“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).
How fitting that Genesis, the book of beginnings, should begin with the phrase, “In the beginning.” It literally means that which is chief, first or the starting point. It is at the beginning moment, Genesis 1:1 says, that God initiated an action resulting in something that did not previously exist with Him in His eternal existence. What God initiated was His act of creating the heavens and the earth.
This creative act is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture (Job 38:4-7; Psalm 33:6; 136:5; Isaiah 42:1-5; 45:18; Acts 14:15; 17:24; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:10; 11:1-3; Revelation 4:11). The most familiar companion text concerning God creating the heavens and the earth is found in John 1:1-3 which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
Who is the subject of this verse? Who was existing in the beginning? The Bible tells us it was God. The Hebrew word used here for God is Elohim. The word refers to the One, True God. He who is majestic and worthy of worship.
The Westminster Larger Catechism defines God as follows: “God is a spirit, in and of Himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”
One commentator writes, “God—the name of the Supreme Being, signifying in Hebrew, “Strong,” “Mighty.” It is expressive of omnipotent power; and by its use here in the plural form, is obscurely taught at the opening of the Bible, a doctrine clearly revealed in other parts of it, namely, that though God is one, there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit, who were engaged in the creative work (Proverbs 8:27; John 1:3, 10; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2; Job 26:13).
It is interesting to observe that the Bible, from its opening book, chapter and verse, through its conclusion in the Book of Revelation, never argues for the existence of God. The Scriptures set forth the truth that God exists and always has existed. In fact, the Bible sets forth that the One, True God who eternally exists is the only True God who eternally exists (Deuteronomy 4:39; Isaiah 40:21-28; 43:10; John 1:1; Colossians 1:17). It is He, and He alone, who created the heavens and the earth.
The word “created” means to make something that has not been in existence before; to make something out of nothing. God created the universe from no pre-existing material or substance. He created the substance by speaking it into existence. Psalm 33:6 and 9 says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. For He spoke and it came to be; He commanded and it stood firm.”
Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning, God created, out of nothing, the heavens and the earth. The word heavens, samayim, means, in its plural form, not only the sky and the atmosphere but also the realm of the planets and stars along with the abode of God. God created the universe.
Once again, the Westminster Larger Catechism provides a beneficial insight. “The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of His power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for Himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.”
In this universe that God created, He not only created the heavens but He also created the earth. The Hebrew word for earth, ‘ares in the singular, refers to the third planet in the galaxy known as the Milky Way Galaxy. God not only created all the universe but this tiny, pale blue dot known as earth.
“This first verse is a general introduction to the inspired volume, declaring the great and important truth that all things had a beginning; that nothing throughout the wide extent of nature existed from eternity, originated by chance, or from the skill of any inferior agent; but that the whole universe was produced by the creative power of God (Acts 17:24; Romans 11:36).”
If we are to know God, we must acknowledge the truth that He is our creator. With this acknowledgement, there is a profound sense of how incredibly powerful and mighty God is and how incredibly insignificant we are in comparison. Reflect upon the words of the Psalmist David.
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1-9).
Make it a priority today to observe God’s creative handiwork as the season of spring is about to begin. Worship Him in the beauty of His creation regardless of whether its summer, winter, springtime or harvest.
Soli deo Gloria!