6 JANUARY (BEGUN SUNDAY EVENING 8 JANUARY 1769)
In the beginning
‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Proverbs 8:22–31
In the beginning. As Adam was created on the sixth day, and the year of life assigned in which his son Seth was born, and so on in the life of each of his descendants, … it is pretty certain that the birth of Christ took place about 4,000 years after the creation—that is, to us, about 5,770 years ago was the commencement of time which Moses speaks of. What then was before this beginning? I answer, the same that shall be when all these things have an end: eternity. This is too great a thought for our feeble minds to grasp. We are lost indeed when we consider eternity with respect to the future as having no end, but it is harder to conceive of it by looking back, as having had no beginning. Before anything was made that was made, God was supremely happy and glorious in himself and would have been forever if neither heaven or earth had been created, but when he pleased, he manifested his power in producing creatures to whom and in whom he might communicate and display his goodness. If a thought arises in our minds of wonder that through a whole eternity it should not please God thus to manifest himself till within a few thousand years ago, we should charge such a thought to the darkness and weakness of our minds. Supposing the beginning had been not 5,000 but 5,000 million years ago—there would have been room for the same objection, for even then there would have been an eternity before the beginning, the same as there is now. We submit then to the wisdom, will and word of God: in the beginning he created.
FOR MEDITATION: ‘He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end’ (Ecclesiastes 3:10, NIV).
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 1 [2/4], GENESIS 1:1