|Academic claims God is not the Creator|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 12 October 2009 15:42|
An Old Testament scholar, who has written several books on the subject of the Creation account as depicted in Genesis, is to claim in a new thesis that God did not create the heavens and the earth. According to Professor Ellen van Wolde, the traditional interpretation of Genesis 1:1, which states that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth", has been mistranslated for centuries. Van Wolde, who claims to have undertaken a textual analysis of the Pentateuch, now believes that the books of Moses did not intend to convey that God actually created the heavens and the earth, but that God's creative acts were limited mainly to making the earth a habitable place for the people and animals that were in it. She says that this reinterpretation of the Hebrew text brings the Genesis account into line with the Creation stories of other cultures, some of which fail to mention God as being the supreme source of all things. Van Wolde claims that the word 'bara' in the Hebrew, which is translated as 'create' throughout the Scriptures, should actually be interpreted as 'specially separate' in the first verse. But confusingly, she admits that the word 'bara' actually does mean create, but that her conclusions are drawn not from the text itself, but from her own lack of understanding of the nature of God.
Quote: "She said technically "bara" does mean "create" but added: "Something was wrong with the verb. "God was the subject (God created), followed by two or more objects. Why did God not create just one thing or animal, but always more?" She concluded that God did not create, he separated: the Earth from the Heaven, the land from the sea, the sea monsters from the birds and the swarming at the ground. "There was already water," she said. "There were sea monsters. God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth. The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding." God came later and made the earth livable, separating the water from the land and brought light into the darkness.
But the word 'bara' is actually used throughout the Genesis account. It's used to describe the creation of "every living creature" that moves in the waters (Genesis 1:21), it's used three times in one verse to describe the creation of humans (Genesis 1:27), and it's used in reference to "all the host" of the heavens and the earth (Genesis 2:1-4). Van Wolde says that in the beginning water covered the earth, and this is true, but there is no mention in the Scriptures about sea creatures existing on the first day of creation. In fact the second verse of Genesis specifically states that in the beginning, the earth was "without form and void", or literally waste and empty. Van Wolde's strange interpretation that God did not create the earth, or that the phrase "in the beginning" refers to the narration of a story and not the beginning of time, does not find support anywhere in the Bible. When speaking of the creation of Adam and Eve, the Lord Jesus Christ affirmed that He which created them did so "in the beginning", Matthew 19:4. This creates problems for those who espouse the view that Genesis was simply a regeneration of an existing creation, or that God used evolution to create the world. In reference to God's creative acts, John's gospel emphatically states that Jesus Christ was "in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not", John 1:10. And in regards to her belief that God created some things and not others, John 1:3 also states, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made".
As you can see, Professor Ellen van Wolde's views, which Radboud University claim represents "a complete shake up of the story of the Creation as we know it", actually presents no new information at all. At best her thesis provides a misleading view of the Genesis account, and at worst constitutes an attack on the very nature of God. Van Wolde herself gave the game away when she stated at the end of the article, "The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now". Unfortunately van Wolde's views are by no means unique. Mankind has always sought to limit his accountability to his Creator, either by denying the existence of God or by claiming that God's involvement in creation was somehow limited. But God created man, and man will give an account to Him for everything that he does. The Lord Jesus Christ said, "every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment", Matthew 12:36. Are you prepared for that day? There will be no lawyers to argue your case on that day. You will not be able to plead innocency, because God will have a record of everything (Revelation 20:12). And the Judge will not be lenient (Nahum 1:3). There is only one way you can escape sentencing, and that is to make supplication to your Judge. His name is Jesus Christ. He paid the penalty for your sin when He died upon the cross. He gave His life for yours so that you could be forgiven. Why don't you turn away from your sin, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today. Don't leave it until it is too late.