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Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers III:

Creationism, Neanderthals and the Fossil Record

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Question #1:  

Dear Sir:

Warm Greetings in Jesus' Name!

Am currently studying your various articles as they appear on your website. I would like to have a detailed explanation of the Original Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. May be you've already discussed about it on your website; if so, I would like you to give me all the references.

Hoping to hear from you and thanking you with prayers,

Yours sincerely,

Response #1: 

Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks much for your good words. In terms of your question, here are all of the links to the places where these issues are currently addressed at Ichthys. Since the writings are extensive and do touch (in detail) and do indeed deal with the grammar and vocabulary of Genesis 1:1-2, may I please ask you to read the following links, and then do feel free to write back if you have other questions including anything you don't find "written up" at Ichthys:

*Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II

The Genesis Gap (SR 2)

The Seven Days of Human History (in SR 5)

The Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.

The Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers

Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.

The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.

The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.

Questioning the Genesis Gap

Whatever Happened to the Genesis Gap?

Where Can I Find More Information on the Genesis Gap?

Ex Nihilo Creation

Tohu in Genesis 1:2

The Origin of the Four Seasons

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:  

Dear Bob:

Thanks for your earlier reply with all the references; I should be studying the same.

I have a question: What is it that makes you to state that the angels were created "at some undisclosed time following His creation of heavens and earth"? Ps. 148:2-5, Col. 1:16, you rely upon, do not precisely state it as such. On the other hand, from Job 38:1-7 we can conclude that the angels were already in existence before the foundations of the earth were laid; or even before any other physical creation. This is the understanding held by most if not all those who believe in a gap, if I am not mistaken. Have you read "The Genesis Gap Theory, Its Credibility and Consequences" by M.W. J. Phelan?

Thanking you,

Response #2: 

I can't speak for what others believe, but Job 38:1-7 is usually wrongly translated and understood. The standard translations, such as the NIV, understand these issues a priori as non-gap and butcher the translation to match their theology. Here is how I would revise this passage you cite based upon how the Hebrew actually reads:

REVISION of NIV:

Job 38:5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?

Job 38:6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone? [STRONG STOP]

BREAK

Job 38:7 [NEW SENTENCE] "WHEN the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy . . .

Job 38:8 . . . who shut up the sea behind doors, when it burst forth from the womb,

Job 38:9 when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness?

In other words, the angels are in fact not said to "rejoice" at original creation. That rejoicing comes later when the subject switches to the restoration of the universe on the other side of the gap (i.e., Job 38:8 is describing the events of Genesis 1:9ff.).

You can find out more about this at the following links:

Job 38:4-7

Job 38:7

As to your other question, I agree with Mssr. Phelan's description "Genesis 1:2a is a noun-clause; we are dealing here with a circumstantial noun-clause", but his conclusion, "the existence of a circumstantial noun-clause in Genesis 1:2a virtually eliminates the possibility of any gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2", is a non sequitur. In fact, the disjunctive nature of the noun clause (i.e., substantive, not verbal form, following the waw resulting in sharp contrast = "BUT") has precisely the opposite effect of teaching that there is a gap. In any case, it doesn't take a linguist to understand that the conclusion he makes: "the existence of a circumstantial noun-clause in Genesis 1:2a virtually eliminates the possibility of any gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2", does not follow logically regardless of grammatical features, absent, that is, some sort of explanation as to why this might be true: Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"; Genesis 1:2 "But the earth became / had become ruined and despoiled".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

I enjoy reading your text concerning The Satanic Rebellion and other early history articles. My question is can you tell us if Neanderthals were part of the pre-adamic race? Thanks in advance for your time and effort. Your Website is intriguing and I always look forward to reading new posts.

Blessings,

Response #3: 

Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks for your encouraging comments.

As to your question, I'm no scientist, but that doesn't mean I place any particular faith in those who are. On the Neanderthal question, I am not at all convinced that they existed. For example, here is a link to an article which explains that a fossil thought to be from a "Neanderthal" has been shown now to date to medieval times:

(http://www.livescience.com/42231-neanderthal-remains-disproved.html).

A few years ago, "science" was adamant that present human beings had no Neanderthal DNA; then we had 2%; now some say up to 6%. If these things were really matters of fact rather than over-educated theories based on a conviction that the world is entirely material (i.e., no God), then perhaps we should have to trouble ourselves with the discrepancies. As it is, the one consistent thing about scientific theorizing about the past is that its conclusions are different today from what they were yesterday . . . and will change again tomorrow. The general public is thought to be "ignorant" if we do not accept in full faith today's theory, and then turn on a dime and have full faith in tomorrow's theory just as soon as we get the "news" (it reminds one of the shifting political allegiances in Orwell's 1984). I have no axe to grind with these people, nor am I spoiling for any kind of a fight (in my view, Christians are well-advised to steer clear of politics of any sort). I would find it merely amusing, except that these sorts of things have a tendency to trip up the faith of some (who are overly impressed by scientific skepticism), and to exercise the ire of others (to the point of becoming politically involved to their own spiritual detriment).

I believe it and teach it because it is clearly the biblical position, but it is also true that the Genesis Gap provides a potential explanation for all prehistoric fossil "evidence" (see the links: The Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers and The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap). The Gap also may explain why the techniques science uses to back-date fossil finds are so unreliable: i.e., science assumes that "things were then as they are now" and ignores the potential of the great flood to make a mockery of all their calculations (shifting the earth's axis and magnetic fields, and creating seasons where there were none previously, for example; see the link), and of course the cataclysmic flooding and blacking out of the entire universe as a judgment on Satan's rebellion would be considered nonsense by science (see the link on "waters") – as well as the six days of reconstruction – so that the wealth cosmological clues which could be had by paying attention to scripture are not only ignored but stood on their head.

Here are some other links which talk about these and related issues:

Science and the Bible

The problem of science and the Bible

Charles Hodge and Charles Darwin

Is the earth ever described as round in the Bible?

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:   

Dr. Luginbill,

I came across something not to long ago but have not been able to find it again. From my memory, when the Masoretic added the vowel points, they added a mark that indicated a stop or break between Gen 1:1 and 1:2. Have you heard of it, do you remember what it was called, and was it really marker for a disjunctive?

From the "for what it worth department", my daughter has a PHD in BIOCHEM. One of the formulas that they use all the time has to do population expansion, DNA coding errors and such. Bases on that formula with the population rate increase in humans before, during, and after the dark ages results in man being on the earth somewhere between 4000 and 12000 years. For man to be as old as most scientist think there would have had to be 40 or more episodes like the flood that brought humanity to the point of extinction. Of course, these are estimates and assumptions (not the TRUTH of the Bible) but scientists hang their hats on this formula time after time. Fits well with your dispensational timeframe though.

A big thanks for your website. I really appreciate it.

Response #4: 

Very good to make your acquaintance – and thanks much for your comments and encouragement.

As to Genesis 1:2, yes, the verse begins with the conjunction/verb compound accented with revia (or rebhia), which is a disjunctive accent in the Masorectic system and could be read to indicate a break here. From what I have gleaned on this subject, the accent is not otherwise easily explainable in terms of Masoretic accentuation (i.e., unless one accepts "but the earth had become" as the proper translation). It's not my area of specialization so I would not want to be dogmatic on the point (i.e., some have tried to explain this in terms of the cantillation of the verse, and I. Yeivin, in Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah, p.187, takes the accent as governing the two later accents in the first part of the verse). The accents are of course not part of the original text, and, compared to the date of writing by Moses in ca. 1400 B.C., are very late (probably no earlier than the 8th century A.D. and possibly as much as four hundred years later). Since in any case they are not inspired, I would want to put more stress on the grammar easily visible to any Hebrew reader: the conjunction waw ("and/but") followed by a noun in a subordinate clause is disjunctivie (i.e., it represents a "but" rather than an "and").

As to your other interesting point, it is fascinating how science, even when it stumbles on the right answer, always goes to great lengths to jigger the empirical evidence until it agrees with the current politically correct theory – just the thing that materialists of every stripe are always accusing believers of. This is another reason for those who put faith in God's Word over anything eye sees or ear hears of feelings feel to trust Him and the truth of what He says even when and if it seems not to agree with scientific speculation (which, after all, changes hour by hour). Here is something interesting that is right in line with what your daughter reports: 

Pedigree calibrations screen members of a family for new mutations. However, it is quite likely that DNA mismatches are due to undisclosed adoptions, or unfaithful marriage partners. Without maternity testing in our own mtDNA pedigree study of 991 individuals (Forster et al. 2002), we would have 'found' 25 full mutations instead of none. Another problem in pedigree studies, specific to mtDNA, is the distinction between 'full' homoplasmic mutations and initial 'partial' or heteroplasmic mutations (Bendall et al. 1997). Such problems can lead to a considerable error, implying for example an implausible age of only 6 kyr for the mtDNA ancestor of all modern humans (Parsons et al. 1997). It is often thought that mutational hotspots explain this discrepancy, but that is an arithmetical faux-pas (Sigurđardóttir et al. 2000).

pp. 256-257 in "Ice Ages and the Mitochondrial DNA Chronology of Human Dispersals: A Review", by Peter Forster, Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, Vol. 359, No. 1442, The Evolutionary Legacy of the Ice Ages (Feb. 29, 2004), pp. 255-264

Six thousand year (ca.) is precisely the biblical position – but of course THAT "must be wrong".

