Studies in
Genesis One

Topic:  Genesis Type:   Book Author: Edward J. Young

The Interpretation of Genesis 1:2 - Defense

The Meaning of Genesis 1:2

Attention is immediately directed to the Earth 23[Jrahw. The emphasis is retained by LXX h de gh, and the Vulgate, terra autem. To maintain this emphasis in the English versions is difficult. King James renders And the Earth which is weak. To preserve the emphasis we should probably render "Now the Earth" or "The Earth moreover". König (Die Genesis, Gutersloh, 1925, p. 141) brings out the emphasis, "Und die Erde ihrerseits". So Aalders (Het Boek Genesis, Eerste Deel (Korte Verklaring der Heilige Schrift), Kampen, 1949, p. 78), "Met nadruk wordt het woord ,aarde‘ vooropgezet: wat nu de aarde betreft, deze was ,enkel ledigheid en vormeloosheid en duisternis over een vloed’"]. It is true that the second verse of Genesis does not represent a continuation of the narrative of verse one, but, as it were, a new beginning 24[I have defended this point of view in "The Relation of the First Verse of Genesis One to Verses Two and Three" in Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. XXI, No. 2 (May 1959), pp. 133-146. It is also supported by Otto Procksch, Die Genesis, Leipzig, 1913, "v. 2 schliesst inhaltlich nicht als Fortsetzung an v. 1, sondern beginnt ganz neu. Der zuständliche Nominalsatz findet seinen Hauptsatz in v. 3" (p. 425); Karlheinz Rabast, op. cit., p. 46, "V. 2 ff. ist nicht die logische Fortsetzung von V. 1. Das ganze Kapitel könnte ohne weiteres erst mit V. 2 beginnen, und umgekehrt müssten wir uns auch mit V. 1 begnügen lassen. Der Sinnzusammenhang von V. 1 und 2 ist wohl nur so zu verstehen, dass V. 1 die Überschrift ist, und alles Folgende ist Entfaltung dieser Überschrift"; Helmuth Frey: Das Buch der Anfänge Kapitel 1-11 des ersten Buches Mose, Calwer Verlag, Stuttgart, 1953, "Mit V. 2 beginnt nicht die Fortsetzung, sondern die Ausführung des Themas, das in der Überschrift angegeben wurde" (p. 14); von Rad, (op. cit., p. 37), "Diesen V. 1 wird man als die summarische Aussage dessen, was im Folgenden schrittweise entfaltet wird, verstehen dürfen". The same position is presupposed, although not explicitly stated, in the exegesis of Keil and Delitzsch (Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 1, 1949, pp. 47 f.).

[It is essentially this position which is adopted by Ridderbos: "Genesis 1:1 und 2" in Oudtestamentische Studiën, Deel Xll, Studies on the Book of Genesis, 1958, p. 231: "In Vers 2 wird beschrieben, wie der Zustand der Welt war, bevor Gott mit seinem ,Sprechen’ begann. Und um nun den Eindruck wegzunehmen, als ob die Erde in ihrem Wüstsein und ihrer Leere eine selbständige Grösse neben oder gegenüber Gott darstelle,... lässt der Autor an dem Ausspruch von Vers 2 noch den von Vers 1 vorangehen." Ridderbos does, however, seek to express a connection in thought between vv. 1 and 2, namely, "And it came about that the Earth was at first, etc." (,,Und [dabei ging es wie folgt zu:] die Erde war [anfänglich] wüst und leer usw."). While this seems to me to be a correct interpretation, nevertheless it does add to the language of Genesis 1:2a, which is a mere circumstantial clause, as Ridderbos also acknowledges. Delitzsch (A New Commentary on Genesis, Vol. I, New York, 1889, p. 77) comments, "It is within the all-embracing work of creation, stated in ver. 1, that ver. 2 takes up its position, at the point when the creation of this Earth and its Heaven begins". On the other hand Simpson ("Genesis" in The Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. 1, 1952, p. 467) thinks that verse two is an intrusion into the narrative as it left the hand of P, and that it was probably added to supply a seeming lack in P, namely, a reference to the primeval chaos. If this were actually the case there would seem to be little point in endeavoring seriously to ascertain the precise relationship between verses one and two, inasmuch as verse two would not be an integral part of the original narrative]. Grammatically, it is not to be construed with the preceding, but with what follows. Nevertheless, by its introductory words, and the Earth, it does take up the thought of the first verse. It does this, however, by way of exclusion. No longer is our thought to rest upon the Heaven and the Earth, the entirety of created phenomena, but merely upon the Earth.

