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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Pay Attention to “Repetition”

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By Vestal Hutchens

From the dictionary:
Repetition – repeated utterance or reiteration.
Repetitious – characterized by undue and tedious repetition.
Repetition (in rhetoric) is the repeating or reiteration of the same word, or the same sense in different words, for the purpose of making a deeper impression on the audience (i.e. the hearer or reader).

From the above dictionary excerpts, we observe that repetition can have either a positive or a negative aspect. It can be boring, distracting, frustrating; even maddening (undue, tedious). Taken to the extreme, it can be torturous and even deadly (ex: Chinese Water Torture).

However, I would like to examine two positive aspects of repetition. First, it is a way in which we learn; a teaching tool. Think about how you learned your ABCs in preparation for learning to read, or in memorizing Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes.

Secondly, repetition is widely used in writing and speaking to emphasize and drive home the importance of a subject, concept, or idea (making a deeper impression).

In the fall of 2018, teaching an adult Sunday School class, and emphasizing the importance of repetition in Genesis chapter one, I discovered something I had never before seen. Nor has it been noticed by anyone else I have since shared it with. That includes pastors, teachers, writers, scientist, laity, clergy, anyone.

There are many things repeated in Genesis, chapter one. For example phrases such as “morning and evening,” “after its kind,” “God said,” “God saw,” “God made,” “God created,” and individual words such as “God” (Elohim), “day,” the word “and,” and in the adjective, “good.”

Incidentally, the Hebrew word “waw,” translated “and,” “then,” or “so,” begins every single verse of Genesis chapter one, except verse 1. This is a powerful linguistic proof that Genesis chapter one is a sequential, historical record of what God did; in no grammatical way can it be a myth, a typology, poetry, or anything other than a historical, sequential narrative of God’s creative acts.

My discovery, however, has to do with the adjective word “good.” I had always thought that God used the word “good” about each of the six days of creation week. (So also every single individual I’ve shared this with.) Closer examination, however, reveals that at the close of day two, God simply says “The evening and morning were the 2nd day.” Days one, three, four, five, and six all have the adjective “good” applied to the actions taken on those days, but not day two.

This begs the question – why skip “good” on day two? The answer, I think, involves God’s character, nature, and attributes, as well as His creative actions of day two. God is omniscient, “knowing the end from the beginning.” Therefore, on day two, He already knew that in a little over one thousand years, because of sin, the thought of every man would be wholly wicked (except for Noah), and He would destroy His creation with a global flood. (Genesis 6:5-7)

The very creative actions of day two were the very mechanisms of that destructions. (Genesis 1:6-8) The waters above… (the vapor canopy, collapsing and giving 40 days and nights of continual rain), and the waters under… (the fountain of the great deep, i.e. the seas).

The very works of God’s hands on day two would be used to destroy all the works of His hands on all six days (because of sin). This grieved God’s heart (Genesis 6:5-7). He did not say it was “bad”; He just didn’t say it was “good.”

Repetition, especially in God’s word even when there is a “skip” in it is there to teach us something.

Pay attention to “Repetition.”

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Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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