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5: 

Dr Luginbill,

Again thanks so much for your website and responses to my email. They are greatly appreciated. My question this time has to do with the pluperfect. I know that KOINE has this because my logos says it does. There seems to be great debate and dividing as to whether the biblical Hebrew has one or not. Those that are pro Hebrew pluperfect says that Gen 1:2 is a classic pluperfect. I suppose that pluperfect and perfect are actually the same and one must make a judgment call.

Do you think Hebrew has a pluperfect? Would you translate it "became" or "had become"?

One other question ... I have a ministry to the inmates in the prison system. I noticed that you have download available from your website and I have downloaded it. If the inmates would like some of this information, may I have your permission to print it and give it to them. As always from me, there is never a charge. God gives to us in grace and I only want to demonstrate that same graciousness.

Keep on keeping on in Christ!

Response #5: 

Good to hear from you again. Thanks as well for your encouragement. You may most certainly print out these materials (your request definitely falls within the usage guidelines at the link: "About Ichthys").

As to your question, Hebrew is a Semitic language, not an Indo-European one (like English, Greek and Latin, for example). To over-simplify a complicated issue, while it can be helpful to think of Hebrew grammar in traditional western terms and use these terms to describe it (as all the classical grammars do and as I do as well), one also has to recognize the differences. For example, the Hebrew "imperfect" can be a true imperfect (repeated action in the past), but, depending upon its context, it can also represent the future, the subjunctive, even the simple past. Likewise the perfect, the only other descriptive and fully conjugated forms in the Hebrew verbal system, does double and even triple duty (including the plu-perfect, at least in terms of how we might choose to translate it). So while there is no "plu-perfect" per se in Hebrew, Hebrew does offer ways to express prior action in past time (the most common use of the plu-perfect in English and other Indo-European languages).

The key thing about Genesis 1:2 is that it represents a break (a grammatical one reflecting a temporal one) in the "gap" between this verse and the first verse of the Bible. If that is made clear, then it doesn't really matter whether one translates "became" or "had become"; likewise if that is not made clear, no recourse to tense will alleviate the confusion. The main point is that the conjunction which introduces verse two is adversative = "but". So, rightly understood, "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth – but the earth became / had become ruined and despoiled . . . ". Either way, the gap – between perfect original creation and the destruction arising from divine judgment on the universe – will be obvious to the reader.

Here are some links that will give you the details of how and why this is so, and also what the implications are:

*Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II

The Genesis Gap (SR 2)

The Seven Days of Human History (in SR 5)

The Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.

The Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers

Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.

The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.

The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.

Questioning the Genesis Gap

Whatever Happened to the Genesis Gap?

Where Can I Find More Information on the Genesis Gap?

Ex Nihilo Creation

Tohu in Genesis 1:2

The Origin of the Four Seasons

Best wishes for all your efforts in ministering to our Lord and His Church!

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Hello--I hope you are well. I have a question for you. A Mormon has posted this on CARM; I was wondering what you think of Heiser's scholarship; he's not a Mormon:

"your obviously not very studied up on this. The Hebrew word used in Genesis means to "Organize".. Micheal Heiser gave a very good lecture to a group of Evangelicals at some Christian Church that explains this in detail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ftyZlZCWaU

Also, he points out that the English Translations of Genesis have a technical flaw, that has been grandfathered into traditions for centuries, which as to do with the grammatical prose of Hebrew versus English and how most people read Genesis versus how Hebrews would read it.. This is pointed out with the first three verses.. In English we tend to read Genesis 1:1 - Genesis 1:3 in sequential order, Verse 1 results in Verse 2 which results in verse 3, but this isn't how Hebrews who wrote it would read it.. verse 2 sets up the conditions for verse 1 which results in Verse 3.. That changes things and is in fact completely congruent with the actual Hebrew words used.. And it's also become congruent with the Historical Context of the period in which the text was written. Bronzed aged tent dwelling Israelite would have not had any ex-Nihlo concept in their belief system..

He illustrates this difference in grammar would be to change the phrase "In the beginning.." to "When.." which is more correct according to the Hebrew, But traditional translators don't make this change because it's the FIRST verse in the Bible and the Tradition is almost sacred opening line for the Bible.

When God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light."

I have never heard of this guy and don't know how good his credentials are. But what do you think of his little treatise here? I didn't watch the video, as my knowledge of Hebrew isn't that great. But even so, how would Heiser know what Bronze aged Israelites believed about God making something "ex nihilo"? Mormons believe that God just "organized matter" out of what always had existed. IF God made everything out of something, it seems to me He would have to have made everything out of Himself, since He pre-existed everything. I would have to double-check, but I think Mormons think that matter pre-existed God, since they think God is just an "exalted man" who worked his way up to godhood through obedience to the "universal laws" and now is the god of our planet. Crazy, I know...

Anyway, please let me know what you think. I told this Mormon that I would suspect that many scholars are well-educated as Heiser would disagree with him. Are you one of them?

Thanks and take care and God bless you.

Response #6: 

Good to hear from you. Once again, with your own comments you have cut through to the nub of the issue with laser-like precision.

From what I understand, Michael S. Heiser has a Ph.D. from Wisconsin, so he has a bona fide credentials. However, I don't think I could disagree more vigorously with his conclusions. In my days at seminary I was exposed to plenty of evangelical "scholars" who had become enraptured by the academy and had sought to make names for themselves within its ivy-covered halls. To do so in all things biblical, however, requires submitting to academia's skepticism (which explains why I opted for Classics instead). This is not to accuse Heiser of anything (I have no idea what is going on in his mind nor do I wish to know); all I mean to say by way of introduction is that these opinions represent the sort of stuff that one can find at Harvard or Yale or any other place where belief in the truth of scripture has long since completely evaporated, leaving behind only the residue of a perverse interest in trendy theories which seek to kick the corpse of all such unenlightened and superstitious ignorance.

As to altering "in the beginning" to "when", I first came across this theory – nonsensical on its face – after getting out of the Marines as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois (second B.A.). It was propounded by an ordained Presbyterian minister who had been tenured as a Hebrew professor. Equally with Dr. Heiser, he had a very low view of inspiration, from what I could tell. For what are we to make of any theory which assumes prima facie that "at first / first off / in [the] beginning" means merely "at some point in time God got around to . . . "? We can certainly assume that God is not really God – since He apparently is not the Creator of all things, merely a powerful manipulator of what has always been here – and a somewhat arbitrary one at that. That is "worshiping the creation rather than the Creator" in my view (Rom.1:25). Taking such a position would also mean that Christ is not God – because in John 1:1 the Greek en archei is a direct and literal translation of bereshiyth in Genesis 1:1 (and in consonance with this false theory would then only mean that the Logos has been around a long time too, but certainly not before the universe came into existence). And if we accept that "Bronzed (sic!) aged tent dwelling Israelite (sic!) would have not had any ex-Nihlo concept in their belief system", as indeed this theory seems to demand, then ipso facto they were making it all up – since if the words really came from God then it wouldn't matter what the person receiving them (Moses) understood previously. So I suppose, as you point out, theories such as this are ideal for sects such as the Mormons who are equally materialistic in their philosophy. By the way, this secularizing, apologetic, de-mythologizing theory has been around quite a while (see Genesis in "The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries" series, 1963, by E. A. Speiser, in loc.).

As to "this isn't how Hebrews who wrote it would read it ... verse 2 sets up the conditions for verse 1 which results in Verse 3", no matter how stupid and pathetically naive a person many imagine ancient peoples to have been, they still read the same way we do: from front to back. They did not land in the middle of a page (scroll) and then go back to the beginning to find out "what comes next". This whole defense, namely, using, as Heiser does repeatedly in the video, the opposition between ancient and modern ways of looking at things as "cover" to explain away anything and everything in ancient texts one finds uncomfortable, does not pass the sniff test for anyone reading the text carefully in any language. Talk about mythology, only "experts" like Heiser who "really understand" the ancient "mind-set" are apparently capable of knowing what all this might mean. Welcome to the new priesthood.

