"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).
The beginning of God's revelation to man presents some of the most profound thoughts ever to enter the mind of man.
1. It introduces us to eternity: -- God existed before time had its beginning. "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Psa. 90:2). Many efforts have been made to calculate the length of eternity, but all in vain. It has been defined as "infinite time; time without beginning or end." Someone has suggested of thinking of the greatest possible number. Let that number represent eons of time. Even so, such a vast amount of time does not represent eternity, that which is without beginning and therefore beyond the reach of mortal mind.
2. It introduces us to God. The all-powerful One: -- He had only to speak, and as someone has said, "There came from the womb of His word a million glittering worlds." "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Heb. 11:3). In his complete confidence in the power of God, Job said, "I know that You can do everything" (Job 42:2).
"The all-wise One. His understanding is infinite" (Psa. 147:5). The Omnipresent One. David asked, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there, If I make my bed in hell (Sheol), behold, You are there, If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me..." (Psa. 139:7-10).
The One perfect in holiness: -- The heavenly host acclaim, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come!" (Rev. 4:8). The One whose very nature is love. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love" (1 Jno. 4:8).
3. It introduces us to the trinity of the Godhead: with all three members being referred to in the first chapter of Genesis. The first time the name of God appears in the Bible it is in the plural form. "In the beginning God (Elohim, plural) created (singular) the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). The next verse introduces us to the second member of the Godhead: "...And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." The statement in verse 26, "Let Us make man in Our image..." signifies tht God was not alone in the creation. Who else could have been included in the plural "Us"? After the passing of approximately four thousand years we find the answer. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (Jno. 1:1-3). The fourteenth verse of this same chapter indentifies the "Word." "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Paul also tells of Christ's part in the creation: "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16). Paul's final word to the Corinthians was for a benediction from all three members of the Godhead: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor. 13:14).
4. It introduces the beginning of various things: The beginning of time: -- This, for example, is signified by the lifespan of individuals. "So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died" (Gen. 5:5). The beginning of the physical universe. The Bible account of creation is not a facet of a human religious creed but a fact set forth by the Word of God, and should be considered far more believable than the conflicting and changing theories of men concerning the creation. It is strange that these theories can be taught in the school systems of America as fact when the true facts concerning creation cannot be taught because they are presumed to be nothing more than religious dogma. The beginning of the human race. People were not evolved by chance over an unbelievable period of time but were created on the sixth day in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27).
The beginning of sin: -- Adam and Eve in their disobedience sinned. God gave them the fruit of the trees of the garden with the exception of one, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 3:16,17). Not only did they bring themselves under the sentence of death, they forfeited their earthly paradise for a most antagonistic environment. The beginning of worship and sacrifice: -- "And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat" (Gen. 4:3,4).
5. It introduces human responsibility: -- God gave to man dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, over the cattle, over all the earth (Gen. 1:28). This meant that man as the crowning point of God's creation had the responsibility of looking after the welfare of the earth and its inhabitants. Man had the responsibility of responding favorably to God's Will. As members of the human race, we still have the responsibility of doing the Will of God. Christ's prayer in the garden shows His recognition of this responsibility: "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matt. 26:39).
6. It implies our true destiny: -- If we were created by God and for God, as is true, then we should forever be with God. If we are separated from God throughout eternity because of our unwillingness to do His Will on earth, the fault will be ours, not His. Through His Son He has provided the way of salvation. Our rejection of the Gospel, God's power to save (Rom. 1:16), means that we have chosen the destiny of Satan rather than that intended for us by God.
The sentence in the last day then must be, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41).
By Billy Norris in Gospel Guide, Oct. 1995.
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