In the beginning, God.
Really, this is the perfect way to start. It’s easy to get caught up in all the details of the Bible and forget how it begins. Not as a theological dissertation. Not as a scientific revelation. Not as a book of rules. No, it’s a story. And it starts with God.
I love the idea that God is the beginning. That He was there before all of this, and that whatever we have now has somehow flowed out from Him. I think this applies to everything, really. The Bible, for sure. Human history also. Even my own life.
In the beginning, God.
I can’t imagine my story starting any other way. (It would be so terribly cold and lonely.) But this… this is hope. That before the opening credits, there He was.
It’s interesting how God chooses to describe Himself. Somehow even His own words don’t do Him justice. I suppose that makes sense; a Being that was there before the beginning probably couldn’t be contained by language. But we have glimpses, wrapped in mystery.
I have no idea what it means, other than that He was there at the beginning, and in the middle, and at the end. Somehow, all at once. There are more words too: Just. Holy. Merciful. Wise. (How could a force so powerful be so personal?) All these words circling around the mystery of God, like planets around a star. Just a glimpse.
And I have a feeling that while these words attempt to define God, really God is defining those words. After all, isn’t He the purest source and form of justice, holiness, mercy, wisdom? Isn’t He the beginning?
There are so many metaphors. God is light. God is a father. God is a king. God is a judge. After a while, it seems like everything good or noble that we experience is a shadow of the Beginning. Everything appearing to be about us is really about Him.
God is love.
He’s been hinting at it all along. But now, toward the end, He comes right out and says it. Without God, there is no love. If there is love, there is God. Now it starts to make sense, even if I don’t understand it all. This is the climax of the story, the fulfillment of everything else that has been written. This is where the story turns and points us home. Because at the end, we’ll find ourselves still surrounded by the One who’s been there all along.
This month Tony Jones issued a challenge for bloggers to write something substantive about God. The result has been a symphony of words from diverse voices. This is my contribution. Find the rest here.