The most controversial sentence ever written

The first verse in the Bible is a short and powerful sentence:

‘In the beginning God [Elohim, the plural form of God] created the heavens and the earth.’  Genesis 1:1

Scripture is the link between the invisible and the visible, between the supernatural and the natural.  This first verse explains it: an invisible powerful God created the heavens and the earth.  We know about it because we have the truthful Word of God.  This means that the Holy Bible, the Word of God, is man’s precious revelation from an Extraterrestrial God about Him and why He created the universe.

What do we deduct from this very first verse?

(Do not forget that we are privileged to have the rest of the Bible’s 66 books to fill in the gaps of the short creation account.)

We know from history that this verse has generated the most heat ever in families, societies, countries, and the world at large.  Why?  Its claims sound a bit like science fiction.  Could there be a real God who created the universe in six 24-hour days?  All of it?  No wonder it is often regarded as ‘myth.’

God is not alone in the creation business.

Actually, He was not alone all along since He is eternal.  He was never created.  As said, the word for God in Genesis 1:1 is plural.  We meet the Holy Spirit in verse 2, ‘…and the Holy Spirit was hovering over the waters.’  In addition the New Testament gives more information about the third person involved in the creation: Jesus. 1

Time began with creation.

Before that, there was no time.  It is logical, since the sun and moon function as time keepers.  Also, there was besides the Trinity, nothing else.  No space, no matter.  Hebrews 11:3 tells us, ‘By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.’ 

It introduces God’s creative abilities.

This first verse in Genesis that introduces God’s creative abilities, is proof that the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture.  Moses (regarded as the writer of the Pentateuch) grew up in Pharaoh’s court in Egypt.  The Israelite slaves spent many years building store cities, pyramids, monuments, et cetera.  Moses understood very well that construction takes time.  So creation of the physical universe in six days does sound a bit far fetched.  Yet he wrote inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The first creation prepares us for another creation.

‘Behold, I will create a new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.’ 2   This first creation is just a prototype.  The real thing is coming.  It will be preceded by a massive fire such as the world has never seen.  It will destroy every element of the natural universe, ‘…The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare….  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.’ 3   Then God will create the ‘final’ one.  The new heavens and earth will be supernatural and eternal.  Therefore there will be no need for the elements that make up our present natural universe.  The coming miracles are a ‘fact.’  We don’t need to doubt it.

  • Countless billions of people will be resurrected.  ‘Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.’4  Only the God that Genesis 1:1 introduces, has the ability to do that.  It calls for a powerful Lord to first create the universe from nothing, then destroy it by fire and again make something completely new.
  • The new heaven and earth will be made of something we don’t know.  It will not consist of atoms, molecules, et cetera.  It will be ‘God stuff.’  Revelation 21 does talk of gold, precious stones, the street of gold, the water of the river of life and the tree of life.  Yet they will be eternal and never wear out.
  • Jesus’ resurrected body is flesh and bones (no blood) and already exists for 2,000 years.  Does He have DNA?  Nobody knows.  1 John 3 tells us that we will be like Him.
  • The world pokes fun at the ‘pie in the sky’ we expect.  Yet the pie in the sky will be the New Jerusalem.  It will descend out of heaven.  The throne of the Father and the Son will be in the New Jerusalem and billions of resurrected saints, together with the holy angels, will serve God.
  • What a wonderful future waits for God’s loyal, faithful followers.  And where did this wonderful adventure or journey begin?  With Genesis 1:1,  ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’  Glory, glory to our King, is all we can exclaim!

Conclusion

It is important to know that Genesis 1:1 is true.  Scripture hangs on it, God’s reputation rests on it, and the hope of billions of Jesus’ followers are based on it.

PS!

Who created God?

To answer it, we rely on Scripture.

It tells us that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit existed eternally.

We know that everything that was created has to have a cause.

God is uncreated, so He has no cause, nobody created Him.

The universe came into existence, so it has a cause.  The cause is God.

References

  1. John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16; and Hebrews 1:2
  2. Isaiah 65:17
  3. 2 Peter 3:10,12
  4. Daniel 12:2

Is the resurrection a myth?

The resurrection of Jesus has been and will always be questioned.  That is easy to understand: the ruler of the world, the devil,1 does not want people to know that he lost the battle against Jesus.  He does not want people to understand clearly that with the resurrection, God’s plan of an eternal Kingdom of Peace is a given, it is guaranteed, it will come to pass.

The new heaven and earth

We notice in Revelation 5 that only the resurrected Jesus could open the seals that will lead to the new heaven and earth.  Jesus’ resurrection is also the guarantee that we will be resurrected into new bodies and live eternally with our Lord.  Thus the resurrection is a huge problem and threat to the devil’s attempts to deceive the whole world.