The word Jrah stands first for the sake of emphasis. It is the subject to which attention must be directed, and it is the grand theme, not merely of the remainder of the chapter, but of the remainder of the Bible itself. It is this Earth on which we live with which the Scripture has to do and to which it will direct its thought 25[Keil’s words are to the point: "Though treating of the creation of the Heaven and the Earth, the writer, both here and in what follows, describes with minuteness the original condition and progressive formation of the Earth alone, and says nothing more irespecting the Heaven than is actually requisite in order to show its connection with the Earth. He is writing for inhabitants of the Earth, and for religious ends; not to gratify curiosity, but to strengthen faith in God, the Creator of the universe" (op. cit., p. 48). Aalders says, "zij (i.e., the Earth) is het, waarop wij mensen wonen, waarop wij leven, lijden en sterven" (op. cit., p. 78). I can see no exegetical warrant for the remark in La Sainte Bible, Tome I, lre Partie, Paris-VI, 1953, p. 104, "L’objet de la creation divine est le ciel et la terre, non pas la masse chaotique qui s’appelle tantôt ’arés, terre"]. Thus, from a contemplation of the entire universe, or, we may more accurately say, of all created worlds and bodies besides our own, the Bible turns to a geocentric emphasis 26["Die kosmozentrische Betrachtung schlägt hier also plötzlich um in die geozentrische, bei der es nun bleibt" (Procksch, op. cit., p. 425)], and it maintains that geocentric emphasis throughout to its last page. This is not to say that the Bible now entertains an incorrect view of the relationship of the heavenly bodies, positing the Earth as the physical center of the universe. On that subject the Bible really does not speak. It is merely that attention is focused upon this world on which we live, upon which we sinned, and upon which Christ died for our salvation. If the Bible is to be a truly practical book, it is difficult to understand how its emphasis could be otherwise.

At the same time the word Jrah does not have precisely the same connotation which it bore in verse one 27[This is either explicitly acknowledged by many commentators or is a justifiable conclusion to be deduced from their treatment of the word in both verses. Ryle (The Book of Genesis, (Cambridge Bible For Schools and Colleges), Cambridge, 1921, p. 3) interprets "the Earth" as comprising the materials out of which the universe is formed]. In the first verse it went with the word <ymvh to form a combination which designates the well-ordered world and universe that we now know. In verse two, however, it depicts the Earth as being in an uninhabitable condition. We might paraphrase the thought, "The Earth which we now know was at one time in such a condition that men could not live upon it". The word Jrah is separated from what follows by means of the disjunctive accent Rebhîa‘, and so we are to let our thought dwell upon it before passing on to the following 28[It is the emphatic position of Jrah which permits the interpretation of Ridderbos (see note 24)].

The remainder of the first circumstantial clause forms a predicate to Jrah. We may render, "The Earth—it was desolation and waste". This predicate describes the Earth, not as it now is, but as it was once long ago. The copula is inserted for the purpose of stressing a condition which existed in past time, indeed at the time when God said, Let there be light (v. 3) 29[The copula is expressed only in the first of the three circumstantial clauses in order that all doubt may be removed that the reference is to past time. Childs (op. cit., p. 32) comments that we have "a nominal clause of circumstantial force used to specify a condition in its proper sphere of time" and renders "the Earth having been chaos". I do not believe that this rendering accurately reflects the force of the Hebrew or that it does justice to Childs’ own evaluation of Genesis 1:2a. It leaves open room for the thought that "the Earth having been chaos", was no longer chaos when God spoke. Grammatically we are to understand that at the very time when God said, Let there be light, the Earth was in the condition described in verse two. To be rejected also as reading too much into the Hebrew is the translation of Strack (Die Genesis, München, 1905, p. 1), "Die Erde aber war als Wüste und Leere geworden". Delitzsch (op. cit., p. 77) remarks correctly, "The perfect thus preceded by its subject is the usual way of stating the circumstances under which a following narrative takes place". He then gives references to support this statement, and after discussing the accents of htyh asserts, "This htyh is no mere erat, it declares that the Earth was found in a condition of whbw wht, when God’s six-days’ creative agency began"].

