“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This 10-word creation story is very brief and yet remains outside the embrace of our full understanding. It is certainly challenged and/or dismissed more today than perhaps ever before; however, it is strikingly simple.

Herein, the “no God” atheist and the “we cannot know God” agnostic are quickly dispatched. The polytheist who worships many gods and the pantheist who claims “all of nature is God” are refuted.

Then the materialistic thinker is dealt with in thinking that matter itself is eternal and has no beginning point of creation. God’s plan of naming and blessing dispels the plan of the fatalist who claims nothing supernatural behind creation and history. The Bible’s first verse is a disappointment to the one who wants a “mother nature” claim that matter and life happened to begin outside of a supernatural God.

The Creator continues in Genesis 1 to see and speak the many kinds of living organisms into their existence, knowing that “it was good.” Creation of the universe makes it so that the Eternal confines Himself to work under limitations of time and human history in His dealings with man. He reveals His wisdom, power and Godhead, as well as His love for insignificant man and providential care for all creation.

There are three “beginnings” recorded in Scripture, and the first one, chronologically, goes back to a dateless beginning, John writes in his Gospel account: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus Christ is that “Word,” and He was God before the beginning began. He comes out of an infinite eternity to meet us as we read of a past-tense Creator in existence at the very beginning. We cannot fathom it or put a date upon it. Trust and faith become necessities from the start, and God is pleased with them both.

Christ is said to be distinct from God in John’s beginning statement: “and the Word was with God.” He is not God the Father, but rather God the Son. The last four words of John 1:1 clarify that Jesus, the “Word was God.”

We are taken right to the business at hand in dealing with the deity of Christ.

We move next out of the eternal dimension and down into the corridors of time, back in Genesis 1:1 wherein “God created the heaven and the earth.”

The account of creation is written in 282 words, I am told, and we sure wish that there were a lot more given in explanation!

It remains a choice between creation and speculation. God is pleased with our faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6), and it is “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (verse three). The great problem of getting something from nothing can be addressed either by speculation or by faith in God’s Word. The Lord asked Job in 38:4, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding.” Like Job, we simply do not comprehend creation. The ages have been filled with changing hypotheses that, as in “global warming,” have had to be reversed or retracted because of their inherent untruth.

Moses did not write the book of Genesis primarily with intentions of giving a scientific account. When God used him to pen the words, He did not seem to have science particularly in mind, although the Bible is replete with accurate science that mankind should keep in mind.

Instead of believing that the earth is held up by elephants as did the Hindu followers, we can accept Job 26:7: “He … hangeth the earth upon nothing.” Rather than thinking the earth is flat, we have before us Isaiah 40:22: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle (sphere) of the earth.”

Science taught the world’s wisdom that there were thousands of stars in the sky. Using his new telescope, Galileo Galilei then exclaimed that there were “millions.” Jeremiah 33:22 informs that “the host of heaven cannot be numbered.”

In 1615, William Harvey discovered that human blood circulates to bring life to each cell of the body. Moses had penned in Leviticus 17:11: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” During the 14th-century plagues throughout Europe, nearly 25 percent (60 million) of the population perished. The Bible had the solution that science and medicine of the day could not seem to find: “quarantine!”

Leviticus 13:46-50 stipulates that “he shall dwell alone; without the camp” (verse 46) “and shut up it that hath the plague seven days” (verse 50). Many infections lose their strength today after a similar period of time. The weeklong time of uncleanness was given for people, clothing and dwellings as a law (Numbers 19:14-19).

Hand washing for physicians and medical staff caused a dramatic decrease in the spread of infection among sickbeds in medical institutions. You and I would be wise to follow the same instruction as we shake hands, touch door handles and trade cash in our daily routines. Hand purifiers are available throughout many public places and seem to help keep us more well-defended against microbes we cannot see.

Christ was already past-tense, so to speak, when the beginning began (John 1:1). Time, space and matter (along with energy) were created in the “second” beginning, recorded in Genesis 1:1. It was at Bethlehem of Judah that the third “beginning” took place, as prophesied in Micah 5:2. It was there that the eternal Son would be given in order for God to avail both relationship and fellowship to sinful mankind. It would require the virgin birth, so that the blood of this child to be born (Isaiah 9:6) would be sinless.

The name of the Son to be given was established in Isaiah 7:14 as “Immanuel,” or “God with us.” He would come to us and be with us so that one wonderful day He could return to earth literally bringing His bride (true Christians) with Him to rule and reign over all Creation, as He rightfully deserves.

John writes of this beginning in his first epistle, again in the first few words of the first verse: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes … and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (1 John 1:1). John had become acquainted with this “Word of life” when Jesus was about 30 years old. John and his brother James first met Jesus as fishermen in their father’s business. He gives us the tangibles of daily experience in living with the incarnate Christ, here in 1 John.

Mark writes in his account: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). This is also concerning the beginning moment when Jesus Christ would take upon Himself human flesh. Malachi had written: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings” (Malachi 4:2). The first rays of that rising Sun are the light and life that the Son of God is come to bring “more abundantly” (John 10:10) to you and me.

Peter gives great instruction about how to begin the new year correctly – in the “sure word” of the Bible (2 Peter 1:19). He says: “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.”

Begin this year by allowing the Bible to shine in your heart each day. It can bring you to the beginning of a new dawn, in realizing that Jesus Christ must be the “day star” of your life.

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.