A review of “In the Beginings” by Steven E. Dill

In_the_beginningsIn his book “In The Beginnings” Steven E. Dill presents his arguments for adopting the “Gap theory” interpretation of the Creation account given in Geneses 1. While I personally do not see the “Gap theory” as the best explanation for the account given in Genesis 1, my criticisms of Dill’s books are unrelated to my rejection of the Gap theory. There are good scholars that present reasonable arguments for the “Gap Theory” and while I would also disagree with their conclusions, I do respect their work. On the other hand, Dill’s book is one that I could not recommend. Dill rarely provides references for the claims he makes, some of which are quite absurd. He often tries to bolster his position by claiming that Hebrew scholars (frequently unidentified) do agree with him and yet he subsequently spends four pages (pages 128-131) trying to explain why all of the leading Hebrew scholars have misunderstood the text of Genesis 1 and why he (without any knowledge of the Hebrew language) was able to determine what they had failed to see. The suggestion is clear, if Hebrew scholars disagree with him, it is because they just didn’t understand the text, but if they do agree with his position then their status as Hebrew scholars adds credibility to his argument. It is a “heads I win, tails you lose” kind of argument. There are many factual errors in the text of this book (both scientific and linguistic). I have highlighted a few of the linguistic errors below.

Let’s take a look at some of the claims Dill makes:

Dill claims that some Hebrew scholars believe that “yom” when modified by a number ALWAYS refers to a literal day. The truth is that Hebrew scholars are divided on the question about whether the word “yom” in Genesis 1 refers to a literal 24 hour day or something else; however, no legitimate scholar would make the claim that every instance of “yom” when combined with a numerical modifier ALWAYS refers to a literal 24 hour day. They don’t make this claim because there are existent texts in both the OT and other Hebrew literature that demonstrate the fallacy of this claim.

Dill says:

“In my studies of the biblical account of creation, I have discovered that it doesn’t take much effort to find conflicting opinions among the scholars. There are Hebrew scholars who will agree with what I just said. They agree that when one of these numerical modifiers is added to YOWM, it always refers to a literal day.”  pg 67

And he then continues with:

“How do I explain the fact that I think they [Hebrew scholars] are absolutely wonderful but absolutely wrong? I can only assume that they base their opinion on extra-biblical Hebrew writings. Apparently YOWM plus a number doesn’t have to mean a twenty-four hour day when you look at the entire history of the Hebrew language. While this may be true in other writings, I still insist that in the bible, YOWM plus a number always refers to a literal day”, pg 67

On page page 68 lists a number of verses beginning  in which a number and the word ‘yom’ are used where he claims the meaning is a literal 24 hour day. A quick glance at his list revealed that he had included Zach. 14:7. However, Zach. 14:7 refers to an eschatological day that is unending i.e. this verse actually disproves the very thing he is trying to prove. I did not bother to check the rest of the list, so there may be other equally inaccurate citations included. Included below is the verse in question, in context, and a couple of other biblical references that refer to this same day. Additionally, I have included part of the description of this day given in the New American Commentary on Zachariah.

“On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day without daytime or nighttime–a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name”. Zec 14:6-9 NIV (a “unique day” is Lit. “yom echad” exactly as it is in Genesis 1:5)

“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.” Isa 60:19-21 NIV

“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever” Rev 22:5 NIV

 

“The statement that this unique day will know neither “daytime nor nighttime” continues the thought from v.6 that there will no longer be any light. This absence of light, as stated above, does not necessarily suggest darkness. Rather, any light visible to the people would emanate from the Lord himself. More to the point, no longer would people mark time by the movement of the earth around d various heavenly bodies. The changes in physical phenomena that have delineated days since the very beginning of time could not possibly describe the scope of the changes the Lord will accomplish in his new creation.” New American Commentary, Zachariah.

When trying to describe the function of the conjunctive vav, Dill says that

“Genesis 1:2 begins with the Hebrew word WAW (Sometimes written as VAV)”, In The Beginnings, Steven E. Dill, pg 134.

