So you thought Genesis 1:1 claims that God created the universe? That’s because you don’t understand Hebrew :

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.

[ . . . ]

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”

[ . . . ]

She said technically “bara” does mean “create” but added: “Something was wrong with the verb.

“God was the subject (God created), followed by two or more objects. Why did God not create just one thing or animal, but always more?”
She concluded that God did not create, he separated: the Earth from the Heaven, the land from the sea, the sea monsters from the birds and the swarming at the ground

I’m glad she was able to correct this misperception. Now if she could explain how scholars for thousands of years seem to have missed this point.

A spokesman for the Radboud University said: “The new interpretation is a complete shake up of the story of the Creation as we know it.”
Prof Van Wolde added: “The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now.”

For a scholar trained in languages, Professor Van Wolde appears not to understand the common meanings of many words and phrases. For instance, she seems to think the word “untenable” means “can’t be defended since I settled the issue” and that “fresh textual analysis” is synonymous with “stuff I just made up.”

Articles by Joe Carter

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