An Exposition Of The Original Text Of Genesis 1 And 2 -- By: Samuel Hopkins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 034:133 (Jan 1877)
Article: An Exposition Of The Original Text Of Genesis 1 And 2
Author: Samuel Hopkins


An Exposition Of The Original Text Of Genesis 1 And 2

Rev. Samuel Hopkins

§ 5. “Without Form And Void”

“Now1 the land was without form and void.” It was the יבָּשָׁה, “the solid land.” It was in existence, and in the state here described. But, as God himself testifies by Isaiah

(45:18) “not” such “did he create it.” He found it (so to speak) in this state before he did that which he calls “creating it.” His creating it took place after it had been such, and, of course, after it began to be.

Let us examine the clause before us particularly and in detail.

“The earth was.” The land-earth was in existence. The language is very definite. It naturally signifies, to all pupil-readers, that the self-same land, or earth, which is the subject of the whole discourse — the self-same land-earth on which we live — was actually existing then just as now, just as we know it; that is, substancely the same — in no one sense and in no one degree different, except as hereinafter set forth. We have no right to think otherwise.

We say the language is very definite; not “God created earth; earth was,” but “God created the earth. Now the earth was.” There is the same emphatic, rigid, individualizing definiteness in the fourth commandment; though it wrongly disappears in our version: “On six days did Jehovah make the earth.” No Israelite at the foot of the mount could have understood this as of any other or different earth than the very one on which he stood, unchanged, save by the making.

On the eve of its creative experience, this our earth was. This unit mass was then. This, we say, is involved in the simple formula, “The earth (the solid) was.” We have a right to say so, because the writer, not making distinction, by name or otherwise, between the earth proper before creating and after, gives us the right to say so. And if any one say that that earth was not a self by itself, or that that earth was another and a different self from this, then he must show good cause, and must find his cause in the text.

We make another memorandum. If the words “the earth was,” by any adroit exegesis, can be so construed as not to express a real individuality, then, in the paper before us, we have no statement that our earth ever has been individualized, or even that it is now. If it is not ...

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