Reflections on Genesis 1:1-5 part 3


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"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, and the son of man that you care for him?" (Psalm 8:3-4)?

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Reflections on Genesis 1:1-5 part 3

'The earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters'

After making the introductory sweeping statement that God created everything the author of these words takes a leap back into the beginning of time to before God set to work transforming an empty dark mass of earth and water. There was nothing - a blank canvas. From everything to nothing, this is the mental flight of the author.

We can just imagine the author of these words, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, contemplating the world around him - a world full of shapes and sounds of all sorts: the forms of the rising mountains and hills, the colours of the land and vegetation, the sounds of man and nature - the voices, the birds, the sound of the breeze among the trees, the sound of running water, the beating of his own heart. What is the origin of all this? What is the meaning of all this? He is asking himself. Just as you and I sometimes do. We know that we cannot cut off a slice of life and the meaning of life and place it under a microscope for the spiritual reality behind what we can see goes well beyond the ability of scientific instruments. We are in the infinitely macro, the world that is revealed only to those who have accepted the truth of the first verse. For all others the rest is as a closed book and the whole of creation a closed world. A mind closed to the Source and Mystery of life is a mind closed to the world itself. 1 The one gives sense and direction to the other. Without the Source and Destination of life, life itself dries up and there is terrifying darkness both within and without. The material world becomes a dark prison, so does the inner world of self. We are all faced with a choice: remain in the dark prison of self and materiality or choose to let the Holy Spirit in in order to dispel that darkness:

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Where there is now form, before there was none, where there is sound, there was none, where there is fullness there was none, where there is now everything, there was nothing. No shapes, no movement, mere emptiness and darkness - nothing – no life and no one. It is hard to imagine but let us try. Let us spend a few moments contemplating that outer and inner nothingness without God. Is that what you want? That is hell! Believe it or not that is what many prefer.

Formless, empty and dark. This is the state of reality before God sets to work. That was the state of the earth and that was the state of each of us before we placed our trust in him. Perhaps, dear reader, it is still your state. If it is then rejoice and be glad for the Holy Spirit of God is hovering above you, just as he was hovering over the face of the waters so that he can shape you to be what you were meant to be, fill you as you were meant to be filled, allow you to live as you were meant to live, in a word, to attain true self-fulfilment, the fulfilment of a new self, vibrant with life, happy and free. Just let him in.


1 The source of life is God: “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” (Psalm 36:9).


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Genesis 1:1-5 Questions for Group Leaders
Genesis 1:1-5 Text

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