Ask Questions, Bible Study, Biblical Greek, Biblical Hebrew, Book of Isaiah, Christian Life, Indwelling Spirit, Isaiah 45:7, Work it Out
Hello and welcome-or welcome back-to Renaissance Woman where, this week, I am continuing my study of Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things” (NKJV).
I have not fully plumbed the depths of the meaning of “calamity” in this passage which other translations have as “evil”. I have no doubt I’ll be looking at the Hebrew ra and the Greek kakos and poneros again in other studies. I am moving on in the study because I have answered one of my questions to my own satisfaction: when God says, “I create darkness…I create calamity” does that mean neither existed until He created it and thus He is the source of both?
My study has shown me that answer is no. The Hebrew word bara translated as “create” does not mean “to make something out of nothing” and, in some passages where the word is used, it cannot possibly mean that as those “creating” are doing so out of something that already exists. There is no reason to apply the “make something out of nothing” meaning to this passage in Isaiah and I have found it borne out by many other passages in the Bible: God is not the source of darkness nor evil. However, He is found inside the darkness that is mankind’s resulting state after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I also find calamity, badness, and circumstances “injurious to happiness” (which are all better definitions of ra then “evil”) are used by God to instruct and correct His people and to bring about His will.
Which does, I think, raise another question: is our God a trustworthy God? Of course every Believer cries a resounding “yes!” but let’s pretend we don’t know God. Our eyes have not been opened by the Holy Spirit to see Him as He really is. Let’s pretend we do not know the Father in the face of Jesus. Is the same Lord who says, “I, the Lord, do all these things,” One who can be trusted? The second part of Isaiah 45:6 says, “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.”
I think that, to a one, every Christian would agree there is only one God. And yet, I do not see that belief upheld by what I hear Christians saying and what I read in the books they are writing. Christians really do believe in two Gods. There’s the one God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but then there’s His opposite. Perhaps that god only warrants a little ‘g’ but he is as omnipotent as God, and is in many ways more powerful than God. God had a plan you see, and the little ‘g’ god came and messed it up in the Garden of Eden so badly big ‘G’ God is salvaging what He can. Little ‘g’ rules the underworld and will have untold numbers of the people of God enslaved in his domain where he will torment them for all eternity. Sound familiar?
This is not a post on the existence of hell or even the meanings of the words translated “hell” on the Old and New Testaments. I am going to take a moment to point out a few matters of interest. The word for “hell” in the Hebrew is sheol (H7585) and is translated as “hell” in various passages in the KJV. It is translated an almost equal number of times as “grave” and then three times as “pit”. There are three words in the Greek translated as “hell”: geenna (G1067) though most of us are more familiar with the words Gehenna or Hinnom or Ge-Hinnom, hades (G86), and tartaroo (G5020). Hades is also translated once as “grave” in 1 Corinthians 15:55 (though two different Greek words are used for “grave” in other passages) and tartaroo only appears in 2 Peter 2:4.
“Doesn’t matter”, I hear my Christian brethren say: the words all mean the same thing. I put it to you they cannot possibly mean the same thing. Open your concordance to the entry for “Hell” and look which Greek words are associated with “burning” or “fire”. To a one, that Greek word is geenna. Even James 3:6 has geenna rather than hades. Then, take a look at Revelation 20:14: “Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” It does not make sense that hell, which is a place already on fire according to the words of Jesus Himself, would be cast into the Lake of Fire. Those same believers will insist hell is a place of separation from God forever with no hope of escape but then one has to consider these passages (quoted from the KVJ):
“For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell” Psalm 16:10
“…Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell” Psalm 86:13
“…if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou are there” Psalm 139:8
“The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath” Proverbs 15:24
Again, this is not a post arguing for or against the existence of hell. What I am saying is how extremely important to heed the words of Paul: “Test everything. Hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). When I began questioning what I was being taught from the pulpit, looking up the passages that described the hell I was so afraid I’d go to if I ended up backsliding, I found much of what I was told was NOT AT ALL backed up by the Bible. I recently read an article where the author quoted Gleanings from Gussie by Patricia “Gus” Nolan Savas where she writes, “whereas many Roman Catholics worship their religion, many Protestants worship the Bible” (Savas, xiii). I also recently heard the term “Bible Preach”. As I am always looking for Christians to say something along the lines of “Holy Spirit lead, teach, comfort, interpret, and guide”, this did not set well with me. And yet, since the majority of Christian denominations have sidelined the Holy Spirit and pay Him little more than lip service, “Bible Preach” is the best they’ve got. Very well then, let your Bible Preach.
Ask questions. Look these passages up for yourself. See if what you are being taught is the truth. Does the Bible really teach this destination theology, i.e. you’ll either go to heaven or hell when you die? Or, does it teach us of the fruit-filled and fruit-bearing, overcoming, peace in the midst of tribulation life we have in Jesus Christ right this moment through His Spirit dwelling within us? When you’ve done that, look up the passages that mention the Holy Spirit and see if what you’ve been told about His vanishing from the world the moment the Biblical canon was finalized can possibly be the truth. When you’ve done that, ask Him to open your eyes to the truth that only He can tell you. Ask Him to guide you into all Truth, the truth that is Jesus Christ alone.
Test everything. Hold fast what is good. The Greek word for “good” in this passage is kalos (G2570). The Strong’s concordance defines it as “beautiful, good, valuable, virtuous, worthy”. The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament goes a bit deeper. While its definition for kalos does contain “beautiful-being attractive in outer appearance” it also defines kalos as “pertaining to being in accordance at a high level with the purpose of something or someone” and “morally good, pleasing to God, contributing to salvation.” I also hear the accusation made that those who are questioning and refuting are choosing only those scriptures that they like or make them feel good. I don’t doubt some are but I do not allow accusations and mockery to stop me from working out my own salvation with fear and trembling (which is not describing terror of God!).
Knowing our God, living in vital union relationship with Him is a matter of life and death and that not reserved until after our body dies but life and death right this moment. Just because someone tells you who God is or writes a book or has a vision, does not mean what they are saying, speaking, or seeing is the truth. Test everything. Hold fast what is good. If the underworld we’ve been taught to believe in is not upheld by the Bible, there needs to be a thorough look at the idea of a little ‘g’ god of evil. Which I intend to do next week.
Danker, Frederick William, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, Third Edition, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinios, 1957,2000, Page 504-505
Savas, Patricia Nolan, Gleanings from Gussie, CSN Books, San Diego, California, 2009
Strong, James, LL.D., S.T.D., The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, 1990
Walker, G. Allen, Koine Greek Textbook, Volume IV-V, 2014-2017
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