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Author Topic:   The Great Debate
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 1 of 102 (222891)
07-09-2005 10:17 PM


The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good.

This is based on the discussions held here...

www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=25&t=995&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=25&t=995&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=25&t=995&m=1

and here...

www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1

If there is any further clafirication necessary, let me know in the Coffee House thread again linked here...

www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1 -->www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1">http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=887&m=1

I pray that the Spirit guide us in this discussion -- and that the Lord allow both of us to be illuminated if either one of us are in error regarding these positions we individually hold.

Edit: 1 corrected spelling of "Coffee" in Coffee House above, 2 corrected spelling of "discussion" and "be" in the prayer above, 3 corrected spelling of "Debate" in Title.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-09-2005 10:18 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-09-2005 10:48 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-10-2005 10:20 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by arachnophilia, posted 07-10-2005 3:06 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
AdminJar
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Message 2 of 102 (222892)
07-09-2005 10:21 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 3 of 102 (222908)
07-10-2005 3:06 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-09-2005 10:17 PM


(pst, you might wanna correct the typo in the topic title too. or perhaps find a better name altogether)

ok, i'll start. with something we've seen in the previous discussion.

quote:
Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.


what other way do you propose we read this, that plainly says the lord created evil?


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-09-2005 10:17 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-10-2005 2:52 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 4 of 102 (222968)
07-10-2005 2:52 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by arachnophilia
07-10-2005 3:06 AM


arachnophilia writes:

(pst, you might wanna correct the typo in the topic title too. or perhaps find a better name altogether)

Thank you. It's been corrected.

arachnophilia writes:

ok, i'll start. with something we've seen in the previous discussion.

Isaiah 45:7 KJV writes:


I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.

arachnophilia writes:

what other way do you propose we read this, that plainly says the lord created evil?

Well, let's take a look at the NIV for an example of how others have interpretted it.

Isaiah 45:7 NIV writes:


I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

In the phrase, "I form the light...", the word form comes from the Hebrew yasar*. This has been used to mean to "form", "devise", "produce", and "create". It has also been employed in the Scriptures to mean more specifically "to be formed" or "to be fashioned". Yet in other areas it simply seem to imply "to exist".

In the phrase, "...and create darkness.", the word create comes from the Hebrew word bara*. This likewise has been used to mean to "create", "bring about" or simply "do". However, unlike the word "yasar" above, "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve". In other words, unlike the "yasar" above, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else.

If we look back to the very beginning in Genesis 1:3-4 we read...

Genesis 1:3-4 NIV writes:


And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.

Similar to how the Hebrew word "bara" seems to be employed, we also see that the Hebrew word for "separated" is badal*. This literally means to "separate", "divide", or "to distinguish between diverse things". It can also be used in the sense of being "selected out of a group", "excluding oneself", "to discern", or even "to make a difference".

In short, based on the Isaiah passage you have quoted, and the Genesis passage I have quoted, we are apparently seeing a picture of God creating (bara) darkness by separating it (badal) from the light he first formed (yasar). More specifically, one could say that God has brought forth darkness by contrasting it against the light.

I would like to discuss the first chapter of Genesis in more detail latter. But let me get back to the remainder your quotation of Isaiah 45:7.

In the KJV we read...

KJV writes:

I make peace, and create evil:

In the NIV we read...

NIV writes:

I bring prosperity and create disaster;

In the KJV we read peace whereas the NIV says prosperity. In the KJV we read evil whereas the NIV says disaster.

The Hebrew word employed for peace/prosperity in the Isaiah passage is salom* (derived from "salem" which means "to repay" or to "make resitution" in other areas of the Scripture). Salom means something to the effect of "to be safe" or to "be complete". It has also bee used in the Scriptrues to imply "health", "security", and "tranquility". In addition to this, it has also been used to imply "success", "comfort", and "peace" (as in the opposite of war -- or even "accepting terms of peace", "making peace with someone" or even "salvation" or "salutation" (in departing).

The Hebrew word employed for evil/disaster in the Isaiah passage is ra*, which is akin "to do evil" or to "be wicked". In its most basic sense, it means something akin to "bad", being of "interior quality", or even "evil". In other areas it means something akin being "severe", "injurious", "harmful" or even "unpleasant" (as in giving pain or causing unhappiness). It is also employed in the sense of something being "fierce", "wild", "calamity", or "that which is deadly".

It seems to me that the meaning of the word "ra" is very much dependent on how it is being employed within the Scriptures themselves -- and it doesn't always imply "evil" in the sense of someone maliciously and willfully determined to cause or inflict harm on another. More specifically, since the word "ra" is being used in context with the word "bara", it seems more appropriate to conclude that the evil that is being "brought about" is more the result of the effects of one's action cutting themselves off from God's will -- this seems even more so considering that "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve".

In other words, like I said above, unlike the "yasar" used to describe God bringing forth light, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else. Even the darkness in Genesis is "caused" by being "separated" or "divided" from the light which God originally formed.

*rough English pronunciation -- unfortunatrly I don't know how to make the appropriate accent marks. Any advice on how to do this would be appreciated.

Special: Please note in stating these things, I am by no means in any way claiming to have rebutted any of your points. I am simply presenting my side of the debate with as much clarity (solely from the Scriptures as possible) so as to resolve the starting point of our debate. There are actually several key points which, in my opinion, will clarify my points more clearly as the discussion proceeds.

In other words, this post is simply stating the inital premises of my side of the discourse. I fully expect much more material to be presented from both sides of the debate before any formal conclusions can be clearly made in regards to any moderated decisions made by those who might judge how well we have presented our cases..

Edit: 1 bolded the words "evil" and "disaster" in the Isaiah text quoted in both the KJV and the NIV, 2 italicized "evil" and "disaster" in explanation given, changed "be" to "me", bolded "darkness" in explanation given in contrast to "light". 3 made special note that this was only the inital starting point of the discussion -- and that much more material is expected before any formal conclusions can be made regarding the skill within which either one of us have presented our points of view.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-10-2005 02:57 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-10-2005 06:15 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-10-2005 06:28 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by arachnophilia, posted 07-10-2005 3:06 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by arachnophilia, posted 07-10-2005 6:53 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded
 Message 70 by love4oneanother, posted 10-30-2005 12:58 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 5 of 102 (222998)
07-10-2005 6:53 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-10-2005 2:52 PM


In the phrase, "...and create darkness.", the word create comes from the Hebrew word bara*. This likewise has been used to mean to "create", "bring about" or simply "do". However, unlike the word "yasar" above, "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve". In other words, unlike the "yasar" above, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else.

bara is also the word used to describe the creation of man. it's used five times in genesis 1, and twice in genesis 2.

quote:
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

quote:
Gen 1:21 And God created great [serpents], and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

quote:
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

quote:
Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

quote:
Gen 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,

some of these make sense when you substitute divided. but some do not. for instance, you could say the bit about dividing the serpents is a reference to that lothan mythology. but the rest of the verse is about the origins of life.

and you could say that "created" is in contrast to "made" in 2:3. but you'd probably be wrong here too: typical hebrew structure relies on repitition and similarity, not contrasts.

the accepted translation of bara' is "to create." the sense of the word is actually sculptural. it describes a physical fashioning or shaping of an object. i think you find this word rendered "create" in every translation.

Similar to how the Hebrew word "bara" seems to be employed, we also see that the Hebrew word for "separated" is badal*. This literally means to "separate", "divide", or "to distinguish between diverse things". It can also be used in the sense of being "selected out of a group", "excluding oneself", "to discern", or even "to make a difference".

In short, based on the Isaiah passage you have quoted, and the Genesis passage I have quoted, we are apparently seeing a picture of God creating (bara) darkness by separating it (badal) from the light he first formed (yasar). More specifically, one could say that God has brought forth darkness by contrasting it against the light.

that's all well and dandy, but that's not what isaiah says, is it? it says god creates darkness.

present tense.

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

The Hebrew word employed for evil/disaster in the Isaiah passage is ra*, which is akin "to do evil" or to "be wicked". In its most basic sense, it means something akin to "bad", being of "interior quality", or even "evil". In other areas it means something akin being "severe", "injurious", "harmful" or even "unpleasant" (as in giving pain or causing unhappiness). It is also employed in the sense of something being "fierce", "wild", "calamity", or "that which is deadly".

It seems to me that the meaning of the word "ra" is very much dependent on how it is being employed within the Scriptures themselves -- and it doesn't always imply "evil" in the sense of someone maliciously and willfully determined to cause or inflict harm on another.

no, but it is the same word in tree of knowledge of good and evil, isn't it? it's also used to desribe why god has to flood the planet in genesis 6. it's used to describe sodom. what else is it used for? well, general badness. things that the hebrews thought were wrong. wars. wild animals. anything that general badly affects innocent people.

so if i'm walking down the road today and get hit by a car for no apparent reason, that could be called evil in ancient hebrew philosophy. if i get cancer, that could be called evil. what i'm saying is that we use the word differently. we use to me some quantifiable break of morality, or maybe even something spiritually influenced. that's not how they're using the word at all.

More specifically, since the word "ra" is being used in context with the word "bara", it seems more appropriate to conclude that the evil that is being "brought about" is more the result of the effects of one's action cutting themselves off from God's will -- this seems even more so considering that "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve".

no, not acceptable. ever seen my debates with eddy pengelly? look them up, they were fun. he would take his concordance out, and completely redefine the meaning of biblical passages in this manner to mean something far from the original intent. in his case, it was about moses's cd-rom collection.

since i couldn't convince him this was a logically unsound practice, i started replying to him by "translating" some verses myself. of course, they call out about how he was wrong, and i should cut off his head. since that didn't work, i pulled out a thesaurus, and started translating his own messages back at him. it was generally pretty funny, but it'll illustrate my point.

by changing the meaning of words for their root words or other usages, we can make the bible mean just about anything we want to.

in this case, bara is not used as "divide." in fact, i don't think it's EVER used as "divide." it means "to create" "to shape" or "to fashion." there is nothing in there about evil coming about because man divides himself from god. it says "I (the Lord) create evil."

In other words, like I said above, unlike the "yasar" used to describe God bringing forth light, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else.

double negative aren't contrasts. this verse is contrasting something -- light and dark. what divides darkness? light. if we change the verb to mean the opposite of what it means, the verse just becomes blind repitition. god creates light, and god creates light.

now, i know you're attacking this from the standpoint that god can do only good. but that's fundamentally not the point of this verse. in any translation you read it in, it's about god doing two very opposite things, not the same thing twice. you have to do some pretty interesting mental gymnastics to get this to mean that god doesn't use what would have been evil to ancient hebrews.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-10-2005 06:54 PM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-10-2005 2:52 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-10-2005 11:49 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 6 of 102 (223049)
07-10-2005 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by arachnophilia
07-10-2005 6:53 PM


Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In the phrase, "...and create darkness.", the word create comes from the Hebrew word bara*. This likewise has been used to mean to "create", "bring about" or simply "do". However, unlike the word "yasar" above, "bara" is employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve". In other words, unlike the "yasar" above, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut apart or even divided from something else.

arachnophilia writes:

bara is also the word used to describe the creation of man. it's used five times in genesis 1, and twice in genesis 2.

Yes. And all of them can be seen within the context of God creating by dividing its aspects from a former state of existence -- even in contrast to a state of non-existence.

Gen 1:1 writes:


In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Here we see God apparently making everything out of nothing. This is to say, the creation of the heaven and the earth are actually contrasted against a state of non-existence.

Gen 1:21 writes:

And God created great [serpents], and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Yes. And how exactly did God create life on earth?

If you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth -- which seems to be leaning in a more traditional understanding of God's creative process in the Scriptures. If you are a theistic evolutionist, then you probably believe that God first created life out of non-life -- and then proceeded to create life from previous forms of life. Either way you look at it, God is creating in contrast to a previous state of existence.

Gen 1:27 writes:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Again, here we see God creating man in contrast to God's very own image.

Gen 2:3 writes:

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Yes. And God actually "divides" the seventh day from the previous six. In other words, it is literally "set apart" from the other days in order to contrast this day from the previous six days of creation.

Gen 2:4 writes:

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,

Well...we discussed this passage before -- that it should actually be divided into two different sentences...

NIV writes:

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens -- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground -- the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Since this passage seems to be shifting from the previous chapter, it seems as if a difference context should be read here -- especially since parts of these passages do not seem to easily mesh into the very first chapter of Genesis. However, even so, based on the previous passage which also referenced God's creative act, we still see that the former contrast is still apparent -- that, whether you are a creationist or a theistic evolutionist, God has still created in contrast to a previous state of existence.

NIV writes:

some of these make sense when you substitute divided.

Actually, they all seem to make sense when you see that the division is potentially referencing the creative act in contrast to a previous state of existence -- every one of them I might note. But there's potentially more to it than that. It may be more appropriate to say that all these verses seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created.

arachnophilia writes:

but some do not.

Well, I've explained how they do make sense above. However, I'll go through your points below and comment appropriately as I feel the Spirit leads me.

arachnophilia writes:

for instance, you could say the bit about dividing the serpents is a reference to that lothan mythology. but the rest of the verse is about the origins of life.

Well, as I said above, if you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth -- which seems to be leaning in a more traditional understanding of God's creative process in the Scriptures. If you are a theistic evolutionist, then you probably believe that God first created life out of non-life -- and then proceeded to create life from previous forms of life. Either way you look at it, God is creating in contrast to a previous state of existence.

To further illustrate this, it is interesting to notice that from Genesis 1:1 where God created the heavens and the earth; the word "created" (bara) does not appear again until the fifth day in verse 20. I've already mentioned usages of the Hebrew word "bara" above. The Hebrew word for made for "made", however, is Hebrew word "asah" -- which means to "to form" or "assemble". Some have noted that it seems to refer to the act of "arranging from its previous state of usefulness to that form of beautification, so as to be used by God for His purpose." Everything from verse 2 to verse 19 seems to have to do with assembling the earth from pre-existing material -- whereas "bara" seems to imply a rather dramatic change from a previous state of existence.

arachnophilia writes:

and you could say that "created" is in contrast to "made" in 2:3. but you'd probably be wrong here too: typical hebrew structure relies on repitition and similarity, not contrasts.

Actually, Hebrew poetry can employ both similarity and contrasts -- and the Hebrew Scriptures do employ both these literary devices quite liberally.

"Parallelism" is a technical term for the form of Hebrew poetry that repeats a thought in slightly different ways. For example, "synonymous parallelism" is found in Proverbs 15:30, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." On the other hand, and example of "antithetical parallelism", in which a thought is followed by its opposite, can be found in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." In studying Hebrew parallelism the key seems to be to compare each part with its pair in the other half of the sentence. For instance, in Proverbs 14:30 "a heart at peace" pairs with its opposite, "envy", and "rots the bones" is the opposite of "gives life to the body."

Sometimes these comparisons bare subtle shades of meaning. It becomes more difficult, however, when opposite ideas are expressed in different sentences -- or even different books of the Scriptures. However, as I've noted above, all the above examples of God creating (bara) can be seen within the context of being contrasted with a previous state of existence.

arachnophilia writes:

the accepted translation of bara' is "to create." the sense of the word is actually sculptural. it describes a physical fashioning or shaping of an object. i think you find this word rendered "create" in every translation.

First of all, this raises an interesting question: why did God not use the same word "bara" for both his creating of the light and the darkness in the Isaiah passage in question?

Isaiah 45:7 KJV writes:


I form (yasar) the light, and create (bara) darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.

It seems to me that this is an example of subtle antithetical parallelism, with yasar being contrasted to bara in reference to the light and darkness.

Second of all, even if the word is translated "create" in every single translation of the Scriptures, the meaning of the word create (bara) can still nonetheless have very different subjects which it focusses on -- it depends on the context it is used.

Here, let's go through some examples:

Psalm 51:10 NIV writes:


Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

or here...

Isaiah 4:5 NIV writes:


Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy.

or here...

Isaiah 41:9-10 NIV writes:


I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set pines in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,

so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

or here...

Isaiah 48:6-7 NIV writes:


You have heard these things; look at them all.
Will you not admit them?
"From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.

They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
'Yes, I knew of them.'

I could go on with this. However, I think these quotes (when added to the quotes you've noted where "bara" is used above) demonstrates a clear pattern. In all these cases the thing that is created is used in contrast to the previous state that it was created in.

In the case of Psalm 51:10 the new thing "created" is a pure heart, which is in contrast to the sinful heart barren of God.

In the case of Isaiah 4:5 the new thing "created" is an extremely visible presence of God, which is in contrast to the lack of God's presence that previously existed before the people gathered together to worship him.

In the case of Isaiah 49:9-10 God says he will "create" these trees in the dessert so that people will know that God put them there, which is again contrasted against the barren desert that previously existed.

In the case of Isaiah 48:6-7 we see God specifically stating that he will create new knowledge which was heretofore unknown to the people, which is again contrasted against the lack of knowledge that previously prevailed.

In summary, all these verses seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created. Rather than refashioning an object after its original creation, it seems more appropriate to me to conclude that God is creating something which is in sharp contrast to its previous state of existence.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Similar to how the Hebrew word "bara" seems to be employed, we also see that the Hebrew word for "separated" is badal*. This literally means to "separate", "divide", or "to distinguish between diverse things". It can also be used in the sense of being "selected out of a group", "excluding oneself", "to discern", or even "to make a difference".

In short, based on the Isaiah passage you have quoted, and the Genesis passage I have quoted, we are apparently seeing a picture of God creating (bara) darkness by separating it (badal) from the light he first formed (yasar). More specifically, one could say that God has brought forth darkness by contrasting it against the light.

arachnophilia writes:

that's all well and dandy, but that's not what isaiah says, is it? it says god creates darkness.

present tense.

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

Yes. That's exactly what I've said above. If one part of the line is reflecting the other, then we are seeing a contrast between two states of being -- which is expressed within the gamut of what God controls.

I'll repeat this part for you to consider.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:


Actually, Hebrew poetry can employ both similarity and contrasts -- and the Hebrew Scriptures do employ both these literary devices quite liberally.

"Parallelism" is a technical term for the form of Hebrew poetry that repeats a thought in slightly different ways. For example, "synonymous parallelism" is found in Proverbs 15:30, "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones." On the other hand, and example of "antithetical parallelism", in which a thought is followed by its opposite, can be found in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." In studying Hebrew parallelism the key seems to be to compare each part with its pair in the other half of the sentence. For instance, in Proverbs 14:30 "a heart at peace" pairs with its opposite, "envy", and "rots the bones" is the opposite of "gives life to the body."

