Where It All Began

Bible Book: Genesis  1 : 1
Subject: Genesis
[Editor's Note: This is 1 of 8 messages by Dr. Willmore on Genesis.]

The book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. It was W. Graham Scroggie who said, "The first verse of the Bible has no parallel for sublimity and comprehensiveness. In scope it is declarative, not demonstrative; affirmative, not argumentative; and historical, not philosophical. There is no attempt to prove the Being of God. He is the unprovable fact upon which all else is built, and only 'the fool' will say, 'there is no God."1 The title Genesis, which is Greek, means "Origin". In the Hebrew language it means "Beginning". The book of Genesis simply declares that, "In the beginning God created...." (Genesis 1:1).

Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs quoted the late eminent physicist, Arthur Compton's comments about Genesis 1:1, "These are the most tremendous words ever penned." They are a fitting beginning for this book of beginnings. So majestic in tone and all-encompassing in magnitude are they that it seems almost sacrilegious to touch them or probe their meaning. Yet they are so vital to our faith and to our understanding of God, ourselves, and our world that they call for deep and reverent consideration. If you can believe the first four words in the Bible, all else becomes both clear and credible.

The first presupposition of the Bible is its claim that God is. The Bible does not defend or debate the existence of God. It starts with the wonderful affirmation, "In the beginning God..."It is generally accepted that Moses under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote the book of Genesis. The book of Genesis divides naturally into two parts. The first part, chapters 1-11, deal with the brief but comprehensive history of the world from creation to the confusion of tongues at Babel. This section is also called the primeval history because it deals with the beginnings of the human race.

The second section of Genesis, chapters 12-50, narrates the history of Abraham and his family to the death of his great grandson, Joseph. This section is also known as the beginnings of the Hebrew race or the patriarchal history.

The aim of this expository series of messages will be to deal with the first eleven chapters. The goal is to provide practical and pastoral messages. An understanding of these eleven chapters is important because the truth in these eleven chapters is foundational to our Christian doctrine.Dr. W. Graham Scroggie reveals the importance of the book of Genesis with the following comments on Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." He said, "That one verse in Genesis (1:1) denies at least six false doctrines:

I. It Denies The Eternity Of Matter

We read 'In the beginning.' There was then a commencement; the 'heavens and the earth' had a 'beginning'; they are not eternal. The antiquity of the universe is beyond human computation; but there was a time when it did not exist.

II. It Denies Atheism

The atheist says there is not God, but the Bible begins by declaring His being. Geology and astronomy may claim a hundred million years for the existence of the universe, but whenever it began God was there; He did not begin, He eternally is. Atheism creates a crop of problems, and solves none.

III. It Denies Polytheism

If creation were the work of many gods, the unity of the universe would have to be accounted for, and it can be accounted for only on the hypothesis that God, the One Eternal Mind, created all. 'God created'.

Both these words, standing as they do at the beginning of all history and revelation are the profoundest importance. 'God', Elohim. This designation, which is plural, occurs 35 times in chapters 1:1 to 2:3, and in the Old Testament over 277 times. It certainly does not mean gods and must         be something more than a plural of majesty. In light of the entire revelation in the Bible we must regard this designation of God to be a foregleam of the Divine Trinity. (See Genesis 1:26).'Created' in Genesis 1 and 2, three words are used which must be distinguished. 'Bara' which occurs in 1:1, 21, 27 and 2:3; in used exclusively of God, and signifies a distinctively created act. 'Made', asah, and 'formed', yatzar, which occurs in 1:7, 16, 25, 31 and 2:2, 3, 7, 8, 19; signify to construct out of pre- existing materials. This distinction is of the utmost importance for an understanding of the first two chapters in the Bible. The idea of evolution can be in make or form, but not in create; so that the bringing into evidence of the universe, of animal life, and of human life, was by successive creative acts of God (2:1, 21, 27). By the word of His power a cosmos was created of orders materials, sentient, and moral.

IV. It Denies Pantheism

This teaches that God and nature are the same, and so fails to distinguish between mind and matter, right and wrong, good and bad, and utterly confuses things which lie apart. But this pernicious error finds its answer here: 'God created the heavens and the earth, and as He could not create Himself, He, and 'the heavens and the earth' cannot be the same.

V. It Denies Agnosticism

This affirms that it cannot be known whether there is a God or not. But the universe is an effect, and must have had a sufficient cause; this building must have an Architect; this design must have a Designer; this kingdom must have a King; and this family must have a Father. Legitimate inference challenges and discredits agnosticism.

VI. It Denies Fatalism

Reason is against fate and chance. This wonderful universe could not just 'happen'. God has acted in the freedom of His eternal being, and according to His infinite mind, and what He willed was and is, and can be nothing else, unless He should will it." The preceding insights will enable us to better understand the message of Genesis 1-11.