Ex nihilo? Was Raqiyah

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at mclink.it
Wed Jul 24 20:07:30 EDT 2002

>I don't accept your "given that the first creative act according to
>the imposition of the seven day week was that the first act of creation
>began on day one...". This is one interpretation, but it is also quite
>possible to understand the Hebrew to imply two stages, 

This would seem to mean that the creation from which 
God rested on the seventh day was not the whole 
creation and there were not just six days of creation. 
Is that right?

>first a creation
>(perhaps ex nihilo) of a formless earth along with the heavens, followed
>by seven days of shaping of the earth. 

If one is going to create something ex nihilo, there is 
no reason to create it formless. Why not create it as 
it was "meant to be" from the start rather than creating 
a formless version then fixing it up? There is one step 
too many.

Incidentally, how do you conceive of this earth which 
is created in the first phase of the two-step which you 
are hypothetically putting forward?

Verse 2:3 says that God blessed the seventh day because 
he rested from all his works which he had created [br'] 
and made [`$h]. Does this allow the two-step, alias the 
"double creation" which is the blind alley into which 
creatio ex nihilo eventually always leads?

>(By the way, I am not stating
>this as my theological position.) At least I have not seen any clear
>linguistic arguments to rule out this second interpretation. 

Morphological and syntactic arguments are not all which 
need to considered.

>And I would
>rather clarify the linguistic arguments before considering any
>theological ones - after all, this list is for language not theology.

Which includes the literary structure of the texts 
dealt with. Stylistics ans Semantics are important 
fields within linguistics.

>Your discussion of the aorist in LXX seems to presuppose that the
>commonest meaning of the aorist, as a punctiliar past, cannot apply
>here, and so you search out other meanings, as inceptive or overview,
>which are possible but relatively rare. 

Did the creation of the heavens and the earth 
finish in v1? Obviously not. Things which were 
part of the heavens and the earth were being 
created from day 1 in v3. The creation was not 
punctiliar, so there is no reason to talk of a 
punctiliar aorist here.

>For you write "It certainly is
>not a punctiliar aorist -- as it's not a punctiliar action." But you
>have no linguistic argument that it is not a punctiliar action (at least
>as the LXX translators understood the Hebrew), only a theological one.

See above. 

>(I am asking a Greek scholar friend to comment further on this.) I could
>argue in the opposite direction, that the Greek implies a punctiliar

As this is clearly not the case, then anything 
built upon it doesn't work.


>therefore that is how they understood the original Hebrew,
>therefore that is the meaning of the original Hebrew. But I see a flaw
>in that argument, that the LXX translators (whose Hebrew may have been
>weak) may have misunderstood the original Hebrew author's intention.

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