First Things First
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
If you are starting a conversation with someone about following Christ, what are the first principles? Is there a God at all? If so, what are the implications of that? We have said many times that the trouble with God is that we don’t see Him personally. And that is why faith is necessary as it relates to God. He is. And He rewards those who seek him with some persistence, which means He won’t be easy. The Bible starts with a direct statement: God is there. And then for the first eleven chapters it explores the implications of God’s existence and what happens especially when folks live apart from Him as a first principle.
Jews living in Egypt believed in God. Actually, the probably believed in God’s plural. So, to express that God exists is not a tough sell. I don’t think it is today either. Science does not remove God’s necessity. So, let’s dive into the first two verses of the Bible and see where we start with God!
- God is Before All Things
There is a first principle, a first cause
There is a place that is a real beginning
- In terms of purpose
If there is a creator, then there is a reason and a purpose for creation. And that purpose related first of all to the creator, and then through the creator to the created.
Think of an artist: An expression of the artist. In a sense a self- portrait. An expression of their life and joy.
Think of a builder: An expression of purpose. An expression of cleverness.
Think of a gardener: Beauty, function, pleasure and vitality.
- In terms of definition
God sees that something is good. God defines what is good. What is good is only good in relation to the purpose and will of God!
8 “Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
- In terms of ownership
Romans 9: 14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
John 6: 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before!
The Cross Defines God!
- This is just stated
What are the other options?
Some things are between you and God. Faith is personal, and so is your responsibility for faith. In your life, why do you believe?
John 6: 41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’
- God is the Source of All Things
- Verse one is a summary
- When God acts problems are solved
Creation was formless
Creation was empty
Creation was dark
- What is true of creation is true in your life
God gives your life form. (Do I matter?)
“My special treasure.”
God gives your life fullness. (Who am I?)
“A Holy people”
God gives your life light. (What am I to do with myself?)
“A kingdom of priests.”
It is God that does this. It is God that defines this. And God does this for us!!
- This sets up the ultimate power struggle in man
Who is in control? The more you maintain control the less of the life of God you will experience.
And this sets up the struggle between people of faith and people who are not of faith. Whenever folks who are believing are faced with those who don’t believe, those who don’t believe will feel that they are forced to live in circumstances outside of their control. Why should people be forced to submit to something that is not there in their minds? This conflict is real. This conflict is not avoidable. This is a source of much suffering.
Whether or not believers live in a world that is based on believing principles, God is still God. This is why I believe we are called to patiently endure our suffering instead of fighting back. God remains God, and we remain attached to Him as a source of life regardless.