Do you remember the DREADED reading assignment in school? It ALWAYS seemed the teacher would find the most BORING book for the class to read. Then the teacher made it DOUBLY painful by assigning YOU to review the book! What will you write? You cannot just say, “It is as dry as toast!”; You must wax elegant upon the virtues of the desolate plot and revive the dry bones of stillborn characters. Alas! It is the night before your oral book review and you are still struggling through page XXXI of the preface. It is time for drastic action. You quickly turn to the LAST chapter. Thankfully it is only fifteen pages long. A quick read and you are ready to write your review. The next day in class you present your COMPELLING review of the book. You are shocked, however, when you receive the teacher’s evaluation of your performance which is determined to be LESS than satisfactory. It turns out the teacher READ that boring book and your review is completely wrong! Why? Because you did not start at the BEGINNING.
The Bible is a book that is often misunderstood because we fail to start at the BEGINNING. God’s Word has a beginning and so it is at the BEGINNING we must start any study of the Bible.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
The first four words in the Bible are, “In the beginning God”. To many people, it might come as a surprise that God does not spend any time proving that He exists. There have been millions of pages written by human beings trying to prove or disprove the existence of God. The being completely unmoved by any of these arguments is God Himself. He simply only states that at the beginning He existed. When I was a child I spent my summers on my uncle’s dairy farm. In the barnyard, he had a feeding trough that was filled by an overhead conveyor belt. There were also several mangers for hay that were filled from overhead platforms directly from the hayloft. In both cases, the farmer never came into direct contact or view of the cattle in the barnyard. The cattle ate the food the farmer supplied and they slept in the barn the farmer had built. The cows never questioned the existence of the farmer nor did the farmer see the need to prove his existence. His existence and authority were assumed because he was the supplier of the cows’ needs and had created everything they had. If the cows got together and debated the existence of the farmer would it make any difference in the reality of the existence of the farmer? Well, no!
God has revealed and will reveal Himself to mankind from time to time just as the farmer is seen by the cattle from time to time. However, His existence is understood. In Exodus after God had commanded Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver the enslaved Hebrews, Moses asked God who should he say had sent him to set them free. God’s response is recorded in Exodus chapter 3 verse 14: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” I AM is a simple statement of existence; God is the God that exists.
The fifth word in the Bible is “created.” Who did the creating? God did the creating. Did He have anything to start with? No. He created all that exists from nothing. I have always wanted to write a book. When you write a book you are the creator of a piece of literature. As the creator of a book, you are the owner of the book. You have the authority to determine what happens with your book. You set the rules because you are the creator. God has created all things, therefore He is also the OWNER of all things. He has the AUTHORITY to determine what happens with all things. He sets the rules because He is the CREATOR of all things.
The final words of the first sentence in the Bible are “the heaven and the earth.” It has the literal meaning of the heaven and the earth. This phrase is used to include EVERYTHING that exists. God created His workspace and all the necessary materials in order to build the story of life. It was the beginning. There was NOTHING outside God; There was ONLY what He had created. In Isaiah chapter 44 verse 24 God says it this way, “Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” All we have, all we see, and all we cannot see was created by God.
If we would understand the Bible, then we must understand the BEGINNING. When we study geometry we start with some basic definitions such as a point, a line, and a plane. From these basic definitions, we can build our entire understanding of geometry. In the first verse of the Bible, God sets forth the foundational principles about Himself and His book. He exists; He is the Creator thus also Owner and Judge. He has created all things; There is nothing outside of Him. To understand the Bible and God we must accept these foundational principles.