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Table of Contents



  Chapter  1
  Chapter  2
  Chapter  3
  Chapter  4
  Chapter  5
  Chapter  6

  Appendix I
  Appendix II
  Appendix III
  Appendix IV
  Appendix V
  Appendix VI
  Appendix VII
  Appendix VIII
  Appendix IX
  Appendix X
  Appendix XI
  Appendix XII
  Appendix XIII
  Appendix XIV
  Appendix XV
  Appendix XVI
  Appendix XVII
  Appendix XVIII
  Appendix XIX
  Appendix XX
  Appendix XXI

  Biblical References

General Bibliography

Chapter 5.


One of the remarkable things about this whole controversy has

been the extraordinary vehemence of those who oppose the concept of

a hiatus between verse 1 and 2 and it may be taken, I think, as an

index of the amount of precise knowledge generally available.   In

order to give added force to their words, critics sometimes gather

together all the peripheral ideas which happen to have become attach-

ed to the central thesis which they oppose and present this hodge-

podge of miscellaneous opinions as if it were a quite essential part

of it. They then proceed to demolish this artificial construct with

the ease that one might expect.   But adherents of the theory freq-

uently do not subscribe to these more venturesome reconstructs at

all.   In this volume we have tried as far as possible to avoid any

but the basic issues.

One particularly recurrent phrase in the New Testament which is

often held to give strong support to our view of the significance of

Gen. 1.2 is dealt with in Appendix XIX.    This is the reference to

"the foundation of the world" which may possibly be better rendered

"the disruption of the world". But I cannot under score too strongly

that such an argument is not the basis of this thesis. Interpreting

this recurrent phrase in one particular way may strengthen one's

conviction that this is indeed the true significance of Gen.l.2, but

it does not, in my view, constitute an unequivocal proof.   Yet, in


pg 1 of 15       

spite of this disclaimer, it seems rather likely that some critic will

set out to demolish the contents of this Appendix, thereby supposing

that he has once for all disposed of the argument!   But in the mean-

time, I should like to deal briefly with the comments and conclusions

of some of those who have written against the position taken in this


In 1946, as already mentioned, two Papers were published in The

Transactions of the Victoria Institute (London), one by a Mr. P. W.

Howard and the other by Professor F. F. Bruce.   Heward wrote in

favour of the thesis presented here and Bruce against it.   To my

mind, both did an excellent job, neither being unfair to the other, nor

exaggerating their own claims.    In the discussion afterwards,

several points were raised on both sides and answered fairly and

well.   Naturally, I read Howard's Paper with greater sympathy

than that by Bruce, but I believe it is objectively true to say that there

was no exaggeration and no mis-statement in Howard's review of the

evidence.   Of Bruce's Paper, which was courteous and just at all

times, I believe there are, nevertheless, two criticisms of a minor

nature that are valid.   Bruce refers to Dillman's Commentary as

essentially supporting his own position.   However, as we have

already noted previously, Dillman apparently changed his mind re-

garding the correct translation of  in Gen. 1.2.   I am sure that

Professor Bruce was unaware of this or did not feel it really altered

Dillman's basic position, for in spite of his later admission I do not

think he wholeheartedly acceeded to the idea of a gap between verse 1

and 2.   This fact makes Dillman's admission as to the meaning of

  in verse 2 all the more significant and in a very real sense

nullifies the basis of Bruce's appeal to Dillman for support - at least,

in so far as verse 2 is concerned.

The other point is in connection with his treatment of Jonah 3. 3b, a

sentence which in its structure precisely parallels Gen. 1.2. Bruce

concludes that if Gen. 1.2 is to be rendered "the earth became a ruin"

after God had created it otherwise, then we must say that Nineveh

became a metropolis after Jonah entered it.   But I do not believe

this is what the author intended - and neither does Professor Bruce.

