[b-hebrew] Question about Gen 1:1-2

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Jul 23 09:36:05 EDT 2009


On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 6:08 PM, Marie Casale <mjcasale at earthlink.net>wrote:

> I have been studying the Gap Theory which says there are billions of years
> of time inserted in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. At the end of these
> billions of years, the earth suffered a great cataclysm (due to Satan's
> rebellion and fall) that left the earth without form and void.  They say the
> word WAS in verse 2 could be translated BECAME.  Thus the earth BECAME
> without form and void.  It was not originally created that way.
> Do you use the same Hebrew word 'hayah' to mean both 'was' and 'became' and
> have to figure out which one should be there by the context of the sentence?
>  Or does the word 'hayah' have to have a 'le' with it in order for it to
> mean 'became'?  Can we KNOW whether the word in Gen 1:2 is definitely 'was'
> or 'became'?
> Thanks for your help.
> Sincerely,
> Marie Casale

First of all, the theological question is argued against in verse 31
that if Satan’s rebellion had already occurred, creation wouldn’t have
been “very good”.

Part of the argument for the gap theory comes from the meaning of THW WBHW
תהו ובהו . BHW is used only three times in Tanakh, and always with THW.

THW does not mean “formless”, as it is used describe carved idols which are
anything but formless Isaiah 44:9. That and a few other places where people
put their trust on that which is THW with the context implying that they are
idols indicates that what is meant is lifeless (idols are lifeless, unable
to act) and not “formless”. In contrast, YHWH is the living God, who acts
into history.

As far as I can tell, BHW refers to stillness, contrasted with the hubbub of
a crowd.

Now putting this back into context with Genesis 1:1–2, the text says that
God created the heavens and earth, and that as the earth came into being
through that act of creation, its first state was that of THW WBHW—lifeless
and still. Then God animated his creation.

A second theological note: most of the support for the gap theory comes from
outside the Bible, then the gap is read into the text (eisegesis) whereas if
we read the text as written (exegesis), the gap theory is not found.

In closing, this forum has been set up for the study of the text and
language by people of different theological leanings, which is why we as a
group do not push any one theological position.

Karl W. Randolph.

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