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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 32 verse 4

4. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.

Any account may be misread, and thoughts may be imputed to it that are utterly unworthy of it. So here it would surely be beneath the level of the pure and worthy conception of God which pervades the account to make this verse yield the thought that upon inspection God discerned that the work had turned out well, and so He promptly expressed His approval. Rather, this is, on the one hand, for our definite information that we might note that all works wrought by God were actually good and perfect and in every sense adequate for their purpose. There was no experimentation of an unskilled craftsman. There was no trying and testing after the fashion of toiling men. In fact, another very noble conception pervades it all; since there are no other beings to herald the Creator's praise, He, having achieved so praiseworthy a work, in this account Himself voices His approval that all men might know that in the very highest sense His work merited praise. The word for "good," tobh, is perhaps best rendered as "excellent" in these instances (B D B).

The construction of the first clause is marked by a slightly unusual order of words. It literally runs thus: "God saw the light that it was good" (A. V.), the noun "light" being taken into the first clause by "anticipation," also called antitopsis (K. S. 414 b). Besides, the conjunction ki is used more commonly than 'asher to introduce such object clauses (K. S. 384 f).

It had better also be noted that we have thus far had two so-called anthropomorphisms: "God said" (v. 3) and "God saw" (v. 4). This should be remembered over against those who attempt to set chapter one to 2:3 over against the rest of chapter two as though two divergent accounts were being presented by different authors, who held variant conceptions of God, the author of chapter one being usually regarded as having a more exalted conception of God, and the author of chapter two as presenting a more anthropomorphic and less exalted view of the divine nature. Anthropomorphisms are certainly found also in chapter one.

When the next clause states, "God separated the from the darkness," this does not mean "separated" in the sense of "disentangled." They were not commingled together. Wayyabhdel means literally, "And he caused a division," that is in point of time, one functioning at one time, the other dominating at another. One is as much an entity or principle as the other. "Darkness" is not Cancelled and put out of existence. We can perhaps go so far as to claim that a "spatial" separation was also involved according to the terms of this account. (Job 38:19), though largely a poetic statement, seems to give warrant for such a deduction. To make the idea of separation still more prominent the preposition "between" is repeated before the second noun, and both nouns are given the article. "Light" appeared already at the beginning of the verse with the article of relative familiarity (K. C.).

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