"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so." -Acts 17:11

This is a study outline that will direct you, but it will not do your thinking for you. The purpose of this style is to encourage you to do a good deal of leg work in your own bible. Read the passage and the opening statement. Understand the text and its context. Read each question, then look at the lettered (A, B, C, etc.) thought. Look at each of the numbered, supporting references to get the full meaning of the thought. Follow the logic yourself before reading the concluding statement. Finally, give this study legs of its own by putting it into practice in your life.

"Summary of Creation"    Genesis 1:1 (KJV)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
I love the first verse of the Bible. It is brief and yet packed with meaning. If this was all we had for explanation about Creation it would suffice. This is an overview, a summary, a complete context giving us the Who, What, When and How of Creation. If a man would start here and order his life in the full realization of this verse he could walk straight and upright through life and on into eternity with his Creator. There is no room here for questioning the existence or power or knowledge or enternality or even the perfection of the actions of God. Let's get a strong handle on this portion of Scripture, a grip that will be firm and lasting, wrapping our minds around as much of the meaning as we can understand with our fallen minds. This passage is profound, but not enigmatic. Plainness and directness suit God's purpose in this case, as it does much of the time. Oxygenate your brain and let's dig in...
  1. Who?
    1. Elohim
      1. Pronounced = el-o-heem'
      2. "gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God" -Strong
      3. Mighty, eternal, self-existant, triune
    2. Trinity
      1. Father - Proverbs 8:23-27
      2. Son - John 1:3, Hebrews 1:2
      3. Spirit - Genesis 1:2, Job 26:13
  2. What?
    1. Heaven(s)
      1. shamayim = two heavens
      2. (1) where the birds fly
      3. (2) where the stars reside
      4. aka space
    2. Earth
      1. erets = firm, ground, world
      2. the dominion of man
      3. shamayim + erets = everything material
      4. aka matter / mass
  3. When?
    1. In the beginning
      1. reshiyth = first in place, time, order or rank
      2. very specific, fixed time denoting the start of something new
      3. before which was only eternity
      4. aka time
    2. At once
      1. The space/mass/time universe
      2. The continuum, everything
      3. How long does it take for God to speak one sentence of about six or seven words?
  4. How?
    1. Created
      1. ba-ra'(baw-raw') = to create, shape, form something new
      2. ba-ra' with 'eth(ayth) = Himself created, no outside influence
      3. heaven(s) and the earth, used together, mean the same thing that we mean when we say 'universe'
    2. Made
      1. John 1:3 - made = ginomai(ghin'-om-ahee), to cause to be, to become (come into being)
      2. Gen 2:3 - made = asah(aw-saw'), to do, work, make, produce
      3. Isaiah 45:18 - created, formed and made all used (read the whole verse)
What have we learned? We have found that it was an infinite and triune God who did this great work. What work? Brought the heavens of both air and space into being and created elements to fill them and placed them into time. When in time? The first time, before which was only unmarked eternity. The instant of creation of the material world was also the instant of beginning of the time that marks it. The what and when describe what we now call the space/mass/time continuum. How was this done? In the continuing communion between Father, Son and Spirit, and with no prior materials to work with. The artist has his paints and canvas, the sculptor his clay, the architect his paper and ink, but God started with Himself and His Word alone, bringing all into being from nothing. Yet it was not a single thought or a careless work, it was a loving process with many steps over six days, as we shall see in the following portions.

For the moment, lets forget the mechanics or the what and how. Think at this last moment about the "why" of this creation. When I first considered it, I came to the conclusion that the reason for the Creation was simply not addressed in this passage, which would be fine. So much is addressed that we can hardly complain about what is not. Later, near the end of my study, it dawned on me that the reason isn't in the verse because it is the verse, or more properly, the reading of the verse is the reason for it. You and I, reading and studying this verse and understanding more about God... He created all of this as a frame in which to place mankind, with whom He desired to share Himself. We're the reason. We're His creation made to glorify Him and honor Him and fellowship with Him. Without you and I to read it there would be no reason for the verse to exist. Nor Creation, either!