By Vin Sparks
I’m astonished, though I suppose I shouldn’t be, at the words that God chose to open the Bible – in particular, the first four words. They seem simple enough, at a casual glance, but these four words, if we can get our heads around them, will prove to be very potent words. They are pregnant with significance, they are audacious in their message and they are constant in their relevance. They encompass everything, on every level, for all time.
“In the beginning God…”
At that particular point of existence, at the inception of all that is, before anything that was made was made, we find God. We can neither travel to a time nor go to a place; we can’t visit a dimension where God is not. He is not part of, but is outside of and preexists time, space and matter. God is before all things and above all things. He precedes and is apart from everything that has essence, and that is just…the beginning.
At the end of the Bible God said, “I’m Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 21:6) Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The New Testament was originally written in Greek. Had He said it in English, He would have said, “I’m the A and the Z.”
Nothing exists before the letter A or after the letter Z. The first and last letters of the alphabet constitute the boundaries of the entire realm of human thinking. The expression of every emotion, of every thought, of every idea that the human race has ever had exists between these two extremes. There is nothing outside of them. God says that He is where it all begins and that everything ends with Him – He is the beginning and the ending.
So, to begin with God is to begin with the Ultimate. He is the starting point, the original, the prime mover. God is existence. He is the source of life and the source of truth. The truth about the origin of the universe must begin with God. These four powerful words launching the Bible narrative repudiate, directly or by inference, any idea that is in conflict with what He is about to lay out in Scripture. With one stroke of the pen, with the very first four words of the Book of Genesis, God sets in order the reality about origins and contradicts that which opposes the truth about His and our existence:
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of atheism. The very idea that there is no God is set aside by God Himself with the first four words of Scripture.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of dualism. The idea that there are two creators in the universe, one good and one evil, is contravened by the fact that God existed alone, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of evolutionism. The idea that life evolved spontaniously and at random is discredited by the fact that God existed prior to the being of anything else, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of idealism. The idea that only minds and their thoughts exist; that everything else is only a concept in a mind somewhere is nullified by the fact that God existed, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of infinite regressionism. The idea that reality is just a series of cause and effect events that go back infinitely is voided by the fact that there was a beginning and God was there.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of materialism. The idea that matter has always existed is invalidated by the fact that God was here before the universe of material things, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of pantheism. The idea that the universe itself is God is contradicted by the fact that God existed before the universe existed, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of polytheism. The idea that there is more than one God is refuted by the fact that God, the self-sufficient and solitary one, was alone in His existence, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of relativism. The idea that there is no single correct view of reality is rebutted by the very fact of God’s existence, in the beginning.
“In the beginning God…” These words deny the claims of uniformitarianism. The idea that the universe is unchanged and is doing what it has always done throughout eternity is negated by the fact that there was a time when the universe was not, but God was, in the beginning.
Once we are able to get our minds around the first four words of the Bible, we will be better equipped to move on to the rest of God’s narrative which, of course, continues with the fifth word in the Bible: created. Translated from the Hebrew bara, it carries the implication that God created everything, from nothing.