Friday, May 31, 2013

New Testament Anthropology and Ancient Greek

The Semantic Domain of YUXH

When we research the signifier YUXH, we find that there are divergent opinions and views about the denotation of this term. BAGD list the following senses (glosses) of YUXH:

(1) Life on earth in its external, physical aspects--breath of life, life-principle, soul of animals (Gen. 9:4; Rev. 8:9).

Under this category, BAGD goes on to say that when the YUXH leaves the body, "death occurs." From there it evidently lives in Hades "or some other place outside the earth" (Rev. 6:9; 20:4).

(2) YUXH can also denote earthly life itself (Mt 20:28). Rev. 12:11 seemingly describes 'loving one's life' (something that the "brothers" mentioned in that self-same verse refuse to do).

(3) YUXH is the seat and center of the inner life of man in its many and varied aspects (Ps. 106:9; Prov. 25:25; Rev. 18:14).

(4) YUXH may also depict the feelings and emotions of humans (Mk 12:30-33).

(5) Lastly, YUXH sometimes conveys the sense of "the seat and center of life that transcends the earthly" (Phaedo 28; Mt 10:28).

So says BAGD. Conversely, Louw-Nida gives us an entirely different picture of YUXH. Based on the semantic domains listed in their lexicon, the soul cannot be an incorporeal "substance" that departs from man at death. That is, it probably is not an entity capable of living in another realm when a man or woman ceases to live "under the sun." Here are the semantic fields listed by Louw-Nida.

(1) The inner self (26.4). See Phil. 1:27.

(2) Life (23.88).

(3) A person (9.20).

(4) A living creature (4.1). Cf. Rev. 16:3.

None--I repeat, none--of the fields of meaning listed by L-N suggest that the NT teaches about an immortal soul. This observation is in line with what I have noted in my personal Bible reading, and it appears to be in line with what the scriptural literary corpus teaches. Even the Grammar of Septuagint Greek (by Conybeare and Stock) notes that the Septuagintal phrase KATA THN YUXHN hEAUTOU can be rendered "for his life." This is not apodictic proof, but all of these little details add to the case for those who do not believe in an immortal soul. Furthermore, we need to consider L-N and their remarks about PNEUMA.

Louw-Nida on PNEUMA Listed by Their Semantic Domains

(12.18) The Holy Spirit.

(12.33) Spirit, in general (a supernatural being). Cf. John 4:24

(12.37) Evil spirit.

(12.42) A ghost (Luke 24:37). But read this information carefully.

(26.9) Inner being.

(30.6) Wind.

A Discussion About NAOS and HIERON (The Great Crowd)

I believe that NAOS and hIERON semantically overlap. In fact, I think that they overlap considerably and at times are barely distinguishable from one another. Of course there are many that do not hold these views, and I now wish to cite two such authorities. I will explore this question within the context of a broader question about the great crowd of Rev. 7:9ff.

Commenting on the "the man of sin" (ANQRWPOS THS ANOMIAS), David J. Williams writes: "He is described in the language of the OT as setting himself up in God's temple, not literally, but in a figure. But this is not a figure of the church, which is sometimes called the temple (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21). He also is proclaiming himself (APODEIKNUMI can have this sense) to be God (v 4; cf. Isa. 14:13; Ezek. 28:2; Dan. 7:25; 8:9-12; 11:36-39). Temple is NAOS, denoting the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the temple in Jerusalem (in contrast with hIERON, which embraced the whole temple precinct) in which it was believed God dwelled" (Williams, page 125).

So where does the "man of sin" sit? Does he position himself in the figurative "building" where worship to God is carried on and where God is said to dwell symbolically? Or does he "sit" in the SANCTUM SANCTORUM DEORUM?

The phrase APODEIKNUNTA hEAUTON hOTI ESTIN QEOS could indicate that ANQRWPOS THS ANOMIAS is depicted as sitting in the "whole temple precinct" and thus it could be said to semantically overlap with hIERON.

But let us consider another example (John 2:19). Baptist Professor Gerald Borchert writes:

"Jesus' response--'destroy [LUSATE could mean 'tear down'] this temple [NAOS, the inner segment of a temple], and I will raise [EGERW could mean 'rebuild'] it again in three days'--was completely misunderstood by the Jews" (Borchert, page 165. Words in brackets original).

