February 2008

Five Essential Bible Passages

Genesis 1:1


Bryan Kimsey

1st Baptist Church

Des Moines, NM


Good morning- I’m Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church Des Moines.  I’m here as part of the Ministerial Alliance.  This week, I’d like to look at “Five Essential Bible Passages.”   It’s tough to choose just 5, since:


2 Timothy 3:16  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,


But I’m going to pull out 5 passages that have special application to me personally.  We’ll start this message by asking God to bless it.  May the Holy Spirit open your hearts to the message and give you ears to hear to the glory of God the Father thru His son Jesus Christ, in whose name I ask.  Amen.


The first passage I’d like to look at is, appropriately enough, the first passage in the Bible, Genesis 1:1, which says:


Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


There’s an amazing amount of information in this little passage.  It starts off with “in the beginning.”  This clearly states that there was indeed a beginning.  Ask yourself this question:  “The beginning of what?”  It’s not the beginning of just the heavens and the earth because the passage doesn’t say “When the heavens and earth began, God created them.”  That’s a different statement than what Genesis 1:1 says.  Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God…”  The Hebrew word behind the word “beginning” is “raysheeth” and means “the first, in place, time, order or rank- beginning”.  So, what we have here is the beginning of time itself.   Let’s hold that thought and move on to the next part of this passage- God.


“In the beginning, God…”  Who is this God?  Again, if we turn to the Hebrew we find out that the word translated here is “eloheem”.  There are several things to note about this word.  First, it refers to the supreme God.  When we use the word “supreme”, we’re serious- there are no other gods above this one.  Elohim is THE God, none greater, none beside, none other.  If you recall, the last time I was here on KLMX, I looked at the 1st Commandment, which states “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3) and we spent all week looking at why God is perfectly just in making this statement and why He and He alone deserves our worship.   We’re right back to that place with Genesis 1:1 and the Hebrew word “elohim”.  This is the supreme and ultimate, almighty God that we see here in Genesis 1:1.


Another essential fact about the word “elohim” is that it’s plural.  The doctrine of the Trinity has been hotly debated throughout history and even today we have religions that deny the Trinity.  But there’s no question that “elohim” is plural and this gives excellent support for a Trinitarian godhead, especially with the support of additional Scripture.  For instance, if we look at another famous passage, Deutronomy 6:4, we see that it says:


Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:


And this is often used to deny a Trinitarian Godhead.  After all, it does say “the LORD our God is one LORD”.  However, the Hebrew word for “one” in this passage is “echad” and it means “united, alike, together.”  If we let Scripture interpret Scripture and search for additional uses of this word “echad” we find that it refers to a group of things.  For instance, we find it used in Genesis 1:5 where “the evening and the morning were the first day.”  You can see the sense in which the word is being used here: “the evening and the morning”- two separate things- “were day one”; together evening and morning were one day.  Another example is Genesis 2:24 which says:


Genesis 2:24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.


Here again we have two joining to become one.   Genesis 11:1 says:


Genesis 11:1  And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.


There is ONE speech and ONE language, but note that it is the language and speech of the whole earth. The whole earth is made up of a bunch of people, all speaking one language.  So, here again, we see the plurality of the word “echad”.  In this context, then, it should be clear that when Deuteronomy 6:4 says “Hear O Israel; the LORD our God is one LORD”, the emphasis is not on the singularity of the word “one”, but on the plurality of the word.  Just as a man and woman marry and become “one flesh” so are the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit united into one God.  And, again, we can see this because the word “elohim” in Genesis 1:1 is also plural.


So far, then, from the phrase “In the beginning, God…” we see a plural, yet united, God existing in a pre-time state.  The next phrase says “…created the heavens and earth.”  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the phrase “ex nihilo” but it means “out of nothing.”  This is how God created the heavens and the earth- from nothing.  We say this because Scripture give no indication that God created the heavens and earth from pre-existing matter.  Where Scripture is silent, we are silent, and we have no indication anywhere in the Bible that anything existed prior to creation.  This idea is backed up a little further in Genesis in passages such as:


Genesis 1:3  Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.


The thought here is that light did not exist before God spoke it into existence.   Other passages that support this thought include:


Psalms 33:6  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.


Psalms 33:9  For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.


