It is my general understanding that almost everything we need to know about God can be discovered within the opening chapters of the Bible. Genesis 1-11 are some of the most controversial, most hotly debated chapters in Scripture. Are they literal 24 hour days during creation? Was there really a Garden in Eden? Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons? How could Noah fit all the animals on the ark? Could there really have been a global flood?

Many of these narratives have been passed off as Sunday school flannel board stories. Rarely do we revisit these chapters as adults to try and figure out why are they in the Bible? Why did God choose to open the most important book in all of human history with such outrageous sounding stories? Or maybe they’re not so outrageous if we just tweak our own modern/postmodern worldview a bit.

So let’s begin in the beginning.

Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Thus begins the greatest story ever told.

Now for a little English lesson. The verb in this sentence is “created.” The subject of the sentence is “God.” The Bible begins by letting us know that God’s first act in history was creating. Now, I can go outside, nail some wood together, and build a birdhouse. Then I can come inside, mix up some flour, sugar, etc. and bake a cake. I can then proceed to pick up and clean up around the house to get things in order. But at the end of the day I have not “created” anything.

When God creates, He is intentional, He is purposeful, and His creation is perfect. God’s act of creating brings to mind an artist who slaves over mixing just the right color and using just the right brush stroke until his masterpiece is completed. Hours upon hours may be spent in the tedious labor, but the end result is a priceless work of art that can never be replicated.

If you look back into other creation stories at the time this was written, you’ll see a themes of chaos (roaring oceans and terrible storms) or battles between other gods or some other way in which the earth was simply an accidental by-product of some disaster.

But in this story, a singular God took his own time to create, purposefully and intentionally, the heavens and the earth and everything between and within.

Just reflect on this verse for a moment.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

In the beginning

God created

the heavens and the earth.

Our God is not a god to be feared and appeased but one to be worshiped and embraced. He is not up there somewhere looking for an excuse to strike us down or destroy the world. That would be as absurd as Leonardo da Vinci throwing darts at the Mona Lisa or Michaelangelo taking a jackhammer to David.

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul tells us that we are God’s poiema, from which we get our word poem. We are his workmanship, his creation, his masterpiece. Every single person is God’s creation. That means that you and I and everyone of the 6 billion people on this earth has value, has meaning, has a purpose.

If that’s not good news, I don’t know what is. All I know is that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and you and me.