Any opposition to our articles, in DIFFERENTIATOR (November, 1949 and January, 1950) on "The Disruption Fallacy," has so far been extremely weak and ineffective. Readers in general express complete agreement.
A friend has now informed me of a belated attack contained in the January, 1952 issue of "The Berean Expositor," (London) the organ of an ultra-dispensational sect. The Editor, Mr. C. H. Welch, appears to have been profoundly disturbed because I attacked his views. But I am sure I was entirely unaware that he held any views of his own regarding a Disruption or an Overthrow.
Friends tell me the attack is sneering and full of irritation. I am deeply sorry. But they also inform me that the wheels of Mr. Welch's applecart are waxing stiff and frail, and it may collapse suddenly any day now, just like a house of cards. It must be very distressing for any teacher to discover, after having claimed that for forty years his teachings remain virtually unchanged, that Nemesis wishes a word with him.
One of his arguments is that Greek words used in the LXX must bear exactly the same meaning when used in the N.T., written 300 years later. Mr. Welch is some kind of lay teacher, with a Chapel in London. But had he lived in England 300 years ago, he would have been called a lewd teacher. Many words do change in meaning, but many do not. As I pointed out, the Greek word kosmos did change in meaning after LXX days. In the N.T. it only signifies the world of mankind, human society. Mr. Welch maintains that kosmos means the worlds of space, the starry realms. In that case, we must read 1. John 2:15 thus: "If any man love the starry heavens, the love of the Father is not in him." Or, John 3:16, "God so loves the starry heavens. . ." Or; 1. John 5:4 Faith "overcomes the starry heavens."
There is no need for Mr. Welch to "await this writer's reaction to the publication of the testimony of the Septuagint," as I am very well aware of that evidence as regards kataballO (DOWN-CAST) and kosmos. It is observed he says not a word about the 17 cases in the LXX where kataballO renders the Hebrew hiphil, i.e., "cause to FALL." Leaves can fall from trees, but suffer no Disruption or Overthrow, in the sense of a violent cataclysm. EpiballO (ON-CAST) always means in the N. T. (18 occurrences) to LAY UPON, not to ruin.
There is a great deal we might say in reply to Mr. Welch, and we may do so later. He calls my exegesis of the term katabolE "worthless."
But any fair-minded reader is very likely to judge that for God, the introduction of Mankind upon earth—Mankind made in His own image, was of vastly more importance than a mythological physical cataclysm probably millions of years before Mankind came to be, a Disruption of which the whole Hebrew Bible is entirely ignorant.
The truth seems to be that the importance of the Church, the Body of Christ, lies in its having been chosen "before the Overthrow of the world" (i.e. the realms of space). But is it not far grander that we were chosen in Christ before God ever planted out Mankind upon earth at all? It has not been shewn why God should have such an enormous interest in a merely physical convulsion. Yet the introduction of Adam—Mankind, in the image of God, is of tremendous interest to God, in that it is one step more in the direction of the Incarnation of God within Mankind.
Mr. Welch is clinging to a speculative theory based upon the absence from Gen. 1:1-2 of the clear documentary proof which he so desperately requires. He scoffs at my ghost story. A dumb animal quickly shattered my brief optical illusion. But it seems he has been blinded for many years. He is incapable of examining the facts. Why does he ignore the very clear statements of General Josephus? Why does he virtually take as the inspired text of Genesis the Greek LXX? Neither Moses nor Isaiah mentions the Cosmos. Every part of Mr. Welch's argument is false, and we sense that he already feels this is true, and dreads the consequences he is bringing upon himself.
Ten times in the New Testament the expression occurs. "the foundation of the world," but in the Greek there is a peculiar feature. It has no definite articles. That is to say, it would be better to understand the construction as simply "world-foundation." Strictly, of course, foundation is not the proper thought. The true sense is something like putting, down, or laying down, casting down, but not necessarily casting with force. The world in the New Testament (kosmos) is that physical organism or organisation which we know as human society, mankind. God so loves the world, but we may be sure this means mankind, and not the earth. God saw that the restored earth was good, or satisfactory (Gen. 1:10), and no doubt He liked it. But His love is specially for human beings, made in His own image, and it is a mighty, changeless love.
Let us learn a lesson from Heb. 11:11. This will provide a clue to the proper meaning. By faith even Sarah herself obtained vitality for laying-down of seed, when she was elderly. The Greek word, katabolE, has here no thought of force or ruination, but of laying down, almost like laying a foundation, or building. The Hebrews built their families. Thus the laying down of human society has to do with the origin and spread of human life on earth. Humanity has been sown. The field is the world. The world-system or kosmos came into existence by means of generation and families. The entire tree grew out of Adam and Eve. Such a system is probably quite unknown elsewhere in God's creation.
For these reasons the old translators were justified in rendering the Greek expression as "foundation of the world," to be understood, however, in the sense stated above. Coverdale (1535) reads at Luke 11:50, "sens the foundacion of the worlde was layed."
The theory that the Greek word katabolE means "disruption" is utterly baseless, whatever way we look at the matter. For anyone to aver that Gen. 1:2 "chronicles" a disruption of the earth (not the world), or that this verse gives a " revelation" of such an event, is pure imagination. That there may have been many physical upheavals or cataclysms in the earth's history is not denied. The fact that "the earth becomes waste and vacant" (Gen. 1:2) tells us absolutely nothing as to how this happened. Recourse is had to scattered texts, by those whose systems of teaching would fall to pieces without the "Disruption" theory—the very persons who condemn such a method of arriving at God's truth.
I return, however, to Luke 11:50, and make a simple demand. Who were the prophets who existed between the dim and distant date of that primeval "disruption" of the world, and Zacharias? I have the right to insist upon an honest answer. If the disruption theory is wrong, if it lacks real support in Scripture, then it must be discarded, because it is sure to be upsetting other doctrines. My claim is that it is hiding important truth, and that it is utterly worthless spiritually.
Any humble and artless believer reading this verse and verse 51 would not hesitate to say that that righteous blood was shed between the times of the prophet Abel and the prophet Zacharias. Otherwise, why are these two names stated? It is clear that they were both prophets, as most of verses 49, 50, and 51 form one long sentence. Matt. 23:35 says "so that on to you may be coming all righteous blood being shed on the earth (or land), from the blood of Abel the Righteous up till the blood of Zacharias." In Gen. 4:10 we read that Jehovah said to Cain, "The voice of thy brother's blood goes on crying unto Me from the ground." The righteous testimony of all the prophets from Abel onwards ought to have prevented the Chosen Nation from becoming the most wicked nation on earth. So now the most wicked generation of that wicked Nation was to pay the price, in their own blood. Instead of choosing the way of Abel the Righteous they deliberately chose the way of Cain, so Abel's blood too had to be searched out from that generation.
I am most glad that one important "Concordant" evangelist abandoned the Disruption dream, owing to the facts stated in Luke 11:50. He saw clearly that no righteous human blood was shed before Abel's, so that "world-disruption" or rather, as Dr. Robert Young, in 1865, suggested, "the laying down of the world," goes back just as far as Adam and his family.
I do not expect to get an answer to my challenge, because I consider that the parties who maintain the Disruption or Overthrow theory are in a position where they would certainly lose caste if they did so. Further, I shall speak plainly and say I think they are past the stage of beating their breasts honourably and confessing their error. They fail to see that to do so would enormously enhance their reputation, and bring them more honour in the day when all the dark things are brought to light.
