Read Genesis 1:1-5, 14-19, Hebrews 11:1-3.
How did your favorite childhood story start?
· “Once upon a time…”
· “It was a dark and stormy night…”
· “Captain’s Log, Stardate…” (OK, that was mine.)
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the consensus of scientists was that the universe had no beginning. It had always existed. By the end of the last century, that idea was turned on its head. We now know that the universe came into being a finite time ago. It was really a confirmation of what a man named Moses wrote many years ago. The Bible, literally, said it first.
If the first three words of the verse give us the when, “In the beginning,” the next words tell us who and what. Moses wrote that God created the whole of creation. The perspective of the account changes to the view of someone on the surface of an earth that is inhospitable to life. The rest of the chapter details how God brought order to creation through the power of His word. One way He did that was by the “two great lights.” The lights, the sun and moon, will be used to regulate time, seasons, and biological clocks by the increasingly advanced lifeforms that are created by God later. These facts lead us to conclude that the Creator God is extremely powerful, intelligent, and personal in His creative work.
The writer of the book of Hebrews in the New Testament gives us another insight into God’s creative work when he tells us that God created out of nothing. This has come to us in the important doctrine of creation ex nihilo. The ancient peoples which surrounded the Hebrews spoke about the gods creating everything out of preexisting materials or as a result of battles or conflicts between the gods. Moses spoke about something different. He wrote about a universe that had an absolute beginning in time with a Creator God that transcends time.
The powerful statement “In the beginning” is the start of the story of how God worked in His creation. It reminds us that He is glorious and powerful. The creation of the universe also reminds us that everything belongs to Him, including us. Worshipping Him and following Him is our one reasonable response.