TOHU in Isaiah

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at
Sat Mar 30 19:25:55 EST 2002

Since Aristotle's ideas were mentioned, I can mention the Oral 
Torah's teaching.

There exists nothing but G-d, and always has.

In order to emanate "creation", G-d "withdrew" from its center, 
creating a space which at first was void, perhaps this is "Tohu" - 
before creation took actual form(s)

You don't learn this from the literal texts, though.


> 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

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

You are currently subscribed to b-hebrew as: [rosewalk at]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to 
To subscribe, send an email to join-b-hebrew at

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list