This condition is described by the two words whbw wht i.e., "desolation and waste". The latter word never appears alone, but always in combination with wht, usually following it immediately, being connected with it by the ordinary conjunction 30[In a near open syllable the conjunction is often pointed with vocal Šewa. Here, however, probably for the sake of assonance, it is pointed with Qametz. Nevertheless, this latter pointing is in accord with the fundamental rule that in a near open syllable the short a vowel must appear as Qametz]. In one passage, however, namely, Isaiah 34:11, it is separated by another word. To determine the significance of wht in Genesis 1:2 is not particularly difficult. In Isaiah 45:18 it is used as a contrast to the phrase, "to be inhabited". According to this verse God did not create the Earth for desolation, but rather to be inhabited. An Earth of wht therefore, is an Earth that cannot be inhabited. Such an Earth has not fulfilled the purpose for which it was created; it is an Earth created in vain, a desolate Earth. If, therefore, we translate as "desolation", we shall probably be doing justice to the word 31[LXX aoratoV, Aquila kenwma, Theodotion kenon, Symmachus argon, Onkelos aydx. Rosenmüller (Scholia In Vetus Testamentum, Pars Prima, Volumen Primum, Lipsiae, MDCCCXXI, p. 65) comments, "Quorum interpretum omnium mentibus obversatum esse patet to caoV". He himself renders vastitas, and then correctly remarks, "Verba hebraea videntur nihil aliud designare, quam inane, quale est in regione deserta". In Ugaritic the root has been attested as thw].

Likewise, the similar sounding whb apparently signifies something uninhabitable, and we may well render it as "waste" 32[The word also occurs in Isa. 34:11; Jer. 4:23. It appears to be related to (arabic word) to be empty]. Jeremiah uses this striking combination when describing the land of Palestine after it has been devastated by the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. At that time the land will become what it was at the beginning, a desolation and waste, so that man will no longer dwell therein. This is stressed in that the prophet depicts the birds as having flown away, the mountains being removed and the cities uprooted. On such an Earth man cannot live. It is that thought which is also expressed in Genesis. The Earth was in such a condition that man would have been unable to live thereon; it was desolation and waste.

A second circumstantial clause states that darkness was upon the face of the great deep. The reference of course is not to the oceans that we know but to the primeval waters which covered the Earth. Over the face of these waters there was darkness. As the first word in this clause ivj is emphasized, it stands as a parallel to Jrah in the previous clause. There are thus three principal objects of the verse: the Earth, darkness and the Spirit of God. The second clause in reality gives further support to the first. Man could not have lived upon the Earth, for it was dark and covered by water 33[I can see no warrant for Childs’ statement, "The darkness does not belong to God’s creation, but is independent of it. It cannot be understood merely as the absence of light, but possesses a quality of its own" (op. cit., p. 33). It is perfectly true, as Childs points out, that the concept darkness does bear theological significance. It is something else, however, to claim that here in Genesis 1:2 it is a positive something, not belonging to God’s creation. In the nature of the case darkness is often suited to symbolize affliction and death. Here, characteristic of the unformed Earth. Man cannot live in darkness, and the first requisite step in making the Earth habitable is the removal of darkness. This elementary fact must be recognized before we make any attempt to discover the theological significance of darkness. And it is well also to note that darkness is recognized in this chapter as a positive good for man. Whatever be the precise connotation of the bru of each day, it certainly included darkness, and that darkness was for man’s good. At times, therefore, darkness may typify evil and death; at other times it is to be looked upon as a positive blessing.

