Posted by Pastoral Musings on August 20th, 2012
God In Genesis 1:1
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
There are many things about which students of the Bible differ, yet I believe that almost all would agree that Scripture was given to us that we might know about God and know God. Some would deny that the first three chapters of Genesis speak to us about a literal, physical creation. Others deny that these chapters present to us a historical narrative of the creation. Others believe that these first three chapters of Genesis are myths. Almost all agree, however, that these chapters speak to us about God.
The very first verse of Genesis tells us that there was a beginning. There was a time when the heaven and the earth were not. There was also a time when time was not. There was a beginning of time, because there was a beginning of everything. To be a little more precise, we cannot say that there was a time when time was not. We must simply say that time had a beginning. Yet the beginning of time could not have been in time. Therefore time must have had its beginning in eternity, which is not simply unlimited time, but timelessness.
What does this tell us about God? First of all, it tells us that time is God’s creation. Time is subject to God and not God to time. This means that God is timeless. Though time has meaning to God, He is not bound by time. God exists outside of time because He existed before time.
The implications of this are vast. One thing that this presents to us is the fact that God is eternal. He had no beginning, but He is the source of the beginning. God is before, outside of, and superior to time. These things give us a picture of the true God in contrast to the gods of the nations with whom Israel interacted. All of the gods that we find in Ancient Near Eastern literature are gods who dwell within time. These gods had beginnings. They were subject to the ravages of time and death. They were created, they fought, the warred, the died. The Creator, the God of Israel, however, is not subject to these things. He is eternal. He has no beginning, and thus has no end. He is greater than the gods of the heathen. He is superior to them.
In fact, the gods of the heathen are not true gods, and could have no existence even as figments of men’s imaginations if it were not for the eternal Creator-God, the God of Israel. This means that the God of Israel, who created all things and is eternal, is the greatest of all gods. It also means that He is the God of the heathen as well as the God of Israel. He is the God whom all men should worship.
While we are looking at these things we must ask ourselves one question: How is it that we can speak of God, eternity, and time and yet declare that the Bible says nothing at all about science, but much about God? While the Scriptures are telling us much about God and His eternal God-hood, Scripture is also speaking about time. It is interesting to note that scientists have spent much time contemplating time. We must conclude that Scripture is telling us something about science, if it is telling us something about God creating time.
If we deny that Genesis 1:1 speaks to us of science, we must also deny that Scripture is speaking to us of God who is, and who is eternal. We then must deny that Scripture is speaking to us truly in any fashion. That is a high price to pay, yet it is the logical end of those who do not begin with the presupposition of the absolute truthfulness of Scripture.