Re: Fall of evolved man

gordon brown (gbrown@euclid.Colorado.EDU)
Sat, 8 Nov 1997 15:46:48 -0700 (MST)

On Fri, 7 Nov 1997, Moorad Alexanian wrote:

> I will look it up, but I bet the word beginning in that verse is the same as
> that in Genesis 1:1. The Very Beginning, that is, creation.


Your question about the word "beginning" isn't really meaningful since the
New Testament was written in Greek and the Old in Hebrew.

The word for beginning in Matt. 19:4 & 8 and Mark 10:6 is arche, and the
word for beginning in Gen. 1:1 in the Septuagint(LXX), the ancient Greek
translation of the Old Testament, is also arche. The accompanying
preposition in Gen. 1:1 is en (in) and in the Matthew and Mark references
is apo (from). This really doesn't tell us much since the LXX is merely a
translation, not the original. Furthermore just as the English
translations translate several different Hebrew words by "beginning", so
also the LXX translates several different Hebrew words by "arche".

There is an interesting discussion of the Hebrew words for "beginning" in
John Sailhamer's recent book `Genesis Unbound'. (This does not mean that I
find his arguments for his interpretation of the whole of Genesis 1
convincing. He occasionally makes a point that fits well with the Genesis
passage, but most of his arguments seem forced in order to defend his
theory. Nevertheless he is a Hebrew scholar, and I trust his ability to
expound on the meanings of Hebrew words, especially when I can check their
use in a concordance.)

The word for beginning in Gen. 1:1 is reshit. Sailhamer's point about this
word is that it refers to a period of time, whereas there are other words
translated beginning that refer to a point in time. Reshit occurs in Job
8:7; 42:12, and Jeremiah 26:1; 27:1; 28:1; 49:34, where it refers to the
early years of a person or of a king's reign. In Jer. 28:1 it includes the
fourth year of the reign of Zedekiah.

Gordon Brown
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395