Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Does Anyone Really Teach that the Hebrew Verb Bara' (ברא) Demands Creation Ex Nihilo?

In response to a prior post , dealing with the Hebrew verb Bara'
(ברא), I had a couple of comments that seemed to say that no knowledgable person would ever argue that Bara' (ברא) demands creation ex nihilo . However, listen to the apologist Hugh Ross, in an article entitled: Big Bang - The Bible Taught It First!: The Hebrew verb translated “created” in Isaiah 42:5 is bara’ which has as its primary definition “bringing into existence something new, something that did not exist before.”7 His footnote cites: 7. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 1 (Chicago: Moody, 1980), 127.

Ross argues:
The first direct scientific evidence for a big bang universe dates back to 1916. . . . All these scientists, however, were upstaged by 2500 years and more by Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other Bible authors. The Bible’s prophets and apostles stated explicitly and repeatedly the two most fundamental properties of the big bang, a transcendent cosmic beginning a finite time period ago and a universe undergoing a general, continual expansion. In Isaiah 42:5 both properties were declared, “This is what the Lord says—He who created the heavens and stretched them out.”

Many other Christian apologists, who accept an old earth creation view (OEC), argue similarly, including William Craig in the Reasonable Faith, pp. 111ff. Interestingly enough, there is an Orthodox Jewish scholar Gerald Schroeder who uses the same type of arguments as Hugh Ross and William Craig. Schroeder, who has a Ph.D. from MIT in nuclear physics, has written, Genesis and the Big Bang: The Discovery Of Harmony Between Modern Science And The Bible and The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom .

So, the notion that only some proof-texting uneducated person holds these views is simply mistaken.


  1. Just grab any YEC or OEC, they all claim bara is creation ex nihlo. Anyone arguing that no one makes the claim is arguing from at best ignorance at worse lying.

  2. I'm disappointed that no one has even mentioned the "bara" of the great sea giants mentioned in Genesis 1:21.

  3. Here is a thought on the issue of major (large scope) models of creation or materialist alternatives: Could it not be that we do not yet have "on the table" for discussion, a more explanatory theory or theories because the "orthodoxy" of both Western religion and of science excludes or ignores some major data points? (Hint: that's a rhetorical question.)

    I've prior mentioned at least one book, Vine Deloria's, that suggests third, fourth, or further theories need additional development and consideration. I don't recall his "missing data points" suggestions but here are a couple that I am convinced are critical: 1)The extreme antiquity of human civilization, coming from both non-traditional archeology and related evidences, and from photographic and other evidence beyond earth. (Off-planet civilizations of the distant past, or PERHAPS more recent past or even the present, may or may not have been human or genetically related... our DNA manipulators/creators perhaps?)

    2)The likelihood that "catastrophies" have, more than once, played a key role, leaving signs in the geological record and in ancient literature (e.g., tales of a major water catastrophy extant in a wide range of cultures with several common features). While I understand that biblical literalists (to which I was pretty close for a long time as a believer) can readily ignore or distort pretty clear evidences, I do think that one valid "confusion" point that seems, to them, to back up creationism and a literal flood, is the fact that there probably ARE valid evidences of major physical catastrophy(ies). "Uniformitarian" assumptions by leaders in several scientific disciplines are probably off-base, creating major errors in theory-creation and interpretation of data. And a number of scientists/researchers hold to some kind of catastrophism who are far from Christian and have no religous "axe to grind."

    I believe we need systematic efforts to put together and dig deeper into the range of evidences, "scientific" and otherwise (but not just "revealed"!) that indicate a number of little-examined factors influenced tremendously what HAS transpired on earth, as to its physical state and as to the life-forms and appearance/history of humanity. And with that, what IS the current status of humanity vis-a-vis broader cosmology, "intelligent life" or spirit forms; and what likely is the direction we are headed.