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Young earth versus old earth:
By: Douglas Hamp
The First Day of Creation The glory of the Bible is that, unlike the writings of other ancient nations which demonstrated a belief that water was the primal material before the existence of any gods, it claims that God was in the beginning and that He created all that is. Both the Gap theory and a relatively new theory, which posits that the six-day-creation-clock didn’t really start ticking until God uttered the words “Let there be light” in verse three, suggest that the first day didn’t start in verse one but in either verse two or verse three, respectively. Let us simply analyze, biblically and linguistically, the full range of the key Hebrew words in Genesis 1:1–2 and see what they mean and if they support the idea that a time gap exists in those verses. (English words for which the Hebrew equivalent is given are italicized.)
In the beginning God created (ברא bara) the heavens and the earth (את השׁמים ואת הארץ et hashayim ve’et ha’aretz). The earth was without form, and void (ובהו תהו tohu vavohu); and darkness was on the face of the deep (תהום tehom). And the Spirit of God was hovering (מרחפת merachefet) over the face of the waters (המים על־פני al pnei hamayim).
Bara and Asa The first key word isברא created (bara) which is used a total of 53 times in the Old Testament. The basic and majority times used form of the word, which is used in Genesis 1, has the general meaning of create, shape or form. It has been suggested that the word bara used here in Genesis is a different type of action than the word עשׂה (asa – do, make, fashion or produce) used in Exodus 20:11 where God says that he made the heavens and earth in six days.
Bara and asa are for the most part synonymous with one important distinction between them: bara is used only of God’s actions and never of man’s. There are countless examples of where man can asa (do or make); however, only God can bara. There is by implication creation ex nihilo, but the major thrust of the word bara lies in its use by God only and on the initiation of something new. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes concerning asa and its distinction from bara: