Genesis 1 Verse 7 – Conclusion

 

Literal Translation Hebrew – Arabic – English

الارض

و انت

السماوات

انت

ألوهيم

شفى / خلق  (شفاك؟)

أولا

הארץ.

ואת

השמיים,

את

אלוהים,

ברא

בראשית

the earth (or the ground). along with  (you or …) the skies (you or …) Elohim

Or

Elwahim

healed/ created At first,

For Hebrew and Arabic, please read from the right to the left

א,א בראשית, ברא אלוהים, את השמיים, ואת הארץ.

At first, Elohim healed/created the skies along with the earth.”

And according to the Interlinear Biblehub Translation: “1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth –“

We don’t know which beginning the Bible is talking about here. It could be the beginning from where God intended for Moses to know the story. Or it could be the beginning that Moses chose to start narrating from.

2nd – To my knowledge, the verb to create is non-existent in the original translation of the Hebrew Bible. The verb that was translated as ‘to create’ is, in fact, the verb [bara: ברא] which means to cure, to heal, or to pronounce someone innocent. This very word [bara:] ultimately came to mean to create, but this meaning of creation is only used for the Creator God. We know so because the creation is still called [el.barria], and God is [El.bari] to this day. Thus, if the original use of the verb [bara:] means to cure and to prove someone innocent, and if the verb can only mean to create, when the creation is that of God, then one can conclude that this godly creation was utterly based on healing and quitting of guilt, rather than a creation out of nothing.
3rd – The first verse in the chapter [from: “in the beginning”, until “the earth”] cannot be interpreted automatically to mean the first action of events. Instead, we the reader may need to examine the possibility that it is a title or an introduction of the events described later on. Thus, the ‘healing’ or ‘creation’ of heaven and earth may not have taken place in one day, but possibly lasted for the whole six days.

In a nutshell, Genesis chapter one verse one seems to be an introduction of the whole drama of creation to listeners. The writer here is informing us that his story begins by God healing or creating the heavens and the earth. He then goes on to describe the details of the act of creation, in the following verses.

Of course, this interpretation faces many problems as we progress.

Literal Translation:  Hebrew – Arabic – English

Reading from right to left

البحار

فوق هوة

ترفرف

الوهيم

و روح

تاهوا

على وجه الفنى

و الظلام

و بوهو

توهو

حيت

الارض

המים

עלפני

מרחפת

אלוהים

ורוח

תהום

עלפני

וחושך

ובוהו

תוהו

הייתה

והארץ

the water over hoovers / flies Elohim/Elwahim and the spirit (of) “they went stray” on the face of the abyss and Darkness “and be sick” stray

“go astray”

lived The ground/the earth

and the earth lived “go astray and be sick” and darkness on the face of the abyss went stray and the spirit of Elohim hoovers over the water

And in the Interlinear Biblehub Translation : “2 And the earth was without form and void and darkness  [was] on the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters-“

In an attempt to make sense of this verse, I will provide some comments about its grammar, structure and my own interpretation of the meaning.

First, we notice that the verse begins with the word ‘and’.  In both Arabic and Hebrew literature, it is acceptable for descriptive sentences to begin with the linking word ‘and’.  This indicates that, although it is meant to be a separate sentence, it does still carry a shared meaning with the previous ones, forming one unified context.

This reading projects the most common explanation of Genesis 1: 1-2. Looking at the word ‘and’ as a linking word between the two verses, assumes a continuation of events that started by creating the heavens (skies) and the earth in verse one,  followed by the coming of the Spirit of God to earth to begin his work on it in verse 2.  This interpretation is logical and conforms with the latest scientific interpretations about the history of planet earth, and that of the universe.

This fact clashes with the theory that sees verse two as the beginning of the account, not a continuation of the first verse. If verse one was the introduction or the general title of the chapter, and verse two was the actual true beginning of the account of the creation, then there shouldn’t have been a linking word between the two verses.

If we have to examine this theory, then we will have to examine its fundamentals too.  The first bases for this theory are that the word ‘and’ was added later on by scribes who misinterpreted the meaning of the verse, or who wanted to emphasise a particular reading to Genesis chapter one.

This statement, though, could be valid for the majority of the Bible. To come to this type of conclusion this early is frankly fruitless in such study, even if it might be true. An objective analytical study should always assume the total accuracy of the text in order to present any well-established conclusions.

Another explanation of the existence of the word ‘ו‘  usually meaning ‘and’, sees it not as a linking word but as a narrative tool in verbal literature. This verbal tradition of narration does often use the sound – ‘wo’ or ‘oo’ to hint of unspoken greater mysteries which proceeded the account.  This word, at times, is also used in the same tradition, just to set the tone for a narrative.

Next, the verse describes ‘an earth’ הארץ (also literally ground) that existed הייתה in a particular state described by two words, each of them is an instruction.

The word toho תוהו means literally “Go and be stray”. It is a direct command addressing a group of beings, not a single entity. It could be either an instruction that is intended to trigger a willful action or a spoken command with a guaranteed effect uttered by a god who creates with words.

Likewise, the phrase ‘and boho’ ובוהו literally means “and be utterly sick” addresses a group of beings (not a single earth). Perhaps because it sees the earth in its complexity and so addresses its elements (God speaks to each natural element as a conscious, intelligent being. See the following verses). Or perhaps it is addressing some beings who lived in its abyss.

The interpretations for why the narrator chose to describe the state of the earth by quoting a command are many.

The author might have wanted us (the readers) not only to imagine the state of chaos and sickness that overwhelmed the earth but also to understand that this was brought about by an instruction; a command,  a curse for some sort.

This assumes that the command/curse could have been uttered in a previous life, or at the very beginning of the creation of heaven and earth (day one!)

The length of days in the Creation chapter is also controversial.  There is no evidence in the Bible that the days of the creation are stated here based on contemporary human measurements.

On one hand, the measurement of a day could reflect God’s own measurement, which could mean everything from 24 hours to a hundred thousand years.

On the other hand, the earth own spin and ocean tides have changed over time according to scientific findings to create a variable time length.

According to James Williams, a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. the length of Earth’s day “wavered over the aeons”. Day length is tweaked millionths of a second, sometimes on a daily basis, “by shifting mass in the oceans due to windy weather and geologic shifts, such as the magnitude 8.8 Chilean earthquake that struck in February. And global warming is expected to shorten the day by 0.12 millisecond over the next two centuries by heating the oceans and changing the distribution of its mass.”

In the book The Earth’s Variable Rotation: Geophysical Causes and Consequences,  by Kurt Lambeck, who is a geophysicist at the Australian National University in Canberra, it is noted that “As you start going further back in time, the records get difficult to interpret,”

And although “the records have tended to support a general pattern going back that the number of days in the year increases” based on fossils of living things, there is no knowing how the absence of living conditions as we know them now, would have affected the length of days before the creation.

Therefore, the time length that separates the events of the first day from those happening in the second day could be huge. This could be an account about an old earth which was created in a big bang of energy called a singularity.

Curiel, Erik & Peter Bokulich. “Singularities and Black Holes”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, explains that General relativity predicts when any object collapsing beyond a certain point (for stars this is the Schwarzschild radius) that they would form a black hole, inside which a singularity (covered by an event horizon) would be formed.

If the known laws of physics are extrapolated to describe what happened during the big bang, then, according to Wald, the initial state of the universe, at the beginning of the Big Bang, is also predicted by modern theories to have been a singularity.

The Big Bang theory model describes the universe 13.8 billion years ago and its expansion from a very high-density and temperature states. 

After the initial expansion, the universe (the heavens) became cool enough to allow the formation/creation of subatomic particles, and later on the creation of simple atoms.

Wright states that “giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity in halos of dark matter, eventually forming the stars and galaxies visible today.” Earth was formed next, 4.5 billion years ago (which means around eight to nine billion years after the creation of the universe).

Therefore, if verse one of Genesis chapter one describes the initial creation of the universe and of the earth,  this would have to mean that day one was about 9 billion years long.

If, on the other hand, it was simply an introduction to the six-day-creation event, then each day could be the equivalent of approximately 1.5 billion years long.

Going back to the command/curse “toohoo and boohoo”, this narrative usually triggers many silent questions and assumptions about the identity of the person who uttered the command. It could have been done by the same God who is now about to create/mend a broken earth, or by another being with authority.

It may be useful for readers, to remind ourselves, that this three-word-phrase (toohoo and boohoo), although it is a direct command, it was not used as such in this narrative.

What it is crucial to know is the fact that this command was the cause that led the earth to be living in such state of loss and sickness at the time the Spirit was hovering over it in verse two. And thus, the narrator used that phrase-command as a description of the planet’s state, not to inform us that the command was uttered on the second day.

In this state of chaos that engulfed planet earth, there was also a state of darkness (חושך ) that covered the face of the abyss. It may be interesting to note that the word taha/toohoo reappears here in the past tense (tahoom) תהום. Could this be an indication that darkness meant more than the absence of light, and that it implies the existence of dark forces that lived in the abyss in such brokenness?

Also, if there was conscious beings living in the abyss of such dark, broken and sick earth, would this not classify earth as a hellish realm where spirits were confined to be subjected to torture?

The last part of verse two describes an earth submerged with either water or a water-like liquid (mayeh/myem מים). Whatever forces might have been living there, would have to be living within the sea. In New Scientist by David Shiga, the writer suggests that “Until around 2.5 billion years ago our planet was almost completely covered by water, a model of the early Earth suggests.”

 

 

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