In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I. THE DEVOUT RECOGNITION OF GOD SHOULD PRECEDE ALL PHILOSOPHY. The God whom we worship is not a metaphysical idea; a form of thought; a philosophical abstraction; but a living, personal, eternal Being, apart from and prior to all human thought. He is not a creation of the intellect, but the intellect's Creator. We must begin with Him. Is not this one of the child's first thoughts, and one which life's long experience but deepens and confirms — that it was God who created all things? Does not the bare statement carry with it its own conviction? What need is there of proof? Who argues that there is a solid earth on which he stands; a sun shining in midday sky? Who constructs arguments to prove his own existence? And does not God stand at the beginning of all thought and all argument? And is not the denial of Him a sheer and wilful absurdity which no attempt at proof can make even plausible?
II. THE DEVOUT RECOGNITION OF GOD SHOULD PRECEDE ALL SCIENCE. The fact of His existence lies at the foundation of all physical science, and must be admitted as its first and most essential fact. For what is science in general, or a science in particular, but the knowledge of facts — their qualities, relations, and causes — arranged and classified? But if science begins by refusing to admit, or by failing to perceive, the First Fact, and the Great Cause of all things? Does nothing exist but what the knife of the anatomist, or the tests of the chemist can detect? Matter and force do exist, or matter under some plastic power passing through innumerable changes. But what is it? And is this all? Are there no marks of intelligence? — purpose? — will? Is there no distinction of beauty? — of right and wrong? And what are these but marks of the ever-present God? Atheism explains nothing, and Pantheism nothing. No! Science cannot discover God. It is in the light of God's presence that science is best revealed. Science and philosophy alike presuppose HIM.
III. THE DEVOUT RECOGNITION OF GOD PRECEDES ALL MORALITY AND RELIGION. It lies at the basis of any sound ethical theory, and any true religious system of doctrine and practice. Religion, whether natural or revealed, is based on this fact. It is no more the part of religion than it is of philosophy and science to discover or to demonstrate the existence of God, but to worship Him.
(F. J. Falding, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.