The first five books of the Bible have always been fascinating to me, especially Genesis. This week, Jeff invited us to turn to Genesis 1:1-2, which are some of the most familiar verses in the entire Bible:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.”
Interestingly enough, we immediately headed elsewhere in Scripture to read references that directly connect back to the opening verses of the Bible. First, we are reminded that we must approach God’s Word by faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us:
“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Knowing that without faith we cannot please God must influence how we read His Word. He uses Scripture to reveal the truths of the universe to us, and nowhere is this more evident than in the first chapter of Genesis.
The first chapter of Genesis connects with the first chapter of John. We read the phrase “in the beginning” in the opening verses of both books. Where Genesis tells us that God created the Earth in the beginning, John tells us that “in the beginning was the Word.” The reality that Jesus was present at the foundation of the world has gigantic implications for our worldview. Jesus is God. There can be no doubts about this when studying these verses.
There are other instances where Scripture connects back to its opening book. Following his resurrection, Jesus encounters some people who are having doubts about the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus simply uses the first books of the Bible to connect His redemptive plan to the present events. In Luke 24:27, we read:
“Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted for them the things concerning himself in all the Scriptures.”
“Moses” refers to the first books of the Old Testament. It’s incredible that Jesus ventured all the way back to the first recorded scriptures that he knew the people were familiar with in order to explain his purpose. Furthermore, we read in Colossians 1:15-20 that everything was created by Christ. Reading this passage made the message of Scripture appear incredibly cohesive to me. Certainly, God chose the words that were penned as part of the canonical Scriptures, but when you read references like this, it becomes so incredibly obvious! What a blessing to know that the entirety of Scripture points to God’s redemptive plan for humanity.
During the sermon, Jeff invited us to consider how the Israelites were first introduced to the Creation account in Genesis. Moses was given the words when he descended from Mount Sinai with the Ten Commandments. We always think of Moses as bringing down two stone tablets that had only the ten enumerated guidelines, but in fact, there was much more to it. Moses delivered the Genesis account as well as other portions of the law that we now read in the first five books of the Old Testament. Israel had just been delivered from Egypt, where they were held captive. God wanted to remind them that he had created them with a purpose. We can also find encouragement in the reading of the Genesis account.
The first two verses tell us of an Almighty God who is powerful enough to create the complex world we live in. It reminds us that He is in control of it all. 1 Corinthians 15:41 tells us of the splendor of the sun, moon, and stars. Psalm 8:3-9 is a song of praise to a God who created all we see that ends with the declaration, “Oh Lord, how magnificent is your name throughout the Earth!” When I look around and see the world, I want to have the attitude that the psalmist had. I want to see the world as a place that God created for his glory. I encourage you to do the same. The next time you see something beautiful in the world, whether it’s a rainbow, the trees blooming (if winter ever ends), wildlife, or a majestic mountain view, stop and just say, “Lord, how magnificent you are throughout the Earth.”
Returning to Genesis 1:2, we read that the earth was “formless and empty.” It was interesting to consider why this might be, especially that it could be connected with the fall of Satan. The Spirit of God moved across the formless and empty waters, leading up to verse 3, in which we hear God speak Creation into existence. Furthermore, Jesus himself said that He was present to witness the fall of Satan in Luke 10:18. We’re assured that God has had a plan for us since the beginning. Satan’s fall did not take Him by surprise, but rather it allowed him to form us all and design a plan to redeem us.
As a final word of encouragement this week, consider how God has a plan for all of us that he’s known since the foundations of the earth were laid. We read this in Matthew 25:34, John 17:24, and Ephesians 1:4. It’s amazing that his plan for our lives originated when He first created the Earth in the very first verses of Scripture. Psalm 139 is another incredible psalm of praise that lifts up the name of God for his creation. Take these encouraging words with you, and remember that in all circumstances, God is there. He has been since the beginning, and He has a plan.
Viewing Genesis 1 in light of the rest of Scripture allows us to recognize that God’s plan for our lives goes back to the very beginning. Jesus and the Holy Spirit were present with Him. We can be confident in the Word of God and its message immediately after reading the first verses of Scripture in Genesis.