“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” – Genesis 1:1-2
Today, our Young Pros small group embarked on a study of the book of Genesis. I love Genesis. When I was with BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), Genesis was the book I loved to teach because it had so many stories and foundational theology to our faith: who created the world, the fall of man, the redemption of Adam and Eve, the fathers of our faith, the Sovereign plan of God for the world. Genesis is always a good book to start studying, and this into the new year, so I’m so excited for how we will all grow deeper and learn more about God throughout this study.
Rachel, one of the girls in our small group and who I’m currently discipling, had an interesting question at the start of the lesson. She wanted to find out why God made “light” first before the sun –interesting because there seems to be a contradiction somewhere if so. I read a commentary on this, but for now, we’ll keep the questions coming since we’re not yet at this part of the lesson. I also have questions of my own, like, “why didn’t God just make everything in one go?” Why start everything “formless, empty, void?” “Why separate tasks into days –and are days like how we refer to them as days now, on a 24-hour timeshift? Well, you know, people don’t get cake from thin air. You have to bake a cake, which will require ingredients. These ingredients did not also just happen to be present. Like, how is flour formed? Or sugar? or chocolate? They came from raw products. And these raw products also came from their respective plants. And so on. Just thinking about the process of creation and attaching that to how God created the heaven and the earth with a plan in mind –blows my mind. Nothing is by accident.
There’s a lot to take in and understand in Genesis, and it’s also important that we understand the correct usage of terms as they were used in Hebrew. We learned something about the nature of God’s creative activity from the Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:1. The word translated create in Genesis 1:1 is the Hebrew word bara. This word implies there was no previous existing matter when God created the universe. The verb bara is used for creating out of nothing in Genesis 1:1, and in most other places it appears in the Bible. God is also always the subject when this verb is used. It is never used of any human action in the simple tense in Hebrew.
We ended the lesson by asking ourselves how God is speaking to us in this lesson. I can’t believe that with only two verses come plenty of lessons and questions. I love that we’re being led to think more, to study, to ask, and to see how all these relate to God’s overarching plan for the world —and for us. To me personally, I loved seeing that God has been there right from the start. The passage tells us four important words: In the beginning God…” He was there in the beginning. There was no mention of who created Him –He has always existed. I loved that this also emphasized that God created the world out of nothing, because He can. Unlike people who are only getting from raw materials, God created from nothing –literally spoke the words to creation. I also loved that God has a plan and a process to his creation. Because it reminds me that I don’t get to be who I want to become instantly. I must go through the process of shaping and reshaping, of being empty at times, of being, as clay, formless at times, being hurt from things of this world, being flawed, because that is how we will grow. And this is how God will work in and through us. If I want to be more patient, I can’t be patient right then and there. There will be a process to it and a time for me to learn how to be patient. It’s not going to be perfect as well, but at least we should always be moving to that direction. If I wanted to be healthier, I’ll have to start somewhere. There’s always a starting point for us, and somehow, that’s very encouraging and a powerful motivation for me.
So, thank you, the first two verses of Genesis, for being so rich in lesson and being a powerful reminder to us about the God of creation.