However, there are (as we have shown*) numerous instances where,



* See Chapter III.


     pg.2 of 15     

in narrating a series of events, the Hebrew writer reverts back to a

prior circumstance that bear son what is to follow. Such sentences

are best handled by translating the opening conjunction (waw) as "Now,

etc. etc.".    Thus Jonah 3.3b would be rendered, "Now Nineveh

had become.. ."       That is to say, the writer never intended

the reader to suppose that Nineveh became great just because Jonah

entered it, but rather that it had already grown into a very large city

by the time he arrived there. It should be mentioned in passing that

Driver admits here the propriety of "become" in this passage. This

rendering would, of course, be quite acceptable for Gen. 1.2 also -

although "But the earth had become...." would be perhaps more

appropriate than "Now the earth, etc.".   I do not think Bruce's

argument is logical in this case, but these are not very serious

criticism sand certainly they are not criticisms of the style or tone

of either Paper.

It is with some surprise, therefore, that one finds a reference to

these two Papers in a work by F. A. Filby entitled Creation Rev-

ealed, where a footnote tells us that while Bruce's Paper is a

scholarly piece of work and conclusively against our view, the Paper

by Heward "contains a number of statements which are only partly

true, interspersed with much padding and special pleading".   I

wonder which were the "partly true" statements? And I cannot find

any evidence of "special pleading": but I suppose this depends upon

one's initial bias.

In his book, Filby opens his summary review of the 'gap' theory

with a general statement to the effect that it is to be attributed to

"the Scottish Preacher, Dr. Chalmers", a statement which is far

from the truth, as we have seen. He then sets forth the theory as

he understands it and concludes that it is without foundation:

"The contention that the verb in verse 2 means 'to become'

waste and void rather than it 'was' so has been examined by

scholars, and the judgment of the best Hebraists is that the

text is most naturally translated 'was'."

So the subject is summarily dismissed with the observation:

"The gap-theory is then unscriptural, unscientific, and

unreasonable, and - rejecting it completely - we can return

to the simple (sic) study of verse 2."

Recently, I had occasion to see a small Paper by a Christian


     pg.3 of 15      


writer, well known and of some stature, entitled, The Length of the

Creative Days, in which the issue is again given cursory notice and

equally summarily dismissed.   The author, referring to it as a

"theory which we reject", says:

"Our objections to this theory are (1) that it rests upon

not one single grain of evidence, and (2) that it was invented

in order to harmonize geology with Scripture and not simply

to interpret Scripture as it stands."

Subsequently, he adds:

"It is true that the verb 'to be' in Hebrew is sometimes

used to mean 'became' if the context demands it, but the verb

as it stands is 'was' as anyone (sic) who has studied Hebrew

will testify.    There is not the slightest hint in the context

that the unusual (my emphasis) meaning 'became' should be

read.   In fact, we should either find the preposition 'to'

 ) before the descriptive adjective or noun if the word is to

read 'become' (see Gen. 2. 7) or else we should find from the

context that 'was' has some such meaning as 'was potentially'.

Neither of these is the case."

In the light of what has been shown of the facts in this volume, it

seems hardly necessary to make any comment on these observations.

Another very unfortunate effort at criticism of this view appeared

in the Annual Volume of The Creation Research Society for 1965.

Since this is a Journal which I have consistently found to be most

valuable and which is always carefully documented, the article seems

to me to have been even more out of character.   Here the theory

has very short shrift at the hands of one author who informs the

reader that;

"It is true that there are six instances in the Pentateuch

where the verb is translated 'became' (Gen. 3.22; 19.26;

21.20; Exod.7.19; 8.17and 9.10). In each of these cases,

however, the context clearly shows that a change of state has

occurred....   Because Gen. 1.2 lacks contextual support

for translating this verb 'became' no English version of

Genesis has ever translated it this way."


One continually runs into this appeal to the absence of "contextual"


     pg.4 of 15      

support. But what is the context of such a passage as this if not the

bias of the reader?   It is, after all, only the second verse of the

Bible.   Can one establish a "context" in such a situation?

As for the statement that there are only six instances in the Pent-

ateuch where the verb   is rendered "became", one can only hope

that this was a printer's error.  There are at least seventeen cases

where   is rendered "became" in Genesis alone according to the

Authorized Version (for a list of these, see page 55).   Other English

Versions, such as the Revised Standard Version, etc., increase

this total. So it is difficult to know how this list of six occurrences

was arrived at.   In any event, it is apparent that even this mis-

count is based on only a single translation, and an English one at

that.   What of other translations whether in English or any other

language?   What of the Vulgate with its thirteen occurrences in

Genesis Chapter One alone: and what of the Septuagint with its twenty-

two occurrences in Genesis One, and with some 1500 in the Old

Testament as a whole? It is sincerely to be hoped that the real facts

of the case will in time become more common knowledge so that

statements like this will not pass unchallenged, even by a Christian

editor not trained as a Hebraist.

