Look into Genesis 1:1 the first four words in English, “In the Beginning, God….” Have we graduated in our understanding beyond these four words? I haven’t! This is a fundamental statement putting into words a fundamental truth about God that He is eternal because when everything else began, He was already here! And upon this revelation we build all our beliefs and hopes.
In light of this truth we explain life and develop a perspective that interprets our circumstances from blessings to disasters. Howe in his work, “Objectivity in Biblical Interpretation” would call our belief in God’s existence “fundamental” which refers us to [our] vision of reality. God’s existence is in Genesis 1:1 the “self-evident truth which [is] tacitly acknowledged in everything we comprehend and assert.” Our lives, how we live, hereafter reveals whether we embrace these words as truth …or no.
Let’s dig deeper. My son tells me that our interpretation of Scripture needs a context. What is the context here? It is either the eternity God dwells in or, if we need to hear from the text, “In the beginning…” In the beginning of what? In the beginning of the universe? The earth? These will be created directly, according to the text. Maybe, after the form of narration used in ancient Israel, we might categorize the creation of all things as a “beginning” of God’s creative genius at work. He would take a day off and then go back to creating [Psalm 51:10]. But let’s step back one step: Is this in the beginning of “time”?
Did God create “time”? Time measures change and, primarily now since the “fall,” decay, atrophy, entropy, and all forms of a universe that—we are told—is running down. If we are talking “time” maybe the text is looking ahead after Eden. If Adam and Eve had not sinned, would we even need watches or smart phones now? The problem with interpreting all this is the omniscience of God. Did He create a universe that came with a clock knowing what the first pair would do or did God tearfully give the universal winding stem a turn or two after they bit into the forbidden fruit? Or does it matter?
What matters is that we are now “in time” and our eternal God put us here for a season, which is obvious, since if our presence in this life were permanent, it wouldn’t be “in time.” Now, why would an “eternal” God do something like that!? Would you build a world—all that exhausting work and passion [on the 7th day He “rested”]—knowing it would all perish just after you built it? [No matter how many billion of years you think this globe has sustained the assault of meteors and all, compared to eternity, we are talking minutes of time.] Now, why would God do that?
Well, He wouldn’t!
An eternal God does eternal things.
Our stay here: learning obedience, learning humility, learning to talk to God, getting to know Him on a personal level, learning to follow in His footsteps in the sands of time out of this valley of sorrows [Ps 23], is only a first step on our journey into His eternity. It makes no “eternal” sense for God to want our fellowship for this life only.
Take a closer look at the parentheses that embrace this existence: in Genesis 1:16 He made the sun and in Revelation 22:5 He gets rid of it because He has made something called in the Greek text of Matthew 19:28 a paliggenesis [Titus 3:5], a new Genesis! the NIV interprets this, “the renewal of all things.” Revelation 21 speaks of a new heaven and a new earth. I am beginning to see it!
Are you excited yet!