SOAP Journal – 19 September 2016 (Genesis 1:1)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The very first verse of The Bible. This is the context for every verse that will follow. If this is not accepted as truth, then nothing that follows will make sense. That, I suspect, is why atheists come to The Bible and find it confusing or objectionable. If this verse — the context for all scripture that follows — is not deemed true, then all that follows is colored by doubt and easily objected to. If this verse is true, and it is, then everything that follows must be contextualized by this God created.

It is easy to object to God’s standards for how we should conduct ourselves if we do not believe that He created us. I would be inclined to agree with anyone who said that those who had not created a thing were unqualified to tell me how to operate it or maintain it. Experience might have revealed a thing or two about methods that do not work and even a few that might work tolerably well, but that still will not give me optimal outcomes.

For the best outcomes, I turn to the instructions given to me by the maker of the thing. I do not, as an example, argue with Toyota about how and when to service my vehicle. They designed it and built it; chose the components that have gone into it and determined how long those will last under normal operating conditions. They also provide instruction for how to operate and maintain my vehicle under adverse conditions. No one thinks it odd that I should consult my owner’s manual about what service should be performed and when. If I accept that God created everything I see and hear and touch and smell and taste and that He created me, then it is only reasonable that I should consult His instructions on how best to take care of me and the other things He has created.

There are plenty of passages in scripture that I do not fully understand and still more that cause me to scratch my head. This is no different than the owner’s manual of my vehicle. There are portions of that manual that I read and have to puzzle through. And the best understanding for those puzzling bits is found by comparing them with the bits of the manual I do understand. the same holds true for reading my Bible.

This is all well and good, but it must lead to something actionable, or it is mere observation. And the action is this: If I believe what this verse says, then the best life I can hope to live is one that is in conformity with what God lays out in what follows. I can either obey what God instructs and my life will be better for it or I can disobey what God instructs and my life will suffer for it. If God created, then His Word is the manual by which I can operate and maintain my life.

God, thank You for this verse that puts in context everything that follows. Thank You for creating, even though all that follows makes me question the prudence of having ever done so. Please give me eyes to see what You would say to me regarding how to live and maintain my life. More, please give me a heart and will that are ready to obey Your instructions.

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