The Source Workbook - Questions  

Copyright © Nils Jansma 2008-2020, All Rights Reserved

CHAPTER 7 -  THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE

 

Page  85

q-85.1     What do we learn about the creation from both the Bible and Science?

 

Page 86  ORIGINAL AUDIENCE;  Scientific World-View

p-86.1     When was Genesis written and by whom?

 

p-86.2     What is Wiseman’s view of the Genesis account of creation?

 

Page 87  Language Differences

p-87.1     To be truly authentic, how do some believe the creation account should be worded and what problems would likely have arisen?

 

p-87.2     What can be said about the Bible’s details with regard to the creation of Adam and Eve?

 

Page 88  Bara

p-88.1     What problems arise when the Bible is translated into other languages?

 

p-88.2     What exclusive activity does the Hebrew word “Bara” describe?

 

Page 89  Asah and Yatsar

p-89.1     What Hebrew words are used to refer to things “made” by both God or man and give examples.

 

p-89.2     How is the use of both Bara and Asah accurate with respects the creation of humans?

 

Page 90  HISTORICAL NARRATIVE STYPE

p-90.1     From His perspective, out of what did God “make” the human spirit?

 

p-90.2     Explain how the universe could be both “created” and “made.”

 

Page 91  Genesis 1:1 Includes the Sequence of Genesis 1:3-31

p-91.1     What does it mean to say that Genesis Chapter 1 was written as a "historical narrative."

 

p-91.2     The “creative week” of Genesis 1:3-31 specifically applies to what with regard to man?

 

p-91.3     In general to what does the creative week also apply?

 

Page 92  Division of Waters Vertically

p-92.1     Why do we say the “creative week” applied specifically to the Garden of Eden?

 

p-92.2     How can we say that the sun, moon and stars were originally created (bara) in Genesis 1:1-3, and then “made” (asa) later in verses 14 through 19?

 

Page 93  Division of Waters Horizontally

p-93.1     What evidence is there that the very early earth was enshrouded with clouds?

 

p-93.2     How is this vertical division of the waters described in Genesis 1:6-7?

 

p-93.3     What happens when God separates the waters horizontally in Genesis 1:9-10?

 

Page 94  Figure 7.1:  Continents Fit Together like a Jigsaw Puzzle

p-94.1     Is the Bible correct when it implies that originally, there was only one continent and one ocean?

 

p-94.2     What is the process called that is said to have broken up the original continent?

 

Page 95  Sequence in Plant Life

p-95.1     What was the name of the last super continent and how does its existence harmonize with the Biblical account?

 

p-95.2     A botany student would recognize the Bible’s “order” or descriptive sequence of plant creation as being what?

 

Page 96  Sequence In Animal Life

q-96.1     What evidence do we find in the fossil record that corresponds with the events described in Genesis 1:20-27.

 

Page 97

q-97.1     Because of the many new discoveries in science being made weekly, what advice can be given to someone who does not believe in God?

 

Page 98  Blank

 

End of Chapter 7

 

The Source Workbook - Answers  

Copyright © Nils Jansma 2008-2018, All Rights Reserved

CHAPTER 7 -  THE LANGUAGE OF THE BIBLE

Page 85

 

q-85.1   What do we learn about the creation from both the Bible and Science?

Simply put, the Bible tells us about the Who and Why of creation, and science tell us What, How, and When. Do we need both explanations? No, not at all. Nevertheless, is it Scripturally wrong for us to want to know more than just "Who and Why" of creation? No, because Jesus told Doubting Thomas that all facts causing one to "believe" are good. The main objective is "what" we believe not how we came to believe it.  (John 20:29-MKJV) "Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me you have believed. Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed."

 

Page 86 ORIGINAL AUDIENCE; Scientific World-View

p-86.1   When was Genesis written and by whom? 

It is generally believed to have been written around 1300-1500, by Moses. However, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Genesis was written sometime between 500 to 900 BC. This view is called the "documentary hypothesis." A small minority of historians called "biblical minimalists" say Genesis was written about 200 BC. They site language technicalities as the basis for their opinions. They assume that the Pentateuch was written as a collection of books by a variety of authors or by one author who assembled a collection of books along with his own comments and views. Even so, these critical opinions are not supported historically and can be reasonably discarded.

p-86.2   What is Wiseman's view of the Genesis account of creation?Hearst Medical Papyrus

