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Saturday, October 18, 2008

In The Beginning

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning of what? Certainly not the beginning of God. The Holy Bible does not tell what God was doing before this beginning, but whatever He was doing, He most certainly was. In every Book of the Bible God is seen as having always existed, before the beginning of everything else. That's the definition of "creator". The One Who Creates everything exists outside of everything. He has need of nothing created in order to exist...He is the Self-Existent One.

That blows our minds...humans cannot grasp this concept. We can see it, dimly. We can describe it with words, limply. But we cannot compare it to any sort of human act or ability.

Perhaps the creation of a story is the best analogy of God's self-existence. An author who writes a story...a poem, an essay, a book...takes what is inside himself, his thoughts, experiences, relationships, and creates something that others can see. A skilled author can create writing that is understandable, enjoyable, and even functional, in that it may teach, encourage, or equip. Think of it: an author can construct an entire world within his mind, using nothing material, only the mental and emotional connections within his mind. Then, by speaking it (or writing it) he can bring it into an existence that others can see.

This, for me, is the closest I can come to identifying with the idea that God created all things, and before Him was nothing created, and He Himself was not created and He has always existed. Our existence, the existence of our earth, and the existence of all matter and substance, was spoken into existence by God. Before "the beginning", all things existed only in the mind of God.

The motion picture, "The Matrix", tells a story that touches upon a part of this concept. In the movie we see an entire world, our world, peopled with humans, living the ordinary life that we ourselves see every day. But the movie reveals a deeper source for this ordinary life: every human alive is actually cocooned underground, each in a life-sustaining pod, each brain connected to a electronic network that functions as a huge computer simulation...the matrix. Each human brain is given just right signals to convince the human that they are living a normal life, walking, talking, loving, fighting, sinning, helping, learning, and dying. But in fact, each human is immobile, atrophied, confined within a sac, tended by robots, used a biological source of energy that sustains the electronic network called "the matrix".

The movie shows this matrix as being sinister, wickedly depriving humans of their independence and self-determination, and rightly so. But the essence of the matrix intrigues me. The One Who creates our world, The One we call God, could easily be the source of our existence; in the same way. All that we think we can see and feel, all of our acts and mis-acts, could be contained within the imagination of the Creator.

However...

The Holy Bible says that God spoke the world into existence...He brought His thoughts out into form and substance, a reality that is solid. Nonetheless, the God of the Holy Bible is more than Creator...He is Sustainer. Every breath, every heart beat, every nerve synapse response, is sustained only by the power and creative providence of God.

Otherwise, He would not be God

"Beginning" is translated from a Hebrew word that means the first, or "firstfruit". It could refer to first in place, time, order, or rank. It is related to another word meaning the head, whether literal or figurative. Both words were derived from an unused root word that apparently meant to shake.

Creation was a "first-thing". By stressing "in the beginning", this verse shows that nothing was in existence before God created. Nothing was seen, felt or experienced before God created. Without this qualifying phrase, it could be thought that creation of what we now see and experience was only one of several creations. The truth shown here is that the existence we experience is the single focal point of God. All that exists now is the first, foremost and most important act of God.

This first verse of the Holy Bible forms the thesis, or the theme of this first part of the story of creation. It tells us to prepare to read something that is first in importance. Every chapter of Scripture that follows serves as explanation, filling in the details of the creation story. The story of creation began in the mind of God, thus it is the story that supports all other stories. It is the story of all stories.