Genesis 1:1, The Beauty of ‘Bara’
In my last blog post on Genesis (Beresheeth) 1:1, I described the significance of the words “In the beginning God” which introduces the curious mind to the Set-Apart Scriptures and also begins to answer what I call the Two Big Questions: ‘Where have I come from?’ and ‘Where am I going?’ I proposed that God made no pretext but immediately takes responsibility for ownership of the heavens and the earth and implies an ending by declaring a “beginning”.
Now let’s dig a little deeper, unraveling a potential mystery hidden beneath the words. There is a hidden beauty in Hebrew of Genesis 1:1, transliterated here as:
~ b’resheet bara elohim et hashamayim v’et haaretz ~
(In the beginning) (created) (God) (the heavens) (and) (the earth)
[White Rabbit: the ‘et’ is the Aleph-Tav phenomenon in Hebrew. It marks the direct object to denote which noun is receiving the action of the verb. In this case, the heavens (shamayim) and earth (aretz) are the direct objects of ‘bara’. Now, the alef is the first letter in the Hebrew alef-bet, and tav is the last. So in other words, this is the “Alef and the Tav”, the Hebrew and Aramaic equivalent of “Alpha and Omega” which is why it carries such a mysterious significance. Despite being a marker of a direct object, it only appears 22 times throughout the Tanakh, so that when it is used, it’s significant. This will surely be a topic in later posts, but for now, there is a deep mystery surrounding the use of alef-tav, especially when it appears alongside ‘elohim’. It’s like a title “Elohim Alef-Tav” which certainly reminds me of someone…]
I recognize transliteration is a junkyard dog version of its pedigree form, but it serves our purpose well enough. It is melodious enough, but I wonder, “why the generic bara?” Bara is a term that describes something new and is usually translated “create” but not always. I mean, this is THE first line in the whole Bible, couldn’t God have used a more glamorous verb to describe His creative power? After all, ‘bara’ is one of many terms used to describe God’s creation, and it often appears jumbled together with superior, more poetic synonyms in several synonymous parallelisms found throughout the Word of God:
“For, behold, he who forms (yatsar) the mountains, and creates (bara) the wind, and declares (nagad) to man what is his thought; who makes (‘asah) the morning darkness…” (Amos 4:13, emphasis mine)
“For the LORD who created (bara) the heavens, the God who formed (yatsar) the earth and made (‘asah) it, who established (kuwn) it…” (Isaiah 45:18, emphasis mine)
Now, the above is just two examples, but other candidates are natah (stretch out), parah (bring forth), tsamach (to erupt/spring up), and even tsavah (command/appoint). These verbs and even more are used to describe the creation power of God.
‘Bara’ certainly is a logical candidate, but any of these verbs could have worked. After all, Genesis 1:1 is only an introductory statement for the detailed step-by-step account of the creation week featured in the rest of the chapter. We’d almost expect the verb ‘naga’ (declared) or the beautiful ‘tsava’ (appointed) to prepare us for all the “And God said/then God said/and God blessed them and said” statements which ensue. Other scriptures describe the heavens coming into being by the word of God  or that the worlds were framed by the word of God , so why this generic ‘bara’? Couldn’t there have been a more dramatic verb to highlight the first existence of our heavens and earth?
The answer, I believe, is in the pattern, and Elohim Alef-Tav gave us an absolute gem. As we saw in the transliteration, the very first word the Bible is b’resheet. The second is ‘bara’, so in effect we have two sequential b-r words kick-starting the Set-Apart Scriptures (Note: In ancient Hebrew, there were no vowels. Vowels were invented by scribes in later centuries). Now, you might be thinking “coincidence, please”, and it would be just a coincidence- if this were any other literary work. But this is in the very Word of God; no word was chosen by accident. Now, in Hebrew there exists a phenomenon that simply doesn’t exist in English, which is that every letter corresponds with a real word. So, given that we have two consecutive words beginning with the Hebrew letters ‘bet’ and ‘resh’, we can investigate this pattern which is laid out for us. Now ‘bet‘ corresponds with the Hebrew ‘bayit’ which is a house, and ‘resh‘ literally means head, but most often in the sense of a something new (like in b’resheet- “beginning”, or as in rosh chodesh-“new moon”). So, in other words, God is trying to get our attention by reiterating a picture of a new house.
Now, what is God trying to say by “new house”? Well, in ancient Israel, and every other culture, a young man built a new house when he was ready… to choose a wife. You see, a man would get engaged to a wife, but then would leave her with her family while He left to build them a house, usually in his father’s estate. And that, of course, reminds us of Messiah Yeshua. This is the context of His words just before He left us the first time, with the promise of a return for His bride:
“In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.” (John 14:2-3)
Last time I suggested that God implied an ending by establishing a “beginning”. This time, I suggest God is hinting at that ending through the choice of His words. He created us with the intent of selecting a bride, and He started building a house for that Bride when He built the heavens and the earth. This is the reason He bothered with “bara”-ing us. His estate is vast, there is plenty of room, and He promises to return for us. That is our destiny and the ending He always designed us to have.
 Cff. Revelation 22:13.
 2 Peter 3:5.
 Hebrews 11:3.