Questions and Answers: Did God “Create” or “Make” the World?

From Issue: R&R Volume 22 #7


Did God “create” or “make” the world?


Oftentimes, those who advocate the view that the Earth is billions of years old suggest that God initially “created” the Earth (Genesis 1:1) and then later “made” (i.e., re-created) it in six days. As awkward as this sounds to those who take a more straightforward (and accurate) approach to reading Scripture, these old-Earth advocates make a distinction between the Hebrew words bara (to create) and asah (to make or fashion). They claim that bara and asah always must mean two different things in relation to God’s creative acts. Not long ago, I heard a gentleman on the radio teaching that Exodus 20:11 does not mean that God created the Universe and everything in it in six days, but instead means that He “re-created” or “fashioned” the Universe in six days after originally creating it billions of years earlier. This man based his whole argument on the “fact” that “to make” does not mean “to create.”

What is the truth of the matter? After surveying the creation account, one finds that no distinction is made between God’s creating (bara) and His making (asah). These words are used fifteen times in the first two chapters of Genesis in reference to God’s work. Genesis 1:21 states that God “created” (bara) the sea creatures and birds. Then in 1:25 we read where God “made” the animals of the Earth. Are we to believe that God created the birds and fish from nothing and then “refashioned” the land animals from materials he had made billions of years earlier? Preposterous! In Genesis 1:26-27 we read that God made (asah) man in His image. Yet, the very next verse says that He created (bara) him in His image. How can one assert (logically) that in these two verses “make” and “create” refer to completely different creations?

Furthermore, the “explanatory notes” God has given us throughout the Old Testament concerning the events recorded in Genesis 1 reveal that the words “create” (bara) and “make/made” (asah) are used interchangeably in reference to the creation of the Universe and everything in it. When we read Exodus 20:11, Psalm 148:1-5, Nehemiah 9:6, and Genesis 1-2, the only logical conclusion we can draw is that “to create” and “to make” refer to the same event.


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