In the Beginning


(system) #1

As a child, I read the whole of C.S Lewis’s Narnia series avidly; the series was a gift from my parents when I was around eight. I became submerged in a parallel universe. Now as an adult, I recently sat in a classroom with my fifteen and sixteen year old students, watching the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Now I clearly see the deeply Christian allegory of a Creator who had been gone for a while but returned and died to fulfil his own laws. The dawn of the creation of our own planet was more than our physical emergence. We were created within the context of a loving God who although giving us stewardship over the planet and freedom of choice, warned of the penalties of sin and explained its ultimate consequences. The cross of Christ is foolishness unless understood in the wider context of our beginnings.

‘In the beginning’ is a phrase that is instantly recognisable due to its notable mention in the books of Genesis and John. Despite the erosion of biblical mores and the God they point to, the Bible still remains one of the greatest literary works in the English language. There are more common phrases derived from the King James version of the Bible in common usage than any other body of literature; debatably even more than Shakespeare’s. There has been a television series entitled ‘In the Beginning’, songs and countless parodies including ‘In the beginning was the end,’[1] and ‘In the beginning- the Apple Revolution.’[2] Yet the original words of ‘In the beginning God created’ or ‘In the beginning was the Word’ dropped into every day parlance are perhaps some of the most controversial words one could utter.

The 2.6 billion pounds Hadron Colider and its ‘discovery’ of the Higgs boson nicknamed ‘God particle’ has been called the most important scientific discovery of 2012.[3] The Hardron Collider is an international project, led by the UK that sought to understand what happened just before the ‘Big Bang’. For many, this put a further nail in the coffin of Creationism. On the other hand, sceptics may point to the fact that the ‘God particle’ was found quite conveniently a short time before the project was due to be shut down. Whether one believes this to be a modern day example of the tower of Babel or a credible breakthrough for science, the controversy over our beginnings continues.

Despite the far-reaching attacks on Creationism, which became prominent in 19th century and have continued to the present day, Creationism is still credible. In fact, Darwinism, an element of Evolutionary theory, has come under increasing attack as gaps in the fossil record continue to court criticism from agnostics and theists alike.[4] The gaps create challenges that only faith can fill. Both Creationism and Evolution require faith; only Christians are prepared to admit it. The Apostle Paul declares:

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

Ironically, I would argue that Evolution requires the bigger leap of faith, as it is the only example we have of order coming from chaos, without intelligent design.

As Christians, our beliefs should not be simply based without reason and supported by dogma—certainly not. I believe that God has always made it so that we can have enough evidence to believe but always live by faith. In Psalms 19:1 King David asserted, ‘The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.’ This is as still true today, despite the effects of pollution and industrialisation on our environments. I live in the English countryside and commute to London for work. I marvel at the beauty of fields and lakes along the way, as the months go by, each season is filled with its own glory. A constant testimony to God’s enduring power to create and recreate. I feel safe knowing that He who controls the seasons can cater for all my needs.

In addition, for believers implicit in creation are several wonderful truths. The seventh-day Sabbath was instituted at creation. Often when I talk to people who ask of my faith, I explain that my Sabbath is on the seventh-day, like the Jews. This is true. Yet the Sabbath is not Jewish or belonging to any other group, it was ordained and hallowed at creation— for all mankind.[5] The establishment of marriage,[6] explanation of original sin[7] and God’s claim as to why he should be worshipped are all contained in the creation story.

A Christian friend of mine recently told me that she and her husband believed that the biblical account of creation is a myth that God used to explain creation. However, God used the evolutionary process to create. Without the belief in the Genesis account of creation, whole swathes of the Bible can be crossed out. If the creation account is mythical, God made fundamental mistakes in his wording of the fourth commandment on the tablets of stone in Exodus 20,[8]Paul need not have referred to Christ as the second Adam and perhaps more significantly, which parts of the Bible can we believe are not myths? The book of Genesis clearly vies to be seen as a serious account of our origins and not a mythological, parabolic or semi-prophetical story. Genesis 2:4 states, ‘This is the historyof the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens’. Belief in a six-day creation is fundamental to our churches doctrines and any other interpretation does incredible damage to the veracity of the Bible.

God is not an absent Father, who set off a big bang and then watched for millions of years. He was there at the beginning; instructing and guiding and He will be there at the end. As a descendent of former slaves in the Caribbean, much of my own history has been lost. I sometimes feel envy of people who can trace their family name and history for generations. Yet when I look at creation, I am reminded that I have a far reaching ancestry, purpose and a sure future.

[1] http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/in-the-beginning-was-the-end-dreamthinkspeak-at-somerset-house

[2]http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1873486_1873491_1873530,00.html

[3] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2251210/God-particle-discovery-Large-Hadron-Collider-tops-chart-years-biggest-scientific-breakthroughs.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

[4] The Metro, Wednesday 12th:‘Gaps in our fossil records only open the door to attacks on Darwin’s theory’

[8] Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5162