In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So God created humankind in his image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Creation and the Trinity
The reading from Genesis today gives us the story of creation or at least one of the stories of creation. It is a beautiful story. The creation story fit within what were the common beliefs of the time. Is the creation story scientifically accurate? No. We know there is no dome over the earth and the sun and other stars are not a part of this dome. We also know that the earth is not flat as the ancients believed it was.
Then as now, we humans are curious people and we like to understand the world around us so we take the information we have and use it to explain what we do not understand. I am sure that one hundred years from now science will look at humanity today and see us as fairly primitive in our understanding. Things like gravity and dark matter are still a puzzle to us.
Even though this story of creation is inaccurate the message is still there. God created the universe in all its complexity and we are a part of it. One day, some of the universe's mysteries will be successfully unlocked but there will be some we may never understand.
Another mystery for us in the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Trinity is part of the bedrock of our belief. When we recite the Nicene Creed we are talking about the Trinity. The Creed starts out saying “We believe in one God, the Father, the maker of heaven and earth. The second section says, “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God. It goes into greater detail saying he was ;'begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.” This section also goes into some detail by recounting Christ's virgin birth, his death resurrection, and ascension. It also promises his return. The third section of the Creed addresses the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and the Son and has spoken through the prophets.
Finally, the last part talks about our belief in the church, baptism, resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
When this was all being put together in the mid to late 300's there was a lot of serious discussion (and by that I mean yelling and actual cursing) about the details of the trinitarian theology. A lot of it centered around the figure of Jesus Christ. There were those (Arians) who believed that because Jesus was the son of the Father, he therefore must have had a beginning. This gathering, known as the Council of Nicaea, became so contentious that some people were excommunicated and sent into exile.
Theology can be very messy which is why we have literally thousands of different Christian denominations. We sometimes forget that all of us worship the same God. I am pretty sure that Jesus is just shaking his head at how convoluted Christianity has become.
When you look at Jesus, his example and his teaching, it is all fairly simple. Love your God. Love your neighbor. If we truly follow those two precepts, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will be pleased with us.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.