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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Philosopher speaks

Caught an interesting essay by Peter Williams at the Evangelical Philosophical Society site. Worth a read, but I will take up one of his points in another post later.

Just do the set reading for now, and we'll discuss.

The review is here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 9 Last and Long

Ch. 2:4-4:26
Contents and Heading
Genesis 2:4
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
The historical account of the world, which commences at the completion of the work of creation, is introduced as the "History of the heavens and the earth," and treats in three sections, (a) of the original condition of man in paradise (Ge 2:5-25); (b) of the fall (ch. 3); (c) of the division of the human race into two widely different families, so far as concerns their relation to God (ch. 4).

The words, "these are the tholedoth of the heavens and the earth when they were created," form the heading to what follows. This would never have been disputed, had not preconceived opinions as to the composition of Genesis obscured the vision of commentators. The fact that in every other passage, in which the formula "these (and these) are the tholedoth" occurs (viz., ten times in Genesis; also in Nu 3:1; Ru 4:18; 1 Ch 1:29), it is used as a heading, and that in this passage the true meaning of twldwt (OT:8435) precludes the possibility of its being an appendix to what precedes, fully decides the question. The word twldwt (OT:8435), which is only used in the plural, and never occurs except in the construct state or with suffixes, is a Hiphil noun from howliyd (OT:3205), and signifies literally the generation or posterity of any one, then the development of these generations or of his descendants; in other words, the history of those who are begotten or the account of what happened to them and what they performed.

In no instance whatever is it the history of the birth or origin of the person named in the genitive, but always the account of his family and life. According to this use of the word, we cannot understand by the tholedoth of the heavens and the earth the account of the origin of the universe, since according to the biblical view the different things which make up the heavens and the earth can neither be regarded as generations or products of cosmogonic and geogonic evolutions, nor be classed together as the posterity of the heavens and the earth. All the creatures in the heavens and on earth were made by God, and called into being by His word, notwithstanding the fact that He caused some of them to come forth from the earth. Again, as the completion of the heavens and the earth with all their host has already been described in Ge 2:1-3, we cannot understand by "the heavens and the earth," in v. 4, the primary material of the universe in its elementary condition (in which case the literal meaning of howliyd (OT:3205) would be completely relinquished, and the "tholedoth of the heavens and the earth" be regarded as indicating this chaotic beginning as the first stage in a series of productions), but the universe itself after the completion of the creation, at the commencement of the historical development which is subsequently described.

This places its resemblance to the other sections, commencing with "these are the generations," beyond dispute. Just as the tholedoth of Noah, for example, do not mention his birth, but contain his history and the birth of his sons; so the tholedoth of the heavens and the earth do not describe the origin of the universe, but what happened to the heavens and the earth after their creation. bªhibaarª'aam (OT:1254) does not preclude this, though we cannot render it "after they were created." For even if it were grammatically allowable to resolve the participle into a pluperfect, the parallel expressions in Ge 5:1-2, would prevent our doing so. As "the day of their creation" mentioned there, is not a day after the creation of Adam, but the day on which he was created; the same words, when occurring here, must also refer to a time when the heavens and the earth were already created: and just as in Ge 5:1 the creation of the universe forms the starting-point to the account of the development of the human race through the generations of Adam, and is recapitulated for that reason; so here the creation of the universe is mentioned as the starting-point to the account of its historical development, because this account looks back to particular points in the creation itself, and describes them more minutely as the preliminaries to the subsequent course of the world. hbr'm is explained by the clause, "in the day that Jehovah God created the earth and the heavens." Although this clause is closely related to what follows, the simplicity of the account prevents our regarding it as the protasis of a period, the apodosis of which does not follow till v. 5 or even v. 7.

