2nd January 2020

In The Beginning, God

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1 (NIVUK)

In the past some scholars considered that the Biblical account of creation in Genesis was a reworking of earlier pagan accounts. More recently they have recognised that the striking contrast between the narratives show that the early chapters of Genesis contain a refutation of certain pagan notions extant at the time of writing. Some of these notions still exist today. The opening verse can be unpacked to reveal several truths.

God has no origin—in the beginning God already existed. In many pagan cosmologies of the ancient near east gods are born, they battle, and one god becomes supreme and destroys the others.

The expression “God created” in Hebrew shows that God is singular. Five times In Genesis 1 God is referred to by the singular personal pronoun “he.” Whatever the expression “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” means, the next verse shows God to be singular “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). However the inclusion of the Spirit of God in the creative process (verse2) hints that there could be a plurality of persons in the one Godhead. This coupled with the unambiguous teaching in the Old Testament that there is only one God discounts the idea that there is a pantheon of separate gods.

God existed before creation; therefore God is not part of the created universe. It denies pantheism, the idea that God and the universe are one. The universe is not divine neither does it have a divine essence. If the world is God and has problems then God is the problem, but God is separate from the world and as such can make things new again. The whole of Christian hope of redemption is based on God bringing about a new creation. Matter has not eternally existed; it had a beginning, a fact that modern science confirms.

The heavenly lights have no power over humanity. In an era where the sun and moon were widely worshipped, verse 16 states that they are simply unnamed lights created by God who also created the stars.

Verse 21 reveals that God made great sea creatures (the Hebrew could also mean sea monsters or sea serpents); other cosmologies often include sea monsters of chaos. This verse shows that any creature considered to be a sea monster was created by God and is under his control.

In this narrative we do not see a universe populated by independent disagreeing and unpredictable gods but a faithful God whose will is done whose original creation is summed up as being very good (Verse 31) and not intrinsically evil.

Father, we thank you that by your grace you have given us life and through your grace the opportunity of eternal life with you.

Study by Eddie Marsh

About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
Regus Meeting Rooms (Management Suite)
1 The Oasis
Meadowhall Centre
S9 1EP

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.church

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