Museo Armeno, Venice, Italy/Bridgeman Art Library

“WIND FROM GOD swept over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2), as shown in this 19th-century painting “Chaos,” by Russian seascape artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. As author Jack Sasson suggests, the Hebrew phrase b’reshit bara, popularly translated “In the beginning, God created,” is more accurately rendered “When He [God] began to create.” Genesis is not describing creatio ex nihilo—creation out of nothing; when God began to work, the earth, darkness, water and wind already existed.