“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
This is the first and perhaps one of the best known verses in the Bible. It is, most certainly, one of the most important verses in the Bible, because if this is true, it changes everything!
You see, we live in a society that encourages us to view ourselves and our needs as the most important things in life. We all naturally think of ourselves as the centre of the universe and we live accordingly. Even as Christians we can fall back into living in a self-centred way.
Genesis 1:1 is a helpful corrective to this because it declares that it is God, not me, that is the centre of the universe.
Genesis 1:1 declares that before there was anything, there was God, and he alone created the universe and everything in it. If God is creator of all things, then he is naturally also the owner and ruler of all things. As the owner of all things he has the right to do with us and to us as he pleases. As the ruler of all things, He has the right to tell us how to live and to punish us if we disobey.
This means that because God created you, he owns you, he rules over you and you are accountable to him.
Not only that, but because he created the universe it exists for his purposes. That means that you do not exist for yourself, but for God. Your life is for his purposes, not yours.
Therefore, it is clear that it is not me and my needs that are the most important thing, but God and his purposes. I am not the centre of the universe, God is.
We naturally want to reject such a view of the world because it cuts across our pride. It makes us small and God big. But, as we realise that this is what the Bible teachers we see that we are bound to accept it. As we do accept it, it enables us to oppose our pride and humble ourselves before God.
you do not exist for yourself, but for God. Your life is for his purposes, not yours.
This is a good thing and I find it helpful to remind myself of this verse when I realise I have slipped back into a self-centred view of the world.
Psalm 97:1 says, “The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice.” (ESV)
Usually, the fact that the Lord is our Creator, Owner and Ruler, would not be a reason for us to rejoice because we are sinners and he is a just judge. But we can rejoice that he reigns because as our merciful and compassionate King, he has sent his only Son to die, so that all who believe in him may have their sins taken away and have his blessing.
In this way we see that Genesis 1:1 is not only a corrective to our selfish worldview but it is also essential to a full understanding and appreciation of the gospel.
Matt Cole is in his second year of ministry training at PTC and attends Somerville Presbyterian Church