I started my 2020 Bible reading plan last week. The plan is to finish Psalms (left over from last year) and to start at the beginning in Genesis. As I am reading, I will probably be writing things based on where I am at the time. I might not make it through as quickly as I did last year because I plan to continue to write as much as I can.
My first observation from this year’s reading is that the holy trinity of God is mentioned in the first three verses of the Bible.
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.
– Genesis 1:1-4
The first verse obviously introduces God as the creator of everything.
The second verse introduces the “Spirit of God” or the Holy Spirit. When I first read this, I missed the distinction between God and His Spirit. If they were not two distinct entities, then it would have said “God was hovering over the waters”. If they were two different entities, it would have talked about God creating the Spirit. Instead, God and the Holy Spirit are two parts of the same.
The third verse is a little less direct, but in some people’s opinion, it introduces the third person of the trinity, Jesus Christ. At first, it seems like this is the time when God introduced light as we know it, but then later in verse 14, the Bible says that God created “lights in the vault of the sky” and is very clearing talking about the Sun, the Moon and the stars. So what is this light?
Some theologians believe the light to mean a general sense or concept of light verses darkness; others believe it is the creation of photons. There are many theories, but regardless, it is important to know that Jesus was there from the beginning so it is possible that Genesis 1:3 is a reference to Him. Daniel prophesies this, the Gospel of John strongly backs this up and John later prophesies it with words from Jesus in Revelation.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
– Daniel 2:22
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:1-5
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
– John 8:12
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
– Revelation 1:8
If we are to accept the potential that Jesus is introduced in verse 3, then the next concept is interesting when thinking about verse 4. Is Genesis 1:4 talking about the fall of Satan? My wife brought up this possibility when we were discussing this a few weeks ago. I find the concept very interesting.
We know from Ezekiel 28 that Satan was an angel and that he was anointed as a guardian cherub who directly attended to God (I discuss this more in depth here). We also know that he wanted to replace God and so God threw him to earth. My only problem with this theory is timing – Ezekial 28:13 states that Satan was “in Eden” which had not been created yet in Genesis 1:4. So, potentially, this was simply when the concepts of light and goodness and Jesus were made separate from the concepts of darkness and sin and Satan. Regardless, Jesus was there and so was Satan because of Jesus’ very brief account in Luke 10.
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
– Luke 10:18
Regardless of how much we read into verses 3 and 4, we don’t know for sure if it is true. What is true is that God existed as the holy trinity from the very beginning and the fact that the Old Testament starts with and exhaustively talks about Jesus the Messiah should change how we read it – for example…
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
– Genesis 1:26