Amazingly the first verse of the Bible gives us all the keys we need to interpret the Bible. As we observed in this book’s first chapter, Genesis 1:1 imparts to us the fear of the Lord and this is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Further, it teaches us that all things begin with God. If we want to understand “all things” we too must begin by knowing him. The first verse of Scripture reveals to us that only through his Word can we know God and what he has done. How could we know God created all things unless he spoke to us these initial words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”?
What more is there to discover in the Bible’s first verse? God is the God of paradox—the God of heaven and earth. When we ponder this more we discover that Genesis 1:1 covertly prophesies to us the coming of Jesus who is both heavenly and earthly. Creation prophesies the marriage of heaven and earth in Jesus Christ. God knew what he was doing through his creation and it was all pointing to his Son. Creation can never fulfil its purpose unless heaven and earth, God and man are one.
Jesus warned the Pharisees that everything that did not have its origins in God—the God who is one with humankind through Jesus Christ—would not last. As Jesus said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots” (Matt. 15:13). When the Pharisees denied God in the Son, they denied the God who was both the creator of heaven and earth, the God who both ruled heaven and was actively involved in earth. They ruled out the immanence of God because they had no room for him. And because they could not see his hiddenness, his humility.
If God is only transcendent then I can do whatever I desire on earth. I can construct idols for my own benefit. But if God actually becomes one with the dust of the earth then I am in trouble. He is able now to cleanse the house that I have made into a marketplace. He is no longer the God who is far away; he is the God who is near and active. The fact that God can forgive us, and thus become like us, means he is to be feared: “But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared” (Psa. 130:4).
We love to plant; we delight to build. But let us be warned: much of what we establish does not have its beginnings in the Father. Yes, what we do may take root. It may grow tall and mighty. But every church, business, or relationship that has not been planted by the heavenly Father will come crashing down. Let’s return to God with all of our heart and find our life flow only in him. Remember what the Psalmist sung: “all my fountains are in you” (Psalm 87:1).
Prayer: O God, you’re not just far away (the God of the heavens) but you are near (the God of the earth). Help me see when you are near and embrace your hiddenness. Father, may all my fountains be in you. May you plant me and may all the works of my hands only be your plantings. What you begin endures forever. May you be my beginning, my planter, my origins.