When I was young I had trouble understanding John 1:1. I didn’t really get what word was with God. Finally I figured out that “Word” represents Christ. It makes so much more sense now. Christ has been with God since the beginning; He is with God, equal to God, and is in fact God. It is interesting that this verse begins in the same way as the account of creation, but Genesis 1:1 goes forward from that point and tells us of creation. John 1:1 goes back from that point and tells us that Christ existed with God before God created the universe. Ah, but you might say, “Wait a minute! Didn’t Christ come as a baby, born in Bethlehem, in a manger? Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?” Well, yes, but that is exactly what helps us to figure out the “word” part. Why did John call Christ the “Word”? Christ is God’s representation of Himself to humanity. Christ is how God chose to reveal Himself to us. Christ came not only to redeem us and bring us salvation, but He came to show us the Father and how much He loves us. So God has given us His word in two ways—through His son, and through the words of the Holy Scriptures. The latter will help us to know the former, and both will help us to know the Father for Jesus says in John 10:30, “The Father and I are one.” That’s all the more reason for us to look at Memos From God together.
Now that I’ve committed to studying the messages that God sends to us, the next question is where to start. The first thing that came into my mind was, “In the beginning…”. I know of two verses in the Bible that start that way: Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. I will look at Genesis today and John in the next post.
As I see it, Genesis 1 is the whole basis for faith. If we don’t believe that God created the universe, and us, there would be no reason to believe anything else in the Bible, or that we have any relationship to God, let alone that we could have a relationship with Him. Conversely, if we do believe that God is the creator of the universe, it allows us to believe that He is all-powerful, and therefore we can have confidence in what follows in the rest of the Bible.
Interestingly, the account of creation assumes the existence of God; it doesn’t try to prove it. It is more concerned with telling us who created the earth and everything in it than with how it was done, or how long it took. There is no exhaustive explanation of creation, so whatever you believe requires faith. Not understanding how it happened actually makes it easier for me to believe that a higher power was involved.
The reassuring fact here is that we didn’t happen by accident. God chose to create us, and He chooses to have a relationship with us. From the very beginning God has been involved with His creation. He interacted with Adam and Eve, and He gave them freedom. They had the choice to accept or reject God, to follow Him or not. He interacts with us today, and gives us the same freedom. We can choose to accept or reject God, to follow Him or not.
I would like to invite you to join me on a journey. This year I am going to look at the Bible in a new way. Rather than seeing the Bible as a book or a collection of letters, I am going to choose single verses or short passages and look at them as if they are memos from God. What can I learn from these passages that will make my life better or make me a better person? The Bible says in II Timothy 3:16,17 that all scripture comes directly from God. If we believe that God is perfect and all-powerful, then it is easy to believe that His Word is true. But even if we don’t, there are still valuable principles that can be learned from it. Those verses go on to say that from scripture we can learn what we should believe, what we should not believe, what we should not do and what we should do. We are told that a person dedicated to God will be equipped for every good work. If we get the right teaching and apply it to our lives, it will lead to doing the right things. That sounds like a good goal to me, and I think it’s worth a try. I would love to have you join me. If there are topics or verses that you want to know more about, feel free to make suggestions. I make no guarantee that I will be able to provide you with the answers you need, but I promise to consider your suggestions and welcome your feedback. Perhaps we can help each other to make 2011 the best year ever. Happy New Year!