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THEOLOGY > God > Work of Creation > Two Options 


"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Two options, and only two, await the individual confronted with the ten words (seven in the Hebrew) of Gen. 1:1—they are either fact or fiction, either truthfulness or an imaginary tale. Belief or doubt will be the response by the reader, and there is no middle ground. Either this is God’s Revelation, or it is the best explanation that Hebrew reasoning could concoct. This is God speaking, or it is man guessing; it is either God affirming His deed, or it is man hypothesizing about his past. The account is historical or should be labeled myth, legend, or simply fanciful imagination.

If this statement is not accurate, we have no knowledge of Creation and do not even know if there was a Creation; if the statement is accurate, then we possess true knowledge of Creation and the precise manner of matter’s appearance. The human response to Genesis 1:1 leads one either to chance or to God.

All other concepts in the pursuit of Truth are predicated upon one’s reaction to this engaging and unyielding affirmation. To accept it means that the universe is interpreted in terms of God (see: Foundations); to reject it means that the universe is interpreted in terms of chance, which ultimately enthrones man.

In all of literature, there is no other pronouncement so pregnant with implications. Many of the philosophies and theories of men are found to be wanting when evaluated in light of these words from Genesis. In this succinct statement God is declared, matter is affirmed, the source of matter is revealed, and the distinction between God and matter is taught. Additionally:

* Atheism is rejected (God);

* Polytheism is rejected (one God);

* Pantheism is rejected (God is distinct from the world);

* Concepts of emanation must be abandoned (the universe is not an extension of God or some cosmic Mind);

* Dualism is rejected (God was alone before He created the world; He alone has eternally existed);

* Agnosticism is rejected (we know because we have the Revelation: God has spoken);

* Humanism is rejected (man is not alone nor absolute);

* Evolution is rejected (Creation was a completed act with no progression over indeterminable ages);

* Naturalism is rejected (supernatural events—such as Creation and the Flood—do take place);

* Materialism is rejected (matter is neither supreme nor eternal).

Note: These beliefs of men are found to be erroneous and misleading when critiqued by these ten words: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

Of all the accounts of origins that are found in the literature of the world this simple yet comprehensive statement is the most satisfying and enlightening. Questions are answered, doubt is removed, and assurance is established.

The statement itself argues for its own truthfulness, for what man could author such a profound concept?  What human mind could create such a statement that contains within it, either explicitly or implicitly, answers to some of the most searching and penetrating philosophical questions that vex individual reflection? Only God could be responsible for this solemn and sublime statement! Man is not capable of such an utterance.

The remainder of Scripture never questions the historical nature of this account. In all later passages the early chapters of Genesis are referred to as accepted fact and treated as actual history. None of the details are ever brought into question; the historicity of the events is simply assumed. Later teachings incorporate these early records of origins to support or to illustrate a particular teaching the author is giving, utilizing them as though they are authentic facts. Consider the following passages: Ex. 20:8-11; 31:12-17; Ps. 8:3-9; 104:5-9, 24; Matt. 19:4-6; Heb. 4:1-5; II Pet. 3:5. Creation is not a human thought but a revealed Truth, a Truth that initiated cosmic history.

Thus, a fundamental assumption in Scripture is that the Truth it discloses is anchored in fact; its Truth is never divorced from history, but arises within history. But from Origen’s allegorizing to Bultmann’s demythologizing, attempts have been made to escape the historical nature of the text. Following the advent of critical thinking, it has become acceptable, some would say even necessary, to distinguish between the antiquated worldview of the Bible and the modern view—a view considered to be non-debatable—that has resulted from the claims of contemporary science. It is maintained that behind the history of the Bible, a history that reflects a view of the world that is intolerable today because it is non-scientific, lays the normative message. Therefore, the message is in spite of the history not because of the history. Instead of accepting exactly what the Scripture asserts, Scripture is interpreted in such a manner so that it can be made to reflect the interpreter’s thought rather than the text determining the interpreter’s thinking.

The question is:
Does Scripture inform man or does man inform Scripture?
(see: The Starting Point and Foundations)

But this modern position separates the history from the message, when, from the Biblical perspective, the history is the message (In the act of Adam there is sin; in the act of Christ there is salvation). God’s mighty work of deliverance in history—Incarnation and Atonement—is in response to the historical act of man—the Fall in Eden—whereby he chose sin and slavery. The history and the message cannot be divided. The Gospel is the good news of something that has happened in history: God’s deed in history redeems man from his own historical act of rebellion.

It is true that if an individual accepts, without reservation, the teaching and implications of this verse, then that person will probably have little difficulty in accepting the rest of the Revelation of God. If it is accepted that God is and that God has created, then additional disclosures about the God who is and His relationship to His Creation will be carefully considered and embraced with deep conviction. For instance, a reception of God as Creator is irresistibly related to the concept of Providence—over Creation, there is Sovereignty; for Creation exists for a Purpose (see: God is Sovereign).

When confronted with God's Work of Creation,
there are only two options:
acceptance or rejection.

Return to Work of Creation; Next Article: Before Creation

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