The text begins: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Okay, but who created God? Who is he? Where did he come from? The manner in which the book begins assumes God’s presence in this setting. God is introduced as if the reader already knows him, and in a way that suggests he existed before the beginnings of everything we can register with our senses—those things we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch.
In our legal system there is an objection that is voiced, “Assumes facts not in evidence.” When a lawyer states that objection he is arguing that the opposing counsel has misled the judge or jury by allowing them to believe something had been established earlier that was not, in fact, specifically testified to—in other words, there is no evidence in the record to support what you’ve just said. In reading the Bible’s first words, this presents one of the larger obstacles for some folks—there doesn’t appear to be any facts in evidence as to the origin of God.
The Bible, throughout, speaks of God as being eternal, having been from everlasting, and having acted before time began. The Psalms record that Moses prayed: Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. The Psalmist later attests—with a big but no less—that man’s days are numbered, but from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him. Everlasting—implied in that word is that God always was, and that he is, and that he will always be.
Back to the courtroom—when the objection “Assumes facts not in evidence” is raised, the judge might instruct a lawyer to substantiate the basis for his statement. Genesis unfolds like that. Offering no initial explanation for the existence of God, the writer proceeds immediately to creation’s beginnings—as if creation itself will testify that God, or some manner of intelligent being, was in place already. As the writer of the book of Romans concluded: Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. All of the systems and order that can be apprehended by our senses—seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched—testify clearly that this was no accident. These things came into being by design, with intent and purpose. The Genesis account invites us to stay tuned as this story unfolds.