From the Beginning

Almost every Christian is familiar with the first few verses of Genesis 1, the opening lines of our Bibles:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
          – Genesis 1:1-5, ESV

What usually isn’t pointed out, though, is that the occurrences of God in the first chapter of Genesis are Elohim in the Hebrew. Elohim is the plural of El, which means “strong one” or “majesty” (as in, “Your Majesty,”). Yes, indeed, God is referred to in the plural form. The first time I learned this, it blew me away. The concept of the Trinity is we serve and love a singular God who appears to us in three persons. We’ve tried to explain this using real world examples such as the triple point of water or the example I typically use: how a man can be a father, son, and husband – three aspects of the same person. However, the catch is that we’re not talking about three separate persons that can appear independently, like we saw at Christ’s baptism. How this works is admittedly a mystery, one that is beyond our comprehension, like so much of God is. With that said, God was giving us a huge hint that this is the way things are by referring to Himself in the plural from the very beginning. Stop and digest that for a moment.

God intended us to know Him. Why He spared time for us is yet another mystery. After all, we’ve made a royal mess of things from Adam on (and He knew we would). Yet the Creator of the Universe decided that He would not only give us His attention, but His Son to straighten out our messes, to reconcile us back with Him. This wasn’t by accident. This wasn’t a mistake. And it certainly wasn’t an afterthought. Even Genesis 1:1 gives us an indication of just how much God pursues us. From the start He has revealed something about Himself we could never know on our own. God has chosen to rebuild the bridge we burnt down with our sins. This is just one measure of His great love for us.

Not only that, but God chose to populate His creation with goodness, things which would help us and build us up and support us. Light is just the first example. Imagine what our lives would be like without light. The truth of the matter is that we wouldn’t have lives. We are so dependent on light. Light along with carbon dioxide, water, and chlorophyll is turned into glucose, a sugar, by plants and algae. These organisms are then consumed by those further up the food web. The smaller predators are consumed by larger predators, which are consumed by even larger predators, including us. And in some cases, we go for the plants directly, since we’re omnivores. That’s what fruits and vegetables are all about. We have to have the light to live. I won’t even go into how light produces vitamin D in us or serotonin, which helps keep us balanced mentally. God knew all that. That’s probably why He created it first. Everything according to plan. Everything in its proper place. Everything in its proper timing. And in case you weren’t aware, that process of converting light, water, and carbon dioxide to sugar has a byproduct: oxygen. Yes, the very gas we need to live. God built that in, too. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

From the beginning God has had us in mind. Why we have been showered with His attention and love is not something I cannot answer, but it is something I can revel in and be humbled by. I can be amazed by His great attention to detail and how everything just fits. I can be grateful for the Savior who created the world and then went to the Cross to pay for the sins I could not. My Lord God, how great is Your love for us!

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