Professor Ellen van Wolde, described as “a respected Old Testament scholar and author” in the London Telegraph, 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,” the report says.
How this little morsel has eluded scholars for the past 3,000 years was not explained.
Van Wolde, 54, said she had re-analyzed 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 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.”
So, therefore, the first sentence of the Book of Genesis should actually read “In the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth.”
Van Wolde boasts of having once worked with Italian novelist Umberto Eco, best known for his books “The Name of the Rose” and “Foucault&'s Pendulum,” which has been described as a “thinking person&'s &'Da Vinci Code.&'” If those aren&'t qualifications to revise the Bible, I don&'t know what is.
She literally claims Genesis “meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself.”
She admits that technically “bara” does mean “create” but added: “Something was wrong with the verb.”
“God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth,” she says conclusively. “The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding.”
Van Wolde added: “The traditional view of God the Creator is untenable now.”
No word yet on whether van Wolde and her colleagues are working on revisions of these other Bible passages:
- Genesis 2:4: These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens;
- Psalm 89:12: The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.
- Psalm 148:1-5: Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.
- Isaiah 42:5: Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
- Isaiah 45:8: Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.
- Isaiah 45:12: I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
- Isaiah 45:18: For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
- Ephesians 3:9: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
- Colossians 1:16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
- Revelation 4:11: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
- Revelation 10:6: And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:
- Isaiah 40:28: Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
- Isaiah 43:15: I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
- Romans 1:25: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
- 1 Peter 4:19: Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
I guess we need to chalk it up to one big misunderstanding and just change all those references to “separated” and “separator.”