A biblical novelist looks at Genesis - conclusion
What’s in a word? Genesis 1 shows us how God spoke the world into existence with phrases that began, “Let there be…” What does God’s voice sound like? I’ve often thought that thunder was just God speaking. His voice does thunder. But it also whispers. What if God’s whisper caused an explosion of creativity that resulted in a world more perfect than we see today?
Let there be…
And all at once…or perhaps slowly, like the array of beauty you see in a gradually brilliant sunset…light appeared.
The Bible says that God himself is light. So did light already exist in His presence and He just decided to let that light appear in the expanse of darkness that hovered in nothingness? Or were these lights the stars that we now see in the heavens?
Scientists and theologians can debate the order of words in Genesis, and some will say it happened literally, exactly as it states, and others will say there couldn’t be light before their were stars (our sun is a star). While I find these discussions fascinating, I wasn’t there.
But I believe God was.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
The word of God.
People refer to the Bible as the word of God. The Scriptures themselves speak of the good news of Jesus as the word of God. Throughout the Bible God is shown to take any means necessary to speak to human beings—through angels, prophets, in dreams and visions, and even directly to leaders, kings, even a young child (Samuel).
When God speaks, things change. People change. God’s words create. They are life. (Philippians 2:16) They are food. (John 6) They are light and truth and pure and holy and powerful. By them we grow in faith and in knowledge of God.
“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Psalm 33:6 (If so much came about through God’s words, imagine what He brought forth through a mere breath!)
To hear God speak worlds into existence had to be one amazing experience. Those that witnessed it (as well as enacted it), the Father, Son, and Spirit, explained how it happened in rather detailed accounts throughout Scripture. Apparently the “morning stars” and the “sons of God” were also witnesses of at least some of creation, but I’m not sure anyone is truly clear on who they were. Angels perhaps?
These written biblical words tell us that we aren’t here by accident. We might have been formed out of chaos, but there was order to our creation and purpose to our being. Which brings me back to the reason for this series of blog posts.
I cannot prove to anyone without doubt that science doesn’t sometimes disagree with the biblical account. I cannot prove that Genesis happened exactly as the Book says it did. I wasn’t there. I’m not the Creator.
But as a student of Scripture and a student of the craft of story, I can say that the Bible makes the most sense when we see it as a whole. When we understand that it carries the stories from a history of people who really did once live. And those stories were written to teach us about life, about sin and forgiveness and a Creator who went to great lengths to prove his love for beings, who by their choices marred that creation. A Creator who became one of us so that He could be exactly as Job, that ancient patriarch knew He had promised to be—his Redeemer.
This best-selling book is put together with words in 66 separate books written centuries apart by many different authors. And yet foreshadowing in Isaiah is fulfilled in Matthew. The life story of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar makes clearer sense in Romans. And the promise in Genesis 3 to the woman over the serpent finds its culmination in both the Garden of Gethsemane and the final chapters of Revelation.
The literary structure alone should put the English student in awe of its craft.
And yet as the book so eloquently states in that Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith, no one will ever truly understand the words apart from faith.
As I mentioned the other day, it takes faith to believe most things in life. It takes faith to believe the simplest things—like taking for granted the chair will hold me when I sit down, feeling certain that the person I'm speaking to is telling me the truth, trusting that life is going to go on today as it has yesterday.
The Bible defines faith:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:1 & 6
God spoke the world into existence, and He still speaks to us through that creation. He speaks in pictures and He speaks in words. His words made those pictures and have told those stories. May God grant us eyes to see Him in what He has made…and perchance to hear His gentle words in our hearts.