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Linguaphiles unite: Let there be light. OR: God would have failed Latin 1.

_J__J_ PedantRegistered User, __BANNED USERS regular
edited June 2007 in Debate and/or Discourse
We have two religious threads, so I do not want this to spiral into an off-topic religious thread. But this is REALLY bugging me.

From Genesis:
1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
1:4 - And God saw the light, that it was good:

That "let there be light" has been bugging me today. So I went to the wikipedia page:
The Latin phrase fiat lux, from the Latin Vulgate Bible, is typically translated as "let there be light" when relating to Genesis 1:3 (Hebrew: "יְהִי אוֹר"). The full phrase is "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" ("And said God let there be light, and light was made"), from the Greek "και είπεν ο Θεός γενηθήτω φως και εγένετο φως" (or kai eipen ho Theos genēthētō phōs kai egeneto phōs), from the Hebrew "וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים, יְהִי אוֹר; וַיְהִי-אוֹר" (or vayo'mer 'Elohiym yehiy 'or vayehiy 'or).

Since fiat lux would be more literally translated as "let light be made" (fiat is from fieri, the passive form of the verb facere, "to make" or "to do"), an alternative Latinization of the original Greek and Hebrew, lux sit ("light - let it exist" or "let light exist") has been used occasionally, such as in the motto of the University of Washington.

Now, in latin the phrase is "fiat lux" which means "let there be light" or "let light be made". It is using the passive form of the verb facere and not using the imperative, which would be the case to use if issuing a command.

So, God says, "Let there be light" or "allow there to be light". And my question is, to what is God appealing? What is "letting" in this situation?

According to Genesis, again:
1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
1:3 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

So, there is God and there is this shapeless mass. And God says, "fiat lux". But what is letting? What is allowing? God does not proclaim light into existence, God says "fiat".

And I want to know what is letting when there is naught but God and a shapeless mass. And if God "lets" then why would God say "fiat lux"? One certainly does not use the passive form of facere to appeal to one's self.

It's even more confusing when one looks at the entire phrase, "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux ("And said God let there be light, and light was made")"

Given the linguistic structure of the statement, what made light? To what is God speaking, while not using the imperative, which "lets" light be made?

That's my question. Discuss!

_J_ on

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    emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    emnmnme on
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    RichyRichy Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I think a related question is, where did light come from? God only made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day. So where did the light come from before then?

    Find where the light is from, and you'll be closer to finding who's letting it be :P

    Richy on
    sig.gif
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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited June 2007
    Richy wrote: »
    I think a related question is, where did light come from? God only made the sun, moon and stars on the fourth day. So where did the light come from before then?

    Find where the light is from, and you'll be closer to finding who's letting it be :P

    Yeah. Except there is just God and an empty, shapeless "space" of "earth" at this point.

    And a spirit floating around.

    There's a whole paper hidden in there. Between the "fiat" and the metaphysical structure of existence that would be required to believe this as literal.

    I was thinking about the Creationist museum while getting ready to take a picture of a rake. I turned on one of the lights and a person said, "Jay says, 'Let there be light!'". And I thought, "Wait a minute...that phrase doesn't make sense!" And it turns out that when one looks at the Latin it makes even less sense.

    _J_ on
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    Apothe0sisApothe0sis Have you ever questioned the nature of your reality? Registered User regular
    edited June 2007
    I think that you're over analysing it.

    Let there be light is an expression of will. God wills it, it is so. It's not like he's pleading with the universe or talking to other people.

    Unless he is talking to the other gods, which were part of the mythos but were forgotten about as time marches on.

    Apothe0sis on
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    ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited June 2007
    Fiat lox!

    ElJeffe on
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