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OPINION

A Quick Bible Study, Vol. 153 – ‘In The Beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth’

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NASA

Author's Note: All previous volumes of this series are here. The first 56 volumes are compiled into the book "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible." "Part Two," featuring volumes 57-113, was published in December. 

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Event Alert: My friend, Rabbi Aaron Allsbrook, is hosting a Messianic Jewish Passover Seder on April 6 at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. The keynote speaker is Dr. Michael Brown – well known to Townhall readers. Buy tickets early!

Thanks for joining us. Today’s study is inspired by Ken from Ionia, Michigan, the “gold medal” Top-Ten verses co-winner announced last week in Vol. 152. One of Ken’s favorites was:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). Explaining the verse’s meaning, Ken wrote, “The creation of a universe out of nothing is miraculous by anyone's definition. All miracles written thereafter in the Scriptures are easy to believe.”

Then as I wrote last week, Ken’s verse selection reminded me of an extraordinary event on Christmas Eve,1968. That night, three U.S. astronauts aboard the Apollo 8 mission dramatically read Genesis 1:1-10 while orbiting the moon during television primetime, 9:30-10 p.m. EST. According to TV Guide, as requoted on History.com: “This showing attracted an audience of about a billion or roughly one out of every four people on the planet.”

Fortunately, that included young Myra, who heard Genesis read for the first time after the introduction: 

Voice of Astronaut William A. Anders — “We are now approaching lunar sunrise. And, for all the people back on earth, the crew of Apollo 8 have a message that we would like to send to you.

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‘In the beginning God created the heavens 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. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.’ ”

Astronaut James A. Lovell, Jr. (later of Apollo 13 movie fame) — “ ‘And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.’ ”

Astronaut Frank Borman — “ ‘And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.’ ” 

“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close, with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.”

Remembering the broadcast, History.com wrote, the astronauts were “the first to see the Earth from afar as a whole planet, a viewpoint Anders famously captured in his ‘Earthrise’ photo.” (I still have the 1968 LIFE Magazine with “Earthrise” on the cover. Read more about the photo, named 100 Photographs that Changed the World.)

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The astronauts later explained why they chose the Creation reading:

 “They said they selected this particular passage from the Book of Genesis because it was the foundation of ‘many of the world’s religions,’ not just Christianity. (Not everyone agreed with the choice; a well-known atheist filed a lawsuit over the reading).”

Suffice it to say, don’t expect another publicly televised Bible reading from a U.S. space mission. However, the verses read on that unforgettable Christmas Eve are beyond human understanding. We are awestruck by the incomprehensible power of our God, who created “the heavens and the earth.” 

Thus, the question of the day is: After humans learn about God’s power, what should we do with that knowledge? (But, of course, not everyone learns about His power. Or, if they do know, don’t necessarily believe in Him as the Creator.) But, for those who know and believe in Him, God provides guidance in His Word — “In the beginning” — as famously recorded in the New Testament:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1: 1-2). And: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14). (See Vol. 146.) 

Thus, God’s guidance can be easily comprehended and acted upon, providing we do the following: Love, trust, glorify Him, worship, praise, give Him thanks, and keep His Commandments.  

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For example, God told Moses: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts’ ” (Deuteronomy 6: 5-6).

King David summarized aspects of God’s guidance: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him” (Psalm 28:7). And, “Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:26).  

Isaiah received the “guidance” memo: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock” (Isaiah 26:4).

Paul, writing to the Colossians, succinctly explains God’s power as the Creator: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). 

And, here is why Jesus is Lord and should be our guide when He said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).

I assume the Genesis verses read from space on Christmas Eve 1968 pleased God. (And perhaps why, in 1970, the Lord saved Jim Lovell’s life and his crew during Apollo 13’s near disaster.) 

God’s power “In the beginning” is eternal — a constant in the physical world and the spiritual realm demonstrated by His love for us — His Creation.

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God is love, and knowing God is a blessing. So, “In the beginning” and always, let’s glorify Him in thought, word, and deed. Amen!

Myra Kahn Adams is a conservative political and religious writer with numerous national credits. Her book, "Bible Study For Those Who Don't Read The Bible," reprints the first 56 volumes of this popular study. "Part 2,” with the same title, reprints Vols. 57-113. Order it here.  

Myra is also the Executive Director of SignFromGod.org and the National Shroud of Turin Exhibit. Both are donor-supported ministries dedicated to Shroud of Turin education. Contact: MyraAdams01@gmail.com and Twitter @MyraKAdams.

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