Here, he did not even get the facts about the conjunction itself correct. The “vav” is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it is not a Hebrew word and the letter itself is used many different ways. In its use as a prefixed conjunction it most commonly carries a sense of “and”, but it can carry a sense of “or,” “but.” Additionally, it can mean “now” in a stylistic sense but not in a sense of immediacy i.e. in English we prefer not to begin sentences with the word “and” but this is quite common in Hebrew. English stylists will often exchange “and” for “now” in English translations to reflect better English style. Below I have included the Hebrew text of Ge. 1:2., beginning right to left, the first letter of the first word is the conjunctive vav, the second letter (also a prefix) is the definite article, and the last three letters form the word “eretz” (land, or earth). In other words, the first “word” of the text doesn’t read “and” it reads “and the earth”

והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשׁך על־פני תהום ורוח אלהים מרחפת על־פני המים

On page 133 Dills states that:

“”The earth” pretty much means “the earth” as far as I can tell from the scholars.”

However, most scholars translate this as “the earth” not because the word generally means “the earth” (it doesn’t) but because it is part of the complete phrase “את השׁמים ואת הארץ” (the heavens and the earth). In this context it refers to the whole earth i.e. the globe on which we live. When these Hebrew words appear alone they are typically translated as “sky” and “land” and take on the expanded meaning of “the whole earth” only when the context itself demands.

 

On page 75 Dill states that:

“The creation account in Genesis cannot be subjected to twisted interpretations. “Night” always means “night.” “Morning” always means “morning.” “Evening” always means “evening”. All of these words refer to portions of the normal twenty-four [hour?] day.”

Unfortunately Dill didn’t bother even looking at a Hebrew lexicon before making this absurd claim. Even my pocket lexicon includes several definitions for בקר (translated as morning in Genesis 1) i.e. morning, morning-time, dawn; the next morning, tomorrow, early, soon, etc…, and a reference like HALOT provide a great deal more. In Hebrew, context and grammar must drive meaning because most Hebrew roots have a much broader semantic range than do the words used in English translation.

On page 184, he states that:

“Often a special Hebrew construction using the imperfect form of the verb asserts that something came to pass (cf. Gen. 1:7, 9). Less often, the construction is used with the perfect form of the verb to refer to something coming to pass in the future. (Isa. 7:18, 21; Hos. 2:16).”

The “special Hebrew construction” to which Dill refers is called a “vav consecutive” or “vav conversive” and it is frequently used (i.e. thousands of times) in OT narratives with both perfect and imperfect verb forms. When a conjunctive vav is prefixed to a verb (any verb not just HYH) in ancient Hebrew narratives, it changes the sense of that verb from the perfect to the imperfect or from the imperfect to the perfect. The vav consecutive demonstrates a continuance in the flow of the narrative rather and not a change to the action of the verb aside from the shift between perfect/imperfect or imperfect/perfect. The perfect and imperfect sense of Biblical Hebrew verbs very loosely correlates to our past and future verb tenses but should be thought of as complete (perfect) or incomplete (imperfect) actions rather than simple “past” and “future” actions. With or without the prefixed conjunction, biblical Hebrew verbs may be used to communicate a variety of perfect/imperfect tenses and context alone is what determines which tense is best used in translation.

The foundation of Dill’s argument is based on his interpretation of the Hebrew language of Genesis 1. However, Dill clearly does not read Hebrew and, throughout his book, he repeatedly demonstrates very significant misunderstandings of the Hebrew language. Unfortunately his misunderstandings of the Hebrew language frequently lead to grossly inaccurate conclusions. For those who do read Hebrew, this book will often leave you cringing. For example, the section headings for the days of Genesis (in great big bold letters) read “ECHAD YOM,” “SHENI YOM,” etc… (OUCH!). For those who don’t read Hebrew, these should have been “YOM ECHAD,” “YOM SHENI,” etc…  This is the equivalent of writing Daymon, Daytues, etc… instead of Monday, Tuesday. If we saw this in a text, we would be pretty sure that the author didn’t speak English. There is very little that is said about the language that can be trusted. This is a book that provides very little value to anyone trying to understand the text of Genesis 1.

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Comments

  1. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my book and caring enough to thoroughly criticize it. I MEAN THAT! The reason I feel this way is because I assume you love the Word of God and you think I am telling lies about it. If that is what I am doing, and if my motive is to dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, and if I am trying to drive people away from believing the Bible, then I deserve every scalding criticism you make, and even more. You take a very hostile approach, and when I followed the link to the rest of your review, I discovered you blast me even more harshly. But again, I deserve every ounce of your wrath if I am as evil and ignorant as you seem to imply.

