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Summary: Through Genesis 1:1-5, we see the answers to: 1) Who Created What? (Genesis 1:1), 2) Where did God Create? (Genesis 1:2), 3) How did God Create? (Genesis 1:3), 4) Why did God Create? (Genesis 1:4), 5) When did God Create? (Genesis 1:5)

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The beginning of a meal, date, year, job or a life in general can be daunting, yet exciting time. For the beginning of Scripture, Luther said of this book, “There is nothing more beautiful than the Book of Genesis, nothing more useful,” and he regarded the opening verses as “certainly the foundation of the whole of Scripture.” Needless to say, not everyone has approached the opening words of the Bible with such warm delight! Rather, the early verses of Genesis have become a veritable battleground where those who defend the faith have waged war with those who approach them with calculated skepticism or outright antagonism. Brief excerpts from Humanist Manifesto I and II will suffice to illustrate the point: “Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created … we begin with humans not God … we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species … no deity will save us; we must save ourselves.” (Briscoe, D. S., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1987). Vol. 1: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Volume 1 : Genesis. The Preacher’s Commentary series (23). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.)

• "It’s hard to imagine anything more absurd than the Naturalist’s formula for the origin of the universe: nobody times nothing equals everything. There is no Creator; there is no design or purpose. Everything we see simply emerged and evolved by pure chance from a total void" (John MacArthur: The Battle for the Beginning. Thomas Nelson Publications. 2001. p. 31)

The Bible’s first words announce how ... God can be known. He reveals himself in terms of the “when’s” and “where’s” of human life and history. Conceptually, this is how people orient themselves to their world. We locate ourselves in time in terms of our beginnings and endings. Our personal stories are also contoured by space. Thus as we see and identify ourselves by our finitude, so the Infinite One condescends by announcing his presence in the same terms—time and space. God is not merely an idea. He is Eternal Being whom we can know and experience personally. At the commencement of Scripture, (and the beginning of our year) he invites us to learn of him (and how he answers all of life’s questions) (Mathews, K. A. (2001). Vol. 1A: Genesis 1-11:26 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (126). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

Through Genesis 1:1-5, we see the answers to: 1) Who Created What? (Genesis 1:1), 2) Where did God Create? (Genesis 1:2), 3) How did God Create? (Genesis 1:3), 4) Why did God Create? (Genesis 1:4), and 5) When did God Create? (Genesis 1:5)

1) Who Created What? (Genesis 1:1)

Genesis 1:1 [1:1]In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (ESV)

It was the custom in ancient times to name a book by its opening word, which is what the Hebrews did in titling this initial Bible book Bereshith, which means “in the beginning.” When the Old Testament was translated into Greek about 250 b.c. the Greek equivalent of the title was rendered Genesis, which both the Latin and English translations have adopted letter for letter. It is an exquisitely perfect title because this book gives us the genesis (the beginning) of the doctrine of God, which rose to tower high over the pagan notions of the day. It is the genesis of the doctrine of creation, which likewise rose far above the crude mythologies of the surrounding nations. Genesis gives us the doctrine of (humanity), demonstrating that from the beginning we are both wonderful and awful. The doctrine of salvation too has its genesis in Eden and its grand development throughout the whole book (Hughes, R. K. (2004). Genesis : Beginning and blessing. Preaching the Word (15). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.).

Genesis shows that God exists eternally and is self-existent. (Ps. 90:2). God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were never created, and at the beginning of creation we see that God was already there. What we see here is the beginning of the universe in time and space. In explaining Israel’s identity and purpose to her on the plains of Moab, God wanted His people to know about the origin of the world in which they found themselves. The variations on this theme in Isaiah 40ff. show that the beginning is pregnant with the end, and the whole process present to God who is First and Last (e.g. Isa. 46:10; 48:12) (Kidner, D. (1967). Vol. 1: Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (47). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.)

The Hebrew Bible has three names for “deity” or “god/God”: El, Eloah, and Elohim..... Of these, Elohim (used here) occurs by far the most often in the Bible (2,750x) (Mathews, K. A. (2001). Vol. 1A: Genesis 1-11:26 (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (127). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

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Arthur Stagg

commented on Jul 18, 2017

Very well researched. Wealth of info balanced with great application. Thanks

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