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Thread: The ''Waters'' at the beginning of Genesis

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    The ''Waters'' at the beginning of Genesis

    A friend has claimed that there is no textual evidence that the ''waters'' mentioned in Genesis 1 were created. That they formed some sort of ''chaos'' from which the demiurge (or God) made the world. However, in a review of the book Creation out of Nothing by W. L. Craig and Paul Copan, it is written: ''The authors also understand the toledots in Genesis as introducing a new section of the narrative rather than being colophons, and rightly point out that although ברא (bārā) does not inherently refer to creation ex nihilo, the context clearly implies this. They subscribe to the traditional view of a two step creation process: that God first created the raw materials ex nihilo, and then formed these materials into the universe in which we now live. The days of creation, however, are not discussed''. This comes from CMI: https://creation.com/argumentum-ad-n...ing-to-nothing.

    I interpret this quote as saying that the ''waters'', were, in fact, created. Does anyone here agree?

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    Just another question, is bara' an exclusively Hebrew word? I hope any of you can answer at least that.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    A friend has claimed that there is no textual evidence that the ''waters'' mentioned in Genesis 1 were created. That they formed some sort of ''chaos'' from which the demiurge (or God) made the world. However, in a review of the book Creation out of Nothing by W. L. Craig and Paul Copan, it is written: ''The authors also understand the toledots in Genesis as introducing a new section of the narrative rather than being colophons, and rightly point out that although ברא (bārā) does not inherently refer to creation ex nihilo, the context clearly implies this. They subscribe to the traditional view of a two step creation process: that God first created the raw materials ex nihilo, and then formed these materials into the universe in which we now live. The days of creation, however, are not discussed''. This comes from CMI: https://creation.com/argumentum-ad-n...ing-to-nothing.

    I interpret this quote as saying that the ''waters'', were, in fact, created. Does anyone here agree?
    I've mentioned it many times before, but OT scholar John Sailhamer had a view (since labeled Historical Creationism) that suggested that just about everything was created at some undetermined time in verse 1. He suggested that "heavens and earth" in verse 1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is a figure of speech called a merism, and that was the Hebrew equivalent of saying "all of the cosmos." He then argued that the rest of the "creation" events in the Genesis narrative only applied to the Garden/Promised Land, not the entirety of the earth.

    It's been relatively influential with folks like John Piper and Matt Chandler. Dr. Seth Postell, a student of Sailhamer, has been developing it a bit since Sailhamer's death a couple years ago. I think there's a few things that need a bit of work, but could compliment something like Derek Kidner's views on pre-Adamic people groups, and the special creation of Adam and Eve.

    Here's a summary of Historical Creationism on Piper's website: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land

    And Kidner's exploration of pre-Adamites http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...735#post664735

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Just another question, is bara' an exclusively Hebrew word? I hope any of you can answer at least that.
    I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you asking whether or not it's a Semitic loan word that was incorporated into Hebrew, for example? John Walton has this to say about it in Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament,

    "One can argue that the Hebrew verb bara' ("create") carries the same functional meaning as other ancient Near Eastern verbs for "create," though it has not generally been recognized.

    Other than that, I can't really find etymological origins for it. How would it be relevant to the OP?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seeker View Post
    Just another question, is bara' an exclusively Hebrew word? I hope any of you can answer at least that.
    According to the article on *bara’* in the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, vol. 2 page 245: “As yet, the root br’ has not been found in the older Semitic languages outside the OT.” The quotation is from the 1999 reprint by Eerdmans of the 1977 revised edition of TDOT.
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