Perhaps I shall be told I am seeking "to tear down rather than to edify." But there is not the slightest edification in the Disruption theory. It has come to be used largely as a help towards the construction of an artificial Chart of the times. So much has been made of the idea, and it has been so often pressed upon believers, that it has been disrupting the unity of the spirit, and producing sectarianism. In other words, I believe it is a heresy—a teaching picked out and given such undue prominence that it is displacing genuine truth.
The basis of our fellowship with each other is not alone our conduct, as has been rather hastily assumed. We should avoid, or turn away from, those who make dissensions and occasions of stumbling, who delude the hearts of innocent people, for the sake, often, of getting adulation (Romans 16:17-18). We should not listen to myths (1. Tim. 1:4),and beyond any doubt, the Disruption theory is pure myth. It lacks "sound words" (1. Tim. 6:3), and is based upon scattered and unrelated texts, the very things we are warned to avoid doing!
How did the Overthrow or Disruption hypothesis originate (The Greek term (katabolE kosmou) was assumed to refer to a violent physical disruption of the earth, because the former Greek word signifies a down-casting (although the Greeks used the word cast (ballO) even of dust cast in the air). Search must therefore be made for some place in Scripture where this idea might suit. We alight upon Gen. 1:2, even though it says nothing at all about either ruination or violence. This, surely, can only be the work of Satan, so he is brought into the picture. Besides, in the Greek, there is another word which properly means "foundation" (themelios), so that katabolE cannot possibly signify any kind of foundation. Another meaning must be found for it. It will matter nothing at all if we totally disrupt the meaning of Hebrews 6:1. So it appears as "not disrupting again a foundation of repentance. . . ." in the Concordant Version, where we find the verbal form of the term. Everyone else, so far as I know, except other supporters of the Disruption theory, would read somewhat as Dr. Robert Young has it, "not again a foundation laying. . . . ." which is the obvious meaning of the verse.
Every odd verse in the Scriptures which can be pressed into service is then utilized to build up a captivating little story of Satan's malevolence in ruining the original earth. Nevertheless, I do not deny that Satan could have done so; but the facts are not revealed in the Bible.
Had it been the theologians who perpetrated this wonderful theory, those who have concocted the myth would have fulminated against them.
And now, in order to cover up or explain the initial blunder of confusing the two Greek words for earth (gE) and world (kosmos), some method must be thought up to prevent the total disruption of the grand theory. Can we prove that after all, these two Greek words mean the same thing? Doubtless this must mean considerable head-scratching, while we run through the Bible. Ah, here is Peter, he will help us. His second epistle, chs. 2:5 and 3:6 solve this very troublesome problem. He "explains the relation of the earth to the cosmic arrangements upon its surface by calling the latter a 'world.'" He shews that "The earth was not disrupted, only the system upon it." How could Peter know what Gen. 1:2 said? What could he care about concordance? "And the earth (emphatic) becomes waste and vacant." Peter says it was not the earth that suffered, but the world upon it. Thus this fine theory makes Scripture contradict itself. Not only so, but the inference will be that Peter could not be "inspired." The same teachers virtually make out the Apostle James to have been unworthy of writing an inspired Epistle. One wonders when this insidious campaign of wrecking the Scriptures is going to end.
Furthermore, those who define the Greek word kosmos as meaning, "especially the constitution of human society in a given period of time called an eon," ought to watch their steps. Elsewhere they call the "world" a "cosmic order." Let us test these explanations, and see whither they lead us.
Permit me to utilize both of these expressions.
Matt. 26:13: "Just wherever this Gospel may be heralded in the whole cosmic order."
John 1:10: "In the cosmic order He was, and the cosmic order came into being through Him, and the cosmic order knew Him not."
John 1:29: "Behold the Lamb of God which is taking away the sin of the cosmic order!"
John 3:16: "For thus loves God the constitution of human society, so that His only begotten Son He gives."
John 3:17: "For God does not send His Son into the cosmic order that He should be judging the cosmic order, but that the constitution of human society may be saved through Him."
John 4:42: "this truly is the Saviour of the constitution of human society, the Christ."
John 7:4: "make thyself manifest to the cosmic order."
John 7:7: "The cosmic order cannot be hating you. . . . its: acts are wicked."
John 16:8: "exposing the cosmic order concerning sin. . . ."
John 16:33: "I have conquered the constitution of human society."
Rom. 11:15: "For if their casting away is conciliation of a cosmic order. . . ."
If we substitute "cosmic system," which has been suggested, in place of "cosmic order," matters are made even worse, as cosmic system is generally understood to mean that which we call the universe. If the definition of "world" had been stated as "constituted human society" it would have been in order, but the word "cosmic" or "cosmos" should, not be used in connection with world, as in English these Greek words are associated with the universe. It was humanity that God loved and loves, the whole human race, the entire order of humanity, the whole tree or system of men and women. That race or order began with Adam. Murders and Prophets began with Abel. There is no record of any previous prophets or previous murders. Yet both of these existed and were found "on the earth" (Matt. 23:35), from human-society-laying-down, not from a mythical and utterly irrelevant physical calamity which is supposed to have disrupted the earth.
Seven years ago I wrote that "Not one single Greek writer can be found who uses the word katabolE with reference to a primeval disruption, either of the earth or the world." I quoted various ancient Greek writers who used the word in the sense of making a deposit, spreading a report, while Plutarch mentions "the first katabolE of human beings," with reference to the beginning of mankind on earth.
But it was necessary for me to find first century evidence that this Greek word bore that meaning around the time the Greek Scriptures were written. I must not rely upon the ancient Greek meaning. Although for years I had suspected that "disruption" was not the true meaning of the Greek. word, and though it seemed to me the disruption idea fitted badly into the various contexts, the one important link in the evidence was missing. Then one day God led me right to the very passages in Josephus, the first century Hebrew historian, where he uses the Greek word kataballO, in connection with the laying down of the foundations of the Temple (Book XV. ch. XI.; see also Book XI., ch. IV.). Now it cannot be contended that Flavius Josephus had a poor acquaintance with the Greek language. It is thought that he lived from about 37-100 A.D., spending his last thirty years in Rome, attached to the imperial family. In his "Antiquities of the Jews" he traces the history of his own nation up till 66 A.D. His style is considered clear and pure Greek of the time.
But I did not rely alone upon the use of One Greek term by Josephus. His usage of the word clinched various inferences I had long harboured that katabolE never meant "disruption" or "overthrow." Not one of the contexts in which the Greek expression katabolE kosmou occurs fits in exactly with the Gen. 1:2 disruption idea.
It has now been brought to my notice that one of the publications which demands as part of its scheme a dim and prehistoric "Disruption" was obliged about five years ago to cast aspersions upon Josephus for giving support to the true meaning of the Greek word: "Even Josephus, who wrote not long after, had a strong religious and political bias which distorts his vocabulary." "Not long after" refers, apparently, to the Septuagint, which was compiled about 350 years before Josephus wrote. But the Greek of the Septuagint is not always the same in meaning as the Greek of the New Testament, as I shewed in connection with the word kosmos. Around B.C. 300 that word meant ornament or adornment. In the time of Paul and Josephus it meant the human society system, the human order.
