“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 KJV)
Genesis is one of my favorite books of the entire Bible. It is written by one of my two favorite authors, Moses. (John being my other favorite.) The historical persons of Moses and John have a unique opportunity with the books they wrote. Each author wrote five books. One wrote about the beginning and about the law which God gave. The other wrote about the fulfillment of that law in the person of Jesus, three books which are among the best encouragements for those who follow Jesus, and finally about the revelation as to how Jesus wraps it all up. Each author gets a momentary glimpse of the one who is eternal yet is both the beginning and the end (compare Exodus 3:6, Matthew 22:31, 32, and Revelation 22:13).
There is something incredible about how both these authors begin the first of their books. They use the exact phrase, “In the beginning” (see Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1). This phrase really does not change much as you shift from translation to translation (provided you are not reading a translation that has also been paraphrased, i.e. the Living Bible, the Remix, etc…). This idea of “beginning” does not even change when translated directly from the respective Hebrew or Greek. So, why with specific intention by more than one author is this phrase used? If it relates to a time period somewhere significantly distant from the time that this phrase is actually written, then why not something that means something like, “in a time long ago” or “long before things are as they are now”? Perhaps even if this were merely a story or tale, “once upon a time”. Yet this phrase is very specific and particular, and there is reason in it. This phrase can present a number of problems for people. The first group that comes to mind are the “modern” scientists who have distinctly departed from real scientists who rewrite science with the template in mind that God as creator of all cannot exist, or if He does then He is only as a belief by primitive and unenlightened people. Aside from the obvious error of putting hypothesis above evidence in one’s exploration of what is, a beginning of any kind presents an inconvenient problem for them. They have less of a problem with explaining the assembly of all things in the realm of eternity as it never forces an answer to the question, “where did the first one come from?” If there never was a first one and one thing is merely a result of something else then you can smoke and mirror all day long. These scientists have no problem with an eternity. In fact time is the magic answer to all really really large improbabilities. They have a huge problem with any ultimate beginning. The problem only compounds itself when you introduce the idea that everything was made through Him and nothing exists that God did not make (see John 1:3). This makes it impossible to separate science and religion as science is merely a “study of” whatever exists and God is the creator of all that exists. Therefore science can do no more than to study the works of God. Not that this does not keep them from attempting to prove that God does not exist by His own works. I am sure you can see how bent such an endeavor becomes. Christians effectively face the same paradox that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus face at the Inn (see Luke 2:7). Do you recall why Jesus was born in the stable? There was “no room” in the Inn. Likewise the pre-built theories of man have no value to the truth when it shows up on it’s door step. The funny thing is that there is plenty of room in the Father’s house for all (see John 14:2). Likewise the Christian can love even his enemy (see Matthew 5:44).
Another mystery to consider is to notice that it does not say “at the beginning” nor “near a beginning”. This is not considered to be apart of a point in time nor is this beginning arbitrary. If Jesus really is literally the beginning (see again Revelation 22:13), then would “in the beginning” not read remarkably close to “in Christ”? Now that opens up all kinds of possibilities, but I think one of the most obvious would be, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV) How does an idea like this reveal the very real depth of requiring the presence of Jesus before any real creating of any kind can really be done? There is no point in starting the story anywhere else. There is not even any point in really wanting to know what happened before this story begins because we all have stories of what happened before Christ entered our life and none of them are really worth telling except in as much as it reveals the goodness, grace, mercy, love, patience, and greatness of our God. Before we can even enter verse two of Genesis to see the process of how God creates or what God creates or even in what order God builds things; we must first see Jesus. Jesus is the starting point. The race that we run that Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 9 makes no sense unless there is a specific starting and finishing point. If we all start and finish where we like, or think best, then it becomes a very arbitrary race. Jesus is both our beginning and end. He marks the track and both defines and defends the rules.
Likewise, Jesus is also the gate. If you think about a walled anything, it has a circumference. Like a circle it is a continuous or an eternal wall. Anyone wanting to get either in or out has to find the point in this circumference that the gate exists at. Any make shift gates do nothing but reveal the handy work of thieves (see John 10). All business, judgments, transactions, and traffic take place at the gate.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6 KJV) In the beginning…