This is a very descriptive start to the Bible as it sets the scene in a very detailed way! There are a lot of subtle points to take from these two verses and we’ll try to identify a few of these during this post.
The wording that God was present in the beginning suggests that God is not confined to the stated time here, which is the beginning. By being outside of time, God can then identify everything and create everything from not being confined to these constraints. This leads to the heaven and earth being created. It has been suggested that for the formation of the universe to exist by physicists; time, space and matter are required, which are all present in this verse. The beginning is time, heaven is space, and the earth is matter. Once these were created, we read in verse 2 that the earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep. I would like us to try our best to imagine the earth in this state…
This image would be dark, lifeless, but the spirit of God moved up on the face of the waters, which not only shows God’s presence here, but it brings us to a climax in the introduction to the Bible; where in the next 6 days, more happens in these verses than in any other chapter in the Bible. God creates light and dark on day 1, sea and sky on day 2, fertile earth on day 3, lights of the day and night on day 4, fish and birds on day 5, land animals including mankind on day 6 and He rested on day 7. The structure is well balanced as we divide the 6 days, with days 1 and 4 relating to light, days 2 and 5 relating to the sea and sky with their inhabitants (fish and birds), prior to land animals and mankind inhabiting the fertile earth. As God deemed what he created as good, except mankind, which was very good, we can use verse 2 of Genesis chapter 1 as one of reflection.
Various passages remind us of the amazing power of God, such as in Romans 1:20.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
In addition, we have Psalm 104:5-6,
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
Approximately the oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and less than 20% of the ocean’s depth have been explored! With how much of God’s creation we can see, it is outstanding how much is yet to be discovered that we know off just on Earth. The tallest mountain on Earth is Mauna Kea and is over 10 km tall, which is 500 m taller than Mount Everest. Mauna Kea starts on the Pacific seafloor and rises above the surface but with such little of the ocean explored, there may be higher mountains and much more to explore in the deep. The deep is mentioned many times in the Bible and one of the most significant times is when the Earth was flooded during the days of Noah.
We read the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened in Genesis 7:11. Trying to imagine the whole Earth flooding is difficult and it seems water came from below and above during this time. The time is now remembered by a bow that is seen in the clouds (also referred to as a rainbow) as it is written in Genesis 9:13. This is a reminder of God’s covenant with Noah that He will never flood the earth again.
When we look back at Genesis 1:2, we read the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, which is a beautiful image and another translation for ‘moved’ is ‘relaxed.’ The image that the Spirit of God was in a relaxed state is one we should build into our lives, although life can be difficult. Following the flood, the earth rested and on day 7 God rested. In our lives do we make enough time to rest or do we continue to work tirelessly? Before we embark on a task do we prepare ourselves for this time ahead?
As times have changed, finding time to rest becomes less and less possible. It was commanded to the children of Israel to keep the Sabbath holy where they were able to rest. There have been reported health benefits associated with rest, relaxation and meditation that includes reducing stress and improving health. As time goes by and as we face various challenges, sometimes we just need a reminder of what God did can help as support, motivation and hope as God has a bigger plan in the Kingdom age for us!