Home Quiz

Shadowland: Beginnings: Week 2

Simple Phonemes

The pronounciation of ancient Hebrew almost certainly changed a lot over the 2000 years since Moses, and there were regional dialects (see Judges 12:6). Scholars have only theories, and modern Israeli Hebrew has dropped many of the distinct consonants and vowels, to be easier to learn for European Jews. However, we will try to learn "university" Hebrew - scholarly guesses at ancient Hebrew. These are some simple terms to describe unfamiliar sounds:
voiced stop dental
unvoicedfricative labial
sibilant labial-dental
pet unvoiced labial stop
bet voiced labial stop
vet voiced labial-dental fricative
feat unvoiced labial-dental fricative
take unvoiced dental stop
duck voiced dental stop
thug unvoiced dental fricative
the voiced dental fricative
eat unvoiced glottal stop
heat unvoiced glottal fricative
seat unvoiced dental sibilant
zebra voiced dental sibilant

Genesis 1

We know absolutely from St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:11) that Genesis is to be taken figuratively, and from the words of Christ (John 5:46), it is to be taken prophetically. It is also literal, for these things *did* happen to them, for Christ says that Abraham was. (So we can discount for the purposes of this class theories that Genesis or parts of it are purely allegorical.) But there is still much controversy over what exactly *is* the "Literal Meaning of Genesis" - especially with the creation and flood stories.

Overview of Theories of Genesis 1

Augustine Literal Meaning of Genesis, Book 1, Chap 19: Embarassment of bad science presented as sacred truth to unbelievers. All theories of Genesis must acknowledge certain facts to be valid. There is no absolute time in our modern universe. There is not even a one true ordering of events. This has been confirmed many times. To specify a measurement of time, you must also specify the observer (or "frame of reference"). Genesis does not explicitly specify the observer, and the theories differ mainly in the presumed observer of the days.
Christianized Greek
We will read selections from Augustine addressing theories of Genesis in the early church, including adaptations of Greek Cosmology. This will remind us that science is always changing, and presenting it as sacred truth is foolishness. The "firmanent" was the celestial sphere, which kept Chaos ("waters") outside the ordered universe.
Young Earth
The days of Genesis one are measured from the frame of reference of Adam (even though Adam could not be the observer). This makes light 5 days older than Adam. Furthermore, "in the beginning" is assumed to be the same day as light was created - making the universe 5 days older than Adam. This still doesn't explain how the earth *appears* to be much older, so in addition there is the ...
Omphalos Hypothesis
Did Adam have a belly button? Did the trees in the Garden have rings? Omphalos is Greek for "belly button", and accordingly Adam did have a belly button, and the trees had rings. All things were created mature. Apparent age is based on comparison with the observed development of a similar process, and is based on assumptions for unique events like cosmology.
Day Age
The observer is God, with whom "a day is as a thousand years". By extension, each day is an age. Not because yom can mean "age" (it doesn't in Genesis) but because God is the observer, and He is outside time. Each day is interpreted as an epoch in the formation of earth and development of life according to 20th century science.
Framework Theory
The observers were the Angels, Job 38. Augustine favored this view. The angels do not inhabit our universe, or its time. So there is no corresponding earth measurement. In this view, the days are days of a "seminar" where the design of the new world is proclaimed as three realms, with rulers of each realm:
1. The realm of light and darkness.
2. The realm of sea and sky.
3. The realm of dry land.
4. Sun to rule day, moon and stars to rule night.
5. Fish to rule sea, birds to rule sky.
6. Animals to rule dry land.
Man to rule over all.
Big Bang Theory
The observer is the cosmic background radiation. The universe was formless during the first few moments, vibrating as it expanded and cooled, until matter cooled enough to separate from light. That first light is still visible (at microwave frequencies now), and it records the vibrations of the universe for the first few minutes (from the reference frame of the light) after the separation of darkness (matter) and light. From the point of view of the cosmic background, the universe is about 5½ days old. The days of Genesis are stages in the evolution of the universe, and then our earth. It is Day Age updated for modern cosmology.
Gap Theory Modifier
Genesis 1:2 can be translated, "but the earth became formless and an empty waste". The idea is that the earth created in 1:1 was destroyed by the fall of Lucifer, and made inhabitable again beginning in 1:3. This theory must be combined with one of the others to specify an observer of the days.