The spread of the Gospel

There are many explanations why the resurrection is true.  One is the spread of the Gospel throughout the world (without the sword).  This could not have happened if Jesus was not resurrected.  The disciples were on their way back to secular work, when Jesus appeared and demonstrated He is alive and will return to His Father.  Empowered by the Holy Spirit they and subsequently other followers of Jesus, filled the earth with the Good News.

The breath of life

  • There is another reason why we can trust the resurrection.  In Genesis 2 we read how God formed the first man from dust.  What is dust other than atoms? God combined the atoms and then breathed life into the dust ‘statue.’  God has the ability to breathe life into lifeless atoms.  This life giving ability is naturally decried by unbelievers.
  • Since they mostly believe in evolution, they believe that life came from dead, non-living atoms.  The problem is that there is no scientific evidence for it.  Millions have been spent, and many researchers are kept busy to prove that life appeared on the planet in natural ways.  All the efforts lead to nothing.  To give life to the dead belongs only to our Lord God Almighty and His glorious Son, Jesus.
  • What does God’s life giving ability have to do with the resurrection?  If God could fashion a dust or clay image of a man, and breathe life into it, why can’t He breathe life into a dead body?  He did it with Lazarus.2  He did it with the son of the Shunamite woman. 3  Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s only son.
  • It is obvious that resurrection is easy for God.  The only reason God exerted all His might 4 is that the devil and his demons fought till the last to prevent it.  They lost and God won.  Hallelujah!

Conclusion

  • Jesus is the Creator.
  • God is the Creator.

They both have the ability to resurrect.  The resurrection of Jesus makes perfect sense right from Genesis 1&2.

References

  1. 1 John 5:19b
  2. John 11
  3. 2 Kings 4
  4. Ephesians 1:19-23

Can we be moral without God?

It made headlines that the majority of Americans believe that a person can be moral without God (Pew Research Centre, October 16, 2017).  According to the survey, ‘most U.S. adults now say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values (56%), up from about half (49%) who expressed this view in 2011.’ 

Religious ‘nones’ believe it is not necessary to acknowledge God for morality.  ‘Surveys have long shown that religious “nones” – those who describe themselves religiously as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – are more likely than those who identify with a religion to say that belief in God is not a prerequisite for good values and morality.’

We accept the findings of the survey.  However, the question is, what does the survey prove, and what does it mean for the Church in general?  There are a few questions:

1. Does ‘morality without God’ increase morality in a country?

Does the belief that you can be moral without God mean that pornography will die; that violence, crime, child and sexual abuse will decrease?  It should if it is true.  The future will tell.

2. What is morality?

The definition of morality according to the British English dictionary is, ‘principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good or bad behavior.  A particular system of values and principles of conduct. Goodness or rightness.’

  • The general public uses the word, ‘morality’ according to that definition, but we need to distinguish between ‘morality’ according to the world and ‘morality’ according to God.
  • The Bible refers to ‘morality’ as ‘holiness.’  Holiness is a prerequisite for eternal life with God, because that is the way people will live in God’s future Kingdom.  Holiness is possible for a child of God, because Jesus died for our sins and made us holy in principle. 1  That means we can be filled with the Holy Spirit.  He is the One who then works from inside us to help us to increasingly turn away from wrong behavior to the lifestyle God desires in His Kingdom.

3. Is ‘morality’ a substitute for ‘holiness?’

Being ‘moral’ will not persuade God to accept people into His kingdom as His children.  It is a crude misunderstanding of the Gospel.

  • The Ten Commandments illustrate God’s position beautifully.  The first 3 command us to love God.  It is the foundation that will cause us to obey Him and do the next 7 commandments.  Without love for the Lord, there is no reason to obey His rules that are indispensable for His future Kingdom.  Jesus said in John 14:15, ‘If you love me, you will obey what I command.’
  • So we need to distinguish between morality (good living without God) and holiness (the way the people who love God will live in His kingdom), ‘…Since we have these promises [that God will be our Father], dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.’ 2

4. What other differences between morality and holiness?

As we said, the Ten Commandments give us an idea of what is basically an acceptable lifestyle to God.

  • Some of them like, honor your father and mother, don’t murder, don’t steal, manifest very visibly.  Yet others concern your thought life, like don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or possessions?  Nobody sees your thoughts, but out of them come evil desires. 3
  • In addition few people know what you do behind closed doors.  That is why it is important to distinguish between morality and holiness.  The claim we make is that it is generally impossible to live a completely upright life without an inner restraint, the Holy Spirit.
  • If it was possible, God would not have insisted on holiness.  Then living a moral life would have been enough.  But, as we know, many ‘moral’ upright people do funny things in their minds and behind closed doors.

Conclusion

The essence of ‘true’ morality is, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself.’ This includes the soul, mind, heart and effort.  Yet we can only do it with Jesus’ ongoing Blood of forgiveness for our lapses and the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

References

  1. Hebrews 10:10
  2. 2 Corinthians 7:1
  3. Matthew 15:18-20
  4. Matthew 22:37-39