Which Creaton 5
Which Creation 5
The Language of Genesis 1
Does the language of Genesis indicate a judgment of God on a pre-existing earth? It has been stated by gap theorists that Genesis 1:2 should read “And the earth became without form and void”. Not being conversant in biblical Hebrew I have read a number of opinions on the subject by others more skilled in Hebrew than I am. Their opinion is that the “and” of v.2 is something called a disjunctive.
A disjunctive is something that applies to the previous noun, in this case the earth of v.1. What it is applying is the Hebrew equivalent of parentheses. Apparently if biblical Hebrew had grammatical symbols as modern English does there could be no argument over the meaning of Genesis 1:2. What occurs within the parentheses is that “the earth was without form and void”. Some commentators prefer to use the term waw circumstantive or circumstantial. This means that the waw explains the circumstances about the previous noun .That is the earth of v.1, thus there is no break in the narrative between the two verses, no time for a judgment to occur. The earth as God created it was without form and void.
This thought also bothers some. The claim is made that God is thus made the creator of chaos and God cannot be the author of confusion and therefore this clause in the these verses cannot be true. But that is not what the verse says, it does not say that the earth was in chaos but without form and void. The words tohu and bohu, the Hebrew formless and void or as some prefer unformed and unfilled occur many times in the scripture. The most popular of these occurrences is in Jeremiah 4:23. In this passage Jeremiah sees the land tohu and bohu just as in Genesis 1:2, the claim is therefore made that as in Jeremiah there was a punishment so in Genesis 1 there must have been a punishment.
Were this claim to be made every time these words were used there would be far more punishments in the Old Testament then are currently accepted as these words occur frequently. It is far simpler to accept them as meaning empty places.
It is further stated that in Genesis 1:28 God commands Adam and Eve to “replenish” the earth, this is therefore a refilling of the earth after a prior devastation. The English of 1611 however, does not recognize this meaning, replenish simply meant to fill, not refill. The word replenish is simply the translation of the Hebrew word male , a word previously in the chapter and throughout the Old Testament, it simply means to fill. If we compare this use with that of 1 Kings 18:33 we can see that the word is simply fill. It would appear that the translators of the King James Version used a common method in English composition, they used synonyms rather than using the same word repeatedly.
When we follow the syntax and semantics of Genesis 1 we have a narrative which indicates that the entire creation occurred in seven consecutive days without gaps. The earth and the space around it were created unformed and unfilled, but God had a plan to form and fill them. That plan is then relayed to us in the remainder of the chapter. Within the chapter there is no hint of a gap, that hint only comes from outside the scripture.
These sites provide indepth information on this subject.
- What About the Gap Theory? | Old Testament Studies
- From the beginning of the creation
Creation Ministries International, home of Creation Magazine; scientific evidence supporting Genesis
- Syntax and Semantics in Genesis One
Useful materials for studying this subject
More by this Author
A look at the evidence for the King David of the Bible.
What it took to build Noah's Ark
An account of the raid on Dieppe.