Heb 11:11 shines at least a little light on the question, that is why I lean towards “conception” or “foundation”. when there is little evidence, to me what evidence there is should bear some weight on the question. I dont see construction or disruption fitting the verse concernng Sarah and the conception of Isaac.
Eaglesway, as I see it, the word “construction” fits Heb 11:11 perfectly.
Here is the Greek with word-for-word English below:
πιστει__ και_ αυτη__σαρρα δυναμιν εις καταβολην σπερματος___ ελαβειν…
In faith also herself Sarah__power_into construction of offspring received
Here is a translation made as literal as I know how:
In Greek, the preposition “εις”, whose lexical meaning is usually given as “into”, frequently means “with a view to” or “for the purpose of” or “with the result of.”
Yea, I get what you are saying, I just disagree.
The context makes it clear to me that it is conception that the writer is speaking of. The preposition has no bearing on it, since “with a view to” conception or “for the purpose of” conception works equally well as with “construction”.
I see no evidence to prefer “construction”, for katabole, especially in reference to the pregnancy of a woman, over “conception” which fits both context and etymology, as well as the concept being communicated, which has to do with inception, the seed, even as the other ten verses where katabole occurs are in that same sense, i.e. “before the foundation of the world”…like saying “in the design phase” or “as was conceived by the architect”.
The best way to determine the meaning of a Greek word is to look at all the contexts in which it is used. Do you know of any other reference in any Greek manuscript within or outside the New Testαment in which it would make any sense to translate καταβολη as “conception”?
This is the interlinear text copied from the interlinear bible on biblehub.
Like I said before, it is the only place in all the NT where the word is used as anything other than a part of the phrase “the foundation of the world.” The foundation of the world is explained in a similar sense in Hebrews 11
“By faith we know that the worlds were framed by the word of God” Heb 11:3
“In the beginning was the Logos…all things were created through Him” Jn 1
“…in these last days He has spoken to us through His Son, through whom also He created the age/worlds” Hebrews 1:2
"the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"Rev 13
having been foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but having been revealed in the last times for the sake of you, 1 Pet 1:20
God spoke, the incorruptible seed is the source of all creation. The nature of the foundation is, most certainly, conception. This seed was implanted in the creation from the beginnig. It was also planted in the womb of Mary, conceived and manifested, but it is the matrix that all developing history follws to the conclusion of God being all in all and all in the glorious liberty of the children of God. It is the founding DNA of the universe and purest evidence that the gospel IS “the restoration of all things” through Jesus Christ- the Logos.
The New Creation, and all the New Creatures, become what they will be because of the implantation of the incorruptible seed.
I think “foundation” is good too, excellent even, but a study of context reveals that the nature of that foundation is new birth= “Behold I am making all things new”.
I find no contradiction in any reference material to this, and a lot of confirmation. But thats my take on it… I defintely do not see how “construction” could be seen as an “equal or better” translation in Hebrews 11:11, I mean, the idea is to speak the thought of the writer to the hearer in his/her time and language. Its taalking about childbirth. What happened in her womb was distinctly- conception.
IMO The foundation of the world is the Logos, conceived in the mind of God in the beginning as the reason for everything from Alpha to Omega. Manifest in these last days for us, and for all.
So I take it that your answer to my question is, “No, I do not know of any other reference in any Greek manuscript within or outside the New Testαment in which it would make any sense to translate καταβολη as ‘conception’.”
That has no bearing on the discussion really. It makes sense in Hebrew 11:11 itself, which is in all the manuscripts that contain Hebrews 11:11. What other manuscript bears enough weight to overrule the completely obvious implication within the verse itself? In other words, when the meaning in the thought is obscure for some reason, checking usage in other Greek manuscripts may provide some evidence or weight one way or the other. In this verse there is no obscurity.
Did Sarah have faith for the construction of seed in her womb? Or was it the conception of seed in her womb? Which would be more true to the writer’s thought?
Does some obscure particular usage outside the scripture negate the context of the sentence when there is abundant evidence within the verse itself for what the thought is?
