Minister Speaks: In the Beginning God…
“In the Beginning God…” The Bible starts with those words and lets us know that it is important to know where you are starting from. There is the old phrase, “You can’t get there from here.”
It’s made it’s way into the Urban Dictionary, it’s the punch line to numbers of jokes, attributed to Maine and rural folk giving directions to lost city folk. There is a lot of truth in the statement though.
The human quest for understanding, reasoning, explanation, definition of life and meaning is shaped, in large part, by where we begin. Darwin explored the world and studied natural life as it was and came to conclusions on where life began and our origins. Others were impacted by his ideas and built further upon them. Frederick Nietzsche was influenced by Darwin’s writings, along with others, which led to a repeated phrase in his writings: “God Is Dead.”
In response to this premise Martin Heidegger wrote, “If God as the suprasensory ground and goal of all reality is dead, if the suprasensory world of the ideas has suffered the loss of its obligatory and above it its vitalizing and upbuilding power, then nothing more remains to which man can cling and by which he can orient himself.”
Ideas like that fed another concept called Nihilism, which very simply means: life has no meaning. Those ideas led to other ideas and so on and so on. One of those was Existentialism, which in its many forms argued that the meaning of life begins with me, the individual. We determine our own values and definitions of a meaningful life. Happiness and fulfillment are what you want to color it or maybe unfortunately only what you are experiencing — good, bad or indifferent.
It’s important where you begin. The Bible repeatedly states that life and meaning begins with God. From the first words of scripture, to the first commandment, to the Shema Israel: 4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5“And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deut. 6, NASB
Jesus later says, “6 Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14, NASB
Those words were set in a context of beginning: You believe in God, now believe in me. It spoke of an arrival: in my Father’s house are many rooms. Then it proclaimed the ways and means: Jesus.
Life and meaning begins with God, and Jesus is the one through whom we gain that entrance. Knowing where to begin gives us a place to orient the rest of our lives, a fixed point to start from and ultimately will determine where we are going and how we get there. It’s important where you Begin.