Re: Gen. 1:1-2, and the Greek of it

From: Will Wagers (
Date: Thu Feb 22 1996 - 23:55:52 EST

David L. Moore writes:

> I would suggest that creatio ex nihilo is not so much explicit as
>it is implicit within the Old Testament (although Gen. 1:1 is pretty

Gn 1:1 is definitely definite, but diametrically opposed to your position.
I don't know Hebrew, so I cannot comment on the discussion of how to
segment Gn 1:1. But, it is a red herring as far as the discussion of creatio
ex nihilo goes, because it doesn't matter which way you interpret it. The
argument is not about "the beginning of what": It's not that it doesn't say
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It's in what
the words *mean*.

It is understandable that the scientific meanings of words are omitted
from theological dictionaries. But, when they are pointed out, I see no
reason to ignore them. However, we should be doing this on B-HEBREW?

>A possible reason that the explicit doctrine does not appear
>until II Mac. may be that it was only when the Hebrew culture came in
>contact with Helenism as a philosophical system with its cosmology that
>postulated a pre-existing mass of matter that it was necessary to make
>explicit what is implicit throughout all of the OT.

What explicit doctrine? Certainly not Second Maccabees in Alexandrian
Greek. Edward Hobbs notes that "the *implication* (my ital.) of creatio
ex nihilo, according to Encyclopaedia Judaica (5:1059), 'first appears in
II Maccabees 7:28.'"

2 Mc 7:28: "I beseech thee, my son, look upon the heaven and the earth,
and all that is therein, and consider that God made them of things that
were not; and so was mankind made likewise."

This passage could be the poster child for my thesis. The cosmos is made
in the same manner as a *child*, not from nothing, but from no-thing.
Further, if this is the first implication, how can the OT be said to hold it

> Something analogous to a certain extent happened in Christianity
>with the emergence of the doctrine of the Trinity which was not explicitly,
>but rather implicitly present in the New Testament doctrines about God.

Something analogous did, indeed, happen with the doctrine of the Trinity:
Father (God), Son (Demiurge), Holy Spirit (Cosmos), all characters straight
out of the original cast of _Timaeus_.

I don't know that this discussion is of general interest to the list. Perhaps,
if you wish to continue, we should go off list.



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