In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Man naturally asks for some account of the world in which he lives. Was the world always in existence? If not, how did it begin to be? Did the sun make itself? These are not presumptuous questions. We have a right to ask them — the right which arises from our intelligence. The steam engine did not make itself; did the sun? In the text we find an answer to all our questions.
I. THE ANSWER IS SIMPLE. There is no attempt at learned analysis or elaborate exposition. A child may understand the answer. It is direct, positive, complete. Could it have been more simple? Try any other form of words, and see if a purer simplicity be possible. Observe the value of simplicity when regarded as bearing upon the grandest events. The question is not who made a house, but who made a world, and not who made one world, but who made all worlds; and to this question the answer is, God made them. There is great risk in returning a simple answer to a profound inquiry, because when simplicity is not the last result of knowledge, it is mere imbecility.
II. THE ANSWER IS SUBLIME. God! God created!
1. Sublime because far reaching in point of time: in the beginning. Science would have attempted a fact, religion has given a truth. If any inquirer can fix a date, he is not forbidden to do so. Dates are for children.
2. Sublime because connecting the material with the spiritual. There is, then, something more than dust in the universe. Every atom bears a superscription. The wind is the breath of God. The thunder is a note from the music of his speech.
3. Sublime, because revealing, as nothing else could have done, the power and wisdom of the Most High.
III. THE ANSWER IS SUFFICIENT. It might have been both simple and sublime, and yet not have reached the point of adequacy. Draw a straight line, and you may describe it as simple, yet who would think of calling it sublime? We must have simplicity which reaches the point of sublimity, and sublimity which sufficiently covers every demand of the case. The sufficiency of the answer is manifest: Time is a drop of eternity; nature is the handiwork of God; matter is the creation of mind; God is over all, blessed for evermore. This is enough. In proportion as we exclude God from the operation, we increase difficulty. Atheism never simplifies. Negation works in darkness. The answer of the text to the problem of creation is simple, sublime, and sufficient, in relation —
1. To the inductions of geology.
2. To the theory of evolution.Practical inferences:
1. If God created all things, then all things are under His government.
2. Then the earth may be studied religiously.
3. Then it is reasonable that He should take an interest in nature.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.