Reflections on Genesis 1:1-5 Part 1


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"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1)

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Genesis 1:1-5 Reflections Part 1

When we introduce one person to another we usually give a general statement of who the person is and what he does. This is the first step in establishing any sort of relationship. There is no discussion or proof provided that the person introduced exists as this is self-evident, we are standing in his presence. Here, in this initial verse of Genesis, we have something similar. The first verse introduces God. There is no discussion on the existence of God. That would have been futile. It is self-evident that God exists. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, we are standing in his presence continuously, although we are not always aware of it.

Elsewhere it is written: "the fool says in his heart there is no God". (Psalm 14:1) and also "where can I go from your Spirit or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7), implying that it is not possible to do so. There is no discussion because it is evident to anyone with an open mind. Rather than a means to arrive at truth discussion is often exploited as a means of self-justification or as an academic exercise only. As you have convenience food that is tasty and desirable but which undermines your health so you also have convenience reasoning that ultimately, but imperceptibly undermines your life and leads you along the path to self-destruction.

The bible opens with a fundamental statement necessary to establish a relationship and to orientate that relationship in the right direction. It opens up a whole new world, one which, when entered into, changes a person's life, his whole perspective and revolutionizes his relationships with others, with himself and with the environment and all of this derives from the fundamental truth revealed in this first introductory verse: God created everything and hence everything, including each one of us, belongs to him.

Scripture is perhaps more relevant now than ever before as modern man needs urgently to discover the firm footing on which permanent relationships are to be built. This introductory verse reveals that firm foundation. An introduction to any book creates expectation by introducing the basic principle around which everything gravitates. That basic principle here is that God is the Lord of creation, the Lord of life, your Lord and mine. It is he who creates, it is he who guides, it is he who provides. Whenever man has attempted to substitute himself for God he has often caused confusion, disaster and death, sometimes, ironically, in the name of progress and life.

The vocation of those who accept the truth of this verse is to accept life, to give life, to protect life and to provide for life in collaboration with the God of creation and life.

In the beginning

In the beginning of time God already existed, he brought time into existence and with it everything that is time conditioned. God alone has always been outside of time and distinct from creation. Everything in Scripture follows from this fundamental truth and is an explanation and development of it. It is also a detailed description of the consequences of accepting or refusing this fundamental truth.

This first verse tells us who is actually calling the shots. God is the protagonist. No matter how much we would like to be self-sufficient, this is not possible. This verse tells us that the human race and every member of it entered time, just like the rest of creation - and shall also exit time. We are transient. We come and we go but meanwhile we are meant to embark on a fascinating and profound journey which involves, fundamentally, the acceptance and development of a relationship with God who is Creator Lord. This relationship will determine the quality of our lives and revolutionise our way of thinking.

Lying outside of time, God is eternal and therefore stable and unchanging. It is he who provides that necessary stability to enable man to establish stable relationships personal, social and economic. Take God out of the equation and you take out stability and today we can see the results of that all around us. Modern man is all too aware of the prevailing instability and of the neurosis that derives from it, the fear, the sense of insecurity, the inability to make any sort of significant long lasting commitment.

We cannot end our comments on these first words of Scripture without drawing attention to another “in the beginning”: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The “Word” here is Jesus Christ, who was together with the Father before time began, together and “one” with him (“I and Father are one” John 10:30). The reality of Jesus Christ is present right from the beginning: 1 Cor. 8:5-6: there are many so-called gods but for us one God, the Father of all and one Lord Jesus Christ maker of all”. We shall see how the Father works in and through Christ from the beginning to the end of Scripture in creating and in sustaining that creation and how he continues to work in and through each one of us.


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