Japanese Contemporary Bible:


Shinkaiyaku Bible:


(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.


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, 2019 at 19:18
  • 5
    @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, 2019 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, 2019 at 21:41
  • 3
    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, 2019 at 1:21
  • 1
    Related: japanese.stackexchange.com/q/36179/9831
    – chocolate
    Nov 4, 2019 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


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. Nov 4, 2019 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, 2019 at 14:53

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