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Japanese Contemporary Bible:

まだ何もなかった時、神は天と地を造りました

Shinkaiyaku Bible:

はじめに神が天と地を創造された

(The 2017 ed. of the Shinkaiyaku is not in the public domain, so the following is a screenshot from my purchased electronic version.)

Genesis 1:1–3, Shinkaiyaku Bible, ©2017

To clarify my question:

Most English translations have “God created...” “Created” is a simple past tense verb in English. In Japanese, 造りました (tsukurimashita) is the polite past indicative conjugation of 造​る. In my head, this seems like a relatively straightforward translation of “[he] created.”

When I look up 創造された, if I am not mistaken, it is composed of 創​造 (which may be a noun or suru verb), and [去​]{さ}れ​た, which again, if I am not mistaken, is the passive plain past indicative conjugation of する.

Why does the Shinkaiyaku translation use a verb conjugated in the passive voice? I admit I may simply be ignorant of a fundamental aspect of Japanese verb conjugations.


References

リビングバイブル (Japanese Contemporary Bible). Tokyo: Word of Life Press Ministries, 2016.

聖書 新改訳2017. 東京: 新日本聖書刊行会, 2017.

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because biblical word choice discrepancies are not exclusive to Japanese and this question is not germane to Japanese language learning. – BJCUAI Nov 3 at 19:18
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    @BJCUAI Maybe you have a point with the first one, but as far as I know, this isn't exclusively a learner's site (if that's what you're getting at). A good number of questions not immediately relevant to learning the language have been welcome here. So I don't think that one specifically should be a close reason. :) – Em. Nov 3 at 20:24
  • Going purely by the wording of your question, it sounds to me like you are assuming that "創造された" is an "alternative" translation while "造りました" is the canonical or standard translation and your understanding was thwarted by "創造された", as though substituting it (so to speak) for "造りました" made the sentence somehow incomprehensible, when in fact these are (more or less) just two synonymous phrases. – goldbrick Nov 3 at 21:41
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    Nah, it's not 去れた... The された (される) is the honorific (尊敬) form of した (する), the verb "to do". – Chocolate Nov 4 at 1:21
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された in your example is the past form of される, which is an honorific form of する.
The auxiliary れる/られる can express 受け身 (passive), 尊敬 (honorific), 可能 (potential), and 自発 (spontaneous). For more on these usages:

創造された here is the past tense form of 創造される, which is an honorific form of 創造する.


聖書 tends to use more formal/literary language, while リビングバイブル, 日常語 (daily, everyday language). So 聖書 uses the kango 創造する, and リビングバイブル, the wago 造る.

For the difference of wago and kango, see:

  • Makes sense now. I appreciate you taking the time. – Der Übermensch Nov 4 at 2:32
  • Interestingly, the English versions of the Bible commonly use the familiar rather than the honorific/"formal" (and it's pretty much the last place in literature where you'll see the familiars in English). Of course, in both cases, the meaning is the same - treating the god-man relationship as something very special. But then again, in e.g. Czech or German, the familiar is used even though it's not lost from the common language; though that probably has to do with how old the "original" translations are (i.e. it was normal to use familiars in English of the time, just not anymore). – Luaan Nov 4 at 14:53

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