    I will respond to your criticisms as best I can, but I can’t do it in one setting. You charge me with a lot of errors and it will take a long time to defend myself in detail. I will try to respond to each charge one at a time so that you and the readers can decide if I should spend eternity in the Lake of Fire or not.

    Before I start, I would love to know what interpretation of the Biblical Creation Account you think is true. You don’t say what you believe about creation, other than that you don’t believe the Gap Theory, so I am going to have to make an assumption in order to continue my defense. I suspect from the way you blasted my belief that the Six Days of Creation were literal 24-hour days, that you are not a Young-Earth creationists. Young-Earth creationists love my defense of literal days. (Of course, they hate the rest of the book because it shows how wrong Young-Earth Theology is.) From that, I am going to assume you believe some form of Old-Earth Day-Age, Progressive creationism. If I am wrong, please let me know as soon as possible because I don’t want to make people think you believe things you don’t believe. Knowing what you believe will help me understand you much better and it will help me answer your charges against me with more specificity.

    So, in my first response to you, let me deal with two attacks on my book. You say two things about my lack of citing the sources for my beliefs:

    “Dill rarely provides references for the claims he makes,”

    “He often tries to bolster his position by claiming that Hebrew scholars (frequently unidentified) do agree with him…”

    Are your claims true? Do I rarely provide references? Do I frequently leave my Hebrew scholars unidentified? Let’s look at my book at see. Here is my list of general references:

    “General References

    1. Dill, Steven E.: Objections to the Doctrine of Evolution
    Copyright 1995: Steven E. Dill, Louisville, Kentucky
    Unpublished at this time

    2. Kimball, John W.: Biology 2nd Edition
    Copyright: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. 1969

    3. Carpenter, Kenneth: Eggs, Nests, and Baby Dinosaurs
    Copyright Kenneth Carpenter 1999
    Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press

    4. Hayward, Alan: Creation and Evolution
    Copyright: Alan Hayward. 1985
    Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers

    5. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 130

    6. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 130

    7. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 131

    8. Dillman, August, Genesis Critically and Exegetically Expounded
    (Translation by W. B. Stevenson)
    Edinburgh: Clark, 1897

    9. Young, Robert, Literal Translation of the Bible,
    Public Domain

    10. Thieme, Robert B., Jr., Creation, Chaos, and Restoration
    Copyright: Robert B. Thieme, Jr., 1974
    Houston: Berachah Tapes and Publications, page 23

    11. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 131

    12. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 131

    13. Custance, Arthur C., Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page xi

    14. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 131

    15. Quoted by Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications, page 132

    16. Strong, James, Strong’s Dictionary of the Hebrew Language
    Copyright: James Strong, 1890
    London: Hodder and Stroughton

    17. The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
    Copyright 1981: The Lockman Foundation

    18. Strong, James, Strong’s Dictionary of the Hebrew Language
    Copyright: James Strong, 1890
    London: Hodder and Stroughton

    19. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version
    Copyright: 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    20. Scofield, C. I., The New Scofield Reference Bible
    New York London Toronto: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1967

    21. Larkin, Clarence, Dispensational Truth
    Copyright: Clarence Larkin, 1920
    Philadelphia: Rev. Clarence Larkin Est.

    22. Thieme, Robert B., Jr., Creation, Chaos, and Restoration
    Copyright: Robert B. Thieme, Jr., 1974
    Houston: Berachah Tapes and Publications, pages 1-12

    23. Dake, Finis Jennings, Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible
    Copyright: Finis Jennings Dake, 1963
    Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, Inc.

    24.Sauer, Eric, The King of the Earth
    London: Paternoster Press, 1970

    25. Pember, G. H., Earth’s Earliest Ages
    London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1876
    Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications

    26. Ramm, Bernard, The Christian View of Science and Scripture
    London: Paternoster Press, 1964

    27. Darby, John Nelson, (1800-1882) Collected Writings in 34 Volumes, Edited by William Kelly
    Public Domain

    28. Jamieson, Robert; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David,
    Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible,
    Public Domain, 1871

    29. Edersheim, Alfred, Bible History, Old Testament, (1890) Public Domain
    Book 1: The World Before the Flood, and the History of the Patriarchs.
    Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. 1995

