IN THE BEGINING (Genesis 1:1-2:3)

IN THE BEGINING (Genesis 1:1-2:3)


Genesis 1: 1-2: 3
Key Verse 1:1

« In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. »

In Genesis, the first book of the Bible, there are many parts that predict the coming of Jesus. The paroxysm of this prediction will be the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham. In chapter 22, Abraham obeyed the voice of God and offered his son Isaac. There is much likeness between Isaac who obeys the voice of his father and Jesus. Some exegetes say that we can see the model of Jesus on Golgotha in Isaac on Mount Morya. Indeed, Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Jesus that of God. Isaac ascended the mountain of Morya and Jesus that of Golgotha. Isaac went up with the wood on which he would be put as a burnt offering, Jesus with the cross on which he would be crucified. Isaac did not resist in any gesture when he was about to be slain, and Jesus did not resist before death when he was led as a lamb to slaughter.

We find in people such as Melchizedek who, as a priest of Salem, received the offering of Abraham, as Rebekah who left her country despite suffering in a foreign land, as Joseph who was sold by his jealous brothers, and as Judah who says two times to his father Jacob and to Joseph, minister of Egypt, « It’s me who vouches for this boy », the model of Jesus. We also find in things such as the thistle of the earth which represents the curse of man and of which Jesus, being punished by hands of men, wears the thorny crown, the garment of skins by which God clothes Adam and Eve by spilling the blood of animals, the offering of Abel that caused him death by his jealous brother Cain, and of course the ark of Noah, the model of materials of Jesus.

Before studying the Passover institution in the Exodus, which will be one of the most salient events that foresees the death of Jesus as the passover lamb next week, I would like to study today the first chapter of Genesis which is also one of the most representative parts that proves the Lordship of Jesus. May God bless our study this evening. May God bless our study each Wednesday for Jesus, so that we may know our Lord more deeply and personally, and by faith in him we may win many victories in this world.

We say that Gn 1:1 is the premise of the Bible. The premise is defined by Meriam Webster dictionary, « a proposition antecedently supposed or proved as a basis of argument or inference” or Petit Robert “the fact from which follows a consequence or an affirmation drawing conclusion.” The author of the Bible writes inductively. Modern people who are accustomed to Locke’s empiricism would have thought they would believe if they went through all the possible arguments about God. But this is an unlikely thing. I had a friend who was looking for the functionality of popcorn in all his young days, which he treated as the subject of his Ph D thesis. Although we are looking all life long for a small subject, we will come to understand only a tiny part of this object, so how will we be able to go through all the domains before starting a belief? Man must begin by believing before experiencing. Luther had spent a long time endeavoring to understand the Trinity. After investing a lot of time for that, he still did not understand it. He confessed later that the day I decided to believe it, then everything was flattened and everything became clear. God opens the eyes of those who believe in Him, allows them to discover His wonderful world.

Jean 1:1 says similarly, « In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This Word written with a capital W is Jesus. If we see chapter 1 of Genesis, we find that God says ; he speaks. As the Word, it is certain that in the beginning Jesus had spoken. The deists say that once God created the world, he sits on his seat and does not move, being completely indifferent to the created world. But God is the one who speaks not only at the moment of his creation but constantly, even today. That’s because God is the personal God. This God sent his one and only Son Jesus to speak to men. According to my biblical statistics, Jesus speaks 139 times in Matthew, 140 times in Mark, 180 times in Luke and 139 times in John, so a total of 597 times. Among 4 gospels, in Mark, Jesus spoke most in comparison with the length of the book. Perhaps that is why the exegetes say that Mark is the gospel of power and action. The Word in the beginning is so powerful that as soon as it was spoken, from nowhere, something that did not exist appeared. We must put on the power of the word of God. [1] As for the power of speech, Is 55: 11 says, « So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” A verse from the New Testament also says, « For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword ; it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow ; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” These two words show us that once we put on the word of God, Jesus can work powerfully through our lives.

