Every story has a beginning.
The beginning is where the stage for the story is set.
The beginning is where we are introduced to the characters in the story and begin to become acquainted with them.
The beginning is the first step in the journey toward the conclusion of the story.
We are all part of a wild and wonderful story. It is the most ancient story that did not originate in the mind or imagination of any human author. It is essential that the beginning of this story is understood so that the rest of the journey makes sense. Let’s begin…
The Right Starting Place
It is essential that every story has the proper starting point. Our story does not begin with all the activity recorded in Genesis 1. The starting point of our story is a single individual.
God’s existence is neither justified or explained. The fact that He is simply stated and accepted as fact.
Throughout the whole of the story, God is viewed as being uncreated; without beginning and without end. In other words, He is eternal.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
2 Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:1 – 2
God is also understood as being conscious; fully aware of Himself and all things other than Himself. This means He is all-knowing.
God is also active. He communicates and causes things to happen. There is nothing that even remotely tests the limits of His capabilities, therefore He is all-powerful.
The first of this God’s acts that we get to observe is His creation of the world we live in. Throughout the story He will be referred to as Source and Sustainer of all that is. God’s ambassador Paul said it this way,
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36
All things are from Him in that everything exists according to His will.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11
All things are through Him by virtue of the fact that He is the means through which all things exist.
6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses. Psalm 33:6 – 7
That all things are to Him indicates that everything points back to the One who created it.
The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1
All taken together, this means that everything created belongs to Him.
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers. Psalm 24:1 – 2
Besides being viewed as the Creator of all that is, God is also seen throughout the story as the one Great King dwelling in absolute, uncontested sovereignty.
1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods. Psalm 95:1 – 3
His throne is established from antiquity in the heavens.
1 The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
2 your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting. Psalm 93:1 – 2
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all. Psalm 103:19
With this being the case, God is King over all the earth, and His purpose and counsel will stand forever.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm. Psalm 47:6 – 7
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Psalm 33:11
In the midst of all God created, there was one creature that stood as being totally unique from everything else. This being was called Man (humankind in the New Revised Standard Version).
26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27 So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26 – 27
There are some important things that we need to know about this being.
Man was created in the image of God, giving him the capacity to communicate with and receive communication from God.
Man was created from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:5 – 7). This linked him to the earth and immediately initiated him into priesthood, since he was the one being that could commune with both the physical world and the spiritual world.
God planted a garden and placed the man in it (Genesis 2:8). Creation was the first sanctuary in which God and man enjoyed fellowship.
God made man the custodian of His creation to govern it under God (Genesis 2:15).
Because it was impossible for man to fulfill his role or know himself by himself, God created a partner for him so all mankind could live out their story within the context of community (Genesis 2:18 – 25).
Author Barry D. Jones sums it up nicely in his book Dwell.
“Adam and Eve were created to bear the image of God by representing his reign over creation and exercising dominion on behalf of the rightful king of creation. Their task was to ensure the God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.” *
What does all this mean? It means that because God is the Origin of all that is, all that is can only be understood in relation to God. To try and understand the meaning of anything apart from God is to come up with all the wrong conclusions.
It means that God created man to live for Him and with Him. Man would reflect God’s image as he became acquainted with Him, and would learn to govern by living under God’s government.
For us this provides a context for our lives. We are all part of the story that began here. It provides purpose and definition for our lives, empowering us to live on purpose, rather than merely existing. From this beginning we see that God’s original design and intent was that all things, man included, would find and comprehend its existence by living in the Reign. This truth effectively sets the stage for the rest of the story.
The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
*Barry D. Jones, Dwell (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 41.