It is clear that other respectable resources accept conception and foundation as primary meanings, but I don’t really need them to read the verse, check an interlinear and a couple of Lexicons and confirm the obvious conclusion, because the only legitimate purpose of translation is to communicate the thought of the writer, which is clear enough in Heb 11:11
Vines (2) The phrase eis katabolen, lit., “for a casting down, or in,” is used of conception in Hebrews 11:11.
Strong’s #2602: katabole (pronounced kat-ab-ol-ay’)
from 2598; a deposition, i.e. founding; figuratively, conception:–conceive, foundation.
“Sarah received power for the ‘establishment of posterity’”
(offered by Cremer’s Biblical and Theological Lexicon, p. 121; Vincent’s
Word Studies. Vol. 4, p. 520; Thayer’s Lexicon, p. 330).
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)
NAS Word Usage - Total: 11
conceive* 1, foundation 10
But really, none of these resources speak as loudly as the context of the verse itself- the thought being communicated must be inherently connected to the words spoken in it, and the ENTIRE thought is about Sarah’s faith empowering her to receive seed and conceive a child of promise in a “dead” womb.
I think that’s fair enough too. The bringing together of life, i.e., construction, is what conception is in that particular context… thus the legitimate rendering “conceive” etc. This is why in translation work nutting out meaning is so important other than just posing simple so called word-for-word translation.
Eaglesway, I can scarcely believe you said that. My point above has everything to do with the discussion as to whether or not καταβολη can ever mean “conception.” As I clearly pointed out in a previous post, “The best way to determine the meaning of a Greek word is to look at all the contexts in which it is used.” This is a far better indicator of the meaning than that given by all the lexicons combined. For a lexicographer of New Testament Greek words may approach his work with all the theological prejudices of his day, ringing in his mind. He may intend to be objective, but that may not be entirely possible for him.
Right. There is no obscurity in the Greek. The problem lies in assigning the meaning “conception” to the Greek word “καταβολη” because that meaning SEEMS to work in the context of Heb 11:11. If “καταβολη” had that meaning, we would find it so used in other passages that contain the word, either within the New Testament or in other Greek literature. The fact it NEVER has that meaning elsewhere, should clue us in to the probability that it doesn’t have that meaning in Heb 11:11 either.
A similar situation seems to apply to the Greek word “αιωνιος” (aiōnios). Lexicons have “eternal” as the meaning of “αιωνιος.” After all Heb 9:14 uses the word to describe the (Holy) Spirit. The Spirit is eternal isn’t He? Therefore the meaning of “αιωνιος” must be “eternal.” That reasoning sounds pretty good at first blush, but in fact it is unsound. The adjective “αιωνιος” NEVER means “eternal.” It means “lasting” or “durable”. There is no time frame in the meaning, neither short nor long nor everlasting. It can be applied to that which is eternal as in Heb 9:14, but the word doesn’t MEAN “eternal”. The word was used in koine Greek (the Greek spoken from 300 B.C. to 300 A.D.) to refer to anything which is enduring. The word was used by Diodorus Siculus to describe the stone used to build a wall. Josephus in “The Wars of the Jews” book 6, states that Jonathan was condemned to “αἰωνιος” imprisonment. Yet that prison sentence lasted only three years.
So it is indeed, not only relevant to the discussion of the meaning of “καταβολη” but also necessary to consult other contexts in which the Greek word is used in order to obtain its true meaning.
Perhaps your thought is that the “seed” is semen. That is not the usual meaning of “σπερματος” (spermatos) in the New Testament. Although the English word “sperm” is derived from this Greek word, the usual meaning of the Greek noun “σπερματος” is “offspring” or “progeny”.
I provided a reasonable translation of Heb 11:11 employing the usual meaning of “σπερματος”
I posted a word-for-word interlinear to show that this translation makes sense.
I agree that it also makes sense to translate it as
However, just because that makes sense, doesn’t imply that the meaning is “conception” just as the fact that translating “αιωνιος” (aiōnios) in Heb 9:14 makes sense when applied to the eternal Spirit of God, and yet the meaning of “αιωνιος” is not “eternal”.
Again, in order to truly discover the meaning of a Greek word, it is necessary to consult its use in many references.