The same writer proposes that "became" is only proper for the

Hebrew   when it involves a "change of state".   Who is to say

with any certainty that verse 2 does not indicate a change ?   This

is really the whole point at issue. I believe there was a change, a

breakdown in the originally created order. The writer's argument

has no force whatever, for it simply begs the issue....

One of the earliest critics of this view was Professor M. M.

Kalisch who had no sympathy with the ideas held by such scholars as

Delitzsch, or Kurtz, or any other continental scholar of like mind.

In his Historical and Critical Commentary of the Old Test-

ament published in 1858, he says: "It is inadmissible to translate

Gen. 1.2 'But afterwards the earth had become...' " Presumably

he had Dathe in mind, for this was Dathe's rendering. But he states

his opinion of those who shared Dathe's views as to the implications

of Gen. 1.2 in no uncertain terms.   He says:

"Now most of the modern followers of this opinion believe

that an indefinite interval of time elapsed between the creation

of matter recorded in the first verse and the formation of the

world in its present admirable order, a period sufficiently

extensive to account for the various and repeated changes

both in the condition of the earth and the sidereal systems.


     pg.5 of 15      

So that the first chapter does not, in fact, fix the antiquity of

the globe at all. But the supposition is absolutely untenable

for the following reason: verse 2 evidently stands in very

close connection with verse 1 which it qualifies and defines .

The connecting particle 'and' (waw) expresses here necess-

arily immediate sequence....; It is utterly impossible to

separate the first two verses and to suppose between them

an immense period of time."

His "proof text" is Exod.20.11.  He assumes that this passage

records the whole creative process as being completed in six days.

He thus holds that since the sun was not "created" till the fourth

day, the world as a scene of living things could not have existed

before then.

He is, however, overlooking the fact that Exod.20.11 does not say

that God created the world in this period of six days, but only that He

appointed it (   , 'asah) in a period of six days.

The verb used here is rendered "make" on numerous occasions

of course, but it often has the sense of "appointing", just as the word

is so used in the Greek of Heb.6.20, "made a High Priest"; or the

English phrase "made a judge", for example. The work of the six

days need not have involved the creation of the sun and stars at all.

They were probably already in existence. See further on Exod. 20.11

in Appendix XX.

He is also ignoring the fact that "and" (  ) often opens a sentence



* With this pronouncement one may contrast Driver's

conclusion in his Hebrew Tenses (p. 84); where after giving

a number of instances in which the usual Hebrew word order

is departed from (as it is in Gen.1.2) in order to express

a pluperfect, he says: "And each of these passages., by

avoiding waw consecutive (the usual way to express contin-

uing action, ACC) the writer cuts the connection (Driver's

emphasis) with the immediately preceding narrative, and so

suggests a pluperfect".    Obviously Driver and Kalisch can

hardly both be right.   And in view of the fact that Driver's

statement not only occurs in a scholarly but classic work on

the Hebrew verb but is in this case based on a series of

illustrative examples, I am inclined to accept. Driver's word

against the rather dogmatic statements of Kalisch.


     pg.6 of 15      

or paragraph or even a chapter or a whole book with no connection

whatever with what went before. Ezekiel opens with it, for example!

With what does it here have a "necessary" connection?   A new

section, in I Chron. 11.1, is begun after a seven year interval, and

in Ezra 7.1 after an interval of 58 years.... Further illustrations

will be found in Appendix XIV. That the word is often dis-junctive

must have been known well enough to Kalisch, so that one wonders

how he can say that it must necessarily be interpreted conjunctively.