[Ridderbos has an instructive footnote, "Indirekt wird es [i.e., that God created the darkness] wohl gesagt (wenigstens bei meiner Auffassung von Vers 1), weil an Vers 2 der Ausspruch von Vers 1 vorangeht. Oder muss man sagen, dass die Finsternis von Vers 2 etwas rein Negatives ist? M.E. ist das nicht plausibel" (op. cit., p. 239). Ridderbos calls attention to the fact that God gives the darkness a name and to the importance of name-giving in the Old Testament].

From this verse alone we are not justified in saying that the Earth was covered by water 34[For an excellent discussion of the relationship between <wht and Tiamat, cf. Alexander Heidel: The Babylonian Genesis, Chicago, 1951, pp. 98-101. The exact philological equivalent of Tiamat in Hebrew would be hmwht. In the near open syllable unless a distant open syllable with a naturally long vowel precedes, i and u generally drop to Šewa. The long â of Babylonian becomes Hõlem in Hebrew. If the two words are identical, the feminine ending has disappeared in the Hebrew. It should be noted that the Babylonian word tamtu, sea, may be written tiamtu. This again could be equated with <wht. The difficulty lies in the disappearance of the feminine ending. The Babylonian equivalent of mwht would be Tiâmu.

[Childs is correct in interpreting <wht of the primeval waters, but he has no warrant for asserting that they were uncreated (op. cit., p. 33). It is true that no express mention is made of the creation of the waters, but the purpose of the entire first chapter of Genesis is to exalt God as the creator and to attribute the origin of all things to him. Cf. Oswald T. Allis: "Old Testament Emphases and Modern Thought" in The Princeton Theological Review, Vol. XXIII, No. 3 (July 1925), pp. 442 ff. The comment of Ridderbos is worth noting, "nur solange die Wasser innerhalb der Grenzen bleiben, die Gott ihnen angewiesen hat, sind sie unschädlich; wenn Gott zusteht, dass die Grenzen überschnitten werden, sind es Mächte, die Tod und Verderben bringen, siehe GEN 7:11; 8:2 (in beiden Fällen tehom) usw." (op. cit., pp. 235 f.)], but later, in verse nine, the command is given that the dry land should appear. It would seem, then, that up until the time of the issuance of this command, the Earth had actually been covered or surrounded by water.

Last, the statement is made that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters 35[Maurer (Commentarius Grammaticus Criticus in Vetus Testamentum, Volumen Primum, Lipsiae, 1835, p. 1) says, "i.e. vis divina, qua moveri cuncta et animari opinata est prisca aetas". The word jwr as is well known, means breath, wind, spirit. Here it is the Spirit Who is of God and Who acts upon His creation. He is "the agent of the divine purpose in imparting life, and reducing the void, waste Earth to order and clothing it with beauty" (J. Ritchie Smith: The Holy Spirit In The Gospels, New York, 1926, p. 34). Cf. my Excursus at conclusion of this article]. Although we shall have more to say on the subject later in an excursus, we may at this point note that the traditional translation, "Spirit of God", is accurate, whereas the proposed substitution, "a mighty wind", is not. Had Moses desired to speak of a mighty wind, why did he not employ the common expression hlwdg jwr which is found, for example, in Jonah 1:4 and Job 1:19? Second, the participle does not describe the blowing of a wind 36[The participle is best rendered in English as "hovering". In JER 23:9 the Qal means "to grow soft". The Arabic [ ??? ], also means "to grow soft". Whether this is the basic meaning of the Hebrew root, however, is difficult to determine. In the Pi’el, the root means "to hover". This is supported by Ugaritic, where the root also occurs in the II stem.

[nšrm. trhpn. ybsr—
‘eym. bn. nšrm ‘arhp. an(k)

["the eagles will hover, the (flock of?) hawks will look upon him,
among the eagles I shall hover" (Aqhat i:20, 21).