Those who have studied the works of Josephus reckon that he was tolerant of all creeds and fairly indifferent to dogma. But he certainly had some political bias, and it was just this respect for the imperial Roman family, and for himself, that would make it very difficult for him to "distort his vocabulary." Can any famous writer afford to do such a thing? Afraid to face up to the facts, why should one be forced to defame Josephus? Yet Josephus, though dead still speaks, for the same publication which now defames him quoted from him in the year 1925, as follows: "and so I bid adieu to those who calumniate me, as of a lower origin." More than one year later his writings are again quoted, with commendation and trust. There, in "Unsearchable Riches" of date May, 1926, pages 150 and 151, the same Josephus is relied upon and upheld on account of his very clear evidence for the date of the wave sheaf, on the second day of the festival of Unleavened Bread. That is to say, when Josephus can afford help in connection with the actual date of the Lord's Resurrection, we go to him willingly and gladly; but alas, when Josephus says something which destroys a house of cards we have laboriously built, he is found guilty of distorting his vocabulary, deliberately twisting the meaning of the words he employs, a base and ignoble deceiver.
I deeply regret that this criticism, to which I am now replying, which was so obviously intended as some sort of reply to my articles in The Differentiator of seven years ago, did not come to my notice earlier. But meantime I shall hold over further observations I must make upon it, as to a great extent, it proves to be its own undoing, and shews that its author was very far from being satisfied with it himself.
I have maintained that the expression found a few times in the New Testament, "foundation of the world," means the laying-down, sowing, or spreading of the human race, or world of humanity, dating from the time of Adam. Certain others claim that we should not read anything like foundation, but the "Disruption of the World," and relate this to a violent cataclysm of the earth which is supposed to have taken place between the time of Gen. 1:1 and Gen. 1:2, "and the earth came to be waste and vacant." The Greek word, katabolE, literally DOWN-CAST, or DOWN-along-CAST, is assumed to imply some violence. Perhaps, however, it has been concealed to a great extent from students that the simple Greek verb ballO is by no means confined to the concept of mere casting. Out of about 124 occurrences in the New Testament, the King James Version renders as "cast" or "cast out" 90 times; while "put" is used 14 times; "lay" three times; "send" thrice; and "thrust" five times. This ought to awaken us to the fact that "cast" might be saying too much if by that we mean violence. At Acts 22:23 the raging Jews tossed their garments and "cast dust into the air." In the King James version at James 3:3 it reads, "we put bits in the horses' mouths." Any casting here is very gentle. But I wondered what the Concordant Version said here, so looked it up. To my great surprise I found "we are putting bits. . .." This, of course, drove me to the C.V. Concordance, where I got a bigger shock. Although based upon the Complete Edition of 1930, it fails to shew the word "put" altogether! However, although the word CAST appears to be defined as meaning "move forcibly away," one observes other terms used which are anything but forcible in meaning, such as drain water, spray attar, deposit with a banker, be prostrate with illness. As I spent over forty-eight years in a Bank, I ought to know that depositors of money were anything but violent or destructive. It is not their habit to fling their money at the teller's head. They simply "lay down" or spread out their cash, and that is the sense required here.
The word ballO is used in the New Testament of all sorts of quick or sudden movements in which something is dropped, laid, cast, or put down.
In the 1930 Concordant Version the translation "put" is also to be found at John 18:11; 20:25, 27. In the Concordance the first of these does not appear; but two occurrences in 20:25 are shewn, but it is not stated that the version renders here by "put," while 20:27 is not shewn. However, it was long since admitted freely that this Concordance was very defective. What I call attention to is not the errors, but the fact that the word "put" ought to have been shewn somewhere. In the 1944 C.V. the word "thrust" is used instead, but without any idea of violence.
This leads us to 2. Cor. 4:9, where Paul describes some of those afflictions which are common to most believers, along with the compensations. The C.V. here reads "cast down (kataballomenoi) but not destroyed." Upon this we read, "Here we found a very clear and conclusive solution, in a passage rich in contrasts and likenesses, eminently suited to settle the exact sense. . . ., It is evident that it was something less than destruction, so quite the opposite of founding." But not the opposite of downcast, or laid low. What, indeed, was cast down? As he was not despairing, we might say his spirits were cast down. The writer of Psalms 42 and 43 knew full well what it meant to be cast down and disquieted. And so do most of us. But is it true that we are sometimes disrupted altogether? We are told that in 2. Cor. 4:9 Paul was "cast down" in "the exact sense which the Greek CAST and DOWN have elsewhere. "How, then, can it mean the opposite, 'laying' a foundation, which is the equivalent of building up?" So the expression katabolE "can only denote a casting down, a disruption." This might seem rather clever, but is the laying of a foundation the equivalent of building up?
Then we read, "Since the Word of God definitely describes such an event in the forefront of revelation, this should settle the matter. As this great cataclysm was quite unknown to the translators of the A.V., we can also see why they changed to 'foundation.'" (Unsearchable Riches, page 256, September, 1951).
Would I be in order to request where in the forefront of revelation this great event is described? Or is it merely a dogma to which we must subscribe, or be put out?
However, the Greek word kataballO is not only found at 2. Cor. 4:9, it occurs also at Hebrews 6:1. Perhaps the omission of this fact is only an oversight. But perhaps it might be a rather awkward verse to explain, when it reads "not disrupting again a foundation (themelion) of repentance from dead works." As here the word foundation is emphatic, might one ask, when did these Hebrews previously disrupt such a foundation? A note here in the Concordant Version states of verses 1 and 2 that "These are the six foundation stones cast down by those who fell away among the Hebrews. They should have left them for maturity. Instead, they forsake them for apostasy." Just as it was impossible for those Hebrews who were once enlightened to be renewed unto repentance (change of mind) for a second time, and thus require another crucifixion of the Son of God, so it was impossible for them to lay another foundation of repentance from dead works, etc., even if they had only fallen aside (v. 6), for that was not necessary. The writer of the Epistle was persuaded better things of them, things next door to salvation. God was not unrighteous, to forget their work and their love. The entire passage has nothing to do with apostasy. Those Hebrews who are addressed were not the people to "disrupt" any foundation, or cast it down. And does the passage give any hint that they had twice disrupted this foundation? Let us not disrupt the logical meaning of God's Truth.
Not One single occurrence of "disruption" or "disrupt" can be supported from the context.
Further comments must now be made upon the article we are criticizing (pages 254 to 257). It is not denied that where the word for CAST-DOWN is used in the Greek Septuagint (kataballO), it sometimes means to cast down or overthrow in a somewhat violent sense. But occasionally it is found in the milder senses in which it is sometimes found in the New Testament. Thus in Isa. 26:5 this Greek word represents a Hebrew one rendered by lay low. On page 254, strange to say, Psalm 106:27 fails to appear, although it appears on page 257. Here the A.V. reads "To overthrow (or, make fall) their seed also among the nations," while the R.S.V. reads "and would disperse (or, cause to fall) their descendants among the nations." On page 257, where my suggested rendering of "lay down" or "lay a foundation" is parodied by the rendering "found," Psalm 106:27 appears as "To found their seed among the nations." Actually this is very nearly correct. Just look at the parallelism, "To lay down (or disperse throughout) their seed among the Gentiles, and to scatter them in the lands." This is the true concept of the expression "foundation of the world,"—the primeval laying down on earth of the human race. I suggest that "the most primitive mentality" (page 257 middle) ought to be convinced by this example. To confine the Greek kataballO only to those events which bring ruin or violence is entirely wrong. The very full lexicons of Dunbar and Liddell Scott reveal a wide range of "meanings" for this word, thus: cast down, overthrow, deposit (money), insert (in public records), lay down (a foundation or a first principle), spread abroad (a report), lower (the eyebrows), let down, drop down, set down, bring down (to the sea-coast), pay, pay-off, discharge. All these are covered by the term DOWN-CAST, so that the casting is often of a very gentle or mild character. But what is more important, this verb, when followed by the word for seed (sperma), signifies to put in seed.
