Response to criticism posted on the 14th. With regard …

Comment on Video show LSU undermining church doctrine by Gerald Brown.

Response to criticism posted on the 14th.

With regard to the creation of light on the first day, I believe it is helpful to notice that the Hebrew word for “light” in verse 3 is ore (Strong’s H216), which differs from the word for “light” in verse 14 which is maw-ore’ (Strong’s H3974). We don’t notice the distinction between these two words for light when we read the text in English, but these two words convey a difference in the intensity and visible manifestation of the light between the first day and the fourth day. The light in verse 3 is an illumination like early sunrise before the sun actually comes up, but not a bright light such as the sun makes on a clear day. The illumination in verse 3 is a shrouded light like the amount of light on an overcast day, whereas the word for light in verse 14 is the revelation or appearance of the sources of light or the luminaries. Verse 14 tells of the bright light of direct sunlight or such as a spotlight or a dazzling chandelier might provide. Verse 3 tells us that light appeared in the dense darkness and God established the day and night cycle with this shrouded light. However, it is not until day 4 that the bright light of a visible sun strikes the surface of the Earth.

The first word of Genesis 1, rê’shîyth (ray-sheeth’), indicates the Earth, sun, moon, solar system, stars, and universe were created by God a long time ago, but the Earth remained unorganized and useless until the events beginning in verse 3. The atmosphere around Earth was so dense that no light could penetrate through to reach the ocean surface. Since the sun marks our sense of time, the surface of Earth existed without any time marker before light was allowed to reach the surface. On day one, God changed the atmosphere enough to allow some of the sun’s light to penetrate the dense cloud cover of the Earth and establish the daily time cycle. In the context of the story of creation, the absence of light before day one tells us there was an absence of any time marker. The sun and moon are given to mark the days, months, years, and Elohiym’s appointment times.

Because the Earth is mentioned in verse 1 as having been created in the distant past and we know planet Earth revolves around the sun, so the sun, moon, and stars were also created in the distant past. Some of the sun’s light was allowed to penetrate the dense darkness on the first day, but it was not until the fourth day of organizing Earth as a biosphere that the sunlight had burned off the cloud cover enough so the surface of the Earth was fully exposed to the sun.

The sun, moon, and stars were there from the time God created the solar system and universe in the distant past, but it would now be important for the creatures made in the next two days to have a visible sun and daily time cycle. The daily time cycle is also important to keep track of God’s appointment times with us. We are told on day four that God has an entire set of sacred appointment times planned for us, and this is stated before the weekly day of rest arrives on day seven.

Please notice that, while God is identified as the creator of these sources of light in verse 16, verse 14-16 do not say that God created the sun, moon, and stars on the 4th day of organizing planet Earth as a place to live. The fourth day of creation is merely the first day when light from the luminaries (the sun, moon, and stars) could land on the surface of the Earth. My translation of verses 14-16.

14Then Elohiym said, “Let luminaries appear in the sky to divide the day from the night. Let them serve as signs to mark the beginning of days, years, and my sacred appointment times 15as they shine in the sky and shed light on the Earth” and it was done.
16 Elohiym created two great lights, the sun to shine during the day and the moon to shine at night. He made the stars also. 17Elohiym established them in the sky to shed light on the Earth, 18to rule during the day and at night, and to divide the light from the darkness; Elohiym was pleased with His work. 19There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

On day five, God made water life and the birds.

On day six, God made the land animals and humans. Twice He declared it was good, first after making the land animals and then after making man.

Byron Comp wrote on the 14th: “One other point: you don’t capitalize the word “spirit” where you refer to the third Person of the Godhead and His role in the creation process. Is this intentional?”

The word rûach (roo’-akh) in verse 2 is the ordinary word for breath or wind, and is not written in the Hebrew as a proper noun so that it should be capitalized to indicate a person. Hebrew letters do not have capital or lower case alternatives, so it is the sentence structure that indicates a proper noun when a word like rûach (roo’-akh) appears in the text. In its ordinary use, the word rûach (roo’-akh) is not the proper name of a person. While the initial creation of the universe and planet Earth is mentioned in verse 1, no creative action is described in verse 2 where rûach (roo’-akh) appears in the text. Making this instance of rûach (roo’-akh) a proper noun in the English is done so only because of the bias of the translator and I believe misrepresents the Hebrew text. Translating rûach (roo’-akh) as the breath of Elohiym was intentional because that is how the text literally reads.

Ron D Henderson wrote: “Remember this folks, English or any other language is the same.” Obviously, Ron has never struggled with translating words and phrases from one language to another to capture the meaning and inflection of the original author. Just the opposite of what Ron stated is actually the truth: all languages are different. Sentence structure, syntax, idiomatic expressions, and every other aspect of one language is different from every other language. Often times there is no direct word-for-word comparison from one language to another so that the translator is required to make a best estimate of the meaning. This is the primary reason there are so many translations of scripture and all of them are valuable in one way or another. Ron accuses me of misapplying scripture, but he’s only provided a theoretical example of a misapplication and has not identified any errors in my translation.

There is nothing in what I’ve translated that endorses or promotes evolution. The Earth did not evolve during the many years from when Elohiym created planet Earth until the time He began to organize it into a viable place for life. The text is certain that for all those years it remained a chaotic and useless place. There is a certain sense in which the hovering of Elohiym over the surface of the waters connotes His protecting it from any changes that could be said to be evolutionary. All the events of creation week occur within the six literal days of Genesis 1.

Moreover, none of this diminishes the fact that the creation of the universe in the distant past, as well as all the events of creation week in Genesis 1, took place at the direct and specific command of Elohiym. None of His creative power demonstrated in the distant past had become infirmed over the years. The Creator of the universe was just as agile and powerful in organizing planet Earth into a biosphere as He had been in bringing the universe into existence at its origin.



Gerald Brown Also Commented

Video show LSU undermining church doctrine
Richard Meyers wrote: “The earth was created in six days and while many will believe a lie, many will not.”

While I strongly believe in the creation record of Genesis 1, the sentiment expressed in this statement — that the Earth was created in six days — is actually part of the problem. Genesis 1 was written in Hebrew and the Hebrew does not say that planet Earth was created in six days. Genesis 1:1-2 deal very briefly with the creation of the universe, of which planet Earth is a part. My translation: “In the distant past Elohiym created the universe and the Earth. 2The Earth was chaotic and useless, and darkness covered the surface of the oceans, while the life-giving breath of Elohiym hovered peacefully over the waters.” Allow me to unpack this a bit.

In verse 1, this time period is a reference to what Elohiym has already done in the distant past, in an undefined time long, long ago. It is roughly equivalent to the well-known opening line of many fairy tales: “once upon a time…” Moses is telling the reader that at some undefined time in the past, perhaps millions, billions, or trillions of years ago, Elohiym acted to bring the universe and planet Earth into existence. This word sets the context in which the God of the universe turns His attention to planet Earth to change it from an unorganized mud-ball in the universe to a vibrant biosphere.

The word translated heavens is shâmayim, and is not just a reference to the atmosphere where birds fly and clouds move, but can include the wide expanse of the sky in the sense of where all the celestial bodies can be observed. This wide expanse with everything in it is the entire universe. This word is used seven times in the first chapter of Genesis, and in four places it indicates a reference to space beyond the Earth’s atmosphere (vs. 1, 14, 15, 17), while in three places (vs. 8, 9, & 10), the word means the Earth’s atmosphere. This word is used again in Genesis 2:4 after the Earth has been turned into a place suitable to support life and seems to mean the Earth and its atmosphere.

Along with having created the universe, Elohiym created planet Earth where nearly all the action recorded in scripture is about to take place. Planet Earth is about to become center stage of the universe where important events will occur that will reveal the true character of this creator Elohiym.

Verse 2 expresses a contradiction in the observable value of planet Earth before creation week as unorganized, chaotic, desolate, worthless, and useless, and the peaceful contentment of Elohiym in the midst of this. The Earth is tôhû (to’-hoo), which means to lie at waste, in ruin, to be desolate, unorganized, chaotic, or to be worthless. The Earth is also bôhû (bo’-hoo), which means to be empty, vacant, or useless. The Earth is shrouded in thick clouds so that the surface of the Earth is always dark. In contrast to this, the spirit of Elohiym is described as being content with this situation.

The word for spirit is rûach (roo’-akh) and is the ordinary word for wind or breath. This is a way of indicating that the life-giving breath of Elohiym was present during this long expanse of time into the distant past, but had, as yet, not engaged in any commands that would organize the Earth into a place of value.

Elohiym is said to be râchaph (raw-khaf’), that is, hovering or fluttering over the waters. The KJV translates this as moving. However, it is not moving in the sense of having a direction or destination, but in the sense of being present like a mother bird fluttering to cover her nest. The word also conveys a sense of calmness and being relaxed, of being at rest and peaceful.

The final word in verse 2 is mayim (mah’-yim), which is translated to be waters, but also includes all kinds of fluids. The clouds of the atmosphere would also be part of the fluids of the Earth over which the presence of Elohiym presides. Though planet Earth has no obvious value before the six days of creation, the presence of Elohiym surrounds the planet and He is calmly content with its condition.

Verse 3 begins the creative statements and acts of Elohiym to transform the chaotic, worthless, and useless mud-ball of planet Earth into a vibrant biosphere suitable to support all kinds of living things. This is the beginning of the counting of the six literal days of creation week, but it is not the beginning of the existence of planet Earth. While Elohiym is definitely the creator of planet Earth, scripture clearly tells us the Earth itself was already in existence for a long period of time prior to the events that begin with verse 3.

There are all sorts of other interesting things one can learn about the words of Genesis 1 & 2, but this much should aid in helping people understand the Hebrew context of Genesis 1, what we should understand the six days of creation to apply to, and sorting out the controversy between some of the issues in the evolution – creation disagreement. The universe and planet Earth are very old, but the events of creation week are relatively young.

Gerald Brown