Listening or seeing – which is more important?
How the Universe was created
It all began one fine moment in eternity. All was God, nothing else existed, because this was eternity, God's special hangout, a place where He and only He lived and still lives. Nothing else existed because there would be nowhere to put it and no time either, because neither time nor place existed. All was God and all was fine.
It could have been like a whisper in the cool still breeze or a shout, like the roar of Aslan. One thing it wasn't was the Big Bang of the scientists, the random inexplicable event. It was the voice of God and it kick-started the Universe. God spoke and time popped into existence and He called it the Beginning. Then God breathed in and created some room and called it the Heavens.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. These, the first words in the Christian and Jewish Bible, are far more awesome than you could ever imagine and, as we shall see, reveal an aspect of our Lord Jesus that is truly mind-blowing.
Jesus? Now I was always led to believe that God the Father was the Creator of the Universe and everything that we see around us. Doesn't the Children's hymn tell us:
All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all.
This is correct in a manner of speaking, until we examine the small print of Scripture. Our first port of call is the beginning of the Gospel of John, the New Testament equivalent to those mighty first words of Genesis.
"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 that has been made."
Read these words, then repeat the first words of Genesis and let it sink into your spirit as I take you on a short journey.
There are Jewish commentaries from the time of Jesus, called Targums (actually Targumim) and they provide some extra insight. Let’s first look at Genesis 1: 27.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
In the Targum that references this verse:
"And the Memra of God created man in his likeness, in the likeness of God, God created, male and female created He them."
Memra is an Aramaic word and it means ... word. When translated into Greek, Memra becomes the word logos, which brings us back to John 1:1
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Let's read it again, substituting the Greek word for "Word", if you follow me.
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God."
And again, this time using the Aramaic word.
"In the beginning was the Memra, and the Memra was with God, and the Memra was God"
Where has that brought us? Well, as we know from this passage in John, the person being referred to as the Word is Jesus himself.
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:14)
This becomes interesting when we return to our Targum paraphrase of Genesis 1:27 and replace the word Memra with Jesus.
"And (the) Jesus (of God) created man in his likeness, in the likeness of God, God created, male and female created He them."
Wow! This story will continue next week ...