Selective Interpretation

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The translation method and style of too many of our modern translations tend to suggest that human opinion is of sufficient authority to modify the reader’s understanding of the text. An example of this occurs in the NIV footnote for Genesis 1:2:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was {Or possibly <became>} formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)

Here the word “became” is considered as a possible translation of the word that most translations translate into “was” in the text. Some Hebrew scholars do indicate that “became” is a viable alternative and so on the surface its use seems to be acceptable in translation; however, the context of the passages indicates that "was" is the more accurate translation. Using "became" is unsupported in the context for the following reasons:

1) It suggests that the creation was made by God, became corrupt and was re-created by God to be the creation He proclaims "very good." Throughout the Bible it is made very clear that God's perfect creation was made corrupt by the actions of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Support cannot be found in the Bible for believing that creation became corrupt and was re-made "very good;" that it will be set free from the curse upon Jesus' return is the only conclusion supported by the Bible

2) It also implies a pause of indeterminate length between verse one and verse two that contradicts statements throughout the Bible that God created the heavens and the earth in six days. The Bible's opening words, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," show that the heavens and the earth were created during the six days of creation. Since this is the case then any gap that exists between verse one and verse two must take place on the first or second day. With the general idea that light was created on the first day along with the heavens and the earth being supported most easily by the text.

The problem lies in why “became” is desired rather than "was." Since the most natural reading of the passage shows that God is involved in an act of creation rather than repair we must determine the motivation for the use of “became” rather than “was.” The primary motivation appears to be to provide space between verse one and verse two for the spans of time required by the theory of evolution and various other alternatives to creation in six twenty-four hour days. In this gap long millions of years are said to have occurred, during which time evolutionary process is supposed to have resulted in the fossils that are discovered throughout the world. The problem is that this type of interpretation is selective, translating the text to say what translators wish it to say rather than to say what is actually being said and it results in an inaccurate understanding of the Bible. Allowing evolution to occur prior to verse two ignores the fact that death did not enter creation until Adam and Eve rebelled against God in Genesis 3 and also ignores that God did not create any animal life until the fourth day of creation. It seems that it is in capitulation to evolutionary thought that the word “became” has even been considered since the only defence ever made in its favour is that it allows within the Bible framework the time that evolution demands.