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Author Topic:   Biblical Creation / An Introduction
Mister Pamboli
Member (Idle past 6036 days)
Posts: 634
From: Washington, USA
Joined: 12-10-2001

Message 10 of 24 (5547)
02-26-2002 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Jet
02-21-2002 7:27 PM

Originally posted by Jet:
There are several verses that clearly reveal the "Ex Nihilo" idea of creation, John 1:3. The Greek word translated "made" is "Ginomai(ghin'-om-ahee)" and means "cause to be", "to become", "come into being", and while some may choose to argue that this can also mean to create or make from something already existing, it is an inaccurate definition of the term and will not fit in with the entire context of the preceding and following verses.

I’m not going to argue too much with ginomai here except to say that the etymology is a bit circular and that this kind of contextualization of meaning can be misleading. There is no real evidence that ginomai has a special meaning of “creating from nothing” or “coming into being from nothing” – it has a wide range of meaning around “becoming” For example, Paul uses it in Romans 7:3 “So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man,” Can you guess which of the English words translates ginomai? “Married” Ginomai is a very flexible word with a wide range of meanings.

There is no need to try to narrow it down to something very specific to suit your purpose. The sentences “The cook took some ingredients and created a meal” and “God created the world” don’t have different “meanings” of create – any special meaning in the second sentence comes from your presumptions of what God did to create the world. Similarly, if I say “Kruschev banged the table with his shoe”, the word “bang” doesn’t acquire a new meaning of “to hit with a shoe.” The first chapter of John elaborates a philosophy of creation which describes what he intends by “ginomai” – but that doesn’t mean the “dictionary definition” changes. It’s just words in context.

Please don’t get me wrong – I love the gospel of John dearly, the opening verses are among the most beautiful words ever written. But we don’t need to shape them to our own ends.

[QUOTE][b]"Bara'(baw-raw') and "Asah(aw-saw')" are two words from Genesis that are used in describing the act of creation. One carries the clear distinction of making something from nothing, while the other carries the clear distinction of making something from something already having been created. [/QUOTE]


You’ll be interested in this … here is a creationist view that this distinction is wrong …

I hope I make my point that one need not look for special meanings of words that legitimize a viewpoint when understanding the Bible. I think this comes from a fundamentalist view that the word of God must somehow be precise and inerrant in a way that requires its vocabulary to perfectly express the meaning intended: one ends up taking a position of “if this meaning renders the Bible perfectly accurate then this must be the real meaning of the word”, even if that requires a usage totally unique in the annals of ancient literature. You haven’t gone nearly that far, but do you see the danger?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Jet, posted 02-21-2002 7:27 PM Jet has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by Jet, posted 06-10-2002 7:26 AM Mister Pamboli has not yet responded

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