In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
As 2010 arrives, I find myself with a nice, hot cup of coffee, in my comfy chair, again opening up the Bible for a planned read through the word of God in this year. The journey should be full of adventure some days. On other days, I will forget to do what I should, will find it difficult to concentrate, or will simply read it, shrug my shoulders, and go on with the day.
Thanks to the Lord, this morning is not one of those days. Today, as I sit here, I am immediately struck by the very first verse of the Bible. God tells us that, in the beginning, he created the heavens and the earth. Boy is it too bad that we have heard this so many times that our wonder is weak.
In the beginning, before anything human, at the start, God created. At the very beginning of time, God already existed. God spoke, and things which were not became reality. God, by his power, created the entire universe and the little planet upon which we live. Such a God is amazing and worthy of praise.
Now, here is what grabs my attention this morning. Genesis 1:1 is a litmus test of sorts. Try this one on for yourself. Can you believe those words? Can you believe that, in the beginning, God spoke and brought into being that which was not? Can you believe that God, by his power, created a universe out of nothing? Can you believe that the earth upon which your feet rest (or upon which your seat rests by resting on the floor which is somehow connected to the foundation of the house or building you are in. . . you get the point), can you believe that earth was spoken into existence by a being, a person, who still exists and who still sustains it?
The simple fact is, if you can believe Genesis 1:1, all of the other claims of the Bible should be easy to believe. If you cannot believe Genesis 1:1, nothing else in the Bible should strike your fancy. If Genesis 1:1 is true, then everything about life changes. If Genesis 1:1 is not true, then nothing in life matters.
I recently tuned my ITunes to an Internet radio station that featured stand-up comedy. After only a few minutes, it hit me that the speakers had absolutely no concept that they were created by God. They thought of God as irrelevant if he should exist at all. They thought that this life was about them. Their lack of grasping the significance of Genesis 1:1 led them to be irreverent, crude, and ultimately meaningless in their talk.
Now, ponder for yourself what it means to be created by God. What gives your life meaning? If you are created, your life is endowed with meaning by the one who created you. If you are not created, you must pretend that your life has meaning by coming up with that meaning yourself. If you are created, your Creator can lead you to what is right, what is beautiful, what is true, and what is good. If you are not created, there is no basis for any of those categories.
So, the question should arise, in 2010, will you live as a created being? Will you acknowledge that you have a Maker? Will you shape your life in such a way as to honor and follow the One who fashioned you? Will you make sure that, every day, you acknowledge that you live for a purpose that is defined by the One who made you and not by your own imagination?
And will you let the truth of Genesis 1:1 lead you to believe the rest of the Scripture? If God can speak the universe into existence, it is no big thing for him to flood the earth, to scatter humanity, to give Sarah a child at age 90, to make a Hebrew slave become the prime minister of Egypt, to part the Red Sea, to shower food from heaven, to make a donkey talk, to defeat a giant with a boy’s sling shot, or to have a virgin conceive a child by the Holy Spirit. If God created the universe with a word, the idea of him entering into that universe, paying for the sins of his people, dying, and rising from the dead is not unimaginable, though it is incredibly beautiful and stunning. And if God created us, it is not hard to believe that Jesus could ascend into heaven, or that he will return to earth.
9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
This year, let us begin with the understanding that this universe belongs to God; he made it after all. That God made us gives us meaning. That God made us helps us to know that we have a purpose to fulfill. That God made us defines for us truth, beauty, and goodness. That God made the universe shows us his power and makes the other miracles of the Bible believable. That God made us changes everything, so let’s rightly begin in the beginning in 2010.