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Feedback: Commentary’s claims are out of step with the Bible

May 30, 2005

To Whom it Concerns

I read your statement that a straightforward reading of Genesis, as you claim you do, gives no indication of a time interval with great disapppointment. I was hoping for a much more in depth an knowledgeable site.

I cannot believe you have not heard of nor read the commentaries by Rashi who tells you plainly that Genesis 1 is not the recounting of the creation from the very beginning based on the choice of Hebrew words…. Let’s put aside the feeble english translations for now”…

You all seem to totally ignore the great meaning in the words “tohu Bohu”, “the Deep” (Tehom) and Darkness…in Gen 1:2…they all refer to Psalms and Isaiah, and make it plain they aren”t “travelogue” words but refer to much more… …but I see none of this in your site….You appear to rely solely on the english translation (I could be wrong) …rather than make an in depth examination of the Hebrew…if I am wrong please let me know

One final comment…other scholars have noted that Genesis begins with God parting the waters to make dry land appear for man, the same way He did for the Israelites out of Egypt and at Jericho…and they note that Tehom is connected with Rahab (not the woman but the creature) and they both also refer to Egypt…all of this is in Isaiah…In short the words in Genesis 1:2 have GREAT meaning besides the “straightforward” rather “blind” way most people read it.

R.A.
USA


Dear R.A.,

I read your statement that a straightforward reading of Genesis, as you claim you do, gives no indication of a time interval with great disapppointment. I was hoping for a much more in depth an knowledgeable site.

I cannot believe you have not heard of nor read the commentaries by Rashi who tells you plainly that Genesis 1 is not the recounting of the creation from the very beginning based on the choice of Hebrew words….Let’s put aside the feeble english translations for now”…

It is clear that you have not searched our website for an analysis of Rashi’s teaching. If you had, you would have found, for example, Fostering fallacy where you will find why we do not consider Rashi’s fallacious teaching. Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) was a grape grower living in northern France, one thousand years after Christ. Given that he was so far removed (in both time and space) from even first-century Judaism, how can anyone claim that Rashi is representative of early Jewish exegesis? Or that he is some sort of authority whom we should listen to? Also, Rashi’s eisegesis of clear OT prophecies to avoid the implication that they were referring to Jesus of Nazareth is further indication of his unreliability. See Fruchtenbaum, A.G., Messianic Christology, Ariel Ministries, 1998.

No, I think it much more reasonable to understand Genesis as the rest of the Bible indicates it should be understood; not how some heretical mystic did. That’s one of the first rules of hermeneutics (the Bible interprets the Bible). So, how does the rest of the Bible view Genesis? As straightforward history. The prophets, Jesus and the Apostles all took Genesis as history, not some giant allegory. A good example is the Sabbath Commandment, completely predicated upon the historicity of Creation Week (Ex. 20:8-11).

I’m afraid you are right out of step with the thrust of the whole Bible. Furthermore, the early church fathers also understood it as such, first and foremost. See the first set of articles under Q&A: Genesis.

And the Jewish historian Josephus likewise took Genesis as history, including six normal-length days, no gaps in the chronogenealogies and a young earth. He lived about a thousand years closer to the time of writing than Rashi, and he made it clear that Jews understood Genesis as straightforward history.

You all seem to totally ignore the great meaning in the words “tohu Bohu”, “the Deep” (Tehom) and Darkness…in Gen 1:2…they all refer to Psalms and Isaiah, and make it plain they aren”t “travelogue” words but refer to much more… …but I see none of this in your site….You appear to rely solely on the english translation(I could be wrong) …rather than make an in depth examination of the Hebrew…if I am wrong please let me know

Correct. You are wrong. We do not ignore the meaning of any words of Scripture. Again, our website has articles dealing with the meaning of the Hebrew. But, how can the meaning of words used in Genesis 1:2 be derived from their supposed meaning in Psalms and Isaiah, which were written long after Genesis? Rather, it should be obvious that the later books are alluding to the earlier ones. This would also fit with the general biblical theme that a judgment was often the reversal of creation. E.g. in the Flood, the separation of the heavens from the waters of the earth, which God did on Day 2, was allowed to be undone, as was Day 3, where the waters were gathered and the dry land appeared. Thus Jeremiah 4:23 is taking the land back to its unformed state described in Genesis 1:2, unfit for man to live in.

Check out What about the ‘gap’ and ‘ruin-reconstruction’ theories? where the meaning of tohu and bohu are discussed in detail. See also From the beginning of the creation.

One final comment….other scholars have noted that Genesis begins with God parting the waters to make dry land appear for man, the same way He did for the Israelites out of Egypt and at Jericho…and they note that Tehom is connected with Rahab (not the woman but the creature) and they both also refer to Egypt…all of this is in Isaiah…In short the words in Genesis 1:2 have GREAT meaning besides the “straightforward” rather “blind” way most people read it.

Again, how can the meaning of the events recorded in Genesis derive from what happened and was written later, in Exodus or Isaiah, the latter nearly a thousand years later? Tehom is the word used of the great ocean throughout the Old Testament. That is the plain meaning and clearly the meaning intended in many places in the OT. ‘The fountains of the great deep’ are mentioned in the Flood account (Gen. 7:11, 8:2) and Proverbs 8:28. ‘The deep’ (Heb. Tehom) relates back to creation (Gen. 1:2) where it refers to the one ocean covering the whole world before the land was formed. It was the water from the ‘great deep’ that flooded and destroyed the earth (2 Peter 3). And in case you’re thinking of the old liberal canard relating tehom to the Babylonian goddess/monster tiamat, forget it. This is linguistically impossible because tehom is masculine and tiamat feminine—see also Did the Babylonian Creation Account Influence Genesis?

Jesus refers to the blind in the New Testament in regard to those who will not believe the clear testimony of Scripture. Rashi would have been so described, because he refused to believe the clear testimony of Scripture regarding Jesus, so it would be very foolish to follow his teaching.

Sincerely,

Don Batten, CMI–Australia


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