At the beginning, in the book of Genesis there is this phrase: ‘ וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃’

At the beginning of G-ds creation of the heaven and the earth, when the earth was being unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep, a wind from G-d swept over the water - Or, the spirit of G-d hovered over the water - Or, G-ds breath moved over the water.

Regardless of the possible translations/Interpretations I gave, and others, I noticed the wording ‘over (the face/surface of) the water’, and the fact that there is also a darkness and the deep.

They seem to exist in the physical. So my question is if G-d before He created the sky, seas, universe and solar system etc. created the physical (a physical world/sphere)? Did G-d created the heavenly realm and the earthly realm first before we arrive in verse 2? Is Genesis 1:1 some kind of intro? How do we fill up the gap? Because ‘out of nowhere’ there is this earth covered with water, this darkness and the deep; and every creative act from G-d described in Genesis seems to involve these elements (wether it’s the light that appears in the darkness, the waters being used, the earth being used etc.)

1 Answer 1


Genesis 1:2 reads: “Now the earth was tohu vavohu and darkness was upon the face of the tehom and the ruach elohim hovered over the face of the waters.”

We usually translate tohu vavohu to means unformed or unfashioned matter. The word tehom is usually translated as “deep.” It seems that something preexisted creation, a deep. The phrase ruach elohim is usually translated as “the spirit of G-d,” but ruach means “wind.” Thus, it is saying that “a strong wind,” blew across a deep. This seems to say that G-d used pre-existing matter to form the world.

The basic meaning of elohim is "powerful." G-d is called Elohim (in the plural) because G-d is more powerful than anything else.

Rabbi Natan Slifkin wrote that Maimonides felt that "the Six Days represent a conceptual rather than historical account of creation." Like Maimonides, I prefer to view the creation account as an allegory. It shouldn’t be taken literally. It is only a parable.

Maimonides said, “The only path to knowing G-d is through science—and for that reason, the Bible opens with a description of the creation.” (See The Science of G-d, Gerald Schroeder, at vi, 17.) Thus, the Torah here is prompting people to learn physics.

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