I didn't have time to depress myself overly by watching the whole video, but the bottom line is that, along with most evangelical "scholars", Heiser rejects the Genesis "gap", even though it is unmistakably present in the Hebrew in my opinion – or in any truly honest English translation (see the link for entry point to many links: "Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II"). I note that he also apparently rejects the clear statements of scripture about the Nephilim in Genesis six; and from what I can tell from his very careful language in the video, he prefers the "age day" theory to seeing the six days as literal 24 hour days. I suppose we will find out next that the flood was only local to the Tigris-Euphrates valley, that God did not really part the Red Sea but that children of Israel merely negotiated a swampy area which caused problems for the Egyptian chariots, and that Jonah merely got some help swimming to shore from a dolphin, etc.

Heiser is right about one thing in the video (although he draws the polar opposite wrong conclusion from it): there is no "the" in "in the beginning" – as I also always try to point out, because it makes it emphatically clear that this is the FIRST thing God did (there is also no "the" in John 1:1). In other words, this is the strongest possible evidence for ex nihilo creation because without God's creative act there was no "anything" to be begun. He first had to act for there to be time and space at all – and as I always also feel compelled to point out, by His initiating of creation He obligated Himself to sacrifice His Son for the sins of the world (that is THE plan of God).

You are usually asking me about various crackpot theories coming from laymen of cult-influenced origin. It's depressing reports like this one – a well-qualified evangelical who ought to know better who can so smugly undermine the truth – that affirm what we already know about "the times" from scripture (if we are paying attention; see the link: "The Coming Tribulation"): things are likely to be over pretty quickly now – just as in the days before the great flood, when any spiritual person could reckon clearly enough that unless God did something dramatic there would soon be an end of faith on the earth.

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Genesis 6:5-7 KJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7: 

Whoa! Tell me what you REALLY think, Doctor! I have rarely seen your letters sound as disgusted with academia as you do here. I know that the liberals in biblical scholarship are the ones who are usually quoted and sought out these days--remember the Jesus seminar back in 1991 or thereabouts? Whenever there is something on TV about the bible, liberal scholars who don't believe in the inerrancy of the bible are usually the ones interviewed for the program. Just this past Wednesday night on the travel channel was a show about the Bible. The promo had a lady saying that none of the gospel writers had ever met Jesus. My husband, a very orthodox Missouri Synod Lutheran pastor, nearly had smoke coming out of his nostrils at that. I pointed out that it may be true about Luke--though he interviewed folks who HAD known Jesus--but even the early church fathers from the second century attributed the Gospels to the people whom they are named after. He told me I was preaching to the choir with him and not to get him started or his blood pressure would go up 20 points. We didn't watch the show. One time, back in 2000, there was a show on about Jesus and the Gospels and the only conservative scholar interviewed--for less than a minute--was Dr. Paul Maier, our very own, first in pre-eminent biblical scholar, who knows Greek, Hebrew, and Latin as well as you do and whose area of expertise is the ancient Mediterranean world and esp. the early church. But he was on less than a minute. Some balance.

Anyway, thanks for your response. I should tell you that many Mormons ascribe to evolution and probably think this stuff about the "earth being void" and "darkness was over the face of the deep" was the beginning of the "big bang." One told me that both God and matter have existed for all eternity. But in their theology, God was once a man who worked his way up to godhood by obeying the "laws" of the universe. And he had a god/father before him who did the same thing, and so on, all the way back to the beginning of time. Me, I would rather worship the One who created EVERYTHING and has ALWAYS been God. And cut out all of these puny little other "godlets". Oh, and one Mormon even says that Satan is a real god--not a true one, but a REAL one. I asked him how HE worked his way up to godhood. Did he do it the same way their heavenly father did it? No answer, so far...but for the record, most Mormons don't believe that Paul was really saying he was a real god, when he wrote of Satan that he is the "god of this world." But symbolism and figures of speech are often lost on Mormons; they tend to be very literal in their interpretation of some bible verses.

Also, you said that the ancient peoples read the same way we do--front to back. But in Hebrew, isn't it read back to front? I know what you mean, though--neither we nor they started in the middle and then went to the beginning and then skipped to the end. Also, you mentioned Red Sea...isn't it literally the Sea of Reeds? My bible footnotes say it is. But I always thought it was one of those little "fingers" of sea that stick up out of the northern part of the Red Sea, on either side of Sinai Peninsula. However, I don't think it was just some swampy water; if I remember right, God sent a great wind to blow the sea up into a wall so the Israelites could cross over on dry land and then He let the water engulf Pharaoh's chariots. So, it seems to me, a mere swamp wouldn't have provided enough water to do that. Also, the edges of these 'fingers" could very well have been more shallow and reedy, but deeper farther in. Just my thoughts.

Thanks again for your usual very reasoned response.

Response #7:

Yes, I have more tolerance for those who don't know any better (whatever the reason) than for those who come from an evangelical background and have been blessed to have had more than enough training to be helping in the process of building up the Body of Christ rather than tearing it down.

As to your question on the exodus, this was the subject of my thesis at seminary back in the dark ages (see the link: Exodus 14: Hardening Pharaoh's Heart). One thing the piece establishes – and about which there really is no objective doubt when the question is considered without bias – is that the Bible places the crossing right where you surmised, namely, across the actual Red Sea. The title in Hebrew for the Red Sea is indeed yam suph, and, etymologically that does mean "sea of reeds", but the references to this place in scripture and the other evidence from the versions et al. make it quite clear that this "sea of reeds" is the Red Sea, not some other body of water or swampy area or anything else. And, seriously, not even a hard-hearted secular scholar reading Exodus 14 would have any doubt about the fact that the text is describing a great miracle wherein God parted an actual sea – even though such a person probably would not believe it really happened. What the scripture teaches about this blessed event is very clear and straightforward. Having faith that it is true it is what separates advancing believers from troubled ones and all infidels.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus who is the very truth,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I am a fellow Gap Theory defender. Like you, I am a member of the Gap Theory Alliance and like you, I live in Louisville. I have never met you but I first heard about you from a man in my church. He studied Greek under you a few years back. (I think it was Greek) He spoke very highly of you. I also have spoken very highly of you to other Gap Theory defenders because I have read many of your articles on your Web Site. You present a lot of good solid evidence on the subject. (As well as on many, many other subjects… you are a very prolific writer.)

But, let me explain why I am writing to you. My Pastor is currently in a lengthy conversation with a local high-school teacher. One of his children is in this man’s Humanities class, and the topic has been the Great Enlightenment in Europe. However, it appears that the subject of creationism vs. evolution came up and the man presented a very dismissive account of creationism and creationists. The man is very pro-Darwinian Evolution and from what I have read in his writings, he won’t accept counter-evidence unless it comes from a knowledgeable source. He apparently refuses to listen to arguments against evolution unless they come from university professors who are scientists. He rejects my pastor's evidence because he is neither a scientist nor a professor. I qualify as a scientist, but I don’t meet his standards of credibility because I am not a university professor. My pastor asked me if I knew any local professors who were creationists.

Anyway, I wanted to know if I could pass along your name and web address to this high-school teacher, even though he probably won’t consider you a qualified "scientist" either. (Now I know what you’re thinking… that’s a pretty stiff requirement coming from a man who, himself, is not a scientist or a university professor.)

Also, do you know any other U of L science professors who are anti-evolutionists of any degree? If so, could you share their names and information with me? (Especially if they have written any books or articles on the subject.) I pray there are at least a few U of L science professors who are creationists.

Thank You very much for your time!

Your Brother in Christ

Response #8: 

Good to hear from you again. An unwillingness even to listen to someone who does not have certain qualifications is the mark of a closed mind. This fellow, I take it, does not have a Ph.D. in science either, nor is he a university professor either. Does he listen to his students when they have questions or make a good point? Is he waiting for them to become scientists employed by universities before he will consider anything they say? I suppose then they will not be willing to listen to him, uncredentialed and untenured as he is.

Your book does a good job laying out the issues, and it is well presented. I would think that if he would be open to perusing it he would likewise be open to perusing my site; if not, then not. That is speculation, but I'd be willing to bet "dollars to donuts" on it.

You may certainly send along the link et al. in any case: this site is on the internet and open to all comers, friend and foe alike (and everyone else in the middle).

