by Brad Scott
There are many words, including Hebrew, that express the way things appear in their meaning rather than empirical, scientific fact. The Hebrew word bara' (ברא) is just such a word. This word is translated as create in the Tanakh, and of course, its most prolific use is its first use in Bere’shiyt (Genesis) 1:1. Many times this word is theologically taught to mean something brought out of nothing or something brought into existence that was previously not in existence. Well, this interpretation is based upon what appears to human intellect. Quite frankly, technically this is not true, for all things spring forth from the Word of God which IS God. The idea that something or anything came from nothing, contradicts the laws of science (not the theories) and the nature of the Creator. So-called science has been faced for centuries with two bottom lines. Either something came from nothing, or something always was. I go for the latter. However, for all intents and purposes, YHVH called the heaven and earth, the materials for all things visible and invisible, into existence in the beginning. From the very first verse, the Scriptures are written to mankind and for mankind, and so we understand all things based upon what YHVH sovereignly chooses to reveal to us.
The literal meaning of the word bara' is to open up or to bring into tangible existence. From the student of scripture's point of view, the heavens and the earth had a beginning. So, this means there was a time when there WAS no heaven and earth, but does this mean they were brought forth from nothing? From our point of view, yes. What were they before they were opened up? No one knows, but the creation came from someone who always was. I am not saying that all things had a spiritual existence before they had a physical existence. I am simply saying that all things come from the Word of God which has always been. The idea of something appearing to come from non-existence to existence can also be seen in one of the cognates of bara'. The Hebrew word for lightning is baraq (ברק).
Mizemor (Psalm) 144:6Cast forth lightning [baraq baraq], and scatter them; shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:27For as the lightning cometh forth out of the east and shineth forth even unto the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
Shalom Alecheim! ◊