Part 4: Reconciling the Analyzed Literal Translation

This is a continuation of Part 3: Attacking our own creation (Day 2-4)

(Here, too, the term AI is an abbreviation of Alternative Interpretation.)

We saw the advantages of literal translations made to be neutral. Without extraneous words, inferred meaning or externally predetermined assumptions (religious, common-sense, made to support new or existing theories, or otherwise), we really could read and understand the true meaning of the verses as written, with only minor changes to three verses.

Now that we have a precise wording free of contradictions, we have a solid foundation to build from. We will leave arguing about the meaning of words and individual verses behind, and talk about their implications on a macro level.

To do this, we must first remove any “glue” words that might influence the text, the big picture, or ourselves, and later, rebuild them into sentences that make sense. We will group the verses together into sentences that are the acts of God, and remove all the “glue” words, to form a “terse overview”:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was unformed and empty, and darkness on the face of the deep. The movement of God-spirit above the face of the waters.
God said, “Be, Light”, and light! God saw the light, that good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and the darkness called “night”.
The evening existed and the morning existed, one day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, the severance of the waters – and separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “heaven”.

The evening existed and the morning existed, second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and dry show.” God called dry “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw good.

God said, “earth, yield grass/herb, sow seed, and fruit-tree making fruit of kind which seeds earth.” Earth brought forth grass/herb, sowing seed of kind, and the tree making fruit, seeds of kind, and God saw good.

The evening existed and the morning existed, third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights the expanse the heaven, separate the day from the night and signs and seasons/appointed, and days and years. Lights the expanse of heaven, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night, the stars. God gave the expanse of the heaven to light the earth. To rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw good.

And the evening existed and the morning existed, on four day.

This is a regress to ancient Hebrew, in a way. From this more exact but in places hard-to-read account, can we now write it out correctly in plain, unambiguous English in the light of the last analysis? That is, make it read well in English and still retain the meaning of the verses and the bigger picture from previous translations? Let’s try it:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The earth was unformed and empty, and darkness was on the face of the deep. The spirit of God moved above the face of the waters.
God said, “Light, exist!”, and light existed. God saw the light, and that it was good, and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and called the darkness “night”.
There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, exist! And be the severance of the waters, separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “heaven”.

There was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the heaven, gather at one place, and let dry land appear.” God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw that it was good.

God said, “Earth, produce grasses/herbs that sow seeds, and fruit-trees making fruits of their separate kinds that seed the earth.” Earth brought forth grasses/herbs sowing seed of its kinds, and the trees making fruit with seeds of its kind, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights in the expanse of the heaven, be for separating the day from the night, and for telling signs and seasons/festivals, and days and years. Lights in the expanse of the heaven, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night and the stars. God put them in the expanse of the heaven to light the earth; to rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Now, we shall need to make this even more concrete, but we’ll take it in small steps and save that for later. This, again, was just a language adaptation. It was quite trouble-free, but, nevertheless, we must now analyze this.

On Day 1, there is of course this mysterious word, “deep”. But it works in a sentence, so I’ve kept it. We’ll have a look at this later.

On Day 4, I reflected on the insistence of the definite article of heaven. This points to “the heaven” not meaning “Heaven” where God reigns. I hadn’t dared decide this before, but it became apparent to me as I wrote it, and does lend point to the many original Hebrew translations using “the sky” instead. I now feel confident I can specify this word’s meaning as “the sky” in future versions and will do so.

Here also, the perplexing mere appendix (and ambiguously appended at that!), “the stars”, made me stop and think. After considering the alternatives, I became convinced that no, since the stars were never mentioned before, and are here mentioned without the “incantation-appearance-baptism” pattern as for the others, it must be decided they were not created in 1:16. Certainly, creation of the stars (and the planet Earth) is surely not beyond the powers of an omnipotent God, but it isn’t mentioned in or before the account of the forming of the dry land or creation of the sky in Genesis. (And also, while not within the scope of this article series, according to scholars Job tells us that God created, or at least placed, and also named every single star before the creation of planet Earth.)

-~-

Now, can an argument be made that this filtering and sentence-forming corrupts the meaning of my previous translations? I’ve gone through it again and have found none, but if you spot something along the lines of, “This sentence can be said to not imply what your previous translations do”, please share your thoughts.

