In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
I’m beginning Genesis again. I know, a redundant statement. But I think we should be reading the Word repetetively, that way it gets in our minds and hearts and bones and it becomes easy to recall. Its part of memorization.
I love reading the book of Genesis, as well as the rest of the historical books. It offers the panoramic sweep of epic timescapes. Some sci-fi fans hated the ending of the movie AI, Artificial Intelligence, but I loved it. The boy in the submersible craft staring at the blue fairy asking her over and over again to make him a real boy, then the passing of two thousand years and the dramatic change depicted in the character of the earth but not his desire. It makes the mind swim with possibilities. I love the grand sweep of time. The book of Revelation does something similar. You can see the end from the beginning.
And in this beginning, chapter one, verse one, the passion play begins. And God created the heavens and the earth. And it all unfolds from here. And we have someone who was there, God, to tell us about it.
In my thirty some years of being born again I’ve had the chance to read a lot of the varying interpretations of the fun stuff of Genesis. And believers have been arguing about the minutia for centuries, none more heated since Darwin wrote his little book. But I’m now more convinced than ever that everybody is wrong on how to interpret the first two chapters concerning, what “day” means, or when all the details of creation occurred. Are the verses literal, are they allegorical? Did plants grow before the sun was created? Is the earth the center of the universe?
But in the ambiguities of the language from thousands of years old, and how the words have been interpreted since the originals have been penned, there are some very important certainties that are inescapable and beyond debate. At least from God’s perspective. Because here we do have God’s perspective. He tells that He was there in the beginning when all things were created. He created it all. He was the master builder, the materials engineer, the wise designer, from which we get the heavens, the earth, plants, animals, the sun, moon, and stars. And then mankind, in His image, with heart and soul.
Yes indeed, all the words He uses, day, night, light, darkness, and the rest, they do have pregnant meaning. I just don’t think we will really know exactly how to interpret this small stuff until He finally explains it to us. Is that a cop-out? Does that mean we shouldn’t discuss it? No on both counts. But it means we should have the proper perspective on the story, and not cause such a fuss over things we really “know” so little about. And there is an awful lot of fuss going on.
But I think we should wait for God to tell us. That is after all how it all came about in the first place, right? He didn’t wave his hands to make it all appear; He didn’t snap His fingers and voila! But He spoke. “Then God said,” words repeated nine times in this first chapter alone. Interesting that it seems to be the spoken Word that is used as the agency of creation. Also interesting that the Apostle John calls Jesus the Word so predominantly in his gospel and letters. Also interesting that Paul can state concerning Jesus, in Colossians 1:16, “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.”
Genesis is an amazing book. I’m going to have fun reading through the Word again in this new year coming.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]