[trphn. ybsr. hbl. dey (m—)
nšrm. trhp. ‘nt.

["the eagles hovered over him, the flock of hawks looked down,
and Anat hovered among the eagles" (Aqhat i:30, 32).

[The eagles are here pictured as hovering over the prey, ready to dart down upon it.

[Particularly instructive is DEU 32:11 in which the Pi’el is also found. Israel is pictured as led by the Lord alone, and the Lord’s action is compared to that of the eagle (rvn cf. Ugaritic nšr) which "stirs up" its nest, forcing the young out so that they must fly, and then hovers ([jry) over her young. The rendering "brood" is manifestly out of the question. Whatever be the precise conotation of the verb, it describes the actions of the mother eagle after the young are out of the nest or at least at the time when they are compelled to leave the nest. It is clear, therefore, that Genesis 1:2 is not speaking of a "mighty wind". The participle is unsuitable to describe the blowing of a wind].

Third, mention of a mighty wind at this point would be out of place. Both the first and second clauses of the verse point out why man could not dwell upon the Earth; they show that the Earth at that time was not habitable. If the third clause simply states that a mighty wind was blowing over the waters, it does not contribute to showing that the Earth was uninhabitable. It merely mentions an interesting detail, the purpose of which is difficult to ascertain 37[It should be noted that whenever the phrase <yhla jwr occurs in the Old Testament, it refers to the Spirit of God and never to a mighty wind. Cf. GEN 41:38; EXO 31:3; 35:31; NUM 24:2; 1SA 10:10; 16:14, 16; 18:10; 19:20, 23; 1CH 24:20; EZE 11:24. Note also hwhy jwr in JDG 3:10; 11:29; 13:25, etc].

On the other hand, the traditional translation reveals that despite the fact that the Earth was not then habitable, all was under the control of God’s Spirit 38[Thus Maurer (op. cit., p. 1), "ita ut moles illa rudis atque indigesta sensim motum acciperet"; Keil (op. cit., p. 49), "which worked upon the formless, lifeless mass, separating, quickening, and preparing the living forms, which were called into being by the creative words that followed". Frey appeals to John 4:24a and interprets jwr as the longing of God ("seine Sehnsucht, das Gestaltlose, Gebundene, Finstere zu gestalten, zu befreien, und zum Ausdruck seines lichtvollen Gedanken zu machen" (op. cit., p. 15). Calvin has gone to the heart of the matter (Commentaries On The First Book of Moses Called Genesis, Volume First, Grand Rapids, 1948, pp. 73 f.), "We have already heard that before God had perfected the world it was an indigested [indigestaml mass; he now teaches that the power of the Spirit was necessary in order to sustain it. For this doubt might occur to the mind, how such a disorderly heap could stand; seeing that we now behold the world preserved by government, or order. He therefore asserts that this mass, however confused it might be, was rendered stable, for the time, by the secret efficacy of the Spirit". Calvin aptly appeals to Psalm 104:29, 30]. The Spirit is depicted as a living Being, who hovers over the created Earth like a bird, and this statement is necessary for a proper understanding of the condition of things at that time 39[Procksch, however (op. cit., p. 426), preferred to render [jr by brüten, and appealed to the Syriac [??? ], which has this meaning. jwr he believes, is to be conceived as the power which awakens life. He would render the word "Gottesgeist" to emphasize the powerful, rather than the personal, in God].

Were the conditions described in Genesis 1:2, however, such as God desired them to be? All too often the word "chaos" is applied to this condition, and when we today use that word, we are likely to do so under the more or less unconscious influence of Milton’s Paradise Lost. It may be well to recall his lines,

In the beginning how the heav’ns and Earth
Rose out of chaos ....

