Please can you explain the first verse of chapter one from Genesis, and I’m a student in comparative religion I want to know if we really believe that the universe is self-existence and G-d didn’t make it and I read some translation one of them is (NJPS, NRSV…) that says the universe is self-existence according to the rabbis and…, and I read for some rabbis says the same thing and them proving what I said by the syntax of the verse and history etc…, and we all know that the science against that, so can you explain that?
Please excuse me for being blunt, but any Rabbi that says that the G-d didn’t create the world, and that the universe is of self existence, is saying utter nonsense! There is no statement that can be more anti Jewish than that! There are numerous verses in the bible that contradict this idea, and I’ll name a few. The first chapter of Genesis describes what exactly G-d made on each day of creation and what he did in the heavens and the earth. Also see Genesis chap. 2 verse 4 “and these is the story of the heaven and earth on the day that G-d made the heaven and earth”, Exodus 20-11, “For in six days G-d made the heavens and the earth”, Psalms 115-15, 121-2, 124-8, 146-6. In fact any Jew that doesn’t believe the G-d made the heavens and the earth is considered by Maimonides as an apostate, See Maimonides Yesodei Hatorah ( lit. the basic of the Torah) Chapter 1-1 writes, “ the base of all bases, and the pillar of all knowledge is to know that there is one original being that made everything- ( this we call G-d) and that everything that exists from heaven and earth and everything in between only exists from his being”. In verse 6 he writes, “ This knowledge is a positive commandment ( the first of the ten commandment s) as it says, “ I am you G-d”, and anyone who entertains the thought that there is another power except Him, transgresses the, ( next) commandment, “ don’t have any other G-ds” and he is an apostate, as this is the fundamental rule that everything depends on.” Therefore obviously when the verse says, “In the beginning, G-d created the heaven and he earth” the meaning is not that “beginning” created G-d.
The truth is that this is an old mistake; the Talmud in tractate Megillah 9a relates a story the King Talmai took seventy sages and pt them all in different rooms and told them to write the whole bible, and a miracle happened and all seventy sages wrote 10 things different than it actually says in the script, in order that he shouldn’t make a mistake, so they changed wrote G-d created in the beginning, the heavens and the earth instead of writing in the beginning, G-d created…
I don’t know what you mean that the syntax of the verse means such, but we know a lot of meaning of the verses from the “ta’amim”, the singsong or chant that the words are to be read. It reads “bereshis bara elokim”, then there is a comma, or a partial stop, then it reads “the heavens and the earth”. If the meaning of the verse would be that “beginning created G-d the heavens and the earth, there shouldn’t be a comma there, and the verse should read straight without the semi stop in middle of the verse. Besides, if the meaning is that “beginning” created etc. the verse should read and G-d and the heavens and the earth, or G-d, heavens and the earth as it says when writing a list of items, but instead the verse reads, “the heaven and the earth”. In any case, as I said, there are numerous verses that contradict this whole idea.
Regarding if science is against this, see Dr. Gerald Schroeder’s book titled “The age of the Universe”, he talks about the age of the universe and the bible.