There is a book to which I keep returning, reading again its opening lines. They captured me the first time I heard them read and again the first time I read them for myself. This book is the first one I recall reading that I could call my own. Before I could write, Dad wrote my name in the front of it. Those opening lines still capture my attention: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Fifty-eight years after receiving that book, those words still capture my attention and invite me to read on. I want to know this God who can call into being both heaven and earth. I want to know the places God created and creates. I want to observe all that God has created. In observing the created, I learn of the Creator. I am not widely traveled; but I’ve seen a lot of God’s creation. I’ve watch little green shoots push from the ground behind my house and burst alive with beautiful yellow and orange flowers. I’ve watched the squirrels run and climb through the trees. I’ve seen the fire-red sunset and the dawning of a new day. I’ve stood atop a mountain and stared out across a sea whose end I could only imagine. And, in it all, I saw God.
“In the beginning . . . the Spirit of God moved . . . .” The Spirit of God moves in nature. The Spirit of God also moves on and through the printed page. I’m as awed by the existence of the Bible as I am by nature. Over a span of thousands of years, the Bible came to be. From accounts and stories first passed along from mouth to ear and ear to mouth and mouth to ear, the printed Bible finally emerged. Sixty-six books (for our Protestant Bible) all touched by myriad hands before they were finally bound together as the Word of God. Those opening words invite me to read on.
I don’t claim to know God. I claim to know of him. I see God’s handiwork all around me—in nature; in small room where five guys gather to study the Bible, to share, and to pray; in the lives of young people transformed by a week in Haiti. All of these things and more move me to believe in God and to want to know more of God, but they are not enough.
It is in the pages of the Bible that I learn the most important lessons about this God who creates. From the Bible I learn that I’m part of that Creation, and that God, like a good gardener, never stops loving me and caring for me.
We can learn of God from nature; but without the written Word, we will not know God. Look around you at the work of the Creator and be awed. Read those opening lines of The Book and begin the discovery of what it means for God to be the Creator.