The former is grammatically impossible, because in v. 5 the noun stands first, and not the verb, as we should expect in such a case (cf. Ge 3:5). The latter is grammatically tenable indeed, since vv. 5, 6, might be introduced into the main sentence as conditional clauses; but it is not probable, inasmuch as we should then have a parenthesis of most unnatural length. The clause must therefore be regarded as forming part of the heading. There are two points here that are worthy of notice: first, the unusual combination, "earth and heaven," which only occurs in Ps 148:13, and shows that the earth is the scene of the history about to commence, which was of such momentous importance to the whole world; and secondly, the introduction of the name JEHOVAH in connection with ELOHIM. That the hypothesis, which traces the interchange in the two names in Genesis to different documents, does not suffice to explain the occurrence of Jehovah Elohim in Ge 2:4-3:24, even the supporters of this hypothesis cannot possibly deny.

Not only is God called Elohim alone in the middle of this section, viz., in the address to the serpent, a clear proof that the interchange of the names has reference to their different significations; but the use of the double name, which occurs here twenty times though rarely met with elsewhere, is always significant. In the Pentateuch we only find it in Ex 9:30; in the other books of the Old Testament, in 2 Sam. 7:22,25; 1 Chr. 17:16-17; 2 Chr. 4:41-42; Ps. 84:8,11 ; and Ps 50:1, where the order is reversed; and in every instance it is used with peculiar emphasis, to give prominence to the fact that Jehovah is truly Elohim, whilst in Ps 50:1 the Psalmist advances from the general name El and Elohim to Jehovah, as the personal name of the God of Israel. In this section the combination Jehovah Elohim is expressive of the fact, that Jehovah is God, or one with Elohim. Hence Elohim is placed after Jehovah. For the constant use of the double name is not intended to teach that Elohim who created the world was Jehovah, but that Jehovah, who visited man in paradise, who punished him for the transgression of His command, but gave him a promise of victory over the tempter, was Elohim, the same God, who created the heavens and the earth.

The two names may be distinguished thus: Elohim, the plural of 'elowha (OT:433), which is only used in the loftier style of poetry, is an infinitive noun from 'aalah (OT:5927) to fear, and signifies awe, fear, then the object of fear, the highest Being to be feared, like pachad (OT:6343), which is used interchangeably with it in Ge 31:42,53, and mowraa' (OT:4172) in Ps 76:12 (cf. Isa 8:12-13). The plural is not used for the abstract, in the sense of divinity, but to express the notion of God in the fulness and multiplicity of the divine powers. It is employed both in a numerical, and also in an intensive sense, so that Elohim is applied to the (many) gods of the heathen as well as to the one true God, in whom the highest and absolute fulness of the divine essence is contained. In this intensive sense Elohim depicts the one true God as the infinitely great and exalted One, who created the heavens and the earth, and who preserves and governs every creature. According to its derivation, however, it is object rather than subject, so that in the plural form the concrete unity of the personal God falls back behind the wealth of the divine potencies which His being contains. In this sense, indeed, both in Genesis and the later, poetical, books, Elohim is used without the article, as a proper name for the true God, even in the mouth of the heathen (1 Sa 4:7); but in other places, and here and there in Genesis, it occurs as an appellative with the article, by which prominence is given to the absoluteness of personality of God (Ge 5:22; 6:9, etc.).

The name Jehovah, on the other hand, was originally a proper name, and according to the explanation given by God Himself to Moses (Ex 3:14-15), was formed from the imperfect of the verb haawaah (OT:1961) = haayaah (OT:1961). God calls Himself 'ehªyeh (OT:1961) 'asher (OT:834) 'ehªyeh (OT:1961), then more briefly 'ehªyeh (OT:1961), and then again, by changing the first person into the third, yhwh (OT:3068). From the derivation of this name from the imperfect, it follows that it was either pronounced yahawaah or yahaweh (OT:3068), and had come down from the pre-Mosaic age; for the form haawaah (OT:1961) had been forced out of the spoken language by haayaah (OT:1961) even in Moses' time. The Masoretic pointing yªhaaowh (OT:3068) belongs to a time when the Jews had long been afraid to utter this name at all, and substituted 'adonaay (OT:136), the vowels of which therefore were placed as Keri, the word to be read, under the Kethib yhwh (OT:3068), unless yhwh (OT:3068) stood in apposition to 'adonaay (OT:136), in which case the word was read 'elohiym (OT:430) and pointed yehiowh (a pure monstrosity.)

