In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
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 1:1-5 (NIV)
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. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (NIV)
The beginning of Genesis and the beginning of the Gospel of John are eerily similar in that both writers are pointing out the same core truths:
God was God before the beginning.
God created heaven and earth.
God created light and separated it from dark.
God created life.
These truths may sound simplistic to those of us who were raised in a religious tradition, but what about people who have questions about the existence of God?
We as orthodox (small o) Christians (which include Lutheran Christians and most other Protestants, as well as Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox,) believe three basic foundational truths about the nature of God:
God is omnipotent- (all powerful)
God is omnipresent- (fully everywhere at all places and all times, all the time)
God is omniscient- (all knowing)
Given these three truths about God, we can imagine Him planning and working the coming together of the cosmos, and the formation of the galaxies and stars and planets. None of what we see in the heavens- or here on earth- came to be by random chance. There is nothing we can see, touch, experience or imagine that is outside of God’s understanding or authority.
When we put the rubber to the road, what do these foundational truths about God mean for us in our everyday life and in the struggles we have now?
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
God is with us. He has been with us since before the beginning. He is with us now. He will be with us forever, when this world is no more.
As we continue the celebration of Jesus’ incarnation and birth we can take comfort and marvel in the fact that even before the beginning, God is, and for always, God is with us.