Showing posts from January, 2019

Word for Word: Episode 28

אֶל־מָקֹ֣ום אֶחָ֔ד Into one place The chaos of the worldwide waters was incompatible with the controlled environment needed for life to begin. The action on the third day would bring order to the turbulence. The preposition אֶל ('el, "ale") moves the subject towards a destination, sometimes even within it. What used to cover the surface is said to have moved to a specific place, the מָקֹ֣ום (maqom), literally a place of standing.

Word for Word: Episode 27

יִקָּו֨וּ הַמַּ֜יִם W aters in waiting The word translated "gathered together" is the verb קָוָה (qavah). Though from a root meaning "to bind together", this word is most often used to convey the idea of waiting patiently, especially on the LORD. Since God commands that the waters upon the earth be gathered, it must be for a purpose. The waters had run free in chaos. But they were suddenly contained with limits. The mechanism is a mystery, but the origen of the verb may provide a clue. The gathering together is associated with twisting, as in making rope. Water is drawn into a vortex when provide an exit from it's settled state. This is seen in drains and waterspouts. It is consistent with the text and science to suppose that the subterranean cavities were opened to provide the underground irrigation needed on the young earth.

Word for Word: Episode 26

וַֽיְהִי־כֵֽן And it was so The most remarkable statement in the creation account is this little phrase. Whatever God wants, He gets. Furthermore, whatever He says is true. The word translated "so" is כֵֽן (keyn). It is from the verb כּוּן (koon), which means to be firm, be stable, be established. Though pagan kings would claim this status for their laws, it is absolutely true with God's decrees. From the first day on, the Creator spoke and things that came about were perpetuated throughout all of time. Where a human can direct things to be done ("make it so"), God doesn't delegate. He says "Let (it) come into existence" and it's there for good.

Word for Word: Episode 25

הַמַּ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֖ר מֵעַ֣ל The waters which are above Proponents of a local firmament, that is the atmosphere, hold to one of two interpretations. The ambiguity allows either one. The most natural and expected is that the waters above are the clouds. Faced with evidence from the text of different conditions on the early texts and clues to a milder overall climate, others have proposed some kind of vaporous or ice layer in the upper atmosphere. However these waters above ( מֵעַ֣ל ) the firmament were possibly much further away. The format with both below and above appears to have the positions at extremes. The prefixes "m" and "l" are used in format " from here to there". Compare " מֵעַ֣ל לָרָקִ֑יעַ" with " מִתַּ֣חַת לָרָקִ֔יעַ". This leads some scientists to merge the text with observations of nature. The result works well both in nature and supernatural metaphor. The waters that once were together are now separated by insurmou

Word for Word: Episode 24

הַמַּ֨יִם֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ מִתַּ֣חַת The waters which were below The conjunction, or relative pronoun, אֲשֶׁר (asher) is that, which or who, depending of the context. It points to what is related to the subject at hand. The conditions involved were locations centered on earth, the planet. Of the multiple uses, here erets must mean the much smaller body that would become the home of mankind. On this day the sky grows as the earth shrinks. The water below (Heb:  מִתַּ֣חַת ) that covered a rocky world spinning at a rate close to what it would spin for the rest of its existence. Above the waters was an envelope of air with water vapor in the form of a fog. The place called "below" is based on the root תַּחַת (tachath) with abbreviation מִן (min), where the {n} is absorbed. The result is a "prefix", the mem, which often indicates place.

Word for Word: Episode 23

רָקִ֖יעַ בְּתֹ֣וךְ An expanse within Left to itself, the new "water universe" was a competitive community of electrons, nuclea and photons with gravity overpowering the other forces. If God had not spoken again, His work so far would have collapsed in on itself. But once God starts something, He doesn't stop. He speaks again, beginning another day of creation . This time, he calls on the majority of the universal waters to be spread out (Heb: רָקַע raqa` ). The noun form in the text is רָקִ֖יעַ (raqi`a), an expanding wall of water coming from deep within ( תָּוֶךְ tevek) the sphere . God proves to be several steps ahead of nature from the very beginning. As the water is agitated, perhaps by microwaves of compressed light, it rises through the mass toward the voice that called it.

