In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~ Genesis 1:1
I'm reading Genesis as part of my Scripture II class at JP Catholic, and earlier I hopped right into Chapter 1. I was all lined up with the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and my notes and the syllabus and the other textbook, Bible Basics for Catholics: A New Picture of Salvation History by John Bergsma. I read the introduction and breezed through the first chapter and then study the notes for each verse. I nodded along as I read different theories on authorship and date and what the Creation account means and how it relates to the entire rest of human history. I thought about friends who believe in the literal seven day creation and friends who think it took longer. It was all very analytical. And it totally missed one very key point about the beginning of the universe - God created it from nothing.
Oh sure the text mentions that and I usually register that as an academic fact. But let's think about that for just one moment. Nothing existed prior to the universe. This wasn't like taking existing sand and building a sand castle or chopping down some trees to build a log cabin. Those activities certainly involve skill, but they do not involve the creation of matter from nothingness. Even if you believe that the whole show was created by a Big Bang between two particles, my mother would ask you where those particles came from. They came from nothing. God created it all from absolutely nothing. You can't even say He created it out of thin air, because air didn't even exist.
The God we follow, the God who loves us, the God who sent His Son for us, the God who created the universe, is more powerful than we can even imagine. When we say "all-powerful," we can't even envision what that power looks like. We have no concept of what it would be like to create something from nothing. I've heard people say Genesis is over-simplistic - is there some more complicated version that would make sense of this miraculous wonder? Are there enough words available or pieces of paper ever produced that could explain or contain this truth? We are so unintelligent we can't even begin to understand what is involved in even the very first line of Scripture.
That's just awesome. There's really no other word to describe it. One doesn't exist. We can take all sorts of lessons and thoughts from this one idea, but really, let's just bask in the awesomeness of it. God created it all from nothing. That's how big He is. That's how powerful He is. Everything else must pale in comparison.
Bless the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, thou art very great;
Thou art clothed with honour and majesty.
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment:
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters:
Who maketh the clouds his chariot:
Who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Who maketh his angels spirits;
His ministers a flaming fire:
Who laid the foundations of the earth,
That it should not be removed for ever.
Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment:
The waters stood above the mountains.
At thy rebuke they fled;
At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys
Unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over;
That they turn not again to cover the earth
He sendeth the springs into the valleys,
Which run among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field:
The wild asses quench their thirst.
By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation,
Which sing among the branches.
He watereth the hills from his chambers:
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,
And herb for the service of man:
That he may bring forth food out of the earth;
And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,
And oil to make his face to shine,
And bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.
The trees of the LORD are full of sap;
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
Where the birds make their nests:
As for the stork, the fir trees are her house.
The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats;
And the rocks for the conies.
He appointed the moon for seasons:
The sun knoweth his going down.
Thou makest darkness, and it is night:
Wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their meat from God.
The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together,
And lay them down in their dens.
Man goeth forth unto his work
And to his labour until the evening.
O LORD, how manifold are thy works!
In wisdom hast thou made them all:
The earth is full of thy riches.
So is this great and wide sea,
Wherein are things creeping innumerable,
Both small and great beasts.
There go the ships:
There is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
These wait all upon thee;
That thou mayest give them their meat in due season.
That thou givest them they gather:
Thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled:
Thou takest away their breath, they die,
And return to their dust.
Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created:
And thou renewest the face of the earth.
The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever:
The LORD shall rejoice in his works.
He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth:
He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
My meditation of him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the LORD.
Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth,
And let the wicked be no more.
Bless thou the LORD, O my soul.
Praise ye the LORD.