(Note: For a fuller discussion of the meaning and pronunciation of the name Jehovah vid., Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Pentateuch i. p. 213 ff.; Oehler in Herzog's Cyclopaedia; and Hölemann in his Bibelstudien. The last, in common with Stier and others, decides in favour of the Masoretic pointing yªhaaowh (OT:3068) as giving the original pronunciation, chiefly on the ground of Rv 1:4 and 5, 8; but the theological expansion ho (NT:3588) oo'n (NT:5607) kai' (NT:2532) ho (NT:3588) ee'n (NT:2258) kai' (NT:2532) ho (NT:3588) ercho'menos (NT:2064) cannot be regarded as a philological proof of the formation of yhwh (OT:3068) by the fusion of haawaah (OT:1961), heowh, yªhiy (OT:1961) into one word.)

This custom, which sprang from a misinterpretation of Lev 24:16, appears to have originated shortly after the captivity. Even in the canonical writings of this age the name Jehovah was less and less employed, and in the Apocrypha and the Septuagint version ho (NT:3588) Ku'rios (NT:2962) (the Lord) is invariably substituted, a custom in which the New Testament writers follow the LXX (vid., Oehler).
If we seek for the meaning of yhwh (OT:3068), the expression 'hyh 'shr 'hyh, in Ex 3:14, is neither to be rendered e'somai (NT:2071) ho's (NT:3739) e'somai (NT:2071) (Aq., Theodt.), "I shall be that I shall be" (Luther), nor "I shall be that which I will or am to be" (M. Baumgarten). Nor does it mean, "He who will be because He is Himself, the God of the future" (Hoffmann). For in names formed from the third person imperfect, the imperfect is not a future, but an aorist. According to the fundamental signification of the imperfect, names so formed point out a person as distinguished by a frequently or constantly manifested quality, in other words, they express a distinctive characteristic (vid., Ewald, §136; Ge 25:26; 27:36, also 16:11 and 21:6). The Vulgate gives it correctly: ego sum qui sum, "I am who I am." "The repetition of the verb in the same form, and connected only by the relative, signifies that the being or act of the subject expressed in the verb is determined only by the subject itself" (Hofmann).

The verb haayaah (OT:1961) signifies "to be, to happen, to become;" but as neither happening nor becoming is applicable to God, the unchangeable, since the pantheistic idea of a becoming God is altogether foreign to the Scriptures, we must retain the meaning "to be;" not forgetting, however, that as the Divine Being is not a resting, or, so to speak, a dead being, but is essentially living, displaying itself as living, working upon creation, and moving in the world, the formation of yhwh (OT:3068) from the imperfect precludes the idea of abstract existence, and points out the Divine Being as moving, pervading history, and manifesting Himself in the world. So far then as the words 'hyh 'sr 'hyh are condensed into a proper name in yhwh (OT:3068), and God, therefore, "is He who is," inasmuch as in His being, as historically manifested, He is the self-determining one, the name JEHOVAH, which we have retained as being naturalized in the ecclesiastical phraseology, though we are quite in ignorance of its correct pronunciation, "includes both the absolute independence of God in His historical movements," and "the absolute constancy of God, or the fact that in everything, in both words and deeds, He is essentially in harmony with Himself, remaining always consistent" (Oehler).

