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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
Origen

Translation of Gen. 1:1

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6 minutes ago, Solas said:

That's fine but the normal ecclesiastical use is clergy/layman.

That is one definition but by no means the only one.  Context determines meaning.  Since @Ben Asher pointed out he was not "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology" clearly no ecclesiastical or hierarchical connotation was intended.

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1 minute ago, Origen said:

That is one definition but by no means the only one.  Context determines meaning.  Since @Ben Asher pointed out he was not "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology" clearly no ecclesiastical or hierarchical connotation was intended.

Don't agree, but I'd rather see  this thread of yours get back on track. Sorry for the derail.

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26 minutes ago, Solas said:

Don't agree, but I'd rather see  this thread of yours get back on track.

Since it is my thread we can explore this a bit.

 

You don't agree with what exactly?

 

I made three statement.

 

(1) That is one definition but by no means the only one.

 

(2) Context determines meaning.

 

(3) Since Ben Asher pointed out he was not "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology" clearly no ecclesiastical or hierarchical connotation was intended.

 

Which statement is not correct?

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13 minutes ago, Origen said:

Since this is my thread we can explore this a bit.

 

You don't agree with what exactly?

 

I made three statement.

 

(1) That is one definition but by no means the only one.

 

(2) Context determines meaning.

 

(3) Since Ben Asher pointed out he was not "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology" clearly no ecclesiastical or hierarchical connotation was intended.

 

Which statement is not correct?

I believe the context was ecclesiastical as Asher mentioned "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology". Most outside that group would normally be called a 'layman'. That's why (I believe) Asher referred to himself as a 'layman'.

 

You said, "The word "layman" as used by @Ben Asher means non-expert.", but clearly he used it in a broader sense to include the ecclesiastical "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology".

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17 minutes ago, Solas said:

I believe the context was ecclesiastical as Asher mentioned "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology". Most outside that group would normally be called a 'layman'. That's why (I believe) Asher referred to himself as a 'layman'.

 

You said, "The word "layman" as used by @Ben Asher means non-expert.", but clearly he used it in a broader sense to include the ecclesiastical "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology".

Thanks

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5 hours ago, Solas said:

I'm not too fond about the term 'layman' as it carries a hierarchical connotation both in function and status, which I don't believe exists in His Body the Church**, unless you mean something along these lines...

Firstly I would like to humbly apologize for using the term Layman. 

 

Secondly I had no ecclesiastical hierarchy in mind at all. I picked the word Layman because that was one of the words that came up in my dictionary

and it seemed to fit what I had in mind. keep in mind I do not live in an English speaking country and the faith I came from was not a Christian one so I may sometimes pick the wrong English religious vocabulary to express myself.

 

Thirdly my point was simply I do not work in any religious related profession/vocation/or field(no ecclesiastical hierarchy intended) and  I wanted to share the concept that even one like me whose vocation(function) is secular could still learn Biblical language and theology if he wanted to. As a matter of fact there is still much I do not know about theology. More often that not I am exposed to theology jargon and ideas I never knew before. 

 

Again I apologize for using the term Layman.

Edited by Ben Asher
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1 hour ago, Solas said:

You said, "The word "layman" as used by @Ben Asher means non-expert.", but clearly he used it in a broader sense to include the ecclesiastical "a Minister, Preacher, Missionary, Bible translator, or a teacher/professor of theology".

No Layman as I used it would exclude rather than include those in the list of professions I mentioned. Layman as I intended simply meant one whose job/vocation/or profession is not religious.

 

Just as you your self pointed out that not everyone has they same function/profession in the body of Christ.

 

but again I am sorry for using the term Layman. 

Edited by Ben Asher
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11 minutes ago, Ben Asher said:

Firstly I would like to humbly apologize for using the term Layman. 

 

Secondly I had no ecclesiastical hierarchy in mind at all. I picked the word Layman because that was one of the words that came up in my dictionary

and it seemed to fit what I had in mind. keep in mind I do not live in an English speaking country and the faith I came from was not a Christian one so I may sometimes pick the wrong English religious vocabulary to express myself.

