“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
The first two chapters of the Bible are the most important chapters that you will read. And why are they the most important chapters that you will read, because they lay the ground work for everything else that you will read about throughout the rest of the Bible. And it all began with this simple sentence, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Which draws our attention to the fact that all things had a real beginning, which differs dramatically from other ancient religions, because they refer to things being created from something that was already in existence. But the Bible reveals God as the One who created everything out of nothing. God is the one and only true and eternal, self-existent God (having forever existed in himself) who reveals himself in the first verse of the Bible as the creator of heaven and earth. And as we continue through this one year journey through the Bible the full nature of God will be explained and understood. And you will also see that other religions will view history as an endless series of cycles, but that the Bible presents history in a linear way, with a definite beginning and a God-given goal. Which means that God had a plan in creation, and he will carry it out.
The first two chapters of Genesis contain 4 important truths. (1) Since God is the source of all that exists, human beings and nature are NOT SELF-EXISTENT, but rather we owe our ability to live and exist to God. (2) Everything that exists is good if it is in right relationship to God. (3) All life and creation can have eternal meaning and purpose. (4) As the creator God has sovereign control over all creation. That is he can do whatever he desires in relation to all he has made. And in fallen, or damaged world, one in which we have chosen to defy God and go our own way, God expresses his rights by offering redemption. Which refers to God plan to “reclaim” or “restore” us from a state of rebellion against him and bring us back into right relationship with him. All of these things make the creation narrative that we read today unique. And Kenneth A. Matthews explains this uniqueness in an essay that he wrote for the CSB Study Bible.
In this essay Mr. Matthews gives us five reasons why. The first reason is the identity of God. In which Mr. Matthews writes, “The basic identity of God revealed in Genesis is distinct from all other Ancient Near-Eastern (ANE) conceptions. The Lord God did not have an origin and did not have a female counterpart. In fact Genesis does not present any kind of theogony (origin of the gods). God simply always existed.” The second reason he gives is no rival gods. Mr. Matthews explained this reason in this way, “While polytheistic views dominated the Ancient Near-East (ANE). Genesis revealed that God has no divine rivals…In Genesis there is no rival opposing the Creator. All creation obeyed the voice of God, as expressed in the recurring phrase, ‘and it was so’ (1:7).” The third reason is creation out of nothing, which is explained in this way, “In Genesis the Creator by inherent authority as Sovereign Lord spoke creation into a functional, well-ordered existence. There was no eternal pre-created matter, such as was believed in the ancient myths.” The fourth reason is the value placed on humanity which is explained in this way, “In Genesis the Creator bestowed special value on humanity. Human beings in the ANE view were not indispensable to the operation of the world, whereas in Genesis they were essential as its chief caretakers.” And the fifth and final reason is the Sabbath which is explained in this way, “In Genesis the Creator provided the seventh day as a holy day of rest and celebration, which was later memorialized in Israel’s Sabbath. The Sabbath was unique to Israel, not tied to the movement of the stars, such as in the ancient preoccupation with astrology.” And we will see way this uniqueness is important in tomorrows reading from Genesis.
Tomorrows Bible Reading:
Genesis 3-4; Matthew 2:23-3:6; Psalm 2:1-12; Proverbs 1:7-9
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