Word for Word: Episode 22

וַיַּ֣עַשׂ אֱלֹהִים֮ אֶת־הָרָקִי God formed an expanse Second to just speaking, that is programming the universe, the analogy to a potter with clay describes the work of God.  The verb used for this work is עָשָׂה (`asah) which means  to do, work, make, produce. It is often translated "to form". The second day of creation is the work of making a space to work. This includes building a "work bench". Given the nature of things, the sphere began to collapse upon itself at an exponential rate. But gravity was no match to the arm of God , which could provide an overwhelming "centrifugal force" that began at what would become the surface of the planet earth. In this miracle, the compact, stone hard water was softened and began spreading outward. In the space of one local rotation all that was left at the center was a spinning rock covered with water and an atmosphere.

Word for Word: Episode 21

יֹ֥ום אֶחָֽד Day One Among certain scholars there is discussion over what all is included in day one ( אֶחָֽד 'echad ). Some put the beginning in verse 1. Others follow the formula "And God said..." I lean toward the latter position. The length of each creation day does not necessarily have to be equal until life appears. Therefore, the gathering and organization of the raw material may be undated and "timeless". This could have been close to instantaneous or limited by the laws of physics. Furthermore, if the sphere of water was within time as we know it, it could have taken a decade or so to rotate before the second day began. This being miraculous in any account, God may have transcended the laws of physics. If this the case, the evidence is not in the text or nature. Though God was everywhere, the account indicates a light and dark cycle, three days before the sun was there. Today, three weeks in, is a good place t

Word for Word: Episode 20

וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב And there was evening In the process of creating the earth all the parts of the day were brought into existence at once.  Though things might seem flat, the earth, as created, was demonstrably a sphere. The light of day disappears gradually only when the globe turns away from the light source. The two main divisions of the the day, in a general sense, were the daylight and the dark night. These two were separated, but there remains a diminishing light after the sunset. This period is called evening, or עֶ֥רֶב (`ereb).This is from the verb .  עָרַב (`arab), to braid or intermix. It is an apt word only partly conveyed by the English evening. As our world rotated away from the now localized light of God's presence, the creation could mix cold waters with the energetic light-infused waters, moderating the temperature of the whole earth.

Word for Word: Episode 19

וַיִּקְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים And God named... The verb  קָרָא (qara) means to address by naming. When God gives a name to something he defines its primary purpose or function. It is away to show sovereignty over that which is named. לָאֹור֙ יֹ֔ום Light is named Day By declaration, Light was called upon to be a unit of time. In reference to the earth, the daylight would be that part in which the lightbearer would light the inhabitants. The word  יֹ֔ום (yom) does not denote an exact period of time, but rather the nature of that time. וְלַחֹ֖שֶׁךְ קָ֣רָא לָ֑יְלָה And the darkness He called Night The naming of the darkness transformed chaos into a time for rest. The word לַיִל (layil) is a primitive one, but seems to have been derived from לוּל (lul), which means to fold back, that is, to turn around. In the naming of the periodic darkness upon the earth, God leaves a clue to how He "separated" the darkness. It was by turning the surface away from the light, blocking it f

Word for Word: Episode 18

וַיַּבְדֵּ֣ל אֱלֹהִ֔ים  בֵּ֥ין הָאֹ֖ור וּבֵ֥ין הַחֹֽשֶׁךְ׃ And God separated the light from the darkness Some things just cannot exist together. After filling the universe with light, God reintroduced darkness. Light destroys darkness, but it's full effect can be toxic. Since the earth was to be the home to plants and animals that ate plants (or at least the fruit and seeds), Light had to be dosed properly. Darkness had to exist for life to thrive. Essentially, visible light is a small part of a wide spectrum of massless particles, or virtual particles existing in vibrations. Light reveals the substance hidden in a vast desert of "empty" space. These vibrations can be deadly at frequencies on higher than what we call violet, a dark blue color. On the other end, long invisible waves of light provide life sustaining heat beyond the red we see. Other benefits from these longer waves include radio waves that have been harnessed to carry information long distances. But

Word for Word: Episode 17

הָאֹ֖ור כִּי־טֹ֑וב The light that is good The light was everywhere. This is deemed to be good ( טֹ֑וב), that is, pleasant. The state of the light is indicated by the conjunction כִּי, kiy, which is most often translated "that". The creation of light had been by sound waves over the surface of the water in contact with God. This produced light everywhere at the same time. This wave motion would become the basis for everything to follow.