    30. Pink, A. W., Gleanings in Genesis,
    Public Domain,

    31. Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, p. 39
    Copyright: Lewis Sperry Chafer, 1947
    Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, Sixth Printing, December 1969

    32. Archer, Gleason, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction
    Copyright: Gleason Archer, 1974
    Chicago: Moody Press

    33. Anstey, Martin, The Romance of Bible Chronology,
    London, 1913, p. 62
    Marshal Brothers, LTD., London, Edinburgh, and New York, 1913

    34. Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament, p. 262
    Copyright: 2003 AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37421

    35. Coates, Charles Andrew, (1862-1945)
    An Outline of the Book of Genesis
    Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey: Stow Hill Bible and Tract Depot, 1921.

    36. Kelly, William, (1821-1906)
    Lectures on the Pentateuch
    London: W. H. Broom, 1871 (Public Domain)

    37. Gaebelein, Arno Clement, (1821-1945)
    The Annotated Bible, the Book of Genesis
    Copyright 1919 Arno Clement Gaebelein (Public Domain)

    38. Grant, Frederick William, (1834-1902)
    Genesis in the Light of the New Testament
    New York: Loizeaux Brothers. (Public Domain)

    39. Hole, Frank Binford, (1874-1964)
    Genesis (Public Domain)

    40. Barnes, Albert, (1798-1870)
    Notes on the Bible (Public Domain)

    41. Ginzberg, Louis, (1873-1953)
    The Legends of the Jews, The Creation of the World, p.4
    Copyright 1912: the Jewish Publication Society,
    Philadelphia

    42. Custance, Arthur C., Without Form and Void
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications

    43. Custance, Arthur C., Without Form and Void, p. 102
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications

    44. Han, Nathan E., A Parsing Guide to the Greek New Testament, (Sixth Printing)
    Copyright: Herald Press, 1971
    Scottsdale, Pennsylvania

    45. Custance, Arthur C. Custance, Without Form and Void, p. 18 and Appendix XIX
    Copyright: Arthur C. Custance, 1970
    Brockville, Ontario: Doorway Publications

    46. The Wollemi PineTree
    Copyright: The National Geographic Society, 2006
    Washington, D.C.

    47. M. Krings, A. Stone, R. W. Schmitz, H. Krainitzki, M. Stoneking, and S. Pääbo, July 1997.
    Neanderthal DNA Sequences and the Origin of Modern Humans
    Cell 90:19-30.

    48. Igor Ovchinnikov, A. Götherström, G. P. Romanoval, V. M. Kharitonov, K. Lidén, and
    W. Goodwin, March 2000.
    Molecular Analysis of Neanderthal DNA from the Northern Caucasus
    Nature 404:490-493.

    49. James Strong, Strong’s Dictionary of the Hebrew Language
    Copyright: James Strong, 1890
    London: Hodder and Stroughton

    50. Anstey, Martin, The Romance of Bible Chronology,
    London, 1913, p. 62
    Marshal Brothers, LTD., London, Edinburgh, and New York, 1913

    51. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2311
    Copyright : 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    52. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2282
    Copyright: 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    53. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2282
    Copyright : 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    54. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2283
    Copyright: 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    55. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2283
    Copyright: 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.

    56. The Complete Word Study Old Testament King James Version, p. 2283
    Copyright: 1994 AMG International, Inc. D/B/A AMG Publishers
    Chattanooga, TN 37422, U.S.A.”

    I think 56 references qualify for something more than providing rare references. How about quoting scholars who are frequently unidentified? Here is the list of scholars I identify in my book:

    1. Martin Anstey
    2. Warren Baker
    3. Albert Barnes
    4. David Brown
    5. Eugene Carpenter
    6. Lewis Sperry Chafer
    7. Thomas Chalmers
    8. Charles Andrew Coates
    9. Arthur Custance
    10. Finis Jennings Dake
    11. John Nelson Darby
    12. August Dillman
    13. Alfred Edersheim
    14. Simon Episcopius
    15. Andrew Fausset
    16. Arno Clement Gaebelein
    17. Louis Ginsberg
    18. Frederick William Grant
    19. Frank Binford Hole
    20. Herb Jahn
    21. Robert Jamieson
    22. William Kelly
    23. Clarence Larkin
    24. George Pember
    25. A. W. Pink
    26. J. G. Rosenmullen
    27. Joseph Bryant Rotherham
    28. Eric Sauer
    29. C. I. Scofield
    30. J. Pye Smith
    31. Robert B. Thieme