Sometimes these comparisons bare subtle shades of meaning. It becomes more difficult, however, when opposite ideas are expressed in different sentences -- or even different books of the Scriptures. However, as I've noted above, all the above examples of God creating (bara) can be seen within the context of being contrasted with a previous state of existence.

Now having said this I will note that above you said above...

arachnophilia writes:

and you could say that "created" is in contrast to "made" in 2:3. but you'd probably be wrong here too: typical hebrew structure relies on repitition and similarity, not contrasts.

But now you're saying...

arachnophilia writes:

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

It seems to me that these two statements at are least partially contradictory.

Could you explain this further because I'm not exactly sure which stance are you taking.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

The Hebrew word employed for evil/disaster in the Isaiah passage is ra*, which is akin "to do evil" or to "be wicked". In its most basic sense, it means something akin to "bad", being of "interior quality", or even "evil". In other areas it means something akin being "severe", "injurious", "harmful" or even
"unpleasant" (as in giving pain or causing unhappiness). It is also employed in the sense of something being "fierce", "wild", "calamity", or "that which is deadly". It seems to me that the meaning of the word "ra" is very much dependent on how it is being employed within the Scriptures themselves -- and it doesn't always imply "evil" in the sense of someone maliciously and willfully determined to cause or inflict harm on another.

arachnophilia writes:

no, but it is the same word in tree of knowledge of good and evil, isn't it? it's also used to desribe why god has to flood the planet in genesis 6. it's used to describe sodom. what else is it used for? well, general badness. things that the hebrews thought were wrong. wars. wild animals. anything that general badly affects innocent people.

so if i'm walking down the road today and get hit by a car for no apparent reason, that could be called evil in ancient hebrew philosophy. if i get cancer, that could be called evil. what i'm saying is that we use the word differently. we use to me some quantifiable break of morality, or maybe even something spiritually influenced. that's not how they're using the word at all.

Yes, in other words, bad things happen -- and the Israelites often attributed "bad things" toward the quality of being evil. Actually, many people still think this way today. However, in the Hebrew mind anyway, all things were basically attributable to God -- or at least his sovereign control of the universe.

But does this mean that they believed that God was forcing people to do evil?

I know that you've presented passages that some translate as God appearing to do evil. However, some passages of Scripture seem to indicate that God was incapable of doing so -- and that other things were going on.

For example, Habakuk 1:13 seems to indicate that God cannot tolerate evil -- that his eyes are too pure to look upon evil

Habakuk 1:13 NIV writes:


Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

Job 34:10-12 seems to indicate a similar theme as follows:

Psalm 34:10-12 NIV writes:


"So listen to me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God to do evil,
from the Almighty to do wrong.

He repays a man for what he has done;
he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.

It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
that the Almighty would pervert justice.

It is interesting to note that Elihu did not defend Job as being innocent. However, his arguments certainly shifted the focus of suffering from one of punishment to one of warning. He even suggested that God allows a man to suffer in order "to turn back his soul from the pit". Evidently Elihu had sat in silence throughout the discussion -- in deference to the other speakers' age he explains. However, this fact alone seems to indicate that he had a calmer nature -- he seems to have refused to jump into every heated argument.

Nonetheless, if these above passages of Scripture are accurate, then it forces me to consider that something else is being said -- something that is not expressly explained outright or immediately apparent in the Hebrew Scriptures but that one needs spiritual discernment to see.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

More specifically, since the word "ra" is being used in context with the word "bara", it seems more appropriate to conclude that the evil that is being "brought about" is more the result of the effects of one's action cutting themselves off from God's will -- this seems even more so considering that "bara" is
employed within the sense of being akin "to cut", "cut down", "engrave", or "carve".

arachnophilia writes:

no, not acceptable.

Well, I'll leave that up to the moderators who might judge the validity of each of our cases.

Let's try to stay on topic, shall we?

arachnophilia writes:

ever seen my debates with eddy pengelly?

What does this have to do with the following?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:


The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good.

arachnophilia writes:

look them up, they were fun. he would take his concordance out, and completely redefine the meaning of biblical passages in this manner to mean something far from the original intent. in his case, it was about moses's cd-rom collection.

since i couldn't convince him this was a logically unsound practice, i started replying to him by "translating" some verses myself. of course, they call out about how he was wrong, and i should cut off his head. since that didn't work, i pulled out a thesaurus, and started translating his own messages back at him. it was generally pretty funny, but it'll illustrate my point.

This is off topic arachnophilia.

To any moderators who may be reading this, is this considered valid debating material?

I'd like to keep this thread very focussed if possible.

arachnophilia writes:

by changing the meaning of words for their root words or other usages, we can make the bible mean just about anything we want to.

Such as saying that God is both good and evil?

You seem to be jumping the gun here a bit. Let's just continue with the debate to see where the Spirit leads us.

arachnophilia writes:

in this case, bara is not used as "divide." in fact, i don't think it's EVER used as "divide." it means "to create" "to shape" or "to fashion." there is nothing in there about evil coming about because man divides himself from god. it says "I (the Lord) create evil."

I've explained how it is very much used above to contrast God's creation with the created thing's previous state of existence.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In other words, like I said above, unlike the "yasar" used to describe God bringing forth light, the word "bara" seems to be employed in contrast to being cut
apart or even divided from something else.

arachnophilia writes:

double negative aren't contrasts. this verse is contrasting something -- light and dark. what divides darkness? light. if we change the verb to mean the opposite of what it means, the verse just becomes blind repitition. god creates light, and god creates light.

I've explained this in detail above using the concept of Hebrew parallelism.

arachnophilia writes:

now, i know you're attacking this from the standpoint that god can do only good. but that's fundamentally not the point of this verse. in any translation you read it in, it's about god doing two very opposite things, not the same thing twice. you have to do some pretty interesting mental gymnastics to get this
to mean that god doesn't use what would have been evil to ancient hebrews.

Actually, this is the conclusion that I arrived at after reading the Scriptures. In other words, based on my understanding of the Scriptures (especially the Christian Scriptures) I've concluded that God is wholly good.

For example, 1 John 1:5 says:

NIV writes:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

However, for the sake of this discussion, I'm trying to limit the scope of the inquiry to the Hebrew Scriptures alone.

Is that alright?

You seem to be getting a bit presumptuous in this debate arachnophilia -- even to the point of invoking some kind of personal conclusions about my reading of the Scriptures. I would advise you to stick to the main focus of this thread, which has been clearly defined as follows:

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:


The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good.

Edit: 1 corrected typographical error.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-11-2005 12:02 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by arachnophilia, posted 07-10-2005 6:53 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by arachnophilia, posted 07-11-2005 2:42 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 7 of 102 (223060)
07-11-2005 2:42 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-10-2005 11:49 PM


Here we see God apparently making everything out of nothing. This is to say, the creation of the heaven and the earth are actually contrasted against a state of non-existence.

sorry, but that's just bull. somewhat against your username, genesis never describes creation ex nihilo. read it very carefully. the water is never created. the (original) darkness is never created. they're just there.

now, creation itself *IS* expressed in terms of divisions: light from dark, night from day, water from land, and heaven from earth. but that's not what this bit is saying. and it's not what the word bara' means. bara' means "to create" "to form" "to shape" or "to fashion." not "to divide."

when we say "divided" we say that one thing was divided from another. isaiah just says one thing: darkness. so god divided darkness from what? sure it makes sense if you start adding words, but they're not there in the verse, are they?

bara' means "to create."

Yes. And how exactly did God create life on earth?

he doesn't. god tells the earth to bring forth life, and it obeys his command. creation, "bara" seems to be defined for special things: heaven and earth themselves, man, and these (supernatural) serpents.

If you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth

no, just man.

Yes. And God actually "divides" the seventh day from the previous six. In other words, it is literally "set apart" from the other days in order to contrast this day from the previous six days of creation.

read it again.

quote:
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made

the sanctification is the division. the "bara" goes on in the other six days. the bit that divides the seventh is the lack of "bara"

Actually, they all seem to make sense when you see that the division is potentially referencing the creative act in contrast to a previous state of existence

no, absolutely not. this is something you're imposing on the text. it is not contrasting them to anything. it might contrast light and dark, male and female, good and evil, but it never contrasts existance from nonexistance, because the ancient hebrews did not believe in creation ex-nihilo.

Well, as I said above, if you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth -- which seems to be leaning in a more traditional understanding of God's creative process in the Scriptures. If you are a theistic evolutionist, then you probably believe that God first created life out of non-life -- and then proceeded to create life from previous forms of life. Either way you look at it, God is creating in contrast to a previous state of existence.

i want to make this very clear. i'm not debating what i believe in. i'm debating what the text leads me to think the ancient hebrews believed in. personally, i believe that god may have even directed evolution through a process similar to artificial selection. but we're talking about a story that has god making men out dust, and breathing life into them.

Everything from verse 2 to verse 19 seems to have to do with assembling the earth from pre-existing material -- whereas "bara" seems to imply a rather dramatic change from a previous state of existence.

verse 1 describes the initial state of the story. "when god created the heavens and the earth," this is how he did it. everything is from pre-existing material: water.

Actually, Hebrew poetry can employ both similarity and contrasts -- and the Hebrew Scriptures do employ both these literary devices quite liberally.

yes, they do. but not at the same time.

"Parallelism" is a technical term for the form of Hebrew poetry that repeats a thought in slightly different ways. For example, "synonymous parallelism"

synonymous parallelism is what's going on isaiah 45:7.

"i make ___ and create ____
i make ____ and create ____"

it follows the exact same structure. that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking about the second half of the line reflecting the first.

it does not say "i divide light from darkness." it says "i make light, and i make darkness." this is not about creation, although it's meant to connotate it.

what i'm trying to say is that they're not being tricky about it. all four verbs in both lines, including both bara's, are qal, present tense verbs. they express simple, but ongoing actions. it doesn't really get any simpler. it's using the simplest form of the verb, meaning to create.

you can't just change the words to mean whatever you want them to mean.

On the other hand, and example of "antithetical parallelism", in which a thought is followed by its opposite, can be found in Proverbs 14:30, "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." In studying Hebrew parallelism the key seems to be to compare each part with its pair in the other half of the sentence. For instance, in Proverbs 14:30 "a heart at peace" pairs with its opposite, "envy", and "rots the bones" is the opposite of "gives life to the body."

but this is not antithetical parallelism. in poetry, these parallel relationship occur between whole lines. one whole line is the opposite of the other. this is not what's going on here. both lines say "i make ____ and i create ____." they're synonymous.

now, the first half of the line *IS* in contrast to the second. light is in contrast to darkness, and good is in contrast to evil. but if you change the verbs, they're not. if god creates one, and cuts down the other, it's just repeating the same idea. that's not what it's doing. it's saying god creates both.

now if it said, "i create good, but the devil makes evil" we'd talk.

First of all, this raises an interesting question: why did God not use the same word "bara" for both his creating of the light and the darkness in the Isaiah passage in question?

variety. hebrew has words that are synonymous. why not use them? bara is a synonym of yatsar and 'asah. look:

quote:
Isa 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created (bara') him for my glory, I have formed (yatsar) him; yea, I have made ('asah) him.

same words. synonyms.

It seems to me that this is an example of subtle antithetical parallelism, with yasar being contrasted to bara in reference to the light and darkness.

uh, except that's it's plainly not. is it being contrasts in the verse above? no. they mean the same thing.

quote:
Isa 45:18

For thus saith the LORD that created (bara') the heavens;
God himself that formed (yatsar) the earth and made it;
   he hath established it,
he created (bara') it not in vain,
he formed (yatsar) it to be inhabited:
   I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.


please, please, please notice that this is SYNONYMOUS parallelism. they're synonyms.

Second of all, even if the word is translated "create" in every single translation of the Scriptures, the meaning of the word create (bara) can still nonetheless have very different subjects which it focusses on -- it depends on the context it is used.

Here, let's go through some examples:

yes. context is everything. and the context here is, well, CREATION. it's god making things. look at the words it's being used in conjunction with -- make. form. wonder what it's talking about.

I could go on with this. However, I think these quotes (when added to the quotes you've noted where "bara" is used above) demonstrates a clear pattern. In all these cases the thing that is created is used in contrast to the previous state that it was created in.

In the case of Psalm 51:10 the new thing "created" is a pure heart, which is in contrast to the sinful heart barren of God.

does isaiah 45:7 use figurative language?

In the case of Isaiah 4:5 the new thing "created" is an extremely visible presence of God, which is in contrast to the lack of God's presence that previously existed before the people gathered together to worship him.

no, the new thing created is a cloud. grammar. etc.

In summary, all these verses seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created. Rather than refashioning an object after its original creation, it seems more appropriate to me to conclude that God is creating something which is in sharp contrast to its previous state of existence.

as night is in contrast to day. that's where your contrast lies. the verb may indeed imply it, but the isaiah verse still says god creates this, (in contrast to the other state).

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

Yes. That's exactly what I've said above. If one part of the line is reflecting the other, then we are seeing a contrast between two states of being -- which is expressed within the gamut of what God controls.

no, it's not. the SUBJECTS are opposites, not the verbs. if the verbs are opposites as well, it becomes synonymous. for instance, if it said "create good / strike down evil" it would be expressing or elaborating on the same idea. it's expressing opposites. god creates one thing, and god also creates its inverse. get it? there's no range read your way.

arachnophilia writes:

and you could say that "created" is in contrast to "made" in 2:3. but you'd probably be wrong here too: typical hebrew structure relies on repitition and similarity, not contrasts.

But now you're saying...

arachnophilia writes:

one part of the line is reflecting the other. each part has to have the same meaning with the opposite object. the passage is reflecting on god's nature and range.

It seems to me that these two statements at are least partially contradictory.

Could you explain this further because I'm not exactly sure which stance are you taking.

sure. i'm saying the STRUCTURE has to be the same. it's repeating the same structure.

"i make something. i make its opposite."

see how both sentances are structured the same way? it's meaning and elaboration through repitition. even in antithetical parallelism, it's structure is repeated, just with all of the words opposite:

"i make something. i destroy its opposite."

see how make is in contrast to destroy? and opposite is the uh, opposite of something? now, antithetical parallelism cannot express a direct opposite, because the verbs have to the antithesis as well.

if i said "god makes good and destroys evil" i'd be expressing the idea that god moves in one direction only. destroying evil is NOT the opposite of making good, is it? it's like a double negative in english. if i did not do badly on the test, i did well.

isaiah 45:7 is expressing opposites, and a god that moves in more than one direction. it's about a god who is all powerful, not singularly powerful. to express the opposites of evil and good, the verbs need to be synonyms. and as i've already shown, they are. and the use of synonyms fits perfect into the pattern.

now, before you'll bring it up, good and evil are not synonyms. so how can it be synonymous parallelism? because hebrew parallelism actually works of predefined sets of pairs. the sun and moon are a pair, but we could say they are opposites. one rules the night, one the day. rivers and seas we might as well. but they all contain some commonality. so thought evil and good are contrasts, just putting them together is comparing some quality of them -- they're both made by god.

Yes, in other words, bad things happen -- and the Israelites often attributed "bad things" toward the quality of being evil. Actually, many people still think this way today. However, in the Hebrew mind anyway, all things were basically attributable to God -- or at least his sovereign control of the universe.

this is what i'm saying precisely. "evil" is those bad things that happen (and nothing else), and god is in control of those things. it's not "evil" for him, just us.

But does this mean that they believed that God was forcing people to do evil?

i think that's touching on the issue of free will. i don't have an answer to that, and i don't think it's within the bound here. either way, let's delay this bit until we get to the point of how god uses evil to accomplish good. we'll talk about crucifixions and exoduses and such.

I know that you've presented passages that some translate as God appearing to do evil. However, some passages of Scripture seem to indicate that God was incapable of doing so -- and that other things were going on.

well that is why i suggested as a fundamental starting whether or not scripture has to agree, and whether earlier scripture should be read in light of later interpretation.

For example, Habakuk 1:13 seems to indicate that God cannot tolerate evil -- that his eyes are too pure to look upon evil

look at the whole passage you cited. it's not about inability, but unwillingess. it describes god's intollerance for man's evil against man. it then asks why, if god is so intollerant of evil, does he allow it? it then goes on to describe what isaiah would have called evil. funny, huh? the first part is meant as a clear contrast to the second. you can't cite HALF the verse. habakuk is saying "this is what i've heard; but this is what's happening instead."

the clear conclusion is that the first part, the part you cited, is actually wrong. so, uh, way to cite the opponents argument here. same story with job:

Job 34:10-12 seems to indicate a similar theme as follows:

that's elihu speaking, in argument to job. he basically says to job, "god is punishing you for something you did wrong." it's not evil, job deserves it. is god punishing job for something he did wrong?

no. elihu is wrong. job did nothing wrong. job is actually a who treatise AGAINST this singular argument, that god cannot do evil, or rather that god advances those who do good and punishes those who do bad and not vice-versa. the argument in the book of job is that god does whatever he wants, and how dare you question him or assign him your rules.

so basically, i cite all of job.

Let's try to stay on topic, shall we?

What does this have to do with the following?

This is off topic arachnophilia.

To any moderators who may be reading this, is this considered valid debating material?

I'd like to keep this thread very focussed if possible.

i cite it because it's a very valid demonstration of why you cannot look up a word in your bible dictionary, and substitute the meaning there, the meaning of the root word, or a synonym in place of a word. if you'd look them up, you'll find that meanings become perverted VERY quickly, and very far away from their obvious original intent. and so we start reading things like mose's cd-roms into the book. it's silly, i know, but it's exactly what you're doing here, substituting "divide" for "create." it's an unnacceptable, unscholarly practice, and yeilds very inaccurate results.

by changing the meaning of words for their root words or other usages, we can make the bible mean just about anything we want to.

Such as saying that God is both good and evil?

i think you'll find i'm reading the text at face value. it says god creates evil. you're the one who has to do these mental backflips to get it to say something besides what it pretty plainly says.

I've explained this in detail above using the concept of Hebrew parallelism.

and incorrectly. i'll repeat: a double negative is not a contrast.

Actually, this is the conclusion that I arrived at after reading the Scriptures. In other words, based on my understanding of the Scriptures (especially the Christian Scriptures) I've concluded that God is wholly good.

i've bolded the important point. christianity is a later tradition. it is an interpretation placed on top of judaic tradition. christianity may well indicate that god is only good, but isaiah does not. nor does nearly all of the old testament.

so the question comes up of how we should reconcile these things. well, there's your route: basically discredit isaiah et al. there's the opposite of that: discredit christianity. my choice is that i look at it as a shift in terminology and concepts.

when isaiah was written, "evil" had a set meaning. when john was written, "evil" had a different set meaning. god, i think defines good. everything god does is good, because he's god. even the "evil" (in isaiah's sense) he does is good.

