Sermon Series: Covenant Foundations
- God Is and God Created - Genesis 1
- Paradise Lost - Genesis 3
- A Promise toward Paradise Regained - Genesis 12
- God Delivers - Exodus 12
- God Gives His Covenant Commands - Exodus 34
Connection to unit theme
Almighty God is. That is, He exists. There never was a time when He did not exist. And, out of His sovereignty and divine prerogative, He created. While there was nothing lacking in God, He took the initiative to create. In so doing – both in terms of what He made and how He made it – He taught us much about Himself, ourselves, and our relationship to Him.
We take so much for granted. We walk outside and experience the world around us, often without any thought of its majesty and grandeur. We see the sky, the trees, the ocean, the mountains, any of which is immense enough to overwhelm us as we try to consider its beauty and magnitude. In our defense, from our experience, there has never been a time when those things did not exist. So, it would be easy for us to take them for granted. However, there was a time they did not exist. In fact, there was a time when nothing existed at all - nothing, that is, except the God that made all we see and experience. And, it is His existence and activity that should cause us to marvel to an even greater degree.
As we begin our study through the Old Testament, it is important for us to remember that the beginning of the story starts with God Himself. It is not that God was the first thing created, but rather that God was always there. The question, then, is why did God create at all? Was He bored? Did He simply need something to do? Today, we will see where it all began.
I. God is . . . (v.1a)
The Old Testament begins with a mind-blowing declaration: "In the beginning, God . . . " Moses says nothing of God's origin because there is nothing to say. God had no origin. He always has been. There has never been a time when He was not. Why is this such a big deal? Because He owes His existence to no one and nothing. Moses knew this all too well. God introduced Himself to Moses this way in Exodus 3. Moses asked God who he should say sent him to Pharaoh. To translate God's response into improper English, God said "I be" – that is, "I am" or "I exist." He, therefore, as the only, divine, eternal, Supreme Being, stands above everything else.
This God who exists has a plan, one He has revealed progressively since He created the world. This plan began with God Himself. He works it out according to His will and by His mighty power. As His written revelation to us begins, we see that He is the central actor in this grand narrative. He is the one who alone existed before the world was created. He is the one who acted to create. He is the one who will continue to work until the culmination of His great plan.
Application: How should the reality of God's existence impact our lives today? If He alone is the eternal, sovereign God, working to bring about His will and plan, how do our lives and our plans relate to His?
II. God created . . . (vv.1b-5)
God existed, lacking nothing in Himself, and yet chose to create the world and everything in it. The Hebrew word for "create" is bara(overscores)' – meaning "to create something new" and used only in conjunction with God. God's creative acts, both in terms of what and how He created, inform us about His character and nature. Passages such as Psalm 19 provide insight into God's rationale for creating, indicating that, at least in part, God created in a way to demonstrate His glory through the things He made. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands" (Psalm 19:1, HCSB).
One aspect of God's nature we see in creation is His work to bring order out of chaos. God took that which was without form and empty and gave it both form and substance. It is important to remember, however, that God is distinct from what He has made. Contrary to the pantheist, everything is not God. Contrary to the panentheist, the universe is not part of God.
Though God is distinct from what He has made, He is intimately involved with His creation. Contrary to the Deist, God did not simply create the world, wind it up, start it spinning, and walk away. Again, God is intimately involved with His creation, as we clearly see in His relationship with the first man and woman, walking with them in the Garden.
Another thing we clearly see in God's creative acts is His divine power on display. God spoke . . . and creation was. He did not labor or toil, as if it were some arduous task. He simply spoke the world into being. By His powerful Word He created the world, and by that same Word He holds all things together.
The final aspect of God's nature we see in creation is His holiness and goodness, seen in His creation of light and its distinction from darkness. The contrast of light and darkness appears throughout Scripture to symbolize good and evil. We see this word picture taken up by the Apostle John in his first epistle: "Now this is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light, and there is absolutely no darkness in Him" (1 John 1:5, HCSB).
Application: How do God's power, His intimate involvement with creation, and His goodness motivate you to glorify this awesome Creator and to live in submission and obedience to Him?
The awesome God who exists and who created has made it possible to know Him personally. While we can see and understand things about Him through His creation, we can only know Him personally through a faith relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.