William Andrew Dillard
BIBLE TERMS REQUIRE PROPER UNDERSTANDING AND DISCRIMINATE USAGE
“I think I know what you mean, but that is not what you said.” So goes the common misspeaking, or misunderstanding of daily communications. Using the right term is important, especially in matters of the Word. One such instance is the oft-confusing of “spirit” and “soul.” But, for present consideration are the Greek terms “GE” (earth) and “COSMOS” (world) as translated in the Bible.
The term “Ge” is very different in both appearance and meaning from “Cosmos.” Yet, no small number of folks continue to use the terms interchangeably. This leads to misunderstandings and too bad theology.
In the Bible, the word “world” is most often used as the translation of “cosmos.” This is proper, and when reference is made to the planet on which we live, the Greek term from which the reference is translated will be “Ge.” The ancient Greek word “cosmos” references a working system designed to produce predictable results. Hence the universe of planetary bodies is referred to as the cosmos as it is a definite, predictable working pattern. The order of the world of men is a cosmos because it is framed in the predictable order of sin and death. A clock is a cosmos since it is a working system designed to produce predictable results. Additionally, they call that stuff women use to make themselves pretty “cosmetics.” That, too, is from the cosmos because it transforms a female from an ordinary human being to a predictable system designed to attract the opposite sex. In summation: “world” is from “Cosmos.” It designates a system. It is not a designation of the planet earth.
Of course, there is a term designating the planet. It is (as mentioned) “Ge.” Furthermore, that root word in its expansion gives us such words as “geology, geography, geometry, geophysics, Georgia,” etc., all having to do with the physiology of the planet.
Being discriminatory with words goes a long way toward eliminating the confusion of ideas. It helps the speaker to think more precisely, and the audience to infer more properly what exactly has been implied, connoted, or denoted. Most all of us would profit from a review of etymology ( a study of root words, prefixes and suffixes). It would most likely stoke our love for our mother tongue as well as open pleasurable avenues of ideas not previously, personally known.
Upon hearing this detailed explanation a student was asked, “Now do you understand the difference between “earth” and “world?” to this he replied, “Gee!” Oh, NO!!