Elder Neil Phelan, Jr.
IN THE BEGINNING
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth"-Genesis 1:1
When someone asks me where they should begin their study of the scriptures, I have learned from experience to tell them: " In the beginning of the Book; at Genesis 1:1." The reason I emphasize "from experience" is because I have learned that any person who is unwilling to acknowledge God as an all-wise and sovereign Creator will have little success with the rest of the Book. They may as well close the Book and stop there if they are unwilling to believe God's first declaration of Himself as Creator.
Because of its vital role in the heart and actions of the believer, the devil has bent all his power and energy, in every age, to raise a question of doubt concerning God as Creator. It is like the farmer with the watermelon patch who couldn't keep the kids from stealing them at night. So one evening he put up a sign in his patch which read, "There is one poison watermelon in this patch." To his dismay, he returned the next morning to check on his precious melons only to find a second sign which read, "Now, there are two poison watermelons in this patch." The Devil knows that if he can cast a shadow of a doubt upon the first
declaration of God in the Bible, the rest of the book will be read with a skeptical eye. Today, parents and children alike, are bombarded with the theory of evolution, verses, Godly creation, on every hand. Schools, papers, magazines, and television continue to challenge Genesis 1:1. But realistically, it takes more faith to believe that man evolved from an amoeba than to believe he was created by God. For me to look around this universe, and behold the beauty and splendor of it, to see the complexity of every creature, and believe that all of this just evolved would take faith more than I can fathom. But to simply believe God for His word, that He created all things, is not only easier to believe, but equally logical. After all, this is faith in its most basic element: Just taking God at His word.
Satan's attempts to challenge Genesis 1:1 is not one that has recently developed by modern science, or even from the enlightened philosophers of the 1900's. As Solomon said, "There is no new thing under the sun." In Acts 17, almost 2000 years ago, Paul encountered "certain philosophers" at Athens who are referred to as the "Epicureans". This was one of their schools of modern philosophy who followed the teachings of one Epicurus. Do you know what that taught at this modern, up to date school? They taught that the world was not created by God, but rather, "through a fortuitous concourse of atoms, of various sizes and magnitude, which met, and jumbled, and cemented together, and so formed the world." Today, Satan still whispers this lie into the ears of those who oppose Genesis 1:1 and there are still those around who will believe it. But the fatal flaw to this theory is the same today as it was in Paul's: "Where did those atoms come from anyway?" Has anyone ever explained that but God in Genesis 1:1. How beautifully Paul exalted God as the Creator in his discourse that day as he declared, "God that made the world and all things therein"-v24. Actually, God made His declaration thousands of years before the wise philosophers and scientists picked up their pencils and telescopes. When God answered Job out of the whirlwind He asked questions that still puzzle the minds of the most brilliant men and women, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for Joy?-Job 38:4-7. Modern man would be wise to emulate the faithful old servant Job, "Then Job answered the Lord, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth."
CREATION INVOLVES MORALITY
Genesis 1:1 not only declares God as Creator, it is also a statement which places all of humanity accountable to God for their actions: it involves morality. In a nutshell, this is the heart of the issue: morality. Satan knows that if he can flatter man into thinking he has discovered evolution, and if this theory is placed in the minds of men, they will sooner or later begin to act like the creatures they think they evolved from. This is quite convenient, because man, by nature, does not like to answer to any one for any thing. He wants to be his own god, make up his own rules, and live by the standards of his own choosing. A number of years ago, Sir Julian Huxley, the most prestigious evolutionary scientist of the world at that time was asked: "Why do you think that evolution caught on so quickly?" His reply: "We all jumped at the Origin(of the species) because the idea of God interfered with our sexual mores." If evolution can be subjected to the minds of children, it will become a snare unto their little souls as to whether or not they should believe Genesis 1:1. It will diminish their responsibility to God; to their parents; to their peers; to the laws of the land; and even to their own conscience. In short, it is a conflicting statement. It clashes with what they are taught in the Church, by their parents and even by creation itself(Psalms 19:1-3). What catastrophic results have been bred by this heresy of Satan. It is amazing to me to observe the many places that this heresy is taught unchallenged, and that, without a thread of evidence... p.s. there have been no missing links discovered as of September, 1998. Had they found one, it would be paraded up and down every crack and crevice of the globe, on tv, in every magazine, and on display in a glass case at the Smithsonian. Today, of all days, parents should be careful to monitor everything their children come in contact with: what they see; what they hear; and what they are taught, and always be ready to expose the fallacy of this heresy. All it will affect is their morality.?!
A THEOLOGICAL WONDER
Genesis 1:1 is also one of the deepest theological statements in all of the Bible. The first verse of the Bible declares that God is self existent. In other words, He has no beginning or end...He has always been. This, in itself, is mind boggling to earthly creatures who live in a world marked with time. Therefore, "In the beginning" does not declare the beginning of God, but rather, the beginning of God's creation: the beginning of time. God, the Creator, was there, self existent, self sufficient. He began time, and when time is no more he will remain to be the same God He was before creation, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God"- Psalm 90:2. The very word "God" is extremely expressive. In this verse, the word God is translated from the old Hebrew word 'elohiym', which declares a plurality of persons. It is a plural expression used in the singular tense, as one being accomplishing the work of creation. In the beginning they created the heaven and the earth. Who are they? The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, of course. Three, but yet One. Don't ask me to explain this, the Bible declares it and I believe it by faith.
Yes, the Godhead worked together in creation. In verse 26 we read, "Let us make man in our image....". "Us" declares the plurality of the Godhead. The "God" of Genesis also reveals Christ. If you will notice, John began his gospel with this same declaration, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made"- John 1:1-3. Paul declared that by Jesus Christ, "were all thing created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible...Col. 1:16a.
If we believe in creation, we must acknowledge the eternal, preincarnate existence of the Son of God. After all, He put in several cameo appearances before His virgin birth. He walked with the Hebrew children through the fiery furnace; He talked with Abraham in the plains of Mamre. Indeed, Genesis 1:1 is deep in theology, deep enough to send Plato and Socrates scratching their heads in wonder; deep enough to keep man busy for centuries trying to discover all that God created in only six days.