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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Earth Earthen Earthy Earthly

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Earth (γῆ) is used in a variety of meanings, which may be distinguished as follows: (1) the dust or matter of which the first man was made (1 Corinthians 15:47); (2) the fertile soil which yields grass and herbs and fruit (Hebrews 6:7, James 5:7, Revelation 9:4); (3) the solid ground upon which men stand or fall (Acts 9:4; Acts 9:8); (4) the land in contrast with the sea (2 Peter 3:5, Revelation 10:5); (3) the whole world as the abode of men (Acts 1:8, etc.; equivalent here to the more frequent οἰκουμένη) or beasts (Acts 10:12; Acts 11:6); (6) the earth in space, in contrast with the visible heavens-skies and stars (Acts 2:19, Revelation 6:13); (7) the earth in contrast with the invisible heavens-the dwelling-place of God and Christ, of angels and perfected saints (Acts 7:49, 1 Corinthians 15:47, Ephesians 3:15, Hebrews 8:4; cf. Hebrews 8:1); (8) the earth in contrast with the underworld (Philippians 2:10, Revelation 5:3; Revelation 5:13); (9) the earth with a moral connotation, as the sphere of a merely worldly life to which is opposed the heavenly life with Christ in God (Colossians 3:2; Colossians 3:5).

Earthen (ὀστράκινος, fr. [Note: fragment, from.] ὄστρακον =‘burnt clay,’ or anything made therefrom).-The Gr. word occurs twice in the NT, but in English Version is only once translated ‘earthen.’ In 2 Timothy 2:20 the rendering is ‘of earth,’ and the reference is simply to the material of the earthen vessels in contrast with those of gold and silver and wood. In 2 Corinthians 4:7, where ‘earthen’ is used, there appears to be a suggestion not only of the meanness of the earthen vessels in contrast with the preciousness of the treasure they contain, but of their frailty in contrast with the exceeding greatness of the Divine power of God who uses them as His instruments.

Earthy (χοϊκός, ‘made of earth,’ fr. [Note: fragment, from.] χοῦς =‘earth,’ ‘dust,’ by which in the Septuagint עָפָר is rendered in Genesis 2:7, etc.; though in other passages γῆ is frequently employed for the same purpose, just as it is by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:47).-The only occurrence of the word is in 1 Corinthians 15:47-49, where Adam is called ‘earthy,’ i.e. consisting of earth-material, in contrast with Christ, the ‘heavenly,’ i.e. of heavenly origin. The meaning of ‘earthy’ here is thus suggested by (7) above as well as by (1).

Earthly (ἐπίγειος, ‘upon the earth,’ ‘terrestrial,’ 2 Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:19, James 3:15).-Outside of the Fourth Gospel ‘earthly’ occurs only 3 times in the NT, but ἐπίγειος is found also in 1 Corinthians 15:40, where English Version renders ‘terrestrial,’ and Philippians 2:10, where English Version gives ‘things on earth.’ In all these passages there is a contrast of the earthly with the heavenly. In 1 Corinthians 15:40, 2 Corinthians 5:1 the contrast is that suggested under (7). In Philippians 3:19, James 3:15 it is that suggested under (9). In Philippians 2:10, while ‘things on earth’ are contrasted with ‘things in heaven’ the meaning of ἐπίγειος itself is that suggested by (5), the ‘things on earth’ being the inhabitants of the whole world; and there is a further contrast with the ‘things under the earth,’ the inhabitants of the under world (cf. (8)).

J. C. Lambert.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Earth Earthen Earthy Earthly'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/e/earth-earthen-earthy-earthly.html. 1906-1918.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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