However, for the sake of this discussion, I'm trying to limit the scope of the inquiry to the Hebrew Scriptures alone.

Is that alright?

yes, perfectly. i'd prefer it that way, actually. we can get to later interpretations... later.

You seem to be getting a bit presumptuous in this debate arachnophilia -- even to the point of invoking some kind of personal conclusions about my reading of the Scriptures. I would advise you to stick to the main focus of this thread,

don't forget, this is really an extension of a debate we've been having for a while now. you've already voiced alot of your conclusions. i'm not jumping to them.

[edit] missed some brackets

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-11-2005 02:43 AM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-10-2005 11:49 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-12-2005 1:17 AM arachnophilia has responded
 Message 46 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-17-2005 12:24 AM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 8 of 102 (223293)
07-12-2005 1:17 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by arachnophilia
07-11-2005 2:42 AM


Before I proceed further I would like to note that so far your side of the debate appears to be more of a lecture.

When I point out my point of view, I usually try to use terms such as "I think...", or "It seems to me...", or "It appears as if..." Since it is a debate, I try really hard to avoid absolute statements in order to be open to the other person's point of view. I realize that I don't always succeed at avoiding this, but i do make an effort to do so.

However, when you point out your own point of view, you seem to be very much speaking in absolutes, such as statemetns like "No", or "Absolutely not," or "You'd probably be wrong", or similar things such as "I want to make this very clear", etc.

When one engages in a formal debate (which is what I've invited you to partake in), the participants are genrally not permitted to declare with absolute authority that the other sides idea is wrong. They are only allowed to present the data which attempts to rebut their opponent's view -- and the moderators (or others who read the thread) make the decision as to who has won the debate or not. So far, it appears to me anyway, you are actually messing this part up quite miserably -- but I'll leave this for others to decide.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Here we see God apparently making everything out of nothing. This is to say, the creation of the heaven and the earth are actually contrasted against a state of non-existence.

arachnophilia writes:

sorry, but that's just bull.

Getting a little touchy there arachnophilia?

Comments like this do not win debates.

arachnophilia writes:

somewhat against your username, genesis never describes creation ex nihilo.

In your opinion maybe -- just as in my opinion Genesis does describe a creation ex nihilo. Obviously the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is a sticking point which has caused much debate in itself.

Bickmore actually writes of the "seemingly contradictory language" found in Jewish intertestamental literature and in the New Testament, some of which points towards creation from preexistent matter, some of which point towards ex nihilo creation. He concludes, in attempting to reconcile such passages, that, "To these ancient writers 'existence' meant organized existence, and 'non-existence' meant chaos."

Having said this, clearly there is much still left to be debated. Somewhat against your opinion, however, there are many who have concluded that the initial chapters of Genesis do describe a creation ex nihilo -- and it's not only Christians that have concluded this.

For example, while the Jewish theologian, Philo of Alexandria, makes statements that at times reflect the belief that God's creating was actually a shaping of pre-existing matter:

Philo of Alexandria writes:

Just as nothing comes into being out of that which has no existence, so nothing is destroyed into that which has no existence.

But even in the Philonic view of creation, some ambiguity exists since at times Philo expresses himself along the lines of creatio ex nihilo. For instance, he writes that...

Philo of Alexandria writes:

God, the begetter of all things, not only brought them into sight, but even made things which previously had no existence, being not merely an artificer but the Creator Himself."

Consequently, a similar thought is expressed in the The Wisdom of Solomon 11:17a, where it says that creation is "out of formless matter [ex amorphou hyles]" A date in the first century B.C. seems most likely for the authorship of this book, though any time from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D. is possible.

The King James version of the Wisdom of Solomon expresses it as "For thy Almighty hand, that made the world of matter without form..." whereas the Revised Standard Version of the Wisdom of Solomon expresses it as "For thy all-powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter.."

It must be remembered that Jewish thought was preoccupied with the God of the cosmos rather than with the cosmos itself, with the creatio rather than the ex nihilo. The Hebrew Scriptures seems to have viewed natural phenomena primarily as pointers to God, who created them and whose glory was revealed through them.

Nothwithstanding this observation, we still nonetheless see Jewish writers expressing these thoughts as they began to delve more deeply into the nature of what may have existed before the creation event.

For example, deutero-canonical Catholic book (the intertestamental book) of 2 Maccabees clearly states the traditional doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. Here we see a mother pleads with her son willingly to accept torture rather than recant his beliefs:

II Maccabees writes:

I beg you, child, look at the sky and the earth; see all that is in them and realize that God made them out of nothing.

We find another reference to creation out of nothing in the Dead Sea Scrolls:

1QS 3:15 writes:

From the God of Knowledge comes all that is and shall be. Before ever they existed He established their whole design, and when, as ordained for them, they come into being, it is in accord with His glorious design that they accomplish their task without change.

The noted first-century rabbi, Gamaliel, seems to have reflected this concept of creation in his thinking. Apparently a philosopher challenged him, "Your God was indeed a great artist, but he had good materials [unformed space/void, darkness, water, wind, and the deep] to help him." Gamaliel, responded, "All of them are explicitly described as having been created by him [and not as preexistent]."

Similarly the Jewish pseudepigraphical book Joseph and Aseneth, whose date of composition is estimated to be between the second century BC and the second century AD, contains a passage which also seems to imply creatio ex nihilo. Aseneth, having thrown her idols out of the window and put on sackcloth for a week, addresses the God of Joseph:

Joseph and Asentath writes:

Lord God of the ages,
who created all (things) and gave life (to them),
who gave breath of life to your whole creation,
who brought the invisible (things) out into the light,
who made the (things that) are and the (ones that) have an
appearance from the non-appearing and non-being,
who lifted up the heaven
and founded it on a firmament upon the back of the winds ...
For you, Lord, spoke and they were brought to life,
because your word, Lord, is life for all your creatures. (12:13)

In addition, the notion of creatio ex nihilo appears to be reinforced when Scripture declares the eternality and self-sufficiency of God in contrast to the finite created order:

Psalm 102:25-27 writes:


In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.

The God "who called forth creation out of nothing has power also to reduce it to nothing again." Likewise, implicit throughout Isaiah 4048 is the supreme sovereignty and utter uniqueness of God in creation, besides whom there was no other god - or anything else - when he created:

Isaiah writes:

"I am the first and the last"

or here...

Isaiah writes:

"I, the LORD, am the maker of all things"

or here...

Isaiah writes:

"I am the LORD, and there is none else"

Moreover, the Scriptures declare that God's word alone is what brings the universe about -- not simply God's word acting upon previously existing matter. Psalm 33 declares that it was by "the word of the Lord" and "the breath of his mouth" that "the heavens were made":

Psalm 33:6 writes:


By the word of the LORD were the heavens made,
their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 33:9 writes:


For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/article_exnihilo_copan.html

Finally, since science now seems to be leaning in the direction of Big Bang cosmology, if this is correct then it seems highly unlikely that the universe always existed anyway -- which is another reason to abandon this line of primitive thought which assumes that the universe always existed.

arachnophilia writes:

read it very carefully.

I did.

arachnophilia writes:

the water is never created.

According to Psalm 114:7-9 we read...

NIV writes:

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.

Seems to me, based on this passage found in the psalms, that God transmuted various substances into other subtances.

Besides this, the very beginning of Genesis says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The heavens include stars, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, etc.

Exactly how literally are you going to read these passages arachnophilia?

They've found water all throughout the universe, in Saturn's rings for example, on the sun itself for another example, and there are enourmous amounts of water in space. In fact, nearly all of the oxygen in space is in the form of water or carbon monoxide.

Furthermore, as I've read elsewhere here at EvC...

Nature writes:


Early Universe was a liquid
The Universe consisted of a perfect liquid in its first moments, according to results from an atom-smashing experiment.

Scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, have spent five years searching for the quark-gluon plasma that is thought to have filled our Universe in the first microseconds of its existence.

Most of them are now convinced they have found it. But, strangely, it seems to be a liquid rather than the expected hot gas.

The resulting liquid is almost 'perfect': it has a very low viscosity and is so uniform that it looks the same from any angle.

Its as much a fluid as the water in this glass --- Dmitri Kharzeev Brookhaven National Laboratory

arachnophilia writes:

the (original) darkness is never created. they're just there.

So you're saying that all these things were not created by God even though the Hebrew Scriptures clearly state over and over again that all things were made by God?

I find it strange that you claim that God "made" evil, but that he didn't "make" the darkness. If darkness was just there (and God didn't make it), then why do you stress so much that God had to make evil? Couldn't the evil have already been "just there" as you claim the (original) darkness was?

And this brings up another interesting point: what are you talking about when you talk about the (original) darkness?

You seem to be putting the parenthesis around (original) as if to exclude this darkness from other kinds of darkness. However, the word employed here in the (original) darkness is the Hebrew word hosek -- which is the exact same word used for many other kinds of darkness throughout the Scriptures. It is often synonamously used for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance.

Are you saying that the (original) darkness -- which is expressed with the Hebrew word hosek -- which has has been used eslewhere in the Scritpruees for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance -- was not created by God but was in fact just there?

Could you explain this further please?

arachnophilia writes:

now, creation itself *IS* expressed in terms of divisions: light from dark, night from day, water from land, and heaven from earth. but that's not what this bit is saying. and it's not what the word bara' means. bara' means "to create" "to form" "to shape" or "to fashion." not "to divide."

Actually, bara seems to a special word for "create" which is only employed in relation to when God himself is involved in a new creative act. I've already noted the contrasts pointed out by the Scriptures themselves.

Furthermore, the verb "bara" does occur in the basic verbal stem (qal) and its passive stem (niphal). There are a few cases where the word seems to occur in a different stem (piel) with the meaning to cut down.

For example, Joshua 17:15 employs the verb "bara" when cutting down a forest as follows:

NIV writes:

"If you are so numerous," Joshua answered, "and if the hill country of Ephraim is too small for you, go up into the forest and clear land for yourselves there in the land of the Perizzites and Rephaites."

Similarly, Ezekial 21:24 employs the verb "bara" to express the phrase to cut out as follows (it is translated as "taken captive" below in the NIV):

NIV writes:

24 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you dobecause you have done this, you will be taken captive.

While some argue that there is insufficient data to determine how this idea could be related to the verb to create, it is quite possible that cutting was a way of creating.

Christian Leadership Center writes:

The evidence from the Semitic languages provides some helpful information for the general understanding of bara and its related synonyms.

Akkadian, according to BDB, has the word baru (a III weak verb like Hebrew bara) with the meaning to make, create. However, the more up-to-date Chicago Assyrian Dictionary does not give this as a meaning; rather, it defines baru A as to look upon, to watch over, and baru B as to be hungry.

BDB also suggests that Hebrew bara be compared with Assyrian banu (also a III weak verb) which in the G (= qal) stem means: 1) to build, construct, form, 2) to engender, produce, 3) to create (the subject being the deity), and 4) to devise a plan. The correspondence of banu with bara would involve an interchange between the n and the r. Since both consonants are liquids they could interchange (note Hebrew son is ben but Aramaic is bar). The connection may be strengthened in view of the fact that banu is the verb used in the Mesopotamian creation story Enuma Elish: [Ea] created (ibna ) mankind out of [Kingus] blood (VI. 33).

If banu is a cognate word then more information would be available for the background of Hebrew bara. But Hebrew also has a verb banah (III He verb), which means to build. Akkadian banu is most likely cognate to this word, and not bara. In fact, in Genesis banah is used in addition to bara: and he [Yahweh] fashioned/built (wayyiben) the rib into the woman (Gen. 2:22).

As for Ugaritic, there is no cognate for our verb as far as we know. In Ugaritic Textbook Gordon lists bnw/y, to build, as cognate to banah.

As a Phoenician cognate BDB lists a word meaning incisor, a trade involving cutting. This would be cognate to the second root bara and therefore not relevant to this word study (unless one argued that cut was a category of meaning under the verb, and then this would harmonize with that category).

In Arabic we have the cognate word barai (bary), which means to form, fashion, and BDB includes the meanings to fashion by cutting, shaping out, to pare a reed for writing, a stick for an arrow. These may be related to the second root. BDB also list baraa as a loan word, to create. Old South Arabic has a root br that means to build. And Soqotri has a meaning bring forth, give birth to.

Aramaic and Syriac are closer to Hebrew with the verb br meaning to create. The word is not used in the Aramaic portions of the Old Testament. In later Aramaic and Hebrew the Rabbinical usage carries the biblical meanings forward. Jastrows dictionary joins together under bara (Heb.) and bera (Aram.) The meanings create, cut, shape, perforate, and strengthen, make well, make grow. This simply represents the way that the literature used the word and expanded its range, and does not attempt to explain the connections of meanings and the roots.

arachnophilia writes:

when we say "divided" we say that one thing was divided from another. isaiah just says one thing: darkness. so god divided darkness from what? sure it makes sense if you start adding words, but they're not there in the verse, are they?

arachnophilia writes:

bara' means "to create."

Actually, I've pointed to two examples in the Scriptures already where the word bara is used in the sense of "cutting out".

However, in addition to this, there is another verb bara which the dictionaries list as a separate root, to be fat. It occurs in the causative stem (hiphil) with the meaning to fatten in 1 Samual 2:29.

This would mean, contrary to your statement above, that there were apaprently three separate words spelled "bara" employed in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Yes. And how exactly did God create life on earth?

arachnophilia writes:

he doesn't. god tells the earth to bring forth life, and it obeys his command. creation, "bara" seems to be defined for special things: heaven and earth themselves, man, and these (supernatural) serpents.

I don't think you're not really answering the question here arachnophilia -- and it appears as if you're being quite evasive about it too. The Scriptures testify over and over again that God created the heavens and the earth.

Here's a few more examples.

Take a look here...

Isaiah 40:26 NIV writes:


Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

or here...

Isaiah 42:5 NIV writes:


This is what God the LORD says he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:

or here...

Isaiah 43:6-8 writes:

I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.

or here...

Isiah 44:24-28 writes:


"This is what the LORD says
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:
I am the LORD,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,
who foils the signs of false prophets
and makes fools of diviners,
who overthrows the learning of the wise
and turns it into nonsense,
who carries out the words of his servants
and fulfills the predictions of his messengers,
who says of Jerusalem, 'It shall be inhabited,'
of the towns of Judah, 'They shall be built,'
and of their ruins, 'I will restore them,'
who says to the watery deep, 'Be dry,
and I will dry up your streams,'
who says of Cyrus, 'He is my shepherd
and will accomplish all that I please;
he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt,"
and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

If you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth.

arachnophilia writes:

no, just man.

Really?

Actually many creationists seem point to this passage here in Genesis 3:19:

NIV writes:

By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

They look at this and note that both animals and man share the same fate when they die -- in other words, whether man or animal, to dust they will return. This, in their mind anyay, seems to indicate that both man and animals shared a common origin from dust, especially since they both share the same physical properties at death.

Similarly, some creationists point to passages like this...

Exodus 8:16-17 NIV writes:

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, 'Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,' and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats." They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats.

To them, passages like these confirm that other creatures can be created from the dust just like man was.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

And God actually "divides" the seventh day from the previous six. In other words, it is literally "set apart" from the other days in order to contrast this day from the previous six days of creation.

arachnophilia writes:

read it again.

For the sake of this debate let's take a look at the passage again.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

arachnophilia writes:

the sanctification is the division. the "bara" goes on in the other six days. the bit that divides the seventh is the lack of "bara"

And you don't see a contrast here from one day when compard to the previous 6 days?

As I said before, they all seem to make sense when you see that the division is potentially referencing the creative act in contrast to a previous state of existence -- all of them.

arachnophilia writes:

no, absolutely not.

More absolutes eh?

arachnophilia writes:

this is something you're imposing on the text.

Really, so you're saying there is absolutely no contrast being presented at all?

Let's take a look at what you say below.

arachnophilia writes:

it is not contrasting them to anything. it might contrast light and dark, male and female, good and evil, but it never contrasts existance from nonexistance, because the ancient hebrews did not believe in creation ex-nihilo.

This seems to be an odd opinion to hold, especially since every other time the word is used it does quite clearly display a contrast from a previous state of existence.

I discuss your rebuttal in more detail below.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Well, as I said above, if you are a creationist, then you probably believe that God in some way created life out of the dust of the earth -- which seems to be leaning in a more traditional understanding of God's creative process in the Scriptures. If you are a theistic evolutionist, then you probably believe that God first created life out of non-life -- and then proceeded to create life from previous forms of life. Either way you look at it, God is creating in contrast to a previous state of existence.

arachnophilia writes:

i want to make this very clear. i'm not debating what i believe in. i'm debating what the text leads me to think the ancient hebrews believed in. personally, i believe that god may have even directed evolution through a process similar to artificial selection. but we're talking about a story that has god making men out dust, and breathing life into them.

And you're saying that you're not personally influenced by what the ancient Hebrews believed -- or what you believe the ancient Hebrews believed?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Everything from verse 2 to verse 19 seems to have to do with assembling the earth from pre-existing material -- whereas "bara" seems to imply a rather dramatic change from a previous state of existence.

arachnophilia writes:

verse 1 describes the initial state of the story. "when god created the heavens and the earth," this is how he did it. everything is from pre-existing material: water.

Ah...so you're saying that the water always existed then?

Then why do the Scriptures say in Ecclesiastes 11:5:

NIV writes:

As you do not know the path of the wind, or know how the spirit enters the body being formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

How many times do I have to point out that the Scriptures state over again that God is the maker of all things?

Of course, if you reply that God is the maker of all things "made" -- but that God didn't make things that "already" existed, then I think you're the one who is actually adding words to the Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures say over and over again that God made all things. However, nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God made all things that were made.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Actually, Hebrew poetry can employ both similarity and contrasts -- and the Hebrew Scriptures do employ both these literary devices quite liberally.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, they do. but not at the same time.

hmmmm.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

"Parallelism" is a technical term for the form of Hebrew poetry that repeats a thought in slightly different ways. For example, "synonymous parallelism"

arachnophilia writes:

synonymous parallelism is what's going on isaiah 45:7.

"i make ___ and create ____
i make ____ and create ____"

it follows the exact same structure. that's not what i'm talking about. i'm talking about the second half of the line reflecting the first.

it does not say "i divide light from darkness." it says "i make light, and i make darkness." this is not about creation, although it's meant to connotate it.

This seems to be a moot point since the original account in creation does describe God seprating the light he brings forth from the darkness, darkness which you yourself claim God never made in the first place.

Just as a reminder, I'll requote what you said above...

arachnophilia writes:

the (original) darkness is never created. they're just there.

