Extract from a letter In April to the Editor of "Grace and Truth" who had written - "another word which could be studied with profit is katabole, rendered "disruption" In the CV - - I would very much value the results of your studies if you undertake this task"


I have been re-examining the subject of katabole kosmou, which you had invited me to do. I am sure I could set out an adequate analysis; but what I cannot do is to avoid censure of Bullinger, Welch and Knoch at the same time - and If you had in mind to publish that in Grace and Truth it would raise a storm.

But I can make some observations here. The idea was first mooted In 'Things to Come' in April and June of 1911 by Rev.J.C.Smith. He used the word "overthrow", which Welch, who was obsessed with the theory, also used. The word "disruption" seems to originate from Bullinger, appearing in Appendix 146 In the Companion Bible.

The concept Is entirely dependent on the validity of the Gap Theory of Genesis 1.1/2 which Is older and understood to have been Introduced by Or Thomas Chalmers In 1914 (about the time he was minister of the Tron Church In Glasgow), and who later figured In the Free Church of Scotland.

I do not myself dispute the aforesaid "validity", but It Is not part of the positive truth the Bible intends to reveal. The standard versions are correct to read Gen.l.?. as "And the earth was without form and void". Only when the Hebrew verb HAYAH has its object noun with a Lamed prefix does It mean "become" - and it does not in Gen.l:2.. The Companion Bible notes on this verse cite seven examples, of which Gen.2:7, 9.15, Deut.27.9. and 2Sam.7.24. are correct. Gen.19.26. does not have this Lamed prefix, and I note that Young reads it as, "and she is - a pillar of salt!". So Bullinger and Rotherham are wrong, as also is the CV Old Testament, in using "became".

Probably no one would dispute that kataballO. means "to cast down"; or even that katabalE. means "a casting down"; but the essential point has been missed that even in English "casting down" may be positive or negative, it can be constructive as in foundry work or building, or can be destructive as in demolition, ^'ow though kataballO is used in both senses katabolE is only used In a positive sense - so say goodbye to Overthrow and Disruption !

The verb thermelioO. properly appropriates the English word 'to found' and so I suggest that katabolE. be rendered as 'establishing'. It fully conveys the positive sense that is required for all its occurrences. That sense has been so well expounded by Alexander Thomson that I can do no better than refer you what he has written, of which I enclose a copy. He does not accept the Gap Theory, though I do not rule it out myself.


(1) The article by Alexander Thomson was in the "Differentiator" of February 1959. The gist of his argument was that as the phrase never has the article it must refer to one known event and has "the distinctness of a proper name". The expression 'laying down of world' must have been well known and understood to the Adamic Race which would not be so with any primeval "disruption". He maintains the phrase means the creation and spreading abroad of the Human Race.

(2) The extension of the idea to the Seed in Hebrews 11.11. has been misunderstood partly by not observing that it 1s the faith not of Abraham but of Sarah, and also by assuming the English word "sperm" is equatable to the Greek sperma. The Greek word means "seed", as also does Its equivalent Hebrew word zerha, both literally meaning seed in a horticultural sense. More commonly Scripture uses it figuratively for human posterity. The faith of Sarah gave her strength for "establishing" a seed, a lineage by Isaac.

(3) My views on the Genesis Gap Theory are given in an article which appeared in The Open Forum of November 1992.

M.S.Lloyd, Glasgow July 1997

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