 

Thirdly my point was simply I do not work in any religious related profession/vocation/or field(no ecclesiastical hierarchy intended) and  I wanted to share the concept that even one like me whose vocation(function) is secular could still learn Biblical language and theology if he wanted to. As a matter of fact there is still much I do not know about theology. More often that not I am exposed to theology jargon and ideas I never knew before. 

 

Again I apologize for using the term Layman.

No problem Ben, language can get kind of mushy when it's reflected off a darkened mirror. lol

1 Corinthians 13:12 ESV
[12] For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

.

 

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3 minutes ago, Ben Asher said:

No Layman as I used it would exclude rather than include those in the list of professions I mentioned. Layman as I intended simply meant one whose job/vocation/or profession is not religious.

That's how I took it. I was just referring to the context you were using it in. An ecclesiastical one (at least that was my impression).

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3 hours ago, atpollard said:

Your PURPOSE in the body is a lot less mysterious than most people think.  Imagine God is standing there rolling his eyes in exasperation, then he says “Listen, I promise that I will bless whatever you do, just figure out what makes you feel useful and do it, but the important part is WOULD YOU PLEASE DO SOMETHING!  Anything is better than nothing.”

Well, there aren’t any Churches in the town I live in. Which is one of the reasons I visit the internet to converse with other Christians.  Also my esoteric or eccentric skill set and interest probably has very little to do with what churches need or want.

 

 

Edited by Ben Asher
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5 hours ago, Ben Asher said:

Firstly I would like to humbly apologize for using the term Layman. 

 

Secondly I had no ecclesiastical hierarchy in mind at all. I picked the word Layman because that was one of the words that came up in my dictionary

and it seemed to fit what I had in mind. keep in mind I do not live in an English speaking country and the faith I came from was not a Christian one so I may sometimes pick the wrong English religious vocabulary to express myself.

 

Thirdly my point was simply I do not work in any religious related profession/vocation/or field(no ecclesiastical hierarchy intended) and  I wanted to share the concept that even one like me whose vocation(function) is secular could still learn Biblical language and theology if he wanted to. As a matter of fact there is still much I do not know about theology. More often that not I am exposed to theology jargon and ideas I never knew before. 

No need for you to apologize BA.  I believe your meaning was quite obvious.

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Gen 1:1 begins by presenting the translator with the problem of how to interpret In the beginning and the relationship of verse 1 to the following verses. All the ancient versions as well as many modern ones understand verse 1 to be an independent sentence, which serves as a general heading for the entire story of creation and affirms the creation of the earth in the formless state described in verse 2. Since early times this has been the view of most Jewish and Christian interpreters, and it may be seen in such modern versions as RSV, Revised English Bible (REB), French common language version (FRCL), NIV, German common language version (GECL), NJB, Bible de Jérusalem (BJ), and Spanish common language version (SPCL).

Reyburn, William David, and Euan McG. Fry. A Handbook on Genesis. New York: United Bible Societies, 1998.  UBS Handbook Series.

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Other scholars point out that the Hebrew form of the phrase translated In the beginning should be translated as a subordinate time clause, and so “In the beginning when God created” (TEV) or “When God began to create.…” In this case verse 2 forms the main clause, asserting that the earth was formless and desolate at the time when God began to create. Some modern versions that translate in this way are TEV, NEB, the New Jewish Version (NJV), NAB, the Anchor Bible volume on Genesis, by E. A. Speiser (Speiser), and Moffatt (MFT). Westermann gives a detailed survey of the opinions expressed. TEV gives the translator a good model to follow by placing one form in the text and the alternative form in a footnote. In the beginning refers to the time when God began to create.

3
4

Reyburn, William David, and Euan McG. Fry. A Handbook on Genesis. New York: United Bible Societies, 1998.  UBS Handbook Series.

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If the translator interprets this as a dependent clause, the opening clause may be translated, for example, “When God began to create,” “At the time when God began to create,” or “In the beginning of God’s creation.” If the traditional interpretation is followed, then the beginning refers to the time when the universe came into existence, rather than the beginning or opening of the story of creation.

Reyburn, William David, and Euan McG. Fry. A Handbook on Genesis. New York: United Bible Societies, 1998.  UBS Handbook Series.

