Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Get on the Road to Eternal Life with the Bible’s Very First Verse

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary:  The Bible is a collection of 66 books of God’s Holy Scriptures. As might be expected, God packed the very first verse full of powerful truths, which have consequences for life and eternity. Let’s take a helpful look at four of those profound truths from Genesis 1:1.

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Let’s look at four life-changing truths in that very first verse of the Bible: In the beginningGodcreated … the heavens and the earth.”

1. Our Universe Had a "Beginning"

It is fitting that the Holy Bible opens with the declaration that there was a “beginning” of this universe — “the heavens and the earth” — in which we find ourselves living. If there had been no beginning of this planet and our solar system and the uncounted galaxies, there would be no us,” because there would be nowhere to live. Your existence and mine would have never happened, because there would be no earth or other heavenly bodies for us to inhabit. That’s a very simple truth, but obviously one with immense relevance to each of us living humans.

There are in both the religious and the scientific communities a variety of opinions on the age of the earth and of the heavens. That age (“short earth,” “long earth,” etc.) will not be our topic today. What I want to focus on is that the Bible opens with the fact that our universe, the heavens and the earth, had a beginning.

Some readers may choose to check out here, saying, “Well, I don’t agree that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.” I understand that there are those who believe that, and it’s not my intention to debate that or to malign those who believe that way. I’m aiming this message for those who do believe — and, in my opinion, believe correctly — that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God, as 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV) states: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” And those God-inspired Scriptures of the Holy Bible tell us that our universe, including our earth, had a beginning. Now let’s see how and by Whom that beginning occurred.

2. God Was Already There at the Universe’s Beginning

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God

Psalm 90:2  …from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Jude 25  …to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Habakkuk 1:12  Lord, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die.

The late evangelist, Dr. Billy Graham, said it well: “God had no beginning! He has always existed -- and He always will. God isn't like anything — or anyone else — in the whole universe. God is greater than the universe — far greater than anything we can ever imagine. The things around us get old and wear out — but not God. People and plants and animals live for a time and then die — but not God. Astronomers tell us that even the distant stars and galaxies will eventually burn out or collapse — but not God. God is the One ‘who lives forever, whose name is holy’.” (Isaiah 57:15)

Notice in our opening Scripture: “In the beginning God…” When the beginning of the heavens and the earth occurred, God already was, and eternally, infinitely so. To quote the verses above, He was and is God “from everlasting to everlasting … before all ages … from everlasting My God … and forevermore.”

Think of it! Before any planet, star, or galaxies of stars existed, Almighty God existed! Well, you might be saying, that’s amazing, but how does that affect us here on our relatively small planet with a modest-sized star as our sun? That answer is in the verse just below:

Hebrews 11:6, NKJV  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

This great God, the Author of our earth and the universe, desires all people to “come to Him.” And He will receive those who in faith come to Him and “believe that He exists” (vs. 6, ESV) and who choose to “diligently seek Him” (more on how to do that shortly).

3. "In the Beginning God Created…"

Many secular-minded scientists have suggested that the universe began with a “Big Bang” long ago. When asked the obvious question about where the material, the matter, for this alleged Big Bang came from, one eminent British professor suggested “aliens”! [Yes, I saw the video] Unprovable theories like these arise when the biblical truth of Divine Creation is ignored, or even outright rejected. Yet to those who believe God’s clear record in the very first verse of His Holy Bible, the truth is simple and clarifies things about the origin of our universe. It was created by God Almighty.

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.  

Hebrews 11:3  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command.

Genesis 2:7  Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. [Later in the same chapter (verses 20b-24) we see God creating the first woman, Eve, and presenting her to Adam to be his wife.]

The heavens and the earth, in their infinite complexity and beauty, did not just “appear” out of nothing (ex nihilo) on their own. Rather, God created them. As the verses above state, God “created all things,” including “the heavens and the earth.” How did He do it? Hebrews 11:3, briefly summarizing Genesis chapter one, tells us that “the universe was formed at God’s command.”

My late wife gave birth to our four now-adult children, all happily serving the Lord with their families. Only God’s creative power — impossible to be explained by the never-proven, God-denying theory of evolution — could bring forth the intricacy, the complexity, and the stunning beauty and glory of a newborn infant.

On a recent occasion, late one summer night in the Oregon high desert, I was overwhelmed by the spectacular heavenly panorama of our Milky Way spread across the dark sky above me. It made my heart issue a loud “Amen” to the Scripture that says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). That scene of God’s creative handiwork in the heavens was so overwhelmingly beautiful that it led to what I think was the closest, most intimate prayer time with the Lord I’ve had in my 80 years of life. I’ll never forget that night, standing out on the deck of an Oregon high desert home and beholding the sensational beauty of God’s visible heavenly creation.

4. "…God Created the Heavens and the Earth"

Yes, the heavens are spectacular. I lived 17 years in Alaska and have often seen the beautiful Northern Lights. But we humans live on His created earth. And that too was created by God, and for His glory — “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth (Psalm 57:11).

Psalm 24:1  The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.

God created this earth and intended it to reflect His divine glory. All of the earth “is the Lord’s,” including “all who live in it.” The Lord created this earth that we inhabit. And it (the earth) and all its inhabitants (us!) belong to Him — the Lord God our Creator.

But sadly, our original parents, Adam and Eve, violated God’s command in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), and brought sin and sickness and death upon the earth. Their sins and ours bring separation from our holy Creator God — “Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you…” (Isaiah 59:2). What’s the answer for us?

The Gospel of Jesus Christ Provides the Solution to Our Sin-Caused Separation from the Creator, God Almighty

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, was sent from heaven to earth 2,000 years ago. His mission, in His own words, was “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) — that’s all of us! To redeem sinful mankind from the penalty due to our sins, God the Father sent from heaven His perfect, sinless Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross for our sins.

1 Corinthians 15:2-4  By this Gospel [of the Savior Jesus Christ] you are saved … [3] that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, [and] that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Let’s review. In the beginning, Almighty God created the heavens and the earth. He is the Origin and the Owner of it all. He created the heavens; He created the earth; lastly, He created the man and the woman (Adam and Eve) to begin to populate His created earth.

But they sinned in the Garden of Eden, disobeying God’s command, thus separating mankind from God due to sin. Finding no qualified redeemer on earth (for “all have sinned” - Romans 3:23), God sent His Best, His Son Jesus, from heaven to earth, born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), to live on earth some 30+ years. Jesus preached and taught God’s Word and healed the sick, cast out demons, even raised the dead.

Finally, He submitted Himself to being horribly crucified on a Roman cross, and in that action He willingly bore the sins and the penalty of sins for all mankind. The Perfect (Jesus) died for the imperfect (us sinners), “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

John 14:6, ESV  [The Savior Jesus declared] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The next few minutes can determine your eternity. Have you felt your separation, your estrangement, from God due to your sins? Would you like to have God forgive you those sins and take you into His family as a born-again son or daughter? There is a way, free to you, but which cost Jesus His life. He loves you so much that He died an agonizing death on the cross to provide you with a way of forgiveness and entrance into eternal life as children of God. That way is Jesus, and the apostle Paul summed it up simply as repentance [for our sins] toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21, KJV).

God created the heavens and the earth — and you — to experience His glory. Choose salvation over eternal damnation. Choose forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. You can do that now. It will be the greatest decision of your lifetime! If you would like to do that, please let me offer you help in praying that prayer for God’s salvation by referring you to evangelist Billy Graham’s brief presentation at his excellent Peace With God. You’ll be eternally blessed by choosing to know, love, and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.


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