Gen 1:1 "When God began to create"?

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Wed Aug 30 06:12:20 EDT 2000

I accept "In a beginning God..." as a valid alternative to "In the beginning
of God...". I don't accept "with" as B- does not mean "with", and the
grounds you give for preferring it (that "with a beginning" is better
English than "in a beginning") as both are bad English and neither are what
the Hebrew means. So I don't think there is any support for your last

Remember that I said that this was ridicuously over-literal, so I am not
going to be drawn into discussing which of two alternatives is marginally
less ridiculous. And I certainly was not looking for things like
alliteration in such a pseudo-translation.

Peter Kirk

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Ross" <wross at>
To: "Biblical Hebrew" <b-hebrew at>
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2000 2:35 AM
Subject: RE: Gen 1:1 "When God began to create"?

> <Peter>
> ...A ridiculously over-literal translation of 1:1-2 could go something
> In the beginning of God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth
> was/became formless and void...
> <Bill>
> My understanding of a couple of details would be inclined to modify your
> gloss thus...
> "With/In a beginning, God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth
> was/became unformed and unfilled..."
> I lean toward "with" and because "beginning" has no definite article, so
> flows better: "with a begininng" instead of "in a beginning".
> I like the way "unformed/unfilled" capture the alliteration of the
> I believe the vowel points were added much later, so disregarding them,
> "of" difficulty disappears. Am I correct on this?
> With a reading of "with a beginning", could we have textual support for a
> "renewal" of the heavens and Earth occuring?
> "God started with raw materials when He created the heavens and the earth,
> and the Earth was formless and void"
> Just asking...
> Bill Ross
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