1. Text: Gen. 1:1.
  2. Not a few of our problems in life come from beginning at the wrong place — building on the wrong foundation almost always gives bad results.
  3. Our search for truth needs to begin at the right place: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight” (Prov. 9:10).
  4. It is no coincidence that the Bible begins where it does — the truth contained in the first verse is the fundamental truth upon which the rest of God’s revelation to mankind depends.

I. The First Truth in the Bible: God Is Real

  1. It is plain that the world exists — there is something rather than nothing.
  2. But why is there something rather than nothing?
  3. This really involves two questions. 
    1. Who is responsible for the fact that we exist?
      1. It is not just childish curiosity or intellectual interest that prompts this question. 
        1. This is the most practical question any person ever asks.
        2. Life is unexplainable if God did not create the world — and an explanation for life is essential.
      2. Much of modern science assumes that a “what” is responsible for the universe — most scientific explanations of the universe are materialistic. 
        1. But “what” is not really a reasonable alternative.
        2. The fact that we are persons points toward a personal Creator — Ac. 17:26–29. Cf. Jn. 1:1–4.
      3. It is in God that we “live and move and have our being” (Ac. 17:28).
        1. We depend utterly upon God every moment of our lives.
        2. Christ continues to uphold the creation — Heb. 1:3. Cf. Col. 1:17.
      4. We understand this truth by faith — Heb. 11:3.
      5. We acknowledge the fundamental fact of reality when we sing “This Is My Father’s World.”
    2. What shall be our response to this Person?
      1. The problem of “practical atheism” is prevalent. Paul speaks of many who knew God but refused to honor Him as such — Rom. 1:21.
      2. The truth that God made the world has vast implications: 
        1. We are accountable to God.
        2. He has authority over us.
        3. He will determine our destiny.
      3. How seriously do we deal with these truths on a practical, everyday basis?

II. Learning That God Is Real — Right Now

  1. There is a difference between knowing a thing theoretically and knowing it experientially. Cf. 1 Kgs. 10:6,7; Job 42:5,6.
  2. God becomes very real to us when we lie upon our deathbeds! 
    1. During much of life, we may immerse ourselves in daily “busy-ness” and pay little attention to the ultimate questions.
    2. The approach of death, however, tends to clear up our perspective on the important realities.
  3. The challenge is to live right now in such a way that God is real to us — we must know the truth of Gen. 1:1 such that it has a real impact on our actions in the present. 
    1. God’s existence is the most obvious fact in the universe. 
      1. The fact is not doubted or disputed because it is not clear.
      2. Paul wrote that God has manifested Himself in His creation — Rom. 1:19,20.
    2. It is ironic that the basic problem of life comes down to really believing the thing that is the plainest of all truths!
  4. Two things will help keep God real to us. 
    1. We need to spend more time with God’s world. Cf. Ac. 14:17.
      1. Leaving behind our agricultural society has not been all “progress” — we have lost some valuable experiences.
      2. We need more significant contact with things God has made and less with things man has made.
      3. In our industrial/technological society, it takes effort to keep in touch with the world that God has made.
    2. We need to spend more time with God’s word.
      1. God’s reality confronts us on every page of the Scriptures.
      2. Bible study is about coming to know God Himself.
      3. We need to learn — and consider what we learn — about God. Cf. Deut. 4:39.
      4. We need to practice the art of reflection, meditation, and serious thought.


  1. The first verse in the Bible teaches us that we came from God — but it is also true that we will return to God.
    1. God is our origin — He is also our destiny.
    2. When we die, our spirits will return to God — Eccl. 12:7.
  2. We should be concerned about the prevalence of atheism in our age and its impact on our children — but what about us? 
    1. Do we really believe — or merely profess to believe?
    2. Our arguments against atheism will mean little if our kids don’t see us living lives that exhibit genuine belief in God.
  3. Considering our eventual return to God, we ought to live each day in practical recognition of our accountability to Him — we ought to live life for God!
    1. The whole duty of man — the main point of being a human being — is to respect and obey God — Eccl. 12:13,14.
    2. Our principal purpose in life ought to be to please God — 2 Cor. 5:9,10.
  4. It is a wonderful truth that the God of our creation is also the God of our salvation. “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:10).
  5. Have you dealt seriously with the truth about God?

Gary Henry — +

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