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LIBERTY BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

WORD STUDY ON

SUBMITTED TO PROF. BRIAN SCALISE IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE COURSE OTCL 505 HEBREW TOOLS

BY JEFFERY S. CULLY

MARCH 9, 2012

General Definition of According to the BDB Hebrew and English Lexicon this word is a verb meaning to shape, fashion, or create. In addition this word is always indicative of divine activity. It is found 54 times within 46 verses of the KJV Bible and is given to four types of usage or categories in which it is employed and which are as follows: 1. As it pertains to the creation of the physical object(s) known as heaven and earth, mankind, the host of heavens, the heavens, the ends of the earth, the directions north and south and finally, the wind. 2. In addition it refers to the creation of the individual man, the smith and waster which are references from Isaiah 54:16 to the blacksmith and what in the NKJV is the destroyer (waster), Israel as a nation i.e. Jacob, and the seed of Israel. 3. It also references new conditions and circumstances, righteousness and salvation, darkness and evil, fruit of the lips, a new thing and a cloud over Zion. 4. The fourth and final category consists of transformations; such as a clean heart, new heaven and earth (in place of old) and transformation of nature.

Usage of the Verb 1. God and the Genesis Creation Here we are seeing God bring into existence His creation from Ex Nihilo; the nothingness from which God creates a perfect world and breathes life into it. In the beginning all is in harmony with His perfect creation; the heavens and earth, mankind, etc. a. The use of here in the following verses relate to the physical creation of the heavens, earth and all the celestial bodies. They affirm Gods sovereign role in the process. It

relates to God forming and shaping the world from the darkness of the void. (Gn. 1:1, 2:3, Is. 40:26, 28, 42:5, 45: 18, Ps. 89:12, Am. 4:13) b. In these verses God has firmly established that it was He who created and breathed life into man and that man was made in the likeness and image of God. God further saw it good to create a mate for man and He breathed life into woman as well and that He commands all their hosts. (Gn. 1:27, 5:1-2, 6:7, Dt. 4:32, Ps. 89:47, Is. 45:12) 2. Gods hand in the diversity and uniqueness of His creation. God continues to play an active role in His creation and does not set the wheels in motion only to walk away and let it fend for itself. He is the caretaker who constantly nurtures and refines His creation adding to its diversity as well as individuality. He is the Father of man and nation alike. a. These two verses show a fatherly relationship between the creator and creation, and speak to the uniqueness of Gods creation; it is a more personal reference to the individual creation of a specific man as opposed to mankind as a whole. (Mal 2:10, Ec12:1) b. God uses the term created here to again show His sovereignty over all of His creation and circumstance. In this verse He gives comfort to the oppressed by reminding them that it was He that created even their oppressor and that He will not allow them to be hurt. (Is. 54:16) c. God creates His chosen people, through His covenant setting them aside for His glory. He references the creation of Jacob whose name becomes Israel, paralleling the nations creation. He speaks of the seed of Israel, to those called in His name and finally He claims authority as the creator of Israel and His being its rightful King. (Is. 43:1, 7, 15)

3. God creating the incorporeal and intangible, yet existent concepts that guide creation. a. God is responsible for all creation, and as He has created the physical world and its, inhabitants, so too has He created things of a more abstract nature such as emotions, thoughts and in some cases circumstances that engage His creation. In these particular verses we see where God in His sovereignty has created and allowed for darkness and calamity in our world, yet has also balanced this with the creation of righteousness and a path for salvation. (Is. 45:7, 8) b. God has further created in us the ability to be creative ourselves through the use of praising language, or fruit of the lips. (Is. 57:19) c. God uses the verb to show He is supernaturally and miraculously engaged in the creation of new things or restored and newly created Israel. Finally He uses the term in reference to His divine wrath and judgment as in the case of the Korahites. (Je. 31:22, Nu. 16:30) 4. Transformations and New Beginnings a. The Psalmist use of the word here references the transformation of ones heart from a state of sinfulness to a clean heart that yearns for a relationship of providence with God and the dwelling of His Holy Spirit within. It affirms God sovereignty in this creation process as the only means to achieve his goal. (Ps. 51:10) b. Isaiah speaks in both verses of prophetic eschatological references to a new creation in which God will create a new heaven and earth replacing the broken and fallen one. There

will be a miraculous transformation of nature so that all will finally know the presence of Gods hand among them. (Is. 41:20, 65:17) Comparison of with The word is a verb which like its counterpart is similar in meaning, and is defined as to form or fashion. However unlike there is no singular connotation or association that restricts its use to God alone. Often scripture uses this verb to describe actions that result solely from human activity as opposed to the direct intervention of God. Much symbolism is given to artisans whose creation is the result of their hands. The image of the potter who forms a vessel of clay or wood carver and his idols is often the metaphor seen in verses which employ the use of this verb. Even when employed by God as a means of creation we see, such as the situation in Gn. 2:7, 9 and 19, that He does so as man would by forming or making, like a potter with clay. Here God forms His new creations; man, plant and beast out of what He has already created, the dust. It is not uncommon to where both words are used in a passage both to compliment as well as distinguish the types of creation from one another. An example of such a duality can be seen in Isaiah 43:1; But now, thus says the Lord, who created ( ) you, O Jacob, And He who formed ( ) you, O Israel. Here we see where God in His sovereignty employs both actions. Yet the verb created seems to imply an original creation, whereas formed, while still divine, indicates a process seeming almost anthropomorphic. This creation of formation originates from something already in existence; in this case Jacob. Another example of this parallel and

comparison can be seen in Isaiah 45:18 with the same inferences given. For thus says the Lord, Who created ( ) the heavens, Who is God, Who formed ( ) the earth and made it. Who has established it, Who did not create ( ) it in vain, Who formed ( ) it to be inhabited.

Finally we see the term in use to describe the forming of a preordained plan for a given circumstance or situation. God who is sovereign forms a course of action, i.e. plan that agrees with His divine purpose. Examples of this can be seen in Is. 22:11, 37:26, 46:11, 2 K. 19:25, as well as Je. 18:11. Conclusion What develops from a word study of the verb is not as much an understanding of a particular definition or usage of this word, but the picture it paints of a sovereign God actively engaged in and with His creation. Much as the word can have but one singular meaning and application, so too does the verb with its sole usage being attributed to the divine activity of God Himself. Regardless in what form this word is used it is intimately attached to God and not another. When used in describing the act of physically creating the earth, heavens and life as we know it, the word becomes a testament to Gods omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent character and sovereignty over all of His creation. It is a creation that but for the sinfulness of man would have remained unblemished and an image of perfection. All that Gods hand directs is by definition good, whether it meets mans finite understanding or not. It is not a creation of idleness or frivolity but one of design and purpose. God has formed a creation by which to glorify Himself and establish an intimate relationship with. Whether through miraculous sign and intervention or simply the transformation of mans heart, God uses His creation to establish His dominion and stand as evidence to His right of kingship. It is His creation that stands as the ultimate proof of His existence and legitimacy to adoration.

Doctrinally it goes without question that Gods creation of the heavens and earth was done so ex nihilo. However based solely upon the Hebrew verb it is extremely difficult to make a definitive argument that stands the test of inquisition. While the usage of this verb, when applied to Gods active participation in the physical creation, seems to imply a creation from nothing we are faced with a contradictory inference when the same word is used in reference to the creation of man, plant and animal all of which were formed of the ground. It is this formation from existent creation that becomes problematic when desiring to solely use this word as evidentiary justification for an ex nihilo argument. However coupled with other sound theological

exposition and not left to itself, it can add to the veracity of this position.