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on October 17, 2006
The approach that Rodney Whitefield, Ph.D. in physics, used to interpret Genesis 1 should have been used long ago by prominent voices heard today in the all too often heated debate on the age of the Earth, age of the Universe & Biblical Creation. I have always felt that if one simply went back to the original inspired text, many of these difficult issues would eventually be resolved.

I was fascinated to learn of the verb forms in ancient Hebrew and the information content that they can and cannot transmit. I was very interested in learning that ancient written Hebrew omitted the vowels and that the vowel marks were added to the Hebrew text after 100 A.D. Therefore one cannot even trust the Strong's numbers (Hebrew words keyed to the King James Version) in trying to interpret Genesis 1, because these keyed Hebrew words have had the vowel marks added to them, and therefore could be wrong... man-made Hebrew interpretative "add-ons" not found in the original inspired ancient Hebrew texts. Thus, there are not 8,674 Hebrew words in the Bible (the number of Hebrew words having Strong's numbers), but the equivalent of only 2,552 ancient Hebrew root words. Each ancient Hebrew written word could have multiple possible combinations of vowels sounds added to it when spoken resulting in multiple possible different spoken words. Also, even the same spoken word could have more than one possible meaning.

The proper interpretation of any ancient Hebrew written word is driven by the context it is found in and how that same written word is used any place else in the Bible. With over 160,000 words in a typical modern English dictionary, it is not easy to pick the right English words to translate an ancient Hebrew text. Unforunately, poor translations in the past may have lead many theologians into interpretative pitfalls. The proper verb forms and the other possible Hebrew spoken word forms may not have been properly taken into account. At least Dr. Whitefield has given us his best shot in trying to interpret Genesis 1 from the original ancient Hebrew and those who disagree with him should go back to the original ancient Hebrew and point out where he may have gone wrong (if indeed he is wrong).

Using what we now know about ancient Hebrew verb forms and ancient Hebrew written words, we can better interpret Genesis 1.

Theology is man's attempt to study God's Word. Science is man's attempt to study nature. If God inspired the Bible and if that same God created everything we can detect in nature today and if that same God is not a liar or deceiver, then what we discover about the Bible should not contradict what we discover in nature (if we have good theology and good science). Dr. Whitefield took one step back from his studies in physics and took one step forward in his studies in Genesis 1. Are we surprised with the result?
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on October 17, 2011
Definitely a must-read for understanding the Old Testament, especially Genesis One as originally written.

This book is self-published, which avoids the high costs that a large publishing house has to recover for their own editing and design work, etc., in the marketing of a book. The evident scholarship and "just the facts" approach of Whitefield's book effectively invites the reader to not only think for themselves, but to explore further the nuances of Old Hebrew writings and grammar. A self-published author has to do their own design and editing (review) work or pay others to do these tasks. For a highly technical work, a self-published author has limited options.

The strongest points made in this book are:

1) As originally written using the rules of Old Hebrew grammar, Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 describe actions/events that have already been fully completed at some time in the indefinite past. They are a definitive prologue to, but are not part of, the actions and events of the subsequent narrative starting with Genesis 1:3.

2) The first several "days" in the subsequent narrative are grammatically indefinite in the Hebrew. Whitefield does not mention that many great theologians in the past have also found these "days" to be confusing, but does emphasize and inform regarding the unique Hebrew phrasing of these verses. They are not the ordinary "forty days and forty nights" description used for Noah's Flood, and are not explicitly a 12 or 24 hour period as implied by common readings of most current English translations.

The book concludes that rather than chronology, grammatically Genesis One emphasizes God's pre-meditated and structured step by step forming of Earth to become a suitable residence for Man, exalting Man as he is carefully and thoughtfully made in the image of God.

Whitefield does not address any other related issues. The following four comments are therefore my own, anticipating compatible views:

1) Six literal 24-hour days of creation, but starting with Genesis 1:3.

2) Historical View:
Knowing that Man would sin from the beginning, God had the freedom to create an initial universe, the Earth, and perhaps even initial life already having 'corruption' due to Man's future sin. The model for this is the way those who died before the coming of Christ were saved through faith in the Savior who was still yet to come. The Garden of Eden therefore was a separate special creation, a sinless environment specifically for the testing of Adam and Eve.

3) Ross View:
An opaque cloud covered the Earth (ref. Psalm 147:8), that in "day 4" God made transparent for the purpose of signs and seasons (Sun, moon and stars/heavens were already created as stated in the prologue of Genesis 1:1-2). Unlike animals, man was created in God's likeness, and potentially immortal (Tree of Life). Ref. Psalm 104:21, Romans 5:12

4) Framework View:
Day 4 recapitulates day 1. Days 4-6 are parallel to days 1-3 but describe the subsequent "fullness" after days 1-3. Each "day" is a time of God's special activity, between which there is a "working out" (alternate translation of evening) of the previous "day". Ref. John 9:4, John 11:9
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on February 7, 2014
The layout isn't superb but the work is very thorough and I have gained the background to understand why some people hold the old earth creation position that they do. Caveat: I'm not done reading it yet.
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on November 7, 2015
Precision. If you think you know Gen 1 Hebrew---you don't. But you will.
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on September 28, 2015
Interesting. Good material.
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