Kalisch is fully persuaded that the ideas of people like Delitzsch

and Kurtz, who sought to supply the details of the events in the interval

from other parts of Scripture, are quite worthless in themselves and

unbecoming to scholars. He is quite ungracious in his references

to them. On the other hand, Delitzsch was a man of very different

temperament, gracious in his reference to those who disagreed with

him and unhesitatingly giving credit to their soundness of scholarship

(where this was due) even in his detractors. Delitzsch, as we have

seen, held very firm and quite elaborate views respecting the cir-

cumstances surrounding the condition described in Gen. 1.2 – but he

did not base his views on the linguistic evidence, never actually

agreeing that 'became' would be a more correct translation.   This

latter opinion of his is not infrequently quoted as proof of the un-

scholarliness of the "gap" theory (as it has been by Dr, Henry Morris)

but those who refer thus to Delitzsch's opinion are often not aware

that he actually supported the view strongly, even though he did not

base it on Gen. 1.2.

Driver was much impressed by Delitzsch, both as a scholar and

as a commentator,* and while in his Lexicon and in his Hebrew

Tenses, Driver rendered Gen. 1.2 as "and the earth was..." when-

ever he referred to it, he nevertheless frankly acknowledged that the

view supported by Delitzsch and Pusey and others, though in his

opinion improbably, was "exegetically admissible".#   Like Kalisch,

Driver felt that since the sun had not been "created" until the fourth



* Of Delitzsoh, Driver wrote (Hebrew Tenses, p.xi, xii)

"And by sobriety, fullness of information, and scholarship

combined, Delitzsoh has succeeded in making his commentary

indispensible to every student of the Old Testament."


# Driver does not always follow his own "rules".   Thus

although he wrote at length on both the use of     as

meaning "became" and the changed word order as signifying a


     pg.7 of 15      

day, it was "scientifically incredible" that a world could have supp-

orted the higher forms of life in a world without sunlight.    This

objection is based on a misunderstanding which again results from

confusing the two verbs bara and 'asah, "to create "and "to appoint".

Driver's liberal views were shared by John Skinner who, while

holding that the Bible was a remarkable enough document of antiquity,

felt no qualm sin challenging its accuracy.   Skinner contributed the

volume on Genesis in The International Critical Commentary of

which Driver was one of the editors. In this volume. Skinner dis-

misses our interpretation with aplomb! Thus he writes: "This view

that verse 1 describes an earlier creation of heaven and earth which

was reduced to chaos and then re-fashioned, needs no refutation".

As F. F. Bruce rightly remarked when referring to this observation

in his Paper in The Transactions of the Victoria Institute, this is

"an excessively cavalier dismissal of a view which has been supported

by men of the calibre of Pusey, Liddon, etc.". It is indeed.

The curious thing is that Skinner virtually concedes the point he

is dismissing here when, later on, he comes to deal with the words

tohu wa bohu in his comments on Gen. 1.2. He refers to Jer. 4.23 f.

where the words recur, but he is at pains to assure the reader that

there is no real parallelism here.   In a way, I agree.   Jer. 4.23

does not read in the Hebrew, "the earth became tohu wa bohu but

"the earth was.....", for the verb    is omitted.   Unlike the

situation in Gen. 1.2, its use is not required since evidently we have

a copulative sentence here.   Apparently Skinner did not observe

this fact.   However, having said that no light is thrown upon the

words tohu wa bohu as they appear in Gen. 1.2 by their use in Jer-



pluperfect, he did not always commend his own views by adopt-

ing them himself to translate his own biblical illustrations.

It seems that more often than not he gave the reference which

was appropriate but merely reproduced the Authorized Version

rendering as being most familiar (or accessible) to his read-

ers.    Thus in dealing with the pluperfect, he chides Kalisch

for rendering Gen. S. 2 as a pluperfect (p.23), arguing that

it is not an example, but then giving it elsewhere in the

same work he renders it as one (p. 22)!     It appears that he

has merely reproduced the Authorized Version in such cases.

His rendering of Gen. 1.2 as "was" may really be nothing more

than another example of the Authorized Version being quoted

for simplicity.


     pg.8 of 15      

emiah, he then adds, with a strange lack of consistency:

"Our safest guide is perhaps Jeremiah's vision of chaos-

come-again which is simply that of a darkened and devastat-

ed earth, from which life and order have fled" (my em-

phasis throughout).

One wonders how more precisely he could have supported our view

of the implications of Gen. 1.2.   Yet apparently he did not see the

significance of his own words.

