“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1, of course…)
I am far from knowledgeable about creation science, which means I usually steer away from it in my sermons and bring in a real expert. I also avoid speculations like the “gap theory”, except to say that it is a concoction of our hyper-rational need for us westerners to figure everything out. The Hebrews were presented by God Himself with a God who was different than all other idols and philosophies, because, until then, no one ever imagined a single eternal, all-powerful being who preexisted everything and made everything. In other words, the concise little opening sentence of Genesis was a towering statement that dwarfed the cosmos.
Every tribe, region, city, nation and empire in the world all had their own “patron” or tribal gods. More than that, everyone somewhat respected this arrangement and believed that “your gods are your gods, and my gods are my gods, though mine are better than yours…” (This is why Israel regularly gravitated towards idolatry until the Babylonian exile—which, by the way, cured them of it.) But then God speaks to Moses, and he writes down those amazing words. Suddenly, God is no tribal, regional or imperial god—He is the God, and He is talking to us. Too bad the Hebrew’s appreciation of this stupendous truth was diluted by the pagan-ecumenical indoctrination they got from a four-hundred year Egyptian immersion.
“In the beginning God created…” set Him apart from everyone else and everything else: that statement killed animism, paganism, humanism, nihilism and countless other “isms” with a single stroke of a pen. It defined God’s limitations (none); His power, knowledge, wisdom and understanding (all limitless) and His love and unsearchable plan—especially for a people like them—homeless brick makers and herdsmen, generations of slaves. And for us, who, despite all our modern conveniences, still wander and are just as needy.
I like that passage.