Creed: God the Father Almighty Made Heaven & Earth
- Monday, December 06, 2004
Editor's Note: "Creed" is an ongoing article series that discusses the core beliefs of Christianity as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene creeds. Links to the other installments are listed at the end of this article.
We've spent the past several installments of "Creed" talking about God the Father. In both the Nicene and the Apostle's Creed, there is a tag of sorts at the end of this facet of the Divine. God the Father Almighty.
This term was heard for the first time when God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, saying, "I am God Almighty."
In Hebrew, El Shaddai.
According to Baker's Evangelical Dictionary, under Names of God, we read that some believe this title or name is the oldest of the divine names found in the biblical text. It appears nearly 50 times, 31 in the book of Job alone. Because in Hebrew every name means something, El Shaddai denotes God's invincible power.
How appropriate that this name of command and authority precedes Maker of Heaven and Earth.
Several installments ago, we looked at Isaiah 64:8, which reads: Yet Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; we all are the work of Your hands.
I wrote of Joy, my new friend from England/Idaho who is a potter and who spoke to me of the thrill of putting her hands in the clay and working it into something.
The importance of this to the creation story found in Genesis is the use of words such as "created," and "formed" and "made." There is the sense in the writings of a potter working a hunk of clay into a fine piece of art.
When it comes to debating the Scriptures, the story of creation is certainly at the top, even among Christians. Yes, even among Christians. Is the Genesis story exact in the telling? Did it really take place within a seven-day period? Were the seven noted days to God like our days? Or, is the Big Bang Theory, introduced in 1927 by the Belgian priest Georges Lemaître, more accurate? If so, did God's initial pounding of the clay actually begin 10 to 20 billion years ago?
Well, we're back to the faith issue. So, let's make a pact. We won't argue how. Let's just argue whom.
God as Creator
There are nearly one hundred sections of the Scriptures telling of God's creation process or praise Him because of it. And, no, we won't read every one of them. But, we should look at the most obvious: Genesis, chapters one and two. Within these verses, the author (Moses) describes God by action. Within that action we see his creative power.
God created. God made. God said...and it was so. God saw. God divided. These are words that demonstrate God's command and His...well, okay...power! Why? Because - check it out - there was no laboring, merely speaking. God created the heavens and the earth, not out of clay, but out of nothing more than His words. This is infinite power.
In Genesis 1:1 we read: In the beginning, God...
The name for God here is "Elohim." The first part of that name, El, means "strong." The wording of Moses tells us that before the beginning of the creation story, God was. And God was strong.
We also read that the earth was formless and void. This means it was in confusion and not inhabitable.
Isaiah 45:18 reads:
For this is what the LORD says -
he who created the heavens,
he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited-
"I am the LORD,
and there is no other.
It is important for Moses to express the vast confusion because it is the antithesis of God. God sees the darkness (again, an antithesis of God) and as a first step to bringing order, says, "Let there be light."
Here's where the creation story gets really interesting.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning - the first day. - Genesis 1: 3-5
And why is that so interesting? Because, you see, the sun has not yet been created. That happens on the fourth day. But right at that moment, God chose to extend light.
I love to picture this with my mind's eye. I see a great shaft of light, filled with prisms of color. But, without the sun, where does that light come from? Why, from God, of course, and in my mental picture, it is being shot from God's hand to the heavens below Him.
Look with me at what John writes at the very beginning of his gospel: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. - John 1: 1-5
It is important to again note the name of God in the creation story. Elohim. Elohim is a plural intensive with a singular meaning. One God...but plural in nature.
In the very beginning of the creation story you'll see the trinity of God.
In the beginning God...
...and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters...
...And God said, "Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw that the light was good."
Isn't it wonderful to know that the One in whom you believe has that kind of power?
Award-winning national speaker, Eva Marie Everson is a recent graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary. Her work includes Intimate Moments with God and Intimate Encounters with God (Cook). She is the author of Shadow of Dreams, Summon the Shadows and Shadow of Light. (Barbour Fiction) She can be contacted for comments or for speaking engagement bookings at www.evamarieeverson.com.
Creed: God Keeps His Word
Creed: The Father Says 'Welcome to My Family'
Creed: The Abba of Jesus
Creed: Who is God the Father?
Creed: Acting on Your Faith
Creed: Who is God to You?
Creed: What is God's name...other than 'God?'
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