Christianity Is A Myth Without These Four Words (Part 1)
Suppose we wanted to preach through the entire Bible. We decided that we wanted to preach through every chapter, every verse, in every book of the entire Bible. That would be a great idea and one that would benefit us in many ways.
Some might suggest we start with a book like John. Here we would learn about Jesus, not as a lion, ox, or an eagle, as in the synoptic Gospels; but as a perfect man. John’s Gospel teaches us how we can know that we have eternal life and gives us a picture of the man Jesus unlike any other book of the Bible. But we can’t start here. If we started here we would be wondering why Jesus, God in flesh, is on the earth. Why did this God-man come to earth and walk around in a body of flesh and bone. Why did He heal people, suffer, and die on a cross. If we start in John we end up with more questions than answers. We can’t start in John.
Some might suggest we start with a book like Romans. This is Paul’s greatest work and one of the greatest writings in all of history. This book details the doctrines of sin, grace, and salvation as no other book of the Bible does. We are presented, through the first 11 chapters with a picture of just how depraved man is, how incredible grace is, and how powerful redemption is; Romans contains some of our most sacred theological and doctrinal writings. But we can’t start here. If we start here we will be wondering how mankind became such a sinful, depraved creature. We would wonder why there is even a need for grace and redemption. We can’t start in Romans.
Perhaps we could start in Acts and learn all about the church; that magnificent living body that Christ Himself died to establish. We could see how this thing we now view as an integral part of our lives because we are the living, breathing body of Christ was first started. We could see how it went from a few people huddling in an attic to a movement no force has ever been able to stop. But we can’t start in Acts because we would wonder why the need for a church even exists. Why does God need to work through such an entity? We would be left trying to figure out the purpose of this body. We can’t start in Acts.
If we are going to preach through the entire Bible, verse by verse, book by book there is only one place to start in order to gain the proper understanding for the whole context of Scripture.
We have to start…“in the beginning.”
Genesis chapter 1, verse 1.
Here in this verse are four of the most incredible words ever recorded. These words are not merely a recording of historical events; they are the beginning of all that has ever existed. In fact, without these first four words nothing that does exist would exist. We might be inclined to rush over these words and get to other parts of this chapter but we must remain concentrated on these four words for a little while.
Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God…”
The level of glory and majesty contained in those four words is off the charts. Before anything ever existed, God was. And we must spend time thinking about these words if we hope to have a proper understanding of Scripture and the theme of redemption that runs through it.
A.W. Tozer once said “What comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
I believe that is true. And here, at the beginning is where we begin to formulate our view of Who God is.
The Historical Context:
In a historical context God is at the beginning of time. Before anything existed, before there was a sun, a Milky Way Galaxy, or a solar system there was God. God existed in His heavenly abode with the angels that He created. We don’t know much about this heavenly abode other than the fact that God dwells there with the created beings, the angels. We do know from Revelation that at least four creatures in God’s abode were created to do nothing more than praise God.
Revelation 4:6, 8: “…and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind…And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’”
As far as we know these created creatures have been repeating this phrase nonstop since before time began. Someone might be tempted to think God arrogant for creating such beings but that would be a mistake. God alone is the only Being that is deserving of and worthy of continual praise. These beings are simply occupying the highest office and serving the highest function any created being could hope to achieve.
So before anything existed God existed. Before time, before past, present, or future were conceived as ideas God existed; before yesterday and tomorrow were created God existed in His heavenly abode. He existed because God has no time. God does not live under the constraints of time that we are subject to, God is above time. That is why God alone can be Omnipresent. God is present in all of time simultaneously. That means 2014 and 2030 are both today, right now for God. God has no future because there is no future with God. God lives in the eternal present regardless of what day, time, or year it is. And before anything else existed, God existed. And for some reason, reasons we still don’t full know, God decided to create everything. But God didn’t just create things that already existed. He didn’t simply say “I’ll use the spare parts in my shop to create a sun.” God created things that had never been thought of before. God spoke into existence all things…from thin air.
Some will try to tell you that what really happened is that some cosmic dust collided with some other cosmic dust and BANG – the universe exploded into existence from that collision. I think to myself, where did that dust come from? Because according to science something cannot be created by nothing. If nothing existed then something had to create that dust in order for it to collide and explode. So where did the dust come from? If something can come from nothing why isn’t it still happening today? Why isn’t there a Mercedes in my living room right now? Because every person of scientific integrity knows that something cannot come from nothing. The universe did not explode into existence from cosmic dust; God Almighty spoke it into existence with the word of His mouth and the thought of His mind.
The fact that God created everything from nothing is called “creation ex nihilo.” It means that God literally spoke all things into existence from nothing. God said, “let there be light,” and not just created light but He created the very idea of light. God didn’t just create the earth, God created the idea of the earth. God didn’t just create man and woman He created the idea of men and women. Then, just to show off God created untold trillions of stars, named them all, and remembers each and every name. As if that wasn’t impressive enough God knows exactly how many hairs are on every head in the world. What a mighty God.
God goes on to do some amazing things in the rest of Genesis chapter 1, but we can’t go on to those things yet because we need to first finish talking about those four amazing words, “In the beginning God.”
Check back tomorrow for part 2.