TOHU in Isaiah

Bill Burks rwburks at
Sat Mar 30 12:02:35 EST 2002


I personally was not stating that I viewed Genesis 1:2 as indicating God created the
earth in "tohu" or not in "tohu." I was just merely sharing with Jason the verse that I
think Liz was refering to.

I personally view Genesis 1:1-2 in conjunction with Genesis 2:1. With what was started
in 1:1 being finished in 2:1.  However I don't feel that is a matter of language but
rather one of interpretation. In the context, creation  when completed the earth was
not "tohu." This also does not proclude the view of an "ex nillho" creation.  What
happened in Genesis 1:1 and ended in 2:1 began in my view from "nothing."  However we
are going far afield now from the study of language.

I do not believe however that such a view requires a complex linguistic argument based
on the words of Genesis 1:1.  Especially when the verse can just as easily be
translated simply, as a straight forward sentence with a subject, predicate, object,
and prepositional phrase acting as an indirect object.


Bill Burks

Liz originally wrote:

"Rashi does not deny the principle, he denies that the bible talks about it.
And Isaiah denies that God created tohu, and he is a LOT closer to
the original writers than either the LXX or the Vulgate.
Give it up.

"Christian M. M. Brady" wrote:

> On 3/29/02 6:59 PM, "Bill Burks" <rwburks at> wrote:
> > Jason,
> >
> > I will not pursume to speak for Liz, however I believe her reference was to
> > Isa. 45:18
> >
> > "For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the
> > earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he
> > formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else." (KJV)
> >
> > The word in the passage for vain is tohu
> But this passage is not necessarily saying that God did not create "tohu"
> (and I do not have the original message, so I am not sure if Jason is
> correctly citing Liz). The NRSV offers a legitimate reading that does not
> require one to read the passage as denying that God created tohu, but rather
> than what he created was not intended to *remain* tohu.
> For thus says the LORD,
>     who created the heavens
>         (he is God!),
>     who formed the earth and made it
>         (he established it;
>     he did not create it a chaos,
>         he formed it to be inhabited!):
>     I am the LORD, and there is no other.
> > "Jason A. Hare" wrote:
> >
> >> Liz,
> >>
> >> You mentioned Isaiah denying God's creation of 'tohu.'  Seeing my complete
> >> lack of reference materal (save a couple of minor-level dictionaries) at
> >> my disposal, I would like to ask for a reference.  I'm sorry to be a
> >> burden, but I think it would be great to be able to use that in
> >> discussion.  And if I knew where to find it, it would add more weight.
> >> ;-)
> >>
> >> Regards,
> >> Jason
> Cb
> cbrady @
> --
> To attack a man for talking nonsense is like
> finding your mortal enemy drowning in a swamp
> and jumping in after him with a knife.
>                                 --Karl Popper
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