Do you read your Bible with great attention to detail? Consider the very first verse in God’s Word, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” How many times have you warmly read those words, yet without deep reflection?
In the Beginning
Let’s take a really close look closely at this first verse in the Bible, Genesis 1:1. It speaks of “the beginning”. What was this beginning? The beginning of all time? No.
How can we establish that the expression “the beginning” does not refer to the beginning of time? By scrutinizing the words of Psalms 90:2. Notice it says God is “from everlasting to everlasting.” Not only will he always be, but he has always been. Being human, we may have difficulty comprehending this, but: God has always been. He had no beginning. Hence, there was no “beginning of all time.” This reasoning is supported by 1 Timothy 1:17 and by Jude 25.
The beginning spoken of at Genesis 1:1 refers to the start of the time when God chose to become a Creator.
There is an immediate advantage such an understanding brings us. It renders superfluous the question some have asked, “Who created God?” The answer is no one created God. He has always been in existence.
This generates a side question: Well what about John 1:1, “In the beginning the Word
was…”? The Word was Jesus, God’s spokesman to angels and to man. He was the “only
begotten.” In effect, he was “born.” He had a beginning. Compare Colossians 1:15. The creation of the Word was the very first creative act of God. He was the only creation made by God alone.
Jesus assisted God in making everything else. Remember Genesis said, “Let US make man in our image…” -Genesis 1:26.
The Heavens and the Earth
OK. So far we have “In the beginning…” The scripture continues “God created…”. These are two decisive words. “God” and “created”. We will discuss the in-depth significance of these two words in a bit. For now, we will talk about what he created, “the heavens and the earth.” Of these two, the earth is easiest to dismiss. God created the basic earth without all of its finishing touches (which came later during the individual creative days 1 through 6). But what does it mean when it says he created the heavens?
Is it speaking of God’s home? Not at all. There are two basic¹ uses of the word heaven or heavens. Solomon alludes to this in two Bible verses in which he discusses the temple building project he undertook.
Wise King Solomon Speaks
Solomon says, in 1 Kings 8:30: “And listen to your servant’s request for favor and to the request by your people Israel that they pray toward this place, and may you hear from your dwelling place in the heavens; yes, may you hear and forgive.” Notice this verse in God’s Word refers specifically to God’s home, his dwelling place, as “the heavens”. YET, he’d said, just 3 verses earlier in the same prayer: “But will God really dwell on the earth? Look! The heavens, yes, the heaven of the heavens, cannot contain you; how much less, then, this house that I have built!”
What? Here it says heaven cannot contain God. So how could this refer to his dwelling place? It can’t. In the first instance (verse 30) it was speaking of God’s dwelling place, the spiritual heavens. But in this instance, it is talking about the physical heavens or universe, with its stars, galaxies, etc., which God created and is mentioned in Genesis 1:1. Yes, God is larger than our physical universe, and lives outside that realm. What “image” does this description bring to your mind?
OK. So far we have “In the beginning…” It continues “God created…”. These are two decisive words. “God” and “created”. Why at Genesis 1:26 did it say “Let us MAKE man in our image…? It’s an entirely different Hebrew word. We’ll get to that in just a moment. When Jesus worked alongside his father, he was indeed a “master worker”. This activity is described figuratively in Proverbs 8:22-31. So what can we say? That God alone created the starting materials but it was together with Jesus they made everything in existence.
Let’s get back to those two words, “God created…”. As you read your Bible, you likely have a concept of God is like in your mind. Yet, some believe the word “God” is a name, but it is a description, a categorization, a title if you will. It apparently means “Mighty One.” It is closely associated with worship. The Bible says there are “many gods.” So who is this Creator God? In the King James Authorized Version, it gives his name in four places: Exodus 6:3, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4, and Psalm 83:18.
This last verse entry reads, “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth.” This is the name of Jesus’ father. Perhaps it is a new name to you? It is God’s personal name. But some say it should be pronounced Yahweh or some such because, among other things, there is no equivalent to the letter J in Hebrew. Curiously, though, the name Jesus is a Jewish name, yet those same ones don’t insist his name should be changed to Yeshua or Yehoshua. Pressing on, when Jehovah created our universe, he did not use preexisting material.
So read your Bible most attentively! There is much to be learned in so doing! If you lack a Bible and you wish to read God’s Word online, I suggest JW.org. You can gain access to the Bible and many helpful publications, absolutely free of charge.
¹ At times, the term heaven refers to a portion of the earth’s atmosphere. The word heaven can also be used figuratively with reference to authority.