The "I am who am," therefore, is the absolute I, the absolute personality, moving with unlimited freedom; and in distinction from Elohim (the Being to be feared), He is the personal God in His historical manifestation, in which the fulness of the Divine Being unfolds itself to the world. This movement of the person God in history, however, has reference to the realization of the great purpose of the creation, viz., the salvation of man. Jehovah therefore is the God of the history of salvation. This is not shown in the etymology of the name, but in its historical expansion. It was as JEHOVAH that God manifested Himself to Abram (Ge 15:7), when He made the covenant with him; and as this name was neither derived from an attribute of God, nor from a divine manifestation, we must trace its origin to a revelation from God, and seek it in the declaration to Abram, "I am Jehovah." Just as Jehovah here revealed Himself to Abram as the God who led him out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give him the land of Canaan for a possession, and thereby described Himself as the author of all the promises which Abram received at his call, and which were renewed to him and to his descendants, Isaac and Jacob; so did He reveal Himself to Moses (Ex 3) as the God of his fathers, to fulfil His promise to their seed, the people of Israel.

Through these revelations Jehovah became a proper name for the God, who was working out the salvation of fallen humanity; and in this sense, not only is it used proleptically at the call of Abram (ch. 12), but transferred to the primeval times, and applied to all the manifestations and acts of God which had for their object the rescue of the human race from its fall, as well as to the special plan inaugurated in the call of Abram. The preparation commenced in paradise. To show this, Moses has introduced the name Jehovah into the history in the present chapter, and has indicated the identity of Jehovah with Elohim, not only by the constant association of the two names, but also by the fact that in the heading (v. 4 b) he speaks of the creation described in ch. 1 as the work of JEHOVAH ELOHIM.

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Anglican Hilarity

These two news items by themselves may not be so funny, or maybe they are:

Peter has made Sydney Diocese Headquarters a post box. Now you're talking Peter. But not alas a post box that has anything to do with anything important, but one that will merely advance the tussling within Anglicanism of peripheral matters of order. But here's the funny part; its all about following biblical teaching: the GAFCON (or just gaffe for short) exists to allegedly support the Bible's teaching (on homosexuals and women), but with the help of the diocese that undermines the Bible's teaching at its most important point (because even Jesus referred to Genesis 1&2 as nomative). Ho Hum.

But the funny part comes here where the UK anglicans want to apologise for getting stuck into Darwin the century before last (talk about up with the times). In "Good Religion needs Good Science" we have an apologetic article that uncritically accepts Darwin's own claims to science when his (few) good ideas (borrowed without acknowledgement from others, including creationists) have merely fueled naturalism's religious bent, which helps thousands to perdition every year (I dare say). The article should probably have been called "Good Religion needs Bad Religion"; for which, of course, they could just go to Sydney Diocese! Talk about a gaffe!!

For a kind and thought-provoking discussion of the UK article, see here

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Nothing new under the sun

We might think the debate over the age of the earth is modern, attended by the weight and prestige of science on the one hand, and ancient texts on the other.

Ne'er so far from the truth.

From an article in Creation magazine 30(4), the current issue (Sept 08) "Evolution: an ancient pagan idea"

"The early church fathers constantly argued with the pagans about the age of the earth, or about the age of civilization. They were unanimous that God had created the earth less than 6,000 years before they wrote. For example...Augustine (AD 354-430), in his most famous work. City of God, has a whole chapter, Of the Falseness of the History Which Alots Many Thousand Years to the World's Past, where he says:

"Let us, then, omit the conjextures of men who know not what they say, wheh they speak of the nature and origin of the human race. ...They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed."

The article then goes on to catalogue the very ancient times given to the earth by pagans.

It seems to me that the function of giving super long ages to earth history either sets out to, or merely actually achieves one single thing: it puts real contemplation of origins, and therefore genetic connection with God, so far in the past as to be meaningless; lost in the vagueness of unimaginable periods of time. The pagans finally end up with endless cycles of history that render us purposeless pawns in time's dust, with the only connection being ultimate oblivion to join the great roll of senseless time. Precisely the same end that materialism, with its modern long ages, has for us.

That the church connives at this hopelessness is surprising to say the least; betraying a lack of historical sense ironic, if nothing else, in a faith that is historical.

