The Spirit of God MOVED over the Earth which was immersed in water. So starts the Genesis story. Specifically, what does the Biblical Hebrew word moved mean?
The Spirit of God moves over the waters as Genesis begins. In English, to move has various meanings like, move forward, move house, moved by emotion, and various other understandings. What exactly is the Biblical Hebrew meaning of the common word move in Genesis 1.2?
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 2.17)
This blog post is both a continuation and a transition of the creation of the first man, Adam, reported in Genesis 2.7. In this verse Yahveh, the Potter, breathed into his nostrils an immaterial singularity, akin to the mind, that only humans possess the neshama. This Neshama is always associated with ruach, both of which are possessed by God and humans. This ruach animates all living beings. But God’s Spirit acts on a totally superior level with the human spirit.
Even though God’s Spirit is not specifically mentioned in Genesis 2.7 it is inherent to the verse, being inseparable from the neshama and being the essential link between God and humans (Romans 8.14-16). Hence the need to discuss the Spirit of God. This, of course, has a capital S and is akin to the Holy Spirit.
Allow me to introduce this subject with a little historic build-up. When I started this project of writing leading to this commentary of Genesis I knew what I had in mind but I had absolutely no idea it was going to lead to what I’m about to explain. I started this blog in May 2014 but the notes, outlining, and writing of Inventory of the Universe, my first book, started in 2010. This was a couple of years before the 4th of July 2012. Why that date? Because that’s the date the Higgs Boson was discovered and witnessed for the first time by the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland.
I realize you don’t see the relationship between the Higgs Boson fundamental quantum particle and my writing but I assure you there is one. Here’s an article from June 2014 discussing the Higgs Boson. I don’t expect you to understand the scientific jargon, I don’t fully grasp it myself! But what I would like you to see is some of the vocabulary used to describe what’s going on in the Universe. For example: to shake around, new energy space, this bent and squeezed space-time, creating ripples known as gravitational waves that also twisted the radiation that passed through the universe. Background microwave radiation, characteristic twisted or curled waves called the B-mode pattern. An intense jittering in the energy field.
In the last chapter of Audit of the Universe discussing how humans reason scientifically, I will explain in the next few weeks how quantum physics has been revolutionized in the 5 years since the discovery of the Higgs Boson. How elementary particles such as quarks are no longer considered elementary. How the concepts of waves (immaterial) and particles (material) have given way to fields. How the focus of fundamental science is on quantum fields.
These quantum fields use descriptive terminology like: shake, energy, bent, squeezed, ripples, waves, twisted, microwaves, curled waves, jittering, and energy fields, as we saw above.
Keep these descriptive terms in mind as we look at the meaning of the Spirit of God MOVED on the face of the waters.
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved (H7363) upon the face of the waters.
These two verses are capital because they set the stage. All the key elements, bar the humans and their environment, are present and presented in this introduction. The main stage is our Earth. A secondary stage is heaven. The producer of this production is God. Remember, this is Elohim, plural, composed of God the Father and God, the Word. And the final all-important presence is the Spirit of God which is moving over the water inundated planet. What is the Biblical Hebrew move?
רָחַף râchaph raw-khaf’; a primitive root; to brood; by implication, to be relaxed:
KJV – flutter, move, shake.
Move is rachaph a primitive root meaning it is the most basic for of a Hebrew word composed to the three letter root. This word, rachaph, has no other derivative words and appears only three times in the entire Old Testament. Above is the first time. Here are the other two.
As an eagle stirreth up her nest, flutters (H7363) over her young, spreads abroad her wings, takes them, bears them on her wings:
My heart within me is broken because of the prophets; all my bones shake (H7363); I am like a drunken man, and like a man whom wine has overcome, because of the LORD, and because of the words of his holiness.
I’m using the first and seventh key to master Biblical Hebrew here. The fact that the King James translators used numerous words to translate the same Biblical Hebrew word. That all these translations are interconnected and tell a story.
This story uses three analogies. The first is the fluttering wings of an eagle caring for her eaglets. I’ve pictured this the image above although it is difficult to show fluttering wings in a two-dimension image. The second analogy refers to Jeremiah who is literally shaking down to his bones because of the nonsense expounded by false prophets in the name of God (read the context). The third analogy is the comparison with a drunken man. The simplest test to see if a driver is drunk is to get them to walk a straight line. You know what happens, they weave and wave to the left and right of the line.
One Biblical Hebrew word, three translations (move, flutter, shake) and three analogies (fluttering wings, shaking bones, drunken man). I believe it is very reasonable to conclude that the Spirit of God was moving over the water with a wavy up and down in and out, side to side type of motion. You might think this is imaginative and/or unimportant. Well, I’d say that the first few verses and chapters of Genesis are paramount in order to capture the essence of the Bible narrative.
Compare the movement of the Spirit of God to this: shake, energy, bent, squeezed, ripples, waves, twisted, microwaves, curled waves, jittering, and energy fields. Those are the descriptives for quantum fields we saw above. Sounds a lot like fluttering and shaking, in fact, shake is used both in the Bible and in the scientific article.
Please understand, we’re at the beginning of this expose. Understand what I’m NOT saying. The Spirit of God is certainly NOT a quantum field. That’s ridiculous. The Spirit of God cannot be measured by some Large Hadron Collider or any other human devised instrument. That too is ridiculous.
What I am doing is taking you into unknown territory. Genesis 1.2 juxtaposes two very different phenomena that we don’t contemplate. On the one hand, you have the Spirit of God which, by any definition, is an immense SPIRITUAL power. On the other hand, you have planet Earth covered with water which is a totally PHYSICAL entity. You have two completely opposed essences or substances, so to speak.
We also know the relationship between the Spirit of God and the physical creation. Job 26.13 says, By His Spirit He (God) garnished the heavens. Psalm 104.30 reiterates this, You send forth your spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth. From these verses we know the Spirit of God is the Power, the Force used for the creation of the material universe. YHVH, Christ, the Word is the Creator. He uses the Spirit of God that moves in a fluttering, shaking motion to create quantum fields that react like ripples, twisted microwaves, curled waves, jittering energy fields.
What I’d simply like you to realize is that the Spiritual gives rise to the material. That the Invisible gives rise to the visible. That God gives rise to the creation. That the Spirit of God gives rise to the light, the reconditioning of Earth, the flora, the fauna and humankind endowed with their mind and mindpower including the ability to reason.
There is a continuity between God’s spiritual environment and our human physical world. We see it in Genesis 1.2 with the Spirit of God moving, fluttering and shaking on the face of the waters. We now see this same shaking in quantum fields at the very basis of our material world.
I ask you the question. Has science gone so far in their research as to come to the shaking, energy, bent, squeezed, ripples, waves, twisted, microwaves, curled waves, jittering, and energy fields? Those are the descriptives for quantum fields.
Is science meeting God? Wow, that’s some question. We haven’t finished with this subject. But we are headed for some answers that will astound you. The Explanation is beginning to bring science and theology, material knowledge and spiritual understanding into coherent completeness. This will take a few blog posts. Stay with me and share this with those seeking to expand their horizons about the depth of God and His relationship with humankind.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.17 of the book Origin of Humankind.
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