The Words of Creation
“Through him all things were made”, John 1:3 NIV
—Apostle John introducing the Word (Jesus).
Although I was personally convinced from Psalm 139 that God had created first in Heaven, and then had implemented that Creation later in our Time and space as an ongoing process, I nevertheless wanted to know more from scripture as to when, where, how and especially why he had done so! My search continued and still does.
As I probed the scriptures from Genesis onwards, I made the exciting discovery that three different words had been used in the Hebrew language that had been translated as “create” or “created” in our modern Bibles!
I wondered, would God the Holy Spirit have inspired three different words to be chosen if they were all supposed to carry the same identical meaning?
I had already done word studies in the Bible and acquired enriched understanding by studying the original words and their contexts in scripture. Like many readers, I had studied the different words used in the biblical Greek of the New Testament which have been translated into English as “love”, but each carrying their own specific and different meanings. My concept of “love” itself had been greatly enhanced by studying which word had been used in the original. Might the three words of Creation also unlock fresh insight into God’s ingenuity?
I slowly and prayerfully checked the use of each of the words as they had been used in the Old Testament. As I had hoped, my comprehension of the Creation process itself grew apace. God’s inspired use of Biblical words is intentional and precise in the original text—but, unfortunately, this differentiation does not appear in any English translations.
So as not to fly under false colours, I must emphasise that I am a scholar of neither Hebrew nor Greek. However, 2Peter Haycock is an expert in Biblical Hebrew and kindly verified my discussion that follows of the three different Hebrew words, translated commonly in our English Bibles as “create”, but which can have differing meanings. I have also had the text checked out by different Pastors and Bible Teachers—and while all have been surprised by its content, none has discounted it so far. In fact, a number have embraced the comprehension you will find in these pages. The endorsements at the beginning of this book indicate this.
To uncover the deeper significance of the Creation, we must investigate the three different words in Hebrew that are often translated as “create” in our modern English Bibles.
Don’t panic and think, “I can’t possibly grasp Hebrew. I might as well give up now.”
No understanding in the slightest of Hebrew is needed to uncover the use of the three words in scripture. There are only three of them and no further Hebrew is considered. Our examination of them is entirely in English.
The three words in Hebrew are “bara”, “yatzar” and “asah”. I will use these three spellings although the same words in different books and contexts can be spelt differently; for simplicity, I am ignoring variants.
Each of the three Creation words has a different emphasis, although they overlap in meaning. It’s the overlap that can be translated “to create”. Any of the three may be used if the broad sense of “create” is the only meaning that is intended. However, each carries its own nuances, just as flowers carry different fragrances but are nevertheless all flowers. The word used for “create” in a given sentence may reflect these shades of meaning.
A model will help to clarify their interrelationship.
Suppose a potter wishes to indent a piece of clay as part of moulding it. He pushes down with his finger, but finds the clay too stiff. He calls two friends who overlap their fingers with his and all three push down. The “creative pressure” is applied only where the three overlap, so each is being creative. However, each finger is furthermore bringing its own strengths and weaknesses to the process—they are not the same. The three words for “create” are a bit like the three fingers, as shown in the diagram that follows:
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