Word for Word: Episode 16

וַיַּ֧רְא אֱלֹהִ֛ים And God saw God did not need physical eyes to see, for night is as the day for Him. But we are told that He sees everything from the start It is part of His nature to be everywhere and see everything. In the form used in this text the verb רָאָה (ra"ah) has lost its last letter due to vocalization. That happens a lot with vowels and "semi-vowels". The verb for seeing used here is widely used in all sorts of applications. Suffice it to say, God sees everything and has perfect recollection.

Word for Word: Episode 15

יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור "Exist, Light!" And light happened. The ability to make something happen is what defines free will. With God , there is no other determining factors. With mankind, our creativity is limited. The best analogy may be telling a story from memory. It may be true, or just imaginary. The word אוֹר (aur) is light as it exists and will be set apart by the name "day". Because of this, it comes as a symbol for righteousness and holiness. At its inception it seems to have been the point at which electromagnetic energy reached the visible spectrum necessary for life on the earth. This event happened all across the surface of the "water universe".

Word for Word: Episode 14

וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֖ים Then God said Everything stood ready. The whole creation was ready to be fashioned into the diversity we have explored in modern times. Whether the earth was alone in a sea of particles, or encompassed the primordial cosmos, it lacked the life only God could impart. When God spoke he began the coding of the wave functions that guide all particles throughout the universe, however large it was before it expanded. The voice of God is necessarily a condescension to mankind. The verb אָמַר (amar) denotes the act of making known inner thoughts. The contents of those thoughts reflect the character of the speaker. By nature God's message will be true and, in this case, real.

Word for Word: Episode 13

וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם Gen 1:2 From Chaos to Order Whereas verse 1 accents the fact of creation, verse 2 displays the process of God's working the miracle. Creation is an orderly arrangement of 40 to 50 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion invisible particles by means of vibrations. This can only be accomplished by One who is both omnipotent and omniscient. There would be no mistakes, for each atom was individually "programmed" to specifications needed to react with other atoms. Once gravity was in affect, the molecules needed for everything else could be manufactured. As the Spirit settled into place among the atoms, He was present everywhere. Being omnipresent made the work instantaneous. From then on, time was introduced for the benefit of mankind. To recap the words so far:  ( 1) [b'] בְּ   at, by, in, with (2) [ rōs

Word for Word: Episode 12

מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם Moving over the Water Though mighty, the Spirit worked His wonders gently. The verb for this movement is רָחַף , a rare word in the Bible meaning to grow soft or relax. Following this, then, the action God takes after gathering the tiny particles together is to cover them gently, settling down among them. Scientists have seen evidence of what they call "neutron stars" that develop when stars collapse. All the space is crunched out as the neuclei lose their electrons. It seems likely that such would happen if all the quarks were brought together. The very dense neutron universe could only disrupted by an act of God. It is not hard to see that disruption would be affected by the Spirit settling down over, under and around that vast, motionless assemblage to give it "life". At that point the great forces of gravity and the strong force would give way to God's personal touch. That touch would nudge elect

Word for Word: Episode 11

וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת Then God's Spirit move d The raw ingredients were gathered into place. The rules were laid down. It was time to build a universe. When the Spirit ( ר֣וּחַ ) of God moves, things happen. There is no stopping Him. The word for spirit is descriptive, for the same word in both Hebrew and Greek is translated wind, breath and "spirit". In this context, the breath of God personifies the general work God does by moving air as great winds. In some way, God is working directly in miraculous ways that defy the very laws of nature so recently established. A s the Spirit moved over, through and around the scattered chaos, the force of gravity began to form a huge sphere. The crush would bring nuclei together where the strong and weak forces would allow atoms to be formed. Something big was in the works in a "miniature", comparatively speaking, universe was formed in a most compact form.

