An Old Testament scholar now seems to suggest that it is a wrong interpretation to believe that God created Earth when “He” created the animals etc. on it. She, Prof Ellen van Wolde, believes that Earth was already there when the Animals and Humans were created. The Judeo-Christian belief suggests that Earth was created out of nothing by God.
She said she eventually concluded the Hebrew verb “bara”, which is used in the first sentence of the book of Genesis, does not mean “to create” but to “spatially separate”. The first sentence should now read “in the beginning God separated the Heaven and the Earth”
She also suggests that the idea of creating “Something out of Nothing” does not seem plausible.
The usual idea of creating-out-of-nothing, creatio ex nihilo, is a big misunderstanding.”
Now, this interpretation has gotten some strong resistance from the believers. The entire premise of the faith of at least three religions seems shaken! But what was especially interesting was a comment by a reader which I find more reasonable than the original explanation and the one that Wolde is professing:
The first letter of the Torah is a Bet. A bet is a container which refers to our universe, a container, bounded by time and space, that G-d created for us to be able to exist within his infinity that has no time or space. The entire “Creation story” takes place AFTER our universe bounded by time and space is already created out of nothing by the trancendent (which the torah names with the tetragrammaton – Yud Hey Vav Hey.)
But I find it intriguing that none of the people use the word “manifestation” for the existence. In Hindu scriptures, Existence and Universe has been called “Srishti”, which means manifestation. And if the physics theories are any indication, then the finite existence is no more than a manifestation of the Infinite.