For the follower of Jehovah or Jesus Christ, the theological message of the first book of the Bible is, there is a God and God is responsible for all creation. Beginning from the first verse of the Genesis we find the evidence of a supreme being that is the creator of all things; including the much debated creation of man. Genesis 1:1 clearly encapsulates the whole of scripture; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In this very simplistic but all-inclusive verse, we are presented with the evidence of one God for all to see. God exists. There is an implied absolute beginning and the God of the Bible brought all creation into existence. “In the beginning God…” The clarity of God being “in the beginning” sets the foundational stone that God was at the beginning. Therefore God was before the beginning for He was the Creator. It is a stated fact
The Bible introduces us to God in Genesis chapter one. The Hebrew word ‘God’ as used in verse one and thirty-one times in the first chapter of Genesis is Elohim. Elohim is used over 2,500 times in the Old Testament. Elohim emphasizes one supreme God stressing His power and quite often used when in the context of the Supreme Being in the act of creation.
Chapter one of Genesis is one of the most hotly debated chapters in the Bible. Satan’s attack on the infallibility, inspired Word of God begins at the first verse. Those against special creation, in six twenty-four hour days, form the battle lines between the forces of evil and of God. If Satan can focus man’s attention away from creation, then he can also cause doubt on every other doctrine in scripture; atheism, polytheism, evolution, materialism and sin. Is there a God? Were the worlds created? If Satan can cause uncertainty at this very fundamental point, Satan can cause doubt for every other fundamental doctrine in scripture.
Throughout the whole of scripture there is a consistent declaration of the creation and that God was the Creator. (Exodus 20:11, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 90:2, 96:5, 148:5, Isaiah 45:18, John 1:3, Hebrews 11:3)
It is my intent to discuss the various theologies that are located in chapter one of Genesis.
The first will be the idea of atheism. Atheism, according to its definition and etymology, declares a denial of the being of God. Atheism, affirms the nonexistence of God. An atheist is someone who rejects belief in any form of deity, not just the traditional Judeo/Christian God. It is also interesting that there seems to be no consensus on the definition of atheism. The atheistic theology is denounced in the very first verse of Genesis. “In the beginning, God.” There is no room for debate or even discussion in the Bible concerning whether there is a God or not. The statement carries with it the most profound and yet simple statement ever made there is a God. So therefore atheism is opposed. In Psalm14:1, the psalmist David declares, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God…”
In every aspect of our life, there is a Cause and an Effect. The one argument the atheist cannot answer is where the first ‘cause’, creation, came from. The ‘effect’ is the solar system, animals, plants and man. Who was the first Cause? Genesis tells us it was God who started all creation when He spoke and said;
“Let there be light”
“Let there be a firmament”
“Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind”
“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night;”
“Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven”
“Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth”
Atheism does not present a viable solution in lieu of creation; therefore it is not a viable theology as God created the heavens and earth.
Another theology to explore is polytheism. Polytheism by its very entomology means – poly – many and theism – god. It is the belief of numerous personal deities, called gods or goddesses. These gods are finite as they had a beginning as the result of sexual union or created from natural forces. Each deity has its own belief system and rituals. Their rule is normally over a particular domain such as the earth, sky, sea, love, etc. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but can center their belief and worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can worship different deities at different times according to their need.
Polytheism then is in direct contradiction to the scriptures, particularly in Genesis chapter one. Over and over again we see that Elohim was the creator and the only God.
The next point to discuss is materialism. Materialism is a human philosophical invention. Materialism is the belief system that matter is the only reality. The main tenet of the materialist is that matter, left to itself, produced all things. The universe was randomly formed by the organizing of materials already in the cosmos. Life was eventually formed by purely natural means. Materialism continues that since matter produced all things that includes man and his brain. Over time this brain then imagined the idea of things supernatural, which includes the idea of the spiritual realm, of God, gods, of eternal life, and so forth.
Materialism is unavoidably atheistic. The theory of materialism is its own enemy and is fatalistically flawed because it denies any purpose; everything is reduced in importance to mere chance. The only source for understanding materialism is human thought. Therefore materialism is only defined by the brain which was formed by random materials.
The final point of discussion is evolution. Evolution is defined from the Latin term evolution meaning “unfolding”. Evolution first appeared about 900 BC so it is a late theory. There are many different fields of evolution, but in considering evolution in light of Genesis, this discussion is centered on biological evolution. From the evolutionist point of view life came from the non-living (materialism). Life was not there then suddenly all materials came together and life appeared. That is called spontaneous generation. The evolutionist will not define where the materials originally came from, just that it did and it became an accepted fact. This is the point of beginning for the evolutionist. Life just started and then began evolving. In order to have an evolving species life must have begun. There is no stake in the sand, just the idea that life happened by natural means not through a supreme being.
Evolution and Genesis are in direct opposition to each other. On the one hand the evolutionist believes life came from non-life materials that were already in the cosmos. The creation account in Genesis chapter one defines that God created everything ex nihilo, out of nothing. No materials floating around for God to use. God spoke the worlds into space and time. God spoke and plants, animals and man were created, ex nihilo. Creation says there is a supreme being that created. Evolution says there was no creator, just material.
In the first verse of the first Book of the Bible we have the confirmation of God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This first verse rebuts atheism because it explains the existence of God. It rebuts polytheism as it explains that there is one God. It rebuts materialism, for it shows that God created the materials in creation. And finally it rebuts evolution as God created the animals and man. God did not leave it to chance.