There are other Christians at U of L, but of course the academic mind-set and the nature of the profession these days does militate against the presentation of such views. I'm not sure that an out and out, out-of-the-closet creationist could be awarded a Ph.D. in science these days – and I'm very sure he/she would never be hired at a university if he/she made that view widely known. Humanities is a somewhat different field in that respect. On the one hand, crackpots are tolerated; on the other hand, whatever one may think of creation has little to do with teaching 17th century political theory, for example. We all have our views and beliefs. The problem for believers interested in being scientists, however, is that "science" today is essentially a religion, and creationism a prime heresy. In my understanding of these things, the modern scientific position about the realm of the spiritual is not an agnostic one anymore, but an ever more virulently atheistic one, and the degree of toleration of those who think differently is waning year by year. Creationism is merely the current "front line".

Yours in the One who created all things and sustains them by His powerful Word, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Bob,

Your letter was a refreshing feast of openness and honesty. It truly brought joy to my heart. I know for certain that Satan has blinded the minds and the thinking processes of those who serve him, and I praise our God and Creator for sending his Spirit to open our eyes to the truth. I could recognize the Spirit in your words.

I'll pass your name and website on to my pastor so he can share it with this teacher. I have been praying that he will be brought to the reality of the Cross of Christ by what we say to him. The Holy Spirit has the power to do that. He opened my eyes forty-two years ago. I was an evolutionist, so I know how this man thinks. His underlying problem is that he doesn't want to believe in God; it's not that the evidence doesn't exist.

Again, Great website and great articles.

Response #9: 

You're very welcome.

Please do so – and keep my posted.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #10: 

I am continuing to recommend your site to others on a very regular basis. I also try to share what I learn with my family although they are into survivalism and Glenn Beck so perhaps when I get to the "Tribulation" area more interest will be shown. Please say a prayer...thank you. One person whom I politely recommended your site to has blocked me since then which sort of surprised me, but that is commonplace on facebook sadly so I guess I should really not be surprised.

One person has a creationism group here and I asked him if he had heard of the 'gap theory' and then I shared your site with him. This is how he responded:

"O no, not the Gap theory again, this time with Satan thrown in to make it more convincing! "The Bible is clear that death and disintegration of the entire cosmos came THROUGH Adam's sin, for Adam was the convenant head and representative of the whole creation, not Lucifer" (I'm quoting from Dr Douglas F. Kelly, theology professor from Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte, "Creation and Change": "The sun had to have shone in order to make earthly life possible, millions of years before the fourth day of creation when the sun and moon were placed into the heavens for the first time" (p.87) Exodus 20:11 "For IN SIX DAYS the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them", (remember, this is the 4th commandment, written with the finger of God on a tablet of stone). Gap theorists would hold contrary to this clear teaching that all things (except man) were made long before these six days of creation.

I think if he took the time to read all you had to say, it would make a lot more sense to him, but I rather doubt that he will. He tends to believe that Noah put a pair of baby dinosaurs on the ark and that dinosaurs were around during the time of Noah. Thank you again for always taking the time to answer my question and for always doing so in a very kind and respectful way.

God bless you richly dear brother,

(P.S. I had no idea that the Gap theory was so well known. I guess the study of the details of creationism had not really interested me in the past and I had never checked deep into it before but as I was checking on the internet a bit about the subject this morning, I see that there is so much on the internet about it and even the CARM ministry has at least one article on the subject. It still makes sense to me even though most seem to disagree with the idea.)

Response #10: 

I will keep your family in prayer.

The teaching of the Genesis gap is not a theory. It's right there in the Bible at Genesis 1:1 - 1:2. The fact that most versions misunderstand the theology (or dislike it) and as a result willfully mistranslate the verses is part of the problem. To wit, Exodus 20:11 actually uses 'asah, not bara', meaning "the Lord reconstructed" the world in six days, not "created it" (Gen.1:1 has bara' – that is original creation, but not the six days on the other side of the gap). So your friend is taking the wrong meaning from the verse entirely. Exodus 20:11 says nothing different from what we find in the first two chapters of Genesis; in fact it is precisely the same and in precisely the same language.

The key "tell" for those who want to ignore the glaring differences between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 et al. is the fact that what they are really trying to do is gain a leg up on evolutionists. It is inevitable that anytime someone goes to the Bible for political purposes that the meaning found there will be distorted to comport with those preconceived political objectives. Sadly, that is sign of these Laodicean times.

But you, dear friend, keep fighting that good fight of faith.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello again brother Robert, I'm sorry to bother you with a few more questions but if some things aren't fully making sense to me I like to bring them to your attention and ask your thoughts on them since I want to be perfectly faithful to the truths of the bible and to the Lord as I know you do too with all your heart.

First of all I wish to say that I really do appreciate the Genesis Gap theory and especially the way that you clearly and simply explain it. It seems to connect a lot of "pieces of the puzzle", and balances the scales of understanding better for me. Throughout my life I have known of many people who almost seemed to become obsessed over studying creationism, or obsessed about studying end time events, but this was rather upsetting to me because I felt that a true Christian's focus should be first and foremost on caring for the souls of men and sharing the gospel with them in the hopes that they might turn to the Lord Jesus and be saved. When I read your website I can clearly see that your first focus is not on end time events or creationism views, but that you are primarily concerned about the souls of men and that they return to Jesus Christ and turn from darkness to Light and become a child of God.

Normally though it has always greatly bothered me to see that the majority of Premillenialists do not tend to focus on the gospel so much (there are a few exceptions I'm sure such as yourself), but instead tend to focus deeply on end time events day and night. To me, the Premillenialists seemed to be confusing, had their priorities in the wrong order, were normally contradicting one another greatly, and consumed about writing books and selling them for mega-profits. To me the Amillenialist view made the most sense (and then recently I have understood the Partial preterist view which makes quite a bit of sense), and I had pretty much stayed with the Amillenialist view since I was younger. I think I particularly liked Amillenialism because it made a great deal more sense than the vast array of confusion coming from the Premillenialists who write countless contradicting books and often times tend to focus on their "dreams and visions" etc. But the subject was not an area that obsessed me really one way or the other, and I figured that I need to keep my focus on the Lord's priorities, and If the Lord wants me to understand the confusion of eschatology, then He will guide me into the proper understanding of it in His perfect time and perfect way.

But anyway, when I came across your site for the first time last month, I decided to give Premillenialism another chance because what you were saying was really making sense to me. I was not even aware of the Genesis Gap theory before (Which I'm really surprised since now I see that there is so much information out there on the subject), but it made a lot of sense. But just yesterday I learned that this theory is not a very new one and does have some issues that do raise concern. I would sure appreciate if you could help me with the concerns that many are raising such as .... Why is there death before Adam and Eve in the pre-historic earth?

Here are some concerns the CARM sight raises....

http://www.facebook.com/l/lAQHu6
NlhAQEbslyFlqSbDsSzfL2W9
TM3SrGATXAGiXCW9Q/carm.org/gap-theory

and of course there are many others such as

http://www.facebook.com/l/YAQF
4caVKAQEAdeXQJG4fhI16VHTX
wW4oE45LL0gq-jATEg/
www.angelfire.com/mi/dinosaurs/gap.html

I sure would appreciate any thoughts or views you have and thanks for taking the time to check into this!

Thanks for always seeking for the fullness of the Lord's truths and keeping true to the right priorities,

Response #11: 

As usual, you make some very good observations here. One comment about amil vs. premil: it does seem to me that for those who are reluctant to look into matters of eschatology, the tremendous confusion and silliness of the pretrib-premil view seems to me to be a contributing factor, since it tends to represent itself as the only true alternative.

As to your question about death, the only death we could be talking about before Adam and Eve is hypothetical based upon the fossil record. Assuming that said record does show death before God's judgment on the universe, such death would of course not involve any moral creatures (angels cannot die and mankind had yet to be created), and would be entirely the result of satanic efforts to manipulate the pre-Genesis gap flora and fauna of the original earth (i.e., disobedience to God would be at the core).