Galen, the famous physician, who was born in Asia Minor at Pergamos about 130 A.D. and died around the year 200, whose medical writings formed the chief text-book of his profession for centuries, being thus almost contemporary with the Apostles, uses the term under discussion, as follows: "For it is necessary, I think, that strong foundations have been laid down in advance (prokatabeblEsthai) for the buildings." I shall also give the actual words of Josephus: "Yet uplifting the original foundations, and setting down (katabalomenos, laying down) different ones." Here we have clear and explicit proof of the true meaning of the word we are examining.
Yet we must also consider that the Septuagint appears to have been translated about 350 years prior to the writing of the New Testament. It may be that the word kataballO shifted its meaning even slightly within 350 years. Consider the change in the English language between the year 1611 and to-day.
On page 258 there is some consideration of the various contexts within which the word "disruption" is said to occur in the N.T. "Other vital events are dated either before or from the disruption." On Luke 11:50-51 the comment seems painfully paltry, merely "There is blood, beginning with Abel, and suffering (Heb. 9:26)." Is that all that Luke 11:50-51 tells us? Is that its sole connection with the "disruption"? Is that a "vital event"? We are also told a few lines farther on, as though to make up for the lack of any definite connection between the blood of Abel and an obscure physical convulsion which happened perhaps thousands or even millions of years before Abel's brief life, that "The scroll of life, as given us in Hebrews, begins with the name of Abel (Heb. 11:4)." But I must hunt through the Epistle to see where this scroll of life is mentioned. It has escaped me.
It is the next page, 259, which has laid me low. It stunned me. Perhaps I am too dense to understand, or my "most primitive mentality" is too weak. At the top of this page we read "The earth was not disrupted, only the system upon it." This is very clear, and I agree. What puzzles me and upsets me lies farther down the page, where one reads, "the two deluges which disrupted the earth in the past." This is not quite so clear. It makes me suspicious, and I fear a trap somewhere. It looks as if the "amateur astronomer" (page 261) was not a mature astronomer by any means.
Can it be that the writer has trapped himself, through having in his mind all the time the idea that it was the earth that suffered a great calamity, and mixing this up with an event connected in the New Testament purely with the WORLD (kosmos)? It is obvious that his mind was in a state of great confusion, while trying hard to make the best of a very bad job. We sympathize deeply with him, and do not like to see anyone work himself into such an unenviable position. It was lack of discrimination betwixt the two words, earth and world, that long years ago made me suspicious of the Disruption theory. But here again, seven years ago, we find the same carelessness and the same confusion. Let us then cut adrift the unproven mirage of a Disruption, and understand the contexts of a very much more wonderful event, the introduction upon earth of a race in God's own Image, a world of humankind, with a wonderful destiny in front of it, world without end.
When the Lord referred to "the glory which I had beside Thee before the world was," (John 17:5) what else did He mean but, before the foundation (or, laying down) of the world?
I had not intended to write a third chapter on this subject, but this has been forced upon me, and I can only hope that readers of The Differentiator will exercise patience and not become bored.
The reason for this move is that I discovered, early in May, 1957, that the publication, "The Berean Expositor," had in its January, 1952, issue, launched an offensive against the two articles which I wrote for The Differentiator of November, 1949 and January, 1950, which were printed in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., under the editorship of Mr. Edward A. Larsen.
As it was only quite recently that I acquired from two kind friends some of the more recent volumes of "The Berean Expositor," which I had not hitherto seen, I could not know what Mr. Welch had written in his January, 1952, issue. Although for the past five years I have been sending him regularly a free copy of each issue of The Differentiator, just as apparently Mr. Larsen had been doing for some time before The Differentiator came to be printed in Wales, no copies of The Berean Expositor had ever been sent to me.
Mr. C. H. Welch apparently considered my two articles of seven years ago on The Disruption Fallacy as an "attack" upon himself (page 122, B.E., January, 1952). This is entirely false. Seven years ago I did not have him in mind at all, for the very simple reason that, not possessing any of his writings later than the year 1931, I could not assume that his views were the same as they had been in earlier years. I did not even name him or his publication. On page 253 of The Differentiator of November, 1949, I stated that "the Disruption theory belongs exclusively to 'Unsearchable Riches,'" while on page 262 I wrote that "The teaching is hailed as a special trophy due to the system of the Concordant Version."
This could hardly refer to Mr. Welch, who, so far as I have known for many years, certainly has never shewn any enthusiasm for true concordance.
Mr. Welch had no grounds for saying I had "attacked" him or his views. But it seems the cap must have fitted him. Some of my shafts must have gone home. Otherwise there is no good reason for his rather bitter and somewhat rude offensive against my articles. He would not divulge my name or mention The Differentiator, but merely referred to me as X. Nevertheless he wrote, "We await this writer's reaction," although it is hardly possible that Mr. Welch was ignorant of the fact that the United States issue of The Differentiator came to an end in May, 1951, and for nine months there was no further issue, and in fact, for some months there was serious doubt as to whether it would be continued in Britain at all.
However, I am more than willing to state my reaction to Mr. Welch's article now, being fully assured that I have a very strong argument and knowing that I have nothing to fear. At the same time I must say it is very difficult to make any impression upon one who possesses an excessive infatuation for the Greek Old Testament, and virtually reckons it as the God-inspired version. Not that I mean that Mr. Welch would say the LXX. is the genuine and inspired text, but I am certain he thinks it is. This feature he has shewn time after time.
His offensive opens by quoting from page 28 of my January, 1950, article:
It is certainly perfectly true that I knew all along what the LXX taught as to the meaning of the word kosmos, but the "elliptic reasoning" of Mr. Welch proves that he had not perceived that the meaning of this word about 300 years prior to the New Testament is not necessarily the same as it bears in the N.T. I was only concerned, when examining the expression katabolE kosmou, with that part of Scripture which mentions that expression, vizt., the New Testament. Or did Mr. Welch expect me to discover first the O.T. meaning of this ward and then apply that meaning in the N.T.? Was I expected to correct the N.T. translation and make it conform to the O.T. Greek meaning? Actually, I did state, on page 35 (January, 1950, Differentiator) that in the Greek Old Testament the word kosmos signified "ornament or adornment" and the prevailing sense in the N.T. was "human society and all connected with it." But so far I have never found the O.T. sense to be either awkward or antagonistic to my views. Why, even Peter does what any old nation can often do, step back into old history and old language and use a term in an old sense. 1. Peter 3:3 mentions women's "adornment," in the ancient sense, just as in Scotland a farm is still often called a toun, meaning an enclosure, something very different from the modern idea of town. Yet perhaps Peter was conscious of the fact that he was using a term in an old sense, as, instead of putting the word kosmos at the very beginning of the verse, he well nigh hides it by putting it last in the verse, a most unusual position.
