In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Genesis 1:1. Beginning is a word familiarly on our lips; but, for the most part, we mean only rearrangement, or the commencement of one link in the chain of events. But who can conceive the beginning of creation? Who can travel back in thought to the first moment of its existence, and look into the eternity beyond? The Bible carries us back to that beginning, the first moment when the universe existed. How far back was the starting-point of time we know not, nor in what form the universe came into being, whether completed, or in germs to be developed in the course of ages. Only we are taught that before that "beginning" the universe was not, and that "the worlds were framed by the word of God" (Hebrews 11:3) - their substance, and the laws by which they are governed. With this the conclusions of science agree. They point out that the forces of nature tend to extinction, and hence must have had a beginning. To the question what was that beginning, the Bible gives the answer.
1. What was before the "beginning? God was; he created all (Psalm 90:2); and if it surpass our power to conceive an eternal self-existent Being, still less can we realize life, power, law coming into existence without a cause. And' in the beginning was the Word;" and the Holy Ghost, through whom Christ offered himself (Hebrews 9:14). But further, before the beginning the Lamb was slain, (Revelation 13:8) - i.e. the necessity for redemption was foreseen and the plan provided - and we were chosen (Ephesians 1:4), and a kingdom prepared for us (Matthew 25:34). Thus, redemption was no afterthought, no repairing of failure; but God's purpose from eternity, and therefore that which is best.
2. What was the "beginning"? The creation of a field on which God's plans were to be carried out and his perfections manifested. And in the course of his work the creation of beings to whom and in whom he might make himself known, who might glorify him here and enjoy him forever.
3. We mark then - At the beginning God brought forth what had been ordained in eternity - his plan complete to the end - our salvation - redemption as well as creation. "Very good" (Genesis 1:31) went far beyond the things then existing on the earth. And if it be urged, How is "very good" consistent with sin? An enemy has sown tares and marred the Creator's work - the world is a ruin. Oh, faithless! why fearful? If God could give life to dry bones (Ezekiel 37:6), if he could of stones raise up children to Abraham, can he not out of seeming ruin raise up a more glorious temple? But thou sayest, How can this be? Canst thou solve one of the least mysteries of creation? And is it strange thou canst not solve that mystery into which angels desire to look? Enough to know "where sin abounded," &c. (Romans 5:20); to remember, "we see not yet," &c. (Hebrews 2:8); and humbly to wait our Father's time and way.
4. For personal encouragement. Our state fore seen and provided for from the beginning. Thus our right to trust God's promises depends not on anything in us, but is part of his original plan. Our Lord's call to sinners is in closest agreement., with what was ordained "in the beginning." "Whosoever will (Revelation 22:17) but echoes the word which called the universe into being. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.