Reflections on Genesis 1:1-5 part 4


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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 4

'God said: “let there be light'

God said: “let there be light”
The Word of God resounds in the dark wilderness. The power of the Word of God becomes manifest. Right from the beginning he is shown to be the Lord or Master of the world.

We have seen important characteristics of God in these first three verses: the idea of a plurality in unity in the name Elohim, we have seen the Spirit of God hovering over the darkness and now we witness the Word of God involved directly in the creation process. We have right from the beginning of Scripture more than just a hint of the fundamental identity of God. The idea of three in one certainly does not compromise monotheism and should not cause us any problems for we ourselves are living examples of the idea of plurality in unity. We are also three in one. Each of us is one being but made up of body, soul and spirit, three in one. My body is me, my soul is me and also my spirit is equally me but there is only one me, not three. It is true that no human analogy is adequate to understand God fully but this does render the idea of plurality and oneness more accessible to our limited minds. Later it becomes clear that God is seen as "Father", "Son" (also called the "Word" of God) and the "Holy Spirit". Not everything can be developed fully in the first verses but much is strikingly present or hinted at right from the very beginning.

God speaks to the dark empty waste and it obeys, it makes room for the light willed by God. This calls to mind another impressive example of the elements of the world obeying the voice of God. Jesus (the Word) ordered the storm to cease and he is obeyed.

A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41

Who is this person who is obeyed by nature? Who is he? He is none other than the same voice of God here in Genesis that created the world:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. (Col. 1:15, 16)

God speaks to his creation. God speaks to us, the most privileged part of his creation. How do we discern his voice? The answer to this is also part of his revelation, which we shall discover.

Darkness prevails until God speaks and then things start to happen. This is the big bang that sets in motion the process of creation, the voice of God resounding in that dark emptiness. The emptiness is about to be filled. As it is, darkness is useless but God is not about to eliminate it, he uses it. He is going to introduce a balance. He is not going to let darkness prevail. Darkness is symbolic of what is negative. Darkness hides, light reveals, evil loves the dark, good loves the light. The dark evokes fear, light is reassuring. Let there be light, is God's wish. What is the source of light? Scripture has the answer to this too: “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). God does not give any light, he gives his light, he gives himself to his creation. “The heavens and the earth are full of your glory”1

'and there was light'

God's Word brings about a clear result: "there was light". God's Word has power, a power that never fails, it always achieves the result that was meant. God's Word works miracles in the whole of creation and that means also in you and I:

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don't go back until they've watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They'll do the work I sent them to do, they'll complete the assignment I gave them. "So you'll go out in joy, you'll be led into a whole and complete life. (Isaiah 55:10-12)

God speaks and things happen, God’s word is light and life, God’s word is power and so also was the word of Jesus who calmed the storm. What about our word(s)? Are they words of power, words of life, words that make things happen or do our words leave people indifferent? We can also have the same power as Jesus, we can also do the same things as Jesus; the only condition is that we must have the same disposition as he had:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus ... who emptied himself ... taking the form of a servant ... he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death (Phil. 2: 5-9)

The creator of the universe was our servant: "I am in the midst of you as he that serveth." (Luke 22: 27).

He had the power to serve because he emptied himself: "the Son can do nothing on his own" (John 5: 19), "‘I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me" (John 5: 30), "I do not accept glory from human beings" (John 5: 41), "I have come … not to do my own will" (John 6:38), "My teaching is not mine" (John 7:16), "I do nothing on my own" (John 8:28), "I did not come on my own, but he sent me" (John 8: 42), "I do not seek my own glory" (John 8:50), "The word which ye hear is not Mine" (John 14: 24).

Jesus had totally surrendered himself to the Father, body, soul and spirit. That was his power. He was empty of self yet full of the Father. Have we forgotten that Jesus is our model? Are we full of self or full of God? We cannot be full of both. Let us allow the Holy Spirit in to separate the darkness of self and make room for the light, life and power of God for we are called to do exactly the same as Jesus and this is not possible with the power of our old self. Only God can do the works of God.

We have the Father, we have the Son and we have the Holy Spirit: “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). We have God, but does God have us? Our words can be as powerful as the words of Jesus: what is stopping us? Self.

Is our life really hidden with Christ in God? (Col. 3:3) Or are we still with Frank Sinatra singing “I did it my way”. We may love the song but we cannot accept it as a guiding principle for life. My way or God’s way, which is it going to be? Self or God? That is the question.

Robert Walsh


1 "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest." This is the Sanctus recited at every Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. It is a combination of four verses of Scripture: Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8, Matthew 21:9, Psalm 118:26.


Next page Genesis 1:26-2:3 text >>
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Genesis 1:1-5 Question for Group Leaders
Genesis 1:1-5 Text

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