In his Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek, Thorlief Boman

writes at length and, to my mind, most convincingly to the effect

that the Hebrew verb   seldom, if ever, appears as copula. Yet

he still holds that it is copulative in Gen. 1.2, though in a special way.

Thus he says that the verse should not be rendered "the earth became"

but "the earth was...."

Now his argument is a little difficult to summarize briefly but in

essence it is thus. In such a sentence as, "the altar is wood", the

verb is is quite redundant because the altar and the wood are equated.

"The one inheres in the other", as he puts it.   Similarly, in the

sentence, "God is graciousness", the verb is not needed because

graciousness inheres in God. And so on.  Yet I am not sure that

he is really right.   Not all altars are wood, and certainly there is

plenty of wood that is not in the form of an altar. Perhaps gracious-

ness and God do inhere, yet sometimes graciousness is found in man

too - where it certainly does not inhere.    The trouble is that the

principle can be applied specifically, but cannot be stated as a gen-

eralization.     He concludes that the verb   is omitted where

inherence is involved, but it must be introduced where it is not.

Hence he argues that in Gen. 1.2 the verb is required because other-

wise the earth and chaos are inherent in one another, ie. , the earth

is chaos. But then he says that earth is the scene of human civil-

ization, which to the Greek mind was the definition of Cosmos. And

since Chaos and Cosmos cannot co-exist, the earth cannot inherently

be identified with Chaos - for it is identified with Cosmos.   Of

course, in the New Testament the word for Cosmos is rendered

"world" for this reason, because the earth is the habitation of man.

Thus he says, because Chaos cannot inhere in the word "earth", we

must introduce the appropriate form of the verb  . As he puts it;

"Here tohu va bohu (chaos) does not inhere in 'the earth'

for the latter is always the region of civilization and humanity,


     pg.9 of 15      

which excludes the possibility on conceptual grounds. The

predicate could not be equated in this sentence directly with

the subject for that would result in the impossible meaning

that chaos and cosmos are identical concepts."

But there is no need to say that the earth was both Chaos and

Cosmos at once. It is quite sufficient to take the text to mean that

what was created a Cosmos had now become a Chaos. It is hard to

see why Boman objected to this so strongly.   The text is then

"satisfied" both conceptually and linguistically.   Indeed, how else

than by adopting the wording that exists could the Hebrew writer have

expressed such a thought?   By Boman's own reasoning, had the

writer wished to say simply that the earth was a Chaos, he would

have omitted the verb.

Indeed, this is precisely what Jer.4.23 does. Jeremiah's vision

was a vision of a moment.   He saw the earth as a Chaos.   More

than this, he saw a Cosmos as a Chaos, for he actually says that the

evidence of civilization lay in ruins.... , men and cities had been

overwhelmed.   He was not concerned in reverting to the past in

order to say that this scene of devastation had come about over a

period of time by such-and-such a process.   He merely says that

when he saw it, it presented to his mind's eye a scene of devastation.

It is almost as though the Author of Scripture had given us this passage

in order to assist us in our understanding of Gen. 1.2 which so nearly

parallels it while at the same time differing from it in such an im-

portant detail - the introduction of  .   At any rate, Jer.4.23

demonstrates clearly that Chaos can be equated with a scene which

was once a Cosmos. And Boman's case, therefore, fails to stand.

I think Boman's work is most valuable, and my criticisms of his

reasoning here does not make his study any less valuable. Yet it

suggests that for some odd reason whenever the subject of Gen. 1.2

comes up for study, normal vision becomes distorted.   Somehow

Gen. 1.2 must be made to mean that when God created the world He

began the process with a Chaos!

Those who happen to disagree are apt to have even their intellect-

ual integrity challenged!   Thus Professor J. Barr, in his Semantics

of Biblical Language, says;

"It would be quite perverse (my emphasis) to insist on  

the meaning 'become' (in Gen. 1.2)."

His argument is that the verb  must be accounted for in this


     pg.10 of 15      

sentence by assuming that the author meant "the earth was a waste

but is no longer so". Thus it is proper to use the verb only when a

situation be ing described was a temporary situation which has since

been changed. Since the verb is used here, this must be the author's

only reason for employing the verb  in this case.

But I think it very questionable that this is the author's meaning.

