As we begin a new year, we’re beginning with the beginning of everything. Genesis 1 and 2 tell the story of the world and how everything in it came to be. So many of the biggest questions of life are answered here: who we are, why we are here, what life is about, who is God, how is God engaged in the world, and so on. While science very helpfully offers us insight into how things came to be, it cannot answer the question of why. And the why of everything begins with a Who: the God who was there for all eternity, before all things existed. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1).
This Sunday we’ll talk first about the importance of beginning with God. In the Bible’s view, the world is not ours to make something of it, nor is it up to you how to use your own life. The purpose of everything begins with God, the one who is before and behind all things. A self-centered life is a life of destruction and ruin, while a God-centered life is a life of joy and flourishing. It is the life we were made for. As we begin a new year, it’s a beautiful thing to remember that whatever happens this year, living a life in which God’s glory is our supreme concern must be on the top of our resolutions.
But we also see in this text the goodness and glory of creation. God made the world and everything in it good and beautiful. Though the curse of sin has distorted our world and everything in it, before creation was cursed it was and still is good. God’s agenda is not to eradicate the earth but to preserve and ultimately renew its goodness- because he made it and it belongs to him. Our vision as a church reflects this: “Called together for the renewal of all things.” As we begin a new year, we remember that one of our great callings is to be a part of God’s renewing work in all creation, because it is good.
In preparation for worship this week, read the whole of Genesis 1, perhaps with pencil and hand, and note all the times that “goodness” is spoken over creation. Ask the Lord to renew our focus as we begin the new year together focusing on his pre-eminence over all things.
Our worship guide can be downloaded here.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.