Interestingly, Borchert avers that NAOS refers to "the inner segment of a temple" and applies this definition to the figurative use of NAOS in John 2:19. But I highly doubt that NAOS means "the inner segment of a temple" in 2:19. In the very next passage, the Jews wonder how Jesus can tear down and then rebuild a temple that took "forty-six years" to complete (John 2:20). Did it take forty-six years to build the inner sanctum? This Johannine account seems to be using NAOS to denote "the whole temple precinct."

Probably some of the most problematic passages are found in Revelation, however. One is Rev. 7:15 wherein the "great multitude" are said to be rendering LATREIA (LATREUOUSIN) day and night EN TWi NAWi AUTOU. What does NAOS denote here? BAGD says that NAOS in Rev. 7:15 denotes the "heavenly sanctuary." David Aune (when explaining 7:15) claims that "the worship of God in the heavenly temple by heavenly beings continues unendingly" (52B:475). Can this rightly be said of the great crowd? Are they too in "the heavenly sanctuary"?

Trying to look at this subject as dispassionately as possible, I must say that the answer is not easy. Nevertheless, I will posit some reasons to view the "great crowd" as a group of individuals who survive God's execution of judgment and continue to live on earth after this execution of justice.

The "great crowd" comes out of the "great tribulation" (Rev. 7:14). This could very well imply that these individuals are survivors of Jehovah's divine judgment and they will live forever under the rule of His benevolent kingdom. But let's look a little closer at this account.

Rev. 7:15 exclaims that "the One seated on the throne will spead his tent over them." In Rev. 21:3, 4, a comparable utterance is made about those who evidently make up the new earth: "The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them."

Notice that this exclamation is made after the New Jerusalem is seen "coming down out of heaven from God." Presumably, she (the holy city) figuratively comes to the earth, and it is in this sense that God dwells with mankind. But I have argued elsewhere (in agreement with Barnes' notes on the New Testament) that the holy city does not actually come to earth, but figuratively rests on a visionary mountain. In any event, it seems safe to declare that New Jerusalem will benevolently influence future earthly conditions.

Rev. 7:16, 17 reports that the great crowd "will hunger no more nor thirst anymore . . . And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes." Rev. 21:4 similarly tells us that God "will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."

Furthermore, the Lamb shepherds and progressively guides the great multitude to "fountains of waters of life." Yet those who inhabit New Jerusalem, where God and the Lamb serve as the new Temple, do not have to be led to "fountains of waters of life." In fact, "a river of water of life, clear as crystal" flows from the "throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of "the broad way of New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 2). Therefore instead of being led to waters of life--those who inhabit the heavenly city of New Jerusalem are said to provide these waters. Thus I conclude that the great crowd is an earthly class. Nevertheless, I'm not trying to be dogmatic. There are exegetical issues with Rev. 7:15 that we must continue to examine. What does it mean for the multitudinous group of Revelation 7 to be standing before God's throne? I would like to research that point further. Nonetheless, these points should help all to see why I continue to affirm that the great crowd will live forever on earth. There are other reasons, but this explanation should suffice for now.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Louw & Nida Greek-English Lexicon on Revelation 14:4 and PARQENOS

"PARQENOS, OU [masculine]: an adult male who has not engaged in sexual relations with a woman- 'virgin, chaste.' hOUTOI EISIN hOI META GUNAIKWN OUK EMOLUNQHSAN PARQENOI GAR EISIN 'these are men who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins' Re 14:4. It is very rare that the same term can be applied to a man who has not engaged in sexual relations with a woman as is used in speaking of a woman who has not had sexual relations with a man. In fact, in English the use of 'virgin' as applied to a man seems strange. In many languages there is simply no term for a man who is a virgin, since such a state is regarded as being unthinkable. However, the first part of this statement in Re 14:4 indicates clearly the state of the persons in question. But if one does attempt to find a satisfactory term, it is important to determine whether such a word implies homosexuality, for this tends to be the case in some languages. See also comments at 9.39."

See Semantic Domain 9.33.

