Professor Ellen van Wolde, a respected Old Testament scholar and author, claims the first sentence of Genesis “in the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth” is not a true translation of the Hebrew.
She claims she has carried out fresh textual analysis that suggests the writers of the great book never intended to suggest that God created the world — and in fact the Earth was already there when he created humans and animals.
Prof Van Wolde, 54, who will present a thesis on the subject at Radboud University in The Netherlands where she studies, said she had re-analysed the original Hebrew text and placed it in the context of the Bible as a whole, and in the context of other creation stories from ancient Mesopotamia.
She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb “bara”, which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate”.
The first sentence should now read “in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth”
Telegraph: God is not the Creator, claims academic
October 18, 2009 at 2:57 pm
I think the re-translation is cool, but to claim that it implies no creator requires ignoring a lot of Hebrew mysticism. In traditional Hebrew cosomology, the universe is created by the process of tzim tzum — expansion and contraction. Ain (nothing), becomes Ain Soph (limitless nothing), becomes Ain SOph Aur (limitless nothing that is aware of itself). Through tzim tzum, ain soph aur contracts to create a space that is not itself. It then fills that space, becoming the monad, Kether, the first sphere of the the Tree of Life. So it doesn’t really imply anything as far as the universe being created or not. It’s just that you have to separate the order from the primordial chaos (hyle), like Marduk did when he slew Tiamat (chaos) and made the heavens and the earth out of her two halves.