The counter of course, is that the Bible goes against this and connects us in comprehendible history to our creation, and therefore, makes a link for us with our creator; a link that the Holy Spirit frequently reminds us of, when the scriptures declare that God is our creator (referring of course, to the only account of creation in Genesis 1). Inserting eons of time between our creator's act and our history destroys the connection. For the materialist, it pretends to give an impersonal cause to our being, denying any role for a 'god' in our origin or life. The disconnect is fatal, and renders God more a figment than a friend.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 8

Genesis 2:1-3

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
The Sabbath of Creation. - "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them." tsaabaa' (OT:6635) here denotes the totality of the beings that fill the heaven and the earth: in other places (see especially Ne 9:6) it is applied to the host of heaven, i.e., the stars (Dt 4:19; 17:3), and according to a still later representation, to the angels also (1 Ki 22:19; Isa 24:21; Ne 9:6; Ps 148:2). These words of v. 1 introduce the completion of the work of creation, and give a greater definiteness to the announcement in vv. 2, 3, that on the seventh day God ended the work which He had made, by ceasing to create, and blessing the day and sanctifying it. The completion or finishing (kilaah (OT:3615)) of the work of creation on the seventh day (not on the sixth, as the LXX, Sam., and Syr. erroneously render it) can only be understood by regarding the clauses vv. 2 b and 3, which are connected with wykl by w consec. as containing the actual completion, i.e., by supposing the completion to consist, negatively in the cessation of the work of creation, and positively in the blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day.

The cessation itself formed part of the completion of the work (for this meaning of shaabat (OT:7673) vid., Ge 8:22; Job 32:1, etc.). As a human artificer completes his work just when he has brought it up to his ideal and ceases to work upon it, so in an infinitely higher sense, God completed the creation of the world with all its inhabitants by ceasing to produce anything new, and entering into the rest of His all-sufficient eternal Being, from which He had come forth, as it were, at and in the creation of a world distinct from His own essence. Hence ceasing to create is called resting (nuwach) in Ex 20:11, and being refreshed (yinaapeesh) in Ex 31:17. The rest into which God entered after the creation was complete, had its own reality "in the reality of the work of creation, in contrast with which the preservation of the world, when once created, had the appearance of rest, though really a continuous creation" (Ziegler, p. 27).

This rest of the Creator was indeed "the consequence of His self-satisfaction in the now united and harmonious, though manifold whole;" but this self-satisfaction of God in His creation, which we call His pleasure in His work, was also a spiritual power, which streamed forth as a blessing upon the creation itself, bringing it into the blessedness of the rest of God and filling it with His peace. This constitutes the positive element in the completion which God gave to the work of creation, by blessing and sanctifying the seventh day, because on it He found rest from the work which He by making (la`asowt (OT:6213) faciendo: cf. Ewald, §280 d) had created. The divine act of blessing was a real communication of powers of salvation, grace, and peace; and sanctifying was not merely declaring holy, but "communicating the attribute of holy," "placing in a living relation to God, the Holy One, raising to a participation in the pure clear light of the holiness of God." On qaadowsh (OT:6918) see Ex 19:6.

The blessing and sanctifying of the seventh day had regard, no doubt, to the Sabbath, which Israel as the people of God was afterwards to keep; but we are not to suppose that the theocratic Sabbath was instituted here, or that the institution of that Sabbath was transferred to the history of the creation. On the contrary, the Sabbath of the Israelites had a deeper meaning, founded in the nature and development of the created world, not for Israel only, but for all mankind, or rather for the whole creation. As the whole earthly creation is subject to the changes of time and the law of temporal motion and development; so all creatures not only stand in need of definite recurring periods of rest, for the sake of recruiting their strength and gaining new power for further development, but they also look forward to a time when all restlessness shall give place to the blessed rest of the perfect consummation.