Yet, as we have already seen in Chapter II, there are numerous

occasions upon which a clear intention to this effect does not employ

the verb.   It will be recalled, for instance, that Job tells his

"friends" that he was (once) a father to the fatherless, sight to the

blind, and so forth....   He is clearly not one of these things now,

at the time of speaking.   If there was a straightforward rule such

as Barr implies, this would assuredly be the place to apply it, and

the verb   should be inserted.   But it isn't.   By contrast, it is

often found where in the nature of the case there can be no "change"

intended.    Thus very frequently we find the phrase, "so-and-so

was 150 years old and he died". The author does not mean that he

was once such an age, surely?   But the verb is inserted. The

simplest and surely the most satisfactory explanation is to assume

that the man in question had become so many years old, ie., had

reached this age when he died.   If Professor Barr is serious in

making this suggestion, he should have given a few unambiguous

illustrations.   But he has not done so.   His use of the word

"perverse" is unfortunate.

We meet with the same odd insistence in Raymond F. Surburg's

contribution to the volume, Darwin, Evolution, and Creation. As

he puts it;

"Although held by many Christians today, this theory can-

not be substantiated from the Bible....    The Hebrew text

does not say the earth became, but the earth was waste and

void.    Even if it were possible to render Hayetha as 'be-

came', the words 'waste and void' indicate an unformed state

and not one resulting from destruction. In his Survey of

Old Testament Teaching, J. Walsh Watts asserts  'In Gen.

1.2a the verb is a perfect.   It indicates a fixed and com-

pleted state. In other words, original matter was in a state

of chaos when created: it came into being that way'."

To say that 'waste and void' means unformed in the sense of the

Greek concept of Chaos might be reasonable if the Old Testament

was a reflection of Greek mythology.   In this case, the Septuagint


     pg.11 of 15      

translators would surely have adopted the Greek word    to trans-

late Tohu. But they chose not to do so. It is, however, fairly clear

that wherever the words "waste" and "void" occur elsewhere in

Scripture they do NOT indicate an unformed state, they indicate

something more positively undesirable. In many cases, especially

when they occur together as in Jer.4.23, they mean a situation

"resulting from destruction" and brought about by divine judgment.

Would it not have been more accurate to state frankly that elsewhere

the normal sense of the word here interpreted to mean "unformed"

would be better rendered de-formed" or "desolated"?  In blanket

statements like this, most readers are at the mercy of the writer

unless they are very familiar with the Old Testament and are aware

of how these descriptive terms are employed in other passages.

Bernard Ramm is also rather cavalier in his treatment of the

subject. He describes efforts to harmonize Geology and the Bible

by this method as "abortive".   He then says:

"The effort to make was mean became is just as abortive..

The Hebrew did not have a word for became but the verb

be did service for to be and become."

In point of fact, the reverse is much more nearly so. They did

not need a word for "to be" in the simple sense, so made their word

for become serve for to be and become.   The modern lexicons bear

this out by giving the meanings of  as "to become" (in various

paraphrastic ways), and then also - and finally - as "to be".   "To

be" is not its primary meaning.   Ramm continues:

"The form of the verb was in Gen. 1.2 is qal, perfect, third

person singular, feminine. A Hebrew concordance will give

all the occurrences of that form of the verb. A check in the

concordance in reference to the usage of this form of the verb

in Genesis reveals that in almost every case the meaning of

the verb is simply was.

Again, after what has been set forth of the evidence thus far,

comment is hardly necessary. It may be helpful, however, to recall

that in a great number of cases, 1500 out of 3000 or more, the Sept-

uagint substitutes the Greek "became" (in the appropriate tenses, of

course), and that in another 25% of the cases the verb is used in the

sense of living or existing, and is not copulative at all - and finally,

that for every case where the verb is inserted in the original and


     pg.12 of 15    

rendered as was (whether correctly or otherwise), one can find ten

cases where the copulative "was" is omitted entirely in the Hebrew.

As we have seen, this is sufficient indication in itself that the Hebrew

did NOT use   for "was" in the simple English sense.   They

actually felt no need for such a verb at all.   Only when the sense

was something other than the simple "was" did they insert a verbal

form. Ramm's treatment of the subject is, therefore, in the final

analysis, unworthy of a man of his scholarship.