Here, let's take a look at it again.

NIV writes:


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningthe first day.

Please note that God did not "name" the darkness "night" until the light was separated from it and named "day". In other words, the darkness has no name until it is contrasted with the light.

arachnophilia writes:

what i'm trying to say is that they're not being tricky about it. all four verbs in both lines, including both bara's, are qal, present tense verbs. they express simple, but ongoing actions. it doesn't really get any simpler. it's using the simplest form of the verb, meaning to create.

Yes, and I think you're overlooking something very important.

arachnophilia writes:

you can't just change the words to mean whatever you want them to mean.

I don't think I'm doing that. I'm looking at previous examples within the Scriptures to make an informed opinion about what the passage in Isaiah means -- as I feel the Spirit leads me.

I am still curiuos to know what you mean by putting the parenthesis around (original) as if to exclude this darkness from other kinds of darkness. As I said above, the word employed here in the (original) darkness is the Hebrew word hosek -- which is the exact same word used for many other kinds of darkness throughout the Scriptures. It is often synonamously used for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance.

Are you saying that the (original) darkness -- which is expressed with the Hebrew word hosek -- which has has been used eslewhere in the Scritpruees for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance -- was not created by God but was in fact just there?

Could you explain this further please?

I'm going to discuss the parallelism aspect later this week when I have a chance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by arachnophilia, posted 07-11-2005 2:42 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by arachnophilia, posted 07-12-2005 3:41 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 9 of 102 (223308)
07-12-2005 3:41 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-12-2005 1:17 AM


When I point out my point of view, I usually try to use terms such as "I think...", or "It seems to me...", or "It appears as if..." Since it is a debate, I try really hard to avoid absolute statements in order to be open to the other person's point of view. I realize that I don't always succeed at avoiding this, but i do make an effort to do so.

to do so is redundant. i'm writing it; of course it's what i think. to say "i think that ..." makes the phrasing sound like a personal opinion on the matter. to some degree, some of it is. but i'm not just making stuff up.

When one engages in a formal debate (which is what I've invited you to partake in), the participants are genrally not permitted to declare with absolute authority that the other sides idea is wrong. They are only allowed to present the data which attempts to rebut their opponent's view -- and the moderators (or others who read the thread) make the decision as to who has won the debate or not. So far, it appears to me anyway, you are actually messing this part up quite miserably -- but I'll leave this for others to decide.

so basically, i'm not allowed to say "you're wrong" even though essentially the entire point of my post is generally supposed to be saying "you're wrong" in a more round-about and evidenced way? i'm sorry, if something's wrong, i call it wrong. if we're debating arithmetic, and you came up with 2+2=5, would i be allowed to say "you're wrong" or would i have to prove the rules of arithmetic to you?

either way, i apologize if i'm coming off as a bit rash here, but alot of it's just common sense stuff and common sense is hard to justify to someone.

In your opinion maybe -- just as in my opinion Genesis does describe a creation ex nihilo. Obviously the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is a sticking point which has caused much debate in itself.

right, but "genesis does not describe creation ex nihilo" is a statement we can check. this is not an opinion: it either describes it, or it does not. if it describes it, feel free to cite the chapter and verse, but it'd have to come before genesis 1:2.

genesis describes god creating heaven and earth, but not the things they are formed in and from. maybe god created those, and maybe he did not -- but genesis doesn't describe that aspect of creation. so, jumping down a bit, "creator of all things" might include the deep and the blank earth, and might not. we'll come back to that.

but genesis never describes it. this is because, consistent with the people of the time and area, the people who wrote genesis 1 did not believe in creation ex nihilo. later hebrews might have. people who contributed other portions of genesis might have. but the authors of genesis 1 did not.

this might explain why isaiah describes god creating darkness, and genesis does not. but there are other explanations too, and we'll get to that too.

Bickmore actually writes of the "seemingly contradictory language" found in Jewish intertestamental literature and in the New Testament, some of which points towards creation from preexistent matter, some of which point towards ex nihilo creation. He concludes, in attempting to reconcile such passages, that, "To these ancient writers 'existence' meant organized existence, and 'non-existence' meant chaos."

sounds reasonable to me. we've already talked about the themes of chaos serpents and the deep being chaos. in this respect, god did not create the chaos or the darkness. matter is simply ordered chaos, and light is ordered darkness. this would fit fine with genesis 1. but not isaiah, which describes god creating darkness. could it be refering to something else?

since isaiah 45:7 is in PRESENT tense, my answer would be "i think so." it connotates original creation, but it can't be about that creation (literally) because of the tense. that creation would be in the past tense.

Having said this, clearly there is much still left to be debated. Somewhat against your opinion, however, there are many who have concluded that the initial chapters of Genesis do describe a creation ex nihilo -- and it's not only Christians that have concluded this.

yes, and they're evidently wrong, considering that genesis describes creation from something else, but never the creation of the original state. this is a quantitative 2+2 kind of thing. genesis either describes it, or it does not.

For example, while the Jewish theologian, Philo of Alexandria, makes statements that at times reflect the belief that God's creating was actually a shaping of pre-existing matter:

Philo of Alexandria writes:

Just as nothing comes into being out of that which has no existence, so nothing is destroyed into that which has no existence.

that's the law of conservation of matter, yes.

But even in the Philonic view of creation, some ambiguity exists since at times Philo expresses himself along the lines of creatio ex nihilo. For instance, he writes that...

Philo of Alexandria writes:

God, the begetter of all things, not only brought them into sight, but even made things which previously had no existence, being not merely an artificer but the Creator Himself."

contrasting the two next to each other (not sure offhand if the source does) seems to illustrate the idea that god is outside natural law. is this a commentary on genesis?

Consequently, a similar thought is expressed in the The Wisdom of Solomon 11:17a, where it says that creation is "out of formless matter [ex amorphou hyles]"

this is the traditional hebrew thought, yes. we'll get to the exception breifly.

It must be remembered that Jewish thought was preoccupied with the God of the cosmos rather than with the cosmos itself, with the creatio rather than the ex nihilo. The Hebrew Scriptures seems to have viewed natural phenomena primarily as pointers to God, who created them and whose glory was revealed through them.

agreed.

For example, deutero-canonical Catholic book (the intertestamental book) of 2 Maccabees

we must also realize that maccabees (and the wisdom of solomon) are not within the traditionally accepted hebrew scriptures. these are later books, as you mentioned previously. they are subject to different ideas than genesis. right now we're looking at the older traditions -- later ones, and ones of slightly non-mainstream groups are bound to disagree.

Psalm 102:25-27

doesn't reinforce creation ex nihilo. it refers to heaven and earth -- not the things genesis describes them as being created from. heaven and earth are meant usually to represent all things -- but in turn, "all things" seems to represent "everything under heaven," and not the stuff above it.

Moreover, the Scriptures declare that God's word alone is what brings the universe about -- not simply God's word acting upon previously existing matter. Psalm 33 declares that it was by "the word of the Lord" and "the breath of his mouth" that "the heavens were made":

yes. the heavens. this is a very specific object in hebrew scripture. heaven is a real place in their worldview. or at least it was, and it came to be ingrained in the language that way. (subject to some debate) either way, we're referring back to genesis, and invoking it's language. and genesis describes heaven as being created to affect something that was already there -- the deep.

Finally, since science now seems to be leaning in the direction of Big Bang cosmology, if this is correct then it seems highly unlikely that the universe always existed anyway -- which is another reason to abandon this line of primitive thought which assumes that the universe always existed.

not within the scope of our debate. i'm not assigning right or wrong to scripture here, we're looking at what it says and what the people of the time seemed to have thought. it is entirely invalid to go "we know this now -> the bible has to be right -> therefor the bible says what we know now." it doesn't work that way.

the water is never created.

According to Psalm 114:7-9 we read...

NIV writes:

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.

uh, you know this story, right?

quote:
Exd 17:6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

i'm talking about THIS water:

quote:
Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

i'm sure god creates other water, just like he creates other darkness:

quote:
Exd 10:22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

Seems to me, based on this passage found in the psalms, that God transmuted various substances into other subtances.

that does seem to be something god does, yes. now, where does the water in genesis 1:2 come from? it's not "heaven" and it's not "earth" which are the things verse 1 says god created.

Besides this, the very beginning of Genesis says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The heavens include stars, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, etc.

and clouds, depending on usage. but the water in verse 2 is the water that this creation -- heaven -- divides. where does it come from, according to genesis?

Exactly how literally are you going to read these passages arachnophilia?

i don't think i'm being overliteral here. it says it, or it does not say it.

They've found water all throughout the universe, in Saturn's rings for example, on the sun itself for another example, and there are enourmous amounts of water in space. In fact, nearly all of the oxygen in space is in the form of water or carbon monoxide.

but is there water OUTSIDE of the heavens?

Furthermore, as I've read elsewhere here at EvC...

Nature writes:

Early Universe was a liquid

this becoming way off topic. if you'd like to debate this topic further, direct it to that thread. i spent pages upon pages arguing there about what i just wrote above. it was also demonstrated that "liquid" was an innaccurate terms. more like "quark-gluon plasma" which last i checked was a plasma and not a liquid.

So you're saying that all these things were not created by God even though the Hebrew Scriptures clearly state over and over again that all things were made by God?

because "the deep" does not seem to be a thing. the blank earth does not seem to be a thing. it is the abscence of things -- but it's not exactly nothing. here's that seemingly contradictory bit. the water seems to represent chaos. a previous state from which things are created.

I find it strange that you claim that God "made" evil, but that he didn't "make" the darkness. If darkness was just there (and God didn't make it), then why do you stress so much that God had to make evil? Couldn't the evil have already been "just there" as you claim the (original) darkness was?

ok, personal opinion time. i think that evil and good are somewhat arbitrary terms that apply to humans and not god. that makes them conditions of existence, under heaven, grouped in with created matter. if you want to look at this in strictly objective terms, look no further than genesis 2 and 3. the tree is of good and evil, and god puts both in the garden. whether or not god created (original) evil doesn't exactly matter. he's still responsible for allowing it in his creation. as a personal religious belief, i think he did this for a very good reason.

i do not think evil is represented as a set force independent of human influence and affect in the early bible. this is a position i'm not sure of: if you can demonstrate that they did believe evil was more than "bad things happening" and is instead an ultimate force competing against god's ultimate goodness, it would greatly further your side. however, i'm nearly certain this view is not present in the torah, or the major prophetic works or histories of the nevi'im. (when we get to chronicles, this might not be the case)

And this brings up another interesting point: what are you talking about when you talk about the (original) darkness?

the state of being from which light is created, as opposed to other darkness (like night, or the pharoah's plague). meaning the first 12 hours of the first day of creation.

You seem to be putting the parenthesis around (original) as if to exclude this darkness from other kinds of darkness. However, the word employed here in the (original) darkness is the Hebrew word hosek -- which is the exact same word used for many other kinds of darkness throughout the Scriptures. It is often synonamously used for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance.

well that's why i used parenthesis instead of just using the word "original" on it's own. in this case it's a contextual thing. for example, the first water mentioned in the bible is never mentioned as being created. but further examples of water are mentioned as being created, such as moses's water from the stone. doesn't matter that it's the same word. of course it's the same word. the same meaning, even, i was just specifying WHICH darkness i meant, instead of darkness as a singular concept.

Are you saying that the (original) darkness -- which is expressed with the Hebrew word hosek -- which has has been used eslewhere in the Scritpruees for darkness, obscurity, night, dusk, misery, falsehood, and ignorance -- was not created by God but was in fact just there?

Could you explain this further please?

all i'm saying is that genesis describes this darkness as being a pre-existing condition. or rather, it never describes its creation. it seems to be the null state of the universe, and light needs to be created.

Actually, bara seems to a special word for "create" which is only employed in relation to when God himself is involved in a new creative act. I've already noted the contrasts pointed out by the Scriptures themselves.

yes, and i agreed. i mentioned that elsewhere, god creates by speaking: commanding things to create other things.

Furthermore, the verb "bara" does occur in the basic verbal stem (qal) and its passive stem (niphal). There are a few cases where the word seems to occur in a different stem (piel) with the meaning to cut down.

yes, and at the instance in question (actually, all of the instances in question) its stem is qal. in the isaiah verse, it's present tense.

For example, Joshua 17:15 employs the verb "bara" when cutting down a forest as follows:

i figured you'd bring those up. (it occurs again in the next few verses). "cut down" is an idiomatic and loose rendering. the idea of the phrase is that they will create a place for themselves by changing the woods into a plain. (creating one thing into another, btw). literally, it says "create." but it means, based on context, "clear" or "cut down."

Similarly, Ezekial 21:24 employs the verb "bara" to express the phrase to cut out as follows (it is translated as "taken captive" below in the NIV):

uhh, i don't see it. i see

quote:
בַּכַּף, תִּתָּפֵשׂוּ (kaph taphas, caught in the hand)

but no בָּרָא (bara')

While some argue that there is insufficient data to determine how this idea could be related to the verb to create, it is quite possible that cutting was a way of creating.

possibly. bara does traditionally have a sculptural sense to it, ie: god making man from dust. we are described as images of god -- might indicate the word implies engraving (a cutting process). however, even if the word implies these things, it still means the same thing. when it says god created something, it doesn't mean god destroyed something.

Actually, I've pointed to two examples in the Scriptures already where the word bara is used in the sense of "cutting out".

one. and the cutting bit is not literally in the text, it's just an implication of creating land in the middle of a forest. translators often change wordings so it works more comfortably in english. it doesn't mean that in this case bara should literally be rendered as meaning cutting everywhere it occurs. even if it occurs twice, that's only about 4% of its instances. not a very strong case.

This would mean, contrary to your statement above, that there were apaprently three separate words spelled "bara" employed in the Hebrew Scriptures.

two. but ok. it depends on context and usage. got your bible dictionary handy? what sense is it in isaiah 45:7? either instance. what does that sense mean, according to your bible dictionary? which word is it using?

They look at this and note that both animals and man share the same fate when they die -- in other words, whether man or animal, to dust they will return. This, in their mind anyay, seems to indicate that both man and animals shared a common origin from dust, especially since they both share the same physical properties at death.

uh, kind of jumpy logic, but that's ok. it's right, i think. just not what i was refering to. you said god created life out of the dust of the earth, and i said just man. i was being picky about two points:

1. god doesn't create life out of dust, he gives the dust-man life by breathing into it. the life comes from god, not the dust.
2. god doesn't literally create the other life, the dust itself does at god's command.

but sure, your statement is basically what the text is getting at.

And you don't see a contrast here from one day when compard to the previous 6 days?

yes, i do. 6 days of work, then the holy sabbath. i used the word "holy" just then for a reason: it's the bit that contrasts saturday from every other day. bara' does not. creating is what's going on IN the other 6 days. for your logic to stand, the sentance would have to read:

"and god created the sabbath (from the other six days)"

As I said before, they all seem to make sense when you see that the division is potentially referencing the creative act in contrast to a previous state of existence -- all of them.

right, but the sabbath is not being created. the creation is in the other six days. the sabbath is the ABSCENCE of creation.

Really, so you're saying there is absolutely no contrast being presented at all?

no, i'm saying you're imposing a false one on the text.

it is not contrasting them to anything. it might contrast light and dark, male and female, good and evil, but it never contrasts existance from nonexistance, because the ancient hebrews did not believe in creation ex-nihilo.

This seems to be an odd opinion to hold, especially since every other time the word is used it does quite clearly display a contrast from a previous state of existence.

i've bolded the important part. it's contrasting one state of existance against a previous state -- NOT nonexistance.

And you're saying that you're not personally influenced by what the ancient Hebrews believed -- or what you believe the ancient Hebrews believed?

more or less. i agree with a lot of what i understand their philosophy to have been, but they were also wrong on a good many things. for instance, i happen to believe in creation ex nihilo. i'm not arguing my belief system here.

Ah...so you're saying that the water always existed then?

no, i'm saying that genesis never describes it being created. look at it this way, has space-time always existed?

How many times do I have to point out that the Scriptures state over again that God is the maker of all things?

only as many times as i'm gonna have quote verses about god creating evil, using evil, or sending evil.

Of course, if you reply that God is the maker of all things "made" -- but that God didn't make things that "already" existed, then I think you're the one who is actually adding words to the Scriptures. The Hebrew Scriptures say over and over again that God made all things. However, nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures does it say that God made all things that were made.

i'm not adding anything. i'm just saying that they didn't seem to perceive the water or the darkness as things. you might argue that they didn't perceive evil to be a thing either, and you'd probably be right. but they are still bits isaiah says god creates (present tense).

This seems to be a moot point since the original account in creation does describe God seprating the light he brings forth from the darkness, darkness which you yourself claim God never made in the first place.

no no. i guess i'm not being clear. i'm trying to say that isaiah describes creation of darkness in present tense, and genesis (in past tense) does not describe creation of darkness. therefore, when the two differences are combined, it stands to reason that isaiah is not talking about genesis 1 -- just invoking its symbols.

Yes, and I think you're overlooking something very important.

i think you're looking for something that's not there. these are about the simplest sentances you can have. it's like you're reading "i goto class" as "i skip class" because "skip" can be a method of "going." i'm sorry, that's just not what it says.

I don't think I'm doing that. I'm looking at previous examples within the Scriptures to make an informed opinion about what the passage in Isaiah means -- as I feel the Spirit leads me.

yes, well, go look where it leads eddy pengelly. seriously. go look at what he was doing, because it's the same exact thing. substitution of words for root words, alternate meanings, synonyms, etc. it fundamentally changes the meaning of the text, in this case from "creating evil" (what it says) to "cutting down evil." that's a pretty drastic change. and it's just not good academic practice.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-12-2005 1:17 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-16-2005 2:54 AM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 10 of 102 (224029)
07-16-2005 2:54 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by arachnophilia
07-12-2005 3:41 AM


Please note: I've typed this message out in a word processor program, cut it, and pasted it. There will probably be some typographical and layout problems. I am fixing them as I see them.

Edit follow-up: I've corrected the typographical and layout problems. Everything should be clear to go now.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

When I point out my point of view, I usually try to use terms such as "I think...", or "It seems to me...", or "It appears as if..." Since it is a debate, I try really hard to avoid absolute statements in order to be open to the other person's point of view. I realize that I don't always succeed at avoiding this, but i do make an effort to do so.

arachnophilia writes:

to do so is redundant.

Whether it is redundant or not doesn't matter. It's what's been asked of you when invited to participate.

