“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
The basis for the propositional truth for the worldview of Biblical Theism, and its consequential implications including being accountable to the God of the Bible, stems from the very first verse from the first chapter of the first book of the Bible: Genesis 1:1. This verse is not an archaic, ancient or outdated text having no application to our lives today. Instead, the text establishes the foundation, source and starting point for all the biblical theist believes, and consequentially does, in knowing and living for God the Creator.
To begin with we observe the event of creation. “In the beginning” (Genesis 1:1, ESV). The phrase is one word in the Hebrew (רֵאשִׁית / rēʾšît). It refers to the point in time which is the beginning. It is the beginning of time at the point of the initiation of life that God created. The word appears fifty times in nearly all parts of the Old Testament. The primary meaning is “first” or “beginning” of a series.
Secondly, we observe the person responsible for creation: God. The word for God is אֱלֹהִים / ʾělohîm. This refers to the One, True God. We should note that though the form is a grammatical plural, the meaning is singular and many sources believe this implies a plurality of majesty or stateliness.
The true God ĕlōhı̂m functions as the subject of all divine activity revealed to man and as the object of all true reverence and fear from men. Often ˒ĕlōhı̂m is accompanied by the personal name of God, Yahweh (Genesis 2:4–5; Exodus 34:23; Psalm 68:18).
There are several descriptive words attached to the noun ˒ĕlōhı̂m. These serve as titles by which God reveals himself to his people. Several examples are as follows:
- hā˒ēl bêt-˒ēl “the El (God) of Bethel” (Genesis 31:13; 35:7).
- ˒ēl sal˒ı̂ “El (God) my rock” (Psalm 42:9).
- ˒ēl yĕšû˓ātı̂ “El (God) my Savior” (Isaiah 12:2).
- ˒ēl ḥayyāy “El (God) of my life” (Psalm 42:8).
- ˒ēl gōmēr ˓ālāy “El (God) the performer on me” (Psalm 57:3).
- me’˒ēl “The El (God) of … ” (Genesis 49:25).
- ˒ēlı̂ “My El” (God) (Psalm 89:26; 102:24; 118:28).
- hā˒ēl mā˓ûzzı̂ “El (God) my fortress” (2 Samuel 22:33).
- hā˒ēl ham˒azĕrēnı̂ ḥāyil “El (God) the girder of me with strength” (Psalm 18:32).
- hā˒ēl hannōtēn nĕqāmôt lı̂ “The El (God) giving me vengeance” (Psalm 18:47; 2 Samuel 22:48).
The title may also refer to God’s work in creation (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 45:18; Jonah 1:9). It also focuses on His sovereignty, which is evident in Isaiah 54:5, (“God of All the Earth”); I Kings 20:28, (“God of the Hills”); and Jeremiah 32:27, (“God of All Flesh”).
Additional phrases emphasizing God’s sovereign rule include “The God of All the Kingdoms of the Earth” (Isaiah 37:16); “God of Heaven” (Nehemiah 2:4, 20); “Yahweh God of the Heaven” (Genesis 24:7; 2 Chronicles 36:23); “God in the Heaven” (2 Chronicles 20:6); “The Lord God of the Heaven and God of the Earth” (Genesis 24:3; Deuteronomy 4:39; Joshua 2:11); and “God of gods and Lord of Lords, the Great, the Mighty, and the Terrible Who Does Not Regard Favorites and Does Not Take Bribes” (Deuteronomy 10:17). An all-inclusive title is “God Most High” (Psalm 57:2).
May we meditate today upon all the ways God is. May we also consider all which God does.
Soli deo Gloria!