In any case, I think you and I can agree that “καταβολη” does not mean “disruption”.
That’s not so watertight because that could simply mean the likes of Heb 11:11 is the ONLY knowable place “καταβολη” is used in that kind of context… being rare isn’t a case for mitigating against it, IMO.
If you conceive an idea, at its basic level of MEANING it indicates you have constructed something, or are in the process thereof… that’s the sense in which a given context can help in rendering a given translation etc; Heb 11:11 a case in point.
IF you can agree then I’d go with it…
I agree that that translation makes sense, but I do not agree that it is correct, just as I agree that the Holy Spirit is eternal, while disagreeing that because “aionios” is used to describe the Spirit, therefore the adjective “aionios” means “eternal”.
The simple fact is that multiiple translators have assigned “conceive” to katabolen. In addition, it is confirmed in other ways. It is not as if context has no bearing on translation. The foundation is “laid down”. the seed is “cast down”. There is no inconsistency there. Construction, on the other hand, is what occurs after the foundation or the conception(interms of architectural plans)- “building up”- which has no etymological connection to katabolen, so it is as much an interpretation as a translation(imo). These same concepts(conceive/foundation/casting down/laying down/according to a blueprint or plan or seed) are repeatedly referenced throughout all the resources I have studied- but that in itself is not absolute confirmation, as with aion, which is really just “olam” rendered in Greek, so to understand aion one must reference “olam”, which is the thought of the writer. The absolute confirmation is the common sense understanding in the sentence itself, wherein Sarah receives power to conceive. The thought of the writer should not be obscured by the alternative writings of Greek philosophers, because the writer is the Holy Spirit, and the “foundation” and the “conception” is Hebrew.
Yes I am!
Are all three heads, so to speak, all equal?
They should be but your bible shows one higher or deserving of more respect than the other 2.
We can curse the Father and Son and be forgiven but cannot be forgiven for cursing the Holy Ghost.
Why/what is the difference and why is the Holy Ghost above the Father and Son while all Christians talk about is the Father and son?
Eaglesway, let’s get real! The Holy Spirit did not write the book of Hebrews (or any other part of the Bible). Nor did God dictate the book of Hebrews to the writer. Rather, God inspired the writer. Yet the writer’s memory, thought, mode of expression, grammar, etc. was expressed in that writing.
Do you trust that writer in light of what the bibles says of them?
Isaiah 56:11) “They are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, each on to his unjust gain, to the last one” But do not despair, for the day of judgment is at hand, for the day of judgment and the day of the LORD occupy the same time frame. All the dross will be burned away. (Zech 13:9) & (Malachi 3:3). In that day, “you will distinguish between the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:18)
Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
This is one of the only things that will cause me to deny that someone is my brother in Christ, if they deny trinitarianism.
Would you have denied a brother in say, the first 3 centuries AD, who had never heard of the Trinity? But still believed in The Father, his son the man Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit?
The only point I’m making is this: you are in essence saying, I think, that someone who believes in God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and who recognizes God’s faithfulness and responds in faithfulness, and is in fact filled with the Holy Spirit - is not a Christian, because he does not accept a ‘formulation’ from contested and often corrupt Church councils 1700 years ago.
Whether some form of Trin is ‘correct’ or not, I don’t think one’s opinion on it should break fellowship. God seems to honor the faith of many biblical unitarians, who bear fruit of the Holy Spirit and have scriptural beliefs.
Your statement is filled with a few unargued presuppositions:
- That you can believe in the Son, without believing He is God
- That a Christ who is not God, can be said to be the same Christ of the Bible
- That a unitarian is filled with the Spirit
- That the Trinity is merely a formulation
- That God honors the faith of unitarians
- That having some scriptural beliefs is enough to qualify you as a Christian
If I said I believed in you but professed that you were a 5" 2 muslim woman who adhered to a form of universalism there is no way one can argue that that is the same propisitional makeup as whoever you are. Likewise, in order to believe in the proposition of God, there are a few basic things that must be understood. This is a general rule.
What?? You cannot answer a simple question? I’m not going to battle here, is that your objective?
Let’s not get off on the wrong foot.