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shiloh357

Hebrew Professor and the Gap Theory

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THE INTERPRETATION THAT THE EARTH "BECAME" WASTE AND VOID HAS BEEN DISCUSSED FOR CLOSE TO 2,000 YEARS, as pointed out by the late Arthur Custance in his book Without Form and Void: A Study of the Meaning of Genesis 1:2

 

Actually it hasn't, not in the form that it takes today.  The modern Gap Theory is NOT the debate that was taking place centuries ago.  

The earliest known recorded controversy on this point can be attributed to Jewish sages at the beginning of the second century.

The Hebrew scholars who wrote the Targum of Onkelos, the earliest of the Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, rendered Genesis 1:2 with an Aramaic expression Dr. Custance translates as "and the earth was laid waste" (1988, p. 15). The original language evidently led them to understand that something had occurred which had "laid waste" the earth, and they interpreted this as a destruction.

The early Catholic theologian Origen (186-254), in his commentary De Principiis, explains regarding Genesis 1:2 that the original earth had been "cast downwards" (Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1917, p. 342).

In the Middle Ages the Flemish scholar Hugo St. Victor (1097-1141) wrote about Genesis 1:2 , "Perhaps enough has already been debated about these matters thus far, if we add only this, 'how long did the world remain in this disorder before the regular re-ordering . . . of it was taken in hand?' ( De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, Book 1, part 1, chapter 6).

Other medieval scholars, such as Dionysius Peavius and Pererius, also considered that there was an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, the Dutch scholar Simon Episcopius (1583-1643) taught that the earth had originally been created before the six days of creation described in Genesis (1952, Vol. 3, p. 302). This was roughly 200 years before geology embraced an ancient origin for the earth.

These numerous examples show us that the idea of an interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 has a long history. Any claim that it is of only recent origin—that it was invented simply as a desperate attempt to reconcile the Genesis account with geology—is groundless.

 

 

 

 

 

"On a popular level, some have confused statements made by a few older commentators who supported an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (so Sauer, p. 195). In part, some of the more recent confusion about this time interval may be a result of Arthur Custance’s erratic historical survey of commentators (pp. 10–40). Custance’s concern with his survey was to prove that the gap theory antedated the eighteenth century, and, consequently, to support his claim that the gap theory did not arise as an attempt to harmonize Scripture with historical geology (p. 10). However, after a thorough critique of Custance’s interpretation of commentators, Weston Fields has convincingly proven that only a few of these sources were used with a limited degree of accuracy. Of the few pertinently used sources, Fields has cogently demonstrated that they can only be used as an argument for an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; and none of these sources provide any hint of support for the traditional gap theory, that is, a ruin-restoration gap theory (pp. 11–37, 44–47). Therefore, the traditional gap theory did not appear until almost 200 years ago as an attempt to harmonize science and Scripture."

 

 

The earliest known recorded controversy on this point can be attributed to Jewish sages at the beginning of the second century.

The Hebrew scholars who wrote the Targum of Onkelos, the earliest of the Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, rendered Genesis 1:2 with an Aramaic expression Dr. Custance translates as "and the earth was laid waste" (1988, p. 15). The original language evidently led them to understand that something had occurred which had "laid waste" the earth, and they interpreted this as a destruction.

The early Catholic theologian Origen (186-254), in his commentary De Principiis, explains regarding Genesis 1:2 that the original earth had been "cast downwards" (Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1917, p. 342).

In the Middle Ages the Flemish scholar Hugo St. Victor (1097-1141) wrote about Genesis 1:2 , "Perhaps enough has already been debated about these matters thus far, if we add only this, 'how long did the world remain in this disorder before the regular re-ordering . . . of it was taken in hand?' ( De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, Book 1, part 1, chapter 6).

Other medieval scholars, such as Dionysius Peavius and Pererius, also considered that there was an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, the Dutch scholar Simon Episcopius (1583-1643) taught that the earth had originally been created before the six days of creation described in Genesis (1952, Vol. 3, p. 302). This was roughly 200 years before geology embraced an ancient origin for the earth.