If then we employ this word "chaos" we must use it only as indicating the first stage in the formation of the present well-ordered Earth and not as referring to what was confused and out of order, as though to suggest that the condition described in Genesis 1:2 was somehow out of God’s control. All was well-ordered and precisely as God desired it to be. 40[Cf. Young: op. cit., pp. 143 f.]. There is no reason, so far as one can tell from reading the first chapter of Genesis, why God might not have pronounced the judgment, "very good", over the condition described in the second verse. The Earth at that time was uninhabitable, but that same condition appears again during some of the later days of creation. Genesis 1:2 presents the first stage in the preparation of the Earth for man. It stands out in remarkable contrast with the finished universe, as that is found in the thirty-first verse of the same chapter. It is the first picture of the created world that the Bible gives and the purpose of the remainder of the chapter is to show how God brought this world from its primitive condition of desolation and waste to become an Earth, fully equipped to receive man and to be his home. The Earth was desolation and waste, but all was in God’s hand and under His control; nothing was contrary to His design.


The Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2

We have noted that von Rad rendered the phrase jwr <yhla as "Gottessturm", i. e., a fearful storm. His appeal to Daniel 7:2, however, we regarded as unjustified (see note 9, supra). Others have also rejected the common rendering "Spirit of God" and have interpreted the Hebrew as referring to an inanimate force such as the wind. It may be that this rendering goes back to the Targum Onkelos which translates .aym ypa-lu abvnm yy-<dq-/m ajwrw i.e., "and a wind from before the Lord was blowing upon the faces of the waters". In this Targum it is the participle which clearly shows that ajwr is to be translated "wind" and not "spirit" 41[Both the Jerusalem Targum and that of Pseudo-Jonathan have added /ymjrd to the word ajwr].

Apparently this rendering found favor also among many of the Jewish rabbis, if we may judge from the statement of Umberto Cassuto in his commentary on Genesis, "According to the interpretation of our Rabbis (Hagigah 12a) this jwr is the wind, moving wind, air in motion, something created which God created on the first day" 42[Umberto Cassuto: A Commentary On The Book of Genesis (in Hebrew), 1953, Part 1, p. 13, rywa ,?mm jwr yhyrh wz jwr (a"u b"y hgygj) wnytwbr ?rd ypl
./w?arh <wyb <yhla harb? hayrb ,uuwntm
Cassuto, himself, however, rejects this view as not being the plain meaning of the text 43[Op. cit., p. 13, arqm l? wfw?p harn hz /ya lba].

In recent times Professor Harry Orlinsky has written a cogent defense of the rendering "wind" 44[Harry M. Orlinsky: "The Plain Meaning of RUAH in GEN 1.2" in The Jewish Quarterly Review, Volume XLVIII, 1957-1958, Philadelphia, pp. 174-182. Orlinsky’s article is particularly valuable for its references to the relevant literature]. He asserts that a "systematic presentation and analysis of all the pertinent data will demonstrate the concept ‘wind’ and preclude ‘s/Spirit’" 45[Op. cit., p. 177]. We shall seek to state and to evaluate his arguments.

1. Orlinsky believes that the "biblical version of Creation . . . derives ultimately and in significant measure" from the Mesopotamian versions, and in these latter the wind plays a significant role 46[Op. cit., pp. 117-178]. In Enuma Elish, for example, Anu begets the four winds, which are associated with Tiamat, and were created before the universe. Orlinsky appeals also to other ancient cosmogonies, but, inasmuch as he regards Genesis as sustaining a relation to Enuma Elish, we shall pay particular attention to that document.

In the first place we must emphasize the fact that Genesis one and Enuma Elish are two entirely different types of document and do not belong to the same literary genre. Genesis one is a semi-poetic account of creation, told as straightforward narration 47[We use the term semi-poetic merely to stress the elevated character of the language. Inasmuch as true parallelism in the verses is lacking Genesis one cannot legitimately be designated poetry in the Hebrew sense]. The great central theme of the chapter is the fact of God’s creating Heaven and Earth and His monergism in preparing the Earth for man’s habitancy. Enuma Elish on the other hand is a nature myth in which elements of "creation" are more or less incidental. It lacks a statement of absolute creation such as is found in Genesis 1:1 and it lacks an account of progress in the preparation of the Earth such as occurs in the remainder of Genesis one.

