bereshit

Lisbeth S. Fried lizfried at umich.edu
Sun Mar 17 11:26:07 EST 2002




Dear Peter, 

>
> 
> >No, Ian, my silence does not imply consent. You may well be right that
> >the first creative act was "Let there be light!". The problem is that
> >that begs the question of the origin of the formless earth and waters.
> 
> What makes you think they need, or the writer thought 
> they had, origins?
> 
> >I accept that if you look at verse 1 alone bereshit could mean what you
> >say, but in my opinion that causes so many problems when the context is
> >widened that an alternative understanding has to be preferred.

It seems to me that if Rashi did not need an alternaive interpretation,
then we don't need one either. Rashi states that the text says nothing
about what went on before, about how the world was created. The text
begins with the light.
If you want, this can be consistent with creatio ex nihilo, and with
Artistotelian thought. Aristotle said God created the universe, however,
he also said that God cannot change, i.e, he cannot go from a state of
not creating to a state of creating. Therefore, the creation has to be
co-terminus with God, and if God is eternal, then so is the world.
Aristotle (and I think also Maimonides) believe this, while at the same
time believing in a world created by God.
Maimonides argued that time is part of the created world, therefore
there could not have been a moment *in time* when the world did
not exist.
Therefore, you can retain your theology, and leave the Biblical text
as it is.

Imo, of course, the writer had no such thoughts, and did not
assume creatio ex nihilo, but rather an earth covered by water
 from the beginning.

Best,
LIz
> 

> 
>



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