William J. Stewart
Moses wrote, “Inn the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In the beginning. Fitting words with which to start the book of Genesis, which means “beginning” or “origin.” In the beginning. Moses confirms there was a beginning, yet does not reveal to us when. He tells us that there once was nothing, yet Something at the same time. It demands of us to put on our thinking caps, and to reason concerning the origin of all things.
We understand the beginning of a ball game, or the beginning of our day. We know about the beginning of a book, or the beginning of a trip. These are finite and within the compass of our imagination. But try to grasp the beginning of everything. Attempt to comprehend that once there was nothing, except God. No children playing, no screeching tires. No parks to walk in, no rivers to frolic in. No eagles soaring above in the sky, for there was no sky. No, not even an earth. Nothing! That’s a stretch for even the most imaginative of folks. Yet, right there in black and white, Moses exclaims for all to know, “In the beginning God created…” A time existed, though time itself didn’t yet exist, when nothing was, with the exception of God eternal!
“In the beginning God created…” Wonderful words exhibiting the fullness of God’s love. There was nothing, thus God made something. Out of what you might ask. Simply, out of His love. Moses writes, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. . . . Then God said. . . . Then God said. . . . Then God said. . . .” Starting with an eternal void of nothingness, the all powerful and mighty Creator created, speaking swelling words of love. Thus, He gave the earth form and substance. The sky shone brightly as light first beamed in obedience to His authority. Land appeared, as He commanded the waters to gather into one place. The great Gardener caused plants to sprout up, bringing forth all kinds of beautiful flowers and seeds. He made the sun and the moon to share the duties of lighting His wondrous creation. Fish began to swim about the seas, birds filled the skies with their delightful chirping. Lions, tigers, bears, zebras — as the infinite imagination of the Creator worked, they began to roam the earth. The Creator created, as the painter paints. He designed His creation with the skill of a Master Designer. As the potter can turn clay to beauty, so God molded the worlds. What once was a blank space, for lack of better words — nothing — now sparkled under heaven, full of brilliant colour, such as would bring the grandest of smiles to a baby’s face, and a hint of joyful laughter to the glummest of persons.
As He looked over His work, no other words were fitting but that which Moses wrote, “…And God saw that it was good.” Yet, He wasn’t finished. The saying ‘…leave the best ’til last…’ has long been used in our language. We find the eternal Creator doing likewise. Although the earth danced with captivating beauty, His job was not yet complete. There was still the climax of the show, the icing on the top of the cake, so to speak. Thus, God said to Himself (within the three Persons), “Let Us make man…” From the dust of the ground, God formed a body, that of man. As with all things created by God, the structure was perfect, as He in His marvelous foreknowledge knew the needs of such a being. The sentence continues, “…in Our image, according to Our likeness…” WOW!!! When God wants to stage an impressive finale, He does so! Not only were we “…fearfully and wonderfully made…”, but we have been made in the image of God. Moses writes, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” Thus, having spoken, God breathed life into the corpse, and mankind began.
What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Does God have two arms, both containing four fingers and a thumb? Has God two legs on which to walk about, or does He have joints and tendons, and muscles that hold things together? Note what the Scriptures say, “So God created man in His own image…” It does not say that God is in the likeness of man, but rather that man is in the likeness of God. Jesus tells the Samaritan woman whom He met at the well outside the city of Sychar, “God is Spirit…” God is Spirit. You and I, being made in the image of God are spirit. As He is a spiritual being, He also made you and I spiritual beings. The importance of that, firstly, He made us to be eternal! Look about you — the plants, the birds, the beasts of the field — they all die and are no more. But not so with man. He was made to live forever!
Secondly, being in the image of God, you were given a very special gift. A gift that too often we take for granted and misuse, to our own harm. The gift, free will! You have the right, the ability, the responsibility to choose. Choose what to eat. Choose who to have as friends. Choose how to dress. Choose what career you want. Choose where to live. Unfortunately, we in many cases have lost sight of why God gave this freedom. Yes, we are free to choose concerning the things of this life, but that is not the intended purpose of our free will. The gift He gave is the freedom to choose whether we will love Him or not. He gave us the freedom to choose whether we will serve Him or not. The freedom given was to either put Him on the throne of our life, or to reign there ourselves.
The angels love Him, for they were created to love and serve Him. All creation rings out in praise and glory towards the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, for such was the nature of their making. But to you and I, He gave freedom. Out of that freedom, if rightly used comes the deepest of love and devotion possible to show unto the Creator. To choose to love and serve God is the greatest honour we could bestow back to such a wonderful Maker. Use your free will — to His glory — to His praise — to His honour!