William Andrew Dillard
UNDERSTANDING THE THEOLOGICAL POWER OF CONJUNCTIVES
There is great power in language conjunctives to transmit proper, cohesive thought. It is true in daily language usage, but greater in theology. Think!
To help assure continuity of thought, such conjunctives as “furthermore, and, additionally,” signifies continuing thought with previous statements. Words such as “therefore, subsequently, but, however, conversely” signal a change in thought pattern to a different or opposite effect.
Obviously, the use or misuse of these powerful unions of thought convey strong implications in both spoken and written form. Unfortunately, the translators of the English Bible choose to use what they thought was a neutral conjunctive “and” almost exclusively. But, it is not neutral. “And” being used to imply both continuous and diverse thoughts may confuse the reader, especially the unstudied one.
Genesis 1:1-2 is a case in point. Verse One denotes the Almighty, Triune, Creator creating (cutting out, forming, shaping in perfection ) both the heavens and the earth.
Verse two states, “And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” There is no mention of the heavens being in such chaotic state. Focus is shifted from the universal cosmos to the planet earth. The shift does not convey a continuation of the actions of verse one, but a different effect altogether. What a difference would be made if readers were reading “but” or however” that is contextually warranted instead of “and.” The context warranting such understanding does not reference the heavens being in such a chaotic state, but both were created instantly by the power of the Word of the Almighty. Yet it is the earth only that is portrayed as a chaotic mess of which God is not the author. It is simple: The perfect God never does an imperfect thing!
The prophet Isaiah underscored this fact. He wrote in 45:18 that the Creator did not create either the heavens or the earth in vain “tohu” the same Hebrew word used to describe the chaotic condition of the earth in Genesis 1:2. The method of creation is simply the Word of His mouth, and a sudden reality, as denoted in Isa. 48:3. In the ancient Hebrew language, there is a distinct difference between a consecutive conjunction and a simple conversive conjunction. Consecutive conjunctions are employed in all the verses of Genesis 1:3-31, but in Genesis 1:2 it is a simple conversive conjunction that is not to be understood as consecutive to verse one action.
While this theological explanation may not be fully appreciated by the average person, it is a vital part of the overall understanding that is to be derived from the pages of Holy Writ both here and in other places as well. In English, context demands the proper use of conjunctives.
REVIEWING PAST ASSESSMENTS
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
IT’S A COLLECTIVE ANIMAL WORLD
The English language has some wonderfully anthropomorphic collective nouns for the various groups of animals. We are all familiar with a Herd of cattle; a Flock of chickens; a School of fish, and a Gaggle of geese. However, less widely known is a Pride of lions; a Murder of crows (as well as their cousins the rooks and ravens); an Exaltation of doves, and, presumably because they look so wise, a Parliament of owls. Now consider a group of Baboons. They are the loudest, most dangerous, most obnoxious, most viciously aggressive, and least intelligent of all primates. And what is the proper collective noun for a group of baboons? Believe it or not ……. a Congress! Is it not weird how their descriptions parallel? I guess that pretty much explains a lot of the things that come out of Washington! It seems more prominent today than it did years ago.
IT’S A FRUITCAKE WORLD
Well, as the clock struck the midnight hour, officially ending the day, it was much as other days except a few times in recent years those days were supposed to be the end of the world, the return of Jesus, etc. Of course those things did not occur, nor were there many who thought they would, but in retrospect I just need to say: so much for the fruitcakes that know more than Jesus knows (according to them). The world has not ended…..the age is not over…..the rapture has not occurred. Did I think it would? Certainly not on the day designated. Has this sort of thing happened before? Yep! Will it happen again? Yep! Why anyone would pay any attention to it at all underscores biblical ignorance. Well, at least the fruitcakes are proving themselves to be false prophets according to Deut. 18:18-22. Maybe that alone is a good thing.
IT’S AN EDUCATED-BEYOND-INTELLIGENCE WORLD
An intellectual scholar was once described in homespun wisdom as being “educated beyond his intelligence.” Of course, there is humor in the description, but beyond that, it seems there is also some sobering truth. It occasionally appears that the more a few folks are educated, the more they appear to be ignorant of what is truly important in life.
On the other hand, those hearing the words of the truly wise man, Solomon, will have their feet firmly established in true wisdom. He said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. Doubtless, the wise man had encountered a few fools in his day, but it is also obvious that he had listened well to his father, King David, who described those who deny their maker in favor of preposterous theories in these words, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God…” Psalm 14:1. The practicality of truth over theory shines so brightly that those who turn from it really do give cause to wonder if they have not been educated beyond their intelligence!
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