REVELATION OF GOD Meditations No.1 of 10
Gen 1:1 In the beginning God…
Today we start a new ‘overview’ series of studies that will give us a wider perspective of the Bible than we, perhaps, are normally used to. This set of readings will be quite different from previous meditations in that it will be very general making big brush strokes to reveal something of God’s way of working through history.
In the writings of modern crusading atheists, often appears strong criticism of Biblical things far back in history. There is often a derisory note about a God who would make an imperfect world, and how primitive man was unlikely to have been part of God’s plan, and as for dinosaur’s?????
It is only as we start thinking about these issues that we start thinking about
a) why God made the world in the way He did, and
b) why He revealed Himself in the way He did.
When it comes to looking to archaeology for answers, we find we are limited. In his book, Is Religion Dangerous?, professor Keith Ward, who knows about these things, declares, “The truth is that we know virtually nothing about the first origins of religious belief.” He continues, “From a purely scientific point of view, all we have to go on are grave-goods and archaeological remains.”
If we hope to look at masses of old parchments of the Old Testament of the Bible to help us, we again find ourselves disappointed. The reason for this was that the Jews destroyed every old, damaged document once they had fastidiously copied it. Yes, there were lots of copies, but they don’t go back the three thousand years that we might wish.
When we study the nature of how the Old Testament documents came about and how they were passed on we can see that we can trust what we have in what we call the Old Testament. Our work then becomes to understand what is written and ponder how it ‘fits’ what else we know about the rest of the world.
We can look at a variety of religious texts to try to unscramble the origins of religion but, we suggest, the only one with a strong historical basis is the Bible, and for the sake of our studies here, the Old Testament of the Bible.
The opening words of the Bible declare, “In the beginning God.” The further we go in the Bible the more it reveals the nature of this ‘God’ to us, but at the outset it doesn’t seek to define God or defend God. It simply records His activities in respect of the earth and the human race. We may subsequently go on to suggest He is THE Ultimate Being, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, ever-present, good and loving, but for the moment those things are not the concern of the writer. He simply assumes, by all that he personally knows, there IS this God who existed before anything else. That is his starting point and, in a sense, that is all he asks of us in the opening words of Genesis. Much more will follow, but for the time being, that’s all we will focus upon – the IS this one Supreme Being.