Question:

Hebrews 11:3 says "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Is this verse an argument that God did not create the matter we see, but rather formed it into what it is now? I believe that God created the matter; otherwise He is kind of bound by it, if that makes sense. Or does this verse mean that He created all matter in the first place?


Answer:

The Hebrew word for "create" is bara. It is a special word that is only used in connection with God. The word bara means to make something from nothing, to create something that never existed before. It is used sparingly through the Bible. In Genesis 1:1 is used to state that God created time ("in the beginning"), space ("the heavens"), and matter ("the earth"). These things did not exist prior to the beginning. In the making of light it says that God separated the light from the dark. Since light was made from existing material, the word bara was not used. The word bara is not used again until Genesis 1:21 when God created fish and birds. This was a new creation because life did not exist prior to this. In biblical terms, plants are not living as moving creatures are living. Yet when God made the land animals, bara was not used as this wasn't something new. Life was created the day before. Land creatures were a continuation of the previous day's creation. However, bara was used again Genesis 1:27 in the creation of man. In particular, the verse is discussing that man was created in the image of God. Again this is something brand new, without prior existence.

Thus, Hebrews 11:3 says, "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible." God did not use existing material to create the universe; thus, the claim that God used evolution to form the universe is contradicted by this passage. The things that we see came into being by God's spoken word, "Then God said." Spoken words are not visible but we trust (have faith) that God used the spoken word to make everything that we know. God took the things He created from nothing and formed it into our universe.