These numerous examples show us that the idea of an interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 has a long history. Any claim that it is of only recent origin—that it was invented simply as a desperate attempt to reconcile the Genesis account with geology—is groundless.

 

 

McCabe is not claiming that the there was no discussion of a gap of time between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2.  McCabe is referencing the modern Gap Theory that didn't exist prior to just about 200 years ago.

 

The modern Gap Theory asserts, depending on who you talk to, that there was a satanic kingdom and that there may or may not have been pre-adamite human beings on the earth at that time.   Modern gap theorists are discussing something completely different than what was discussed thousands of years ago.  

 

So you are really confusing issues.

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I have to say I agree with Spock. This doesn't really prove anything (except maybe that this guy knows his waw conjunctives or whatever; I am impressed by that).  If one was to read Genesis as an historical narrative and not hyper-literal (taken at face value, which I don't believe was necessarily intended by the author/Author), this (clearly biased) article really doesn't add anything.

Actually, the vav disjunctive is the lynch pin that pretty much puts the Gap Theory to bed.  The Hebrew grammar makes the Gap Theory impossible from the outset.  The vav disjunctive is the best reason to disregard the Gap Theory altogether.  

 

If you take the Genesis account literally as a historical document, there is no room for an old earth or the Gap Theory or Evolution.  None of it fits a literal reading of the text.   The Hebrew makes that even more clear.

 

The Gap Theory hangs on for basically two reasons.   Some people have an irrational, emotional connection to it.  They don't care that it can't really be defended or proven.  They believe it because they are too emotionally invested it now.   The other reason is that some Christians have compromised with the world and have decided that man-made scientific theories can be used as an exegetical tool to interpret the Bible.   Science, in their eyes is the standard, the straight edge against which the Bible must be measured.   The Bible, for them, needs to be molded around what science claims.  The assumption is that science is an infallible standard that the Bible must conform to.

 

 

 

Although...

Second, to disconnect the physical darkness of 1:2 from God “because darkness came to symbolize evil and sin is to confuse the symbol with the thing symbolized. It is like saying yeast is evil because it came to represent spiritual evil. The fact that a physical reality is used to represent something spiritual does not mean that every time this physical reality is mentioned, it must be representing that spiritual entity. Those who claim that darkness in Genesis 1:2 is evil have confused the spiritual symbol as used elsewhere with the physical reality in this passage” (Rooker, “Genesis 1:1–3 [part 2],” p. 422).

This could be used to defend my earlier suggestion that physical death is not evil  and, while it is still a consequence of sin, was part of the natural world before the fall.

 

No,  Why would God curse Adam with death if death was already present? The precursor ot physical death is disease and physical decay, atrophy.  How would that be a suitable curse if it was alreay  part of the experience?  If death was in the earth and Adam was already subject to it, to curse Adam with what was already going to happen to Him, makes absolutely no sense.

 

 

 

My point was that initially I agree with you that the Bible was meant to be understood wihthout knowing any Hebrew or any Greek.

Thread is now irrelevant. ;)

 

 

It's not irrelevant at all.   I said you don't need Hebrew or Greek to understand the Bible.  However, knowing Hebrew and Greek is helpful when we are trying to refute the nonsense proposed by the gap theorists and history revisionists.

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Article: "The work done over the first six days of creation are summed up with “created,” bara’, and “made,” ‘asah. These two verses univocally communicate that “create” and “make” are virtual synonyms used for God’s supernatural creative activity on the first six days of creation (for other examples, see Gen 2:4; Isa 41:20; 43:7; 45:7; see also Fields, pp. 65–74). Consequently, the biblical evidence overwhelmingly establishes that “create,” bara’, and “make,” ‘asah, are used as synonyms in creation contexts, and, therefore, the gap theory is indefensible in contending for an absolute semantic dichotomy between these two verbs."

Spock: sorry, but this didn't move me like it moved you. I still see a difference between the two verbs and I do not believe they are used interchangeably and synonymously as this author supposes. I'm not impressed with the basis for that support. This has been discussed many times and I have no desire to debate this point anymore.

Translation: "I don't want to be confused by facts, truth or reality, so I am not going to talk about this."