When you asked me to restrict this discussion to the Hebrew Scriptures, I honored your request. However, you seem to be nonetheless indulging in a kind of lecturing. In response to this, I found it prudent to invoke science (something which you disagreed with) in order to counter your absolute claims. If you persist in continuing to engage in this kind of debate where certain rules are ignored in favor of your own position -- even to the point of invoking other debates with Eddy Pengelly, which bears no relevance to this debate at all -- then it seems to me that there is basically no reason to honor your request to restrict the debate solely to the Hebrew Scriptures or to exclude scientific findings.

How would you like me to proceed with this?

arachnophilia writes:

i'm writing it; of course it's what i think. to say "i think that ..." makes the phrasing sound like a personal opinion on the matter. to some degree, some of it is. but i'm not just making stuff up.

Well neither am I just making stuff up. Neither one of us are "making stuff up". We're presenting what we believe the Scriptures are stating. That's the whole point of this discussion -- what we believe the Scriptures are saying in regards to the creation of good and evil, and how God uses these things within the Scriptural context.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

When one engages in a formal debate (which is what I've invited you to partake in), the participants are generally not permitted to declare with absolute authority that the other sides idea is wrong. They are only allowed to present the data which attempts to rebut their opponent's view -- and the moderators
(or others who read the thread) make the decision as to who has won the debate or not. So far, it appears to me anyway, you are actually messing this part up quite miserably -- but I'll leave this for others to decide.

arachnophilia writes:

so basically, i'm not allowed to say "you're wrong" even though essentially the entire point of my post is generally supposed to be saying "you're wrong" in a more round-about and evidenced way? i'm sorry, if something's wrong, i call it wrong. if we're debating arithmetic, and you came up with 2+2=5, would i be allowed to say "you're wrong" or would i have to prove the rules of arithmetic to you?

You can say "you're wrong" if you feel like doing so. I'm just noting that the decision of whether we are either right or wrong in a formal debate is generally not for us to decide. Of course we each feel that our individual cases are correct, because we wouldn't be debating in the first place if we felt we were in agreement. I'm also fairly sure that after this debate is over we will probably continue to hold our individual views.

However, when you place your thoughts out on a public forum, you're inviting others to critique your thoughts, and how well you've expressed them. To make the claim that you are correct, or that your opponent is incorrect, is actually the redundant part. It's redundant because we already believe that we are correct and that the other side is incorrect -- and it overlooks the fact that we've invited others to judge our thoughts and examine how logically we've expressed them here.

arachnophilia writes:

either way, i apologize if i'm coming off as a bit rash here, but a lot of it's just common sense stuff and common sense is hard to justify to someone.

Again, let's leave what is considered common sense for others to decide. We already believe that our individual points of view are "common sense" in our own mind. It's the other participants who are reading this that I'm interested in hearing after the debate is over.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In your opinion maybe -- just as in my opinion Genesis does describe a creation ex nihilo. Obviously the doctrine of creation ex nihilo is a sticking point which has caused much debate in itself.

arachnophilia writes:

right, but "genesis does not describe creation ex nihilo" is a statement we can check. this is not an opinion: it either describes it, or it does not. if it describes it, feel free to cite the chapter and verse, but it'd have to come before genesis 1:2.

Actually, unfortunately it does not appear to be a statement that can be checked. Rather it seems to be a statement that can be examined within the context of what other portions of Scripture have to say. In other words, it needs to be interpreted -- not checked. That's how I see it anyway.

arachnophilia writes:

genesis describes god creating heaven and earth, but not the things they are formed in and from. maybe god created those, and maybe he did not -- but genesis doesn't describe that aspect of creation. so, jumping down a bit, "creator of all things" might include the deep and the blank earth, and might not. we'll come back to that.

Well, this is one of my main points: The LORD apparently does not change according to the Scriptures. So, for example, if it states somewhere that God creates by a certain method, if I see a reference to God creating the same thing elsewhere in the Scriptures, then it seems to me that the Lord has most likely employed that same method for creating that same substance.

arachnophilia writes:

but genesis never describes it. this is because, consistent with the people of the time and area, the people who wrote genesis 1 did not believe in creation ex nihilo.

Or maybe it's because they never thought about it. As I pointed out elsewhere, Jewish thought was apparently preoccupied with the God of the cosmos rather than with the cosmos itself, with the creatio rather than the ex nihilo. The Hebrew Scriptures seems to have viewed natural phenomena primarily as pointers to God, who created them and whose glory was revealed through them.

Furthermore, it is fairly well believed that the Genesis texts were heavily borrowed from the Babylonians. More specifically, the Hebrews seem to have been strongly influenced by them to the point of adopting their beliefs all the while whittling away all the "false gods" within the Babylonian literature. In this sense, things such as "the sun, the moon and the stars" were no longer seen as "gods" but rather physical objects of nature itself which were ordered and organized by one Supreme God -- ie., created by God and not gods in their own right.

To say that the people who wrote Genesis 1 did not believe in creation ex nihilo seems to be seriously overlooking the most likely central reason for writing the Genesis text in the first place -- to testify to the monotheistic deity that they worshipped above all other things, to testify to the Creator over the creation.

arachnophilia writes:

later hebrews might have. people who contributed other portions of genesis might have. but the authors of genesis 1 did not.

There was also a time when people didn't believe in gravity either. But it wasn't because they couldn't see the effects of gravity. It seems more likely that it was because it never occurred to them that a force called gravity even existed in the first place.

arachnophilia writes:

this might explain why isaiah describes god creating darkness, and genesis does not. but there are other explanations too, and we'll get to that too.

Or it might not explain it. Or it might be something else entirely that neither one of us have even considered. Let's continue with the debate to find out more from both our points of view.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Bickmore actually writes of the "seemingly contradictory language" found in Jewish intertestamental literature and in the New Testament, some of which points towards creation from preexistent matter, some of which point towards ex nihilo creation. He concludes, in attempting to reconcile such passages, that, "To these ancient writers 'existence' meant organized existence, and 'non-existence' meant chaos."

arachnophilia writes:

sounds reasonable to me. we've already talked about the themes of chaos serpents and the deep being chaos. in this respect, god did not create the chaos or the darkness. matter is simply ordered chaos, and light is ordered darkness. this would fit fine with genesis 1. but not isaiah, which describes god creating darkness. could it be referring to something else?

Well. I've already discussed some ideas related to this. However, if one is looking for an alternative, then it could very well be an idiom of some sort -- an idiom that if it is translated literally could nonetheless potentially lead to some confusing conclusions.

For example, if I were to translate English-based idioms like "hit the ceiling," or "kill time," or "eat your heart out," into another language, the reader from the other language could be very likely left scratching their head thinking things like, "Why is he hitting the ceiling?" or "Is it really time for someone to be killed?" or "Ew, that's really disgusting...why is he telling me to eat my heart out of my chest cavity?" Some rather perplexing and/or ghastly images can be left by translating an idiom from one language literally into the words of another language.

It's virtually impossible to translate the meaning of words and their "nuances" with complete accuracy. However, the Scriptures appear to be most accurately interpreted within its Jewish cultural context. The word "context" comes from the Latin verb, "contextuere" which means "to weave". A book or any other writing consists of words and thoughts woven together. One of the primary rules of Scriptural hermeneutics is to understand what the original readers would have understood. This necessarily implies an awareness of the culture that would have affected that understanding. In order to understand the meaning of words from a different culture, we must understand the culture of the people using that language.

Actually, probably the largest obstacle when translating one language into another is how to deal with idioms. If you translate idiomatic expressions literally there is a very real chance they will be misunderstood. We understand the common phrase, "It's raining cats and dogs," but if you put that literally into another language it probably won't make much sense at all.

If we look to the Christian Scriptures, we see that the text of Matthew 6:22-23 literally reads: "The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is good, your whole body is full of light; but if your eye is evil your whole body is full of darkness..."

"If your eye is good" is a Hebrew saying that means, "if you are generous."

Unfortunately, many English translators have not recognized this Hebrew idiom. Almost all translations preserve the singular, "eye," even though "eyes" would make more sense in English. Only three translations (Good News For Modern Man, New English Bible, New International Version) have recognized the absurdity of "eye." These translations have translated "eyes" in spite of the fact that the original Greek text has "eye."

More variety apparently exists in the translation of the word "good." Weymouth and the New International Version translate literally. But "good" in relation to an eye doesn't make much sense in this particular context. Weymouth tries to solve this problem by translating eye as "eyesight" - "If your eyesight is good". Other translators simply guess at the meaning of "good." "Single" is the traditional translation of "good" (King James, American Standard). Most modem versions prefer "sound" (Amplified, Goodspeed, Jerusalem Bible, New Berkeley, New English Bible, Phillips, Revised Standard, Williams). Other suggestions are "clear" (Good News For Modern Man, New American Standard), and "pure" (The Living Bible). Only James Moffatt translates "good eye" as "generous," but even he uses "sound" in the parallel to Matthew 6:22 found in Luke, even though the same Greek word for "good" appears in both places.

Now some would ask, "What is an evil eye?"

Someone not knowing the Jewish background might suppose he was talking about casting spells. But in Hebrew, having an "evil eye," means being stingy - just like having a "good eye," means being generous.

Bearing this in mind, Christ is apparently warning against lack of generosity and nothing else. This fits the context perfectly: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.... You cannot serve both God and money."

http://www.psalmsinger.org/study2.htm

Hebrew Idioms in the New Testament writes:


However, there are many other expressions in the Greek texts of the synoptic Gospels that seem to derive from Hebrew idioms. Here are several examples:

Mt. 5:3 - Poor in spirit

This is an abbreviated idiom that refers to the "poor and crippled in spirit" from Isaiah 66:2. It means those that have come to the end of their strength and cry out in desperation to God, acknowledging they have no righteousness of their own.

Luke 23:31 - The "green tree" and the "dry tree"

Based on a prophecy from Ezekial 20. The "green tree" symbolizes righteousness - the "dry tree" symbolizes wickedness.

Mt. 16:19 - "binding and loosing"

There are many examples in ancient Jewish writings of the rabbinical use of "binding" and "loosing". That which is said to be "bound" is something that is forbidden. That which is "loosed" is permitted, nothing more, nothing less.

Mt. 5:17-18 - "destroy" and "fulfill" (I have not come to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.)

The terms are part of rabbinical argumentation. When it was felt that a sage had misinterpreted a passage, it was said he had "destroyed" the Torah. When it was felt he had interpreted correctly, it was said he had "fulfilled" it. So what was Yeshua saying here?

"I have not come to abolish the Torah, but to complete it - to make the meaning full" Yeshua did not come to abolish, but to make full (plerosai) the meaning of what Torah and the ethical demands of the Prophets require. He came to complete our understanding of the Torah and the Prophets so that we can more effectively try to be and do what they instruct us to be and do.

Another interesting article presents some interesting food for thought as well...

Something New Under the Sun writes:


The King James Bible, published in the seventeenth century, had an immense impact on Modern English, expanding the breadth and depth of the language. Enter the Hebrew idiom.

by Alister McGrath

Have you ever fallen flat on your face? Can you read the writing on the wall? Do you ever think about escaping, perhaps by the skin of your teeth before its too late? When things are going well, do you look for the fly in the ointment? If you answered Yes to these questions, you are in good company.

Shakespeare, however, never fell flat on his face. He couldnt read the writing on the wall, never once escaped by the skin of his teeth, and his ointment was always free of flies. The Bard, that great master of vocabulary and wordplay, could do none of these things, for these metaphors did not enter the English language until close to the time of his death in 1616. Like so much of the English language, these quaint and timeless expressions were borrowed from another tonguein this case, Hebrew.

The introduction of classical Hebrew phrases into the languageone of the most interesting developments in the shaping of Modern Englishdates from the early seventeenth century with the arrival of the King James Bible. King James I, anxious to ensure religious stability in England, agreed to the production of this new English translation of the Bible. It was expected to be the best ever, drawing on a translation team of about fifty leading scholars. Six teams were assembled at Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster, and each was entrusted with the task of translating part of the work.

The authors of The Story of English, a companion to the PBS television series on the history of the English language, point out that, The King James Bible was published in the year Shakespeare began work on his last play, The Tempest. Both the play and the Bible are masterpieces of English, but there is one crucial difference between them. Whereas Shakespeare ransacked the lexicon, the King James Bible employs a bare 8,000 wordsGods teaching in homely English for everyman.

True, the Bible used plain and common words, but as American Rabbi William Rosenau observes, it took those words and molded new forms and phrases, which, while foreign to the English, became with it flesh and bone. Heres what happened: The translators believed the best way of ensuring accuracy was to translate each and every word of the original, one by one. This literal translation of the Old Testaments Hebrew introduced a large number of new, and somewhat unusual, phrases into the English language.

The [King James Bible] is an almost literal translation of the Masoretic text, and is thus on every page replete with Hebrew idioms, writes Rosenau in Hebraisms in the Authorized Version of the Bible, a careful study of the way in which the King James Bible translated Hebrew expressions. The fact that Bible English has to a
marvelous extent shaped our speech, giving peculiar connotations to many words and sanctioning strange constructions, is not any less patent.

Because the Bibles publicly accessible style could be widely imitated, the new phrases were easily absorbed, often unconsciously, within everyday language. Soon, without anyone completely appreciating what was happening, they began to shape written and spoken English.

The [King James Bible] has beenit can be said without any fear of being charged with exaggerationthe most powerful factor in the history of English literature, Rosenau claims. Though the constructions encountered in the [King James Bible] are oftentimes so harsh that they seem almost barbarous, we should certainly have been the poorer without it.

Initially, the language of the King James Bible might have seemed odd. We know that some people found it unnatural, artificial, and stilted. John Selden, a seventeenth-century Hebrew scholar of considerable distinction, doubted whether the widespread use of Hebrew idioms would make sense to the unlearned English public. He insisted that translation required conversion of Hebrew idioms into real English, not Hebraised English.

If I translate a French book into English, I turn it into English phrase and not into French English. Il fait froid: I say it is cold, not it makes cold, he explained. But the Bible is translated into English words rather than English phrases. The Hebraisms are kept and the phrase of that language is kept. As for example, he uncovered her shame, which is well enough so long as scholars have to do with it, but when it comes among the common people, Lord what gear do they make of it. It is interesting to note that Seldens English makes perfect sense to modern readers until he lapses into the slang of his period. (Gear is here best translated as nonsense!)

Seldens fears proved unfounded. Continuity of usage, through private and public reading of the King James Bible, soon diminished the apparent strangeness of the translation. Hebraic phrasesinitially regarded with some amusement became standard parts of the English language.

English is remarkable in its willingness to invent new words and borrow existing words. Again and again, linguists find changes that reflect encounters with other cultures, so that studying the history of the language is a bit like looking into a verbal melting pot. Hebrew idioms, for example, were easily absorbed into Modern English, even while their origins lay at the dawn of civilization in the Ancient Near East.

So today, when we remind our colleagues that pride goes before a fall, or from time to time accuse them of sour grapes, or pour out our hearts to them about everything under the sun, let us remember that we are using the vocabulary of ancient Israel, given a new lease on life. Maybe there is nothing new under the sun after all. Now wouldnt that be a fly in our ointment.

arachnophilia writes:

since isaiah 45:7 is in PRESENT tense, my answer would be "i think so." it connotates original creation, but it can't be about that creation (literally) because of the tense. that creation would be in the past tense.

I understand what you're saying. However, I think I have partially addressed this above when invoking the Scriptures which indicate the changeless nature of God. In other words, if God doesn't change, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the way he made something one time is most likely the same way he made the same thing at another time.

We can discuss this further when you reply.

If, however, you find this unacceptable (and we can talk about that point when the time comes), then I would like to further illustrate my thought regarding the nature of evil (and God creating it) -- that when people miss the mark (sin), they are effectively breaching God's creation and partaking in the formless chaos which (by your own admission) God did not actually create according to the Scriptures.

For example, consider the following lengthy passage of Scripture from Jeremiah...

Jeremiah 4:17-26 NIV writes:


They surround her like men guarding a field,
because she has rebelled against me,' "
declares the LORD.

"Your own conduct and actions
have brought this upon you.
This is your punishment.
How bitter it is!
How it pierces to the heart!"

Oh, my anguish, my anguish!
I writhe in pain.
Oh, the agony of my heart!
My heart pounds within me,
I cannot keep silent.
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;
I have heard the battle cry.

Disaster follows disaster;
the whole land lies in ruins.
In an instant my tents are destroyed,
my shelter in a moment.

How long must I see the battle standard
and hear the sound of the trumpet?

"My people are fools;
they do not know me.
They are senseless children;
they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil;
they know not how to do good."

I looked at the earth,
and it was formless and empty;
and at the heavens,
and their light was gone.

I looked at the mountains,
and they were quaking;
all the hills were swaying.

I looked, and there were no people;
every bird in the sky had flown away.

I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;
all its towns lay in ruins
before the LORD, before his fierce anger.

There's a few things to note here...

1: We apparently see that people's own actions bring punishment upon themselves -- not God actually making it happen.
2: Although the context is within the concept of battle within this particular period in Jeremiah's time-frame, we still see a contingent cause and effect whereupon disaster follows disaster -- without God directly causing it per se.
3. The people that God nonetheless has chosen (but yet do not know him) are quite skilled in doing evil -- and yet they severely lack understanding and ultimately do not know how to do good.
4. Jeremiah actually draws a parallel between their failure to do God's will (and their ultimate ruin) with an illustration of the earth returning to the formlessness and darkness that previously existed before creation itself -- things which you apparently admit God did not actually create because they were already
there
.
5: The end result of their failure to do God's will appears to be their fruitful land being reduced to a desert wasteland -- yet this is all described happening in conjunction with "before the LORD, before his fierce anger."

Based on this passage, would it be fair to say that people's sins results in God anger -- and that God's anger is symbolic of people falling out of God's creative order into the formless, lightless emptiness which existed prior to creation -- a formless, lightless emptiness which God apparently did not create?

Or stated more plainly, would it be safe to say that transgressing God's will basically make one's life go into deep chaos so to speak -- effectively tapping a primal chaos that, according to your view of the Scriptures, God did not actually create?.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Having said this, clearly there is much still left to be debated. Somewhat against your opinion, however, there are many who have concluded that the initial chapters of Genesis do describe a creation ex nihilo -- and it's not only Christians that have concluded this.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, and they're evidently wrong, considering that genesis describes creation from something else, but never the creation of the original state. this is a quantitative 2+2 kind of thing. genesis either describes it, or it does not.

For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that you are correct that the Hebrews were not talking about a creatio ex nihilo in the very first parts of Genesis. Let's assume that the Hebrews did actually believe some things did indeed exist eternally prior to God making some kind of "divine order" out of some kind of vast eternal chaos.

