In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.(Genesis 1:1)
This simple sentence, given to us as a Revelation from God through Moses, has launched hundreds of thousands of books, papers, sermons, and essays, and has underpinned our entire civilization. It is a theological statement, but it has also led to our modern concept of science, technology, philosophy, and our western epistemology (concept of truth).
Thus the departure from Genesis 1:1 and all that follows it, has been the deepest and perhaps least appreciated reason for our current civilizational decline and pending collapse.
Here in these spare words, selected by the Holy Spirit of God, we are granted a statement of ultimate reality.
In the beginning… This means that one of the limits set around all created life and being, is Time. We have a beginning, and an end. There was once a beginning, meaning that there was something before the beginning, an ultimate cause which existed prior to and independent of time.
God...(Elohim) … is a personal being, the almighty creator of everything that exists. He made all things for His pleasure, as they sing of Him in Heaven, around His throne,
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11)
But God is distinct and separate from His creation. The creation is an expression of God, but it is not God, nor is it part of God. God is Holy. This means that God is entirely “other” than His Creation, he is separate, and above in every sense from his Creation.
There is only God himself, and his creation; “all is two”, and never, “All is one” as the pagans teach.
God created…Everything that exists came into being by the power and Sovereign will of the infinite , personal God of the Bible. Elohim, the Almighty God, is the designer behind “intelligent design”. He is the one who brought into being all plants, animals, fish, geography, elements, chemicals, natural laws, planets, et al.
Stanley Jaki, in his book ,Christ and Science gives four reasons why modern science owes its existence to the Genesis 1:1 worldview,
- “…. the Christian belief in the Creator allowed a break-through in thinking about nature. Only a truly transcendental Creator could be thought of as being powerful enough to create a nature with autonomous laws without his power over nature being thereby diminished. Once the basic among those laws were formulated science could develop on its own terms.”
- “The Christian idea of creation made still another crucially important contribution to the future of science. It consisted in putting all material beings on the same level as being mere creatures. Unlike in the pagan Greek cosmos, there could be no divine bodies in the Christian cosmos. All bodies, heavenly and terrestrial, were now on the same footing, on the same level. this made it eventually possible to assume that the motion of the moon and the fall of a body on earth could be governed by the same law of gravitation. The assumption would have been a sacrilege in the eyes of anyone in the Greek pantheistic tradition, or in any similar tradition in any of the ancient cultures.”
- “Finally, man figured in the Christian dogma of creation as a being specially created in the image of God. This image consisted both in man’s rationality as somehow sharing in God’s own rationality and in man’s condition as an ethical being with eternal responsibility for his actions. Man’s reflection on his own rationality had therefore to give him confidence that his created mind could fathom the rationality of the created realm.”
- “At the same time, the very createdness could caution man to guard against the ever-present temptation to dictate to nature what it ought to be. The eventual rise of the experimental method owes much to that Christian matrix.”(Jaki,Stanley, Christ and Science, Realveiw Books)
God Created the Heavens… Created life and being are not only bound by the dimension of time, but by space also. God created the heavens; space, in which to place the world, the planets, the nations.
Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.(Nehemiah 9:6)
The expression, “the heavens”, in the Hebrew of Gensis 1:1, “HA Shemayim“, is plural. By the New Testament Revelation we learn that there are three heavens, each containing the other. There is the atmosphere around the earth, where clouds and birds are seen.
Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.(Acts 14:17)
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.(Isaiah 13:10)
Finally there is the highest heaven, the place where God’s throne is and where He dwells. When Solomon dedicated the temple, he prayed repeatedly that in the variety of circumstances and trials the Jews should find themselves in that “You would hear from heaven, your dwelling place…” and deliver the people.
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.(Deuteronomy 10:14)
God created … the earth…All created life and existence is bound by three dimensions; Time, Space and Matter. We are all something, somewhere, and exist at some time. But we are not God, nor are we a ‘part of God’. We can only be what God made us to be, (Human, flesh and blood, mortal, male or female), and we can only exist when and where He placed us according to his pleasure. (I used to wish I lived in the pioneer days, but I live now, not then!).
God created us. This implies his ultimate ownership of us, and our accountability to Him. This is why there is a “creation controversy”, one doesn’t need to be a theologian to perceive that if I was created by someone, I owe that Person my worship, and accountability at the very least.
Recognizing reality means accepting the Creator/creation distinction, as well as the Divinely ordained limits of time, space, and matter, as ordained by that Creator for our own good and His glory. He made us who we are, and set us where and when we exist. It is His definition of our humanity that counts because our existence is owed to His good will.