The question often comes up “If God created everything, then who or what created God?”  Keeping in mind that thought that I asked you to hold earlier- the thought time began “In the beginning…”, the correct answer to the question “Who created God?” is “No one.  God has always existed.”  This is a tough concept for us humans to wrap our brains around since a constantly moving time is all that we know.   Now, we know 3 dimensions- left and right, forward and backward, and up and down.   Imagine a 4th dimension- time.  Right now we can only go forwards in time and we have no control over it.  But if God created time, then there is a space outside of time and this is where God exists and has always existed.  Scripture tells us:


Deuteronomy 33:27  The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, 'Destroy!'


Psalms 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.


Psalms 93:1-2  The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.  (2)  Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.


Regarding wisdom, the Proverbs say this:


Proverbs 8:22-31  "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.  (23)  I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.  (24)  When there were no depths I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water.  (25)  Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, I was brought forth;  (26)  While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, Or the primal dust of the world.  (27)  When He prepared the heavens, I was there, When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,  (28)  When He established the clouds above, When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,  (29)  When He assigned to the sea its limit, So that the waters would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth,  (30)  Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him,  (31)  Rejoicing in His inhabited world, And my delight was with the sons of men.


These are all passages which show us how God transcends time.  Again, the simple passage we’re examining here is Genesis 1:1 which says:


Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


Now this passage is one of my personal favorites because I come from an evolutionary non-creationist background.  For about 35 years, prior to my conversion, I believed in a very old earth, one that came together spontaneously and randomly with no direction at all.  I have actually taught evolutionary biology at the college level.  If there was a God, I thought that he might be something that we, as men, created.  Or maybe God was the earth itself.  This thinking comes from reading popular literature, watching popular movies like Star Wars (in which “The Force” is present in all creatures), and in reading new age literature like “The Gaia Hypothesis” by James Lovelock.  These ideas were interesting and fascinating but I found them ultimately to be unsatisfying.  When God opened my eyes and drew me to Himself through Christ, Genesis is one of the chapters I had to deal with and Genesis 1:1 is certainly one of the toughest verses.  Genesis 1:1 basically challenged me to throw out everything I thought I knew about the creation of the earth.  However, the more I studied it and the more God worked on me, the more I saw the sheer beauty and truth in Genesis. 


Today, I would call Genesis Chapters 1-11 perhaps the most important section in the Bible.  They are certainly critical to our foundation.  In Genesis we see God’s creation of the world, and therefore His righteousness in establishing the 10 Commandments.  If God did not create the world and everything in it, then He really has no justification in telling us what to do.  But if we are indeed His creation, created for His glory, then He and He alone has every right to establish commandments.  Likewise, in Genesis we see the fall of man in the Garden of Eden and I do believe that the Garden was an actual literal place and that Adam and Eve were actual literal people created ex nihilo and not evolved from pre-existing sub-apes.  Because of man’s disobedience in the Garden, we were separated from God and, just as God declared, death resulted from this sin.  It’s all laid out in Genesis.


Also laid out in Genesis is the cure for our sin.  In Genesis 3:15, God is declaring the terms of the curse and He says to the serpent:


Genesis 3:15  And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel."


And as I discussed in my very first series here on KLMX, this is a foreshadowing of Christ.  The seed of the woman, as we see later in the New Testament, particularly in Romans 16 and in the book of Hebrews, is Christ who does indeed crush the head of the serpent and thereby free His people from the curse of sin.  It all starts with Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God…”   This freedom from sin’s punishment is available to all who ask for it.  If you don’t know Christ as your personal savior, I urge you to get on your knees and ask God to reveal Him to you today.  Falling on your knees is the first step to Heaven.


Well, that’s what I’d like to cover in today’s message.  Tomorrow I’m going to go a little further into Genesis and discuss the significance of “God Almighty”.  Weds, I’ll look at John 3:14-19 and we’ll see Jesus relating himself back to an event in Exodus as He declares the gospel message.  Thursday, I’ll look at a very special passage to me, 1 Corinthians 2:14.  And we’ll wrap up on Friday with a look at Revelation 21:1-6 and the promise of a new earth and new heavens.


I’m Bryan Kimsey and I’m a teaching/preaching elder at 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines NM.  We meet at 9:30 am every Sunday and that’s when the main service starts, not Sunday School.  After the main service, we gather in the fellowship hall for discussion and general fellowship.  We usually have a pot-luck meal following that.  If you like this message and if God lays it on your heart, please come out and join us in worship.  If you miss any of these messages, you can find them on our church website at www.fbcdesmoines.org.    Until tomorrow, may God work richly in your life through His son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I offer this message.  Amen.


5 Essential Bible Passages- Genesis 17:1