By David Faust
The new quickly becomes old. Drive a new car off the lot and it immediately loses value. You may feel proud of your brand new house, but you’d better be handy with either a toolbox or a checkbook, because without regular maintenance your home will fall apart.
Wouldn’t it be great if new things stayed new? and newly baptized believers always remained zealous for the Lord? and newly married couples always kept their vows? and each passing year gave us renewed vigor to love God and serve others?
How can we keep our souls vibrant and fresh? Here’s an idea: Let’s start where Scripture does.
The Bible’s first verse lays the foundation for everything else that follows: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
• Creation lays a foundation for human dignity. Our lives are valuable because we are made in God’s image.
• Creation lays a foundation for moral responsibility. God created us, so he holds authority over us. He determines what is right and wrong. Imagine what you would learn about telephones and light bulbs if you could talk with Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. If you want to learn how life works, consult the one who invented it in the first place.
• Creation lays a foundation for scientific inquiry. Rational, predictable, natural laws originated in the mind of the all-wise God. Naturalistic macro-evolution invites us to embrace the hard-to-swallow hypothesis that life arose without divine guidance due to a fortuitous combination of the impersonal, plus time, plus chance. By contrast, biblical creation points us to intelligent design that originated in the mind of the personal God. The repeated use of the phrase “according to their kinds” in Genesis 1 fits what nature itself tells us: There’s a biological limitation on how much one species can overlap into another.
• Creation lays the foundation for future possibility. Hebrew is written from right to left, so in a Hebrew Bible the first verse actually appears in what we consider the back of the book. Looking back to creation helps us recognize God’s power to shape the future. Why should we doubt that God can give us eternal life, since he created life in the first place?
Genesis is a book of firsts. It tells about the first marriage, the first flood, and the first rainbow. It describes the beginning of agriculture and architecture, sets in motion our familiar seven-day pattern of work and rest, and reveals the genesis of human language. It chronicles the start of God’s unfolding covenant with individuals who walk with him, wrestle with him, and are blessed by him.
Sadly, the early pages of Genesis also chronicle the beginning of sin and death. The first man born (Cain) killed the second man born (Abel). In Genesis 1 “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (v. 31), but by Genesis 6 “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (v. 5).
Wilbur and Orville Wright flew their first airplane in 1903, and a little more than a decade later planes were used to drop bombs during World War I. The Internet has spawned priceless technological advances—and it has enabled financial scams and pornography to proliferate. How quickly the fresh degenerates into the fallen!
That’s why we must never forget the foundational lessons of Genesis 1:1. When it comes to making things new, God is the expert.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Lookout’s Bible Reading Plan for January 4, 2015
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of The Lookout.
Genesis 1, 2
Genesis 3, 4