Read with Me

 Genesis 1:1-2 (HCSB)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
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.

 Listen with Me

This first book of the law as God revealed it to Moses, begins with a single sentence which is not only a summary of all that will follow, but is also a simple statement of what God did at the start of everything. Far from being a poetical description of creation, a so-called “Creation Hymn”, with all the imagery and figurative language that term implies, God had Moses write this first chapter of Genesis using the Hebrew verb forms and grammatical constructions used for simple historical narrative. This is a simple exposition of what happened and how.

The beginning referred to here really is the beginning of the whole material universe. For endless ages before this creative act, God existed. But nothing of the physical universe existed, not even an empty space to put it in. God did not wander around until he found an empty space, only to think of a way to fill it up. Far less did he stumble across a developed or developing universe that was as of then lifeless and simply choose to make life in a suitable habitat for it on Earth. As Moses simply put it, in the beginning there was nothing, and then God created, and there were the heavens, the space that would become the universe, and the earth, water-covered and empty, spinning in a vacant, inky blackness, unformed and unfilled.

God’s Spirit hovered over the surface of the water-covered globe, ready to begin empowering the work of fashioning the earth and the life it would contain. Much had to be done to prepare this small planet for the living things with which God would fill it. But everything would be done in perfect order, all intricately planned out down to the last atom before He spoke. And so, there didn’t have to be any delay. The work began on that very day.

Pray with Me

Father, how prone we are to complicate things by trying to incorporate our own opinions and ideas, sometimes labeled as “science”, into your very simple, first-hand narrative of how You did things, even at the beginning. Every one of our theories, even all of them gathered together, lack the authority and the validity of the one who did the work clearly and simply saying, “This is how I did it.” No amount of theorizing or even scientific testing of a canvas by Titian that arrives at the conclusion that it was painted by a student of his can outweigh a series of diary entries in Titian’s own hand that attest to his sole authorship of the canvas. That is especially true if those entries detailed step by step how the painting was created, steps that can be confirmed simply by looking at and testing that canvas itself. Forgive us, Lord, for being so slow to believe what You have so clearly revealed to us about You, about us, and about the universe which we inhabit. Forgive us for trying, in the face of Your clear word, to figure out some other way it could all have come about instead of just believing You. Amen.