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1. We are confronted at the outset by a troublesome question of syntax which affects the sense of every member of v. 1. While all ancient Vns. and many moderns take the verse as a complete sentence, others (following Rashi and Ibn Ezra) treat it as a temporal clause, subordinate either to v. 3 (Rashi, and so most) or v. 2 (Ibn Ezra, apparently). On the latter view the verse will read: In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth: בְּרֵאשִׁית being in the const. state, followed by a clause as gen.

2

Skinner, John, 1851-1925. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Genesis. New York: Scribner, 1910. Print. International Critical Commentary.

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1. When God begun to create This rendering of the Hebrew looks to verse 3 for the completion of the sentence. It takes verse 2 to be parenthetical, describing the state of things at the time when God first spoke. Support for understanding the text in this way comes from 2:4 and 5:1, both of which refer to Creation and begin with “When.” The Mesopotamian creation epic known as Enuma Elish also commences the same way. In fact, enuma means “when.” Apparently, this was a conventional opening style for cosmological narratives. As to the peculiar syntax of the Hebrew sentence—a noun in the construct state (be-reʾcrap) with a finite verb (baraʾ)—analogies may be found in Leviticus 14:46, Isaiah 29:1, and Hosea 1:2. This seems to be the way Rashi understood the text.

Sarna, Nahum M. Genesis. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989. The JPS Torah Commentary.

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The traditional English translation reads: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This rendering construes the verse as an independent sentence complete in itself, a solemn declaration that serves as an epitomizing caption to the entire narrative. It takes the initial word be-reʾcrap to mean “at the beginning of time” and thus makes a momentous assertion about the nature of God: that He is wholly outside of time, just as He is outside of space, both of which He proceeds to create. In other words, for the first time in the religious history of the Near East, God is conceived as being entirely free of temporal and spatial dimensions.In favor of the traditional English translation are the arguments that be-reʾcrap does not have to be in the construct state and that the analogies of 2:4 and 5:1, as well as of Enuma Elish, are inexact. In each instance, the word translated “when” is literally “in the day,” which is not the case in this verse.

2

Sarna, Nahum M. Genesis. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989. The JPS Torah Commentary.


 

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1. In the beginning] B’rêshîth: LXX ἐν ἀρχῇ: Lat. in principio. This opening word expresses the idea of the earliest time imaginable. It contains no allusion to any philosophical conception of “eternity.” The language used in the account of Creation is neither that of abstract speculation nor of exact science, but of simple, concrete, and unscientific narrative.
The opening words of John’s Gospel (ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, 1:1) are based upon this clause. But, whereas St John refers to the Word’s eternal pre-existence before time, the Hebrew writer simply speaks of “the beginning” of the universe as the historic origin of time and space. In the Hebrew Bible the book of Genesis is called “B’rêshîth,” deriving its title from this first word.


Ryle, Herbert E. The Book of Genesis in the Revised Version with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1921.The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges.

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6 hours ago, Ben Asher said:

Well, there aren’t any Churches in the town I live in. Which is one of the reasons I visit the internet to converse with other Christians.  Also my esoteric or eccentric skill set and interest probably has very little to do with what churches need or want.

Well, I pray God sends you some local fellowship as well as internet fellowship ... [Ecc 4:12 NASB] 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three [strands] is not quickly torn apart. ... to lighten your load and increase your fellowship.  Until then, your "esoteric or eccentric skill set and interest" is EXACTLY what this little corner of the CHURCH needs and wants.  So thank you for your contribution, it is welcome and appreciated. :)

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4 minutes ago, atpollard said:

  Until then, your "esoteric or eccentric skill set and interest" is EXACTLY what this little corner of the CHURCH needs and wants.  So thank you for your contribution, it is welcome and appreciated. 🙂

 

Thank you this means a lot to me! And, yes please keep both me and Japan in your prayers.

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   Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.  The New American Commentary.

 

VERSE 1. Since the issues are fundamentally syntactical, discussion must be primarily in those terms. Determining the preferred rendering of v. 1 rests with how the opening word “beginning” (bĕrēʾšît) is understood in relation to the remainder of the verse.

