Barà (Genesis chap. 1, verse 1)

Barà is the second word of the Hebrew Bible and it is normally translated as “create”: At the beginning of time, God created … Now, I will not speak of “what” he created , but the meaning of the Hebrew verb barà. The verb can also be translated, especially in the first chapter of Genesis, with this sentence: to create without using any tool. God, in fact, created everything with his word, which is not a material tool, because words are part of Him.

Is it the first mention of the creation out of nothing doctrine? Not yet, because this doctrine will be clearly formulated in the Second Book of Maccabees (chapter 7 , verse 28) , written in the second century B.C. in a Greek cultural environment, a context very different from the one the first chapters of Genesis were written. However, here it is already outlined the “God Creator of Universe” vision,  even though, as we shall see, universe is an inadequate term to express what he created .

A vision of God that is also present in the chapters of Isaiah written in the same century in which the book Genesis was also written. Isaiah says that God not only creates things, because also he creates new and positive situations, such as salvation in place of despair, justice instead of oppression (cf. Isaiah ch. 45 , vers . 8) ; God can even re-create the heavens and the earth (cf. Isaiah 65:17 ), namely new conditions of life in a totally different historical frame.

God does not create just once, because his presence in the Jew’s history is constant, as it is also witnessed in the last book of the Bible – Revelation – where we find God “making all things new” (Revelation chap. 21 , vers . 5 ) , in the sense that he can overturn any situation constantly and surprisingly, as for example sadness into joy (cf. Revelation chap. 21 , vers . 4; Isaiah ch. 65 , vers . 18).

The creation – the greek ktisis – is therefore always a work in progress and the final result also depends of each of us (cf. Epistle to the Romans, chap. 8, vers . 29). If men and women recognized to be “fragile creatures and dependent on God” who trust in Him, our planet would be more joyful and less sad.

Simone Venturini


Leave a Reply