Whatever.....I'm weary of this science forum, I need a time away, and I certainly don't like to be redundant. I don't know what you do for a living, but my job, 50-55 hour work week is exhausting enough, I don't need my time here to add onto that. And like I previously said, I'm not here to win an argument, but rather to share my perspective, viewpoints, and research. It's not that important to me what you or anybody else here believes in these gray matters. I do not consider them MAJOR points of contention. I know you do, so fine, do what you feel you have to do.

Spock now at rest from science forum

 

 

=================================================================================

 

 

And like I previously said, I'm not here to win an argument,

 

This is not about "Winning"..... it's a quest for TRUTH

 

but rather to share my perspective, viewpoints, and research.

 

And are more than welcome to do so IMHO.  However, in this specific forum "science",  viewpoints/perspective and research have to be SUPPORTED; Logically and/or via the Literature. 

 

If not, they are merely: stories/opinions/conjectures/assumptions.

 

(1 Thessalonians 5:21) "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

 

 

It's not that important to me what you or anybody else here believes in these gray matters

 

I also am very uninterested in what people believe; However, I am very interested in...... what SUPPORT can be offered to justify said beliefs.

 

IMHO, there are very few "Gray Matters"

 

I do not consider them MAJOR points of contention.

 

Well each of those "MAJOR Points" must be evaluated on an individual basis to assess Veracity/Efficacy in Relation to the PLAIN WORD OF GOD.

 

 

I know you do, so fine, do what you feel you have to do.

 

(2 Timothy 4:2-4) "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  {3} For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  {4} And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

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THE INTERPRETATION THAT THE EARTH "BECAME" WASTE AND VOID HAS BEEN DISCUSSED FOR CLOSE TO 2,000 YEARS, as pointed out by the late Arthur Custance in his book Without Form and Void: A Study of the Meaning of Genesis 1:2

 

Actually it hasn't, not in the form that it takes today.  The modern Gap Theory is NOT the debate that was taking place centuries ago.  

The earliest known recorded controversy on this point can be attributed to Jewish sages at the beginning of the second century.

The Hebrew scholars who wrote the Targum of Onkelos, the earliest of the Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, rendered Genesis 1:2 with an Aramaic expression Dr. Custance translates as "and the earth was laid waste" (1988, p. 15). The original language evidently led them to understand that something had occurred which had "laid waste" the earth, and they interpreted this as a destruction.

The early Catholic theologian Origen (186-254), in his commentary De Principiis, explains regarding Genesis 1:2 that the original earth had been "cast downwards" (Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1917, p. 342).

In the Middle Ages the Flemish scholar Hugo St. Victor (1097-1141) wrote about Genesis 1:2 , "Perhaps enough has already been debated about these matters thus far, if we add only this, 'how long did the world remain in this disorder before the regular re-ordering . . . of it was taken in hand?' ( De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, Book 1, part 1, chapter 6).

Other medieval scholars, such as Dionysius Peavius and Pererius, also considered that there was an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, the Dutch scholar Simon Episcopius (1583-1643) taught that the earth had originally been created before the six days of creation described in Genesis (1952, Vol. 3, p. 302). This was roughly 200 years before geology embraced an ancient origin for the earth.

These numerous examples show us that the idea of an interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 has a long history. Any claim that it is of only recent origin—that it was invented simply as a desperate attempt to reconcile the Genesis account with geology—is groundless.

 

 

 

 

 

"On a popular level, some have confused statements made by a few older commentators who supported an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 (so Sauer, p. 195). In part, some of the more recent confusion about this time interval may be a result of Arthur Custance’s erratic historical survey of commentators (pp. 10–40). Custance’s concern with his survey was to prove that the gap theory antedated the eighteenth century, and, consequently, to support his claim that the gap theory did not arise as an attempt to harmonize Scripture with historical geology (p. 10). However, after a thorough critique of Custance’s interpretation of commentators, Weston Fields has convincingly proven that only a few of these sources were used with a limited degree of accuracy. Of the few pertinently used sources, Fields has cogently demonstrated that they can only be used as an argument for an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2; and none of these sources provide any hint of support for the traditional gap theory, that is, a ruin-restoration gap theory (pp. 11–37, 44–47). Therefore, the traditional gap theory did not appear until almost 200 years ago as an attempt to harmonize science and Scripture."

