Saturday, 5 May 2012

The Verse - Genesis 1

Hi everyone - Hannah's husband Luke here again, doing a guest entry. Recently Hannah has started a new chronological Bible reading plan, which means you read through events in the order they happened. For example, it starts off with Genesis, but then pauses after chapter 11 of that book and skips to Job, since that man probably lived not long after Noah's Flood and before Abraham. Reading the Scriptures in this manner is highly useful, as it helps you get an idea of the wider context in which things happened. So I thought I too would take up the chronological plan.

With this in view, I thought I would talk about Genesis 1, which I read yesterday. The opening of this chapter is probably one of the most famous portions of the Bible, but that does not make it any less important to consider.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters." - Genesis 1:1-2 (NKJV)

I won't print all of Genesis chapter 1 here, but it is a narrative and therefore should be read all at once. Like me, many Christians have heard the Biblical creation record many times before, and now take it all a bit for granted. But we really should come at this passage with a fresh perspective every time we read it. God is creating a vast universe, and an earth teeming with wildly different forms of life, all out of nothing. More importantly, even before this work of creation began, God already knew that humanity would fall into sin, and had already laid out the wonderful plan of redemption which He would later bring to fruition through Jesus Christ, as 1 Peter 1:18-20 makes clear:
"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you..." 
This shows us that God's purpose in creating the world was to glorify Himself - not only through the actual work of making such an incredible universe, but also through sacrificing His Son so as to redeem lost sinners and thereby gain His Bride - the church. 

It is truly amazing to think that Christ's sacrifice on the cross was ordained from before the beginning of creation. As you read through the whole Bible, you can see that God is slowly revealing more of His plan to redeem sinful humanity. After Adam and Eve commit the first sin by disobeying God's commands and eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, God tells them that He will send "the seed of the woman" who will bruise the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). This is a prophecy of Christ (the seed of the woman) who "bruised the serpent's head" when He defeated Satan, sin and death by dying on the cross. Later, when God called Abraham to travel to the promised land of Canaan, He revealed that the Redeemer of humankind would come from the nation of Israel (Abraham's descendants). And so the prophecies about Christ became gradually clearer.

In summary, it is important to remember that the entire focus of the Bible is on Jesus Christ, and on God's redemptive plan throughout history. Even in Genesis 1, before humanity fell into sin, we can see God's love and gracious provision for all of us, in that he fashioned an amazing world for us to live in. Later in the Bible, God's love is once more abundantly demonstrated when Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

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