As to the Genesis gap itself, I had a look at both links you include and they are typical of such criticisms which never really address the underlying issues. I would find it hard to reply comprehensively. For example, the first link adduces 2nd Peter 3:5 as some sort of proof against the clear teaching of a difference between the original creation in verse one of Genesis one and the post-judgment devastation of verse two – but the logic of why this so is not easy to follow, and the verse in 2nd Peter has been completely misunderstood by these persons in any case. Rightly understood, that verse is describing the situation in Genesis 1:2 – after the gap, not that of the original pre-judgment earth, and so expresses things precisely along the lines of the seven days of reconstruction later in Genesis chapter one. Here is my expanded translation:

(5) But it escapes their notice in asserting this (i.e., that God's judgment will never come), namely, that there were heavens long ago too (original creation), and an earth, which was [re-]established out from under water (i.e., the "waters below" collected into seas) and through [the midst of] water (i.e., the "waters above" separated from the "waters below") by the Word of God (reconstruction in six days) – (6) [and that it was] through these two [sets of waters] that the world of that time (i.e., in Noah’s day) was [again] deluged by water [from above and below] and destroyed (the flood).
2nd Peter 3:5-6

I suppose my main concern is that folks who are into this debate too deeply are of necessity going to be talking past each other since they are trying to prove a point rather than get to the truth. It is a feature of this sort "selfish competitiveness" (which scripture tells us to avoid: e.g., Rom.2:8; 2Cor.12:20; Gal.5:20; Phil.1:17; 2:3; Jas.3:14-16), that truth is usually the first casualty, even for those who may be coming from the better side (that happens in the abortion debate all the time).

But while I am reluctant to launch into full-scale apologia with the other side, I am always happy to address specific questions and concerns that believers like yourself who are genuinely trying to find out the truth behind all of scripture may have. To that end, I would be delighted to give you my perspective on any of the other points you find troubling at either of these or any other links.

I do hope this is helpful.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Do you think I might be alive when the tribulation starts? This really, really interests me. You wrote somewhere that Moses and Elijah will be temporarily brought back to life on this earth. Does this mean that I could get to see THE Moses? Does this also mean that I might not ever go through heaven? Will I live for a thousand years? I could be older than Methuselah? You know, now that I truly believe, this is more interesting than a scifi novel. It's easy to look at things in the Bible as just stories. Even when you know intellectually they are not just stories. I was looking through your study on the end times, and it just hit me. This is actually going to happen. Angels and demons are really out there. I am really in a war right now. I did know there would be a lot of stuff happening in the end times, I just thought I would be dead long before then. I still could die before the tribulation begins, but I might not. Isn't that just, wow? Have you wondered if you would be alive then? I'm not sure how old you are. I hope this doesn't sound morbid. Do you know of anyone who is doctrinally the same as you? I was just thinking that if you weren't around, I wouldn't be able to get solidly biblical answers anymore. I don't know anyone that knows God's word like you do.

I bought an NIV Bible from a Goodwill. It has a note at the bottom of the first page referring to chapter 1 verse 2 that says it can also be translated as "became". Did you know this? You probably already do. It seems like the genesis gap hasn't been lost after all. I was wondering, who is it that has the same views as you, though? Someone who helped make the NIV Bible probably has more information on the gap theory. I imagine they had to have a pretty convincing argument to get that alternative note included.

Have you ever considered writing a systematic theology?

Thanks,

Response #12: 

I take great heart from your recognition that "these things are really real". That acceptance of the truth of the Word of God is the fundamental and quintessential factor that divides true spiritual growth from mere knowledge of the Bible. For all of us who live to and through the Tribulation, we will be resurrected when our Lord Jesus returns, and "thus we shall ever be with the Lord" (1Thes.4:17). Our "eternity" will begin at that point - along with the rest of the Church which had passed on before the second advent. So we shall share Christ's millennial reign no matter what – but we who do so will be "eternal" at that point. Whether or not children who are not saved and survive to Christ's second coming will live physically 1,000 years through the entire millennium is not entirely clear but seems to be a definite possibility (cf. Is.65:20). Those of us who live into the Tribulation will certainly "be around" during the ministry of Moses and Elijah. They will apparently stay in Jerusalem, and in my view based upon what we can say from scripture now it would be an ill-advised thing for any gentile Christian to go there before the command to "Flee Babylon!" (see the link).

Finally, thank you for our kind comments, but there is absolutely no need to worry on this score. In the plan of God, everything has been taken care of. No believer has ever thirsted for the Word of God and not had that thirst quenched by the Lord. As with all things, that does not mean that a Christian motivated to learn the truth might not have to search diligently for it, but for all who knock, Jesus opens. And as John told the Jewish people who came to him and assumed that God couldn't do without them, it is good to remember that no one is irreplaceable in God's plan:

And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
Luke 3:8 NIV

On the Genesis Gap, yes indeed, there are those out there who over the years have seen what in my view is patently obvious from any correct or even nearly correct translation of the first two verses in Genesis, namely, the gap between verses one and two. The teaching goes back to Moses, of course, who wrote it this way under the inspiration of the Spirit, and we can trace its reception all the way back to the second century in the writings of Irenaeus. The fact that most people don't understand or accept the Genesis gap today is merely part and parcel of the incredible lack of understanding of all manner of biblical truth with which the Laodicean era of the Church is afflicted (see the link). Here are some links which not explain the Genesis gap and counter attacks on that truth, but also discuss its history generally:

*Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II

The Genesis Gap (SR 2)

The Seven Days of Human History (in SR 5)

The Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap.

The Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers

Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.

The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.

The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.

Questioning the Genesis Gap

Whatever Happened to the Genesis Gap?

Where Can I Find More Information on the Genesis Gap?

Ex Nihilo Creation

Tohu in Genesis 1:2

The Origin of the Four Seasons

Finally, although entitled "Bible Basics", the Basics series (link) is just what you ask about, namely, a systematic theology (at present even not completed it already runs longer than many such works). It is different in one respect, I hope, that is, in its accessibility to all Christians (as opposed to being written for a handful of tenured professors whose spirituality is suspect in any case).

I hope you will find the above helpful. Do feel free to write back about any of these issues.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:  

A question on the point that the seasons do not ante-date the flood:

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
Genesis 8:22 (NIV1984)

The passage says that the seasons will not cease while the earth remains, but how can we say that they did not exist before the flood?

Response #13: 

The passage is prophecy of what will come. Depending on how it is phrased, it may seem to imply that it means "as has always been the case". However, I note that even in this translation the verse doesn't say that. I would translate, "all the days of [this] earth from here on ['odth] . . . " – that is, from this point (on the other side of the flood) and onward.

Question #14:   

I understand your argument of the demons desiring the obtaining physical bodies as being a part of the "platform" for Satan's campaign, but what specifically was he trying to achieve through dinosaurs? Was it supposed to be a demonstration of power? A way to show that his promise to his followers was true and worth fighting for?

Response #14: 

I take dinosaurs as evidence of satanic manipulation before the Genesis-gap judgment, although I have always been careful to make clear that this is speculative on my part inasmuch as the Bible does not address the issue at all. Given that the Bible does document the demonic siring of the nephilim and the siring of antichrist (along, most likely with the ten kings of Revelation), we can say that such interaction is possible (see the links). Also, if we accept the hypothesis that the devil's platform (link), that is, his set of enticements which were in the event effective enough to bring about the treason of one third of angelic kind, involved the promise of physical bodies, the one thing angels who lack nothing else do not have, this will lend credence to just such experimentation. We also know that demons desire to possess human bodies, and, in the absence of that possibility, animal bodies (viz., from the incident with the swine and the Gadarene demoniac). Putting these things together suggests to me that a program of genetic manipulation and experimentation to provide various physical experiences for his followers was the beginning of the "fulfillment" of Satan's promise to his followers. How things would have developed if more time had been allowed is unclear, and, since this reconstruction is by its very nature speculative (even if grounded in what to me is fairly inescapable logic), I'm not sure we can say much more. But I will venture to say that I think at this point the devil and his followers probably believed they had won, and that Satan's plan had worked. However short the reality fell from the grand promises he had made, the fallen angels were in control of the earth, God had left it for the third heaven, and the demons and their leader were doing whatever they wished. As I have said in the past, I think the day of judgment on the universe wherein everything was blacked out and flooded with the universal deep came as a complete surprise to Satan and his minions. He had convinced them that God could not and therefore would not act, and, whatever misgivings he might have had personally, when the revolt proceeded and God seemed to have quit the field for untold eons, all the forces of evil will no doubt have relaxed and assumed that this was the way things would always be. It's a reminder to us all that even when things appear dark and we are tempted to think that deliverance will never come, we must never lose faith that our Lord will bring about our salvation at precisely the right time and in precisely the right way.

Question #15: 

Hi there,

Please help me with this. I'm confused. I do understand about satan persuading the fallen angels to inhabit the bodies of animals as with Eve and the serpent but which people is the bible referring to as the "daughters of men"? In other words were there humans on earth before the destruction and restoration of the earth?

Thanks,

Response #15: 

Good to hear from you again. The "daughters of men" mentioned in Genesis chapter six are human beings, the descendants of Adam and Eve. This phraseology is used in order to make it clear that they are human (the Hebrew pattern of saying "sons of" or "daughters of" is a way of demonstrating genuine genealogical descent as in "the sons of Israel" meaning those who are definitely of the Jewish race).

