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By: Larry Shaffer
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” This is where it all began. This section of Genesis including 1:1 – 2:3 describes the creative process of the heavens and earth by God. God is eternal with no beginning or end (Psalms 90:2), so this phrase of “in the beginning” refers to the initiation of time and space within the sphere of God’s tangible creation. From eternity past, God determined to show forth and reveal His Glory in an extended plan to display His attributes. This plan is outlined in Genesis through Revelation.
Some say God’s primary plan is to redeem mankind or a remnant of mankind. A systematic study of God’s Word does not support that view. God’s plan to redeem a remnant of His chosen people (including those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus) is a significant part of His plan from eternity past but it is not His ultimate purpose. His ultimate purpose is to showcase His attributes and express all that He is for His own glory. Genesis through Revelation outlines all of God’s attributes along with weaving in His redemptive plan throughout scripture.
The God of Creation
This first verse of Genesis reveals an attribute of God that cannot be duplicated and separates God from all others. He creates out of nothing. Where does a potter get his lump of clay? He makes it out of existing material, (or he buys it at a store). No one, spirit or flesh, can create out of nothing. From the first few words of God’s revealed and written word, He showcases a unique attribute that initiates His purposeful plan. He creates out of nothing. Throughout the Bible, God is often referred to as the God of creation because it uniquely and significantly elevates Him as the supreme and all-powerful God. There is no one like Him. He alone is God and He shares His glory with no one.
We’re going to the Canaan
Consider again the context of this writing and its original purpose as Moses wrote it shortly after the Exodus. Israel was one of many nations in the known world at that time. They were being prepared to enter Canaan, the promised land, and face many foreign foes. All the other nations had gods. What was different about Israel’s God? Not too dissimilar from some today that might ask, “what is special about Christianity over all the other religions?” Right from the start, the Genesis text highlights God’s absolute, unmatched and unparalleled greatness in that He created everything in space and time OUT OF NOTHING! When Israel was to face the fierce foes in Canaan in their God-given pursuit to obtain the land, they would be well served to remember who their God is and what He is capable of. He is the God of creation. We also would be well served to remember who our God is. When we hear the phrase ‘God of creation’, may it mean more to us than ever before.
A new life…out of nothing
A final thought…when God redeemed and saved you, He created a new life in you out of nothing. He didn’t have any redeemable raw material to create a new and righteous life. Romans 3 says, “there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” There’s no ambiguity in that passage. God did not choose me because I had potential. I had nothing of value to bring Him to assist in making me righteous and pure. Even the means of salvation, my faith, must have been given to me by Him because I had no good in me to bring to the table. He created a means to redeem me through Jesus out of nothing. And then, He gave me His Spirit to sanctify me; to form within me a propensity to love, be kind, to have joy, peace and to pursue a righteous life. Similarly, God created the heavens and earth out of nothing from a formless and void manner. Then the Spirit of God is introduced in verse 2 in the creation process. Lord, the realization of Your creative work within me is amazing. Genesis 1:1 helps me appreciate anew Your creative work in me. Thank You! Amen!