In the beginning…
Every story has a great beginning. The Story of God is no different.
But then again, this story is quite different. This is the ultimate opening scene, the beginning of all things. From the very first words of Scripture, we see the grand scope of this Story: cosmic, universal, with implications for the entire created order.
Postmodernity is incredulous toward these kinds of “meta-narratives”. Our culture tells us that universal truth is nothing but a myth, that truth is like beauty: “It’s all in the eye of the beholder.”
But the Story flies in the face of such concepts, affirming what the world has long wanted to deny. We are presented with a sweeping narrative, one that begins with history itself.
“In the beginning.” It doesn’t get any grander than this.
In the beginning, God…
The first sentence of the story has one subject: God.
The first sentence has one main character: God.
And in all that follows, God remains the subject of more verbs than anyone else. For there can be no more main or primary character than the God of this story, the God who preexists time and space and everything we know.
Notice the Story does not begin with humanity. It doesn’t begin with you or with me. That comes later. In the beginning, there is only God.
God is subject, author, beginning to end, Alpha and Omega and all that comes between.
Creation is the result of this first sentence, a sentence with God as its subject.
In the beginning, God created.
Here we find the Bible’s first verb: create. His Spirit moves over that which is empty and formless and dark (Gen. 1:2) before speaking the most gracious words ever spoken: “Let there be.” When God speaks, creation follows.
And create He does: heavens and earth and light and land and seas and vegetation and trees and sun and moon and stars and fish and birds and wild animals. He creates and names these things, for they belong to Him. Psalm 24 – “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” Revelation 4:11 – “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
This world was created by God.
This world was created for God.
We might ask: “What compels God to create?” And the answer is love. God is under no compulsion to create; He doesn’t create to fill some sort of emotional void or some need — as if God is somehow deficient in Himself. God creates solely and purely out of His great love.
Creation is a free, loving act of God.
God says, “Let there be…” and it is so.
This first verb is an artistic verb.
God is an artist.
He’s a painter —- just look at the sky at sunrise or sunset, God’s palette bursting forth with hues of orange and pink and purple and blue and gold. Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
And this first verb is an intentional verb.
God is an architect.
Look at the way He has fashioned the world with tremendous order and rhythm. The same pattern emerges throughout: “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day; and there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” Psalm 104:3, 5 – “He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters…He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved.”
With great intention, God creates all that we know. And he calls it good.
But as grand as this Story might be, the opening scene of Scripture crystallizes on one crowning achievement, the crescendo to this creative work: Gen. 1:26 – “Let us make man in our own image.”
It is not enough to praise God as the Master Artist, or even the Grand Designer.
For this first verb is in the end a loving verb.
God is a loving Father, creating mankind as His children, borne to bear His image in the world.
This means human life is created with great sacredness.
And so we create…
And we love…
And we bear the image of our Father and Creator.
In the beginning, God said “Let there be.” And it was so.
This is how The Story begins.
And, believe it or not, this is how your story begins.
For years ago, God artistically and intentionally and lovingly spoke you into existence. He created you to bear His image.
But along the way, we’ve all chosen something else, forsaking this image for something much less grand, much less meaningful. The Story is honest about this, as we’ll see next week.
But today, this is a word for those whose lives are “without form and void” (Gen. 1:2). Without God’s Story, your story is hollow, shallow, meaningless even.
In Jesus, God transforms our emptiness and brokenness and redeems it, replacing it with something beautiful and intentional and good.
So today, will you hear His word? Will you hear Him as He speaks His “Let there be” over you?
When you started your lesson this morning, I immediately pulled up this post. I love the way we, as a church, are immersing ourselves in the story of God this year. Keep up your good work!
That’s great! Thanks for the encouragement, man. Looking forward to this great study together.