 

(1) One understanding results in an independent clause, as in the traditional translation: “In the beginning God created …” (AV, NKJV, NIV, NASB, REB, NJB).

 

(2) The other view of bĕrēʾšît makes v. 1 a temporal clause: “In the beginning when God created …,” and the thought is completed in v. 2 or v. 3.

 

The NRSV has v. 2 as the principal clause:
      In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, [v. 1]
         the earth was a formless void and darkness
         covered the face of the deep, while a wind from
         God swept over the face of the waters [v. 2].
   

The NJPS shows the alternative (see also NAB), where v. 2 is parenthetical and v. 3 is the main clause of the sentence (vv. 1–3):
         “When God began to create the heaven and the earth—
         the earth being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep and a wind
         from God sweeping over the water—
         God said, “Let there be light.”
   

Both alternatives to the traditional translation give a relative beginning to creation, permitting the possibility of preexisting matter, though not necessarily so, as we will see below. Support for reading v. 1 as temporal is found in the syntax of the clause, the parallel language at 2:4b and 5:1b which commence with “when,” and the similarity to the cosmogonic myths Atrahasis and Enuma Elish, which begin with a temporal clause. Enuma Elish begins as follows:
         (1) When the heavens above had not been named,
         (2) Firm ground below had not been called by name,
         (3) Naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter,
         (4) (And) Mammu-Tiamat, she who bore them all,
         (5) Their waters commingling as a single body;
         (6) No reed hut had been matted, no marsh land had appeared,
         (7) When no gods whatever had been brought into being,
         (8) Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined—
         (9) Then it was that the gods were formed within them.
    Although the temporal rendering is syntactically possible, the arguments for its preference are not compelling; and the traditional rendering of a complete, independent sentence remains convincing. The traditional translation is syntactically defensible, and 2:4b and 5:1b as well as the Babylonian examples are not in fact the same as 1:1–3. Also the traditional reading has support from the ancient versions. This cannot be taken as conclusive by itself since the versions may have misinterpreted the Hebrew, but it is evidence of an early interpretation of the verse. The syntactical arguments for taking v. 1 as an independent sentence are equally forceful, which means that we cannot rely on the syntactical argument alone. In both 2:4b and 5:1b the temporal clause is explicitly marked by the Hebrew construction “in the day” (bĕyôm), which is absent in 1:1. The older opinion that the opening temporal clause of the Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish, corresponds to vv. 1–3 has now been revised. Its beginning is closer to 2:4b–7 and next 1:2–3, though even there not precisely. Genesis 1:1 has no exact syntactical parallel among pagan cosmogonies.
   

Although we cannot rest our decision on a prior theological persuasion, it is proper to consider the tenor of the passage. Regardless of how one reads 1:1–3, there is no room in our author’s cosmology for co-eternal matter with God when we consider the theology of the creation account in its totality. That ancient cosmogonies characteristically attributed the origins of the creator-god to some preexisting matter (usually primeval waters) makes the absence of such description in Genesis distinctive. Verse 1 declares that God exists outside time and space; all that exists is dependent on his independent will. We conclude that v. 1 is best taken as an absolute statement of God’s creation.


Mathews, K. A. Genesis 1-11:26. Vol. 1A. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996.  The New American Commentary.

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Since I helped with the bunny trail, I probably owe a "Back on Topic" post ...

 

On 3/9/2019 at 12:02 PM, Origen said:

Gen. 1:1

 

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"

"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth" (NRSV)

 "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth—" (NAB)

"When God began to create heaven and earth—" (JPS)

 

My question has nothing to do with which translation is correct.  It is a FACT either is possible according to the Hebrew.  My question is does it matter in this case?

Linguistics is not my expertise, so let me approach it from a different direction.

 

Does it matter?

 

Yes and no.  Just a personal observation, but God is VERY skillful with His use of language and whenever I have encountered a word or phrase that linguistic experts tell me can honestly be translated to either of two meanings, I have observed that BOTH meanings convey a spiritual truth.  This one seems, to this linguistic layman (sorry, I can't resist being a troublemaker 🙂 ) to be no different.