Even if this is true, we still see an amazing transformation taking place here -- because we are still seeing an amazing contrast in the creation itself which was formerly something radically different from its end result which God made it into. Regardless of whether of the Scriptures are talking about a creation ex nihilo or not, the point still stands, as I said before, in all these cases the thing that is created is used in contrast to the previous state that it was created in. In fact, all these verses still seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created -- even if it is only order from disorder from the very beginning. In this sense, the deep division that is taking place is still displayed by the radical before and after that is conveyed by the usage of the word.

Now, for the sake of emphasizing this part, I felt that I should address some of your previous rebuttals where this stark constrast has already been pointed out...

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In the case of Psalm 51:10 the new thing "created" is a pure heart, which is in contrast to the sinful heart barren of God.

arachnophilia writes:

does isaiah 45:7 use figurative language?


The passage in Isaiah 45:7 may be using figurative language -- and, then again, maybe not. That's ultimately what this debate is attempting to reconcile.

However, even still, your question isn't answering the question arachnophilia. Does the passage in Psalm 51:10 display a "creation" which lies in stark contrast to previous state of existence or not?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In the case of Isaiah 4:5 the new thing "created" is an extremely visible presence of God, which is in contrast to the lack of God's presence that previously existed before the people gathered together to worship him.

arachnophilia writes:

no, the new thing created is a cloud. grammar. etc.

Wait a second here...

Isaiah 4:5 NIV writes:


Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory
will be a canopy.

The northern nation of Israel was totally apostate from the beginning. It was given over to idolatry and did not have one righteous king in its 200 year history. In sharp contrast, the southern nation of Judah was blessed with many righteous kings. It was also blessed with Jerusalem as its capital. And it was blessed even more by having the Shekinah glory of God residing in its Temple.

Many Orthodox Jews (and a minority of Christians too) do believe that the nation of Israel will also serve once more as the home of God's spectacular Shekinah glory. However, they point out that the glory will not be contained within the Holy of Holies. They actually point toward Isaiah 4:5-6 among other verses and say that the Shekinah will hover over the whole city of Jerusalem as a cloud by day and a fire by night, providing a canopy to protect the city from heat and rain.

Whether they are right or wrong, I have to admit that the description in Isaiah 4:5-6 does seem to be oddly reminiscent of former things in the Scriptures, such as the presence which went before the Israelites in the time of Moses, or the glory which filled the Temple in the time of Solomon.

Even the unorthodox Jews seemed to make this connection. For example, in 2 Maccabees (2:4-12), it describes how the Prophet Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant in a cave. He prophesied that the Ark of the Covenant would remain hidden until the time of the return of the Jews and their receiving of Gods mercy. Then, according to this view, the Ark will be revealed and the Shekinah Presence of God will manifest himself just as he did in the time of Moses and Solomon.

In Moses' time we read this:

Exodus 13:21-23 NIV writes:


By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

In Solomon's time we read this:

2 Chronicles 7:1-3 NIV writes:


When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying,

"He is good;
his love endures forever."

Apparently, according to many Orthodox Jews, Isaiah's reference to the future cloud is rather an extended and amplified glory permanently "overshadowing" his Temple -- and this presence is certainly in stark contrast to the "lack of evidence" for God that so many lament over today.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In summary, all these verses seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created. Rather than refashioning an object after its original creation, it seems more appropriate to me to conclude that God is creating something which is in sharp contrast to its previous state of existence.

arachnophilia writes:

as night is in contrast to day. that's where your contrast lies. the verb may indeed imply it, but the isaiah verse still says god creates this, (in contrast to the other state).

So what exactly are you saying?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

For example, while the Jewish theologian, Philo of Alexandria, makes statements that at times reflect the belief that God's creating was actually a shaping of pre-existing matter:

Philo of Alexandria writes:

Just as nothing comes into being out of that which has no existence, so nothing is destroyed into that which has no existence.

arachnophilia writes:

that's the law of conservation of matter, yes.

I personally think so, or at least an early concept of it. However, that's not what Philo was referring to.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

But even in the Philonic view of creation, some ambiguity exists since at times Philo expresses himself along the lines of creatio ex nihilo. For instance, he writes that...

Philo of Alexandria writes:


God, the begetter of all things, not only brought them into sight, but even made things which previously had no existence, being not merely an artificer but the Creator
Himself."

The first quote is from The Eternity of the World.

arachnophilia writes:

is this a commentary on genesis?

The second quote is from On Dreams 1.76.

(Note: For a helpful discussion on Philo's view of creation, see R. Sorabji, Time Creation and the Continuum (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983) 20-39. Sorabji concludes on the basis of Philos de Providentia 1 and 2 that Philo implies that the universe - including its matter - had a beginning; he admits, however, that
Philo in a few minor passages is not always consistent (p. 208).)

http://www.earlychurch.org.uk/article_exnihilo_copan.html#30

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Consequently, a similar thought is expressed in the The Wisdom of Solomon 11:17a, where it says that creation is "out of formless matter [ex amorphou hyles]"

arachnophilia writes:

this is the traditional hebrew thought, yes. we'll get to the exception breifly.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

It must be remembered that Jewish thought was preoccupied with the God of the cosmos rather than with the cosmos itself, with the creatio rather than the ex nihilo. The Hebrew Scriptures seems to have viewed natural phenomena primarily as pointers to God, who created them and whose glory was revealed through them.

arachnophilia writes:

agreed.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

For example, deutero-canonical Catholic book (the intertestamental book) of 2 Maccabees

arachnophilia writes:

we must also realize that maccabees (and the wisdom of solomon) are not within the traditionally accepted hebrew scriptures. these are later books, as you mentioned previously. they are subject to different ideas than genesis. right now we're looking at the older traditions -- later ones, and ones of slightly
non-mainstream groups are bound to disagree.

Yes, but I'm not quoting these references in order to give an "official" Jewish perpective. I'm just noting that various Jewish sources did indeed conclude that the Hebrew Scriptures indicated a creation ex nihilo to them. This doesn't mean it's the "official" Jewish view. It just means that some Jews did conclude that the Hebrew Scriptures were teaching a creation from nothing. In other words, its origins can be traced to a period before Christianity emerged, so the doctrine could not be claimed to be an explicitly Christian doctrine -- although the church certainly did promulgate this belief beyond what was heretofore known previously.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Psalm 102:25-27

arachnophilia writes:

doesn't reinforce creation ex nihilo. it refers to heaven and earth -- not the things genesis describes them as being created from. heaven and earth are meant usually to represent all things -- but in turn, "all things" seems to represent "everything under heaven," and not the stuff above it.

Really?

Nehemiah 9:6 NIV writes:

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

This passage from Nehemiah 9:6 seems to indicate otherwise.

Similarly, let's take a look at Psalm 148:3-5

Psalm 148:3-5 NIV writes:

Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.

Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.

This passage from Psalm 148:3-5 also seems to indicate otherwise.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Moreover, the Scriptures declare that God's word alone is what brings the universe about -- not simply God's word acting upon previously existing matter. Psalm 33 declares that it was by "the word of the Lord" and "the breath of his mouth" that "the heavens were made":

arachnophilia writes:

yes. the heavens. this is a very specific object in hebrew scripture. heaven is a real place in their worldview. or at least it was, and it came to be ingrained in the language that way. (subject to some debate) either way, we're referring back to genesis, and invoking it's language. and genesis describes heaven as being created to affect something that was already there -- the deep.

I think the passages I quoted above seem to contradict some of your assertions here. However, let's take another look at the Scriptures to see what else the Spirit might reveal.

Proverbs 8:22-31 NIV writes:


"The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was appointed from eternity,
from the beginning, before the world began.

When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs abounding with water;
before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the world.

I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.

Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.

Now some may debate who this person was that was there observing everything. Some say that it was Christ prior to his incarnation whereas others believe it was symbolic of Wisdom itself. I'm not interested in debating this part. However, either way you look at it, this passage seems to be referring to a specific period in time before anything was even created -- including most likely the deep itself.

Now one could get technical and say that the Scriptural passage in the Proverbs doesn't actually outright state that God "created" the deep. However, we do have passages of Scripture which talk about God making water from rock. We also have passages of Scripture which indicate that God "turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs" -- all the while not mentioning rain. We have passages of Scripture which indicate that God "made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them." We have passages of Scripture which say, "When there were no oceans..." and "when there were no springs abounding with water." -- implying that there was a time when there was most likely no water on the earth -- the earth which was formless and empty at one point I might add. We also have passages of Scriptures which states that God made the "highest heavens" and the waters above the skies.We also have the passage of Scripture which states from the very beginning that God created the heavens and the earth itself.

Based on all this, it doesn't seem so impossible that God most likely either made the earth first and then the water then naturally issued forth -- or he made the earth with water on its surface in the first place. In other words, the mystery really doesn't seem to be that mysterious based on other passages of Scripture -- even if it isn't explicitly stated in the original chapters of Genesis.

But well take a closer look at the passage down below -- just to check to see if it isn't explicitly stated in the original chapters of Genesis.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Finally, since science now seems to be leaning in the direction of Big Bang cosmology, if this is correct then it seems highly unlikely that the universe always existed anyway -- which is another reason to abandon this line of primitive thought which assumes that the universe always existed.

arachnophilia writes:

not within the scope of our debate. i'm not assigning right or wrong to scripture here, we're looking at what it says and what the people of the time seemed to have thought. it is entirely invalid to go "we know this now -> the bible has to be right -> therefor the bible says what we know now." it doesn't work that way.

Eddy Pengelly isn't within the scope of our debate either. But you don't seem to mind invoking his name for the sake of this debate, eh?

I will attempt to honor my side of the obligation from here on in -- provided you maintain your end as well. :)

arachnophilia writes:

the water is never created.

In your opinion, correct?.

I just did an extensive search for "everlasting", "forever" and "eternal" throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. I found these words used in conjuntion with God, God's promises, his covenants, many tangible things which can be touched, and many intangible things which cannot be physically touched.

Here's some examples of "everlasting"

NIV writes:


Genesis 9:16
Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
Genesis 9:15-17 (in Context) Genesis 9 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 17:7
I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the
God of your descendants after you.
Genesis 17:6-8 (in Context) Genesis 17 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 17:8
The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."
Genesis 17:7-9 (in Context) Genesis 17 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 17:13
Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.
Genesis 17:12-14 (in Context) Genesis 17 (Whole Chapter)

Here's some examples of "forever":

NIV writes:


Genesis 3:22
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."
Genesis 3:21-23 (in Context) Genesis 3 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 6:3
Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with [ Or My spirit will not remain in ] man forever, for he is mortal [ Or corrupt ] ; his days will be a hundred and twenty years."
Genesis 6:2-4 (in Context) Genesis 6 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 13:15
All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring [ Or seed ; also in verse 16 ] forever.
Genesis 13:14-16 (in Context) Genesis 13 (Whole Chapter)

Exodus 3:15
God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, [ The Hebrew for LORD sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew for I am in verse 14. ] the God of your fathersthe God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacobhas sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
Exodus 3:14-16 (in Context) Exodus 3 (Whole Chapter)

Here some examples of "eternal"

NIV writes:

Genesis 21:33
Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God.
Genesis 21:32-34 (in Context) Genesis 21 (Whole Chapter)

Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, 'Destroy him!'
Deuteronomy 33:26-28 (in Context) Deuteronomy 33 (Whole Chapter)

1 Kings 10:9
Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the LORD's eternal love for Israel, he has made you king, to maintain justice and righteousness."
1 Kings 10:8-10 (in Context) 1 Kings 10 (Whole Chapter)

Psalm 16:11
You have made [ Or You will make ] known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:10-12 (in Context) Psalm 16 (Whole Chapter)

Now I admit that I was looking for a very loooong time (my apologies for the delay getting back to you), and I may have missed a reference. However, the odd thing that I noted (if my search was indeed accurate) was that not once is there made mention of everlasting, nor forever, nor eternal in reference to water in the
Hebrew Scriptures -- not once.

If my search was accurate, I wonder why that is so?

You can do your own search if you wish -- because I admit that I may have missed something.

However, if the waters were indeed never created as you insist the Scriptures apparently "infer", certainly the Hebrew Scriptures would testify somewhere to the fact that the waters had somehow always been there, wouldn't they?

If you are aware of a Hebraic Scriptural verse that outright states that the waters existed forever, or were eternal, or were from everlasting (or something similar), I would be interested in reading it. I did find some references to the "everlasting hills" in Deuteronomy 33:15. However, I think Psalm 90:2 effectively renders this reference ineffective because it clearly states, "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." This passage in Psalm 90:2 also seems to render ineffective the passage in Micah 6:2 which states, "...listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth." because, again as the Psalm states, "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God."

Clearly, it appears to me anyway, God was around before anything else was made according to the Hebrew Scriptures themselves.

Oddly, in the Christian Scriptures I have found references to eternal waters -- but that's apparently outside the scope of this debate isn't it?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

According to Psalm 114:7-9 we read...

NIV writes:


Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.

arachnophilia writes:

uh, you know this story, right?

Yes. I do know that story. It reads as follows:

NIV writes:

The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink."

Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?"

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?"

Then Moses cried out to the LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me."

The LORD answered Moses, "Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"

There is another reference here...

NIV writes:


In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, "If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD! Why did you bring the LORD's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!"

Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. The LORD said to Moses, "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink."

So Moses took the staff from the LORD's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and
the community and their livestock drank.

But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the LORD and where he showed himself holy among them.

arachnophilia's reference to Exd 17:6 writes:


Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

Here's the interesting thing though -- there is no reference to a pool of water in either of these accounts. Of course, one can "infer" that there was a large pool based on the account because the Scriptures say, "...and the community and their livestock drank" This certainly seems to imply that there was a lot of water gushing
forth fom the rock.

However, the other Scriptural passage seems to indicate a transfromation of rock into water when it says, "who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water." It doesn't seem to indicate a gush of water bursting from a rock, but rather rock changing into water. For the sake of this discussion, I'm certainly willing to concede that Psalm 114:7-9 is referencing this event when Moses struck the rock. The earlier pasts of the Psalm seem to indicate this...

Psalm 114 NIV writes:

When Israel came out of Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,

Judah became God's sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;

However, and this is my main point here: why are you allowed to cross reference a passage of Hebrew Scripture in the Psalms in order to understand the account of Moses striking the rock more accurately, while I'm apparently being restricted from cross referencing other passages of Hebrew Scriptures in order to understand the creation account in Genesis more accurately? As I said above, if God doesn't change, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the way he made something one time is most likely the same way he made the same thing at another time. At the very least, we have corroborative similarities which can enable one to "infer" that the process whereby the water came is most likely similarly brought forth as well.

arachnophilia writes:

i'm talking about THIS water:

Gen 1:2 writes:


And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Fine. Let's talk about this water.

NIV writes:


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morningthe first day.

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morningthe second day.

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

Now, according to the Scriptures, the first thing we see is God creating the heavens and the earth. No problem.

It's the next verse that begins the crux of this debate. When the earth is described as formless and empty, are we agreed that this means that the Lord had not yet formed the land (with mountains, rivers, etc.) and brought forth life on the earth yet? Or is there some other interpretation that you're reading here?

Similarly, what you feel the Scriptures are describing when it then speaks of the "surface of the deep"? Do you feel that the Spirit of God "hovering over the waters" is referencing back the "surface of the deep"?

These are particularly important questions because whenever I read "the deep" in the Scriptures I'm getting a picture of an ocean.

Some examples can be found here...

NIV writes:


Genesis 7:11
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second monthon that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.
Genesis 7:10-12 (in Context) Genesis 7 (Whole Chapter)

Genesis 8:2
Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.
Genesis 8:1-3 (in Context) Genesis 8 (Whole Chapter)

Proverbs 8:27
I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
Proverbs 8:26-28 (in Context) Proverbs 8 (Whole Chapter)

Proverbs 8:28
when he established the clouds above and fixed s


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by arachnophilia, posted 07-12-2005 3:41 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by arachnophilia, posted 07-18-2005 3:04 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 11 of 102 (224359)
07-18-2005 3:04 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-16-2005 2:54 AM


Whether it is redundant or not doesn't matter. It's what's been asked of you when invited to participate.

right, but we're not JUST debating opinions here. i'm sorry if i've come off as lecturing, but some of these questions are pretty objective. whether or not the bible says something is pretty objective. there is a right and a wrong answer to it.

I found it prudent to invoke science (something which you disagreed with) in order to counter your absolute claims.

well, i think you misunderstand. invoking science is out of the realm of this topic entirely. it has nothing to do with it. we're not debating what REALLY happened at the creation of the universe. we're debating how one particular document tells a story about that event, and philosophies and beliefs of the authors. it is completely immaterial whether or not we believe it to factual, and so factual checking (such as correlations with science) are completely irrelevant to the debate. we're not debating real events, just what is and what is not in this particular book. it's strictly literary.

personally, i suspect you and believe much the same way regarding the creation of the universe. there's no sense debating it really -- we're talking about the creation of EVIL.

Well neither am I just making stuff up. Neither one of us are "making stuff up". We're presenting what we believe the Scriptures are stating. That's the whole point of this discussion -- what we believe the Scriptures are saying in regards to the creation of good and evil, and how God uses these things within the Scriptural context.

well, this is the problem. the bible flat out says god creates and uses numerous times. i posted a good section of them in the original thread, remember? so if you believe the scriptures are stating something else on the matter, well, SOMEONE is just making stuff up. it's not a matter of what we believe the scriptures are stating. what the scriptures state is objective. our interpretations thereof are subjective. but an interpretation cannot void away hundreds of references to god sending evils, and several stating rather bluntly that god creates it.

You can say "you're wrong" if you feel like doing so. I'm just noting that the decision of whether we are either right or wrong in a formal debate is generally not for us to decide.

if you said 2+2=5, and i state that this is incorrect, am i deciding that? or is it an objective right or wrong question?

whether the bible says something or not is a very binary proposition, 1 or 0. right or wrong. if i were to say "nowhere in the bible does it record man seeing a physical god" you could easily prove that i am wrong by showing me exactly where. i would be wrong in this assertion: it's not evidence, it's PROOF. similarly, when you say that the bible doesn't record god using or creating evil, and i point the numerous places it does, then you are wrong. this is completely yes or no. it does, or it does not.

I'm also fairly sure that after this debate is over we will probably continue to hold our individual views.

i don't intend to change my views. they are supported by the bible. my goal is change YOUR opinion on the matter. i believe that god created, creates, and uses evil for the greater good. the bible records, quite plainly, that god creates and uses evil. this isn't even much of a matter of debate. it says it. the second part of that is the bit maybe we should debate, because it's a bit shaky. what do i base this belief on?