D. Edmond Hiebert Explains the "Spirits in Prison" (1 Peter 3:19)

A third view, apparently the oldest, identifies these "spirits in prison" with fallen angels, equated with "the sons of God" in Genesis 6. This view was widely known and generally taken for granted in the apostolic age. It is strongly presented in the Book of Enoch, a composite pre-Christian, Jewish apocryphal writing widely known in the early Christian church., This view fell into disfavor with the fourth-century church.12 This angelic trans-gression was always viewed as having taken place just prior to the Flood. Proponents point to 2 Peter 2:4-5 and Jude 6 as evidence that this view was known and accepted in the early Christian church. They also point out that in the Gospels the word "spirits" frequently refers to supernatural beings (Mark 1:23, 26, 27; 3:11; 5:2, 8; etc.). The only clear instance in the New Testament where "spirits" is used of the surviving part of man after death is in Hebrews 12:23, but this is immediately indicated by the addi-tion "of righteous men made perfect."13 References to "spirits" as supernatural beings, either good or bad, occur in the intertes-tamental literature, for example, Tobit 6:6; 2 Maccabees 3:24; Book of Jubilees 15:31; The Testament of Dan (in The Testa-ments of the Twelve Patriarchs) 1:7; 5:5. This view seems to be supported by the teaching in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 [14] and is therefore the most probable.

See for the entire exegesis of 1 Peter 3:18-22.

My Actual View of Revelation 14:4

This post is intended to make clear what I really believe about Rev 14:4 since there appears to be some confusion.

"These are the ones not defiled with women, for they have kept their virginity. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They were redeemed from the human race as the firstfruits for God and the Lamb" (HCSB).

The Greek παρθένοι appears here in its masculine form, referring to virgin males. See LSJ and BDAG. Chrys Caragounis also informs his readers that παρθένος "is applicable to both men and women, as becomes clear from a look at examples garnered from NT times to the present" (The Development of Greek and the New Testament, page 307). One example that he gives to show παρθένος can refer to either men or women is Revelation 14:4. In this particular case, the text applies to men; at least, on the surface level.

That is what I want to clarify in this post. I have clearly distinguished the surface (grammatical-level) understanding of Rev 14:4 from the deep structure (interpretive) understanding. I believe it's hard to deny that the 144,000 are depicted as males at the surface level. The words, "These are the ones not defiled with women" along with the masculine form of παρθένος support the idea that 144,000 males of Jewish descent are being portrayed here. John did not envision literal women not defiling themselves with literal women. But he could easily write about males keeping themselves clean in this respect (on the surface level).

However, what all of this means on the interpretive level is another matter. In that regard, I have not rejected anything that Jehovah's Witnesses teach about this verse. My concern has been purely grammatical. The remarks I made earlier only dealt with how the 144,000 are depicted. On the interpretive level, I believe that the 144,000 are spiritual Israelites who did not commit spiritual fornication.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

A Question on Matthew 24:15

One of our readers asks the following:

Hi Edgar,

I looked for a way to post a question, but could not find a link. Please forgive me for posting my question here.

My question relates to the NWT rendering of Matt. 24:15 - "When you catch sight of the....."

"catch sight" - I really like this rendering, and I think it very well captures the sense of Jesus' words, because this phrase has the sense of 'capturing' a fast-moving event that is not of long duration. In 66 CE the Roman troops briefly and suddenly breached the wall and stood in the temple area. But then they just as suddenly withdrew. So from the perspective of a Christian in the city, he could "catch sight" of the brief event. This is different than Luke 21:20, where the NWT uses "see" with respect to the Roman armies surrounding the city in 66 CE. This was not quite so sudden an event, and it lasted a while - so the rendering "see" makes very good sense.

I think this is yet another example of the superiority of the NWT. I would like to be able to defend the Matt. 24:15 rendering based upon the Greek grammar itself. Could you examine this and help me to know how to make a defense?

Thanks so much, Edgar.

[End of Quote]

My response:

"When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand)-World English Bible

'Whenever, therefore, ye may see the abomination of the desolation, that was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever is reading let him observe)-Young's Literal Translation

Both of these translations and many others use the verb "see" in Mt 24:15. The Greek ἴδητε is the aorist subjunctive active (second person plural) of ὁράω ("I see, look upon, experience"). Since the verb's mood is subjunctive and second person plural, YLT renders it "ye may see." It can also be translated "you will/shall see." But I also like the NWT handling of the grammar "you catch sight . . . "

Regarding the English expression "catch sight of," says: "to get a glimpse of; espy: We caught sight of the lake below."

