God is the subject of the first sentence of the Bible. The first three words of the first book of the Bible are a profound affirmation of monotheism over polytheism. The children of Israel have been delivered from the land of pantheism and polytheism, Ra the sun god, Heqet the frog-goddess, and many other Egyptian gods. Moses writes Bereshith bara Elohim. First, bereshith, in the beginning, God. God was there. Always. For eternity. Before time and space were created by him, God is. Second, bara, in the beginning, God created. Elohim is the plural name for the Godhead, and bara is a singular verb. The Godhead, all three persons of the one true God, created. This was the beginning of time, not the beginning of God or of eternity. And it is clear from these first two verses that God created ex nihilo, out of nothing. There was no matter until God created it. The writer of Hebrews testifies, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3) God created everything out of nothing, which is a refutation of materialism and naturalism which holds up matter as the only real thing there is. Carl Sagan died in 1996 but his famous quote and his book and TV show “Cosmos” was well-known for his contention that, “The cosmos is all there is, or has been, or will be.” Wait a minute. If that were true, that would make the Cosmos…God! And it would make the triune God a liar who said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)
The first sentence of the Bible kicks aside polytheism and philosophical naturalism. And it sweeps away Darwinian evolution. Malcolm Muggeridge wrote more than 40 years ago, “I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious a hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity that it has.”
God created the world out of nothing, which Proverbs 8 sings about. In the beginning, God created. What did he create?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. That’s another way of saying God created the cosmos. God created everything that was created, or as John put it in his Gospel prologue, “without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3) How much did God make? Well, that is still unknown, isn’t it? How large is the universe? Just the galaxy we live in, the Milky Way, is estimated to be 100,000 light years across, or approximately six hundred trillion miles. Don’t book a flight on American. And how many galaxies are there in the universe that God created out of nothing, and with a simple word? Probably more than one hundred thousand million. And Edwin Hubble with his famous telescope tells us that the most distant galaxy is 8 billion light years away and racing away from us at 200 million miles per hour. The universe, like God who created it from nothing, is beyond our imagination or our calculation. And our God created not only the galaxies but every speck of dust, every atom, molecule that is.
That is why God said to Isaiah, “To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name; by the greatness of his might and because he is strong in power, not one is missing.” The God of all creation tells his crown of all creation, mankind, “You can’t even decide if Pluto is a planet, but I know every star by name.” I believe God would also say, “Don’t waste your money on the ‘Name a star after you!’ scam.”
God is the creator of everything that is. Including you and me. And to think that he created us for relationship with him makes the universe, and especially God’s grace even more amazing!
It has been my custom most years to preach a sermon from my journal at the beginning of a new year. I look back at things I wrote in my journal that the Lord taught me during the previous year and today I share four lessons that meant something to me, and perhaps they will bless you as well.