In the beginning God created. Let’s spend some time and really look at those 5 words. There is so much that is answered just in this statement. It addresses the when, in the beginning. It addresses the rarity, the beginning not a beginning. What? Created. How? Created, as in out of nothingness from the creator. It answers what existed before the beginning, God.
Actually, this is the key word, God. Everything else in these first few words of the bible, fittingly, centers around and flows from this word. In our lesson today we are going to focus on the first few verses of the bible and see what they tell us about, “Who is God?” As we understand from our discussion last week, the entire bible is God’s design to reveal Himself to man, so it shouldn’t be surprising that there is so much of that message packed into this first chapter.
As an aside, this language of God packaging the revelation of Himself into these words and pages for us to unpack it is such a great metaphor and parallel to the gift that it is.
First, let’s look at the fact of God as creator. For God to have created, He had to be before the beginning. He was not created or formed. For those of us who grew up in the church, this is familiar, but to any other religion it is an unfathomable concept. The greeks believed the earth and heavens and their gods were formed “out of chaos”. The Egyptians believed the gods and earth were formed from the waters and the sun. Baal worshippers believed there was a battle between the god Baal and the god Yam and the land of the earth is made up of the dismembered parts of Yam, gross, right? Many people of our generation believe everything was some accident flowing out of the power of “the Universe”. Not so different than the people of the apostle Paul’s day who built a temple to worship “the unnamed god.” And, as in Paul’s day, we Christians actually know the name of the one and only God.
We know from the very first words that God is singular. There weren’t multiple gods, just the one. We know that creation occurred by God’s plan and by His action. We know that creation was both instantaneous and completed over time. There was nothing, then there was the heavens and the earth. But it wasn’t a finished work. The earth was without form. God continued His work for 6 days.
People often talk about leaving a legacy. Parents talk about the legacy of their children. Sports teams and athletes talk about the legacy of championships and records. But a legacy is something we make, something that remains that is bigger that tells something about the best that we are. In that same way, all creation is God’s legacy. Not that He has left it behind, but that it is a completed work by His will and effort that He made and which tells something about who He is. All of His created work is good.
When you look at a new day, do you see the good that God created or do you have a hard time seeing past the “stuff” of the day, your tasks and chores? Do you ask God each day to show you the good He has planned for you today? Are you under estimating God’s power and what He can accomplish in a single day?
Was God alone in creation? Yes and no. We can draw a lot of analogies to try to understand the concept of the trinity, but there is nothing in the physical world that is the exact same as this heavenly host. We know from John 1 that Jesus (the word) was in the beginning, that He was in God and that He was God and He was with God. So both the Father and the Son, together and unique were not only at the creation but created. Colossians 1 tells us that all things were created by Jesus and created for Jesus. This tells us that before anything existed God already knew that His creation would choose sin over Him and that He, Jesus, would need to become lower than even the angels and become a human in the creation to save and redeem it, buying it back for Himself. And from Hebrews 1 we learn that creation was not just set into motion and abandoned but that it is continuously being sustained by the word of Jesus. All things were made through Jesus, all things were created by Jesus, all things are sustained by Jesus. The emphasis in these different sections is not only on God and Jesus’ presence in the trinity, but on the word “All”. If all was created by and for Christ, that is a very broad stroke of the brush. That means no mistakes, no throw aways, no do overs, no trash. What a challenge to our thinking. Does my compassion extend to all? Do I see the potential for salvation of all or are there some that I have written off before they have taken their last breath? According to the word and revelation of who God is, my acceptance that some are meant to be saved and some not is faulty. All are meant to be saved, but some will choose not to – I pray that someone’s choice to not accept the gift not be influenced by anything I do or fail to do with the power of the spirit in me.
Which brings us to the third part of the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The spirit of God is often described as the breath of God and/or the wind in that you see the influence and impact of the Spirit even though you do not see the invisible nature of the spirit. This is a good reminder to the skeptical doubters of this world who deny the presence of God because “they want to see God with their own eyes… they want proof.” Can they see the wind? No, but you can see the outcome of the wind and the power that it holds. Few question that the wind exists based on these results.
In God’s work of creation, the Holy Spirit is at the forefront in the creation of life. It is this pouring out that is the critical leap, the spark that cannot be fathomed without the divine, going from inanimate to alive.
But we know the Holy Spirit to be much larger and deeper than this. The Holy Spirit of God is the creator of physical life and the source, the giver, of spiritual life. When we humans turned from God in disobedience and sin (something I am guilty of daily, so I can’t get too mad at Adam and Eve), we stepped out of the design of being “in” God’s image that was His original design and creation. But Jesus paid the price to buy us back, to redeem us, through His sacrifice of death and through His power to defeat death in the resurrection. When we accept this gift of salvation, the separation from God is removed and the holy spirit indwells in us transforming us back into the image of God.
When you wake each morning, do you push the presence of the Holy Spirit to the back of your being so that you can “focus on stuff”? Do you seek and use the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and direct your life? If you have accepted the gift of salvation, then, in you right this very second, is the full power of the Holy Spirit of God, the exact same power that defeated death. With that power, what can’t you do?
The “in” of God is a critical component of not only who God is but what He desires. He is “in” as the unity of the Father is in the son and the son is in the Father and the Spirit is united in the Trinity and God seeks for us to be rejoined into that unity, that image, by Him and with Him We are not designed simply to be by or with God, but to be cradled in His arms.