My enquiry about "an orb, a starry world, a planet" was to shew that in the New Testament, the word kosmos did not mean any of these. What the word did mean in the O.T. was altogether immaterial to me. Trench's Synonyms of the N.T. and Baron Humboldt's "Cosmos" have long since, traced the four various stages in the change of meaning of the word kosmos. But in the N.T., apart from 1. Peter 3:3, and perhaps James 3:6 (but see Alford), the sense is in every case the same, the world of humanity, that race which God seems to love specially, the one race created in His own Image, the race of which God's Son became part, and thus the most important race in all time.
To Mr. Welch I do not deny a certain cleverness. How near he can bring himself to saying that I used eight pages of print to quote from six Pagan Greek writers, and how near to saying that I quoted these six Pagans in connection with the word kosmos. Any reader would at once make these assumptions. In fact, these six profane Pagans took up half a page only, plus eleven lines elsewhere for another profane Jew, Josephus, and that was in connection with the Greek word kataballO (downcast), not the word kosmos.
Mr. Welch then quotes the meanings given in an English Dictionary of the word world, at various stages in its history. This, however, is completely irrelevant. All that I am concerned with is the meaning which the Greek word kosmos bore in the first century A.D.
It is full of significance that not one of the thirty or so occurrences of the Greek word kosmos in the Septuagint is quoted in the New Testament. It was, in fact, a sheer impossibility that this could happen, because in such a case, the quotation in the New Testament would have signified something quite different from its Septuagint meaning. This does not deny the general truth of Mr. Welch's quotation from Grinfield's "Apology for the Septuagint" (B.E., January, 1952, page 123), which states that the meanings of many doctrinal words and expressions in the Septuagint have remained the same in the New Testament. Here it is necessary to state that in Grinfield's time (1850) the word apology, which is really Greek, still signified a defence or a justification, but now it generally means something quite different, an acknowledgment of an error or offence, and even sometimes a miserable substitute for something. This shews how some words can change fairly rapidly in meaning, especially imported terms.
Just at this point I read through Grinfield's book again,
first time for twenty-five years. I observe that it has made a
profound impression on Mr. Welch. It is now incumbent
upon me to answer the following question:
Grinfield also asked what value does Patristic Theology now have if the interpretations of the Fathers are based on a merely secular and secondary standard. Yet he owns that the Fathers invariably combined the Greek version with the Hebrew original. So Grinfield does not wish to contrast them, but to combine them—not to lower the Hebrew, but to raise the Septuagint. But it seems this is an impossibility for Grinfield. Surely only one of the two texts can be inspired.
Instead of this theory I would suggest that where the Septuagint is quoted in the N.T., instead of the present Hebrew text, it must be a close copy of the original Hebrew sense, or an inspired adaptation of the Hebrew. But elsewhere the Septuagint text should not be accepted as inspired. It is well known that frequently the Septuagint text is nonsensical or out of harmony with the context. For example, who would ascribe inspiration to Isa. 51:20, where the Greek is rendered in Bagster's Septuagint as follows: "Thy sons are the perplexed ones, that sleep at the top of every street as a half-boiled beet"? Even the earlier translation by Charles Thomson (1808) makes no better sense: "Thy sons? Some are astounded; some asleep at the head of every way, like a parboiled beet." For the final words the R.S.V. reads "like an antelope in a net." Evidently the Septuagint translators could here make nothing of the unpointed Hebrew text. The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah gives no help.
I now approach Mr. Welch's quotation from Grinfield's book: "The most remarkable and important feature of this version (i.e., The Septuagint) consists in its regular selection of the same doctrinal words and expressions, as those which were subsequently adopted by the Evangelists and Apostles. The terms Repentance, Faith, Righteousness, Justification, Redemption1 Sanctification, etc. . . . . are the very same in the Alexandrian version as in the New Testament, and they are used precisely in the same meaning." (Note: The Berean Expositor omitted the word used).
This statement is altogether false and is no credit to Grinfield. He had an axe to grind. With him, favouring the Septuagint would "lay a sure and solid ground of reconciliation with the Eastern Church"!
I suggest a look at Deissmann's "Bible Studies," where on page 79 he writes, "no one would think of identifying the pistis (faith) of the LXX with the pistis of Paul," whose "idea of faith is altogether new." He continues, "Now the same alteration can be clearly perceived in other conceptions also; it must be considered as possible in all, at least in principle." He suggests examination of the following terms: Spirit, Flesh, Life,Death, Law, Works, Angel, Hell, Judgment, Sacrifice, Righteousness, Love. James Moffatt, in "Love in the New Testament" (1929) says, "In the LXX agapE (i.e. love) also had sensuous associations" (as the word erOs had). The New Testament uses the word in its divine and holy sense. Dr. Ryder Smith, in "The Bible Doctrine of Grace" (1956), says the Hebrew word chesed ("loving kindness") is rendered in the LXX by eleos (mercy), which is quite inadequate. In such cases therefore, the eleos of the LXX cannot be equal to the eleos of the N.T. Dr. C. H. Dodd, in "The Bible and the Greeks" (1935), says the same about eleos. "Greek had no word which combined the ideas of 'pity' and 'piety,' and the LXX translators were driven to split up the indivisible whole of chesed . . . . into its various aspects, representing each by a separate word." He also says the N.T. use of charis (grace) is not quite identical with the same word in the Septuagint. Farther on he says that the Septuagint uses a notably poorer ethical vocabulary than the Hebrew. "There is a strong tendency to reduce all manner of evil behaviour to the concepts of adikia (wrong) and anomia (lawlessness)."
Swete, in his Introduction to the O.T. in Greek shews that the Hebrew word nathan (give) is rendered into Greek by more than thirty words, while the Hebrew word for heart. (leb) receives nine different renderings (heart, soul, disposition, mind, comprehension, mouth, prudence, chest, flesh). Thus the Septuagint is as discordant as the King James i611 version.
It must not be overlooked, as Swete and many others have shewn, that at some period between the date of the Septuagint (250 or 300 years B.C.) and the time of Aquila (early second century A.D.), a complete revision of the Hebrew Bible must have taken place, and this forms the present received Masoretic text. Yet no official text held undisputed possession in the first century, or was recognized by the writers of the N.T. This means that there was a transition from a fluctuating to a relatively fixed text some time between the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) and the completion of Aquila's Greek version of the O.T. The general principle now is to accept as the true Septuagint that Greek text which is farthest from the Masoretic Hebrew text, while in the less Hellenised circles a text near the Masoretic was current.
While Grinfield makes out that in not more than fifty cases out of 350 direct quotations in the N.T. from the Old Testament does the N.T. differ materially from the Septuagint, David M. Turpie (The Old Testament in The New) calculates that while the N.T. differs from the Masoretic text in 212 citations, it departs from the Septuagint in no less than 185 cases.
Summing up then, we are driven to the conclusion that the Greek text of the Old Testament is not inspired, and may not be relied upon less (1) it agrees with the Hebrew text, or (2) is quoted in the New Testament.
