Word for Word: Episode 2

בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים
God created

The history of the first verb,  בָּרָא (bar´a), is interesting, for its root meaning appears to have indicated the idea of cutting, rather than of molding. The imagery is of a carpenter rather than the potter. The form בֵרֵאתָ֤ is translated "cut down" in Joshua 17 when Joshua tells the strong northern tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh to go into the woods and create more space. It seems that they were not satisfied with the lottery of preexisting towns.

The eventual meaning of creation from nothing but an idea is tied to the clearing of land to build something new. Like the "sons of Joseph", the Creator had a plan. He had nothing given to Him. However, since He exists in and of Himself (Exodus 3:14), it follows that the universe and all that is in it is not co-infinite with Him.

His creation is, in the final analysis, out of nothing but an idea. Everything was made by his speaking it into existence. The name used here for the Creator, אֱלֹהִ֑ים (´Elohim), carries the idea of strength. In the dual form, this implies "very strong", and as such capable of the task before him.
However, the text will reveal that everything did not "pop into" existence. Verse 1 is just the introduction.


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