The earth and the universe generally was destroyed, blacked out, and flooded following Satan's revolt. This universal judgment happens between the description of original creation in Genesis 1:1 and the description of the post-judgment earth in Genesis 1:2 (this is usually called the "Genesis Gap", and I use that terminology too; see the link). So the garden of Eden is not the first paradise but actually the third in the list of the seven Edens (see the link). The only seed of Adam and Eve to survive the next judgment, that of the great flood, were, of course, Noah and his family ("eight souls" in all as it says at 1st Peter 3:20). Thus the great flood – which was a judgment upon the earth only, not the universe in general (as was the case in the Genesis gap) – wiped out the mixed seed produced in the demonic infiltration described in Genesis chapter six. This is all written up in the Satanic Rebellion series as well as discussed at various places on the site:

The Origin and Fate of the "Giants" of Genesis Chapter Six

Who are the nephilim?

I hope this helps, but do feel free to write back, especially if I have missed the import of your question.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hi Bob

Ezekiel 28:12-17 seems to say that Lucifer was still perfect or ‘unfallen’ when in Eden. This seems to directly contradict the gap view. I cannot see this scripture discussed in your study. Do you explain it somewhere?

Response #16: 

You will find this point explained in the first part of the Satanic Rebellion series at the link: "Eden: the Original Home of Angels and Ultimate Home of Elect Mankind". In a nutshell, "Eden" has seven iterations, and the "Garden of Eden" in the first three chapters of Genesis is not the first. Wherever God fellowships with His creatures directly is "paradise", and that is the "Eden" which is referred to in Ezekiel chapter 28. That chapter (along with Isaiah 14) chronicles Satan's original rebellion and fall from grace which took place before the Genesis gap; the creation of mankind and the garden of Eden (the third paradise) occurs on the other side of the gap, following the universal judgment and subsequent restoration of earth during the seven days. See also the link: "The Seven Edens".

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Hi

Hmm! Not too sure about this one. I suspect that the Eden in Genesis was purposely designed to allow man to express his nature’ hence the specific test. I will need to consider much here.

Over the past years I have met many folks , who upon hearing the Good News are somewhat confused. The surfeit of ‘knowledge’ emanating for the world through SciFi, fantasy, genuine science, pseudo-science and a host of other sources leaves them with a confusing mass of ‘stuff’ in their heads. Even a careful presentation of the Gospel in its clearest format seems under attack by comments preceded by " Yes but what about….(place fantasy here)’. I decided to attempt a point for point narrative which paints a complete picture of "Everything". An absurd notion indeed. The idea was to paint a picture without using any scriptural references to state how I see things. The purpose was to provide those who asked with a framework from where they could safely stand as they sought truth for themselves. I decided to not use scripture to ‘back up’ my stance since it is merely my view and adding such suggests something more.

The idea was to do this in less than 10 000words. I did not complete the task but after having discovered your site became somewhat inspired I must say. I lack the vast knowledge you have of the Scriptures but yet there does seem to be a similarity. I am well pleased that some of my views are at least supported. I am currently around 4000words. I will send you what I have after I have cleaned it up a bit. Perhaps you might enjoy an amateurs view.

I, for one, cannot wait to sit with the Lord and also with all those of us who pondered these things and have a real good talk. It’s going to be out of this world - ‘literally’.

Thanks my brother in Christ

PS

How about a pic of you on the site. I find it much easier to pray for folks I have, in that day, spoken to, or corresponded with to be able to visualise them.

Response #17:

Do feel free to send on your piece when you are ready to do so.

One small point of clarification that may be necessary if you have not read the links supplied in the last email. The name "Eden" means "delight" and references the delight of fellowship with the Lord apart from sin. There has only been one "garden of Eden" (the one in Genesis 1-3), but the other "Eden's" or places of delight in God's presence are described with this word (the New Jerusalem with its own tree of life being the ultimate seventh).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

p.s., there's a "vintage" photo on my Facebook page.

Question #18: 

Hi

Thanks for the clarification. I gathered as much. It is indeed a great advantage to knowledge of the meanings of words as perhaps originally intended. Often translations can only do so much.

Looked at the pic. I worked at a university many years and have thus met more academics than most. Great years and great chats. Somehow I imagined you as a man in your late 50’s with grey hair sitting in a classic oak and leather office. Ha! Didn’t expect a tank.

Thanks

Response #18: 

You're very welcome.

No oak, no leather – I work at U of L. But your estimate was pretty close. The photo, as mentioned, is "vintage", taken back in the late 70's.

Yours in Jesus – who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Dr. Luginbill,

My question about the Genesis gap in the first chapter of the Bible has to do with vs 1 having a Qal perfect, completed action, vs 2 Qal perfect completed action and vs3 Qal imperfect action. I have not seen this discussed. It shows gap (perfect creation), gap destruction, and then on going restoration for six days. Also Revelation 9:4 states a mandate specifically for the demonic hordes coming out of Hades to not destroy the environment. It seems very plausible to me that this commandment was issued because the environment had been done before, between Gen 1.1 and 1.2.

Response #19: 

Good to make your acquaintance.

In these first three verses of the Bible – and, indeed, throughout this section of Genesis chapter one – we have to do with a Hebrew narrative sequence. The sequence begins with bar'a' in verse one, and is picked up by wayy'omer in verse three. The former is a perfect, whereas the latter is an imperfect. However, the second form is connected to the sequence by what was traditionally called a "waw conversive" (now more commonly "waw connective" or "waw conjunctive"). By any name, what this means is that the tense is meant to be understood as following the past narrative (so that semantically it is the equivalent of a perfect). In between, in verse two, we have to do with a disjunctive noun clause. This amounts to an aside which comments or adds to the narrative without necessarily being part of the sequence (although in this case it is in chronological order). So the perfect hayetah in verse two retains it full perfective force apart from the sequence. What that means, in grammatical terms, is that it stands emphatically apart from the resumption of the sequence in verse three. The effect of all this is to give the reader the clear impression that the events of verse two, while lying between verses one and three, are separated from them both to a significant degree (in this context, by a good deal of time). In understanding what is going here, the fact of the disjunctive clause is, in my opinion, the critical point that is usually missed by those who fail to see the "Genesis gap" which is clearly here. This is written up in a number of places at Ichthys, but the most detailed consideration of the grammar will be found at the following link: "The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap" (and for the most recent treatment of these issues including a listing of all the links, please see: "Genesis Gap: Questions and Answers II.").

On Revelation 9:4, if I am understanding you correctly, you seem to be suggesting that the command here "not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree" (NIV) is given with the destruction resulting in the state described by Genesis 1:2 in mind (or, more accurately put, the environmental damage and alterations which I and other Genesis gap adherents posit took place in the gap between verses one and two, and resulted in the divine judgment described in verse two) – please correct me if I have gotten this wrong.

You make an interesting point in calling attention to this command. It is noteworthy that this has to be said; however, there are other divine restrictions given in the book which may not at first glance seem necessary (Rev.10:4; 11:2; 22:10), including upon elect (Rev.7:3) and demonic forces (Rev.9:5). The main point seems to be to demonstrate to us all through the Holy Spirit that the Lord is always in control, even when the evil one and his minions are allowed wide latitude for harm and destruction.

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Job 1:12a NIV

For me, this is one of many indications in the book of Revelation that the elect will be supernaturally protected in all of the trumpet and bowl judgments, just as the Exodus generation was.

He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels. He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague. He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham. But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness.
Psalm 78:49-52 NIV

The last thing to note in all this is that since the devastation actually reported in Genesis 1:2 is the result of divine judgment, and since the prior interference with God's original creation is something that must be assumed (albeit correctly in my view), the chances are that Revelation 9:4 is not meant to be taken as a direct reference to that earlier abuse. It certainly is a good parallel and a fine illustration, however.

As the case of Job demonstrates, e.g. (or, for example, the imprisonment in the Abyss of the fallen angels involved in the attempt to fatally contaminate the human race as related in Genesis chapter six), there must have been countless instances in the course of human history where Satan and his forces have been restrained by divine command and by divine intervention. The command given in Revelation 9:4 does remind us of this important point, however. The assurance of God's invisible protection will be a blessing for those who have to endure all the troubles to come and it will be good fo us to keep that in mind – and it is very good of you to help us all remember that He is our shield and buckler, even though we cannot see His protection with our eyes of flesh.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #20: 

Dear Professor,

I must confess that I am struggling fairly heavily with my faith right now, and am having problems digesting Christianity (not just contemporary "religion", though that is a part) on a personal level. This is my first time contacting anybody outside of my family circle on matters of my faith, so I apologize if I seem a bit inexperienced in properly conveying the true intent of my questions. Also: forewarning, I am by far the least concise person that I know.

