words of the Bible, from irrelevant and untimely regard to the so-called certain inductions of natural science. Irrelevant we call such considerations, as make interpretation dependent upon natural science, because the creation lies outside the limits of empirical and speculative research, and, as an act of the omnipotent God, belongs rather to the sphere of miracles and mysteries, which can only be received by faith (Heb 11:3); and untimely, because natural science has supplied no certain conclusions as to the origin of the earth, and geology especially, even at the present time, is in a chaotic state of fermentation, the issue of which it is impossible to foresee.)

3 comments:

Warwick said...

Eric as I have mentioned before I blog on other sites including an interesting American one. Over considerable time a pattern emerges.

Firstly; The evolutionist/atheist.

Atheist charges in ridiculing Scripture and those foolish creationists who just will not accept 'science.' No matter who Atheist is (one US bloger calls himslef Atheist) he eventually avoids answering questions and fades off.

Initially Atheist says micro-evolution brings about the microbe to man changes from one 'kind' to another. That is, for example, from reptile to bird. But I/we say: micro-evolution-better called adaptation/speciation-is a conservative thing, which brings about loss of genetic information,and is therefore the opposite of microbe to man evolution, which needs massive amounts of totally new and specific information. Atheist insists this is not so but when questioned has no answer and goes quiet on this issue. There is almost always a period where Athest endeavours to misquote what I/we have actually said. Or sometimes to feign misunderstanding.

Atheist then comes up with something else which he calls scientific fact, insisting it proves evolution or long ages, and disproves Scripture.

I/we point out the assumptions contained therein and the impossibility of scientifically testing such an idea.

I/we point out the flaws in Atheists reasoning and then invite him to show if and where we are wrong. But Atheist disappears, unwilling to accept the challenge.

On this site Healy proposed that dates gained by radiometric dating were accurate, the result of stringent scientific controls. I gave but a few example of how wrong they often are, when contrary proof is available. They are assumed to be right when nothing contradictory exists but shown to be wrong when something does exist. No one would believe a rock was ancient if for example a Coca Cola bottle was found therein, would they?

I asked Healy to show where I was wrong but he has gone quiet.

This same scenario happens time and time again.

Secondly it also occurs, in a different way, when blogers propose some form of theistic evolution. As Scripture must be the Christian's prime source they are quite fairly asked to show how this view fits with Scripture and they can't, and likewise disappear.

All very interesting. I would hope those who read here, but as yet haven't bloged,have noticed that this occurs. Surely it shows that evolutionists do not have a strong case, and often know little about the supposed mechanisms of evolution!

Likewise I trust you see that those who propose theistic evolution do not have a strong case. They base their case upon evolution which is not a fact and further are contradicted by a straight-forward reading of Scripture. Some ridicule the straight-forward understanding of Genesis but the NT shows that is the way Jesus and the apostles understood it.

gwen said...

Here, here and cheers, Warwick.

Gwen

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