I believe that the NWT chose this rendering because of the aorist tense that occurs in this verse. At one time, the aorist was commonly viewed as the "once-for-all" tense. But after the famous article by Frank Stagg, we now consider the aorist to be the default tense or it's a verb form which expresses undefined action. See "The Abused Aorist," Journal of Biblical Literature Vol. 91, No. 2 (Jun. 1972): 222-231. Cf.

While the aorist by itself may not communicate a "once-for-all" time action, the context of a verse may lead us to belive that the action being portrayed by a writer occurs in a punctiliar fashion. That seems to be the case for Mt 24:15. Maybe others can provide some helpful input.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Repost of Genesis 1:26 and How Many Speakers

This post constitutes a repeat of material that has been submitted before. But just how many speakers are there in Genesis 1:26-27? On a related point, what is the significance of Elohim?

"We have . . . suggested that the plural name for God, Elohim, denotes God's unlimited greatness and supremacy. To conclude plurality of Persons from the name itself is dubious. However, when God speaks of Himself with plural pronouns (Gen. 1:26, 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8) and plural verbs . . . it does seem to indicate distinctions of Persons, though only plurality, not specifically Trinity" (Charles Ryrie, Basic
, 51).

Dr. Alan Hauser expands on the argument set forth by Ryrie. He does not think that the use of the plural form for "God" in Genesis 1:26 necessarily proves that Genesis affirms God's triunity. One reason that Hauser arrives at this conclusion has to do with the Hebrew word Elohim. Granted, Elohim is a plural noun as are the pronouns "us" and "our." But these words, while they might seem to indicate plurality, do not perforce indicate triunity. We must also remember that in Hebrew it is common for the grammatically plural noun to cause verbs to be plural (Cf. Genesis 20:13, 35:7). E.A Speiser therefore renders Genesis 1:26 as follows: "The God said, 'I will make man in my image, after my likeness.'" His translation suggests only one person is speaking.

Commenting on Deuteronomy 6:4 and its use of Elohim, Baptist seminarian president John. D.W. Watts says that the term Elohim conveys "to the Semitic ear the idea of the total sum of divine attributes and powers . . . 'One Lord' conveys the essential idea. He is unique, different, exclusive. He is not many, but one . . . Yahweh [YHWH] is a single unified person. In no sense is he to be understood as represented in diverse forms and appearances in different places as Baal and other nature deities were" (The Broadman Bible Commentary, Vol. 2:214).

There is also another probable explanation for Genesis 1:26 and its use of "us" or "our" for God. The Hebraic expert Wilhelm Gesenius described the Hebrew word translated "us" as a "plural of self-deliberation." Both Gesenius and C. Westermann have upheld this view and classed Isaiah 6:8 in the same category as Genesis 1:26. In other words, what Gesenius says is that God could have been talking or 'deliberating' with Himself at
Genesis 1:26. While this is a grammatical possibility, I personally concur with the view that the Father was addressing His Son at Genesis 1:26 when God uttered the words "us" and "our." The New Testament would also seem to support such a conclusion (Col. 1:15-17).

At any rate, if God spoke to His Son, we would only have two persons in dialogue, not three. The view that God was 'self-deliberating,' however, cannot be easily discounted and may even be less problematic.

I will close with a quote from Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament:

The creation of man does not take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as the result of the divine decree, "We will make man in Our image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other creatures of the earth. The plural "We" was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council. The last is Philo's explanation: διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὁ͂λων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτο͂υ δυνάεσιν (δυνάμεις equals angels). But although such passages as 1 Kings 22:19., Psalm 89:8, and Daniel 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:22; Isaiah 40:13 seq., Genesis 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words "in our image, after our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels. A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Hebrews 2:7, or from Luke 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Genesis 2:18; Psalm 12:5; Isaiah 33:10). No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, - an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being. On the words "in our image, after our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, between εἰκών (imago) and ὁμοίωσις (similitudo), the former of which they supposed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the latter the ethical; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: "an image which is like Us" (Luther); since it is no more possible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary use of the words between צלם and דּמוּת, than between בּ and כּ. צלם, from צל, lit., a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more from דּמוּת, likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Umriss or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). בּ and כּ are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a comparison of this verse with Genesis 5:1 and Genesis 5:3. (Compare also Leviticus 6:4 with Leviticus 27:12, and for the use of בּ to denote a norm, or sample, Exodus 25:40; Exodus 30:32, Exodus 30:37, etc.) There is more difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Certainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or commanding aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the man's body was formed from the dust of the ground; nor in the dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to God. Man is the image of God by virtue of his spiritual nature. of the breath of God by which the being, formed from the dust of the earth, became a living soul.