Word for Word: Episode 10

וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום And darkness on the face of the deep Before there was light, there was darkness, חֹ֖שֶׁךְ, all across the universe. The consolidation of the particles into one place was a noisy event of high energy waves far shorter than visible light. The fact that no one but God was there to see any of this shows that it is by revelation. The darkness is said to be "on the face" ( פְּנֵ֣י ) of "the deep" ( תְהֹ֑ום ). The versatile preposition עַל (`al) is used in the sense of over or above. The word פְּנֵ֣י derived from the verb and unused noun פָּנָה which means to turn. The phrase עַל־פְּנֵ֣י often is translated with the sense of "in the presence of". In other words, the primal darkness was as dark as is possible. Since "God is light", the original darkness is sometimes thought to be a metaphor. A literal reading, though, can easily render support to a gravitational black hole the size of the known uni

Word for Word: Episode 9

תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ Formless and Empty The first we "see" of the earth we find a vast wasteland. There is no reason to think of the surface of a desert, though. If we take these verses chronologically, the first phrase describes the earth before it takes any form at all. The basic meaning of תֹ֨הוּ֙ (tohu) is "laying in waste", that is "worthless". As tiny particles without restraint, the quarks and electrons were in complete chaos. Paired with tohu is its rhyming twin, bohu, which means "empty". The former is used by itself many times to indicate insignicant and even worthless things. The latter term always appears with it, denoting emptiness. Together, the description is of something powerless on its own. After the particles acquire the practically unbreakable "strong force" God would have a stable base upon which to build.

Word for Word: Episode 8

וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה But the earth was The creation of the world was a process rather than a sudden appearing full blown out of nowhere. When with nouns the conjunction is said to be disjuctive. Verse two describes the imperfect condition, ever so much chaos, that the particles were in. For this reason, the waw is perhaps better translated "but". As much as anything else in creation week, the earth had to be formed into a functioning body. As God superintended creation, he seems to have gathered everything into one place. But without a miracle, nothing but scattered quarks littered space with too far apart to interact.  So was the young universe "on its own". The earth is passively defined with the verb הָיָה , in its usual sense of being or existing. Grammatically it is in the "Qal Perfect"--the simple past in most cases. Chaos was everywhere.

Word for Word: Episode 7

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶ ץ   First, the Almighy created that which is stretched out and that which is dry.  I know, I know, the creation at this point is literally, the lofty realm and solid ground. However, the text defines the stretched stuff and the dry stuff as "heaven/sky/air" and "earth/land/ground". So, it is my contention that the building blocks of all that we see was original quite literally invisible, and the space containing it was much smaller. Space was bound by the "hand" of God as a place to organize the quanta (the truly indivisible particles). There apparently were at least 4×10^58 of these partcles in the singularity that God tore apart to make the expanding universe. Though quanta are so tiny, they are packed with all the potential energy that became all the matter in the vastness of space. This is my humble attempt to tie the theories of Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein to the raw data in Gen

Word for Word: Episode 6

וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ And the earth The Hebrew word for "earth" is erets ( אָֽרֶץ ) and has many related meanings. Whereas we might pick up some soil and call it "earth", we don't speak of our homeland or state as "earth". This was not the way it was to the people of antiquity. Erets could mean the ground as opposed to the sea, or as opposed to the air above it. HaErets is twice as often translated as "the land" rather than "the earth". So, what are to make of the creation account of erets ? It helps a lot if there is a definition right in the context. Verse two will tell us of a place without life and very dark,  deep and wet. On the other hand, we find a special use on day three that names a very dry place "erets".  The confusion is that the word "ground" is supplied. I will return to the use of erets as dry ground when we get to day three. The narrative before us leads most logically to a sequence. Space w

Bloody Hands

Imagine a pair of hands, stained scarlet with blood. For thousands of years, the phrase “blood on your hands” has been indicative of someone’s guilt for wrongdoing. Chiefly, this expression refers to the blood on a murderer's hands after slaughtering a victim. However, this phrase can refer to the guilt and responsibility left behind by any crime. One of most alarming symbols in Scripture is that of blood stained hands. God uses this symbol himself to refer to a leader in the church who has the responsibility to share the Gospel, but fails to do so. “Son of man, I [God] have made you [Ezekiel] a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” - Ezekiel 3:17-18 ESV  And

