The Excellency of God’s Character – In the Beginning

“Jesus was there not only before matter; He was there before time. He did not come into being; He just was.”

John Piper

The Intelligent Design Theory by itself will not necessarily lead us to determine the God to which it refers, to determine who is specifically the Designer that is being talked about – a topic addressed previously. Therefore, it is very important that Science works hand in hand with Theology.

That is why throughout the development of the preceding articles section, we worked in parallel presenting the evidence of science, research and biblical support that the case deserves. This is how we conclude that the Designer spoken of in the Intelligent Design Theory is the Creator God of the Bible; in other words, the Triune God (Father, Son Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit), who intervened as the author of creation.

And it is precisely the Triune Creator God and His character, a topic to which we will dedicate space to expound during this and the next articles that we will publish.

Again, it is important to mention that the English version of this article has been translated from the Spanish version of Towards Excellence (https://hacialaexcelencia.org/2022/02/06/la-excelencia-del-caracter-de-dios-en-el-principio/); not necessarily from the original texts and works of authors here cited. The Bible verses used are from NKJV.

In the beginning

The clear manifestation of the Creator God is observed in Genesis 1. And in this same chapter, it is elucidated who the Creator God is. Let us then quote Genesis 1, in the New King James version:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2)

In both verse 1 and 2, it is clearly seen that this portion refers to “God” and “Spirit of God”, respectively. Dr. Charles F. Stanley comments in “Life Principles Bible – NKJV”, thus:

“Look closely at Genesis 1:1,2 and you will notice that the Bible refers to ‘God’ and the ‘Spirit of God’ without making the slightest distinction between the two. Use the two terms equally. Have you ever wondered why? It is because the two are one! This is the first allusion to the doctrine of the Trinity in the Scriptures.” (Stanley 2005)

And Dr. Stanley adds that later in the account of creation, there is even a second reference to the Trinity, like this in the version of New King James:

Man strive hand to a God

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26)

And likewise, the version of the Textual Bible, IV Edition (Spanish) is noted as a reference:

“And Elohim said: Let us make a man in our image, according to our likeness…” (Translated from the Textual Bible IV Edition 2018)

Who was God speaking to? And to whom did this mysterious “let us make” refer? These are key questions asked by Dr. Stanley. The other beings that existed at the time, Stanley says, were animals or angels. And we are clear from the study of the Scriptures that none of these beings took an active part in the creation process. But happily, in the very next verse, we are given the answer.[1]

“So, God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 – NKJV)

Without a doubt, that mysterious “let us” refers to God; that is, to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, emphasizes Stanley.[2]

And here it should be noted that the name Elohim is plural, but as noted in Genesis 1:1 for example, in the original Hebrew, this name is used followed by a singular verb. This occurs, as Don Stewart points out, when referring to the true God. It denotes unity and diversity as part of the nature of God, which is revealed in the Scriptures as the doctrine of the Trinity.[3]

Now, to correlate this initial portion referring to the creation and the participation of the Triune God in it; it is important that we refer to the Gospel of John, also in the New King James version:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:1-3)

As a reference, we will also quote the version of the Textual Bible, IV Edition (Spanish):

“In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was before God, and God was the Logos. This one was in the beginning before God. Everything existed for Him, and without Him, nothing that exists existed. (Translated from the Textual Bible IV Edition 2018)

Interestingly, we observe that the transcendental passages of the doctrine of Creation appear at the beginning of the Bible, consequently at the beginning of the Old Testament; but it is interesting that also at the beginning of the New Testament; honoring precisely the “beginning” as the starting point for the creative work of the Lord – “In the beginning…” (בְּרֵאשִׁית – bə rê šîṯ), in Hebrew, in Genesis 1:1; identical phrase also in the Greek, which is reiterated in John 1:1 (Ἐν ἀρχῇ – En archē).

Theologian and teacher R. C. Sproul, in his commentary on John 1:1, notes:

“In this important passage, the Logos is distinguished from God (‘was with God’) and, at the same time, is identified with God (‘was God’). This paradox has great influence on the development of the doctrine of the Trinity, whereby the Logos is seen as the Second Person of the Trinity. (McDowell 1999)

Jesus the Son is a Person distinct from the Father, but is one in essence with the Father; as expressed in John 10:

“I and My Father are one…  If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:30, 37-38)

And it is timely now that we share some passages, which clearly demonstrate once again that Jesus is God and that He was present at creation, as stated earlier in John 1:3:

“But Jesus answered them, ´My Father has been working until now, and I have been working. ´ Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:17,18) Jesus is one with the Father, He is God.
Jesus said to them, ´Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM´.” Jesus already existed before dwelling on Earth, He is Eternal God.
“And He said to them, ´I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven´.” (Luke 10:18) Jesus, God the Son, already existed before the creation of the world.
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17) Jesus, God the Son, actively participated in creation. In fact, “everything was created through Him,” thus corroborating John 1:3.

In short, and as John Piper beautifully describes it:

TE-JPiper-ENG“Jesus was there not only before matter; He was there before time. He did not come into being; He just was.” (Piper, Desiring God 2017)

In this analysis and comparison between Genesis 1:1-2 and John 1:1-3; and its correlation with the famous phrase “In the beginning…”, we clearly see that the Trinity was present at creation.

Don Stewart defines the Trinity, explaining that within the nature of one God there are three eternal Persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.[4]  In fact, Jesus testified of all three Persons of the Trinity in Matthew 3:

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:16-17)

And, thus, creation is the work of the Triune God, as Gerald Nyenhuis affirms, in his study of the Creator God.[5] Both Old and New Testament texts testify that God, or rather that each Person of the Trinity had an active part in creation, here are some examples:

The Father as Creator Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 40:28; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Isaiah 42:5.
The Son, Jesus as Creator John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2,10; John 1:10.
The Holy Spirit as Creator Genesis 1:2; Job 33:4; Psalm 104:30; Isaiah 40:12-13

Thus, this discussion of understanding God the Creator as the Triune God sets the stage for a detailed study of God’s character attributes.

We look forward to meeting you soon as we upload new articles!

[1] The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible – NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 3.

[2] The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible – NKJV (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), 3.

[3] Don Stewart, “What does the Hebrew Term Elohim mean?,” Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1303.cfm

[4] Don Stewart, “What does Genesis 1:1 Tells us about the Creation of the Heaven and the Earth?,” Blue Letter Bible, https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_681.cfm

[5] Gerald Nyenhuis and Dr. R.C. Sproul, El Dios que adoramos (Miami, FL: Logoi, Inc., 1990), 236.

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