Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but this is my one aim:
to forget everything that's behind, and to strain every nerve to go after what lies ahead.
I press on toward the finish line, where the prize waiting for me is the upward call of God
(Philippians 3:13-14)
by – Stuart H. Pouliot
January 23, 2015
Conception of the Orderly Arrangement
In scripture, we discover the expression the foundation [disruption] of the world , which appears ten times:
Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20;
Revelation 13:8; 17:8. Depending on the translation, this phrase begins with one of three prepositions:
since , before , from . Also, in some translations, the word disruption is used in place of foundation .
Now, what does this expression mean?
Let's begin with the word world , which comes from the Greek transliterated word kosmos (G2889),
meaning "orderly arrangement, implying the world in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants"
[Strong's Concordance ]. Going along with its wide application, another reference breaks down the word into
seven categories: a) as created order, universe (John 1:10); b) earth, inhabited world (Matthew 4:8); c) all
humanity (Matthew 5:14); d) metaphor of all in the world at enmity with God (John 12:31); e) figuratively of
large number (John 12:19); f) sum, epitome (James 3:6); g) adornment (1 Peter 3:3) [Wigram's New
Englishman's Greek-English Concordance & Lexicon ]. To round this out: kosmos differs from the Greek word
ge , which is translated as earth , which comes from a primary word for soil .
In the new testament, kosmos is used nearly 250 times in the variety of applications, as noted by Wigram.
Peter wrote of the ancient kosmos and the kosmos at that time (2 Peter 2:5; 3:6), meaning there was
an ancient orderly arrangement. John wrote that the kosmos or orderly arrangement of man that is driven
by lust is passing away (1 John 2:17). Paul wrote that Jesus came into the kosmos or orderly arrangement
that existed 2,000 years ago and that there is a kosmos or orderly arrangement to come in the next age
(Hebrews 10:5, 2:5). Given all this, context determines its application.
Moving on; the word foundation , which comes from the Greek transliterated word katabole (G2602),
means "a deposition, that is, founding." Figuratively, it means "conception," as in birthing something.
Through its root words, it has the sense of throwing something down. Katabole comes from kataballo
(G2598) which means "to throw down or cast down." Kataballo comes from two words: kata (G2596)
meaning "down (in place or time)," and ballo (G906) meaning to "throw; cast out, or throw down"
[Strong's Concordance ]. The word foundation ( katabole ) is not so much about a structure, such as a
physical foundation of a building, as it is about the act or process of laying down the structure, more or
less violently or intensely. Something is cast or thrown down in order to conceive or bring forth
something else. It is like casting a seed or giving birth.
The idea of conception is discovered in Sarah who conceived beyond her natural years. In the following
verse, the word sperma , from which we derive our English word sperm , is used in conjunction with katabole .
Sperma refers not only to the male sperm but in a broader sense to something sown as in a seed. The
Concordant Literal Version uniformly translates katabole as disruption , defining it as "disruption of the
world or cosmos, prefiguring the result of sin; physiologically, the discharge of seed from the ovaries
(Hebrews 11:11)."
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Conception of the Orderly Arrangement
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Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive [disruption of seed] ( katabole,
sperma ), and was delivered of a child when she was past age…. (Hebrews 11:11 KJV [CLV])
Now, the Greek word apo (G575) is a primary participle meaning off , that is, away (from), in various senses
(of place, time, or relation; literally or figuratively)" [Strong's Concordance ], and is translated a variety of
ways, such as after, ago, before, by (the space of), for, from since, to name a few. Of the ten uses of the
phrase, the word apo precedes it in seven verses. Dr. Bullinger claims these refer to the kingdom.
Matthew 13:35 speaks of things hidden from ( since [NASB]) the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34
speaks of the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world. Luke 11:50 speaks of shed blood of
the prophets from ( since [NASB]) the foundation of the world. Hebrews 4:3 speaks of His works finished
from the foundation of the world. Hebrews 9:26 speaks in the negative of Christ suffering from ( since
[NASB]) the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8 speaks of the Lambkin slain from the foundation of
the world. Revelation 17:8 speaks of names written in the Lambkin's book from the foundation of the world.
The Greek word pro (G4253) is a primary preposition meaning "fore, that is, in front of , prior
(figuratively superior ) to " [Strong's Concordance ] , translated as above, ago, before, ever . Of the ten uses of
the phrase, the word pro precedes it in three verses. Dr. Bullinger claims these refer to the "purpose"
of God. John 17:24 speaks of the Father's love for His Son before the foundation of the world. Ephesians
1:4 speaks of saints being chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1:20 speaks of Christ
being foreknown before the foundation of the world. It is interesting that these verses refer not only
to the Son but also to His brethren (saints) before the foundation, meaning before the disruption.
Further parsing of from or before is not necessary. What is more important is the fact that the defining
point of all the expressions is the disruption of Genesis 1. A question that has been hotly debated is
whether there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. It goes something like this: In the beginning, God
created the earth with an orderly arrangement (beauty) and then something happened to bring it into
ruin and chaos, after which He had to restore it (Genesis 1:2b ff). Some see the ruin resulting from some
great cosmic angelic battle instigated by a satan. Years ago, I held to the gap theory and wrote about it.
After all, Isaiah 45:18 (CLV) says: He did not create it a chaos. He formed it to be indwelt . Yes; but this doesn't
mean God didn't use chaos to get there. Here is my new insight.
Taking the meaning of katabole as a conception and kosmos as an orderly arrangement , could we not
rephrase from the disruption of the world into from the conception of the orderly arrangement ? Maybe what
God wants us to see is a metaphorical picture of the earth being like a huge seed. Elohim in His infinite
creative love and wisdom, cast or threw down the seed of the earth into the womb of His universe .
At its inception, it appeared as if in chaos and ruin ; within this was hidden God's divine order.
Perhaps, the chaos was a form of death as a type of God's divine law of death to life. It was like Elohim
cast down a seed into the ground to die; only this time, the earth itself was the seed. Clearly, Jesus was
the prototype of this casting down (John 12:24). After all, He was slain from the conception of the orderly
arrangement. God as Son conceived earth in germ, sperma form and proceeded to bring forth order and
life; a beautiful, orderly arrangement that He declared very good (Genesis 1:31). The result was a
paradise, the perfection of divine order, a germinating seed that died (disorder) to bring forth life
(order). This would mean that Genesis 1 is one continuous record with no gap built into it and just might
be proof that God actually created through some level of what we would call chaos or ruin (no challenge for
God) that could have continued for a very long time, until God was ready to creatively act. I'll go one step
further—within chaos is divine order. Or, stated another way—divine order comes out of chaos. Regardless
of how one views this matter, let us be encouraged that God is after His divine order of All in all, and His
Son assures us that it will be so beyond our wildest imaginations.