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Did God have raw materials in the creation?

Tue, Mar. 30, 2010 Posted: 05:13 AM

One of the hardest questions that need to be asked about the creation of the world is:
Did The Lord have materials in his hands when he created the world or he the world was without any materials at all?

This was a really hard question for the sages of Israel and today I will give you only one answer of the sages and only one option, and this is the option of no materials at all...

One philosopher came to rabbi Gamliel and said to him: what a lovely painter is your God, yet he had some characteristic that helped him in the creation: the wind, the water, the darkness and etc
Rabbi Gamliel quoted him verses from the bible in order to answer the philosopher:
"יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹשֶׁךְ, עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא רָע; אֲנִי יְהוָה, עֹשֶׂה כָל-אֵלֶּה."

"Form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I
(Isaiah 45:7)"am the LORD, that doeth all these things
" הַלְלוּהוּ, שְׁמֵי הַשָּׁמָיִם; וְהַמַּיִם, אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל הַשָּׁמָיִם"

"Praise him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters that are above the heavens. (Psalms 148:4)
"כִּי הִנֵּה יוֹצֵר הָרִים וּבֹרֵא רוּחַ..."

"For, lo, He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind..."
(Amos 4:13)

"בְּאֵין-תְּהֹמוֹת חוֹלָלְתִּי..."
"When there were no depths, I was brought forth" (Proverbs 8:24)

This is only one answer to a big battle, but you can be sure about one thing: the sages didn't have a computer to search the verses, they knew it by heart; maybe this is the big battle that we have today, not if the important question above!

Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

Hebrew    Transcription  Translation
תֹּהוּ וָבֹהוּ Tōhû wābōhû  Disorder, chaos
צַיָּר           tsayyār         Painter
גַּמְלִיאֵל      Gamlî'ēl         Gamliel
בְּרִיאָה       Berî'āh          Creation
חֹמֶר גֶּלֶם Hōmer gelem Material raw

Eli Dahan, Biblical teacher at