To this rest the resting of God (hee (NT:3588) kata'pausis (NT:2663)) points forward; and to this rest, this divine sabbatismo's (NT:4520) (Heb 4:9), shall the whole world, especially man, the head of the earthly creation, eventually come. For this God ended His work by blessing and sanctifying the day when the whole creation was complete. In connection with Heb 4, some of the fathers have called attention to the fact, that the account of the seventh day is not summed up, like the others, with the formula "evening was and morning was;" thus, e.g., Augustine writes at the close of his confessions: dies septimus sine vespera est nec habet occasum, quia sanctificasti eum ad permansionem sempiternam. But true as it is that the Sabbath of God has no evening, and that the sabbatismo's (NT:4520), to which the creature is to attain at the end of his course, will be bounded by no evening, but last for ever; we must not, without further ground, introduce this true and profound idea into the seventh creation-day.

We could only be warranted in adopting such an interpretation, and understanding by the concluding day of the work of creation a period of endless duration, on the supposition that the six preceding days were so many periods in the world's history, which embraced the time from the beginning of the creation to the final completion of its development. But as the six creation-days, according to the words of the text, were earthly days of ordinary duration, we must understand the seventh in the same way; and that all the more, because in every passage, in which it is mentioned as the foundation of the theocratic Sabbath, it is regarded as an ordinary day (Ex 20:11; 31:17). We must conclude, therefore, that on the seventh day, on which God rested from His work, the world also, with all its inhabitants, attained to the sacred rest of God; that the kata'pausis (NT:2663) and sabbatismo's (NT:4520) of God were made a rest and sabbatic festival for His creatures, especially for man; and that this day of rest of the new created world, which the forefathers of our race observed in paradise, as long as they continued in a state of innocence and lived in blessed peace with their God and Creator, was the beginning and type of the rest to which the creation, after it had fallen from fellowship with God through the sin of man, received a promise that it should once more be restored through redemption, at its final consummation.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 7

Genesis 2:1-3

With this the legends of the heathen world respecting the golden age of the past, and its return at the end of time, also correspond (cf. Gesenius on Isa 11:6-8). It is true that objections have been raised by natural historians to this testimony of Scripture, but without scientific ground. For although at the present time man is fitted by his teeth and alimentary canal for the combination of vegetable and animal food; and although the law of mutual destruction so thoroughly pervades the whole animal kingdom, that not only is the life of one sustained by the death of another, but "as the graminivorous animals check the overgrowth of the vegetable kingdom, so the excessive increase of the former is restricted by the beasts of prey, and of these again by the destructive implements of man;" and although, again, not only beasts of prey, but evident symptoms of disease are met with among the fossil remains of the aboriginal animals: all these facts furnish no proof that the human and animal races were originally constituted for death and destruction, or that disease and slaughter are older than the fall.

For, to reply to the last objection first, geology has offered no conclusive evidence of its doctrine, that the fossil remains of beasts of prey and bones with marks of disease belong to a pre-Adamite period, but has merely inferred it from the hypothesis already mentioned (pp. 25, 26) of successive periods of creation. Again, as even in the present order of nature the excessive increase of the vegetable kingdom is restrained, not merely by the graminivorous animals, but also by the death of the plants themselves through the exhaustion of their vital powers; so the wisdom of the Creator could easily have set bounds to the excessive increase of the animal world, without requiring the help of huntsmen and beasts of prey, since many animals even now lose their lives by natural means, without being slain by men or eaten by beasts of prey. The teaching of Scripture, that death entered the world through sin, merely proves that the human race was created for eternal life, but by no means necessitates the assumption that the animals were also created for endless existence.

As the earth produced them at the creative word of God, the different individuals and generations would also have passed away and returned to the bosom of the earth, without violent destruction by the claws of animals or the hand of man, as soon as they had fulfilled the purpose of their existence. The decay of animals is a law of nature established in the creation itself, and not a consequence of sin, or an effect of the death brought into the world by the sin of man. At the same time, it was so far involved in the effects of the fall, that the natural decay of the different animals was changed into a painful death or violent end. Although in the animal kingdom, as it at present exists, many varieties are so organized that they live exclusively upon the flesh of other animals, which they kill and devour; this by no means necessitates the conclusion, that the carnivorous beasts of prey were created after the fall, or the assumption that they were originally intended to feed upon flesh, and organized accordingly.