Verse 2 says, « Now the earth was formless and empty; darkness was on the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” This is the state of primitive matters that were chaotic. But this state written in Genesis so chaotically is not necessarily bad and abnormal. It only means inferior and being susceptible to progress. Thus, as soon as a touch is given to it, it can fully progress. It can be said that it is an innocuous matter that waits for the breath of the outside so that it moves upward. This chaotic state can be compared to the state of souls who suffer in the darkness of sin. There was a man named Nicodemus. He was an intellectual highly positioned in Israel. He was in fact the head of the nation, who resembled an Enarque deputy of France. But when he didn’t know the kingdom of God, his face was like that of a coal miner. His heart was shapeless and empty after getting all that was needed for his happiness. Jesus said that he had to be born again. When he said it, it was because he wanted to create in him a beautiful world of the kingdom of God. For the time being, the interview did not bear fruit because of the hardened heart of Nicodemus. But later when he looked at the cross of Jesus, the light shone in his heart. He was born again and saw the kingdom of God. Another man named Levi also suffered from the vanity of his life. He was a tax collector. To become it he rejected the pure dreams of young people and rallied himself to the Romans, his enemies. His people pointed their fingers at him. But the hardest thing was that his sense of sin was always chasing him like a nightmare. His heart was formless and empty. But as he passed the tax booth, Jesus knocked on the door and said, “Follow me!” “What! Do you speak to me?” “Is there anyone else in the room? You, follow me” Jesus called Levi. And this man, with great joy, began to follow Jesus. Then the sun rose in his heart. He who was an abject man in the eyes of the people later became St. Matthew.

In 2 : 2b, a new entity makes its appearance. « And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” First, the deep refers to deep water like an ocean. Above this water, the Spirit of God hovered. Deuteronomy 32 : 11 says, « Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them, and carries them on its feathers.” Etymologically, he is also like a rooster that hatches its eggs before the chicks are born. A young man really wanted to know the work of the Holy Spirit, and said, I really want to know who the Holy Spirit is. But the Holy Spirit always seemed to him a mystery. Jesus, on the approach of death, promised to send it to his twelve who remained in the world. When the disciples listened, it seemed to them that the Holy Spirit was like an uncle or a cousin very close to Jesus. But it is not so. The Holy Spirit is Jesus himself. He is his alter ego. John 16 explains the person of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter. He is also the advisor. The Muslim religion denies the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit exists and works as our companion. He leads man in all truth. By his advice, we can understand the truth. When he comes, he also encourages those who are desperate and strengthens the fearful. Before Jesus ascended, Jesus told the disciples, « The power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” In the beginning was the Holy Spirit. This Spirit was with Jesus. And this Spirit was Jesus.

Verses 6-25 are creations according to the order of days. On the first day, God created light. On the second day he created the sky by separating the waters from the waters. On the third day, there was the separation of water and earth, and the preparation of earth as housing for man. On the fourth day, he made the luminaries that reflect the light of first day, and fifth day, he made birds and fish of the sea and on the sixth day, terrestrial animals, livestock, reptiles, and finally God made man. If we observe these creations, we find that God created the world in perfect order and with full harmony.

Jesus, as the Word, created all these things and he also used them for the benefit of men. Jesus produced the law of gravitation, when he drew back the water to reveal the dry part which he called earth. But when he wanted to build the faith of the disciples, he annihilated this law and walked on the water. Seeing him walk, Peter wanted to walk too. Jesus allowed him. Peter walked a little while, but his faith weakened and he collapsed. It’s a very funny story. One day Jesus saw that the crowd was hungry, because they had followed him for three days to listen to his word. Jesus knew that they were very hungry. But the country was desert; there was no food. Jesus tested his disciples, saying, “You give them something to eat.” It was to test their sense of responsibility. This story is a very important part of the Bible because it appears in all 4 gospels. Philippe says, « Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” What a limited thought that does not see beyond human reason. But a hero of the faith, Andrew, appeared. He was filled with the Holy Spirit. He had just made a boy cry, and he had snatched his snack containing 5 rolls and 2 small fish. Scratching his head, he approached Jesus and suggested to him something that could possibly be useful. Jesus blessed his faith and multiplied them. All were satiated and there were 12 remaining baskets. Wow! This Jesus is certainly the one who created all the plants bearing seeds according to their kinds, including the wheat of which the French baker makes croissants and baguettes and made the sea teem with all the living creatures that swim, including the tuna of which housewives make delicious dishes.

