This series has been difficult. I have reached a point in my life and in my walk with the Lord where false teaching just drives me absolutely batty. When I am exposed to something twisted and wrong taught in the name of God, my pulse pounds. I want to throw things. I want to shake people.
I’ve been tempted to quit. I’ve slammed my laptop closed.
Nevertheless, we march on.
As we discussed last week, all false belief systems contain some element of elitism. This can be expressed as racism, classism, sexism, etc. Shepherd’s Chapel is no exception. Their twisted teaching on Cain and the Kenites, their ideas of preexistence, the thought that only Arnold Murray ever really got it right puts them firmly in that camp. But it gets weirder.
Let’s descend into the crazy, shall we?
Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are used by Shepherd’s Chapel in two main ways: making much out of the word katabole and wrongly understanding adam and eth ha adam. (Obviously those words look quite different in Hebrew; we’re going with phonetics).
First, katabole. This is a Greek word meaning “a throwing or laying down (the injection or depositing of the virile semen in the womb, of the seed of plants and animals); a founding (laying down a foundation).” Katabole appears in the New Testament 11 times; 10 times it is translated as “foundation,” once it is translated as “conceive.”
What does that have to do with the creation account of Genesis?
Shepherd’s Chapel assumes preexistence and, by extension, ascribes to the Gap Theory of Creation. There is some unidentified length of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. God created the world, He destroyed it because of Satanic rebellion and then He “reformed” it. As Shepherd’s Chapel members already believe this, they must make the text conform to the belief. Using their pal Bullinger’s shoddy Companion Bible, they insist that the word should be translated as “disruption, ruin or destroy.”
…when the word is used in connection with the birth of a child it carries the meaning of conceive. When used in the connection with the world it carries the meaning of founding or creating (conceiving the world). It does NOT carry the meaning of destruction, overthrow, destroyed, or ruin in any circumstance. The use of “laying down” or “throwing down” is only correct in the connotation of laying a foundation or creating not in the sense of destroying or judgment. – Colby Braden
And except…Genesis was not written in Greek. Nope. The Hebrew words used to describe God’s creative activity are bara (to shape or create) and asah (to do or make). Clearly nothing about destruction or ruin or overthrowing.
Shepherd’s Chapel students often argue that the word translated as “was” in the KJV and most English Translations of Genesis 1:2 should actually be translated “became” as in “the Earth became formless and void.” This, to them, proves the supposed katabole.
…it suffers from a number of hermeneutical problems:
Time cannot be inserted between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 because verse 2 does not follow verse 1 in time. Verse 2 uses a Hebrew grammatical device that is called a waw-disjunctive. This is where a sentence begins with the Hebrew word for and (waw) followed by a noun such as the earth (erets). A waw-disjunctive indicates that the sentence is describing the previous one and does not follow in time. In other words, verse 2 is describing the conditions of the earth when it was first created. Hebrew grammar simply will not allow for the insertion of vast periods of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 in which a supposed satanic fall took place. – Colby Braden
They think that the text should be translated this way because they already believe it. This is an example of circular reasoning, a logical fallacy in which the reasoner begins with what they are trying to end with.
So, God’s out there creating and destroying and reforming. There’s this battle and if you fight well you’ll be saved and if not you get the curse of free will. Bizarre goings-on about different cosmic ages. He then makes all the races on the sixth day. He makes Adam on the eighth.
Again I am compelled to say that I am not making this up.
Shepherd’s Chapel assumes pre-Adamic races. Using Genesis 1:24-31, they conclude that God created other people because the word adam in verse 26 is the generic term for man or mankind. In Genesis 2:7, the definite article and particle appear, eth ha adam, meaning that a specific adam is the focus. So, obviously (to them), God made a bunch of other people on the sixth day, took a nap break and came back on the eighth to make Adam.
Genesis 1 and 2 are so badly mishandled by this group. There is no understanding whatsoever that the first chapter provides a panoramic view of the totality of God’s work in creation and the second chapter zeros in on humanity. They assume that Genesis 2 is an eighth day. Have you noticed how often that word, assume, keeps popping up?
Please, I beg you to think about this for a second. All the text of the first two chapters of Genesis says is that God made man and named him Man.
There’s just nothing more you can get from it.
No different than naming a sock monkey, Monkey.
Naming a cat, Kitty.
I won’t insult your intelligence by going on. You get the point.
It frightens me how cavalierly people use Scripture. How they twist it and shape it without much thought to the consequences.
For all the posts in the Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing series, go here.