According to Genesis 1:1:
בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ
I've read that this is a grammatically incorrect because b'reshit does not have a definite article and the word order is wrong. Literally translated, this would say:
In first/beginning created God, the heavens (et) and (et) the land
It seems as though this should be interpreted as:
In the first thing [was] created God [together] with the heavens and with the land
Afterwards, we are told the land is chaotic until God said "Let there be light". The only thing I can figure is that the first thing was chaotic matter that eventually brought about God. He then proceeded to bring order to this chaos with light.
This would also agree with the cosmologies of several early religions such as the Sumarians, Babylonians, and the Greeks- though they all made chaos out to be a conscious god rather than an unconscious, constant movement of matter.
According to Rabbi Adin Even-Israel's amalgamation of the medieval commentaries on Babylonian Talmud tractate Megilla 9a [William Davidson on-line English translation]1
And they wrote for him: God created in the beginning [bereshit], reversing the order of the words in the first phrase in the Torah that could be misinterpreted as: “Bereshit created God” (Genesis 1:1). They did so to negate those who believe in the preexistence of the world and those who maintain that there are two powers in the world: One is Bereshit, who created the second, God. And they wrote: I shall make man in image and in likeness, rather than: “Let us make man in our image and in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26), as from there too one could mistakenly conclude that there are multiple powers and that God has human form.
Is it true that the first words in Genesis could be interpreted to say that God was prepared in the first? Have any other commentators mentioned this?
1. The actual quotes from the Talmud are indicated here in italics. The rest is the amalgamation of the Rashi and Tosafot medieval commentaries, which each present different reasons for the word order switch, plus supplementary modern commentary by Rabbi Even-Israel