I have been for years reading on both sides of the issue. I have accumulated a substantial (and very valuable) research library in order to give some "edge" to this reading. I have yet to see a really sound counter-argument to the view presented in this volume, but I have read innumerable attacks upon it, and the arguments presented in these attacks are atrociously repetitious. Few, if any, of its critics have really taken the trouble to study the evidence adequately. It is an unfortunate situation. When Surburg says that the Hebrew text does not say [in GENESIS 1:2] "the earth became...." but "the earth was....", he is speaking imprecisely. The Hebrew says hayah. The Hebrew is Hebrew, not English! To say that it says "was" is simply begging the question: he is merely making it say "was". The reasoning is circular. If I render it "became", I could as easily prove I was right by pointing to my own translation! This kind of argument contributes nothing to our real understanding of the Word of God unless one says why one is rendering it in this way as opposed to either of the alternatives "became" or "had become". Altogether, I do not find that any of the objections raised carries weight. They can all be answered either from the statements of other objectors or from Scripture itself. Certainly the basic objection on linguistic grounds that the verb hayah only rarely means "became" is patently incorrect. But once it has become fashionable to dismiss a piece of evidence, it usually happens that the dismissal becomes more and more dogmatic as the writer has less and less factual knowledge of the evidence. Knowledge usually leads to caution -the hallmark of scholarship. It is ignorance that encourages dogmatism and it is usually in direct proportion to it. Let us hope that a spirit of open mindedness will yet prevail to permit a more dispassionate reconsideration of the matter.
- from chapter 5, page 15, Without Form and Void