His emotional involvement here is revealed by his next comment:

"Granted in a, (my emphasis) case or two (1) was means

became, but if in the preponderance of instances the word is

translated was, any effort to make one instance mean became

especially if that instance is highly debatable, is very in-

secure exegesis."

Allowing his premises, what he argues is perhaps not unreason-

able.   But his basic premise is surely in error.   One does not

need to "make one instance mean became"; one actually has to do

the very reverse if the evidence presented in this thesis is sound.

And I do not know how else one could approach the problem, nor how

one could arrive at any other conclusion in the light of the facts than

that the truth is really quite the reverse.

The Septuagint normally translated  (with or without the   ) by

the Greek   and not by the Greek   . And it is therefore

important to note, as Thayer has done, that  cannot be

equated with   .   Since, therefore,  obviously cannot be

equated with both   and   , then   must be equated

with   and must have the primary sense of becoming.

Again, Ramm observes:

"This whole matter was debated in the Journal of The

Victoria Institute (London). P. W. Heward defended the

Pember-Scofield-Rimmer interpretation of Gen. 1.2 and F.

F. Bruce defended the traditional interpretation. To the

author, Bruce is easily (my emphasis) the winner of the


Easily - in what sense I wonder?  Ramm quoted E. K. Gedney

who wrote to twenty Hebrew scholars in the United States asking them

if there were any exegetical evidences justifying the interpretation

of Gen. 1.2 as having reference to a ruined earth.   They replied


     pg.13 of 15      


unaminously in the negative. But J. R. Howitt did much the same

with respect to the meaning of the word "day" in Genesis Chapter One.

Unaminously the answer was "a period of 24 hours". Would Ramm

accept this as final, I wonder? So what really is proved by this kind

of "appeal to opinion"?   Can one be sure that any of these men who

were questioned were aware of the background information that is

now available on the matter?   They would, however, (as United

States residents) presumably be reasonably well acquainted with the

Fundamentalist position on the matter. And on this account, human

nature being what it is, they may have simply dismissed the subject

as quite unworthy of serious study. And in the matter of the meaning

of the word "day", Ramm himself says, "The case for the literal day

cannot be conclusive...."   So whether "weight of authority" is

"conclusive" or not depends on one's own particular bias.   Sub-

sequently, Ramm observes:

"We reject the literal interpretation (involving days of 24

hours) because by no means can the history of the earth be

dated at 4004 B.C...."

Thus in the final analysis the issue is really being decided for

Ramm, not by exegetical methods at all, but by Geology, the Geology

of "majority opinion".

I have been for years reading on both sides of the issue. I have

accumulated a substantial (and very valuable) research library in

order to give some "edge" to this reading. I have yet to see a really

sound counter-argument to the view presented in this volume, but I

have read innumerable attacks upon it, and the arguments presented

in these attacks are atrociously repetitious.    Few, if any, of its

critics have really taken the trouble to study the evidence adequately.

It is an unfortunate situation. When Surburg says that the Hebrew

text does not say "the earth became...."but "the earth was....", he

is speaking imprecisely.   The Hebrew says   .    The

Hebrew is Hebrew, not English! To say that it says "was" is simply

begging the question: he is merely making it say "was".    The

reasoning is circular.   If I render it "became", I could as easily

prove I was right by pointing to my own translation!   This kind of

argument contributes nothing to our real understanding of the Word

of God unless one says why one is rendering it in this way as opposed

to either of the alternatives "became" or "had become".

Altogether, I do not find that any of the objections raised carries

weight.    They can all be answered either from the statements of


     pg.14 of 15      

other objectors or from Scripture itself.    Certainly the basic

objection on linguistic grounds that the verb  only rarely means

"became" is patently incorrect. But once it has become fashionable

to dismiss a piece of evidence, it usually happens that the dismissal

becomes more and more dogmatic as the writer has less and less

factual knowledge of the evidence.   Knowledge usually leads to

caution - the hallmark of scholarship.   It is ignorance that en-

courages dogmatism and it is usually in direct proportion to it. Let

us hope that a spirit of open mindedness will yet prevail to permit a

more dispassionate reconsideration of the matter.


     pg.15 of 15     


Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights reserved  


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