Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
Do you recall how Satan spoke to Eve in the Garden of Eden? He led her down a path which began by questioning God’s word.
“And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Notice that Satan was asking her to question God and was promoting bitterness toward Him as he lied to her. God had actually said to not eat only of the tree in the middle of the garden.
The devil went on to lie further to her, appealing to “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16) in tempting Eve with the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was an approach that has proven successful for Satan ever since – twist God’s word and tempt people to doubt His truthfulness, doubt His sovereign goodness, and believe lies that glorify our selves instead of our God.
God’s word is critical if we are to discern the lies of the devil. The experience of Adam and Eve with Satan proves this at the very beginning of history. The Hebrew scribes and rabbis understood this. Every original word is important, and Jewish rabbis have been puzzling over the wonderful marvels and hidden meaning present in the wording of the Hebrew Scriptures for thousands of years. From the first verse of Genesis on, the care taken in preserving the precise wording of the Bible – and later by Christian scribes down through the many years of transcription – has been truly remarkable!
The first verse of the Bible, for example, is loaded with meaning. “Barashet (In the beginning) bara (created) Elohim (God) et Hashamayim (the heavens) vet (and) Haretz (the earth)” (Genesis 1:1). The Hebrew word for God in this first verse, for example, is understood as singular in meaning though plural in form (with the “im” ending). This is a mystery revealed fully in the triune God.
And note there are exactly seven Hebrew words that make the summary creation statement of the first verse of the Bible. While six of these words actually do the work of the statement, the seventh word just “rests”. Here, then, within the very first verse lies a beautiful divine metaphor. The seven days of God’s original creation establishes our seven-day week, six days of which are working days and the seventh day a day of rest. This seventh Hebrew word which rests from the work of the statement is “et” in the middle of the verse, and it is rather odd for being included in Genesis 1:1. Its presence can be for punctuation, but the sentence would work fine without it.
The Hebrew word “et” is formed from the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet – the aleph and the tau. This is the Hebrew equivalent of “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last”. It is what Jesus Christ says He is in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible – in Revelation 22:13. Furthermore, the Bible says that Jesus is our “faith-rest” (Hebrews 4:1-4) because the Sabbath rest from the work of redemption was completed in Christ on the cross when Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Thus, the “et” in Genesis 1:1 is quite arguably a foreshadowing of Jesus Christ in multiple marvelous ways!
When translating from the original language, it is very difficult to retain all the sense of the thoughts and words – and to retain the cultural response of those deeply familiar with the original language and all its idioms, word pictures, figures of speech, styles and grammatical nuances. Some words themselves just don’t have a good equivalent in the target translation language. Good examples of this are the Hebrew words “Behemoth” and “Leviathan”, words for some awesome animals which have been co-opted into the English language because there were no English equivalents – words which creationists know to have been types of dinosaurs familiar to the ancient Hebrews because of their detailed description in the Bible.
And the nuances of meaning that appear to the rabbis in the original text of Genesis 1:1 – such as the correlation of the seven words in the original text of the verse to the seven days of creation – is hidden when moving outside the original language and original readership. For example, the English KJV translation requires not seven but ten words to make the summary statement of creation in Genesis 1:1. The thing is that there is no perfect translation because human communication is imperfect.
The Bible says that “…the word of God is quick (alive), and powerful (energetic), and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). God’s word is living and imparts energy to those who use it and believe it. God’s word is truth (John 17:17). It brings revelation and understanding and life on the inside and outside. The devil wants to tear down our trust in God’s word. But we need to “resist the devil” and “submit to God” (James 4:7).
Last month we discussed how many uses of the word for “bowels” in both Hebrew and Greek of the Old and New Testaments have been replaced by their metaphorical meanings in many modern translations – even in otherwise good word-for-word translations of the Bible. This is because modern science is limited. Only in the last twenty years have we come to understand that the lining of our digestive system is effectively a second brain called the Enteric Nervous System. The modern translators simply could not bring themselves to believe that the “bowels” can deliver thoughts and feelings!
This is an example of the loss of truth from the word of God when translators shift to a sense-for-sense translation in trying to connect with their readers, and abandon word-for-word translation. In the same way, many modern translations, again misguided by what they regard as science – in this case the pseudo-science of evolutionism – have incorrectly and contrary to the Scriptures footnoted Behemoth as a hippopotamus or elephant and Leviathan as a crocodile. These biblical creatures are what we would call dinosaurs!
We must be careful about reading into the Bible our preconceived notions when, in fact, the Scriptures hold forth an awesome precious truth waiting to be uncovered! After all, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). And the Bible says that as Christians we are all members of a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9). We are all invited to inquire for wisdom and truth and revelation of God!
At Creation Moments we desire not to give in to the devil’s lies, including the grand lie of evolution, but to believe and proclaim the Bible and search out the wondrous truths that may be hidden and are waiting to be revealed! Truths which bring life to a dying world! Once again, let me express my deep appreciation for your financial support and your prayers!