“In The Beginning”
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. 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!
If you can comprehend, and believe this very first verse, then the rest of the Bible is understandable.
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.
The atheist or skeptic wants to point out that we Christians just believe God always existed, and that is an easy way out. But then they turn around and argue that the universe, or the multiverse, has always existed. So 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, and for them, there is no room left for God. Many people believe that science has explained everything, and so there is no need for God in our modern world. Therefore, because it runs contrary to that way of thinking, Genesis is the main hang-up for many people.
After all, Adam/Eve, an apple, a talking snake, the flood, Tower of Babel, the ark, etc.?
If a person believes that they can’t trust Genesis, why should they trust what Jesus said? If we can’t get a person beyond Genesis 1:1, how are we ever going to get them to John 3:16? If you want to learn more in this area, or simply want to learn more about the Bible, I invite you to listen to my Verse by Verse Bible Study podcast.
So, back to “In the beginning”. We are all so familiar with this first part of this verse, that we don’t take the time to appreciate exactly what is being said here. Let’s take a look at it a bit more closely.
Modern science of course teaches the Big Bang theory. Now whether you believe that 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, up 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 it 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 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 to only allow “naturalistic” explanations.
By not allowing a supernatural explanation, they are not even permitted to consider God, and so all they are left with is to try and offer up the best naturalistic explanation they can imagine. That is how and why they propose “the multiverse”. Nevermind 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
The Heavens and the Earth
But getting back to the Christian perspective, we know there was a beginning, which implies a beginner, which the Bible teaches. It also tells us God created the ‘heavens and the earth”
The term “heavens and the earth” in Hebrew, the “shamayim erets”, refers to all of physical reality, the universe. The Greeks referred to this as the “cosmos”. All space, time, matter, and energy.
So, if all space, time, matter, and energy were created, then the one who created them must be 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.
Consider a Bible Study
The more we learn about our universe, our planet, and of life itself, the more we realize that without a Creator, without God, it is impossible. As Psalm 19:1 tells us, “The heavens declare the glory of God…”. The more you learn about the Bible and science, the more comfortable Genesis 1:1 reads.
To learn more about the Bible, I invite you to listen to my Verse by Verse Bible Study podcast, where you can listen at your convenience. I can assure you; you will hear and learn things you never knew about the Bible.