In The Beginning
By Shawn Tomlin
Beginnings… We all have an understanding of what a beginning is. It’s a starting point for something. So as we study Genesis 1:1 we see that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” This is the starting point for Creation, but certainly not God. The Triune God is eternal. He was before Creation was. A few days ago I listened to a lecture by Chad Bird for a 1517 Legacy course called “Christ in the Old Testament.” This piece is a reflection of the insight I gained from that lecture. We will soon find out how Christ is present in Genesis 1:1.
All of our focus is going to be on the first three words of Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning.” In the Hebrew, that phrase is actually one word, “Berashit.” As we investigate the Scriptures, we will see that it is overflowing with Christology. Hopefully as you continue to read you will see that all of Scripture, all of it, testifies in some way to Jesus Christ. Even if we can’t fully understand, which I do not, we can be assured of it because of what the Scriptures say. The next paragraphs will link four other passages to this Hebrew word “berashit.”
Let’s first visit Proverbs chapter 8. In this chapter the Creation was revisited and we see as we read that God wasn’t alone when He created everything. Wisdom was there with Him. In this chapter Wisdom isn’t some abstract mental construct, Wisdom is personified. In verses 22 and 23 of Proverbs 8 you will see the word, “beginning.” That’s really significant because in Hebrew it’s “berashit.” The exact same word that’s in Genesis 1:1. Let’s read how Wisdom is portrayed in verses 22 and 23. “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.” Again in verse 25, “Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills I was brought forth.” In fact, the Targum, which is a first century Jewish paraphrase of the Hebrew Scriptures says in Genesis 1:1, “In Wisdom, God created the heavens and the earth.” Granted, the Targum isn’t Holy Scripture, but it does give us some insight into how the early believers viewed such passages of scripture.
God spoke everything into existence through His Word, and this Word, the expression of His infinite Wisdom, is Christ.
Now that we have Wisdom personified as being present with the LORD before creation, we are going to jump to the New Testament to further expound upon “Berashit” from Genesis 1:1. Colossians 1:15-17 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Paul is clearly stating that Christ was present with the Father during creation and that it was through and for Christ that creation happened.
To further this thought let’s move to John 1:1-3, which says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” The “Word” that John wrote about was the “Logos,” the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. God spoke everything into existence through His Word, and this Word, the expression of His infinite Wisdom, is Christ. Revelation 3:14 supports this in saying, “The Amen, the Beginning of the creation of God…”
As we recap all this we see that the first word uttered in Genesis 1:1 is the Hebrew word “Berashit” which is also used in Proverbs chapter 8. In that chapter of Proverbs we see that the LORD wasn’t alone as He created everything. Wisdom was with Him and in that Wisdom God created everything. What was the expression of that infinite Wisdom? None other than the Word, through which Creation was spoken into existence. That Word, in the beginning, was with God, that Word was God. This Word became flesh and dwelt among us. What am I trying to get at? As we read Genesis 1:1, we can understand it as “In Christ, God created the heavens and the earth.”
“The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.”