Word for Word: Episode 5

הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם The Heavens The first thing God created was what we now call space. The collective name in Hebrew is Ha Shamayim , as in the heading. Dual in form, for the single form  Shamah never being used, is apparently from an old root meaning "to be aloft". However, God names the so-called expanse by this name, so it is to 1:9 that one must go for a definition. Working from the specific to the general, and taking the name as synonymous with the thing named, the expanse ( רָקִיעַ) , that is stretched out fabric of space is the same a s heaven, or the heavens. Usage determines the translation of שָּׁמַ֖יִם. Often it is localized, sometimes it is global, but most often the space occupied by heavenly and spiritual beings. The ancient readers may have expected a tiny unseen world smaller than dust, but the Bible does not reveal anything along those lines. However, they understood that the heavens extended far above the mountaintops.

Word for Word: Episode 4

הַ ... וְ These Things Before moving on to the "main course", let's look at two more "utensils" on the table. Just like the first word, B´, the article H´ and conjunction W´ look like prefixes. The definite article "the" sets a thing apart, while the conjunction "and" brings things together. The Biblical languages lack an "indefinite" article, though the words for "one" are sometimes used for the idea of "no particular..." On the other hand, the conjunction waw (w) is versatile. In between words it means "and", but at the beginning of sentences it can be translated "now", "then" or even "so". Both Hebrew letters, the "he" and the "waw" were originally vowels, E and U, respectively. This can be seen in the Greek transliterations η and υ . Suffice it to say, the addition of vowel "points" reflects a fluid and living

Word for Word: Episode 3

אֵ֥ת Action!! Throughout the Old Testament an untranslated word stands as a messenger and a mediator between the verb and and the direct object. This word is oddly spelled with the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is transliterated "AT", reminding the reader that it is pointing at something. In creation, God is not passive. In fact the natural laws have no creative ability whatsoever. The universe would not exist without the work of the one who is the first and the last, the author and finisher of the faith. The aleph-tau is the equivalent of alpha-omega in the Greek alphabet. It is another way to say our creator is in control.

Word for Word: Episode 2

בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים God created The history of the first verb,  בָּרָא (bar´a), is interesting, for its root meaning appears to have indicated the idea of cutting, rather than of molding . The imagery is of a carpenter rather than the potter. The form בֵרֵאתָ֤ is translated "cut down" in Joshua 17 when Joshua tells the strong northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh to go into the woods and create more space. It seems that they were not satisfied with the lottery of preexisting towns. The eventual meaning of creation from nothing but an idea is tied to the clearing of land to build something new. Like the "sons of Joseph", the Creator had a plan. He had nothing given to Him. However, since He exists in and of Himself (Exodus 3:14), it follows that the universe and all that is in it is not co-infinite with Him. His creation is, in the final analysis, out of nothing but an idea. Everything was made by his speaking it into existence. The name

Word for Word: Episode 1

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית In the beginning The first word in the Bible is the preposition בְּ (B´) which is translated "in". According to a standard lexicon, the basic meaning is "local and instrumental, in, at ." However, context determines both the vocalization ( vowel) and meaning. With persons, this can be with or among . It can also mean according to ,  because of or by means of . The phrase בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית appears here and four times in the historical record of Jeremiah. In those cases, some translations have "at the beginning." Re´shiyth ( רֵאשִׁ֖ית) is a demonstrative form of רֹאשׁ (rosh) and means, "head, chief or first." With no definite article, the phrase might be translated conversationally as "At first" or simply "First". Having said this, it is significant that Jeremiah's scribe uses the phrase in connection with the reign of the king. This reminds us that the Bible records the sovereign rule of the

Word for Word

Introduction At the beginning of a new year, it's important to put first things first. It is my intention to move word by word through Genesis and share my observations with those God sends this way. The first word is actually a phrase, rendered "In the beginning" in most translations. In the next post I will show how the other uses or this phrase accents both the author and the message of the Bible. I would greatly appreciate feedback and support in the comments.