You may not know, but there is a fierce debate over Genesis 1:1. In this day of amazing scientific breakthrough, it is easy to look at the first words of the Bible and pick a fight. In one corner, skeptics will ask legitimate questions of God’s Word…
- Why does the Bible say the earth and universe were created at the same time when science says the universe is older?
- Why does the Bible call the moon “light” when it only reflects the sun’s light?
- How does light exist before the sun and stars?
- How are plants made on the third day with no sun yet to feed them?
- Why are we given every plant to eat when we know some are poisonous?
The list goes on and on, and has convinced some that God’s Word can’t be trusted.
In another corner are Christians who prefer a literal interpretation of this chapter that God made the universe in six 24 hour periods in the order that is laid out here. Any scientific evidence to the contrary is, to them, wrong. To them, science cannot be trusted.
Still in another corner there are those who are more than skeptical and have made it their mission to destroy God’s Word. They may be scientists, but a true scientist has no other motive…a true scientist studies science and draws conclusions about things that DID happen. They make no claim to what DIDN’T happen (eg. whether or not a snake ever had feet or something like that).
Finally, and I know I’m oversimplifying this, in the fourth corner are people like me. People who believe that Bible is the infallible Word of God and that science is a gift from that same God. True science can’t possibly ever disprove God’s existence, simply because science is limited to the physical and natural world. God is spirit and his power is supernatural. The study of the universe is science. The study of God is theology.
So if you, like me, find yourself in that fourth category, what are your takeaways from Genesis 1?
Let’s start at verse 1…
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
That’s a statement of fact, not a statement of order. It’s not saying “the universe was created at the same time as the earth”. You have to remember that while God’s Word has great application for our lives today, it needed to be just as applicable to the people to whom the original Word was delivered. I may be going out on a limb here, but I don’t believe the question of “which came first, the earth or the universe” could possibly have been asked back then. To me, the question itself necessitates a certain level of scientific discovery before one can even conceive of it.
This is a statement of fact, and an answer to perhaps a much simpler question that people over 3000 years ago certainly had enough sense to ask… “Where did all of this come from?” The answer, God created it. Everything you see around you was at one point created by God.
In fact, as you continue to read through the chapter, you will see that God not only created everything, he also had purpose behind everything. He designed it, and it wasn’t random. He had a plan, and that plan centered around the crown jewel of creation…you and me. Mankind. With that in mind, this is what Genesis chapter 1 is really about.
- God made the physicial universe in an orderly fashion with a sense of purpose.. (v.1-10)
- He made everything on earth for the specific purpose of sustaining life (v.11-13, 29 -31).
- He made life, with the ability to multiply. (v.20-25)
- His most special creation was man, and he was made different than other creatures. (v.26-27)
- He gave man purpose…to multiply and understand that God made/gave all of this for them. (v.28)
That’s what Genesis 1 is about. It’s not God’s attempt to explain particle physics to us. It’s about you.
When all is said and done, God is setting the stage for the next 2 chapters, when he reveals what he truly wants…relationship with us. So take heart in this one thought when you go about your day…everything that is beautiful in the world was made that way by God for your enjoyment.