God is not the Creator, claims academic

Link I'm not going to comment too much on this right now as I want to absorb it. There are those like Nelson (get on it) whom are better at handling very complex stories steeped in history like this. I just thought that it's a story that shouldn't be missed.

The notion of God as the Creator is wrong, claims a top academic, who believes the Bible has been wrongly translated for thousands of years.

By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
Published: 5:45PM BST 08 Oct 2009

The Earth was already there when God created humans and animals, says academic Photo: PA
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.

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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"
According to Judeo-Christian tradition, God created the Earth out of nothing.
Prof Van Wolde, who once worked with the Italian academic and novelist Umberto Eco, said her new analysis showed that the beginning of the Bible was not the beginning of time, but the beginning of a narration.
She said: "It meant to say that God did create humans and animals, but not the Earth itself."
She writes in her thesis that the new translation fits in with ancient texts.
According to them there used to be an enormous body of water in which monsters were living, covered in darkness, she said.
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.
"There was already water," she said.
"There were sea monsters. God did create some things, but not the Heaven and Earth. The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding."
God came later and made the earth livable, separating the water from the land and brought light into the darkness.
She said she hoped that her conclusions would spark "a robust debate", since her finds are not only new, but would also touch the hearts of many religious people.
She said: "Maybe I am even hurting myself. I consider myself to be religious and the Creator used to be very special, as a notion of trust. I want to keep that trust."
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."

Views: 23

Comment by Doug Reardon on October 11, 2009 at 11:27am
I love theologians, they argue, with such sincerity and ardor, endlessly over the interpretation of mythical fantasies.
Comment by Matt on October 11, 2009 at 11:52am
You would think at some point we would have a firm understanding of what means what in a laguage.
Comment by Aric on October 11, 2009 at 12:05pm
I don't think this is going to spark the "robust debate" that she expects. I think religious people are just going to say she's evil and trying to lead them away from god, and scientists and freethinkers are just going to agree with Doug that regardless of the translation errors it's still a fairy tale.
Comment by Nix Manes on October 11, 2009 at 1:39pm
It's an intereting idea, actually, but only for those who already accept the bible as largely a metaphor. For those who take the bible literally, then this won't matter at all and just be labeled as blasphemy.
Comment by Gaytor on October 12, 2009 at 1:40pm
I find that since I live in society, I hear crazy things all of the time. If someone said that the earth is a square, I'm going to respond and correct them. Conversely, when someone says god created the earth, I've always hit them a scientific basis. If I can use the Bible's own words against them, I find that to be a very effective strategy. Over time, I hear less and less ignorance in my personal life.
Comment by Nix Manes on October 12, 2009 at 2:35pm
@Neal: Why humor the crazy people?

For me, I wouldn't bother actually confronting believers with this kind of stuff. But, it would be an interesting exercise to try and decipher what actually was behind the myths. What circumstances and thought processes created the stories is an enlightening endeavor--at least for me. Plus, maybe future generations can use the information to help them see the alternatives to blind belief.

If it can be shown that the original writers of that first part of Genesis did use a different word and/or put forward a different meaning than "created," that would be pretty big for some people. It would bring the world's ancient myths even closer together, which does give us new insight to what was going on back then.

Of course this is all predicated on someone's interest in this stuff being a little deeper than basic curiosity...we all don't need to care a lot about the details of religious beginnings. For me, it's just a little fun to learn what people think and discover on these topics, something like a hobby. (When they actually think, that is!)


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