Second, even if <yhla jwr contrary to biblical usage elsewhere, were to be rendered "a mighty wind", there would still be nothing comparable to this conception in Enuma Elish. The "wind of God moving over the face of the water", as Professor Orlinsky translates, is a thought wholly foreign to Enuma Elish. After Marduk was born, Anu created the four winds to restrain the host of monsters (Tablet I, lines 105, 106). Nothing more is said about these winds in Tablet I. In Tablet IV, however, occurs the statement, "Go, and cut off the life of Ti’âmat. May the winds carry her blood to out-of-the-way places" (lines 31, 32) 48[Translation of Alexander Heidel (op. cit., p. 37)]. As Marduk sets out to destroy Tiamat, the four winds aid him. These are now named, "the south, the north, the east and the west wind" (lines 42, 43). We are then told of the creation of the imhullu, the evil wind, cyclone, hurricane, etc. (lines 45, 46). Then follows the statement, "He sent forth the winds which he had created, the seven of them; to trouble Ti’âmat within, they arose behind him" 49[Translation of Heidel (op. cit., p. 38)].

In the actual conflict Marduk let loose the evil wind in Tiamat’s face and drove this wind into Tiamat’s mouth, and thus the raging winds filled her belly (lines 96-99). The north wind served later to carry off some remains of Tiamat to distant places (line 132) 50[It is difficult to determine precisely what it was that the north wind was to carry off]. How different from Genesis! Instead of one wind we have seven, and that wind which aids in the destruction of the monster is called an evil wind. In Genesis, however, the genitive <yhla is used. If Genesis is speaking of a wind, it is a wind of God, not an evil wind used to aid in the destruction of a creature. Even if the words be rendered "mighty wind" there is no indication that this wind was harmful. Furthermore, the action of jwr has to do only with the waters and not with the <wht as we might expect, if there had been actual dependence upon Enuma Elish. The mention of winds in Enuma Elish, therefore, is no support for the rendering "wind of God" in Genesis 1:2.

2. The LXX is said to have taken jwr in the sense of "wind" or "breath", kai pneuma qeou epefereto epanw tou udatoV. To support this position appeal is made to Genesis 8:1. It may readily be granted that pneuma can mean "wind". The question is whether that is the way the Septuagint should here be understood. It depends upon the force of the verb epefereto. This verb is passive and should be translated, "was brought". The pneuma then is something that was being brought above the water. It is difficult to tell what the translator of Codex B had in mind. It should be noted, however, that the Vulgate renders, "et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas". The word "ferebatur" (epephereto), therefore, may easily be used with "Spirit" as subject. We conclude that the LXX rendering of Genesis 1:2 does not demand that pneuma be rendered "wind".

3. Appeal is also made to the Targum whose rendering has already been noted (see first paragraph of present Excursus).

4. Professor Orlinsky appeals to Rab Judah, an Amora of Babylonia, from the third century AD, who states that on the first day ten things were created, among which he lists <ymw jwr which Orlinsky renders "wind and water". If this interpretation is correct, it merely shows that the rendering "wind" among Jewish scholars was very old.

5. The interpretation of jwr as "wind" is said to fit in well with the role of jwr in the creation story generally. In Genesis 3:8 the word refers to the breeze of the day, and in 6:17 and 7:15 it is to be given as "breath of life". These passages, however, do not determine the significance of jwr in 1:2, for they are too far removed from its immediate context.

What rules out the rendering "wind" in Genesis 1:2 is the participle. Orlinsky thinks that the jwr is no more active than any of the other elements mentioned (Orlinsky: op. cit., p. 180). But tpjrm is an active participle whose subject is actively engaged. We have already discussed the meaning of this participle and seen that it is not an appropriate word to employ in describing wind. The unformed Earth will not be destroyed for the Spirit who belongs to the God (<yhla) who created Heaven and Earth is hovering over it. There is no need to introduce the Spirit later in the chapter. Over the unformed Earth the Spirit moves until God is ready to call the light into existence. Having mentioned this fact, Moses goes on to direct our thought to the work of God in transforming the unformed Earth into our present world.

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