Let’s read 1:26. « God says: Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Here God was called in the plural, saying: « Let’s ». It is in vain that some interpret that this name is the plural of majesty that kings of the old time practiced. Because nowhere in the Bible appears this expression. Here, certainly, God is accompanied by other ones. Here is manifested the trinity which is not written explicitly in the Bible, but which is an obvious truth. Christianity is based on this fundamental doctrine. God and Jesus are sometimes one and sometimes distinct. It’s a mystery, but it’s God’s wisdom to save sinful humanity. Here God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit cooperate to create the ultimate creation that is man, so as to make man as a unique and precious being. The creation of the first man Adam is the prefiguration of the coming of Jesus. « Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – » (Rm 5 : 12) Because of the sin of the first Adam, many come to die. But the second Adam Jesus forgave sins and justified men. Rm 5: 14 says, « Adam, who was the pattern of the one to come. »

The verse 26 says, « Then God said: Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over etc.” Thus the image of Jesus is enshrined in man, as something inseparable. Thus, this image was not completely removed despite the sin that caused the man to fall. Only it is dulled or hidden. For example, when Jesus spoke to a woman in Samaria, she was such a sinful woman that no one could find a hint of holiness. But in reality, this was not the case. When she saw the prophet in the person of Jesus, she asked a series of questions about spirituality. The impetus for holiness was in this sinful woman. In our study of Ephesians, one of its verses says, « and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Colossians 3: 10 says, « and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” It is true that the image of God is dulled because of our sins. But when Jesus comes, these wonderful images of the justice and holiness that the truth gives us arise in us and make us return to the image of the first Adam.

When Jesus came, his first goal was to bless man. He went to the wedding of Cana and fully blessed the wedding by changing the water into wine. When Jesus rose again, he blessed the doubting twelve and said, “May peace be with you.” Then he forgave Peter who denied him three times. So when God blesses these first men, these very words provide for the blessed work of Jesus. How does God bless man ? Verse 28 says, « God blessed them and said to them: Be fruitful, and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” God blessed the man not by granting abundant money or a happy family. But he blesses him by giving him the mission. Jesus, our Creator never forgot this fundamental blessing. He came and blessed the disciples by giving them the mission. He told Peter, « Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.” He sent them two by two to preach the good news and to heal the sick. Then before he ascended, he said as his testament, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” It is an eternal truth, because this notion of ‘blessing’ is created in the beginning by God. The Lord said to Abraham once “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and your will be a blessing.” “What!” This call was not too pleasant, for he had to leave his country and his family, the house, and he had to leave without really knowing where he went. But it was indeed a blessing. Abraham became the ancestor of faith of all monotheistic religions later on when he obeyed this call of God absolutely. If we are children of God, we need to have the correct notion of blessing.

