With the start of a new year, many are starting a new Bible reading plan. Bible reading plans are a wonderful thing as long as they are kept up with. When we read through the entire Bible, we can start to get a better idea of the context of the whole story. That being said, every reading plan has a beginning. Many of those beginnings start with Genesis 1:1. It is great to start at the beginning. When it comes to Scripture specifically, the beginning lays a foundation for everything that comes after it. In the first twelve chapters of Genesis, you can find the beginning of every key doctrine and detail of the rest of Scripture. I thought it would be fun to take a look at how many of these things start and some of the ways they show up in the rest of Scripture. The place to start is at the very beginning.
God the Creator
The very first thing that we read in the Bible is that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. This is the most foundational idea in all of Scripture. The God, who is the central character in all of the Bible, is the one who made the world and everything that is in it. When we think about this statement in the context of the larger world at the time it was written, there is something startling about it. There were other gods that people worshiped at the time. Among the more prominent for the Jews at the time were the gods of Egypt. Each one of the Egyptian gods, such as Horus, Osiris, and Anubis, is a being that controls the world around them, but they are ultimately part of the world itself. They are identified with and dependent on different parts of the created order. For example, Horus was known as the god of the sky and the sun. But when we read the story of Genesis, we see that there is one who created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them. He does not come out of the primordial soup but hovers over the waters.
This understanding that the Lord is the unique creator is one of the arguments that Paul uses when talking with the Athenians on Mars Hill. Acts 17:24-25 states, "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." His argument is founded in Genesis 1:1.d everything and gave The Lord created everything. There is nothing in all of creation that can be offered back to God. Everything is the Lord's already. He is the source of all things. This does not mean that we should not give back to the Lord, but it does mean that we need to understand the source of things. We do not worship the Lord because he needs us. We do not pray to him to add information or power to him. We do not have churches, so he will have more influence. All of creation is his. He is the creator of heaven and earth, and he is the one who gives everything, including breath and life, to all his creatures.
From the very outset of Scripture, the state is set with the Lord as the one who is in control. There was nothing, and then the Lord spoke, and everything came into being. When we think about this in the context of salvation, there are some important things that become clear. We are not saved because of some value that we can bring to the Lord. Any value we have exists because God has made it so. Our life and breath are already a gift beyond anything we deserve. And yet, the one who made the stars cares for his people. He has chosen a people out of all of his creation and has made them his children and heirs. All of this starts in Genesis 1:1 with the idea that in the beginning, the Lord created the heavens and the earth. This creation is not a remaking or rearranging, but from nothing, everything became. As you start to read through the rest of Scripture, think about each passage in light of the reality that the Lord is the creator of all things.
Soli Deo Gloria