Genesis 1–2 explodes out of the gate with an awe-inspiring account of creation. God fashions the sky, forges the Earth, forms Adam and Eve, and breathes cosmic firestorms into existence. Both chapters ripple with action and drip with intimacy. Most of all, Genesis 1–2 pulls back the curtain and reveals the main subject of the Bible. These chapters are fundamentally about God.
God is preeminent. God is ultimate. God is the main subject of Genesis 1–2 because God is the main subject of the entire Bible. I love how Rick Warren began his bestselling book, The Purpose Drive Life. “It’s not about you,” Rich said. “It all starts with God.” And Moses, the author of Genesis, agrees. Genesis 1–2 is all about God: his character, his power, his majesty – his grace. Humans are swept up into the story of God. But the story is his story.
So what does Genesis 1–2 teach us about God? We’ll begin with Genesis 1.
Every word in Genesis 1 magnifies the transcendence of God. The word transcendence means surpassing, beyond comprehension, or to exceed usual limits. It insists that God is not part of this creation but sovereign over it. He’s without peer or competitor, and he alone has the right and power to rule over creation as he sees fit. This is the God revealed in the opening chapter of the Bible. When he says, “Jump,” planets leap into orbit. They don’t ask, “How high?”
God whispers and stars explode into existence. God speaks, and massive balls of fire two hundred times the size of the Earth suddenly exist.
There are over one hundred billion stars in each of the one hundred billion galaxies in the universe. That’s around one sextillion stars, which is a number we get if we write out ten with twenty-one zeros behind it. There are 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe, each one spoken into existence by an all-powerful Creator. If we get too close to one of these stars – like ninety-two million miles away, the distance between the Earth and the sun – and stare at it for more than five seconds, it’ll fry our eyes. If there is an intelligent designer behind creation, then he must possess power beyond all comprehension.
“Lift up your eyes on high,” shouted Isaiah, “and see: who created these stars? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing,” (Isaiah 40:26). David wondered, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)
God is transcendent. He alone commands, speaks, blesses, declares, creates, forms, and hurls the universe into its divinely determined place. God creates this. God forms that. God puts this here. God tells that to go there. God whispers and creation stands at attention. Nothing just happens. Nothing is a struggle. Nothing is mundane. Everything is sacred.
So where does grace fit in?
Grace is everywhere in the creation account. It’s in the rocks; it’s in the trees; it’s in the sky and under the sea. Grace is the gift of creation given to humanity.
God gave us creation. He made a cosmic playground and then told us to play.