TorahBytes - Back to home pageBereshit
For the week of September 28, 2013 / 24 Tishri 5774
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 - 6:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5 - 43:11

Anything Is Possible

God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth." (Bereshit / Genesis 1:21-22; NET)

The concept of blessing is one of the most important ones in all of Scripture. It speaks of God endowing his creation with life. Not just life itself, but life resulting in more life, in other words, to reproduce. The verses I just read are the first occurrence of this concept in the Bible.

I recently happened upon a relatively new English translation, called the NET Bible ( "NET" is a play on words, because while the letters stand for "New English Translation," it is the first translation designed for the Internet. While also available in print, one of the most intriguing features of the online version is that it supports a virtual infinite amount of translation and study notes.

One of the study notes for verse 22 above caught my attention (Note #45 at time of writing). It claims that the similarity of sounds between "barakh," "to bless," and "bara," "to create" is intentional. I don't know if we can know that for sure, but it is possible. As I thought about it though, intentionality aside, I realized that there is more to the connection between these two concepts than simply that creating has to with the generating of life; while blessing with the impartation of life. It's that the origin and source of both creating and blessing is always God.

This first chapter of the Torah tells us that God created the universe from nothing. This sets God apart from the universe as its originator, designer, developer and owner. Life could not exist without him. We also learn here that the ability for his creatures to be channels of life to others, the ability to reproduce, also comes from God. Blessing, therefore, is not a natural consequence of created life; it is a special impartation of life from the creator God.

I have come to see that implied in the Bible's creation account is that just as the origins of life emanated directly from God alone out of nothing else, so do his blessings. God's blessings, small or large, are ongoing expressions of his being creator. He, who imparted life out of nothing at the beginning, continues to impart life out of nothing today.

This should change how we look at the challenges we face. If blessing is an act of the creator God, then his provision is never based on what we have. In fact, we have to stop thinking of God's provision being based on existing resources at all, because our God not only creates out of nothing, he also blesses out of nothing.

Around the time I first gave the relationship of bara to barakh serious thought, I went to a well-known big-box hardware store in the hope of finding a replacement hinge for a very old kitchen cabinet. I wasn't surprised when the customer service representative said he had never seen one like it or after searching diligently couldn't find anything close.

So, the next day, without much hope, I went to the other well-known big-box hardware store. Same reaction. The rep had never seen one and couldn't find one. But then, to my surprise and his, there it was, hanging on the wall along with the others. Half-jokingly I said (thinking of bara and barakh), "Maybe it wasn't there a couple of minutes ago!"

Whether or not this will go down in history as the "Miracle of the Door Hinge," it illustrates the point. God's blessings are not enhancements of existing things; they are expressions of creation, dependent on nothing but the Creator. It's time we are no longer put off by statements such as "They don't make those any more" or "It can't be done" or "That's never happened before." When you are in right relationship with the Creator, anything is possible.

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