“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV)
C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity gives probably one of the best distinctions between “making” and “begetting” that I have read. It is one of the best explanations of the distinction between Jesus and the Father’s relationship verses our relationship with Jesus as part of His creation. In fact within Mere Christianity in book four section one he devotes a full seven pages to the distinction. While I think his entire book ought to be required reading for any intellectual that is interested in thinking through Christianity, the words “God created” really stand out to me when I go back to this verse and read it again. As big, beautiful, good, and wonderful as all that God is about to create in the next few verses is, it will dwarf in comparison to the eternalness, beauty, goodness, and wonder of His Son whom He sends to redeem and later retrieve His bride from this creation. As we walk through God’s creation, we will learn about attributes of God much like we can learn something about an artist by studying his paintings, but the creation is not God just like the paintings are not the artist.
It is at the words “God created” in this verse that we first get a glimpse of the very real idea of the “other”. That God is making something outside of Himself. Something that can be distinctly itself, and we will see it take on shape, complexity, life, and even a free will. One of the real beauties is that God is willing to make something outside of Himself and allow it in varying degrees the opportunity to return to or to abandon it’s maker. What God makes in our life lives in our hearts and in our witness. It is His fingerprints and many evidences for us to share with others about who He is, what He has done, and the life that can be found abundantly in Him. Yet, no matter how often He touches us, lifts us up, teaches us, rescues us, or even just loves on us; we are distinctly “other”. We can (and rightly so) learn to surrender all to Jesus even unto death, and what He raises up is a new creation. Granted a perfect new creation and one that lives eternally in Jesus, yet it is still “other” and now more fully free than it ever was at a considerable distance away from Him and broken.
Notice also that this creation spans both heaven and earth. Even after Jesus comes, dies, rises again, and visits with His disciples; this does not change. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18 KJV) We might think that His power is perfectly evident in heaven. I imagine it is. Yet, His power also has evidence right here and now on Earth. What Jesus makes visible and possible to us and our surroundings increases with our focus and surrender to Him and decreases with our management of the situation. Not only must all things begin with Him, but all things are made by Him. “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36 KJV) “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3 KJV)
God created… “Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Psalms 37:34 KJV)