The Bible’s First Word – D.Thomas

Our “Word Wednesday” feature today is a bit different, in part because I was struggling for time to post something before it got too late, and then a bit of post-dinner reading led me to this article by Derek Thomas, the title of which appears above. I saw it while browsing Monergism’s latest free e-books. Off to the right side of their latest email newsletter is a list of free articles (pdfs usually) and, as you can imagine, “The Bible’s First Word” caught my eye.

God Adam and You-Phillips-2015Turns out this is a chapter in a new book published by P&R Publishing (copyrighted by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 2015 and containing the speeches given at the 2013 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology) under the title God, Adam, and You: Biblical Creation Defended and Applied, edited by Richard D. Phillips. Contributors include Joel R. Beeke, Kevin DeYoung, Derek Thomas, Liam Goligher, Richard D.Phillips, and Carl Trueman.

Thomas’ contribution is the opening one, based on Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God” – and is a powerful introduction to this book. So, for our word feature today, we think about the revelation of God to us in these first words of the Bible, as elucidated by Thomas. May we pause to weigh them carefully – along with the “weight” of our Almighty Creator (You will see that there is a special word to learn in this post!).

Here is just one brief section from the chapter; find the entire article at the link above (where the title is given). And, of course, it wouldn’t hurt to get the entire book; it looks to be a fine work dealing with the contemporary attacks on creation and the historicity of Genesis and our first parents.

It is no accident, of course, that the Bible begins with God. God is what the Bible is all about. One of the first lessons that we learn when reading the Bible is the importance of asking the right questions. Today people are prone to ask, “What is this passage saying to me?” We put ourselves in the center hermeneutically. Instead, the first question that we should always ask about any passage of the Bible is, “What is this passage teaching me about God?” For God is first, and he is the center, and he is last.

[In contrast to evolutionism’s “Big Bang” theory] …The Scriptures start, “In the beginning, God . . .” In the beginning was the Lord. In the beginning were the Father and the Son and the Spirit, three persons, one God. There is no express mention here that in the beginning, apart from God, there was nothing. Genesis 1:1 doesn’t actually say that God created out of nothing. But, of course, the very absence of any expression, the very absence of any reference to any material, is in itself suggestive of what Moses wants to tell you. The cause of everything that is, he says, is the creative, powerful, and sovereign hand of almighty God.

…As we think about the doctrine of creation and the importance of it, I want us to see a number of truths that emerge from this opening prologue, this opening statement of Moses.

First, we should notice a very simple thing: that the biblical doctrine of creation exalts God. We live in a culture, and even in a church culture, where God seems to be without weight. The “weightlessness of God” is what David Wells calls it.1 One of the great words in the Old Testament for the glory of God is actually a word that is suggestive of weight, much in the sense that some people use the word heavy today. If something is significant, they say, “Heavy, heavy.” That is, it has weight and depth. God is weighty. God is significant. He is the almighty and sovereign Creator. He is the glorious God who is. Everything that is, the totality of existence—space and time, the vastness of the cosmos, everything from the microcosm to the macrocosm—was made to exalt God.

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