Gen 1:2

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Aug 22 22:49:36 EDT 2001

>  I was just thinking about Gen 1:2 with regards to RuaCH 'eLoHiYM. Is
>'eLoHiYM used here without the definite article an adjective or still a
>noun? While most translations render this verse "the Spirit of God", a few
>have rendered it "an awesome wind". The NWT (New World Translation of the
>Holy Scriptures) published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of
>Jehovah's Witnesses render it God's "active force". Can someone comment on
>why the preferred reading is "Spirit of God" in this passage, and would
>"active force" as used in the NWT be a faithful translation of the original
>Hebrew? Many thanks.

The *wind* of God is of course the basic sense of the text.

In his encounter with the watery chaos dragon, Tiamat, at the beginning of creation,
Marduk used the "imhullu" wind as his means of defeating Tiamat -- Akkadian cognate
of thwm (note the connection with thw, "waste", the initial state at creation) --
despatching it to her face. Once defeated, the primaeval waters of Tiamat was
divided in two with half being put above, held by a bolt, and creation was begun.

The biblical version is somewhat more streamlined and hence more cryptic to us.
There is little trace in Genesis of the Lord's battle with the waters, but there are
a few traces in other biblical works.


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