 

 

The earliest known recorded controversy on this point can be attributed to Jewish sages at the beginning of the second century.

The Hebrew scholars who wrote the Targum of Onkelos, the earliest of the Aramaic paraphrases of the Old Testament, rendered Genesis 1:2 with an Aramaic expression Dr. Custance translates as "and the earth was laid waste" (1988, p. 15). The original language evidently led them to understand that something had occurred which had "laid waste" the earth, and they interpreted this as a destruction.

The early Catholic theologian Origen (186-254), in his commentary De Principiis, explains regarding Genesis 1:2 that the original earth had been "cast downwards" (Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1917, p. 342).

In the Middle Ages the Flemish scholar Hugo St. Victor (1097-1141) wrote about Genesis 1:2 , "Perhaps enough has already been debated about these matters thus far, if we add only this, 'how long did the world remain in this disorder before the regular re-ordering . . . of it was taken in hand?' ( De Sacramentis Christianae Fidei, Book 1, part 1, chapter 6).

Other medieval scholars, such as Dionysius Peavius and Pererius, also considered that there was an interval of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

According to The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, the Dutch scholar Simon Episcopius (1583-1643) taught that the earth had originally been created before the six days of creation described in Genesis (1952, Vol. 3, p. 302). This was roughly 200 years before geology embraced an ancient origin for the earth.

These numerous examples show us that the idea of an interval between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 has a long history. Any claim that it is of only recent origin—that it was invented simply as a desperate attempt to reconcile the Genesis account with geology—is groundless.

 

 

McCabe is not claiming that the there was no discussion of a gap of time between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2.  McCabe is referencing the modern Gap Theory that didn't exist prior to just about 200 years ago.

 

The modern Gap Theory asserts, depending on who you talk to, that there was a satanic kingdom and that there may or may not have been pre-adamite human beings on the earth at that time.   Modern gap theorists are discussing something completely different than what was discussed thousands of years ago.  

 

So you are really confusing issues.

 

 

What is the difference between the "modern" gap theory and the one talked about 2000 years ago?

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What is the difference between the "modern" gap theory and the one talked about 2000 years ago?

 

The modern Gap theory teaches that the earth was destroyed and judged by God becase Satan, who was given rulership over a pre-adamite earth and rebelled.  Thus, the earth in Gen. 1:2 is and its condition was the result of a judged state.  The modern gap theorists argue that satan fell during that pre-adamite earth age, hence his rebellion.  they place Ezek 28: 11-19 as describing Satan just prior to and just after his rebellion.

 

In addition, the modern Gap Theory also asserts that the there were pre-adamite humans on the earth, thus explaining the cave men, and even dinosoaurs.  It is an attempt to reconcile  science with the Bible, by arguing that the present creation was created in six days, but on top of an old earth full of dinosaur and cavemen bones.   And it varies on who you read or talk to.   Gap theorists don't always agree on the particulars like if there were humans on the earth.

 

The huge theological problem with the Gap Theory is that sin was already in and on the earth prior to Adam was already in exsitence when Adam was created, meaning that it wasn't Adam who brought sin and death into the world.

 

The other huge theological problem with the modern Gap Theory is that it pictures God incorrectly.   God's relationship with creation is redemptive, but for some reason, when it came to pre-adamite human beings, God destroyed them without any hope or possibility of redemption.  The Gap Theory contradicts God's revealed nature.

 

The old discussions about about a period in between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2  did not contain all of the modern claims of the Gap Theory.     The modern Gap Theory, contrary to what has been posted by others IS a modern attempt to reconcile the Bible with scientific claims and is relatively recent within 200 years.

 

The article posted by  euroclydon  is trying refute something that McCabe wasn't addressing.   McCabe's article was meant to refute the modern Gap Theory.  McCabe was not arguing that the controversy over "became. vs. "was" is a modern controversy, far from it.  McCabe was arguing that the modern manifestation known as the Gap Theory is a modern view and he is right in asserting that.  

