The Beginning of it All
This article was authored by Will Hubbard. Will is the Vice President of Ratio Christi at Clemson University and is a junior majoring in Agricultural Mechanization.
Bereshith bara Elohim hashamayim ha’Eretz. ~Genesis 1:1
There is a question rooted deep within the heart of every man which, if left unanswered, haunts his waking moments with gnawing doubt and uncertainty. It is a question that mankind’s best, bravest, and brightest have wrestled with and even broken themselves upon. Its origins go back to the antiquity of antiquity, and yet it still presides within us in this current age. It is a question outside of time, unrelated to space; a question which dogs every man’s soul and conscience with an excruciating insistence to be answered. It is the question of “Does God exist?”
Nations, empires, even whole civilizations have passed, yet this question, remembered from forgotten time, remains. Why is this so? Why does the existence of a supernatural beneficent Being preoccupy (consciously or unconsciously) so much of man’s thoughts? Could it be that life itself hangs upon the answer which is given to this unique and singular query?
It is a common habit of Man in all ages to overlook the most glaringly important things in life for the minor details and distractions that surround him in his day to day ramblings. Thus one is deeply concerned with the color coordination of one’s clothes or the recent trends in the stock market or the state of one’s health. “These,” says the modern man proudly, “are the driving forces of life itself.” But with regards to the existence of the One who makes all these pursuits truly purposeful we are singularly apathetic. “The existence of God?” answers one, with some confusion. “I see little difference whether He exists or not; after all, the modern world is about practicality, and I see no reason why we should quarrel about something as impractical as the existence of an Almighty.” Of course, the irony is that there is no question more practical than this one, and perhaps that is why it, of all the queries of men, is the one that has been implanted deep upon every breast since the dawn of time.
And who is this great I AM, this Disturber of man’s apathy, this Stumbling Block to intellectuals and Confounder of worldly wisdom? Why has He chosen to come forth to trouble the world which He created, and to trouble the chief of His works, Man, with this immovable and immortal question? He will not go quietly into the dark; He refuses to stand aside and let the world go on its merry way without Him. He is not only content to affirm that He exists; He demands that we acknowledge His existence as well.
God is the Being upon which all of life hinges. Why? Because without Him there is nothing. Without a God, we are left with merely man and the universe, both results of chance, both accidents, and thus both mistakes. The universe, with all its color, its marvels, its power, its life, is ultimately a beautiful delusion. Man, that image of the Divine, the conqueror of worlds, the steward of the earth, is a meaningless hoax, a cruel joke of nature, which in vindictive spite brought forth this mad animal and gave him the yearning to be valued and loved while simultaneously robbing him of the means to realize his desire. For value and love are merely merciless deceptions if there is no God, no standard, no source of true and infinite worth in the world.
God is the Source of all worth and truth. It is God who, “in the beginning,” steps into the formless void and gives it worth. It is He who divides the world between light and dark, between order and chaos, blessing the world with the antithesis of right and wrong. It is God who brings order out of disorder, beauty out of chaos, light out of darkness, and life out of death. The Great I AM is the one who takes formless dust into His hands and creates the crowning glory of His Creation, the one creature out of all creatures who will bear His own Divine Image: Man. God is the One who gives man His own breath so that he becomes “a living soul.” A living soul who has meaning, for He is personally and lovingly created by a Personal Creator Who has a beneficent purpose in mind for him; a living soul with value, for he is infused with the characteristics of God to reflect His own character; and a living soul with purpose, for he is created to live, and in living, he brings His Creator glory and himself joy.
Thus with God there is life, but man chooses death instead. For man has fallen, and his fall is as great as or greater than that of Satan which rocked heaven in forgotten time. It is not enough that he alone bears the Imago Dei; he must not only reflect God, but now he must be God. Thus we rail against the Almighty; we scorn His benefices; we shake our fists at Him and curse Him for existing and for creating us. In our madness, we desire to storm the Gates of Heaven and cast down God Himself, to kill the Alpha and Omega and bury Him forever. This is the story of the Cross; the acting out of this great and foolish tragedy of Man, who revolted against his Benefactor, took His token of salvation, and crucified Him, proclaiming to heaven and earth that “This is how we would treat Omnipotence Himself could we reach Him.” But they did not know that if man kills God then he has sealed his own doom. For how can life thrive when the Sustainer of Life dies? And what hope does Man have when He whose very existence gives him meaning is no more? This is the awful and terrible truth of the matter: when we kill God, we kill ourselves as well.
But the beauty of the matter is that God is not dead; in fact, God has died, and now has risen again. If the tomb had been sealed and never broken, if God had been buried and merely remained there, then the meaning, value, and purpose of mankind would have been buried with Him. But it is not so; God has raised Himself and stands victorious over death. He has thwarted Man’s attempted murder/suicide and has instead redeemed His would-be assassin to live once more. This is the beauty of Christianity, the fact that God is not dead, that God refuses to be dead, but rather He is alive and refuses to be anything other than alive.
Thus every man stands at the crossroads. On the one hand is God and life; on the other is despair and death. It is the raging battle of the world, and its crux is the one question: “Does God exist?” Perhaps this is why God does not go quietly in the dark, why He refuses to be silenced, why He writes the answer to this question upon everything in His Creation, including the heart of Man. Perhaps He, in His providential wisdom, understands that He fights not just for Himself, but for those whom He has created and loved since the beginning. Perhaps that is why God demands that we acknowledge He is there; perhaps that is why He is not silent.
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