Wiseman gives a variety of good reasons showing that the contents of the book of Genesis is very ancient. Thus the various styles noted by historians could be due to Moses using older written records. For instance, Genesis 5: 1, says,  "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God." That sounds like a reference to a historical record written, maybe, by Adam. What about Moses, did he know how to write? In Acts, in chapter 7 verses 21-22 Stephen tell us: "And he being cast out, Pharaoh's daughter took him up and reared him for a son to her. (22) And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds." In fact at Exodus 34:27, God said to Moses, "Write these words for yourself; for on the mouth of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel." So we are told that Moses had a good education which would have equipped him to read the popular languages encountered by Egyptian scholars which would likely have included historical documents written much earlier. We are also told that God commanded Moses to write down things that are to be remembered for Joshua to read. (Exodus 17:14) Based upon these facts, there is no reason to believe the book of Genesis was written by anyone else other than Moses.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebers_Papyrus

Page 87  Language Differences

p-87.1     To be truly authentic, how do some believe the creation account should be worded and what problems would likely have arisen?

To some critics, the creation account in the Bible sounds too much like an ancient myth of a people trying to explain the unknown in understandable terms.  These critics would like to have the Bible say something so scientifically advanced that there would be no doubt today that God was the author.  However, if this were the case, it would not have been as useful in achieving God's purpose when originally written.  God did not want to confuse the people with an account of creation that was so unusual that the reader would miss the important messages.  These important messages were to tell us where we came from and why things appear to be so messed up.  There was also a message of hope recorded at Genesis 3:15, that informs us that eventually one would come that would correct matters by eliminating the problem of evil.  The actual account of creation was to only serve as an introduction.  That is why the Bible starts with the words, "In the beginning." 

 

p-87.2     What can be said about the Bible’s details with regard to the creation of Adam and Eve?

In this context, only the most important things are said about humans, that they were created male and female.  They were both made in the "image of God."  They were put in charge of all the plants and animals (Genesis 1:26).  They were created a little lower than the angles (Hebrews 2:7).  They were really the reason for why God created the earth in the first place.  He needed to provide a home for his fleshly children to live in just as he no doubt provided a dwelling place for his spiritual children (John 14:2).

Page 88  Bara

p-88.1     What problems arise when the Bible is translated into other languages?In the Beginning

Words in other languages can have multiple meanings with which the translator is not familiar.  New discoveries occur from time to time that redefine words used to write the Bible.  With regards the Bible, unless a translator is directly inspired by God, all Bible translations are only opinions of a person or group of persons whose knowledge of the ancient language is limited.  Because the Bible is written in every day language, the important issues are readily translated into modern languages.  However, details on issues such as how to translate the words used to describe the creation of  "heaven and earth," cannot be resolved by translators alone.  Whatever words are used, they must agree with known facts.  The Bible tells us with certainty who it was that created heaven and earth but not how.  The words are simply, "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."  

 

p-88.2     What exclusive activity does the Hebrew word “Bara” describe?

Bara refers to a direct miraculous work that only God can do.  It is to be differentiated from work that both God and man can do that utilizes natural processes.  

Page 89  Asah and Yatsar

p-89.1     What Hebrew words are used to refer to things “made” by both God or man and give examples.

The Hebrew word "Asah" is translated "made" in the Bible.  If usually refers to activity or work that produces something through natural causes.  It can even be a miraculous use of natural forces such as when God brought the 10 plagues against Egypt.  We do not know how these plagues were accomplished, but they must have been of such a nature that Pharaoh debated with his "wise men" as to their cause.

 

p-89.2     How is the use of both Bara and Asah accurate with respects the creation of humans?

Humans are comprised of both body and spirit.  In this case, the soul and body are considered to be related to humanities physical properties while the spirit refers to one's spiritual nature.  God created (bara) our spirits because he is the Father of spirits, (Hebrews 12:9)  but he apparently made (asah) our bodies by natural processes from earthly components (Genesis 2:7).

 

Page 90  HISTORICAL NARRATIVE STYLE p-90.1     From His perspective, out of what did God “make” the human spirit?

