Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Genesis Notes: God Revealed Through Creation

Russian icon of the Trinity by Andrey Rublev, between 1408 and 1425
GENESIS 1:1-31
I like the fact that even though the Trinity is not formally mentioned anywhere in the Bible, we start hearing about it from very beginning of the Bible. Until I read this study I frankly never noticed that God said, "Let us make man in our image." Its amazing what paying attention to the details of the familiar story can teach you.
The use of the plural "us" and "our" in Genesis 1:26 suggests two things about God. First, like the "royal we" it reflects His greatness, His power and majesty. The plural noun Elohiim suggests this as well: there it is a plural of emphasis, not of number. But there is also a longstanding Christian tradition of seeing "us" and "our" as reflecting the Trinity: God the Creator is NOT alone. It gives us an intimation of communion, or community within the godhead, that will be developed further in the New Testament.

The New Testament reveals that Jesus was the "word" that God spoke "in the beginning." He was present as the Creative Word of God. In other words, His role was to create and to sustain the universe and life. "Through him all things were made" (John 1:3); "by him all things were created ... all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Col 1:16-17) From the very first words of Scripture, we are introduced to the Word of god Who will, throughout all the rest of its pages, slowly but magnificently be revealed. He will be fully manifested when He takes on human flesh in the womb of Mary, becoming the Incarnate Son of God.

Genesis 1:2 tells us that "the Spirit (lit. ruah, or "breath") of God was moving over the face of the waters." God's loving power, symbolized by his breath, was hovering expectantly over the unformed chaos of creation. This completes the description of creation of the natural order as an act of the Blessed Trinity.
Note on the icon above:
I love this art so much, specifically because it is explained so well in Raniero Cantalamessa's book Contemplating the Trinity, which is where I first encountered the icon.

You may read some of his observations here:

This series first ran in 2004 and 2005. I'm refreshing it as I go. For links to the whole study, go to the Genesis Index. For more about the resources used, go here.

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