If, in consequence of the curse pronounced upon the earth after the sin of man, who was appointed head and lord of nature, the whole creation was subjected to vanity and the bondage of corruption (Ro 8:20 ff.); this subjection might have been accompanied by a change in the organization of the animals, though natural science, which is based upon the observation and combination of things empirically discovered, could neither demonstrate the fact nor explain the process. And if natural science cannot boast that in any one of its many branches it has discovered all the phenomena connected with the animal and human organism of the existing world, how could it pretend to determine or limit the changes through which this organism may have passed in the course of thousands of years?

The creation of man and his installation as ruler on the earth brought the creation of all earthly beings to a close (v. 31). God saw His work, and behold it was all very good; i.e., everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. By the application of the term "good" to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis "very" at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days' work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it. The sixth day, as being the last, is distinguished above all the rest by the article - hashishiy (OT:8345) yowm (OT:3117) "a day, the sixth" (Gesenius, §111, 2 a).

Monday, September 1, 2008

K-D: Genesis Commentary Part 6

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
The Sixth Day. - Sea and air are filled with living creatures; and the word of God now goes forth to the earth, to produce living beings after their kind. These are divided into three classes. bªheemaah (OT:929), cattle, from bhm (OT:871 a), mutum, brutum esse, generally denotes the larger domesticated quadrupeds (e.g., Ge 47:18; Ex 13:12, etc.), but occasionally the larger land animals as a whole. remes (OT:7431) (the creeping) embraces the smaller land animals, which move either without feet, or with feet that are scarcely perceptible, viz., reptiles, insects, and worms. In v. 25 they are distinguished from the race of water reptiles by the term haa'adaamaah (OT:127) 'erets (OT:776) chayªtow (OT:2416) (the old form of the construct state, for haa'aarets (OT:776) chayat (OT:2416)), the beast of the earth, i.e., the freely roving wild animals.

"After its kind:" this refers to all three classes of living creatures, each of which had its peculiar species; consequently in v. 25, where the word of God is fulfilled, it is repeated with every class. This act of creation, too, like all that precede it, is shown by the divine word "good" to be in accordance with the will of God. But the blessing pronounced is omitted, the author hastening to the account of the creation of man, in which the work of creation culminated. The creation of man does not take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as the result of the divine decree, "We will make man in Our image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other creatures of the earth. The plural "We" was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council.

The last is Philo's explanation: diale'getai (NT:1256) ho (NT:3588) too'n (NT:3588) ho'loon (NT:3650) patee'r (NT:3962) tai's (NT:3588) heautou' (NT:1438) duna'mesin (NT:1411) duna'meis (NT:1411) = angels). But although such passages as 1 Ki 22:19 ff., Ps 89:8, and Da 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Ge 2:7,22; Isa 40:13 seq., Ge 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words "in our image, after our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone (v. 27; Ge 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels.

A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Heb 2:7, or from Lk 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Ge 3:22; 11:7; Isa 6:8; 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Ge 2:18; Ps 12:5; Isa 33:10). No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, - an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being.

On the words "in our image, after our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, between eikoo'n (NT:1504) (imago) and homoi'oosis (NT:3669) (similitudo), the former of which they supposed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the latter the ethical; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: "an image which is like Us" (Luther); since it is no more possible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary use of the words between tselem (OT:6754) and dªmuwt (OT:1823), than between bª and kª. tselem (OT:6754), from tseel (OT:6738), lit., a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more from dªmuwt (OT:1823), likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Umriss or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). bª and kª are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a comparison of this verse with Ge 5:1 and 3. (Compare also Lev 6:4 with Lev 27:12, and for the use of bª to denote a norm, or sample, Ex 25:40; 30:32,37, etc.)

