“… Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth — everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:6 – 7, NIV)
It is always interesting to watch people with strong denominational attachments explain their beliefs about creation. I always wonder how long it will take for them to invoke a word or a belief that is not in the Bible or that contradicts what the Bible says. I look for terms that are indicators of following a denominational teaching and not comprehending the real message of the Bible. The tragedy is that this teaching misleads people into thinking that to follow the Bible you have to accept on faith an interpretation of biblical history in spite of evidence to the contrary. The fact is that everything the Bible actually says historically agrees in detail with the evidence.

One of the major sources of misunderstanding involves the methods God tells us He has used in the process of bringing man and man’s environment into existence. The traditional denominational view is that everything happened like a magic show in which God does something and the subject at hand mysteriously appears with no cause and by a magical power known only to the magician (God).

God repeatedly tells us that is not the case. Even in the Genesis account God tells us He used two processes. “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:3, KJV). In this verse the Hebrew words bara meaning to create and asah meaning to make are both used. Some translations like the NIV do not treat this as being two distinct processes, so the NIV says “the work of creating that he had done.” The fact is that the two words in question are used in exclusive ways all through the Genesis account. In Genesis 1:1 we are told that “God created (bara) the heavens and the earth.” In verses 7, 16, 25, and 31 God made (asah) new things from what He had previously created. When God speaks of the production of man’s soul in Genesis 1:27 the word bara is used. In Genesis 2:7 when man’s body is described the word used is yatsar meaning to form or mold. The obvious implication is that man’s body is being made of material already in existence and referred to as “the dust of the earth.”

In Isaiah 43:7 (quoted at the beginning of this article) and in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 there are three components to man mentioned that these three Hebrew words can help us understand. First Thessalonians says “… May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NIV). When these two passages are put together with Genesis, a better understanding of the whole makeup of man and the methods God used in the creation process become clear.

Genesis Isaiah 43:7 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Man is created in God’s image (1:27)
Created for glory
Man’s body is formed from the dust (2:7)
God makes life (breath) in man (2:7)
Spirit (breath)

The Hebrew word for breath is neshamah and is used in reference to man in Genesis 2:7 as well as in Genesis 7:22 in reference to animals. The concept is life force and is not unique to man. What sets man apart is the fact that we are created (bara) in the image of God and that spiritual makeup allows us to do things that animals cannot do. Bible translators have had a difficult time with this concept and in English the result is sometimes confusing. In Hebrews 4:12 we are told that our life force and our makeup in God’s image can be separated. When Jesus was hanging on the cross, He gave up His life force (Luke 23:46) because being God, He was not just in the image of God — He was God. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus tells us not to fear those who can destroy the body but cannot affect the soul — the part of us that is in the image of God.

David Kruse of Auburn, Indiana, sent me a chart that was printed way back in 1920 in a book titled Dispensational Truth by Clarence Larkin. We have modified the chart (above) somewhat to make it clearer, but we hope that this will be a visual aid to help you understand this concept.
--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun10.