Here we are talking about the same thing from two different perspectives, God’s and ours.  In our opinion, that is a technical difference that must be considered to explain why these two different words are used to refer to the same thing without being contradictory.  For this to be a valid argument, it has to be shown that the use of these two words adds something to the understanding of the text that normally would be missing if only a single word were used.  Therefore, using the word from God’s perspective, indicates that our heavenly spirits are made in His image from something pre-existing that is normally found only in God's dwelling place.  However, using the word create from our perspective, means that God places "his image" or our spirit within our soul-body by creating a spiritual link between our heavenly spirits and our earthly souls that is undetectable in our universe.  So it is this supernaturally linked soul that is attached to our heavenly spirit that was created by God that resulted in our being in his image both in heaven and on earth.  In the Bible, this link is called "the breath of God or spirit of life" (neshâmâh).  That is the apparent difference in the perspectives.  Spirits images are made from pre-existing material by God in his domain and then linked  to soul images by an act of creation.  The Apostle Paul alluded to this link at 2 Corinthians 4:16, when he said that our "outward man perishes [soul-body] yet the inward man [spirit] is being renewed day by day."  This appears to be a technicality that enters into the discussion naturally to explain the verse at Genesis 1:26.  In our opinion, this is another Scriptural insight alluding to God’s existence in an independent time domain that is not subject to the same natural laws as ours and can be clearly distinguished by the use of "made" and "create."

 

For completeness, we should talk some more about the "image of God" that is being discussed.  It has been hypothesized that a component of the "image of God" is our "free will consciousness."  Apparently, this is what distinguishes us from the animals.  In harmony with this, there is a growing volume of evidence supporting the idea that a “free will” brain cannot exist  in our universe because it is subject to the chemical laws of nature.  The basis for this idea is that our brains are nothing more than a mass of chemical components all subject to physical laws.  Therefore, all our thoughts should be traceable back to starting points that are predictable by the laws of chemistry unless they are of "supernatural" origin.  If this is true, and we think it is, then every free will thought must be of supernatural origin if it is to be unpredictable.  This can be illustrated by the difference between the mental action behind putting one's finger on a hot stove and composing a poem.  The hot stove reaction is totally predictable while the poem composition is not.  No one, without supernatural help, can tell you what your thoughts are going to be no matter how many electronic probes that they might have hooked up to your head.  The reason why this is true is because the cause of our free and unpredictable thoughts must originate in our heavenly spirits and are not subject to the predictable laws of the natural universe. The more exciting aspect of these observations is that our material brain is not the total originator of our free-will actions but also is a receiver of the transmission from our heavenly spirits or what we call our conscience. The two sources, our body (brain) and our spirit (conscience) compete with our soul (our mind) in making decisions.

 

p-90.2     Explain how the universe itself could be both “created” and “made.”

First everything was created at the Big Bang event and then left to be formed out of existing material either by natural or supernatural processes.

Page 91  Genesis 1:1 Includes the Sequence of Genesis 1:3-3

p-91.1   What does it mean to say that Genesis Chapter 1 was written as a "historical narrative?"

It means that the term in Genesis 1:1, "God created the heavens and earth" was a single event that describes the complete history of the universe from the Big Bang until about 4 billion years ago just after the earth was formed and cooled enough for water to completely cover its surface.  Then Genesis 1:2, begins another series of events that describes the events that start taking place on earth at that time.

p-91.2     The “creative week” of Genesis 1:3-31 specifically applies to what with regard to man?

These verses apply specifically to man and his semi-domestic animals.  They describe the process by which the Garden of Eden was created.  These may be miraculous things that God did over a very short period of time such as six literal days.  However, the verses may also have a double meaning as discussed in question 91.3.

p-91.3     In general to what does the creative week also apply?

These verses also seem to describe how the earth developed over geologic time extending from about 4 billion years ago down to relatively recent times when image-of-God humans first appeared.

 

Page 92  Division of Waters Vertically

p-92.1     Why do we surmise that the “creative week” applied specifically to the Garden of Eden?

The language used in the Biblical account refers to plants and animals that interacted with or were within the influence of Adam and Eve.

 

p-92.2     How can we say that the sun, moon and stars were originally created (bara) in Genesis 1:1-3, and then “made” (asa) later in verses 14 through 19?

Early Earth volcanit activity

It should be evident that when the Bible says " in the beginning God created the heavens and earth," this included the sun, moon, and stars.  If it didn't, then our galaxy along with the entire universe wasn't actually there and the earth was apparently the only material object in existence.  This would require a temporary energy source to produce the effects described on days 1, 2, and 3.  Therefore, it must be obvious that God created (bara) the sun, moon, and stars "in the beginning."  Then later he made them into functional "signs" for marking, "seasons, days and years" for the earth's living inhabitants both human and otherwise.  Since they were already in existence at the time, their functionality was facilitated by altering the earth's atmosphere.  This is an example of God making (asa) by using natural processes.  The clearing of the atmosphere was inevitable because plants were adsorbing carbon dioxide and giving off pure oxygen.  This progressively transformed the atmosphere from being opaque (dark) to transparent with the results being that the sun, moon and stars became clearly visible from earth just as we see them today.

 

Page 93  Division of Waters Horizontally

p-93.1     What evidence is there that the very early earth was enshrouded with clouds? (Job 38:9)

As shown in Figure 7.3, volcanic eruptions spewed gases from Earth's interior into the developing atmosphere. This is called outgassing that even continues today. Most of the gas was carbon dioxide and water vapor. The water vapor condensed to form the Earth's oceans as the Earth's surface cooled. Frozen comets may also have contributed water to Earth's environments.  There is evidence to show that atmospheric moisture reached a peak early in earth history.  All of these developments were natural process and in many cases are spoken of as being "made" (asa) by God.

 

p-93.2     How is this vertical division of the waters described in Genesis 1:6-7?

Earths total water volumes

The Bible describes these early events as being a division between waters and waters.  Many have interpreted this as being a miraculous suspension of actual liquid water above the earth.  However, we now understand that these words described a natural division between liquid waters on the earth and watery clouds suspended above the earth. (Job 26:8)  This was once again, not a miraculous creative (bara) process but a naturally made (asa) process using the laws of nature operating today. See Figures 7.4 & 7.5

 

p-93.3     What happens when God separates the waters horizontally in Genesis 1:9-10?All the water on earth

Separating the waters horizontally, must mean that they were redistributed over the earth's surface. This describes the formation of a single or super continent with the waters retreating into deeper basins that apparently developed as a part of the earth's apparent continental building processes. However, once again, this does not describe a creative (bara) process. Interestingly, the Biblical description is unusual. It implies that the continent was already formed under the water and appeared because the waters relocated themselves to deeper areas of the earth called "seas." 

Page 94  Figure 7.1:  Continents Fit Together like a Jigsaw Puzzle

p-94.1     Is the Bible correct when it implies that originally, there was only one continent and one ocean?

Absolutely.  It is remarkable that the Bible describes a process that was only discovered recently.  It wasn't until 1912 that Alfred Wegener hypothesized that the earth's continents were once joined.  However, even though there was convincing evidence that the continents fit together at their shelf line, the theory of Continental Drift was not generally accepted by the geological community until the late 1950' and early 60's. See Figure 7.6

Pangea

p-94.2     What is the process called that is said to have broken up the original continent?

The process is called Plate Tectonics and the movements of the plates are called Continental Drift.  Again, the point being is that God made (asa) a super continent by natural processes that had the "built-in" potential to separate into all the various continents we have identified today.

 

Page 95 Sequence in Plant Life

p-95.1    What was the name of the last super continent and how does its existence harmonize with the Biblical account?

The last super continent was called Pangea and is said to have started breaking up about 175 million years ago.

 

p-95.2     A botany student would recognize the Bible’s “order” or descriptive sequence of plant creation as being what?

A student of botany would call the Bible's order the "process of succession" or "ecological succession."  This is a well known concept that pertains to the somewhat predictable adjustments that take place within an existing ecological community due to some type of long term change or sudden disaster.  These modifications will cause either the current community of living things to adapt to the changed conditions or go extinct.  Such an extinction would attract other plants and animals to fill the changed environmental niches.

 

Page 96  Sequence In Animal Life

q-96.1     What evidence do we find in the fossil record that corresponds with the events described in Genesis 1:20-27.

Bird relationships

The Bible's order of creation can be summarized in this way, 1) cold blooded sea creatures, 2)  warm blooded flying creatures, 3) warm blooded land animals.  According to this arrangement, amphibians and dinosaurs would be classified together as cold blooded sea creatures many of which dwelt on land.  Creative Days 5 and 6 likely overlap because flying creatures includes both reptiles and feathered birds. (See Figure 7.8) Flying reptiles date as far back as 228 mya with feathered birds seeming to have arrived about 150 mya. Figure 7.7 shows an intersting issue involved with classifying feathered birds.  Many but not all evolutionists say birds and theropod dinosaurs descended from a common ancestor that must have been cold-blooded, but birds are warm-blooded and seem to be a separate creation altogether.  This makes sense from a Biblical perspective because birds (flying creatures) along with sea creatures are said to have been created (bara) directly by God.

Page 97

q-97.1     What is good advice today to give someone who does not believe in God?

This is a classic type statement similar to that which describes the variability of the weather in certain places.  You may recall the expression, "if you don't like the weather, wait an hour and you may change your mind."  A corollary to that statement with respects to God is, "if you are not a believer yet, wait a week and you may become one based on newly discovered evidence."

 

Page 98  Blank

Framework Hypothesis

End of Chapter 7