The Creation Account in Genesis 1:1-3: Part II: The Restitution Theory -- By: Bruce K. Waltke

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 132:526 (Apr 1975)
Article: The Creation Account in Genesis 1:1-3: Part II: The Restitution Theory
Author: Bruce K. Waltke


The Creation Account in Genesis 1:1-3:
Part II:
The Restitution Theory

Bruce K. Waltke

[Bruce K. Waltke, Professor of Semitic Languages and Old Testament Exegesis, Director of Doctoral Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second in a series of articles first delivered by the author as the Bueermann-Champion Foundation Lectures at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, Oregon, October 1–4, 1974, and adapted from Creation and Chaos (Portland, OR: Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, 1974).]

Introduction

Three views on the cosmogony of Genesis 1:1–3 have found broad acceptance in the literature on this subject: (1) the restitution theory of cosmogony, which contends that the chaos of Genesis 1:2 occurred after God had created an originally perfect universe; (2) the initially chaotic theory of cosmogony, which insists that the chaos of 1:2 occurred in connection with the original creation; and (3) the precreation chaos theory of cosmogony, which holds that the chaos of verse 2 existed before the creation mentioned in the Bible.

According to the first mode of thought, chaos occurred after the original creation; according to the second mode of thought, chaos occurred in connection with the original creation; and in the third mode of thought, chaos existed before the original creation.

Need for This Study

This issue is important for both apologetic and theological reasons. In order to meet the challenge of science against the first chapter of Genesis, the apologist must have a clear understanding of the biblical cosmogony. D. F. Payne said, “Biblical exegesis is paramount…when the scientific challenge is under

consideration.”1 Moreover, how we understand the syntax of Genesis 1:1–3 has a significant effect on our theology. Von Rad noted, “The sequence of particular declarations in vv. 1–3 comprises a wealth of reference whose fullness is scarcely to be comprehended.”2

Method

To construct a proper model of cosmogony special attention must be given to Genesis 1. The reason is that this text is written in precise prose, whereas other biblical passages bearing on cosmogony are poetic, imaginative, evo...

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