Thursday, January 17, 2008

It All Starts Here

In the beginning, God created
the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and
darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was
hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 (ESV)

year I started to read through the Bible from beginning to end. This is
not something new to me, but for the last year or so, I have focused on
reading through the gospels and the letters of Paul. I originally had put a two year Bible reading plan together in E-sword and had been following that, but after a week or so, I realized I was reading to keep up with the plan, rather than seeking to let the Scriptures sink in and seeking to understand and apply them. So, I decided to start over again. I still use the E-sword plan, but I only plan to select it being read when I want to move ahead. That is one thing I like about it. I will allow me to keep looking at the same section of scripture until I select that it is read.

Having said that, what I have been looking at it Genesis 1. I have read through it, and contemplated it, but I still don't think it has sunk in the way it should, so I will keep looking at it.

What I have been particularly considering over the last day or so is the first several verses. The first thing that stands out, especially in a time when random chance in evolution is the dominant and accepted explanation of the origin of all things, is that in the beginning was God. That is who it all starts with. There was a time, if that word has any meaning at that point, where all that was, was God.

That leads to what I keep trying to wrap my head around is the description of what was, or better, wasn't there. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, but before he did so it was "without form and void." I keep trying to think what that would be like. Try as I might I cannot because I keep giving form to what was without form. Trying to consider what nothing is like is like trying to think of nothing. If you actively do it, you keep coming up with something. In the beginning it was God and nothing else.

Then God did something amazing. He made everything. He created the whole universe. It was not--then God created it. That is more amazing than anything I can imagine.

I would hazard a guess that at least part of the problem many people have with this is that it shows that God is completely 'other' than the universe around us. We live in this creation. Our whole frame of reference is this creation. It is through our created senses that we observe and interact with the creation around us. Yet, none of this, not one bit of it, existed before God created it. That means the frame of reference for God is completely outside of ours. It means that God is God not in the small way people often think of God, but in a way far bigger, far different, far more powerful than we usually ever consider.

If nothing else this should bring a sense of awe in who God is. A sense of his overarching status above all things. He is the one who made all things, who was before all things, and who is outside of all things.

The other thing this brings to mind is this. Since God created all things, that means they are all his. His right to command and do whatever he desires is founded in his position as the creator of all things. That is something it seems we do not like to consider. We prefer to be considered free agents, but this reminds us of the truth of what Paul said in Acts 17, "In him we live and move and have our being."

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Annette said...

way cool hun... made me think. :) and to think...i wasn't even planning on learning anything today. :)

Peter said...

Hi Jim, I've been quite ill and hadn't checked in -- much better now, thanks. In the Providence of God, we are both beginning with the beginning. I am also reading through the Bible -- using Sproul's divisions -- and I began a three part series a Genesis 1 in my preaching today. God bless. -- Peter

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