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.
William Andrew Dillard
AND MAN BECAME A LIVING SOUL
Genesis has been described as the baby book of mankind. Certainly it is true to its name which means “beginning.” The book is of immense value, attracting the keen attention of all who would learn of their origin, and the beginning of so many things affecting modern life.
Relating the creation story, Holy Writ profoundly states “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen. 2:7. Researching the ancient language one finds interesting information not readily stated here, but confirmed in other places in God’s Word. Specifically, attention is drawn to the word “life.” In the ancient Hebrew language, it is plural, thus: “man became a soul of lives.” Since the dual number is used in Hebrew for two things that normally go together, but is not used here, the employment of plural indicates at least three. Thus does the bible affirm that man is a spirit, a soul, and a body. I Thess. 5:23.
The body that God created from the same elements as the earth was a lifeless form until He breathed into it the breath of lives. The result is man became a soul of lives. Soul is the working expression of an intellect and spirit appropriately housed in a physical body to which they give life.
For those with hearing ears, this provides great understanding of the species as it relates both to sin and to salvation. Sin stained all three aspects of mankind. Just so, all three must be saved to realize the fullness of salvation. However in the wisdom and purposes of God, no one receives salvation in totality at one time. Instead, in the new birth, the spirit of a repentant person is both saved and sealed with the Holy Spirit of God, Eph. 4:30. In obedient discipleship, the mind is saved by being renewed to a high state of spiritual maturity, Rom. 12: 2. Under the operating laws of our present cosmos: that of sin and death, there is no hope for the body. It MUST die! However in the rapture or resurrection the body will be saved in immortal newness. It is then that men will know the fullness of salvation, and more precisely what Adam and Eve lost in paradise in choosing to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life.
It is of immense importance that every offspring of Adam should know this information, especially those of the household of faith. It is of eternal consequence what is done with the application of this information regarding the soul of lives that each one is.
Parson to Person
Sometimes the question is asked, “Where should I start reading in the Bible?” Well, for the initial reader, I really would not recommend the genealogy chapters, although they are important. There are better places to “wade in” to the Word. For instance, if one likes suspense, adventure, romance, and a general all around thriller, there could be no better than Genesis.
However if one wants to be spellbound by the enormous faithfulness of God to His faithful people, the first few chapters of Daniel fills the bill. If one wants poetry and praise, look into the Psalms. For those enamored with knowledge, understanding and wisdom, Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are the books to read.
The great blessings of faithfulness, and curse of infidelity are impressive in Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. War in conquest and defeat are the offerings of Joshua, Judges, and the books of Samuel. The Chronicles and Kings yield up much history of the ruling dynasties of Israel and of Judah, while the prophets’ books lay bare their burdens of condemnation of sin, and of hope in the end.
The gospels relate much of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and the foundation of the New Covenant underscoring the terrible, but altogether loving sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son for all who would trust in Him.
Acts speaks of the empowerment of the Lord’s church and its initial mission efforts into all the world. The apostolic epistles are filled with doctrines that are to govern the Lord’s people throughout this age, and Revelation reveals the final victorious Christ Jesus together with events leading up to His displayed supremacy, and the final abode of His people in a new creation of which New Jerusalem is the focal point. Incidentally, since understanding Revelation depends on a good understanding of all the rest of the Bible, I usually do not recommend it for the initial reader, but I never dissuade anyone from reading it as much as they like.
So, Perhaps I have helped some along the way to choose an introduction to the eternal Word. It is prayed that all men might come to realize that mastery of the Bible as much as possible is the most important thing they will ever do. The “where to start” question is a thrill. It means someone is going to be exposed to life altering Holy Writ to their benefit and to the glory of God. Have you read any of the Word lately?
IN THE BEGINNING – A PROBLEM!!
One of the biggest problems the world has with the Bible is Genesis Verse One: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
In the first place, the idea of an eternal, creator God being the author of all that is made sticks deep in the craw of those who claim modern enlightenment. This extends far beyond the realm of active atheists. Moreover, many of those who sheepishly admit to the existence of God will not admit to his being the Creator, preferring to accept the Darwinian theory of the evolution of species from a supposed, initial big bang. That poses the question of why the idea of God should be accepted at all, if He is not believable, as per Genesis Verse One.
The testimony of biblical writers from Old and New Testaments are of unified declaration. Consider what John said: “Without him was not anything made that was made.” The Hebrew letter clearly states: “And thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” Heb. 1:1. Revelation 4:11 affirms: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for they pleasure they are and were created.” Truly, it is as the psalmist David wrote: “The heavens declare the glory of God: and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.” Psalm 19:1-3.
It is of interest to note that the term “declare” is in the ancient Hebrew language “Sapher” the base word for “book” and carries with it the idea of writing. But in ancient times the base idea was more of engraving. The most durable message was thought of as being engraved in stone. The term “showeth” is in Hebrew “magidh” which means to plainly expose to view.
Thus is the handiwork of the Almighty, Creator God plainly exposed to view to all men in every generation as plainly as large letters engraved in gigantic faces of stone. How well then did the apostle Paul put it in Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
Men may call good evil and evil good, but that does not make it so. Men may call pseudoscience science, but that does not make it so. Men may theorize that the earth is an accidental evolvement, and there is no higher power to which all are accountable, but that does not make it so. Those who have a problem with Genesis Verse One have much bigger problems to deal with eternally.
||There is no strength in unbelief. Even the unbelief of what is false is no source of might. It is the truth shining from behind that gives the strength to disbelieve. GEORGE MCDONALD
It is very popular today to dismiss truth as unimportant. The Bible, the whole Bible, both Old Testament and New Testament were given to us by God. He has said that it is His word and true. Revelation 22:19 gives solemn warning about God’s Word. “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Now take a look at the book of Genesis and tell me if some one messed with the Word of God. Eve said, we can’t even touch it (added to the word). The serpent said, “ye shall not surely die:” A play on words that is misleading and therefore a lie. When we stretch the truth, diminish the truth, twist the truth, say part of the truth and leave out some things to deceive, that is a lie the same as a flat out lie is a lie. Doing any of this makes one a liar. There are a lot of religious liars today. Some stand in pulpits and others sit in pews. Iregardless of their station in life, position in business, or religious zeal, if it is a lie it is a lie.
What was God’s reaction to the lies of the serpent and the woman. He cursed them! He cursed man, He cursed woman, He cursed the serpent, and He cursed the earth. Do you get the picture, that God hates liars and loves truth. Proverbs 6:16 gives us some insight. “The six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Take a look a the list that a liar is added to. Hands that commit murder. Maybe we need to take a serious look at what we believe the Bible to say. Let us get ourselves on solid ground when it comes to the truth of God’s Word.
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