In another article I must deal with various other strange statements which Mr. Welch has made regarding the Greek word kosmos, and also with his handling of the Greek word kataballO (cast down), around which two terms he has woven quite a story regarding an event supposed to have happened perhaps millions of years ago.
In his issue of January, 1952, on page 124, Mr. Welch alludes to various verses in the LXX where the word kosmos stands for "ornament or delight." After discussing these, he continues, "All this may at first seem far removed from Ephesians 1:4 but we could not stand by and allow those less fortunate than ourselves to be so misled and so defrauded of fact without incurring a great responsibility. We have now had sufficient evidence to justify the translation of Ephesians 1:4 'before the overthrow of the world.'"
In his issue of December, 1926, at page 190, I thoroughly agreed with his statement, "those who wish to bring out of Isa. 45:7 a bolster for the teaching that God is the creator of sin," as such teaching could only be the result of making wild inferences from random and scattered texts. Yet it seems to many that Mr. Welch's method of connecting Eph. 1:4 with Gen. 1:2 and other verses is very far-fetched.
Thus in his next issue (March, 1952), speaking of the great enemy of truth,he mentions "the judgment that fell on him in Genesis 1:2." We turn thither, and what do we read concerning that enemy of truth? Not one single word! Satan is never as much as mentioned in Genesis.
A structure is then presented, shewing the four occurrences in Ephesians of the word kosmos, which are supposed to tell a story of their own. But this structure, like most others, is very artificial. They are generally very misleading. Long ago I perceived that those who framed structures all differed from each other. In this case, three times have words to be interpolated to make the structure "balance." I much prefer the direct words of Scripture. But Mr. Welch says, "here we have a record that vitally influences our calling and walk."
To my mind, such structures defraud readers of fact, and substitute dreams and theories instead. Surely the world-wielders of Eph. 6:12 are not the same as the "world" itself.
Soon we are transported to Rev. 12, with its "war in heaven." In verses 4, 7 and 9 we are told that the word for "cast out" is kataballO, "the long deferred 'overthrow' first introduced in Gen. 1:2." I have always understood that the word here was ballO (cast). Admittedly, if heaven is above the earth, Satan will be cast down, though strange to say, the Greek says only "cast." The meaning might be "cast out." We must note that not yet is Satan "overthrown," because he knows he still has a brief season before he is doomed. Mr. Welch insists that in verse 10 the Greek word is from kataballO, but none of the critical authorities,; including Weymouth and Souter, accept this word, and prefer the shorter word.
Long ago Mr. Welch was aware that the word "katabolE etymologically means a casting or a laying down" (B.E., April, 1914, p. 28). Long ago he justified at Heb. 6:1 the rendering "not laying again a foundation," (where the Concordant Version was obliged to put "not disrupting again a foundation," an impossible meaning), although he had elsewhere proved that the Greek word means to overthrow (See B.E., August, 1923, pp. 125-6, and confirmed September, 1952, p.216).
When I discuss the word kataballO in the Septuagint, I shall demonstrate, in those places where it represents the Causative conjugation of the Hebrew word naphal (fall), that it stands very often for a very gentle sort of being cast. The omission to set forth this important feature, both in The Berean Expositor, and in the May, 1957, issue of "Unsearchable Riches," has been a tragic blunder, which makes me feel very sorry for the Editors indeed.
I am truly grateful for the various admissions that have now been made; for example, it is now recognized that the Greek expression, katabolE kosmou (casting-down of world) is anarthrous, that in it, there is no Definite Article present. Thus we read, "We may change the C.V. to 'world disruption' in the future."
We are even informed, after nearly fifty years of study, that "there are four disruptions in all." Surely this is a big departure from all previous teachings.
What I am now chiefly interested in is, however, the usage in the Greek Old Teftament of the verb kataballO (cast down).
This leaves the eighth Hebrew word, which is naphal, meaning to fall, found about twenty times rendered by the Greek word kataballO, almost twice as often as the seven other Hebrew terms.
Would it not therefore be reasonable to have a look at the other Causative Conjugation occurrences of this verb in the Hebrew Bible, to see just which Greek words are used to represent it? This would produce a much fairer view of the whole matter.
BallO (cast) is found eleven times, and its compounds epiballO (cast upon) and emballO (cast into) twice each.
PiptO (fall) is found six times, and its compounds (with epi-, dia-, ana-, and para-) other six times.
RiptO (toss) is found thrice, and its compounds (with apo- and epi, from and upon), other three times.
Other eight Greek terms are found once each (lie down, place, measure, receive, give lots, set, distribute, cut off). In these eight words, and in the word toss, there is not the slightest suggestion of a violent disruption.
In eleven cases, Rotherham renders by "cast lots" (see, e.g. Neh. 10:34; 11:1; I. Sam. 14:42; 1. Chron. 24:31, 25:8, 26:13). That is to say, the lot was allowed to fall. In Gen. 2:21 Jehovah "caused a deep sleep to fall on the man." Adam suffered no "disruption." Num. 5:22, "causing womb to swell and thigh to fall away." I. Sam. 18:25, "But Saul thought to let David fall by the hands of the Philistines." I. Sam. 3:19, "And Samuel grew. . . and Jehovah proved to be with him, and let none of all his words fall to the ground." Josh. 23:4, "I have allotted to you these nations." Judges 2:19, "they ceased not from their doings nor from their stubborn way." Proverbs 19:15, "Sloth falleth into a deep sleep." Jer. 3:12, "I will not lower my face against you" (A.V.: cause mine anger to fall). Ezek. 47:22; 48:29, "ye shall divide it by lot." Jer. 38:26, "I was causing my supplication to fall prostrate before the King." Dan. 9:18, "for not on the ground of our own righteousness are we causing our supplications to fall down before thee." Dan. 9:20, "causing my supplication to fall down before Jehovah my God."
The above citations are from Rotherham, an impartial witness.
Mr. Welch has just written me (7th August) to say that I have completely misunderstood and so misrepresented his use of and attitude to the LXX. "My attitude is that ALL GREEK is permeated with Pagan conceptions and no doctrine can be built on its etymology. I repudiate the idea that GOD means PLACER simply because the only word available was THEOS. I use the LXX to lead me AWAY from Theos to Elohim, and on THAT I build. I believe you would do so too. Well, I extend the same principle to all words. In the same paragraph that you have quoted you will see that I said, "We were at some pains. . . . adding a list of the Hebrew words thus translated" which, although I did not elaborate there, is enough to show that I had this in mind. The Hebrew words used in 2 Samuel 20:15 are to me final. The fact that the LXX used kataballo to translate them is accidental. . . ."
I regret if I have misunderstood Mr. Welch. I agree entirely regarding Theos (God) as not meaning "Placer." At the same time, who can tell what the Hebrew word Elohim really means?
Now I come to II. Sam. 20:15. This verse states that all the people with Joab "were battering the wall to throw it down" (R.S.V.). The King James margin reads, "marred to throw down the wall," that is, "marred the wall to throw it down." Battering, or marred, is in Hebrew mashkhithim, ones ruining or marring. But the root of this word, shakhath bears the meaning "pit" and is found 22 times. See Prov. 26:27. Three times it is rendered "corruption," as pits are often places of curruption. The word batter must therefore disappear. The R.V. margin (1885), in fact, reads "undermined the wall," while the New World reads "were undermining the wall." Darby is very similar, "sapped the wall." The Hebrew tells us that all the people were doing something "(for) to cause the wall to fall." What were they doing? The Greek Septuagint tells us. It says "they intended," or "they had in mind" (enoousan, or enenoousan, from nous, the mind). They planned to make the wall fall. That is all. But they never did so. A wise lady stopped that scheme.