    These are all scholars who believe(d) in some form of the Gap Theory. (The Gap Theory has many variations; I don’t believe in many of them.) All these scholars are listed in the Index of my book along with the page numbers to what they said and believed. There shouldn’t be any problem for a reader to confirm this. Just turn to page 389 where the Index starts, and you will see. I also list a couple of scholars who did not believe in the Gap Theory themselves, but admitted that it is not grammatically, theologically, or scientifically wrong to translate Genesis 1:2 in a way that defends the Gap Theory. Those two scholars are Hebrew professor Gleason Archer and theologian and apologist Bernard Ramm. Neither man believed the Ruin-Restoration Theory, but both men admitted it could be possible. I also listed the NIV note that said Genesis 1:2 could possibly be translated. “But the earth became without form, and void.” I also made numerous references to Arthur Custance’s book, Without Form and Void. I mentioned that Custance made reference to about 80 scholars down through the ages who believed in some form of a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. I didn’t list those names in my book because I didn’t feel a need to copy his work. I didn’t see a need to reinvent the wheel. But so you will know, here is a partial list of some of the scholars Custance cited:

    Justin Martyr
    St. Gregory Nazianzen
    Origen
    Theodoret
    Augustine
    Simeon ben Jochai
    Caedmon
    Alcuin of York
    Hugo St. Victor
    Thomas Aquinas
    Benedict Pererius
    Dionysius Petavius
    Edgar, King of England
    John Harris
    J. H. Kurtz
    Johann August Dathe
    Franz Delitzsch
    Fr. H. Reusch
    George Gleig
    Thorleif Boman
    E. B. Pusey
    August Dillman

    I have been working on a third edition of my book, and I will include some more scholars to defend my belief when I publish it:

    John Bird Sumner
    William Daniel Conybeare
    William Phillips
    William Mullinger Higgins
    Sharon Turner
    Edward Hitchcock
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon
    William White, Jr.
    Merrill F. Unger

    Again, these are all scholars who believed in some form of the Gap Theory.

    So this is the end of my first response to you. My question to you and to anyone who reads this response is this:

    Do I rarely provide references and do I leave my Hebrew scholars unidentified?

    Because I listed 56 references and 31 names, I believe your first two attacks against my book are without merit.

    I await your response and the response of anyone who has read my book.

    A slave of Jesus Christ,

    Steven Dill
    Louisville, KY

    P.S. Since I have a doctorate in a life-science, I especially want to know the scientific errors you accused me of making.

    1. Mike Tisdell says:

      Steven E. Dill,

      Before I begin to address the issues with the book itself, I think it is important that I begin by addressing some apparent misperceptions you have about what motivated my review. I do not believe that you were deliberately trying to be dishonest, I do not believe that your motive is to dishonor our Lord Jesus Christ, I do not believe that you are trying to drive people away from believing the Bible, nor do I believe you are evil. My difficulty is not with the theory you presented, it is with the evidence you used to support your theory. While I do not believe it was your intention to mislead people, I do believe your book contains significant errors that are very misleading. I did find it very presumptuous for you to suggest that you have discovered something about the Hebrew text that scholars throughout the ages missed. It would have been far wiser to recognize how little you know about the Hebrew language and raise your questions with those who are able to read the Hebrew text themselves. I truly believe that you would have found that competent Hebrew scholars would have easily been able to explain why they reject some of the claims you have made.

      I believe that views on creation are mostly a secondary issue and I believe there should be a wide latitude given for different views. There have been differing views regarding the time period and method God used to create the universe for as long as the church itself has existed and unfortunately there has also been far too much fighting over very specific interpretations (especially in the last couple of centuries). We need to remember that the text of Genesis is very old and we are far removed from the time and culture to which it was first given and that creates some significant difficulties for those who are trying to interpret this text; those difficulties should be recognized and latitude given for differences of opinion. While I do believe that some interpretations do step outside of the bounds of honest exegesis (and orthodoxy), there are many valid interpretations of the creation account in Genesis that lie within the boundaries of orthodoxy. Views like the Young Earth theory, the Gap theory, the Day age theory, the Framework theory, are but a few of those that lie within bounds of orthodoxy. Healthy debate should be encouraged but vicious fighting that results in accusations of evil motivations should be avoided.

