Whole Life Whole Bible Day 04
Genesis 1:1 (NASB)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 2:4 (NASB)
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.
3: And God...
Our first steps in Genesis begin neither with creation nor with ourselves, but with God — and the reminder that we do not properly understand the world (or our place in it) without acknowledging the God who created it, holds it together and rules over it.
Genesis 1 was designed to work this way. The people of God knew that the real God — the only God — made the world not through violence and bloodshed (a regular feature of tales about origins told in cultures surrounding Israel) but by his word, through his wisdom, and out of love. The account thus shapes the way God’s people think and live, at the same time as engaging with alternative takes on reality, in such a way as to say, ‘This is the true God; this is what the true God is like; this is the one who alone is worthy of worship.’
Genesis 1 does this not by discussing creation in the abstract but by focusing on God as creator, and not primarily through nouns or adjectives but through verbs, highlighting what God does: he creates, he speaks, he sees, he names, he separates, he rules, he delights, he blesses, he rests. This God who speaks and acts will take center stage in the plot that unfolds, showing that, far from removing himself from creation, he is personal and relational, intentionally providing an arena in which men and women can live under his rule and blessing.
It’s no surprise, then, that while Genesis 1:1 can use the non-specific word for ‘god’ or ‘gods’, Genesis 2:4 makes it clear that he is ‘the Lord God’, using the name by which he later reveals himself to Moses as the one who will establish a covenant with his people, setting up a link between creation and covenant that will be played out in the rest of Scripture.
Genesis 1 isn’t designed to satisfy our curiosity about issues raised by science. A different and more significant question is at stake, namely: which God do we trust to have the whole world in his hands? Standing at the heart of the Christian worldview is not a god of our own making, but the Lord God himself — creator God and covenant God.
For further reflection and action
Take some moments to read through Genesis 1:1-2:4, pausing after the account of each day to reflect on — and then to praise — God as creator, sustainer and ruler of all.
In Proverbs 8:22–31, God’s wisdom is personified as a crafts person through whom God makes the world — designing, measuring and setting boundaries in place — showing that wisdom is the standard by which God works as he crafts the world. This being the case, where do we see evidence of God’s wise ordering of the world? What difference should this make to the way we seek to live in God’s world?
What do you bring to your reading of Genesis 1 in terms of background education, church tradition, scientific knowledge and convictions about God? How might these various factors both help and hinder your understanding of the passage?
Visit LICC to find out more or get an overview of the Biblical narrative and the ways it can shape us by reading the Introduction to Whole Life, Whole Bible from the Whole Life, Whole Bible book.