Happy New Year!

Who Prefaces All That You Think and Do?

Read: Genesis 1-2; Luke 1

“In the beginning, God created the havens and the earth.”
Genesis 1:1, ESV


“In the stars his handiwork I see . . .” were words from the 70s-era youth chorus, “Pass It On.” One wonders how many young people knew that they were heralding a specific worldview. Consider also the worldview declaration found in Genesis 1:1. Now, that small verse is laden with huge meaning. Indeed, the opening words of scripture are quite familiar to us, but we may not realize how they were meant to prompt faith within us! Let’s examine the message that God has for us today in the creation accounts.

A Biblical Lens

“In the beginning God” makes a profound claim that states God’s dominion extends over all of the things that he created and over his special human creation. These first seven words in the Hebrew text provide the foundation for everything that will follow in the rest of the Bible. We should read them as the first faith statement in all of God’s word because they provide the beginning to God’s great redemptive story that would include Abraham’s call (12:1), Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (3:15), and the eventual coming of the Savior! (Luke 1:31-33).

We also have before us two creation accounts—the first in 1:1-2:3 and the second in 2:4-25 (HCBC; cf. also Luke 1:26ff.). We see a unity in creation that is made possible when the Creator reigns supreme! Do not miss the point. Even though the aim of these accounts of origins is not primarily scientific, we may see something of the careful attention that God gives to each specific part of the whole (1:11-12, 21, 24-25, “according to its kind”). A moral application is clear. We also should take great care of all parts of the world that he has made as a sign of our commitment to him (1:28). God intended for creation resources to be preserved and not preyed upon by human beings.

Furthermore, human creation was unique, despite the many contemporary claims that it has no special significance (cf. Peter Singer and “speciesism”; 1:26, “in his image”). Humankind was created to represent God on earth and to rule over all things in His name (1:26-28). However, humans would fall into sin, wander away from God, and ultimately make gods out of the things that he created and worship them (cf. Exodus 20:1-6; no other gods before me”). This must not be. Proper representation, as we will see, requires our subordination to the Creator. Therefore, “In the beginning God” should preface every human attitude and endeavor! This faith claim should be our New Year’s Day resolution to be enacted throughout the coming year.

A Moral Pathway

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, the behemoth online book and “all-things-commercial” company, has turned his focus to outer space. Yep. He is shooting for the sky, figuratively and literally, by seeking to launch 3236 satellites into space to provide high-speed internet across the globe. There are a host of moral questions that surface with such a starry-eyed goal. Aside from being able to reach the entire planet with the gospel, for example, I ask how will such a venture help to elevate the fortunes between the haves and the have-nots (which includes justice)? Furthermore, we may ask what right may the underserved have to access such technology for economic advancement, educational purposes, employment, and agricultural productivity? How will this amazing business venture benefit humanity and not simply expand Bezos’ prosperity?

We may not launch satellites into orbit, but even the most technologically-deprived person among us still exercises control over something that may be of benefit to someone less fortunate. I recall a period of time in my life where I often did not have a watch because I would give the one that I had to someone who lacked one. Get the point? God loves, so he gave (Luke 1:26-30, “The Lord is with you”). His creatures demonstrate their attachment to him by imitating his attitudes and actions and by extending his love to others.

For Your Journaling

1. Many people make New Year’s resolutions. Write down several ways that you intend to place God at the beginning of all the choices that you will make this year. Then, review your faith statement regularly throughout this coming year.

2. Our focal passage holds wider implications for how Christians will act to sustain God’s creation. How may your church act to benefit others who are underserved agriculturally, economically, educationally, and in health?

May all your paths be straight,
Larry C. Ashlock