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The Goal of God (7)

by Charles H. Welch

We have considered very briefly "the end", the goal of the ages, the consummation of redemption, the day when God shall be all in all. An "end" presupposes a "beginning", and moreover, if we rightly apprehend what is aimed at in the "end", we shall better appreciate what is implied by "the beginning". Let us therefore turn back to the opening sentence of the Bible and reconsider what is intended by the revelation that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen.1:1). "Beginning" is the Hebrew reshith derived from rosh "head", which is the translation of this word in 249 occurrences.

In Leviticus to Deuteronomy we have the word translated "firstfruits" (Lev. 2:12; 23:10; Num. 18:12; Deut. 18:4; 26:10). Altogether the term "firstfruits" is stated in 11 passages, and implied in at least 7 others. Several passages bring the two words "beginning" and "end" together (Num. 24:20; Deut. 11:12; Job 8:7; 42:12; Ecc. 7:8; Isa. 46:10).

Common usage inclines the mind to think of time, when the phrase "in the beginning" is read, but if we press the point and ask "in the beginning of what?" how can we expect an answer? If God necessarily existed before the first act of creation, time cannot strictly be said to begin at all. When we consult a dictionary we find that the time element is of the first prominence. The English word is ultimately derived from the Greek ginomai and geno to become, to be brought forth.

When the sacred volume opens, the words "in the beginning" are left unexplained, but when it closes, we discover that they imply not only a time, a commencement, but a Person, a Firstfruits and a Pledge, indeed the Alpha and the Omega, the Yea and the Amen (2 Cor. 1:20). There is no article "the" in the Hebrew phrase "In the beginning", the word being bereshith "In the beginning" or "to begin with" or "as a commencement" implying a goal that was in mind, a firstfruits, something future which was pledged in the opening act. Three great passages in the N.T. ascribe creation to the Saviour, namely chapters one of John, Hebrews, and Colossians, but as these passages are of fundamental importance we will reserve their study for a future article.

If there is one fundamental truth which underlies all other revelations concerning the Godhead, it is that GOD is the Creator, and consequently when we read John 1, we gather that, before the first act of creation was undertaken by the Almighty, a movement took place which is beyond our ability to describe or understand, but which can be spoken of as a descent of the unconditioned and absolute God, "Who is "invisible", into the realm of the conditioned and manifest. Hence, in the N.T. where creation is ascribed to Christ, He bears the titles "The Word", "The Image", and "The express Image of His Person". Essentially "God is spirit" (John 4:24) and God is "one" (Deut. 6:4).

Creation is the work of God Manifest; redemption the work of God manifest in the flesh. Creation is ascribed to Him as "The Word" (John 1:3).

Creation is ascribed to Him as "The Image of the Invisible God" (Col. 1:16,17).

Creation is ascribed to Him as "The express Image of His person" (Heb. 1:10).

It will be observed that in John's Gospel the word "create" is not used, but the word ginomai "to become". This seems to have been chosen to emphasize two great facts:

1) All things came into being through Him, that is the primeval creation (John 1:1-3).

2) Grace and truth, i.e. the new creation came into being through Him (John 1:17).

This is the first great comparison. The second is found in John 8:58 and the recurring claims introduced by the words "I am". "Before Abraham came into being (ginomai), I AM". "I AM the bread of life...the light of the world...the good Shepherd...the resurrection and the life.." The word "create" is not used in Hebrews 1. There we read "And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands" (Heb. 1:10), and the strange fact is that, even though the earth and the heavens were thus brought into being, "They shall perish...and wax old as doth a garment." This is revealed in order that the Hebrews should be prepared to find some things which had been given as foundations, were now to be "left" (Heb. 6:1); that like the present heavens, the old covenant "waxeth old (and) is ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13) in favor of the New Covenant, and that, just as the work of His "fingers" so the Tabernacle "made with hands" (Heb. (9:11,24) was also to be done away. The word "create" is used in Col. 1:16 and 3:10 of both the old and the new creations, and this relationship is further enforced by the repetition of the title "The Firstborn" in Col. 1:15 in connection with the primeval creation, and in Col. 1:18 of the church of the Mystery.

It is evident that these 3 books, John, Hebrews, and Colossians, use their terms with precision, and the fact that inspiration has so pointed the way, makes it an established fact and no longer a pleasant theory that "In the beginning" really does mean in Gen. 1:1 that the primeval creation was a kind of "firstfruits", pledging the attainment of the goal of the ages.

(From The Berean Expositor - Vol. 44)

Edited on April 28, 1996 / Updated on April 28, 1996
The Alachau Freenet does not endorse or disendorse the content of this document. Everything is the author's private opinion.
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