“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. Genesis 1:1, perhaps the most well-known Bible verse in all the world. If you can comprehend and believe this very first verse, then the rest of the Bible is understandable. Some people believe this is the biggest miracle in the entire Bible. If it is true, then doing other, seemingly smaller miracles, should be child’s play for a creator that can bring the entire universe into being from nothing! Even a resurrection!
There are two primary worldviews you can hold – either the universe and everything in it is the result of a cosmic accident and random chance, just physics and chemistry, or, the universe is the result of deliberate design by a creator.
Atheists and skeptics want to point out that we Christians just believe God always existed, and that is an easy way out of serious inquiry. But then they turn around and argue that the universe, or the multiverse, has always existed. Both sides are arguing that something has always existed. The atheist believes that the universe created itself. The Christian believes that the universe was created by God. There really is no other perspective, at least not one that doesn’t bring you back to this ultimate starting point.
Our education system, media, and indeed, our culture, have explained away God in the minds of many people. Many believe that science has explained everything, and so there is no room left for God. Therefore, because it runs contrary to a modern way of thinking, Genesis is the primary hang-up for many people.
After all, Genesis is where we find Adam & Eve, an “apple”, a talking snake, the flood, the Tower of Babel, Noah’s ark, etc. And here is the problem; if a person believes they can’t trust Genesis, why should they trust what Jesus said? If we can’t get a person past Genesis 1:1, how are we ever going to get them to John 3:16?
Modern science of course teaches the Big Bang theory. Whether you believe that or not is not all that important right here. The main takeaway is that there WAS a beginning! Why is that important? Because for all of human history, all the way until the 1920s, people, including scientists, thought the universe was eternal, that it had always existed!
But thanks to people like Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble, scientists proved that the universe indeed had a definitive beginning. In other words, it was not eternal, it had not always existed! Not only did it have a beginning, but it was actually expanding!
This was a huge discovery, one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century, and took scientists completely by surprise. In fact, scientists did not like this discovery. Why? Because it sounded way too familiar. Way too much like Genesis 1:1. Scientists actually spent a couple of decades trying to disprove the findings, but were unable to do so.
Genesis was written approximately 3500 years ago. So about 3400 years before brilliant scientists figured it out, the Bible told us that the universe had a beginning. Not only that, in the second half of the first verse, it told us that the cause of that beginning was God. In the beginning, “God created the heavens and the earth”. The universe was created by a willful act of God.
Science operates with handcuffs on, because it is limited by self-imposed rules that only allow “naturalistic” explanations. By not allowing a supernatural explanation, they are not even permitted to consider God. Scientists are left with only offering up the best naturalistic explanation they can imagine.
That is how and why they propose the “multiverse”. Never mind that there is no evidence whatsoever for a multiverse. That doesn’t matter. Even though it is pure speculation, at least it doesn’t involve God!
But getting back to the Christian perspective, we know there was a beginning, which implies a beginner, which is what the Bible teaches. It also tells us God created the ‘heavens and the earth”. The term “heavens and the earth” in Hebrew, refers to all of physical reality, the universe. In other words, all space, time, matter, and energy.
If all space, time, matter, and energy were created, then the one who created them must exist beyond them, must transcend them. To say it another way, if all of nature was created, then the creator must be beyond nature, or what we would call “super-natural”.
Furthermore, the Hebrew word for “created” is bara, which means created “out of nothing”. There is a different Hebrew word when God creates out of existing material (asa). That is more akin to the word “made”. But that is not the word used here. This is referring to creation “ex-nihilo”, literally out of nothing! From previously non-existent material. No matter, no energy…nothing!
We can “make” things. We can “form” things, but we are using pre-existing materials. Only God can create in the sense implied by bara.
And so now to connect the dots. Col 1:16, speaking about the preeminence of Jesus, scripture says “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Who is the “Him” here? It is Jesus Christ!
If you are interested in learning more about Jesus or the Bible, please consider listening to my Verse By Verse Bible Study podcast.