[Originally published as The Act of Creating]
How did the Creator make the heavens, the earth, and the life that is within them? Although theology and science are unable to tell us everything about the Creator and the creation process, we can still gain insight into the act of creating by looking at the various Hebrew words used in the text and noting the uniqueness of this ability possessed only by the Creator.
Making His Creation
The English word ‘create’ translates the Hebrew word “bara.” The bara type of creating is an action attributed only to the Creator and reflects the making of something new or the renewal of something.
In contrast, there is the word “asah” which, while variously translated, essentially means ‘to do’ or ‘to make’ and represents how man makes things from materials that already exist. Therefore, there is a special type of creation, or making of something, that is an attribute of only the Creator.
To Speak into Being
Creation was spoken into being. However, in the Hebrew language, there are different verbs used to describe talking. The verb “amar” is used for ‘to speak’ or, in the imperative tense, ‘to declare’ something. This is the verb used when the Creator declares that things should exist.
This can be compared with the verb “deber” which means ‘to instruct’ or ‘to command’ and is used when giving instructions and laws to the Nation of Israel.
When the Almighty declares something, it happens, whether a physical creation or a spiritual blessing.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3 KJV
Let There Be
The creation account given in Genesis follows a pattern using a couple forms of the verb “hayah” which means ‘to be’ or ‘to occur’. The Almighty declares in the imperfect tense (showing an ongoing action) “Let there be,” and then Scripture states in the perfect tense (completed action), “there was.” Thus, we have a created object that began and continues to exist.
Sometimes things are referred to as “being formed,” which comes from the Hebrew word “yatzar.” This word seems to imply a purpose and a reason for doing something. It is used on a small scale with the forming of a baby in the womb all the way up to the large scale forming of a nation. It is also the word used when man is formed (Gen 2:7).
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. Genesis 1:11 KJV
After Their Kind
When God created the plants and the animals they are described as being made “after their kind.” In Hebrew, this is the word “min” which suggests a likeness or form that fits a type of plant or animal. The plants and animals were spoken into existence directly by Elohim and, therefore, did not have any ancestry nor was there any evolutionary means involved.
Each of these words shows the intent of the Creator in making the universe, the world, and life. This is a special process that is planned out and with a purpose. There is no accident or random chance involved in what is created.
Created Kinds in Greek
Similar meanings are found in the Greek language of the Septuagint. The Greek word “ktizo” means to fabricate or form originally. The Greek word “ghinomahee” means to generate or cause to be and is used broadly for offspring, descendants, and kindred.
Kinds are spoken of many times in the Scriptures as is the concept of them being created. However, the combined form of “Baramin” was made-up in the AD 1940’s and there are technically no Scripture passages with this exact form.