Today's passage: Genesis 1-2
When I was in elementary school, our desks often had number lines laminated on the desks. It helped us to add or subtract. Up until about sixth grade (for me, anyway), they started with 0 and ended before 100. As the grades increased, the font sizes decreased and more numbers could be printed on the strip. So that number line that only ended with ten in first grade, ended with a much higher number by sixth. There was a definite beginning and end. But then I entered junior high, and I learned about integers. I learned there were negative numbers before zero. So here was a brand new number line, and the definite expanded because zero wasn't really the beginning, there were numbers below it. I think that is why they reserve this information for the upper grades, my kindergarten head would explode and take advantage of that kind of information. My kindergartner son was already dazzled with google plus, claiming it as his favorite number because it is supposedly was the biggest number out there. Then, not too long ago, our pastor mentioned google plex plus, and his eyes widened because there was now even a greater number. Someone recently tried to tell him about infinity but he was skeptical that it could beat google plex plus. Wait till he finds out there are numbers less than zero.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
I decided with the new year, that maybe it was time to go back to the beginning. I haven't read all of Genesis in a while, so I figured I would take a refresher course. I can hardly believe that God would remind me of something in just this very first verse. And it is nothing new, but it is so powerful and just really gave me something to think about. I love that God knows we live by time. He doesn't live by it, but He knows that is how He created us and how we operate. God really didn't have to say "in the beginning". There was no beginning for Him. He has always been there. I know that. He put "in the beginning" in there for us. He put it in there to say, "this is how you began, this is how I created you and this world you are living in." It was the beginning for me and my story, but His story had always been going on. He is like integers. Where is the end to the number line below zero? There isn't one, it just keeps going. And what about infinity? There is no ending there either. Maybe that is why God gave us numbers, to help us have a smidgen of understanding about no beginning and no end.
"And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."
When I think about the earth being without form, I imagine a lump of clay. God takes it and fashions it. It has a shape now. I'm terrible at fashioning circles. When I draw them, they are never as round as they should be, unless I use a pattern or stencil. When I use play-doh with my kids, I might roll it around in my hand to make a ball, but do you know, I can never get it as round or perfectly formed as it needs to be? That is not a problem for God. He always gets it right. He tells us this earth was "void". Empty. It is hard to imagine this earth the way it must have looked to God. And when I think about empty, I think of sadness. Like the emptiness in people's hearts who don't know Him. I don't know if God was sad when He looked at the perfect circle He made and saw how empty it was. But He decided to fill it. The following verses tell us what He decided to put here.
He tells us that "darkness was upon the face of the deep." Since I have only imagined the earth from an outer space perspective and how it looks from there, it is hard for me to grasp this darkness, and this deep. What is the deep? The next sentence seems to indicate that "the deep" is waters. And they were shrouded in darkness. But then the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit, I assume) moved upon them. What exactly is the "face" of the waters, and what does the Holy Spirit do here? And here's a good question, if the earth was void, how did the waters get there? Some people believe in a gap theory Creation, or an age/day Creation. I don't. I believe that there were seven literal days of Creation. Twenty-four hour days, because God doesn't operate on time, so if He said day, I think he is explaining to us the time-frame by which we operate. I can't explain any of it, and I can't quite comprehend it. I don't even have a good guess on this one, so those are questions I will have to reserve for the Creator Himself. Our pastor sometimes says he hopes there is instant replay in Heaven, because he really wants to see God parting the Red Sea for the Israelites. I wouldn't mind seeing how God created this whole world. That must have been some sight. Whatever or however it happened, it was pretty special. The Spirit of God moving, just as He moves in our hearts. Just as He moves in a church service. So maybe I couldn't see Him moving in our beginning, but I certainly can see Him moving today. That stirring in our hearts, must have been a little bit like how He skimmed the surface of the waters, stirring them up, giving them movement. Maybe that's what God means. They were still before that, and now there are ebbs and tides, whirlpools and waves, all because of the Spirit moving. What a thought! It wasn't weather that moved them, it was God.
When I stop to really meditate on God's Creation, I can't help but be filled with awe. If He can do such amazing things, like take a ball of nothing and give it movement and life, what can't He do? If He can create time and numbers, both of which are unnecessary to Him, but help me to understand Him better, what else can He better help me understand? I won't understand everything, obviously, but that is what makes Him so much greater. If I believed in a God I could completely understand, I might be doubtful that He was as powerful as He is. I might limit Him more than I already do.
Thank you, Lord for being beyond my understanding. Thank you for not answering all of my questions so that I keep studying and reading and scratching my head. Thank you for being timeless, but giving me a time frame by which to have an inkling of understanding. You deserve all praise and glory, amen.