Entry Level Theological Truth

The fact that the opening verse of the Bible reveals a great deal about God is often obscured by the contentious debates over competing cosmologies. Of course the controversy over the world’s creation is vitally important, but let us momentarily put it aside in order to consider what this cogent section of Scripture shows about the Almighty.

At least three of His key attributes are manifested in Genesis 1:1:

  1. His Eternality
  2. His Transcendence
  3. His Immanence

Beginning Before The Beginning

The Bible famously begins “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1.) There is no attempt to prove God’s existence; there is merely a description of His activity in creation. One learns that “in the beginning” He already was; this affirms His eternality.

He was never created – nor did He ever begin to be. In His eternal existence, He was obviously self-existent and self-sufficient. He existed before everything, and needed nothing to live or be everything that He is.

Later Scriptures reveal His independence from material sustenance; as He says in Psalm 50:9-13: “I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats?”

The Immensity Of The Creator

What is more, the Creator is distinct from His creation. Pantheism and Panentheism are both refuted by the first verse of Scripture. God is not identical to His creation, nor is He within each creature or created thing. He is distinct and transcendent. Scripture depicts the Lord sitting over the earth, sovereignly overseeing its affairs (Isaiah 40:22.) Contrary to Carl Sagan’s famous opinion that “the Cosmos is all there is, was, or will be,” the Lord is also bigger than the stars (Psalm 8:3.) Since He is greater than His universe, the Bible repeatedly rejects the veneration of created beings or things as idolatry (e.g Deuteronomy 4:19; Romans 1:20-23.)

The Lord’s tremendous power is awesomely displayed in one phrase: “God created.” Without any taxing effort He fashioned the universe out of nothing. This awesome display of energy notwithstanding, He is interested in the minutest detail of His creation. The Creator of the galaxies is the same God who entered His world millennia later to redeem mankind. He is not the remote and distant deity of deistic speculations; nor is He the crass super-tyrant of Greco-Roman mythology. Instead, He is the omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient Maker who diligently cares for mankind’s well-being.

He created planet earth to be uniquely habitable for humans. Because of Man’s fall it no longer demonstrates the pristine glory of its newness, and has become the scene of countless stories of death and woe. Nevertheless, one day the Lord who designed and built the first creation will marvelously transform it into “new heavens and a new earth. And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17.)

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Read the next installment of Entry Level Theological Truth here.

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