Day 1: Genesis 1-3; In the beginning…

So begins our year’s journey through Scripture, and it is fitting to begin and the beginning.

Before there was anything, there was nothing.  It seems like an obvious statement, yet is it something that is hard for our minds to even grasp.  Nothing… the total absence of everything.  For me, nothing is often what I think of when I’m at home with the lights off, the TV off, and no music playing.  Even that is a far cry from the “formless” empty “void” that was before anything.  Total darkness, no air, no gravity, I’d like to say it was cold, but really it was neither cold nor hot, it was nothing.

Except for God.  God was there.  God was always there.  In the chaos that was the nothingness of pre-creation, God existed.  Not only does God exist, He reigns over everything.

It is into this Chaos, darkness, nothingness that God speaks, and we see the true power of God’s word.  With a word, a phrase, God changes everything.  By the mere utterance of God’s voice does light appear with no apparent physical source.  What is more incredible, I think, is that the light doesn’t flash on and then off again, but that the light is sustained and has continued ever since.  This, I think, is one of the true wonders of creation.  Not only did God create everything, God is in the continuous act of creation every second of everyday since then sustaining and upholding all of the created order… even after the Fall!  Humanity falls into evil and all of creation is cursed because of it.  God could have simply wiped it out and started over, yet for whatever reason, God decides to sustain and upholds creation, and has been doing so ever since.  And we see that even in God’s punishment there is a plan, a promise that things would be made right again through the offspring of the woman.  God says, “I will put enmity between [the serpent] and the woman, between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heal.”

This is the first record of the promise of a coming savior, whose birth we celebrated one week ago!  Even then, some 4,000+ years ago, God has a plan for our salvation and the restoration of His creation.

A Note on Translations, Inclusive Language, and the like…

There are a wide variety of translations of the Bible out there for people to read.  At Overisel Reformed Church we have chosen to use the English Standard Version (ESV) translation.  This decision is by no means a condemnation of other translations.  After extensive research into the different translations of the Bible we found this one to be, in our opinion, the most faithful translation to the original texts while also allowing for readability using language that is understandable.  We also found this to be the most faithful in the appropriate use of inclusive language and gender neutral language without losing the meaning of the text or taking away the personal nature of it either.

While the ESV is the version we will be using as we post and reflect on our readings in this blog, we welcome the and thoughts generated from all translations of the Bible.  With each different translation, different things are emphasized and may jump out at you.  We encourage you to share these things and reflect on them in comments that you leave under each day’s posting.  The more discussion we can have around these topics, the more we can learn from each other and grow together as disciples of Christ.

It is also important to note that within the text of the Bible, and across different translations, “inclusive language” has been chosen to make Scripture applicable to both man and women.  While this is an understandable and admirable gesture, it clearly does not apply to all the “He” or “She” words that appear in the Bible.  In the direct translation from the Hebrew and Greek texts there are indeed many words that are used in a gender neutral form.  Yet there are also those that clearly have a specific gender form due to historical tradition.  An example of this would be the references to God has a “He.”  We believe that God is a spirit and is therefore neither male nor female, and yet Scripture consistently refers to God in the male form, a reference that will thus be honored by our postings here.  You are encourages to wrestle with these issues of gender inclusive language in your personal life.  Please know that in this blog there will be no discrimination against any one for the use of, or not using gender inclusive language or different translations of Scripture.

Blessings on your reading!

John 17:17  Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.