 

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"  

So is this statement TRUE?  Was the heavens and the earth (roughly space and matter in modern terms) the first thing that (in time) God created?  Is GOD the one who CREATED the heavens and the earth (space and matter)?

I believe so.  Sorry science, but the universe has not always existed and it did not create itself.  Thus the linguistically valid wording "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" conveys a true and a significant meaning. This wording conveys the greatest of all truths about creation, that EVERYTHING owes is existence to the will of God.  Creation is not an accident, it is a premeditated act with a premeditated purpose.  All of the heavens and earth are a premeditated act of God with a premeditated purpose of God.  The moral is that human beings need to "Deal with it!"

 

"When God began to create heaven and earth—"

So is this statement TRUE?  First the obvious, is Gen 1:1 really the beginning of the story about when God began to create the heavens and earth?  Why, yes it is.  Did God only BEGIN to create the heavens and earth "void and without form" (Gen 1:2), which implies that God was not finished with his act of creation and had more God actions planned to follow?  Why yes He did.  This wording conveys the first hint and revelation of the "progressive" nature of how God works.  I love TYPOLOGIES and it is just like God to start out the first sentence of the first book with a TYPOLOGY.  God is not going to create the heavens and the earth all at once in an instant.  He could, but he will not.  God is not going to reveal his plan of salvation all at once either.  Nor is God going to transform us from unrepentant to glorified all at once either.  Each is a progressive act that unfolds in steps over time as the MASTER CREATOR slowly unveils His Materpiece of Creation ... fallen men redeemed IN CHRIST, glorified and one with the Trinity.

 

It is not about EITHER "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" OR "When God began to create heaven and earth—", the glory of God is revealed in the fact that both translations are "correct" and both translations reveal a different TRUTH about the great "I AM".

Edited by atpollard

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On 5/14/2019 at 7:53 AM, atpollard said:

This one seems, to this linguistic layman (sorry, I can't resist being a troublemaker 🙂 )

😂😂😂

 

On 5/14/2019 at 7:53 AM, atpollard said:

God is VERY skillful with His use of language and whenever I have encountered a word or phrase that linguistic experts tell me can honestly be translated to either of two meanings, I have observed that BOTH meanings convey a spiritual truth.

 

On 5/14/2019 at 7:53 AM, atpollard said:

This one seems... ...to be no different.

But there is a difference.


The question is whether or not Gen. 1:1 is to understood as a dependent or independent clause?  It could make a big difference in meaning.  One view is more in line with creatio ex nihilo while the other (post 68 above see K. A. Mathews comments) "give a relative beginning to creation, permitting the possibility of preexisting matter, though not necessarily so."

 

On 5/14/2019 at 7:53 AM, atpollard said:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"  

So is this statement TRUE?  Was the heavens and the earth (roughly space and matter in modern terms) the first thing that God created?  Is GOD the one who CREATED the heavens and the earth (space and matter)?

I believe so.  Sorry science, but the universe has not always existed and it did not create itself.  Thus the linguistically valid wording "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" conveys a true and a significant meaning. This wording conveys the greatest of all truths about creation, that EVERYTHING owes is existence to the will of God.  Creation is not an accident, it is a premeditated act with a premeditated purpose.  All of the heavens and earth are a premeditated act of God with a premeditated purpose of God.  The moral is that human beings need to "Deal with it!"

 

"When God began to create heaven and earth—"

So is this statement TRUE?  First the obvious, is Gen 1:1 really the beginning of the story about when God began to create the heavens and earth?  Why, yes it is.  Did God only BEGIN to create the heavens and earth "void and without form" (Gen 1:2), which implies that God was not finished with his act of creation and had more God actions planned to follow?  Why yes He did.  This wording conveys the first hint and revelation of the "progressive" nature of how God works.  I love TYPOLOGIES and it is just like God to start out the first sentence of the first book with a TYPOLOGY.  God is not going to create the heavens and the earth all at once in an instant.  He could, but he will not.  God is not going to reveal his plan of salvation all at once either.  Nor is God going to transform us from unrepentant to glorified all at once either.  Each is a progressive act that unfolds in steps over time as the MASTER CREATOR slowly unveils His Materpiece of Creation ... fallen men redeemed IN CHRIST, glorified and one with the Trinity.