However, when you place your thoughts out on a public forum, you're inviting others to critique your thoughts, and how well you've expressed them. To make the claim that you are correct, or that your opponent is incorrect, is actually the redundant part. It's redundant because we already believe that we are correct and that the other side is incorrect -- and it overlooks the fact that we've invited others to judge our thoughts and examine how logically we've expressed them here.

you will find that when i am proven wrong on this forum (and it does happen) i accept it, and learn from it. my posts are occasionally admissions i was wrong. arguing for something may indicate that i think i'm correct. but sometimes it does not. i've been know to take devil's advocate arguments here from time to time. for instance, you will note that above i think i mentioned that i don't totally agree with all of the philosophy i'm arguing for.

Actually, unfortunately it does not appear to be a statement that can be checked. Rather it seems to be a statement that can be examined within the context of what other portions of Scripture have to say. In other words, it needs to be interpreted -- not checked. That's how I see it anyway.

does it describe creation ex-nihilo or not? this is what i'm trying to arguing here. this whole interpretation bit is completely a dodge. does it describe heaven and earth being made from something else, or does it describe them coming into existance out of nothing?

interpretation comes after we know what it says, and only within specific restrictions. we might presume, for instance, that god also created the water he made heaven and earth out of. but we have to keep in mind that genesis never says this, and we are reading that into it. but we can't interpret that water doesn't play into, and heaven and earth and everything else were made STRAIGHT out of nothing. that would contradict the text. so first we have to know, objectively, what the text does or does not say.

Well, this is one of my main points: The LORD apparently does not change according to the Scriptures. So, for example, if it states somewhere that God creates by a certain method, if I see a reference to God creating the same thing elsewhere in the Scriptures, then it seems to me that the Lord has most likely employed that same method for creating that same substance

the LORD may not change, but the way we've talked about him and recorded his actions over 3000+ years sure has. one has only to read through the bible to note that. if that particular verse is true, much of the bible has to interpreted subjectively. read with a grain of salt. which is good for you -- it might mean my verses are wrong. i openly acknowledge this particular weakness.

but the rest of your argument does not logically follow. the LORD not changing does not mean he's a machine. it means that is qualities and personality do not change. not that he doesn't do things a little differently from time to time. one has only to read the two different sets of ten (14?) commandments in exodus 20 and 34. moses breaks the first tablets and has to get a second set. the second set are different. so god, evidently, does not always do things the same way.

Or maybe it's because they never thought about it. As I pointed out elsewhere, Jewish thought was apparently preoccupied with the God of the cosmos rather than with the cosmos itself, with the creatio rather than the ex nihilo. The Hebrew Scriptures seems to have viewed natural phenomena primarily as pointers to God, who created them and whose glory was revealed through them.

yes, and i agreed. this sounds reasonable, and in my experience with the text, it fits.

Furthermore, it is fairly well believed that the Genesis texts were heavily borrowed from the Babylonians. More specifically, the Hebrews seem to have been strongly influenced by them to the point of adopting their beliefs all the while whittling away all the "false gods" within the Babylonian literature. In this sense, things such as "the sun, the moon and the stars" were no longer seen as "gods" but rather physical objects of nature itself which were ordered and organized by one Supreme God -- ie., created by God and not gods in their own right.

To say that the people who wrote Genesis 1 did not believe in creation ex nihilo seems to be seriously overlooking the most likely central reason for writing the Genesis text in the first place -- to testify to the monotheistic deity that they worshipped above all other things, to testify to the Creator over the creation.

yes, but it also stands to reason that the same qualities of the babylonian creation myths would be present in their similar hebrew incarnations. did the babylonians believe in creation ex-nihilo? you seem to be pretty well versed in other ancient cultures, so i'll let you answer and pretend it's not rhetorical. however, the corollary question is one i really don't know the answer to: did ANY culture in the regions (whether or not it bears similar myths) believe in creation ex-nihilo?

There was also a time when people didn't believe in gravity either. But it wasn't because they couldn't see the effects of gravity. It seems more likely that it was because it never occurred to them that a force called gravity even existed in the first place.

yes, well, what's a force? these people were clearly not modern-science minded. they incorporated the science of their day, but only has a backdrops to more important concerns.

Well. I've already discussed some ideas related to this. However, if one is looking for an alternative, then it could very well be an idiom of some sort -- an idiom that if it is translated literally could nonetheless potentially lead to some confusing conclusions.

well, i would say let's examine this possibility, but we already have. i already talked about how evil is used in the old testament. however, this usage does not negate it's literal readings. it's a very close parallel. it's actually more like the word just meants something a little different.

as i've suggested. "evil" meant something else to them. this does not void my point, however. it actually makes it stronger. if they did not believe an objective evil as modern christians do, then who are they holding responsible above all else? how do you suspect they believed, in this case?

However, the Scriptures appear to be most accurately interpreted within its Jewish cultural context.

yes, and even modern jews do not believe in an objective evil. they believe that ha-satan works for ha-shem, the name of the lord. in other words, true evil does not exist to them, god creates and sends evil. what i've basically been arguing for is the (somewhat) traditional and reform judaic philosophy. the cultural context is exactly what i've been arguing.

Actually, probably the largest obstacle when translating one language into another is how to deal with idioms. If you translate idiomatic expressions literally there is a very real chance they will be misunderstood. We understand the common phrase, "It's raining cats and dogs," but if you put that literally into another language it probably won't make much sense at all.

i don't think it makes much sense in english. most idioms have pretty easily understood origins. this one is kind of out there.

or, to quote peter griffin, "how do you turn a phrase?"

If we look to the Christian Scriptures, we see that the text of Matthew 6:22-23 literally reads: "The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is good, your whole body is full of light; but if your eye is evil your whole body is full of darkness..."

"If your eye is good" is a Hebrew saying that means, "if you are generous."

Unfortunately, many English translators have not recognized this Hebrew idiom. Almost all translations preserve the singular, "eye," even though "eyes" would make more sense in English. Only three translations (Good News For Modern Man, New English Bible, New International Version) have recognized the absurdity of "eye." These translations have translated "eyes" in spite of the fact that the original Greek text has "eye."

"eye" to "eyes" is not much of a change at all. most readers accept singular-pluralization problems. for instance, heaven is a singular object, but it's often described in plural. god is a plural noun, but always written as singular (like "scissors" or "pants").

Bearing this in mind, Christ is apparently warning against lack of generosity and nothing else. This fits the context perfectly: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.... You cannot serve both God and money."

sounds reasonable to me. now, let's go back and apply this to the debate. when we run into an idiom in the hebrew text, how do we know it's not meant to be read strictly literally? most of the idioms you run into popularly are ones that stick out and don't make literal sense. how can it literally be raining cats and dogs, you'd ask yourself. and they're generally one liners.

well, we have a one liner. but is it outrageous? well, let's go look at the context of our isaiah verse.

verse 6 describes that all should know that there is none besides god, that god creates everything. verse 8 describes victory, and god creating it. it's possible that the evil god is creating is for the enemy. the very same act of creating good for the hebrews. it sounds to me like god is saying he's the one that chooses the victors -- good for some, bad for others.

sound reasonable?

There's a few things to note here...

1: We apparently see that people's own actions bring punishment upon themselves -- not God actually making it happen.

ok.

4. Jeremiah actually draws a parallel between their failure to do God's will (and their ultimate ruin) with an illustration of the earth returning to the formlessness and darkness that previously existed before creation itself -- things which you apparently admit God did not actually create because they were already there.

much like the flood. it's probably recalling that specific imagery, along with prior to creation.

Based on this passage, would it be fair to say that people's sins results in God anger

agreed.

and that God's anger is symbolic of people falling out of God's creative order into the formless, lightless emptiness which existed prior to creation

sure.

-- a formless, lightless emptiness which God apparently did not create?

sure. out of anger, god destroys and turns his back.

Or stated more plainly, would it be safe to say that transgressing God's will basically make one's life go into deep chaos so to speak -- effectively tapping a primal chaos that, according to your view of the Scriptures, God did not actually create?.

and your argument is that this action is not equatable to evil? god clearly regrets the first time he unmade creation, as he promises he'll never do it again. let's look at an example. this will add to my later point too.

the exile was largely viewed was a response to the evil's israel and judah. the opinion of the time is that god broke his promise because the people broke their end of the bargain. you will see the exile as punishment for human evil all over the major and minor prophetic books. i don't think i need to cite much example, but here's one anyway.

quote:
Eze 6:2 Son of man, set thy face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them,
Eze 6:3 And say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys; Behold, I, [even] I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places.
Eze 6:4 And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken: and I will cast down your slain [men] before your idols.

it mentions idolatry specifically, which is a big, big no-no. so it's safe to say that god's doing this because of human sin. ezekiel goes on to say:

quote:
Eze 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
Eze 6:10 And they shall know that I [am] the LORD, [and that] I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

in god's own prophesy of the exile to ezekiel, god himself calls the exile not only his action, but an evil as well. pay special note that god wants them to know he's not doing this evil in vain, but so that they know god is pissed, and reform their ways. if that's not enough good from evil, note also that much of the old testament was original put together in or shortly after exile. we have the bible because of this evil (in god's own words).

so yes, god does bring men's own sins around on them. and men do bring it upon themselves and deserve it. but god himself also describes this own action as evil, and then uses it bring about good. the idea that returning like punishments for evils is also evil is also central to christianity, btw:

quote:
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

(keep reading til the next verse if you want. it's a little different in philosophy though)

For the sake of this discussion, let's assume that you are correct that the Hebrews were not talking about a creatio ex nihilo in the very first parts of Genesis. Let's assume that the Hebrews did actually believe some things did indeed exist eternally prior to God making some kind of "divine order" out of some kind of vast eternal chaos.

Even if this is true, we still see an amazing transformation taking place here -- because we are still seeing an amazing contrast in the creation itself which was formerly something radically different from its end result which God made it into. Regardless of whether of the Scriptures are talking about a creation ex nihilo or not, the point still stands, as I said before, in all these cases the thing that is created is used in contrast to the previous state that it was created in. In fact, all these verses still seem to clearly indicate a new creative act which stands in stark contrast to the original state in which the object was created -- even if it is only order from disorder from the very beginning. In this sense, the deep division that is taking place is still displayed by the radical before and after that is conveyed by the usage of the word.

yes, and the direct object in the sentance is the thing in stark contrast to the original state, not the original state. when something is created, it is not being destroyed. it's being created. and it's not working backward. so when jesus made wine out of water, it's not saying that jesus made water out of wine.

The passage in Isaiah 45:7 may be using figurative language -- and, then again, maybe not. That's ultimately what this debate is attempting to reconcile.

However, even still, your question isn't answering the question arachnophilia. Does the passage in Psalm 51:10 display a "creation" which lies in stark contrast to previous state of existence or not?

uh, well, you posted an act of creation that was being used figuratively (and accusing me of overliteralization?). creating a pure heart in contrast to an impure one is clearly a figurative usage of the word. if "create evil" and "create good" such a usage?

Wait a second here...

no, i mean, strictly grammatically:

quote:
the LORD will create [...] a cloud [...]

the lord will create a cloud. it might be part of an extended metaphor, but grammatically, the creation it describes is a cloud. on its own, it's not figurative. yes, it's very (purposefully) reminiscent of moses's exodus and the pillar of smoke and fire. that's not the issue. the creation it describes is a rather simple one -- the cloud.

Apparently, according to many Orthodox Jews, Isaiah's reference to the future cloud is rather an extended and amplified glory permanently "overshadowing" his Temple -- and this presence is certainly in stark contrast to the "lack of evidence" for God that so many lament over today.

yeah, sounds reasonable.

So what exactly are you saying?

that good is in contrast to evil. one half of the sentance contrasts the other. creating evil may imply that the evil is stark contrast to good. but the good's in the first half of the sentance, isn't it?

Yes, but I'm not quoting these references in order to give an "official" Jewish perpective. I'm just noting that various Jewish sources did indeed conclude that the Hebrew Scriptures indicated a creation ex nihilo to them. This doesn't mean it's the "official" Jewish view.

it's not a totally accepted one. however, it is modern jewish dogma. you can find lots of sources that talk about it, i'm sure. all i'm saying is that the people who originally wrote genesis did not appear to have believed that way. but even isaiah might have.

This passage from Nehemiah 9:6 seems to indicate otherwise.

still heaven and earth. not the material they were made from.

This passage from Psalm 148:3-5 also seems to indicate otherwise.

yes, probably so. all i'm saying is that the people who wrote genesis never technically indicated god created this bit:

quote:
and you waters above the skies.

Now some may debate who this person was that was there observing everything. Some say that it was Christ prior to his incarnation whereas others believe it was symbolic of Wisdom itself. I'm not interested in debating this part.

me neither. that was easy. :)

However, either way you look at it, this passage seems to be referring to a specific period in time before anything was even created -- including most likely the deep itself.

possibly. would you agree this passage is highly symbolic?

We also have passages of Scripture which indicate that God "turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs" -- all the while not mentioning rain.

not the original act of creation, in genesis 1.

We have passages of Scripture which indicate that God "made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them."

from the deep, or uncovered by the deep, as indicated by genesis 1.

We have passages of Scripture which say, "When there were no oceans..."

made from the gather of the lower water, after the deep as divided.

implying that there was a time when there was most likely no water on the earth -- the earth which was formless and empty at one point I might add.

which is contrary to genesis's narrative, isn't it? when is there not water in genesis 1? the dry land is only collect when god puts all of the water below (of the deep) into one place.

We also have passages of Scriptures which states that God made the "highest heavens" and the waters above the skies.

yes, you might have me there. however, this is evidently a later reading. all i'm saying is that genesis does not describe it, and the early hebrews seemed not to believe in it. i never said they don't change their minds, i've already described one such instance with the usage of satan and evil (you know, back on topic lol).

Based on all this,

no, this is where i think you go wrong. all this was based on genesis, not vice-versa. it's like someone's review of "war of the worlds" on my friends journal (paraphrased): "they copied the ending from independence day." although independence day came out a few years ago, and war of the worlds just came out, and both aliens are killed by a virus, independence day's ending is actually a twist on war of the worlds, not vice versa. you see, war of the worlds was a movie made in the 1950's. before that, it was a radio play by orson welles. and before that, a book by h.g. wells. it has a decidedly longer history than independence day, and the people who wrote id probably had seen, heard, or read war of the worlds.

similarly, genesis a fairly recent text. but it's history goes back a long way. these bits that seem to tell creation stories are based on a reading and interpretation of genesis's legends. the stories in genesis came first, then the later interpretations of them. and the later readings are not always the same, are they? for instance, the spacecraft in the 1950's wotw flew and didn't have legs. in id4, they had dog fights.

Eddy Pengelly isn't within the scope of our debate either. But you don't seem to mind invoking his name for the sake of this debate, eh?

what is within our debate is how the bible can incorrectly be distorted by unacceptable usages of concordances and bible dictionaries to change root word meanings around, something you tried to do. eddy is a classic example of why this is not an intellectually useful technique, or accurate to the text.

the water is never created.

In your opinion, correct?.

in genesis. it never describes the deep being creating. that's all i mean.

Now I admit that I was looking for a very loooong time (my apologies for the delay getting back to you), and I may have missed a reference. However, the odd thing that I noted (if my search was indeed accurate) was that not once is there made mention of everlasting, nor forever, nor eternal in reference to water in the
Hebrew Scriptures -- not once.

it mentions practices involving water:

quote:
Num 19:21 And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.

but i don't really see anything significant, no. this COULD be figuratively talking about that, but it's debatable.

quote:
Psa 36:6 Thy righteousness [is] like the great mountains; thy judgments [are] a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.

If you are aware of a Hebraic Scriptural verse that outright states that the waters existed forever, or were eternal, or were from everlasting (or something similar), I would be interested in reading it.

i suspect you won't find one. all i'm saying is that genesis does not record the creation of the deep. later people might talk about that, but that's a change in the beliefs.

Here's the interesting thing though -- there is no reference to a pool of water in either of these accounts.

yeah. the psalm's being descriptive. moreso than the story. just like they describe creating the deep, where genesis does not.

However, the other Scriptural passage seems to indicate a transfromation of rock into water when it says, "who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water." It doesn't seem to indicate a gush of water bursting from a rock,

what else does "spring" mean? (pool is simply the parallel of spring, btw)

For the sake of this discussion, I'm certainly willing to concede that Psalm 114:7-9 is referencing this event when Moses struck the rock.

i was curious as to what else you thought it could be about? i thought the imagery was rather clear, even if it didn't copy it word for word.

However, and this is my main point here: why are you allowed to cross reference a passage of Hebrew Scripture in the Psalms in order to understand the account of Moses striking the rock more accurately, while I'm apparently being restricted from cross referencing other passages of Hebrew Scriptures in order to understand the creation account in Genesis more accurately?

because, and this is key, i cross referenced backwards. remember when i asked if earlier texts had to be read in light of later ones? well, it makes more sense to do it the other way. the later text is clearly referencing the earlier text. but the earlier text is not referencing the later text.

so, if we want to discuss what psalm 114 is about, we need to know the story of moses and the rock. but if we're reading the story of moses and the rock, we don't need to know psalm 114. that was the whole point of my very first question, to establish a one-way directionality. post-hoc propter-hoc may sometimes be a fallacy, but pre-hoc propter-hoc certainly always is.

As I said above, if God doesn't change, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the way he made something one time is most likely the same way he made the same thing at another time. At the very least, we have corroborative similarities which can enable one to "infer" that the process whereby the water came is most likely similarly brought forth as well.

yes, but as demonstrated by the contradictions, the people evidently DO change. whether or not god himself does. so one person's figurative language may not be truly indicative of another's descriptive.

Now, according to the Scriptures, the first thing we see is God creating the heavens and the earth. No problem.

It's the next verse that begins the crux of this debate. When the earth is described as formless and empty, are we agreed that this means that the Lord had not yet formed the land (with mountains, rivers, etc.) and brought forth life on the earth yet? Or is there some other interpretation that you're reading here?

sounds fine to me.

Similarly, what you feel the Scriptures are describing when it then speaks of the "surface of the deep"? Do you feel that the Spirit of God "hovering over the waters" is referencing back the "surface of the deep"?

probably.

These are particularly important questions because whenever I read "the deep" in the Scriptures I'm getting a picture of an ocean.

Genesis 7:11
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second monthon that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.

this reference is not suprising. look closely at what's happening here. god opens the windows of heaven, and fountains of the deep. in the hebrew world view, there was water above the sky/heaven, and water below the ground. this water was the deep of genesis 1. it's not exactly an ocean in the flood -- it's god returning to the drawing the board. it's very symbolic of god undoing creation with the same thing he used to create it.

