We will be tracking through the book of Genesis here on Saturday mornings for the foreseeable future. I hope you will enjoy this exegetical journey and tolerate me leading the way. Let’s begin, shall we? This will work a little like a running commentary that will unfurl over the next several weeks and months. Sometimes the passages will be longer, sometimes they will be shorter.
Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The first phrase here may well be the most significant expression regarding God’s nature that we have. “In the beginning,..” The way this wording is used does not give us the slightest hint of when this takes place. It is an indeterminable starting point. In the beginning seems only to say, “As far back as your little mind can carry you,.” But, there is an even more incredible thing to be realized in the very next word, “God.”
“In the beginning, God..” God simply was. Before the beginning, God was. After the beginning, God was. He was, and is, not dependent upon time for his existence. What a remarkable thing to begin the narrative of redemption with! God has always been. Atheists often like to ask what caused God or how he came into being, but this refutes such foolish questioning in one fell swoop! God has no beginning, neither shall he have any ending.
“God created” is our next phrase for consideration. The act of creating is a special one. Here, “created” means something entirely different from the contemporary usage of the word. When an artist creates a picture, he uses paint and other materials to bring to life a vision in his mind. When the violinist creates music, she uses her violin and her bow to create the beautiful melodies that emanate from her instrument. When God created the heavens and the earth, he used nothing. God created in the beginning. That means that this is a period of time before there were materials to be used. God created ex nihilo, out of nothing. There was nothing until God created by his own power. He called into being things that weren’t.
Lastly, “the heavens and the earth.” The heavens and the earth serve as the cosmic stage upon which the drama of redemption unfolds. This is the platform the players are to stand on. “The heavens” is likely not referring to Heaven proper but is more likely referring to the heavenly bodies in the vast expanse of space. Remember, God created ex nihilo. All of space was once nothing. And God also created the earth. We see God create everything in the universe, known or unknown, and lastly, even specially, create the earth. It is as though God created the universe to show us how great his power is and the earth to show us how much he cares for even the smallest of things. Over the next few weeks, we will see the meticulous nature of God’s creating and will reflect upon what this means for us as Christians. Until next Saturday, Soli Deo Gloria!