Water and the Biblical Creation Story

Here I be. You shall see what you will. I started reading Dune recently and seeing a book so full of biblical references and that describes a culture (a fictional culture but there is a reason the book is considered a classic) whose culture and religion are centered around the preservation of water. as a religious jew. This had me thinking about what water represents in the bible so here:

What water represents in the Biblical creation myth(at least according to my interpretation) the translation I used is the Orthodox Jewish Bible (OBJ).anything between,(), was in the original translation, {}, represent clarification I added as I have the Hebrew text next to me, and [], is something that exists in their translation but that I believe is better left out.

  • Bereishis (Genesis) 1:3 And the earth was tohu vavohu (without form, and void); and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the [Ruach Elohim] {wind/spirit (the same word is used for both) of God} was hovering upon the face of the water[s].
    • Here water seems to represent chaos, unformed matter/existence. Darkness is ignorance, the non-existence of knowledge or even the ability to know, as nothing had either form or name.
  • Bereishis (Genesis) 1:6-7 And Elohim said, Let there be a raki’a (expanse, dome, firmament) in the midst of the mayim (waters), and let it divide the mayim from the mayim. And Elohim made the raki’a, and divided the waters under the raki’a from the waters which were above the raki’a; and it was so. And Elohim called the raki’a Shamayim (Heaven {or sky}).
    • Here after creating light (Knowledge) there can be names for things as the firmament is called sky and the water has been separated. The interesting thing is that the word Shamayim is constructed of the words Sham-there and Mayim-(water or waters) and can be translated as ‘there(location) is water’
  • Bereishis (Genesis) 1:9-10 And Elohim said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the yabashah ([dry land] {the dry}) appear; and it was so. And Elohim called the yabashah Eretz (Earth); and the mikveh (gathering together of the waters) He called Seas; and Elohim saw that it was [tov] {good}. And Elohim made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the kokhavim (stars) also. And Elohim set them in the raki’a of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and Elohim saw that it was tov {good}.
    • As the waters were separated land, literally the dry, comes into existence. Like how god separated light from dark he also separates water from land and as things get separated they gain a certain distinctness that they earlier lacked. As such water in future passages of the bible gains a more distinct meaning. The earlier creation of the rak’ia also seems to be a separation between air and water.
  • Bereishis (Genesis) 1:14-15 And Elohim said, Let there be lights in the raki’a of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for otot (signs), and for mo’adim ([seasons] {times}), and for yamim (days), and shanim (years); And let them be for lights in the raki’a of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so. And Elohim made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; He made the kokhavim (stars) also. And Elohim set them in the raki’a of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness; and Elohim saw that it was tov {good}.
    • The luminaries were used to divide the light and darkness but as objects of light were created themselves. The only times when God creates something not out of Separating things is when he creates Light, Knowledge, or Living beings/life.
  • And Elohim said, Let the waters bring forth an abundance of living creatures, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open raki’a of heaven. And Elohim created great sea creatures, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth in abundance, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind; and Elohim saw that it was tov {good}.And Elohim blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
    • Here life itself is brought out from the water (actually plant life was brought out from the land but is is slow and stationary from water come moving breathing life) so even life was brought from the waters but this like the creation of plant life was a multiplication and not a division.
  • This is the last mention of water in the creation and in the next sections he brings things out of the earth and the rest of what there is a seemingly infinite act of division creating an multiplication of things.

My interpretation is described as objectively as I can make it because I don’t want my prior religious beliefs to affect the interpretations I am currently working on .

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