Speaking clearly

The acts of creation can be read well enough and their meaning perhaps gleaned fairly well, but they’re a bit too poetic and vague, or at least not concrete enough to make sure one knows exactly what is being created. It seems to me that an account passed by God to Man would not have been muddled and inexact.

In other words, we must presume absolutely that what the scribes wrote made perfect sense to themselves. Now, if perhaps the language lacked certain terms at the time of its writing, we might discover them. Nevertheless, the scribes would certainly have been able to explain what they meant by “the deep”, “the sky”, etc – in other words point to the things God created in the world of Man.

We are after a text that speaks clearly to us of God’s acts. And therefore, we must reconcile the text, yet again,  to the world of Man before continuing.

According to Strong’s Concordance regarding tehom, AIs of deep are abyss, sea. In this verse, God is above the face or surface of the waters; he of course cannot be “above the deep” language-wise, but above the surface certainly makes sense. Now: the deep is mentioned in the same verse, and at the very start of the verse, the water-earth is mentioned (and nothing else). Certainly, if earth was really an unformed, empty water-earth, it would make sense if that surface was that of the waters, and that the deep was the deep waters of the water-earth. Deep sea would be wrong, because seas have not yet been created, but it seems certain that deep can specify nothing but deep waters.

While I have no problem understanding face of the waters as the surface of the waters, is it correct? Again, we are succumbing to fitting in words where no others seem to fit. The Hebrew word certainly means face, both a human face and the face or outer bound of an object. Certainly, phrases like “something facing a certain way” (meaning an outer part of something turning towards something else), and “on the face” (meaning superficially) have survived through Greek and Latin to our modern languages to mean this. I would judge surface to be accurate — and with really no other contenders for this word.

In the light of the above, the earth in 1:2 should be specified, to tell the difference in meaning from the dry land which God will later form and name “earth”. Two options are: the water-earth (which seems confusing to many, I would think), and the Earth (which I think clearly establishes that this verse is instead about the unformed planet covered with water). Surely, the Earth reconciles the translation the most.

We have established that the big light is the Sun, and the small light is the Moon. But here, the specified terms for Sun and Moon are not used; they are written as the big and the small light to tell us about the two big lights in the sky. It mustn’t change, and it must be (and surely is) automatically understood by the reader.

Lastly, there are the two Hebrew words representing concepts that we have no collective word for today. While festivals has been used  in modern times for religious and pagan/traditional appointed times, it has ambiguous connotations. Replacing grasses/herbs with vegetation is surely to generic! I must leave them as is, or resort to the Hebrew terms and supply a footnote. If you can think of apt English words, please suggest them!

What remains to be reconciled? If we accept that God created light itself on the first day — nothing. It certainly seems very plausible that he did,  because it would be resorting to illusion to read verses 1:3-5 as anything other than, “God created light, lit the earth, saw that it was good, and called light “Light”.

Here, then, is my Comprehensive Translation:

Day 1
In the beginning, God created the sky and the earth. The Earth was unformed and empty, and darkness was on the surface of the deep waters. The spirit of God moved above the surface of the waters.
God said, “Light, exist!”, and light existed. God saw the light, and that it was good, and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day”, and called the darkness “night”.
There was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Day 2
God said, “Expanse, exist! And be the severance of the waters, separate the waters from the waters!” God made the expanse, and separated the waters under the expanse from the waters above the expanse. God called the expanse “sky”.

There was evening and there was morning, the second day.

Day 3
God said, “The waters under the sky, gather at one place, and let dry land appear.” God called the dry land “earth”, and the gathering of the waters “seas”, and God saw that it was good.

God said, “Earth, produce grasses/herbs that sow seeds, and fruit-trees making fruits of their separate kinds that seed the earth.” Earth brought forth grasses/herbs sowing seed of its kinds, and the trees making fruit with seeds of its kind, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Day 4
God said, “Lights in the expanse of the sky, be for separating the day from the night, and for telling signs and seasons/festivals, and days and years. Lights in the expanse of the sky, light earth.” God made two big lights, the big light to rule the day, and the small light to rule the night and the stars. God put them in the expanse of the heaven to light the earth; to rule the day and the night and separate the light from the darkness, and God saw that it was good.

There was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

Can we go further to understand this better? I can see nothing that remains. I find this translation completely understandable. If you see an omission, please explain your findings.

In the next part, we will look at exactly what knowledge about our world’s origins can be said is passed from God to Man in this text.

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About maximilion

I seek truths and try to make you see them. View all posts by maximilion

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