Isaiah 51:10, where it clearly refers to the ocean;

probably. i'm not sure they thought there was an ocean floor. so the water below their land was probably also the sea. when god makes the oceans, he does it by collecting the deep below into one place. it is generally associated with the ocean, yes. it was a great unknown to the hebrew people, and apparently an object of fear (jonah/leviathan). even today, it's the last great frontier, right? it's basically viewed as the abscence of creation, i think.

Looking over these things, I'm reading that the Scriptures are describing an ocean of some kind when speaks of the "surface of the deep", an ocean that is apparently covering the earth.

oceans weren't made yet. think a little bigger. "surface" may be a bit confusing, as it appears to be all of everything. god has to create heaven to divide it and make an air pocket for us to live in.

Similarly, I read that when the Spirit of God is "hovering over the waters", it is most likely is referencing back the "surface of the deep" -- most likely some kind of primordial ocean covering the earth -- especially in light of what the later passages say in Genesis 1.

modern translations usually render this "a wind from god swept over the waters" or some variant.

A clear reading of this text appears to be describing God placing some kind of atmosphere (or sky) in between the waters to as to divide it. In other words, by "making the expanse", he is effectively separating the water under the expanse from the water above it.

yes, although the expanse is generally described as a solid object. (whether or not they thought it was one)

Lest one thinks this raising up from "under" the ocean itself in order to appear visible "above" the waters is foreign to Hebrew thought, I would remind you that this concept does appear quite clearly in later Hebrew writings as follows:

Psalm 104:5-10 writes:

never again to cover the earth? that's pretty plainly a FLOOD reference, not a creation reference. covering the earth with the deep is exactly what happened in the flood.

It is interesting to note that this particular darkness could be "felt".

now THAT sounds like an idiom to me. would you agree?

Are you now saying that we must restrict this debate to the very first chapter in Genesis alone?

no, i'm not. i'm just saying that we should read it without resorting to other scripture that interprets it. for now, at least. other scripture invariable says differing things. it was written at different times, by different people, in a culture that had changed a great deal. if we want to understand the text, we need to understand it in the context it was written in. which is NOT the rest of the bible. it's not even the rest of book sometimes, like in genesis.

what i'm saying is that the psalms are not a valid tool for interpreting genesis, but genesis is a valuable tool for interpreting the psalms. if one thing references another. you can't use the reference to try to read teh subject. it just doesn't work that way logically.

If so, would you like me to restrict the debate so that any information which might disagree with your points should avoided altogether?

yes, could you do that? it'd be real handy. :P

I ask this because it seems to me that you are basically trying to restrict the debate in an attempt to confirm your own opinions regarding the first chapter of Genesis.

but remember, this is the question i asked at the getgo: whether or not we should read earlier scripture in light of later scripture. and i suspect this is a point we will continue to disagree on. i'm trying to explain why doing this can be an invalid practice. if you'd like, i'll be completely fair and disregard the isaiah verse (and the amos one i hope we'll get to) and we'll stick to genesis 2 and 3, which is where this whole mess started. my point is entirely defensible from those two chapters alone. i'm only using isaiah (and eventually amos) because they happen to agree with genesis in this regard.

It's apparently sitting on the surface of the newly created earth. Why is this such a mystery?

but is not the earth.

Maybe it does say it. Is it possible that you're reading the text too literally to actually see it?

there's a picture of myself on my door. well, ok, it's not REALLY a picture of me. it's a bunch of quarter inch squares in 8 shades of gray. doesn't look a thing like me. i'm not gray, i'm kind of fleshy colored. and i'm not made of little squares. but... if you squint your eyes a little it looks just like me. photorealistic even.

see, it's not actually picture of me. what you see when you squint your eyes is something our brains do. they fill in gaps, and trick us. we actually see a lot, but our brains are incapable of handling that amount of information. so it discards large portions of our sensory memory before we even process it. then, our brain uses a system of symbology and memory to trick us into thinking we're seeing something that we're actually not.

now, i know what i look like. when i squint my eyes and look at this picture, i see incredible facial detail. i see eyeballs, irises, a nose, facial hair, stuble. but if i focus my eyes on it, none of it's actually there at all. my iris is a gray square. yet when i squint, it's round. my stuble is a field of light gray, with square edges. but when i squint, it's hair follicles. my brain thinks it's seeing these things because it recognizes the shapes as a human face, and my own human face. yet i am also intimately aware of what is there and what is not -- i painted every square by hand.

i'm not into the "squint your eyes a little" method of bible reading. see, just like facial recognition, we've all heard the stories of the bible. we know their shapes and plots. we think we know certain things about them, but those things are often not actually in the text. it's much more like those gray squares. for instance, most people think the fruit adam got kicked out of the garden for was an apple. others, just to be contrary i suspect, think it's a pomegranite. but it's not actually in the text. it never says what fruit adam ate, but it's probably not something we have today. everybody thinks they know the story.

what i'm asking of you is that you look a little closer and see the pixels. see what detail is there, and what detail is not there. then we can take a step back and talk about the larger picture, and what the whole thing is telling us.

but is there water OUTSIDE of the heavens?

According to the Scriptures, apparently yes.

yes, i know. but not science. that's why i've been saying that science really has no place in this debate.

Ok, at this point I think I see that we are coming close to the end of the debate. I'm not saying that we are nearly finished the debate. However, I think the points you've noted above are going to be the focus of our "closing arguments" so to speak.

i'm not even close to done. we haven't gotten through my first verse yet.

What is "the deep" presented in the very first chapter of Genesis? Do you think it is "nothingness" or some kind of "ocean" covering the newly created earth as I've suggested above? The Scripture certainly seem to reinforce the fact that "the deep" was most likely an ocean, as it is used elsewhere for this exact designation.

Or, if you do feel that "the deep" is indeed a reference to nothingness, then what is nothingness?

it also clearly is symbolic of nothingness. but it is still, in itself, physical.

Can "nothingness" even exist if there is not something around that "exists" to contrast it to?

not sure that can be made sense of.

Or, if you feel "the deep" is the "absence of things", then could you define this further? Would the deep be considered the "absence of God's order" in order to hold things together? Would the deep be the absence of "organized structure" so that "in the beginning" might be more of a reference to some type of primordial quantum foam (sorry about the scientific reference -- I couldn't think of anything else that could adequately describe "material that is at the same time nothing").

possibly. but in hebrew terms, it's described as a liquid, and the same liquid that makes up the ocean.

What exactly do you mean by the "absence of things"?

"unformed and void"

f we're sharing our personal opinions, I think the terms of good and evil are actually akin to fifth dimensional measurements -- because they transcend time and space itself as God employs them to measure the spirit of all things as they relate to God's will.

nietzsche would disagree. :P

well, this may be a valid philosophy, but it brings up some pretty grave problems. what to do with god's actions that are evil?

But I've never disagreed with the concept of God allowing evil to happen have I? We're not debating this at all as far as I can tell.

well that would be kind of silly, yes. because obviously there IS evil. the only other argument that could be made is that god is too weak to stop it. and i don't think you're making that argument.

For the sake of this discussion, whether or not god created (original) evil definitely matters -- in fact, it was the whole point of us engaging in this discourse in the first place..

alright, simple question then. if you believe god created everything out of nothing (as your name implies) why is evil not one of those things god created, similar to the dimensions like time and space, or the laws of physics/mathematics? see, we're actually arguing each others' points here. you believe god created everything -- darkness, the deep, etc. then invariably you should believe he also created evil. i believe god did not create darkness or the deep. but i believe god created evil.

so basically, we're both hypocrites. :D

The Ten seem to be moral laws which God expected everyone to abide by to some extent.

that's a separate debate. there's good evidence that the ten commandments were directed ONLY to jews as a contractual agreement for the exodus. (paul probably would have agreed)

Could you expand on this idea more?

that evil as an exterior force is not represented in the torah? i could be mistaken, of course, but i don't recall and prominent references until chronicles invents satan. and even then...

If we see an example of God creating darkness by a certain process, such as by separating it from light in one passage, could this be carried over to other passages which refer to God creating darkness even though it doesn't explicitly state how God created the darkness?

except, and look at the details now, the darkness existed before the light.

This actually jives very much which the concept of evil as being the absence of God -- or to phrase it using your own words here, evil is the "null state" of the universe.

maybe my issue is that i refuse to believe that.

But isn't God "ever present" so to speak? In God's timeless sense, I don't so why something being present tense limits God's creative process.

no, it's not. that's not at all what i'm saying -- i'm saying it's a continuing action, something happening currently. not the creation in genesis 1.

Ah...My apologies. I quoted the wrong passage there.

I meant the another passage. I'm looking this up further..

the only other one is right next to the one you cited, and it just repeats the same thing. the other verse might have been confusing, the numbers are different in the hebrew than the english.

There is another passage which uses it this way -- even I've quoted the wrong one (I'll get this part fixed later).

same passage. verse numbers are arbitrary. it's just repitition.

But I'm not talking about a literal cutting. I'm talking about a change which illuminates an allegorical division upon creation which contrasts the former state with the latter state.

I would like to talk about this further on the next message.

and that change is still the creation of darkness and evil, not their destruction. it is in contrast to good and light, sure. but it's still creation of darkness and evil -- there's no dodging that.

No. Three.

no, as i showed, the bara' in the cutting reference was changed to fit a strange wording. it actually refers to creating clearing, the open land. not cutting the trees. even though the bible dictionary misrenders this, it still lists it as follows:

quote:
1) to create, shape, form
 a) (Qal) to shape, fashion, create (always with God as subject)
  1) of heaven and earth
  2) of individual man
  3) of new conditions and circumstances
  4) of transformations
 b) (Niphal) to be created
  1) of heaven and earth
  2) of birth
  3) of something new
  4) of miracles
 c) (Piel)
  1) to cut down
  2) to cut out

2) to be fat
 a) (Hiphil) to make yourselves fat


see? two? keep in mind this just catalogs the usages, and sometimes (poor) scholarly guesses. for instance, the same dictionary defines behemoth and leviathan as dinosaurs, and we know that's not true.

I don't have a Bible Dictionary. I can reference some concordance terms within the NIV Study Bible. But most things I've read have been on-line discussion which I evaluate and critique on my own -- not necessarily from other people's thoughts though..

http://www.blueletterbible.org/ is very helpful. but like i said, don't rely on the bible dictionary feature. personally, i'm just going to learn hebrew.

Actually, the Sabbath is being created in that day -- contradicting the idea that God is notcreating anything in that day.

and, you know, semmantics are all well and good. but the point of the sabbath is that nothing went on.

I would like to note that God finishing (or ceasing) his work on the seventh day in no way seems to imply that God was no longer involved within his Creation.

yes, god continues to create and work miracles. last i checked, you were the one putting up a fight on this, insisting that god always has to do the same things.

For example, if humanitys ultimate goal was to reside in heaven, and the souls of Adam and Eve were still very much present within Gods Creation yet still not dwelling in heaven, then could one also infer that Gods work was not completed for humanity at his time -- even though the universe itself was indeed completed?

i hold a similar belief. i'm an "evolutionary christian." i think we're a work in progress.

Or stated differently within the context of a personal relationship with God here on earth, could one also say that God finished the material creation in order to focus exclusively on and indwell within his greater spiritual creation, the soul of man?

i think all creation is more or less designed so that we mature into something better god could have created on his own flat out. evil is an integral part of that -- we need to be able to make choices, and bad ones at that. because otherwise the good ones don't mean anything.

Gods work associated with the soul of man seems to be easily implied within the Hebrew Scriptures

yes, i agree.

Like I said, for the sake of this discussion, let's assume that you're correct that the Hebrew did not believe in a creation from non-existence. Even still, we're still observing a creation of order from disorder. This is not a false contrast -- and I'm not forcing it into the text either. This is plainly stated all throughout the Scripture, most especially in the Genesis account of creation.

no, i meant on the isaiah verse. you're imposing a false contrast. it says "... good .... evil" and you're adding "... (good)" on the end. of course evil is in contrast to good. and vice versa. the contrast's already in the verse, we don't need to throw any others in to get it to read the way you want it to. it says "i create good; i create evil." contrast, but similarlity in their creation. the other contrast isn't there.

It would seem that time itself is something which belongs to the more temporal realm of human existence -- and that God is not subject to these limitations.

I don't think space-time has always existed. It seems to be more the result of a "finite" creation which drops from an infinite state and slowly returns to the infinite state it began from. I'll explain this further when I have a chance..

yeah, but at the same time, space-time kind of defines the limit on time, doesn't it? so even though it's of finite length, and has a beginning, technically it's also always existed: there was no time before it. it's existed for ever.

forever just happens to be finite.

Yes. but the question still remains: How did God create these things.

damned if i know. do you know? heck, if i knew, i'd be god.

Here's the questions then: Does good and evil even have substance? How does one actually create good and evil?

i don't think so. and i don't know. do you have an answer?

And yet...by invoking its symbols, is Isaiah not partaking in the timelessness of God above time-space itself? Is God not outside the realm of time-space yet still defined by the higher dimensions of good and evil?

don't get where the second bit comes in. isaiah is basically flat out saying that god is above both good and evil -- he can be defined in both terms. two ends of the spectrum. sounds like isaiah is saying god is not confined by those terms.

these are about the simplest sentences you can have. it's like you're reading "i goto class" as "i skip class" because "skip" can be a method of "going." i'm sorry, that's just not what it says.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, That's not what I'm saying. I've explained this fairly carefully too.

then what are you doing? how ARE you trying to deny that the bible quotes god as saying "i create evil?"

The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good.

I see nothing in this sentence about specifcally focusing on what the writers of the Scriptures thought they meant when writing the works.

and you know what? i don't either. so let's not go into what the authors "really" meant. let's read it and see what it says.

quote:
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

that's what it says. according to scripture, god creates evil. can we move on now?

This is about understanding the Scriptures in our modern day according to what we know today. While I respect your determination to attempt to grasp what you feel the witers of the Scripture intended to mean, this is ultimately not about that.

has the meaning of "I make peace, and create evil" changed, do you suspect? what does it mean today, besides "I make peace, and create evil?"

Many times the writers of the Scriptures themselves did not understand the revelations that they themselves were recording.

i don't believe that for a second.

. They didn't even understand what they were writing according to their own words within the Hebrew Scriptures themselves. In fact, they left them for later generation to understand more clearly as time pressed on and more knolwedge furthwer illuminated their writings.

book, chapter, verse?

In this later regard, the concept of evil being the absence of God made a lot of sense to the Rambam -- an extremely influential thinker within Judaism. It also made sense to the Catholic Scholastics and Muslim thinkers as well.

and yet evil being the abscence of god is clearly refuted by this verse we're supposedly discussing, as well as the several dozen i posted previously. it just doesn't fit the bible, which continually describes god being aware of, understanding, being present for, allowing, and even controlling evil. from your source:

quote:
He begins with the assumption that Gods created world is thoroughly good. Contrary to the claim of [the biblical book of] Isaiah, then, God cannot have created evil in any of its forms.

let's examine this assumption then, shall we? it stands to reason that if the assumption the whole logic is built upon is wrong, then it the logic that follows is also wrong.

so, is there evil in the garden?

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 07-18-2005 03:11 AM


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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 102 (224395)
07-18-2005 10:40 AM


Topic folk
In the OP the scope was described as "The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good."

We seem to have wandered quite far afield.


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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 13 of 102 (224461)
07-18-2005 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by AdminJar
07-18-2005 10:40 AM


Re: Topic folk
yes, i think we are. i was going to suggest we quit this whole creation bit -- it actually has very little to do with debate. it came up as a side comment in the analysis of why the isaiah verse in question is unusual.

the issues i would like focused on are mostly in quote boxes in my above post:

quote:
Eze 6:9 And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.
Eze 6:10 And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.

i suggest we stick to addressing this point in conjunction with original isaiah verse:

quote:
Isaiah 45:7

I form the light, and create darkness:
I make peace, and create evil:
I the LORD do all these things.


as well as the amos verse i mentioned previously in the conversations that lead up to this debate, as was next on my list of things to bring up:

quote:
Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done [it]?

i would also like to address something that came up off-topic, but directly applies, from mr. ex-nihilo's source on ex-nihilo:

quote:
He [Maimonides] begins with the assumption that Gods created world is thoroughly good. Contrary to the claim of [the biblical book of] Isaiah, then, God cannot have created evil in any of its forms.

i think our next route of discussion should be to examine this assumption, since it is being used to directly contradict the verse in isaiah. but if that's too much for now, we can hold off. these posts are getting rather long.


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This message is a reply to:
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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 3898 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 14 of 102 (224551)
07-19-2005 12:46 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by AdminJar
07-18-2005 10:40 AM


Re: Topic folk
Adminjar, which subject did you feel we were drifting far from?

I thought the creation account was a fair discussion since it uses some the same Hebrew words for create as the Isaiah passage did -- the Isaiah passage that talks about God creating good and evil.

When you read the statement...

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

The scope: the nature of evil and its ultimate origin according to the Scriptures -- and how God employs evil to bring about good."

...what is considered fair game for discussion?

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 07-19-2005 12:48 AM


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 83 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 15 of 102 (224556)
07-19-2005 1:54 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-19-2005 12:46 AM


Re: Topic folk
I thought the creation account was a fair discussion since it uses some the same Hebrew words for create as the Isaiah passage did

well, so do a lot of other passages. using passages to show predominant usage is ok (even if trying to show that "create" doesn't actually mean "create" is kind of silly). but we're debating something that doesn't really have much to do with the topic. we're not debating where the universe came from -- we're debating where evil came from.

...what is considered fair game for discussion?

i think a ruling on this might be in order, actually. although in the interest of fairness, i think someone besides jar alone should do it -- i think jar and i hold much the same position, and i don't want it to seem like the mods are playing favourites. i've also suggested the direction the topic should probably be moving.

but we can't even agree on the first point. i would also like a ruling on what stands as reasonable evidence that "I [the LORD] create evil" actually means god creates evil. this seems like comon sense to me, especially in light of the usage of evil i already demonstrated, and number of similar mentions in the text. perhaps i should put the ball in your court, and ask you to demonstrate why it's a euphemism or idiom and really means something else (other than what i said it means) in light of it's context and usage in the bible.

but if we can't get past this bit, that god occasionally creates evil in the present tense, we'll never get to the next two: that god creates all evil, and that god first created evil. these are relatively easily demonstrated from scripture, if i can just get you to agree first off to take it at face value.

then we can get to the interesting part: how god uses evil. once we agree on the p'shat, we can talk about the remez and the drash. the problem is the foundation, you don't build a very strong statue with feet of clay.


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This message is a reply to:
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