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Religion

Where Are We Going

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

By Pastor Phillip Howle

web posted August 20, 2014

RELIGION –  We are continuing to work together on memorizing some verses. I hope you did well from last week Psalms 119:11 “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” It laid the foundation for why you should put forth the mental effort to memorize. This week we are working on the first verse of the Old and the first verse of John. Yes, I am asking you to memorize two verses, but Genesis 1:1 is a gimme for most of you.

It is important that we learn these two verses together. Furthermore, Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1 have a similar chapter-and-verse “address,” and they start with the same words. Genesis 1:1 focuses on God in the beginning and John 1:1 on Jesus—the Word—in the beginning. By memorizing them together, you are getting a two for one deal!

I have heard it said if you forget where you come from you are never going to make it where you are going. Well the Bible begins with the ten words of Genesis 1:1 and these ten words lay the sure foundation of all that is to come. If we believe that God creates and that God speaks then we have a foundation and place to stand. We see that we are not merely random sacks of chemicals that got lucky through chance selection. We have a past and we have future based off who God is and what God has done in His created world in and for us. We see that we are made in the image of God and created as the Westminster Confession of Faith writes “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  If you take away Genesis 1:1 you abandon the roots of humanity and all civilization. Moral law, purpose to life, hope for salvation, hope for redemption, longing for God and beauty all go away. We see this in our world today do we not?

If we see that we have a past and that we were created by a loving, purposeful, and powerful creator then it follows that we also have a future. That future is based on John 1:1. We see that our God did not merely do all the work of creation alone. We see that present with Him and carrying out the work was another figure, called the Word. (We also see in Genesis 1:2, the Holy Spirit hovering over the formless void at the cusp of creation.) Who is this figure? John, in his Gospel, will spend the rest of his book showing us that Jesus is the Word. John 1:1 is written to give us a progression and an elaboration of Genesis 1:1.  John 1:1 speaks of our Christ’s preexistence: “In the beginning was the Word.” It also speaks of His coexistence: “And the Word was with God.” Further, John 1:1 speaks of His divine existence: “And the Word was God.”

But why call Jesus the Word? When the Apostle John refers to Jesus as the word or in Greek, logos, he was using a common but powerful term in Greek philosophy: Some in that day referred to the logos as the principle that controlled the universe. Stoic philosophers said it was the soul of the world. Marcus Aurelius called it the generative principle in nature. Then to John’s Jewish readers the Word or Logos was the power and authority of God. So we should clearly be able to see how Jesus as God was the true Logos for the entire universe!
 
So in these two verses we get a big glimpse of our God. We also see the whole of creation was focused on Jesus! He was the God who existed outside of time and creation, but who came born of a virgin, and experienced our life to fullest. Hebrews 4:15-16  states that “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  (16) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We are invited to remember our creator, remember His purposes for us, and when we stray from those purposes we are invited back to Him.
 
May we get to where God wants us to be, by memorizing and contemplating on where we have come from! 

Pastor Phillip




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