 

It is not about EITHER "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" OR "When God began to create heaven and earth—", the glory of God is revealed in the fact that both translations are "correct" and both translations reveal a different TRUTH about the great "I AM".

While I don't disagree with your comments, they don't address the grammatical and textual issues and they do exist.  As I have said before the text itself is my primary concern.  Before one can move to theological issues the text itself must be established and its meaning.  Like Solomon I don't thinking splitting the baby is the answer.

 

By the way @Ben Asher above posts (63, 64, 65, 68) gives an excellent overview of the topic.

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I hope this helps clarify the topic.

2145335097_ScreenShot2019-05-14at9_39_40AM.png.dd8ce7c33c00bef575fd62f75190b4cb.png

 

789754695_ScreenShot2019-05-14at9_37_58AM.png.9ea8db76ce5019c987b4564cd2b85063.png
Dr. Michael S. Heiser - PhD, Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages

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1 hour ago, Origen said:

The question is whether or not Gen. 1:1 is to understood as a dependent or independent clause?  It could make a big difference in meaning.  One view is more in line with creatio ex nihilo while the other (post 68 above see K. A. Mathews comments) "give a relative beginning to creation, permitting the possibility of preexisting matter, though not necessarily so."

You have overlooked part of my observation.  BOTH interpretations must reveal TRUTH.  As you said "though not necessarily so".  Any possible meaning derived from the dependent clause that contradicts truth found in the meaning as an independent clause, cannot be TRUTH, and any possible  meaning derived from the independent clause that contradicts truth found in the meaning as a dependent clause, cannot be TRUTH.  Furthermore, neither can contradict other Scripture (Like John 1) and be TRUTH.

 

So the conclusion of "preexisting matter" is only a possible TRUTH if it is not contradicted by either interpretation or other scripture.  Not EITHER/OR but BOTH.

 

As I said, Hebrew linguistics ain't my wheelhouse, so carry on.

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11 minutes ago, atpollard said:

Furthermore, neither can contradict other Scripture (Like John 1) and be TRUTH.

 

So the conclusion of "preexisting matter" is only a possible TRUTH if it is not contradicted by either interpretation or other scripture.  Not EITHER/OR but BOTH.

But some want to entertain the Platonic notion of eternal matter 😲. Do such verses as John 1:3 confirm or deny there was any thing the Logos did not bring into existence "from, by, or through" God?

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3 hours ago, atpollard said:

You have overlooked part of my observation.  BOTH interpretations must reveal TRUTH.  As you said "though not necessarily so".  Any possible meaning derived from the dependent clause that contradicts truth found in the meaning as an independent clause, cannot be TRUTH, and any possible  meaning derived from the independent clause that contradicts truth found in the meaning as a dependent clause, cannot be TRUTH.  Furthermore, neither can contradict other Scripture (Like John 1) and be TRUTH.

 

So the conclusion of "preexisting matter" is only a possible TRUTH if it is not contradicted by either interpretation or other scripture.  Not EITHER/OR but BOTH.

I agree with you in principle but such a methodology in my opinion puts the cart before the horse.  My obligation is to understand the text as it is written.  While I agree that Scripture does not contradict Scripture I see that as a truth which has been revealed through my studies and not as a presupposition I bring to the text.  That is why when I look at the possibilities, now speaking theologically, I can say I don't believe there is a problem.  In the OP I asked:

 

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My question has nothing to do with which translation is correct.  It is a FACT either is possible according to the Hebrew.  My question is does it matter in this case?

My answer would be no.  Not because Scripture does not contradict Scripture, even though that's true, but because the text and the grammar allows it.

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1 hour ago, Origen said:

My answer would be no.  Not because Scripture does not contradict Scripture, even though that's true, but because the text and the grammar allows it.

Does it matter (Yes) in the positive sense that each "correct" possible reading of the clause (dependent and independent) potentially reveals a different equally true fact about God?

That is the ultimate purpose of all scripture, to reveal the truths about God that we could obtain no other way except God telling us.

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