Driver on Samuel (1889), page 346, clears up the whole mystery of the meaning of the verse. He says the common translation is a little peculiar. It certainly is. Some scholars make the meaning to be, "were making a pit" to cause the wall to fall, that is, were undermining it. "LXX have enoousan, and Targum mithuashthin (thinking among selves), which no doubt represent mekhashbim Prov. 24:8—'were devising to bring the wall down.' Perhaps this is the true reading." He then names various authorities who have accepted this Greek reading. The Hebrew word khashab means to devise or reckon, as the story clearly proves, and is to be found in II. Sam. 4:2; 14:13-14; 19:19 also.
Thus the LXX says not one word about any battering, and only refers to the wall being "cast down." What was actually "thrown down" was the head of one Sheba, the son of Bichri, who had opposed King David.
As the very common Hebrew word naphal only means to fall or cast, and as this falling or casting is very often of a light nature, it is hard to see why it should be related to a "disruption" of a "world" of humanity which existed in the very dim past.
We have not claimed that this word signifies merely to FOUND. But it often means to lay down that which is a foundation or beginning, a start. Once more I would refer to the Concordant Version Concordance at pages 57 to 60 for proof of my contention that the root ballO covers all sorts of casting. For example, ekballO, "extract from the eye, Matt. 7:4." Compare this with the doom of Babylon, Rev. 18:21, "hurled down," literally, "with rushing will be cast." To shew the violence of the casting, another word has to be added.
One Sunday long ago I had to go to the village Doctor to get a "stone" extracted from my eye, where it had been lodged for two days. Very soon he deftly removed it, without causing any disruption. Nothing was" forcibly moved away."
Do I need to say more than quote Acts 22:23, "casting dust into the air," or Rev. 18:19, "they cast soil on to their heads"? Will no one be honest enough to admit that in the N.T. to "cast" can refer to all sorts of casting, violent or very gentle? That is all I claim. We must not avoid or conceal those stern facts of Scripture which are unfavourable to our theories.
In the Epistle of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (section LVII) he writes: "You, then, those causing the start (or, laying down, foundation; katabolEn) of the insurrection, submit to the elders."
In the Apocrypha we find the following occurrences of kataballO: Syr. 1:30: and the Lord will discover thy secret (parts), and in the midst of the synagogue downcast thee."
Syr. 7:7: Do not sin against the multitude of a city, and do not lower thyself in a throng.
Syr. 14:18: As of the green leaves on a thick tree, some indeed are falling, yet others are growing.
Syr. 47:4: (David) when he lifted up his hand with a stone in a sling, and cast down Goliath's arrogance.
II. Macc. 2:13: Yet the same things also were reported in the writings and in the commentaries of Nehemiah; and as founding a library, he gathered together the matters concerning the kings and prophets.
Pape's large Greek-German Lexicon (1849) shews a great number of examples of the word, meaning to found, begin, publish (philosophies or heresies), lay down (new legislation), set forth (historical treatises), taken from Strabo and Diodorus Siculus and Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Demosthenes is quoted regarding "witness set down," while Herodotus is quoted on spreading or disseminating a message or rumour. He mentions the lake (Moeris) as "bringing (that is, causing to fall) into the royal treasury a talent of silver daily, from the fish. . .." He uses the verb otherwise as meaning: Debasing (one to the lowest degree); rejecting (oracles); expending or paying money.
Plato is quoted as writing "as for instance, truly, any ship builder laying down the commencement of the shipbuilding."
Hippocrates writes of "the conception in the original time of the laying down of the seed. Arrian mentions "a son of the same seed and of the same sowing from the beginning." M. Antoninus mentions "seeds being laid down into earth or womb." Plutarch refers to "the first sowing (or laying down) of mankind."
In a volume of Pindar, famous national lyric poet or Greece (5th century B.C.) I find a reference to the "beginning" or "foundation" (katabolE) of the sacred contests or games. Polybius uses the phrase, "I make me a beginning (katabolEn poioumai), where the meaning could not be "I make me, disruption." Diodorus refers to the "beginning of ships being built." Plato and Hippocrates write about katabolE puretou, the "laying down of fever," prostration by fever.
Hundreds of such examples could be produced from Greek writers who lived from 500 B.c. to well into the A.D. centuries. Not a single one of these writers uses the word katabolE in the sense of a primeval "disruption" of the Earth, such as is supposed to have taken place at the time of Genesis 1:2.
From The Differentiator of November, 1949, I quote the following from the "Antiquities of the Jews" by Josephus who died about the year 100 A.D. Book XL, chapter lV., paragraph 4, "Sanabassar . . . came and immediately laid its foundations (themelious)," that is, of the Temple in Jerusalem. In Book XV., chapter XL, paragraph 3, he says, "So Herod took away the old foundations (themelious), and laid others, and erected the Temple upon them." See in Alford's Greek N.T. at Hebrews 6:1. The word here rendered laid is the verb kataballO. This note by Alford ought to be read and studied by all who have the boldness to be honest. Those who shut their eyes to this important and contemporary evidence are not honest.
In Modern Greek the word prokataballO (before-down-cast) means to "pay money in advance," that is, to put it down; or to "lay foundations before." KataboleuO and katabolada refer to layering out vines.
Liddell and Scott supply numerous examples of the ancient meaning of kataballO, e.g., to let down the eyebrows, to lower a mast, abandoned fellows (that is, cast off), to promulgate a law (or lay it down), to lower a curtain, a drop-scene in a theatre, a periodical attack of illness, one's nativity (in astrology).
In modern English (only) the term katabolism means, in biology, the discharging or disruptive process to which protoplasm (or living matter) is constantly subject. It is said to be the opposite of Anabolism (Gk. anabolE, 'rising up '), the upbuilding, constructive process. Now if katabolE means cast down and destroy, one would think that anabolE ought to mean cast up and destroy. But hark! It does not. It only means to "rise up." Now this is strange. In old Greek it means a "throwing up" (as of earth, a rampart), or a delaying or postponing, or the prelude of a song.
Now Mr. Welch maintains that "In its biological use, katabolE indicates 'destruction.'" He thinks it is strange, that if this word means to "place upon a foundation," it should have been adopted by scientists to indicate the very opposite, namely, disruption. (Berean Expositor, May, 1956, page 176; also July, 1951, page 63, where he refers to "destructive metabolism, which is called katabolism.").
I know of no one who claims that kataballO means to "place upon a foundation." It does mean, to lay a foundation. Hebrews 6:1 is ample proof for this meaning. Even the Berean Expositor was obliged to give this meaning at Heb. 6:1 (Vol. XIIL, page 126, August, 1923). Would we be wrong to use this same meaning elsewhere? If one and the same Greek word means, in the Divine vocabulary, both laying a foundation, and disrupting something, then there is no difference betwixt earth and heaven, or betwixt a penny and a pound.
