God’s unfolding story thread. Genesis 1:1 is usually translated “In the beginning, God created.” But is it saying something more? Walk this way . . .
This series is related to a spiritual call (started in the early 90s) for me to walk a bridge—from the Judaic camp reaching out to the Messianic/Christian camp and then vice versa—crisscrossing it, realizing and later sharing who and what the real bridge is. Walk with me to discover God’s revelations and passionate plan for our souls.
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HIGHLY SUGGEST READING FIRST: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 1]
READING TIME: 4 MINUTES.
Discussions—heated or otherwise—span the ages regarding the Genesis 1:1 wording, which is often translated “In the beginning, God created.” But considering a point of Hebraic grammar, is that what it’s really saying—and how does any of that fit into God’s redemption-focused story thread?
Some scholars and/or grammarians say those first words aren’t as traditionally translated. There’s no “the” in the Hebrew text. So they translate with a one-word shift: “In a beginning.”
A stirring literal translation on a gazillion levels. And how that ups the game on God’s story line. This in-a-beginning view has been discussed many times over the years at Torah study tables—and always sets my mind spinning in a thrilling, isn’t-God-amazing way.
THE BEGINNINGS STORY THREAD: A FEW STEPS MORE
Stephen Rayburn points out in his 2009 “D’var Torah: Bereshit” article, that Rashi (esteemed medieval rabbi/Talmudic commentator) regarded the word b’reshit as a statement not about “the absolute beginning of everything” but when “God turned His attention to our own world.”
Now add a point of biblical consistency—discussed in this two-minute Genesis 1:1 Hebrew grammar note—the construct in Genesis 1:1 (needing a noun) would be translated . . .
“In the (or a) beginning of God’s creating.”
And lastly, factor in this intriguing view from Rabbi Jeffrey W. Goldwasser . . .
Back in October 2011, Reb Jeff wrote in his blog post (“Bereshit: In the Beginning of What?”) a more illustrative translation based on the grammatical analysis and infusing spiritual innuendos of timelessness.
He says the “world never stopped being created” since it “has a beginning, but it is a beginning that has never ceased.”
Goldwasser’s Genesis 1:1 translation goes like this:
“In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, G-d created the creation that is still [beginning and creating].”
The Creator is always creating. He “rested” from His earth project but never really stopped creating—everything He creates is in a forward, unfolding, beginning-within-a-beginning motion. Contracting, reaching down, extending out . . . beginning anew.
God IS the beginning.
The One who has NO beginning.
Yet WITHIN HIM is the beginning within a beginning within a beginning.
Simply complex. Like that time thing in Part 1. Rattles the brain, right? Causes our souls to ponder the magnitude of His being. In light of creation alone, we’re talking about the mind-bending, humanly incomprehensible dunamis power of our holy God.
ON OUR HORIZON: MORE CREATION UNFOLDING
Since that Genesis 1:1 opening that underscores God’s unfolding redemptive creation story, He’s been birthing new things all the time—and will continue beyond our era, per His sovereign desire.
Here are a few “new beginnings” examples . . .
GOD CALLS FORTH ABRAM
He makes a covenant with him, changes Abram’s name to Abraham,
forms a people for Himself to carry His truth to the world. —Genesis 17
HE GIVES THE LAW
And He gave to Moses . . . two tablets of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. —Exodus 31:18
MUCH LATER, A FUTURE PROMISE
He’ll write the Law on our circumcised hearts. —Jeremiah 31:33/32
Says, “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King . . . behold I’m doing a new thing.” —Isaiah 43:19
AND A MESSIANIC PROMISE
Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD,
when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch
and he shall reign as king and deal wisely
and shall execute judgment and justice in the land.
In his days, Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely,
and this is his name that he shall be called,
The LORD is our righteousness. —Jeremiah 23:5
ANOTHER MESSIANIC PROMISE
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation,
humbled and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey. —Zechariah 9:9
I will give her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope . . .
And in that day, declares the Lord,
you will call me ‘My Husband,’
and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’ (owner/master) . . .
And I will betroth you to me forever.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy.
I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
And you shall know the Lord.
—Hosea 2:15-16, 19-20
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth [the dead]
shall awake—some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting reproach and contempt.—Daniel 12:2
(Have you read John 5:28-29? The same promise is given.)
THE “END” OF THIS AGE—NEW BEGINNING, AGAIN
After the 1,000-year Messianic Age, God’s love story is far from over. He’ll create and unfold new things—birthing the coming new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem.
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
(Have you read Revelation 21? The same promise is given.)
QUESTION FOR YOU
What was going on with these beginnings within beginnings . . . when there was absolutely no beginning because God has no beginning and no end?
We know He birthed creation with a WORD. Rabbinic teaching says that the WORD God spoke in the creative process did the creation.
I couldn’t agree more.
It’s the apex—the critical story thread—linking God’s beginnings within beginnings and the reveal of the redemptive gift to humanity: the Messiah.
Let’s take that immense unfolding beginning of God’s story thread and the WORD igniting it all to peer deeper.
Read this next: Beginnings within Beginnings [Part 3].
And stay tuned for more reveals in Genesis and beyond throughout this Bridge series.
PHOTO CREDITS for this three/four-part post:
CREDITS: Steam Punk Minister w/Bible by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Steps with child by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Follow the Line on asphalt photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Finally spring by Hannah Jacobson on Unsplash.com
CREDITS: Woman in jeans with Bible by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.com