An old servant who visited to our center a long time ago told me, “You know how much I clung to God on the bed in the hospital, » he continued, « All are stunned by the fact that the trace of cancer is gone because I have suffered for several years.” His faithfulness to his wife’s faith made him experience the healing of his illness. He was at that time widowed and lonely without being able to see his grandchildren abroad, but I believed he was happy because of God. In fact, my decision to give my life for the mission in France had caused him to be afflicted somehow in the past. At his age of 79 at that time what could be done? What could I do for him ? I wondered. But what seemed certain to me is that mission life is a blessing. I said to myself, “I would like to tell him, when God gives me a chance to converse with him, more about the importance of the mission life, so that he gives himself more to God and is happy. Unfortunately it was the last encounter. But I don’t doubt that he is in the heaven and he is smiling in God’s presence. Working itself is a blessing. B. Franklin says  » the workman who works is more handsome than the gentleman who remains seated.” It is true that it is beautiful to see a man and a young man working with sweat on his forehead, but it is ugly for those who sleep in the morning. But temporal works do not last forever. But the mission God gives has an eternal value. The life of Jesus is fruitful because of his absolute obedience to the mission. His life of a dying kernel of wheat multiplies people until the world is filled with his descendants in all generations.

Verses 29, 30 explain the promise of God to provide for the needs of man and animals. It is the spiritual conception of food and material problems. They say : « Then God said: I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food. And it was so.” When man obeys the command for the mission, God provides for the material needs of man. So Jesus said to his disciples profusely, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The free supply of food is guaranteed by our Creator Lord. So we have nothing to worry about.

Verse 1: 31a is the final statement of God on his creation. It reads, « God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. There was evening and there was morning – the sixth day.” Every day of creation, God says, « It is good.” But on the sixth day when man was created in his image, God says, “it is very good.” Every human being must therefore find in himself a marvelous creature of God. When one finds oneself before God, he can find his true individuality. Nowadays, there are many people who do not find their individuality. They always think about their family background, physical health or professional career. But everyone has his own character, his own talent, his own goal set by God. It is not good to be sensitive to what others would have thought of me, although the mass society urges us to do it. One American woman thought she was too tall and too skinny. But after studying the Bible, she found that even though she does not have Arabian beauty, she has American beauty. Since then, she has studied harder and harder, and finally found that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The rejoicing eyes of God on the created man are that of Jesus. At the time of Jesus, many made fun of Zacchaeus who was a tax collector and who was small. But Jesus cherished him and called him the son of Abraham. A woman had been sick for 18 years and because of her bent back, she was ugly. But Jesus saw her and called her saying, « Here is a daughter of Abraham.” Then he touched her and healed her. There is no one who can rejoice in the existence of this ugly woman. But Jesus rejoiced, saying « It is very good.” With all the more reason, will God not rejoice for each one of us?

The last part of our text talks about the Sabbath. It is like the closing of the series of creative acts, like the amen which closes the prayer. God blessed it and sanctified it. That is to say, he set it apart. On this holy day, we must stop the work of the world and go to God to be filled with strength, love and spiritual joy. We can be filled with them when we study his word and pray and serve God and the sheep of God. The modern world is losing more and more the meaning of the Sabbath. And he who observes it seems strange. However, we must practice it by coming to God and worshiping him with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength and taking the rest of our souls according to the purpose of this day. The Sabbath also foresees Jesus. For Jesus once said that he is the master of the Sabbath. It was aimed at religious leaders who were content to observe the Sabbath ritually. But the meaning of the Sabbath is that everyone learns the word and puts it into practice.

In conclusion, we have learned how Jesus is God himself. Jesus was there as the Word. He cooperated with God Almighty Father, so that from nothingness everything was created. He retains all power over nature, as the Creator. God created the first man Adam, the figure of Jesus. Then he gave him the mission as the blessing and the Sabbath as the last gift for him, so that he would have a loving relationship with him and rest in him.

[1] There are two ways of interpreting Bible texts (hermeneutics): one is the exemplary one, the other that from the point of view of redemptive history. For example, in Matthew, when the devil tempted Jesus, Jesus overcame him by the conduct of the Holy Spirit, prayer, the quotation of the word expressed by « it is written ». This is the exemplary interpretation. The interpretation of the point of view of redemptive history is that as Jesus has overcome the temptation of the devil, the saints who are his members can also defeat the devil.