The quote from K-D is primarily informational. I do not agree with their triune suggestions for the text.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Restored Internet

MY internet has been out since Wednesday, but we're back up now. I'll be posting replies on Saturday and Sunday. It's good to be back.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A "Mock Humility," How? (Colossians 2:18 NWT)

One of my favorite WT articles is from 7/15 1985, pp. 10-14. That WT dealt with modern philosophies that tend to draw us away from God (Colossians 2:8). They are not necessarily theories, but rather philosophies of life. Cf. the German term Lebensphilosophie. Here is a brief quote from paragraph 16 of that article:

"Self-appointed judges and teachers pose yet another danger. Like those in Colossae, they may make issues of purely personal matters. They are often characterized by 'mock humility.' (Colossians 2:16-18) Their holier-than-thou attitude betrays a wrong motive—a desire to elevate themselves above others. They are often 'righteous overmuch,' quick to go beyond what the 'faithful slave' has said or published. Thus they may ignite controversies over such matters as recreation, health care, styles of dress and grooming, or the use of alcoholic beverages. (Ecclesiastes 7:16; Matthew 24:45-47) Attention is thereby diverted from spiritual matters and focused on fleshly desires."

I've just always liked this paragraph since it shows the rightful place of conscience in our worship to Jehovah. I have no intention of applying this material to anyone but myself.

All the best!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Understanding Acts 2:24

"Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it" (KJV).

"But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him" (NIV).

The more I look at this passage, the more it seems that it could be an example of deliberate ambiguity. WDINAS can refer to either "cords" or "pains," and both meanings seem appropriate here. But the stress may be on the cords--without excluding the notion of "birth pangs."

In this regard, Richard Longenecker writes: "The imagery is of 'death pangs' (WDINAS TOU QANATOU; NIV, 'agony of death') and their awful clutches (cf. 2 Sam. 22:6; Pss. 18:4-6; 116:3), from which God is 'freeing' Jesus 'because it was impossible to keep its hold on him' (Acts. The Expositor's Bible Commentary. P. 75).

The last part of 2:24 that is marked by KAQOTI seems to show where Peter placed the stress at, namely, on the idea of cords constricting Jesus while at the same time causing figurative pain (i.e., Jesus, did not literally suffer while in hADHS).

Louw-Nida note: "hOTI, KAQOTI: markers of cause or reason, based on an evident fact - 'because, since, for, in view of the fact that'" (Sec. 89.33). See Luke 1:7.

Arnobius of Sicca Regarding Human Lingual Conventions

Arnobius of Sicca writes: "Yet, if you consider the true state of the case, no language is naturally perfect, and in like manner none is faulty. For what natural reason is there, or what law written in the constitution of the world, that PARIES [i.e. 'wall'] should be called HIC, and SELLA [i.e. 'chair'] HOEC?-since neither have they sex distinguished by male and female, nor can the most learned man tell me what HIC and HOEC are, or why one of them denotes the male sex while the other is applied to the female. These conventionalities are man's, and certainly are not indispensable to all persons for the use of forming their language; for PARIES might perhaps have been called HOEC, and SELLA HIC without any fault being found, if it had been agreed upon at first that they should be so called, and if this practice had been maintained by following generations in their daily conversation" (Adversus nationes 1.59).

My Remarks: HIC is a Latin masculine pronoun applied to words like PARIES (meaning 'wall') whereas the pronoun HOEC [SIC] is applied to words that are grammatically feminine. But Arnobius expresses the idea that these are mere human conventions. We can't read too much into grammatical gender.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Genesis 2:3 (NWT)

The NWT renders Gen 2:3: "And God proceeded to bless the seventh day and make it sacred, because on it he has been resting from all his work that God has created for the purpose of making."

The Hebrew SHAVATH is perfect state. Now the NWT elsewhere consistently renders Hebrew perfects as indicative of complete action and imperfect states as significative of ongoing or continuous action. For example, Gen 2:2 in the NWT reads:

"and he [God] proceeded to rest on the seventh day from all the work that he had made."

Now, if you study the footnotes for Gen 2:2-3 and the
appendix for the imperfect and perfect states in the
NWT, I believe it will help you to see why Gen 2:3 is
rendered "he has been resting."

