Friday, September 27, 2013

APO (PRO) KATABOLHS KOSMOU-The World's Founding

Here are some thoughts on the world's founding.

For KATABOLH, BDAG Greek-English Lexicon has:

(1) "the act of laying someth[ing] down, with implication of providing a base for someth[ing], foundation"

and

(2) "a [technical term] for the sowing of seed, used of begetting" (page 515).

Therefore, I'd say that KATABOLH potentially means "foundation" or in certain contexts may have that meaning (sense).

David Aune notes that the formula PRO KATABOLHS KOSMOU "uses the act of creation as a protological reference point in a variety of ways" while he also remarks that Barnabas 5:5 quotes Gen 1:26. It's an allusion which has the effect of "connecting the formula [APO KATABOLHS KOSMOU] with the creative events narrated in Gen 1:3-25" (See the Word Bible Commentary series, Vol. 52B:748).

Aune again writes that the formula APO (PRO) KATABOLHS KOSMOU is employed in five ways by NT or Christian writers. He says that Lk 11:50 illustrates how the formula refers to "events occurring since the beginning of history" (Vol. 52B:748).

Hb 4:3, according to Aune, speaks of "the creation of the universe." But I believe this verse is particularly referring to the time period after Adam and Eve's creation. Either way, I do not see how the Witness belief in the world's founding is a stretch.

N.B. Aune obviously does not concur with the Witness interpretation of matters. But even he has to admit that Lk 11:50 speaks of a historical event. However we understand the phrase APO (PRO) KATABOLHS KOSMOU, I think Mounce rightly observes that Rev 13:8; 17:8 do not teach determinism when they employ such language:

"Those that dwell upon the earth stand in awe when they behold the beast. They are those whose names have not been written in the book of life (Cf Ps 69:28; Isa 4:3; Rev 3:5) from the foundation of the world. John is not teaching a form of determinism (according to 3:5 names may be blotted out of the book of life), but emphasizing the great distinction that exists between the followers of the Lamb and those who give allegiance to the beast" (Bill Mounce, Revelation, pages 312-313).

Even Aune finds certain readings of both apocalyptic passages hard to swallow and submits that they have likely undergone redaction, which explains the present negative formulations found in Revelation 13:8; 17:8.


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