In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
As I start my Bible reading for 2016, I’m back in the beginning. Verse 1 of Genesis 1 is the ultimate stumbling block. If it is true, everything changes. If it is false, everything changes.
Consider the significance. If Genesis 1:1 is true, then you and I are created by a personal God. By personal there I do not mean that he is our own, personal deity as one might refer to their individual car as their personal automobile. What I mean is that God is a person as opposed to a thought, a feeling, a mystical energy field that controls our destiny. God, a person with a will chose to create.
If Genesis 1 is true, then we know that God is, that God is a person, that God is infinitely powerful, and that God owns creation. When I make something, let’s say an article I write, I have the right to do with it what I please. I have the right to reread it. I have the right to correct it. I have the right to discard it. And If God holds such rights over what he makes, in fact more since he does not use anybody else’s material when he creates, then God is the ultimate sovereign over the universe.
Note that, in contrast with our modern view, it does not matter in reality whether or not someone believes that God created. I mean in the broad sense of reality. My faith in or lack of faith in God has nothing to do with whether or not God actually created. My opinion cannot change the facts.
Yet, to me personally, it matters a great deal whether or not I believe in the facts of creation. To disbelieve in God as creator is for me to ultimately disrespect him. He has the right to judge me based on my response to him. He has the right to reshape me and help me believe in him if he wants. He has the right to crush me for rebelling against him. He has the right to do with me anything he wishes, and to base his action on any criteria he wishes. And, since the rest of the Bible indicates that faith, genuine belief in God and his actions, is the difference between spiritual life and death, whether or not I believe matters to me a lot.
If Genesis 1:1 is false, then all that Christians think and do is irrelevant. If it is true, then believing in the rest of Scripture including the miracles, the Christ narrative, the atonement, and the ultimate consummation is logical.
Yes, I believe that God created everything in the beginning. Yes, I believe that all that exists thus belongs to God. I believe that God has told us who he is in the Bible and revealed to us his power through the word. I believe that my only hope is in his grace which comes to me, not through religious action, but through a God-given faith in the finished work of his Son. And every bit of this is founded in the truth that Genesis 1:1 is accurate, literally true.