It’s hard to do justice to the enormous riches in Genesis 1, the first chapter of the Bible. Genesis 1 is unique as it is foundational for understanding the biblical worldview. If you fail to understand this worldview, you will certainly fail at understanding everything else in God’s Word. The essence of the biblical worldview can be summarized into two simple statements: (1) “Creation celebrates the Glory of God” and (2) “Christ is Sovereign Lord”, a basic confession of faith.
Creation celebrates the Glory of God
Genesis 1 is foremost a celebration of the Glory of God, the Creator of the Universe and all that is contained within it. Just by speaking, opening His mouth, God created the Heaven and the Earth, created us and created everything else. Before the first sin, this creation was perfect, echoing the majesty of God himself. (After the first sin, creation is still perfect, but affected by sin, which is the most basic explanating of suffering.) By far the most important message of Genesis 1 is that creation glorifies its Creator. All creation glorifies God. The very reason why we were created is to glorify Him who created us, in all we do.
This fact is worth meditating on, not for a while, but during our whole life. The single most important reason why we exist is to glorify God. This fact has, or should have, a transcendental significance in the way we live our lives. This fact is also the most important justification of the involvement of Christians in politics, and in any other sphere of society. Entering politics or getting involved in a Christian ministry with the noble vision of “doing good”, “seeking justice” or “promoting Christian values” will simply not be enough and may even lead us on a wrong road, if we forget that it really is all about glorifying God. That is the only thing that has eternal value and that is worth working for.
Christ is Sovereign Lord, a basic confession of faith
Accepting and fully understanding our purpose to glorify our Creator, leads us to embrace another essential truth, which is also contained in this first chapter of the Bible: Christ is Sovereign Lord – in the New Testament, we will learn that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is also God himself –. This is the basic confession any follower of Christ professes. All other doctrines of faith can be derived from this basic confession, which is so beautifully expressed through this historical account of creation. It teaches us that God is not only the Creator, but that He is almighty and in control of everything that happens in the universe.
It has always been very comforting to me to realize that there is one person who understands me perfectly, even better than my wife, my family, my closest friends or even myself: the Creator. Knowing that there is someone outside of us who can fully understand us, precisely because He created us, is very reassuring. I’m not on my own in this world, but someone put me here, with a purpose: serving and glorifying Him. No human rule or government will therefore ever be above the Creator of the Universe. In Genesis 1, government is implicitly instituted, as Adam is instructed to administer creation. Administrating creation – the art of government – requires humility and responsibility, in respect (fear) of the Creator who gave us this task.
This is, in short, the essence of the biblical worldview. Theologians might want to add to this, but I doubt they’ll be able to do it in less than 500 words. In my next post about Genesis 1, I will mention four other fundamental teachings of Genesis 1: (3) the creational order, (4) the human dignity principle, (5) the cultural mandate and what I call (6) “the transformational sequence.”