 

 Euroclydon should have read the article better before posting such an factually erroneous response to it.

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I am only interested in the existence of the so-called gap. What went on before is a different subject.


"Actually it hasn't, not in the form that it takes today.  The modern Gap Theory is NOT the debate that was taking place centuries ago."

Care to elaborate? (You did below).

 

"In part, some of the more recent confusion about this time interval may be a result of Arthur Custance’s erratic historical survey of commentators (pp. 10–40)."

 

erratic: deviating from the usual or proper course in conduct or opinion; eccentric; queer: erratic behavior.

Unless the person you are quoting can explain why the survey was erratic, this is a cheap non-sequitur. It's like saying, "He's wrong 'cause he's a dum-dum".

 

Please, Lord, give him a better argument. Amen.
 

What is the difference between the "modern" gap theory and the one talked about 2000 years ago?

 

Like you said, it depends "on who you talk to".

 

Yes, in the Greek New Testament the word "foundation" is katabole = overlthrow. It is when the elect were chosen. "before the katabole of the world." Eph 1:4. Cp Jer 1:5.

Edited by euroclydon

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I am only interested in the existence of the so-called gap. What went on before is a different subject.

"Actually it hasn't, not in the form that it takes today.  The modern Gap Theory is NOT the debate that was taking place centuries ago."

Care to elaborate? (You did below).

 

"In part, some of the more recent confusion about this time interval may be a result of Arthur Custance’s erratic historical survey of commentators (pp. 10–40)."

 

erratic: deviating from the usual or proper course in conduct or opinion; eccentric; queer: erratic behavior.

Unless the person you are quoting can explain why the survey was erratic, this is a cheap non-sequitur. It's like saying, "He's wrong 'cause he's a dum-dum".

 

Please, Lord, give him a better argument. Amen.

 

What is the difference between the "modern" gap theory and the one talked about 2000 years ago?

 

Like you said, it depends "on who you talk to".

 

Yes, in the Greek New Testament the word "foundation" is katabole = overlthrow. It is when the elect were chosen. "before the katabole of the world." Eph 1:4. Cp Jer 1:5.

I have no idea what you are trying to say in that nonresponse, response.

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In summary, I am elaborating two things:

 

1. You, not I, established a different form of argument for GAP theory. I am elaborating that I am only interested in the gap itself - the time, and not what went on before. If we base our argument on questionable speculations regarding what went on before, it deflects from the argument as to whether the gap of time itself exists.

 

2. By claiming that Arthur Custance’s survey was erratic, without proof or explanation, he demonstrates that he has run out of arguable material, and is resorting to pseudo reasoning.

Edited by euroclydon

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In summary, I am elaborating two things:

 

1. You, not I, established a different form of argument for GAP theory. I am elaborating that I am only interested in the gap itself - the time, and not what went on before. If we base our argument on questionable speculations regarding what went on before, it deflects from the argument as to whether the gap of time itself exists.

 

I didn't establish a different form of argument for the Gap Theory.   I simply explained what McCabe was refuting which is the modern Gap Theory.

 

As for the Gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2,  McCabe expertly demonstrates from the Hebrew grammar why the Gap Theory is impossible.  The "vav disjunctive" is the last nail in the coffin of the Gap Theory.   It is an irrefutable fact, and so far, the pro Gap Theory proponents can only ignore and try to sweep it away as if it doesn't exist.   They cannot respond to an immovable fact. 

 

By claiming that Arthur Custance’s survey was erratic, without proof or explanation, he demonstrates that he has run out of arguable material, and is resorting to pseudo reasoning.

 

 

No, he didn't demonstrate that at all, and the rest of the article in the OP proves it.  McCabe pretty much puts the whole Gap Theory to bed.

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I didn't establish a different form of argument for the Gap Theory. I simply explained what McCabe was refuting which is the modern Gap Theory.

 

 

How did that happen?

 

 

All I meant by "established" was that your statement to me elaborated on what you were talking about.


You tried to explain to me "the Modern Gap theory" as opposed to the survey I referenced in history. You said that they were arguing a different form.

You "established" what you were talking about.

 

Why was the survey erratic?

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