[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Apr 14 20:45:01 EDT 2006


You are older than I, and I am no spring chicken.

In Genesis 1:2, the words translated as "waste and 
void" are "THW WBHW" (commonly pronounced tohu 
ubohu). BHW occurs only three times in the Hebrew 
Old Testament, each time in connection with THW. 
THW is used to describe formed idols that are 
lifeless and other lifeless, formed objects. BHW 
appears in context to refer to the stillness of 
that which is lifeless.

I said that God created the world lifeless and 
still, then added motion. One aspect of the motion 
is light (I have an uncle who was a physicist, he 
assures me light is caused by the motion of matter) 
and another is that God set the world to spinning. 
History changes things: one thing that is true one 
time is not predictive of what will be at another 
time. Just because the world was still before light 
was created, does not mean that it will not be 
spinning after light is created. On the third day 
and later, he added life forms as well. Thus, when 
he finished his creating, Genesis 2:1-3, he had a 
life filled, active world, as Isaiah 45:18 
describes. Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 is the narration of 
the steps God took to make the universe.

As I earlier told Harold Holmyard, I don't care 
what other translators have written. Translators, 
as a group, tend not to be that great of Hebrew 
scholars, and they tend to be rather cautious, not 
willing to get out of the rut plowed by the KJV. 
They are correctly fearful that if they deviate too 
much from the KJV, their translations may not sell. 
I, as a Hebrew scholar, am not familiar with the 
KJV and less familiar with any other translation, 
therefore read it according to what the Hebrew says.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Revdpickrel at wmconnect.com
> In a message dated 4/14/2006 4:36:36 PM Central Daylight Time,
> kwrandolph at email.com writes:
> > You're right, God did not create the world "formless and void", 
> > rather it was lifeless and still. The rest of the steps of 
> > creation were adding movement and life to the world.
> >
> Wait a minute Karl, you just convinved me the earth was rotating in the
> beginning, now you're telling me it was 'lifeless and still.'   
> Now, I'm back to
> square-one on the day business.  You can't have it both ways.   Traditionally
> thh (dr. of tohu) is rendered by KJ, NKJ, LB, NIV, RSV, NAS, NJ, NA 
> as 'formless
> and void'.  Harris' Workbook renders thh as confusion, plus formless, empty,
> void, etc.  When I consider all the passages that 'formless and void' ties
> together I think it was chaotic too..
> Isa. 45:18, God told Isaiah that He didn't create it formless and void, but
> to be inhabited.  I think in Genesis 1 this was accomplished and full of life,
> and something took place that made God angry and through this wrath He emptied
> the earth rendering it formless and void.  The Scriptures that shows this
> truth is considered by some to be 'figurative language' so there is 
> no point in
> boring the forum with 'figurative language' trivia.
> > Where do you get the idea that it was chaotic? That's not in the Hebrew.
> >
> I know that.  I said I would have added chaotic....
> > THW does not mean formless. E.g. 1 Samuel 12:21 idols, which were 
> > physical statues, were not formless, but they certainly were 
> > lifeless. Again, Isaiah 24:10 talks about a lifeless city where 
> > no one enters. Further Isaiah 44:9 refers to lifeless statues 
> > worshiped as Gods. All of these have form, they just lack life.
> >
> Where do you get THW?  My computer does not show THW in Genesis 1:2.
> Karl, I am not a Hebrew Language scholar.  I know just enough Hebrew to be
> dangerous, so don't be discouraged with me.  I've been studying 
> Scripture since
> 1944 and I've formed some opinions in concrete.
> Doug
> Rev. Doug Pickrel, Litt.D.
> Tejas Valley
> San Antonio, Texas


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