In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Scripture begins with these ten words. This is the bedrock of the Bible, the first, earliest, and most irreducible foundation for the remaining thirty-one thousand verses of God’s Word. Genesis 1:1 encompasses the totality of Truth. Without it there’s nothing but despair. With it there’s everything we need. If this verse is true, everything in the rest of the Bible is plausible and logically consistent. Genesis 1:1 tells us that God is, that He creates, and that He speaks; and this is the basis of all clear thinking and real hope.
Genesis 1:1 gives us roots. We’re not accidental blobs of dying chemicals mysteriously evolving from primordial sludge without purpose or meaning. We have a past rooted in the glory of the God whose image we bear. We’re wonderfully made and placed in an environment fine-tuned for our needs. The book of Genesis gives us the history of creation, sin, the beginnings of human society, and the wondrous plan of redemption introduced by God. If you discard Genesis 1:1, you abandon the roots and reality of humanity on earth. By removing this text from conscious thought, we lose all inherent moral law in the universe, all intrinsic bases for self-image, all eternal purpose to life, and any and all hope in the human heart.
Genesis 1:1 gives us routes. If we have a past, we have a future. If we were created in God’s image, we have eternal potential. If we have an intelligent Creator who knows and loves us, He must have a purpose and plan for time and eternity. Without Him we’re dying embers in a dying universe with no ultimate significance. With Him we have roots in a dignified past and routes to a great future.
Samuel Wesley, younger brother of John and Charles, was born February 10, 1690, but for about five years he didn’t speak a word. Then one day he hid under a table while his mother, Susanna, looked for him. Finally he cried, “Here I am, mother.” He had learned to talk! Susanna taught him to read, using Genesis 1:1, which he quickly memorized. Soon he had memorized Genesis 1:1–10. It’s no wonder he later wrote this hymn: Hail, Father, whose creating call Unnumbered worlds attend; Jehovah, comprehending all, Whom none can comprehend!16
The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.—Astronaut James Irwin