He Calls Into Existence Things That Do Not Exist

Genesis 1 is an important part of the Bible for a variety of reasons. It demonstrates clearly that God is Creator. It also makes clear that God’s works are good. That said, one of the chapter’s most important lessons often seems to get forgotten – namely: God created the heavens and the earth by means of His word. God created everything in this visible universe by speaking it into existence out of nothing.

Why does that matter? Consider this question as an answer to that one: Who else can bring things into existence simply by speaking? Genesis 1 is important because it reveals – among other things – the miraculously powerful nature of God’s Word. His Word is different than any other word because it actually brings things into existence. As the author of Hebrews writes, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Heb. 11:3). God’s word is different than any other word because God Himself is different than any other person. As Paul writes in Rom. 4:17, God is the One who “calls into existence the things that do not exist.” God is able to create something out of nothing – even life out of death (see Rom. 4:17 also) – and He is able to do it with His Word.

But what relevance does that have for us today? Listen to Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 4:6 – “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Paul is talking about salvation, and he uses the analogy of creation to help us understand it. Why would he make that analogy? Why make a reference to Genesis 1 when talking about salvation? He connects the two things because they are similar to each other. Just like God created something out of nothing in Genesis 1, He creates something out of nothing in the heart of a person when they are saved. Salvation is actually the beginning of a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). The creation of Genesis 1 was miraculous. The new creation of a child of God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ is equally miraculous.

That is not all, however – the connection runs even deeper. Just as the creation of Genesis 1 happened by means of God’s word, the new creation of salvation in a person’s heart happens by the same means. Peter writes, “…you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for ‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you.” (1 Pet. 1:23-25). Notice the connection with 2 Cor. 4:6 and Genesis 1 – the same God who created the world by His word has created our new life in Christ by His word. This is further proof that this is not just any “word” – it is a word that actually possesses within itself the unfathomable power of God Himself. This is no ordinary word but an eternal, active, powerful force that has begun to work in us and given rise to an “imperishable” seed that will remain forever.

We far too often underestimate the power of the work of God that has happened in our hearts. We act as if we simply made a decision or “invited Jesus in” when the reality is far more astonishing and humbling: God spoke something into existence inside of us that was not there before, and He put inside of us a seed that cannot and will not pass away. Rather, the seed will grow and flourish in our hearts all the way into the echoes of eternity and bring forth all the fruit God intended when He planted it there in the first place.

Again, though, there is more. We are not simply passive in letting the seed of God’s Word grow and flourish in our hearts. Peter follows up his statement about the word of God that has caused us to be born again by saying, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2). Apparently, there is something that actually nourishes and feeds the life growing inside of us! We should long for this substance so that the growth will be as healthy as possible! So what is this milk? Peter is not explicit, but in context, it has to be the Word. He has not changed the subject. The same word that gave us life actually nourishes that life so that we “grow up to salvation”.

So here is the point as we put all of this together. Genesis 1 makes clear that God’s Word is unlike any other word – it actually possesses the power to do things – even bringing into existence things that did not exist before. And it is this powerful word that causes us to be born again. Like the visible creation, we are new creations who owe our existence to the word of God. And that Word is still at work in us – giving life to the dead and calling into existence things that do not exist. It is causing us to grow up to salvation as God intends.

So the point? Rejoice in the power of God who has brought you to life by means of His Word. And meditate on God’s Word – hiding it deep in your heart – so that its miraculous, life-creating power can change and transform you.