      Because I have given the book back, I will take your word about the references contained in the index at the back of the book. In the book there were many instances where Hebrew scholars were mentioned in the text without reference to names, footnotes, or endnotes; nothing gave me a clue that these would be provided in the index of the book. I will assume that failing to look at the index was my mistake. The only name that I remembered from the text of the book itself was Gleason’s and that is what prompted me to revisit this old review. A friend recently asked me about my opinion of Gleason and I had remembered having difficulty with a number of the claims Gleason made that you had cited in your book but I didn’t remember if I had addressed them in this review. For context, here is the quote from a letter written by Gleason on March 30, 1988 that caused me to go back and look again for information I had about Gleason’s views, in his letter he says “As everyone knows, the art of translating is to hide from the reader how much he is being misled.” I hope this quote from Gleason troubles you as much as it troubled me.

      In your response, you state that “I also list a couple of scholars who did not believe in the Gap Theory themselves, but admitted that it is not grammatically, theologically, or scientifically wrong to translate Genesis 1:2 in a way that defends the Gap Theory.” However, Most Hebrew scholars would say that translating this as “had become/became” is grammatically wrong. That does not mean that such a meaning is impossible but it does suggest that such a meaning would be unusual. The grammatical problem with translating this as “had become/became” rather than simply “was” is because the normal grammatical structure …היה ל used for communicating “had become/became” is not present in Ge. 1:2. While this does not preclude the possibility for such a treatment of Ge. 1:2, it does make the argument for treating it this way far weaker.

      I would also encourage you to read some of the author’s, like Origen, Augustin, etc…, that you suggest believed in a form of the Gap theory. While it is true that many in the early church rejected a literal 7 – 24 hour day interpretation of Genesis 1, there is very little evidence that they believed in a form of the Gap theory. A great place to start would be Agustin’s “The literal meaning of Genesis.”

      In your third revision, I would encourage you to revisit many of the arguments you make in support of your theory. Avoid overstating the strengths of your arguments and acknowledge the places where your arguments are weak. Check the references cited by those you reference to make sure that you are not being misled. And because so much of your argument is based on an understanding of the Hebrew language, I would strongly encourage you to enlist the help of someone who fluently reads the language. Additionally, make sure that the references you cite are clear in the text of the book itself. The biggest shortcomings of your current book are the factual errors and if these were addressed, your book could be a valuable addition to this debate.

  2. Bob Handley says:

    Two things that Young Earth Creationim (YEC) can’t answer from the Scriptures:
    1. If YEC believe that Genesis 1:2 was part of the original creation, why wasn’t the earth made perfect? All of God’s creations were made perfect.
    2. Where did the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter come from?
    YEC is, at the best, is ludicrous.

    1. Mike Tisdell says:

      I personally do not believe the YEC view provides the best answers about our origins when looking at either Scripture or scientific evidence but not all forms of YEC are “ludicrous.” Looking at your two points:

      1) All forms of YEC (of which I am aware) believe that the earth was created perfect and became imperfect after the fall. Most creationists, both old and young, would explain the imperfections of our world as a result of sin itself.

      2) Some who hold YEC points of view do acknowledge that, through the lens of science, the universe appears very old. They would suggest that an omnipotent and omniscient God is more than capable of creating, in the blink of an eye, a universe that is already fully formed and has the appearance of great age. This poses ethical questions about God’s character that I personally find very difficult to reconcile with Scripture but I don’t believe this would rise to the level of “ludicrous.”

  3. Paul Glenn Cawley says:

    Mr. Mike Tisdell,
    Wow. Mr. Dill provided a complete rebuttal of your two main attacks and you never even addressed them. Typical of someone who has an agenda to shut someone down without wanting to provide any direct answers to your own criticisms. Hmmm….and you thought you showed how inaccurate Mr. Dill’s book was when really you EXAGERRATED GREATLY his main errors and Mr. Dill PROVED that YOU were inaccurate in your analysis. Interesting….how can I believe anything else you said?

    1. Mike Tisdell says:

      I responded to Dill, and still believe Dill’s claims to be in error and no, Dill has not proved my analysis to be inaccurate.