“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
“God speaks, and it is done. The centrality of the word of God in the acts of creation anticipates the deeper truth given in John 1:1, that the second person of the Trinity is the Word” (“History of Salvation in the Old Testament: Preparing the Way for Christ,” in the ESV Study Bible, p. 2635).
Word and wisdom; Logos and logic. Imbedded in creation is the capacity for (in)finite communication. That God’s relationship with man comes through the medium of words reveals the necessity of speech and the essence of who God is. He is the speaking God. Creation happened when God spoke, because as it is revealed later in Scripture, the God who created the world with his word, is “the Word” himself (John 1:1).
In creation, we see shadows of the Creator (Rom 1:20). Creation exclaims the glory of God (Ps 19:1). The heavens testify of his righeousness (Ps 99:6); the earth is filled with his love (Job 37:12-13; Ps 136:4-9). As Genesis chronicles, and Psalm 33:6 reiterates, God brings creation into existence by the power of his word. All things visible were made by his invisible hands (Heb 11:3).
Therefore, because God created the world with speech, coded language and nonverbal speech permeate creation. Laws of nature have been discovered and explain how the earth ‘hangs on nothing’ (Job 26:7). Divine wisdom is the source of every agricultural and technological advancement (Isa 28:23-29). Written in the DNA of every human cell is enough information to max out a thumb drive. And etched into the tablets of history are purposes of God’s providence that prepare the way for the Son of God (Gal 4:4) and for the Word made flesh to rule heaven and earth.
In truth, the fact that God created the world with a word and continues to uphold the same universe with the power of his word (Heb 1:3), tells us much about who God is and how God rules. In his excellent four volume series, A Theology of Lordship, John Frame suggests three controlling principles for understanding God and his Word. Speaking of God’s providence, he assigns to the Lord control, authority, and power. Indeed, these three aspects of God’s reign over the world are carried out by his word.
Clearly, as God spoke the world into existence, it displays his control. When he said light, “light” happened. In naming the light “Day” and the darkness “Night,” God announced his authority over creation. God displayed this authority when we created vegetation, sea creatures, winged birds, and livestock all “according to their kind” (11x in Genesis 1). Even more, God’s authoritative word created the kind of relationship that man would have with him. Made in his image to represent him and rule over creation, God endowed man with authority, and he did this by his word—creation came with a covenant to assign to mankind how they were to live before the Lord. All in all, God’s control and authority evidences the kind of power God has over creation and in creation. It is total. As Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God dwells in the heavens, and [in his creation] he does as he pleases.”
However, God’s creative word not only displays God’s control, authority, and power; it also reveals his truth, beauty, and relationality. In creation, God’s word is not simply utilitarian; it is also breath-taking. The oxygen-rich atmosphere that is vital for life is also the perfect canvas for pink sunrises and orange sunsets. The creation of man as male and female not only defines gender; it also portrays the kind of love that God has in Christ for his beautiful bride. Accordingly, when sinful men and women tamper with God’s creation, the result is falsehood, ugliness, and alienation–from God, from one another, and from the world we were created to enhance and enjoy.
All in all, Genesis 1:3 tells us that the God of the Creation is a speaking God. Yet, it is not yet known how he speaks. In John 1:1, we are given the answer: The Word which created the universe is not a what but a Who. The Word is the second person of the Trinity. Thus, by his powerful world, the universe is controlled, authorized, and empowered. Nothing happens unless the Word of God causes it or permits it (or causes it by his permission).
At the same time, because the Son of God is perfectly true, beautiful, and loving, the world is filled with truth, beauty, and love. Even infected with sin, and suffering under God’s curse, these things are evident. Christians, cultists, Muslims, and Mormons alike can behold the beauty of God’s world, but only those who know the Father through the Word made flesh can know the Author responsible for this spoken world.
May we give thanks to God for his gracious speech, and for giving us a world created by his Word that will one day be made totally new by the sacrifice of the Word made flesh.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss