The opening verse of the Bible reveals the most important lesson of all. What is it? What does it have to do with you and me?Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**
HOW THE WORLD WAS MADE
PART ONE: LORD OF ALL CREATION
So much is made about what the Bible is and what it is not. Most people read it assuming it is a rule book telling Christians what they are not to do and what they are to do. But if the Bible was a law book, why does it begin where it does? The Bible starts with stories, not just any stories. Stories that are important for our understanding of faith.
The very opening verse of the Bible reveals the most important element of all. And to be honest, if you cannot believe the first verse, is there really any point to reading the rest? It tells us how the world was made.
READING THE TEXT: Genesis 1:1-2
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (CSB)
This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.
IN THE TEXT:
In the opening verses of the Bible, we are told “God made it.” What is it? All of it. We could debate for days over the science behind how the world was made, but that is not the point of this Bible story. The point is who made it and what that implies to you and me.
*** In the beginning ***
Verse 1 says, “In the beginning.” This is not describing the beginning of God; the writer gives us no details on that matter. God’s existence is assumed. Psalm 90, labeled as a prayer of Moses, says, “Before the mountains were born, before you gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, you are God.” (Psalm 90:2) In this prayer, God is said to be eternal, evidenced by our verses here in Genesis. “In the beginning” refers to the start of time, the world, and the universe as we understand them.
Beyond revealing God as the Creator, these two verses reveal more about God than His eternal existence. With continued reading in Genesis 1, we will certainly come away seeing God as all-powerful. How could you not? There are no materials, but out of nothing God creates everything. Also, the word used for God in verse 1 implies while there is only one God, there are three parts to Him.
*** Formless and void ***
Verse 2 reads, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Again, we see the Triune nature of God. God the Father will be speaking life into existence. But we also know God the Son (Jesus) is present in these events. John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created.” Paul writes along these same lines, saying “For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible… all things have been created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)
In Genesis 1:2, where it says, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters,” this is referring to the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who descended on where the apostles were gathered in Acts 2, with the sound of a mighty rushing wind and like tongues of fire.
The first two verses of the Bible reveal that God is eternal, all-powerful, and Triune. But there is another revelation about God in the formation of the universe. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus says, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” I know that comes across as harsh, but pay attention to the final part of that phrase, “a hen gathering her chicks.” That is an image we should picture as the Spirit of God hovers about formless and void. The eternal, Triune, all-powerful God is lovingly present over the formless and void, about to carefully form it for His purposes.
FROM THE TEXT:
*** Now ***
The picture that the opening verses give us is that God is eternal, Triune, all-powerful, and loving. This is the God who created everything for his purposes. Including humanity. This is an incredible thought. But it is even more incredible when you realize this is the God who Adam and Eve sin against. In Genesis 3, we are told after they sin against God they hide because they are afraid. They rejected this God’s love, put themselves in opposition to His power. Not only did their sin impact them, it spread over the whole earth and has pitted our entire race against the throne of heaven.
*** Ow ***
Because of Adam and Eve’s decision, you and I were born into a rigged system. Our lives begin “formless and void” in spirit. God demands we live according to His ways and purposes, but we are incapable because our beings are born in opposition to God. You and I cannot do anything good because there is no good in us. It is our nature to sin against God. Unlike Adam and Eve, we do not bother to hide from God. All sin is against God, and He is just. He will put all things back in order.
*** Wow ***
We are sinners because of Adam and Eve, also because of us being born into a rigged system that only further enabled us to choose to sin against this eternal, all-powerful, Triune, and loving God. This is why Jesus, God himself, had to come to save us. “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Jesus says in Mark 1:15, “Repent and believe the good news!”
To stop living in opposition to this God, the same one who Adam and Eve hid from, we must accept we are the ones in rebellion, stop living in rebellion, and allow the Spirit of God hovering over lives into our hearts.
BEYOND THE TEXT:
Guilt and shame are not emotions of God. However, sin produces these emotions in us when we are in the presence of God.
Season 1 Episode 33, "Most important question." The text for the message is from Mark 8:27-30, part 1 of a series called The Son of Man. The question we are trying to answer is "What is the most important question?"