My family and I go to a local Methodist Church which is about is mainline as it gets. We are on our third female pastor in row, and the sermons are so full of anecdotes that I have problems consistently stomaching them. It is really hard for me to believe that the people here are truly "in the wrong" because everyone is nice and welcoming, but we just don't seem to be learning anything. My parents have urged me to go to the youth group, but my experience has universally been that youth group has been little more than an attempt to get figurative "butts in seats;" they seem to be more focused on getting new people to "join" than actually teaching anything. I hate to come off as judgmental or "holier than thou," but there seems to be a rather disturbing lack of Christian behavior even within the youth group itself. If you call someone out for swearing or talking about girls as objects, etc. etc., people give you a weird "is this guy serious" look. I am convinced that had I not found your site about a year ago my faith would have already atrophied and I would be like most of the rest of the students in my school - either hardcore atheist or the more troubling apathetic type. Whenever my ridiculous school schedule permits, I try to self-educate myself on matters of theology, through your website, CARM, and several others. While I recall growing up in a fairly doctrinally sound Presbyterian church, the burden of knowledge has now fallen upon me, and I have no more childish naivete to fall back upon. I have been struggling with doubt for some time know, along with the other afflictions of adolescence, including the almost universal endorsements of illicit drugs and sex that peers try to constantly push upon me. So, in this context, I am rather looking for you to provide some solid answers to some of my difficult questions, because I fear that you are, in a way, the last hope that I have to maintain my faith without either apostatizing or compromising.

I am going to preempt (again?) my rather copious list of questions with the statement that I am not entirely ignorant on topics of doubt, and have invested a degree of research into some of the things about which I ask. I understand that the answer I may receive may be a "faith is a personal thing" (i.e. it's hard to convince somebody if they don't want to believe), and if that is the case, so be it. From the overwhelming majority of my experiences, self proclaimed "Christians" have consistently made things worse by their ineffective answers to honest questions and hypocritical behavior in general, and they often make me feel ashamed of the title (I'm just as bad sometimes too, and don't claim to be "superior" or anything of the sort, it's just painful to see ignorance at work, be it religious or otherwise). You have been one of the only consistent sources that I have found, which you should hold as a significant compliment. This "initial" list is pretty long, so if you would rather that I block things more effectively in the future, I would be happy to do so.

This email is only going to address my primary "doubt" questions, starting with some in Genesis, because anything more is tangential to my predicament at hand; in other words, I am more focused on getting myself back on the path of burning for Jesus than asking about certain semantics that trouble me. Those can wait.

Response #20: 

Very good to make your acquaintance. Let me start by saying how impressed I am at your doctrinal and spiritual precociousness at your young age. If there is any theme here to the advice/answers I am asked to give, it would be to try and focus on the big picture. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, and this, even when only cursorily considered, is bigger than a billion universes or ten thousand times all the time that has passed or ever will. Indeed, the love of God pouring forth from the sacrifice of the cross is the foundation, the bedrock, of all things that are. Since we as Christians know this to be the case, both in general terms, and also very importantly in terms of our own personal eschatology – our hope is of the bodily resurrection and eternal inheritance in the New Jerusalem with Him and all our brothers and sisters forever – everything else is very small by comparison (as long as we keep focused on the important things).

There is also a practical application to this truth that has relevance in your case. If we start with absolute faith in what matters, then everything else falls into place (or at least into perspective). We believe in God. We believe therefore that He is love and goodness and truth. Being such, we know that His promises to us in Christ are absolute. That being the case, He will never let us down, will never fail to give us "all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2Pet.1:3 NIV), that is, everything we need not only to sustain physical life in this world but even more importantly the truth we need to advance and fight the spiritual fight we are in. If we start with absolute faith in Him, who He is in all His perfection, then all the questions of materialism are seen to be minor (like a few old, slow flies at the perfect picnic, easily swatted away and not worthy of ruining the experience). On the other hand, if we start by focusing on things that don't fit, we play into the devil's methodology for tripping believers up, and we stand, by losing focus on the big things and on the big picture, to experience unnecessary spiritual turmoil, or worse. That said, once we are properly oriented to "first things first", I have learned that there are acceptable answers to all questions, even if 1) they aren't the ones we necessarily want, or 2) they aren't completely satisfying to non-Christians (as they most often aren't), or 3) they are a lot longer in coming than we might have wished and thus may test our patience (and faith) until they do arrive. Once we start with the proposition that it does all work, it is amazing, however, how often and how quickly even the "problems" fall into line. But we do have to have faith that they will – faith not in ourselves or what we can do or see, but faith in the character of God (Bible Basics 1, Theology, is not a bad place to visit or revisit to get one's groundings here; see the link).

Secondly, when it comes to other people, we should understand that the scriptural perspective (i.e., the truth), is that this life is all about choosing, and that most people have no desire to have anything to do with God. Your "pearls before swine" analogy is to the point. I would add what our Lord told the authorities who wanted to know "by what authority" He was doing what He was doing (e.g., Lk.20:1-8). When He responded that first they should tell Him whether John's ministry was of God or not, after carefully consulting they said they "didn't know" even though they did not think it was of God; our Lord's parting shot was that in that case neither would He tell them by what authority He was acting as He was acting. This is in my view an even more appropriate comparison inasmuch as just as the Pharisees and Sadducees were not being honest when they feigned ignorance, so also people today who say they "don't know" if there is a God et al., are not really being honest. They have made their decision (to live for themselves and have nothing to do with God) and are only trying to justify it after the fact. Once the truth is rejected, it is always replaced with lies and self-delusion. The devil, after all, thinks he can win – even though he spent eons in the presence of God Almighty.

I will try to give some answers to your specific question here, but given the format and length I'm bound to miss some things (so do please feel free to write back). Also, I should point out that my gifts and talents do not extend into the area of apologetics, and that gift really is what many of these questions demand.

Question #21:  

1) Could Adam and Eve have reproduced before the fall? If sex (in its true form) is inherently good, why did God not allow it (condone it?) until after the fall? Also, if they did not have sex before the fall, did they possess the necessary organs before the fall? If they did not have sex, but did have the reproductive organs to have sex, then is it not such a stretch to say that God must have intended for them to fall so that they could reproduce? Did God just not give fertility until after the fall (i.e. Gen 2:24 "one flesh" before the fall)? How could God "multiply" Eve's pain in childbirth (Gen 3:16) if she had not already given birth (I'm guessing this one is in the Hebrew)?

Response #21: 

1) While scripture does not address these things directly, I do think that what we have is a case of the Lord graciously delaying things in full knowledge of what was going to happen. Absent any fall, of course, Adam and Eve would have lived forever, so the idea of a honeymoon without children is also not an ungracious thing for the Lord to provide. As things were bound to transpire, preventing pregnancy until after the fall certainly also avoided some situations which may have been problematic (at least for us in understanding things after the fact). So I do see the Lord's hand in this, for good in every way. I don't find a problem with the "multiply" issue; I see where you are going – in English the phrasing seems to anticipate a previous experience – but 1) that's not necessarily the case in Hebrew and 2) we can also be talking about a theoretical base-line rather than one already actually experienced and still fulfill the letter here.

Question #22:  

2) Speaking of Adam and Eve populating humanity, exactly how was this done if not through what we consider incest today? Obviously we view incest as wrong now (and so it was too under mosaic law), so why did God (who is perfect in every way and knows every moment of the future) "change his mind?" This also happened with the population bottleneck of the flood (i.e. Noah + eight). This was one of the first things that made me check my classic assumptions of faith. Am I missing something here?

Response #22: 

2) Yes, there were only two, so all came from two, and Adam and Eve undoubtedly had a huge number of offspring. Things do change with circumstances, and the Law, after all, only came in many generations after the fall (its purpose is unique: presenting to the world a people specially sanctified in their behavior). Abraham, it seems to me, would have been in violation of this statute with Sarah, had it applied at the time they were married – which it did not. God is not "changing His mind"; God is giving us the perfect guidance for whatever circumstances we find ourselves in:

And He said to them, "When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" So they said, "Nothing." Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."
Luke 22:35-36

Question #23:  

3) As for Noah, I have some significant questions on this story. This article http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html states most of them better than I could, but I have another one to add: are we supposed to view the rainbow as a phenomenon that did not occur ever before the flood? It is simply the refraction of light through water vapor, yes? So if there was water vapor before the flood (not a huge stretch I don't think), why would rainbows have not existed too before the flood? My guess is that they existed before the flood but were used as a covenant only after (similar to circumcision in Gen 7, i.e. Abraham did not practice it but he certainly knew what it was). Is this correct?