Brenton's LXX has hOTI EN AUTHN KATEPAUSEN APO PANTWN TWN ERGWN AUTOU. KATEPAUSEN is aor ind act 3rd sg. This is interesting since the aorist tense generally delineates action as a whole:

"Since the aorist tense simply denotes occurrence without reference to initiation, progress, completion, or any such thing, it is usually translated from the indicative mood into English by a past tense" (Greek Enchiridion, W.G. MacDonald, page 9).

This is also what the qal perfect highlights (i.e.,
undefined action). The same morphological form,
KATEPAUSEN, appears in Heb 4:4. Therefore, it is
possible that Gen 2:3 may simply describe an action in
its entirety, leaving its temporal reference somewhat

As regards the qal stem, it is normally divided into
two classes: "verbs that represent action (fientive)
and verbs that describe a state of being (stative)"
(The Complete Word Study: Old Testament, page 2282).
Some sources that I have consulted say that there is
no "passive counterpart" to the qal stem; others
debate this point. At any rate, the qal perfect in Gen
2:3 seems to describe "simple, perfective action
viewed as a whole" (ibid., 2283).

Monday, May 13, 2013

What Are the Potential Implications of Special Relativity Theory?

A. Michael Guillen believes that special relativity is one of the "five equations that changed the world." Professor A. P. French (MIT) also is convinced that Einstein’s scientific achievements deeply affected the intellectual development of modern physics. The special theory of relativity has unalterably changed how we perceive the world; moreover, it has ushered in an era of science called the new physics.

B. Albert Einstein postulated his theory of special relativity in 1905. It deals with bodies that move at ultra-high speeds (near the speed of light). Einstein used thought experiments (Gedanken experiments) to test his ideas. In one of his these experiments, the renowned physicist mentally explores relative simultaneity by using the example of a train and lightning striking within the view of observers on the train. According to special relativity theory, if a train is traveling West, then lightning appears to strike first in the West and subsequently in the East. On the other hand, if the train is headed East, the lightning appears to strike first in the East and then in the West for an observer riding on the train. But if the train is in a position of rest, the bolts of lightning—relative to the observers' frame of reference—strike simultaneously in the East and in the West. Einstein's theory accordingly does not abolish the notion of simultaneity altogether. It only says that a "rigid reference body" or coordinate system must be shared in order for simultaneity to obtain. The train is just such a coordinate system. Simultaneity for Einstein is thereby relative as opposed to being absolute. And the operative equation for special relativity is e = mc2.

I. Some Implications of Special Relativity for the World

A. When a person accelerates, his or her perception of time and space shrinks by a factor involving two quantities. These two quantities are v (velocity) and c (light). While acceleration makes time and space appear to shrink, it actually causes mass and energy to expand: only the perception of space and time shrinks.

B. When someone is at rest, no reductive percepts transpire. But movement that takes place near the speed of light results in percepts being significantly altered. The faster that objects move, the smaller that impressions of inches and seconds become. If one travels near the speed of light, the entire cosmos apparently shrinks ad nihilum for him or her. Reciprocally, however, a person's mass and energy seems to expand ad infinitum (since zero is the reciprocal of infinity).

C. Yet before these effects start to occur, spatial objects must be moving close to the speed of light (300,000 km/sec). Stephen Hawking points out that at 10% the rate of light-speed, an object's mass only increases .5%. At 90% light-speed, however, the same object would assume more than twice its normal mass.

II. Further Implications of Special Relativity

A. Special Relativity implies that energy and mass are two sides of the same coin. Brain Greene writes: "From e=mc², we know that mass and energy are interchangeable; like dollars and euros, they are convertible currencies (but unlike monetary currencies, they have a fixed exchange rate, given by the speed of light times itself, c²" (The Fabric of the Cosmos, page 354).

B. Mass can be converted into energy and energy can be converted into mass.

C. We now know that it's possible to split an atom and generate power from this act of fissioning. Moreover, successive fission, fusion and fission is possible. The atom bomb and the sun demonstrate how hydrogen fusion works.


French, A. P. Special Relativity. New York: Norton, 1968.

Guillen, Michael. Five Equations That Changed the World: The Power and Poetry of Mathematics. New York: MJF Books, 1995.

Hawking, S. W. A Brief History of Time. New York: Bantam Books, 2011.