There is more difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Certainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or commanding aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the man's body was formed from the dust of the ground; nor in the dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to God. Man is the image of God by virtue of his spiritual nature. of the breath of God by which the being, formed from the dust of the earth, became a living soul.

(Note: "The breath of God became the soul of man; the soul of man therefore is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the world exists through the word of God; man through His own peculiar breath. This breath is the seal and pledge of our relation to God, of our godlike dignity; whereas the breath breathed into the animals is nothing but the common breath, the life-wind of nature, which is moving everywhere, and only appears in the animal fixed and bound into a certain independence and individuality, so that the animal soul is nothing but a nature-soul individualized into certain, though still material spirituality." - Ziegler.)

The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Heb 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24).

"And they ('aadaam (OT:120), a generic term for men) shall have dominion over the fish," etc. There is something striking in the introduction of the expression "and over all the earth," after the different races of animals have been mentioned, especially as the list of races appears to be proceeded with afterwards. If this appearance were actually the fact, it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that the text is faulty, and that chayat (OT:2416) has fallen out; so that the reading should be, "and over all the wild beasts of the earth," as the Syriac has it. But as the identity of "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (h'rts (OT:776)) with "every thing that creepeth upon the ground" (h'dmh) in v. 25 is not absolutely certain; on the contrary, the change in expression indicates a difference of meaning; and as the Masoretic text is supported by the oldest critical authorities (LXX, Sam., Onk.), the Syriac rendering must be dismissed as nothing more than a conjecture, and the Masoretic text be understood in the following manner.

The author passes on from the cattle to the entire earth, and embraces all the animal creation in the expression, "every moving thing (kl-hrms) that moveth upon the earth," just as in v. 28, "every living thing haaromeset (OT:7430) upon the earth." According to this, God determined to give to the man about to be created in His likeness the supremacy, not only over the animal world, but over the earth itself; and this agrees with the blessing in v. 28, where the newly created man is exhorted to replenish the earth and subdue it; whereas, according to the conjecture of the Syriac, the subjugation of the earth by man would be omitted from the divine decree. - V. 27. In the account of the accomplishment of the divine purpose the words swell into a jubilant song, so that we meet here for the first time with a parallelismus membrorum, the creation of man being celebrated in three parallel clauses.

The distinction drawn between 'otow (OT:853) (in the image of God created He him) and 'otaam (OT:853) (as man and woman created He them) must not be overlooked. The word 'otaam (OT:853), which indicates that God created the man and woman as two human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at first androgynous (cf. Ge 2:18 ff.). By the blessing in v. 28, God not only confers upon man the power to multiply and fill the earth, as upon the beasts in v. 22, but also gives him dominion over the earth and every beast. In conclusion, the food of both man and beast is pointed out in vv. 29, 30, exclusively from the vegetable kingdom. Man is to eat of "every seed-bearing herb on the face of all the earth, and every tree on which there are fruits containing seed," consequently of the productions of both field and tree, in other words, of corn and fruit; the animals are to eat of "every green herb," i.e., of vegetables or green plants, and grass.

From this it follows, that, according to the creative will of God, men were not to slaughter animals for food, nor were animals to prey upon one another; consequently, that the fact which now prevails universally in nature and the order of the world, the violent and often painful destruction of life, is not a primary law of nature, nor a divine institution founded in the creation itself, but entered the world along with death at the fall of man, and became a necessity of nature through the curse of sin. It was not till after the flood, that men received authority from God to employ the flesh of animals as well as the green herb as food (Ge 9:3); and the fact that, according to the biblical view, no carnivorous animals existed at the first, may be inferred from the prophetic announcements in Isa 11:6-8; 65:25, where the cessation of sin and the complete transformation of the world into the kingdom of God are described as being accompanied by the cessation of slaughter and the eating of flesh, even in the case of the animal kingdom.