Besides, do not scientists now-a-days often manufacture new terms to suit themselves by going to the Greek or Latin, and building a wrong meaning on the Greek or Latin foundation? One needs to read what Rich. C. Trench, D.D., wrote in "Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries" (1857), and what Dr. R. G. Latham wrote in his Introduction (17 pages) to his edition of Dr. Johnson's English Dictionary (1872). Dictionaries are far from being exact or perfect. In ancient Greek there was no term meaning Katabolism or Anabolism or Metabolism.
Nor can we bridge the expressions Katabolism and "Disruption ot the World." Katabolism does not mean "destruction." The living matter is not destroyed. What has biology to do with a physical ruination of our Earth?
In a future article I hope to present the true meaning of the laying down of the human race, and shew its tremendous importance in the eyes of God. It is intolerable that this should remain obscured by a figment of the imagination.
For example, Rev. W. H. Isaacs on Hebrews explains ch. 11:11 thus: "kataballO...means 'I throw down,' and is more applicable to the sowing of seed, and in katabolE the act of creation is likened rather to that of a sower letting fall his seed than to that of a builder laying foundations."
Meyer's Commentary on Hebrews (by Lunemann) explains ch. 9:26 (from down-casting of world) as meaning "from the foundation or creation of the world onwards (see ch. 4:3), that is, here so long as there are men in the world." The passage is concerned with the human race and their sins, the sins of the whole world, for which Christ is a propitiation (I. John 2:2). Why intrude here a physical "disruption" imagined to have occurred millions of years before Mankind began? Ch. 4:3 is explained by Hayman's N.T. as "And yet, the rest is one from works dated from the foundation of the world." That is to say, after God had brought forth the Human Race, in His own Image, He ceased or rested.
Our earth exists for the purpose of propagating a world of mankind,
which race will yet be wreathed with glory and honour, and placed over
the works of God's hands, all things being subjected under the feet of
mankind (Hebrews 2:7-8).
Mr. Otis Q. Sellers, Editor of "The Word of Truth" 647 South June Street, Los Angeles 5, California, has had the honesty to admit that the main reasoning found in articles on this subject in the issues of November, 1949 and January, 1950, and again in the issues of February, April, August, and October, 1957, of The Differentiator, is correct.
I have never had the least doubt, since I first seriously examined the "Disruption" theory years ago, that it was entirely false, and not only that, but utterly useless. Nay,. more, it is very dishonouring to God.
The carelessness of those Editors who failed to recognize the biblical difference in the meanings of the terms "world" and "earth" was pitiable. Everyone of them related the imaginary "Disruption of the world" to the earth and Genesis 1:2. Yet the common versions stuck to the truth, and were not beguiled by this cerebral illusion, which led them nowhere. Mr. Sellers states that even if it could be shown that the Greek term katabolE meant overthrow, casting down, or disruption, and nothing else, the passages in which it is found would still not speak of that disruption which he assumes did take place between the time of Gen. 1:1 and verse 2. He says that such an interpretation stultifIes every passage and will not make sense in any of them.
I dealt with these various passages in the November, 1949, issue of The Differentiator, and shewed that none of them fitted in with the idea of a disruption of any kind.
Long years ago it was the anarthrous nature of the two. Greek words, katabolE kosmou, that is, without Definite Articles, that aroused my curiosity. The expression seemed to me to refer to some well known fact, which could in English be well expressed as "world-foundation." But it was clear that the nature of any "disruption" which took place in primeval times was not and could not have been well known. Earth could very quickly have become waste and void had thC' sun been concealed for a period. There must have been very many upheavals and disruptions of a kind long ago.
Mr. Sellers, very rightly, "cannot see any connection between the love of God for Christ and the disruption that caused the earth to become a chaos," Nor can anyone else see this. John 17:24 has been artificially forced to reveal this strange meaning.
The whole human race then means something tremendous to God. The Lord Jesus Christ became flesh, our flesh. It was upon our earth that He died. It is our world that God so greatly loves, our whole world of men and women.
And we may be perfectly sure that when God laid down that divine seed, He intended it to live. How could divine seed perish eternally? Every word of or from God must take effect. So likewise every seed of or from God must live.
The idea of being Kin of God is a glorious one. Often when I pray I delight in the fact that I am one of His Kin. The thought is something that brings us very close to God. It causes us to feel also, that we are His Kith, or friends, acquaintances.
C. T. Wood, in "The Life, Letters and Religion of St. Paul" (1925) translates Eph. 1:4 correctly, "Before ever He laid down the world."
As far back as 1865 Robert Young, in his Concise Critical Comments, read "chose us out for himself in him before (the) laying down of (the) arrangement" (i.e. kosmos, the human arrangement or world), Generally he reads" laying down of the world."
John 17:24 (and compare verse 5 also), Eph. 1:4, and 1. Peter 1:20 have to do with a time prior to human sin. Matt. 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; Heb. 4:3; 9:26; Rev. 13:8; 17:8 all have to do with events after the race had been laid down, and had fallen into sin.
James 1:18 otherwise expresses the same truth concerning the seed of mankind: "Being caused to resolve (boulEtheis), He teems us forth by a word of truth, for us to be some first fruit of His own creatures." Here I have tried to express the full meaning of the first verb, which is in the Passive Voice. Something had caused or moved God to bring forth the race Which was made in His image.
To claim that there is nothing good in the flesh is a falsehood. What Paul really wrote in Romans 7:18 was "For I am aware that good is not making its home in me (this is, in my flesh)." Better still would be, "that good does not go on making its home in me (this means, my flesh)." Every one can accomplish some good, but we cannot do so continually or consistently.
There is a question which I now would fain ask. Where would God be apart from the flesh which He created on the earth? In other words, as the flesh had to come before the spirit, we can observe the great importance of the foundation (or, laying down) of the world of humanity, in flesh. We perceive that God will in the grand future utilize the whole human race to make known the glory of His grace and power to the Universe. In spite of the tragic failure of the Flesh since Adam was created, God's fiat still reigns, that mankind is to multiply and fill the earth.
Here I step back some six hundred years to Richard Rolle of Hampole, in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, who lived from about 1300 to 1349, having been born shortly before John Wiclif. He was a hermit and a poet. He preached on the Divine Love as opposed to carnal love and the love of the world. I quote from a summary of his ideas:
The omission of definite articles in the expression katabolE kosmou (laying down of world) is well explained by Webster (Syntax and Synonyms of Greek Testament). He says the article is omitted with words like hElios (sun), gE (land), ouranos (heaven), thalassa (sea), in the expressions apo katabolEs kosmou (from laying down of world), en archE (in beginning), en KuriO (in Lord), ap' archEs ktiseOs (from beginning of creation), pro kairou (before season). He says these expressions are already sufficiently definite in themselves and have the distinctness of a proper name, so do not require the definite article. If this is true, the expression "laying down of world" must have been well known and understood. But what primeval "Disruption" was well known to the race of Adam?
It has been said that scientists are singularly free from any thought but that of finding the Truth. The same ought to be true of religious man. Nevertheless, I do not think it is likely that those who have imbibed the Disruption theory are likely to give it up, and give it up openly and honestly. What I have attempted to prove is that the theory of a primeval Disruption or Overthrow was all along obscuring a very much more important fact of history: the creation and spreading abroad of the Human Race. For one thing at least I am thankful: the old versions have proved themselves to be correct, where those who sought to improve upon them badly blundered.
A.T. Last updated 23.8.2007