Table of Contents
WITHOUT FORM AND VOID
Arthur C. Custance
In any understanding of God's revelation, we
are dependent upon words,
upon the words in the original language -- and in their most literal sense.
This is particularly true of any account of Creation.
Should Genesis 1:2 be rendered (as in the King James
Version) "And the
earth was without form and void" OR "But the earth had become
form and void"? The question is whether to translate the Hebrew
conjunction waw as 'and' or 'but' and whether to translate the verb
simply as 'was' or by the pluperfect 'had become'.
If the translation of 'and' and 'was' is correct,
then verse 2 appears
to be merely a continuation of verse 1, signifying that its formless
condition was proper to the initial stages of God's creative activity. In
this translation we must either take 'days' to mean not literal days but
geological ages, or treat the whole chapter as poetry or allegory. These
'solutions' are not supported by the rules of linguistics.
If the translation of 'but' and 'had become' is
correct, the implication
is far different. For then verse 2 is a picture of the earth, not as it came
from the hand of God in creation, but after some intervening event had
reduced it to a state of ruin. This alternative translation allows between
verse 1 and 2 a hiatus of unknown duration (a view held in earliest times)
which can accommodate geological ages. Opponents object to this 'Gap
Theory' as simply an attempt to 'rescue' modern Geology.
So what does the original Hebrew really say? This
book is an
examination of the Hebrew words in this second verse of Genesis,
observing the rules of linguistics, of grammar and syntax, and the context
in an attempt to establish the meaning of the words as found here.