Response #23: 

3) Science assumes that "things were then as they are now"; instead, it is likely that there were many changes occasioned by the great flood. The change of the earth's axis and the resultant diminution of the protective mist that watered the earth were responsible for all manner of serious changes (including drastically reduced life-expectancy). Here's a link to similar phenomenon regarding the sun (Solar Cycle), and some other links at Ichthys where these matters are discussed:

The Origin of the Four Seasons

Science and the Bible

Is the earth ever described as round in the Bible?

The problem of science and the Bible

The shape of the universe according to the Bible

So my view would be that the rainbow only occurs post-flood, even if I can't give you a detailed explanation of "why?"

Question #24:   

4) It seems to me to be rather ambiguous from the creation account whether God created some of what we consider "microorganisms." For man to function properly, we needs thousands upon thousands of bacteria (mostly in the intestines). These are the "good bacteria." There are, however, plenty more bacteria that aren't beneficial for humanity. Cholera, bacterial meningitis, and thousands of other examples make me question their existence. Obviously they aren't from God, so from whence did they come? This leads me to another question that has troubled people for centuries: disease. There are verses in the bible that are liberally interpreted in the view that all pain and suffering and bad things in the world came to exist by Adam's hand. While I do not see any reason to think otherwise, my biggest question is... well, how? Everybody consistently seems to blame an awful lot of our struggles on the fall (which makes sense), but I do not have a very good understanding of exactly how the fall has caused said things. Obviously it stems from separation from God and punishment, but I am yet to come across a really solid explanation.

Response #24: 

4) I'm no scientist, and I fear that even a Christian scientist who was acting as an apologist on this score might be tempted into some theory or other which though it meant well might cause more problems than it solved. The above links I hope demonstrate that the entire theoretical basis upon which modern science has proclaimed the biblical account impossible is in fact seriously flawed. That is enough for me.

Question #25: 

5) While the creation debate is always touchy, this is where most of my uncertainty is coming from. I was initially introduced to your site when researching the gap theory, which I hold to be the most logical explanation for many of the phenomena experienced by our precious "geologists." However, I have run into a great deal of problematic information concerning the more biological side of common descent. To some extent, I feel like there intuitively must be a God, but there seems to be a vast amount of information published that flies in the face of literal 6 day creation.

While I obviously can't expect you to read all of the reasoning (I haven't even) and refute things point by point, this link http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/ is the most concise and well written case for evolution that I have ever come across. If you could somehow explain how all of this fits with scripture, I think anything else I throw at you will be more specific interpretation questions; in other words, it would solve most of the uncertainty in my life. The only issue that I take with the site's presentation, is that for a site supposed to "talk about origins," the "talk" seems to be rather slanted. There are one or two things that hold evolution to be true to "prove" it but most of the presentation is well reasoned, at least from my perception. The central issue I am having is one that people have eloquently put into words by asking "why did God give us reason if it disproves his existence?" While I will reserve judgement until I have fully thought things out, this is certainly a question I have been asking myself for some time now.

Response #25: 

5) As in the above response, my purpose is to teach what the Bible teaches. That is the primary difference in my expounding of the Gap in Genesis (it's not just a theory – it's what Genesis 1:2 says, correctly translated). Many other ministries are using the "gap" to attack evolution (I try to stay out of politics, personally). Evolution is clearly incorrect and entirely inconsistent within itself (natural selection cannot really explain specialization, for example, not even mathematically, given the relatively small number of individuals in each species we are discussing and large number of species over what, for evolution to work, if far too short a time-span). Unbelievers will always need a rationalization to replace the truth that God has put in their hearts and written large and small in every created thing in the universe (Rom.1:18-25; see the link: Natural Revelation and Accountability). I'm also not much on fighting on someone else' ground (as I say, apologetics is a gift and a noble calling, but not mine). That said, clearly, understanding that the universe was blacked out by divine judgment for eons following Satan's revolt casts an entirely new light upon this "problem", but unbelievers will never accept this – obviously.

Question #26:  

So conclude my primary questions for Genesis. Looking back, this email is already longer than I had intended for it to be, but I have several more philosophical questions to finish off.

1) While I have read some about God's "natural revelation" on your website (i.e. anyone can "find" God if they are truly searching, independent of having access to scripture, cf. Rom.1:19-20 and Rom.10: 18-21), I must admit that I am a bit confused on this point. If we are saved by faith in Christ alone, and someone has never had the opportunity to hear of Christ, certainly it must appear, prima facie, that they have no opportunity to be saved. I suppose I may be falling into the common trap of wanting more people to be saved throughout history than really were, but I digress (this perception really has nothing to do with what is true, it is just depressing).

Response #26: 

As to set #2, I'm less a philosopher than an apologist, but I'll have a brief go:

1) It's more than that: God exists outside of time and space and exceeds them both to infinity. He planned everything that would happen and decreed it: nothing that happens could possibly happen without His decree. We look at life and see complexity and think that it would be impossible to anticipate every life, every circumstance, every decision of every human being – but God did so. Indeed, Christ has already died for every sin of every person, large or small. When we begin to realize just how "big" God is (and He is much, much bigger than any one of us could really ever imagine), many such issues dissipate. So no one who has ever expressed a thought of wanting to know God ever did so without Him knowing about it precisely before He created the universe (please see the link: "What about those who never heard the gospel?").

Question #27: 

2) While I think questions like "could God commit suicide?" and "could God create a stone so heavy that even he could not lift it?" are mostly philosophical posturing, I want to understand exactly how one can respond to questions of this nature. While my first inclination would be to say "well, it is against God's perfect and omnipotent nature," critics would be quick to point out that if God is omnipotent, why is he "confined" by his nature? Am I wrong in my understanding of the word omnipotent? Would a better way to put it (other than the Latin "all powerful") be "all powerful within one's inherent capabilities (i.e. nature)?"

Response #27:

2) God is existence. He is life. He is love. What He "is" outside of time and space is beyond our ability even to conceptualize in the most rudimentary way, so such questions fall far short of confounding a God who is wisdom itself.

Question #28: 

3) My last question is less about the hiccups in my own faith (which are primarily stated above), but about helping others in theirs. While I am blessed to have an entire family that believes (although their insistence on some of the more common practices of mainline Christianity is somewhat of a problem), I am not so lucky with some of my friends. Most of my school friends are hardcore atheist or agnostic. I have a certain friend who was raised as a Mormon and, after seeing the gaping holes in that particular cult, entirely apostatized from faith in general. While he currently believes we cannot ever know of the existence of God with certainty (i.e. he is agnostic), I don't think he is too far off coming round. I cannot for the life of me think of exactly how to convince him that this is the most important decision he can ever make, but I certainly feel I ought to try. The only question is.... how? I've already explained Pascal's wager and how every man must weigh infinite gain with finite loss (which doesn't really explain faith, but is a logical posit of why we ought to believe), but he decided he would rather live "morally" (the whole "I'm going to be a good person" baloney) than accept that belief in God's existence (even if not backed up "empirically") is actually the superior logical position. Another friend I have had conversations with has likened belief in God with belief in an invisible rainbow unicorn: we cannot necessarily disprove either, but we cannot ever "prove" their existence. How does one answer that kind of question? I have already explained how we are saved by faith alone and that if God gave us incontrovertible evidence he would undermine our free will (the only true form of love). I have also struggled with the loss of faith of another very close friend. I don't want to lose the relationship by forcing the issue too bluntly, but I hate to see her struggle (and, worse, embrace some rather destructive things). How do I convince someone several years my senior of the truth? I suppose all of these boil down to "pearls before swine;" at some point you have to accept that you alone cannot convince them and move on. My question: how do you know when that point is reached?

Thank you again for your ministry: it has helped me a great deal, and I hope to continue to use it to grow spiritually.

In Christ,

Response #28: 

3) On this, please see the introductory comments. We can't convince people. Our job is to share the gospel with willing parties, and to witness to all others with our lives that they may see by our faith, our hope, and our love, the power, the presence, and the goodness of God. And we can pray for them. But they will make their own decisions. It's not about rhetoric; it is about choice. There is much of relevance on this issue at the link in BB 4B: Soteriology.

Thanks much for your kind comments. I also want to commend your diligence in pursuing the truth. Keep it up. God clearly has gifted you in many ways. For proper functioning in the ministry the Lord Jesus has for you, spiritual growth and specific preparation is necessary. Keep running this race. The eternal rewards He has for you far outstrip anything we can imagine here on earth.

Looking forward to watching your progress in the Lord in the years to come.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.
 

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