God created the Universe and all that dwell in it. God Himself predates the beginning of Creation. God has several names, including, the Beginning-and-the-End, the Alpha and Omega, the Potentate of time, and the Ancient of Days, all of which reflect His timelessness.
God exists in the Holy Trinity, comprising the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Son [our Lord Jesus Christ] and the Holy Spirit were present with God-the-Father at the beginning of Creation. Both were principal partners with God and played quite significant parts in the whole process of Creation.
The Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void, and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” [Genesis 1:1-2]. In creating the Earth, God [the Master Planner, Surveyor and Architect], first put in place an outline of the Earth, without any details at this stage [the earth was without form, it was void, and dark]. Having completed this initial phase in the process of Creation, God then asked the Holy Spirit to scope and survey it [the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters], just like a Surveyor mapping out an area of open space before structures are constructed on it. This was God, surveying and planning before executing the details of the grand work of Creation.
With the scoping and surveying completed, God then began the next phase in the process of Creation. Apart from the first man, Adam, whom God beautifully moulded, the rest of God’s creations were brought into existence by an ‘Act’ of God’s command [Let there be], through the utterance of the Word that came from God. That Word is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” [John 1: 1-3].
John 1: 14-15 further testifies that the Word was Jesus, stating: “And the Word became flesh and dwell among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me’.”
This is a clear affirmation that our Lord Jesus Christ was with God in the beginning, and through Him all things were made. The Bible says: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of humankind” [John 1: 4]. It was this same life in our Lord Jesus Christ that God breathed into moulded, lifeless first man [Adam] to transform him into a living being. The Bible testifies that “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living being” [Genesis 2: 7].
Jesus Himself declares, saying: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” [John 14: 6]. If all things were made through Him, it is conceivable then why Jesus is the Way from and to God-the-Father. It can therefore be deduced that man [as in humankind] without the life that is in Jesus, is only an empty shell of dust. Jesus fills the void, and only out of His fullness can we receive the fullness of life.
Of all of God’s creations, man was the last to be created. The creation of man was like a grand finale in the work of creation. It was a special undertaking; it was extraordinary, carefully planned and well executed. This final creation was going to be beautiful, magnificently crafted and adorned with abundance of love and grace. It was going to carry the very likeness of God Himself. Hence, there must have been a lot of excitement in Heaven when the moment came and God assembled the whole of the Heavenly host, and declared: “Let Us make man in Our image; according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” [Genesis: 1: 26].
As God was going to entrust man with authority and dominion over the rest of His creations, it is understandable why He chose to create man in His own image and likeness. This meant that man was granted the power of reasoning and decision-making that would enable him to fulfil the demands of this special role. A special relationship was by now established between God and man, beyond that of the Creator and His creation. Man became ‘powerful’, ranking just below the Angels in Heaven’s ‘pecking’ order.
This special position that God bestowed to man is attested to by the Psalmist: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You are mindful of him? And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet” [Psalm 8: 3-7].
Unfortunately, as it transpired, man catastrophically failed the very first test of this special relationship with God. Our forebears [Adam and Eve] succumbed to the machinations of Satan in the Garden of Eden. They fell short of that crowning glory that God had generously and graciously granted them. They were by now out of favour with God, and with disastrous consequences.
However, as a loving, gracious, and compassionate Father, God remembered the first love and decided to put in place a redemption plan, that would bring man back into the fold and communion with God. Man was going to be given a second chance, as it were. But this redemption mission was going to be extraordinary, and not for the faint-hearted. It was going to be fraught with a lot of dangers, there would be hazards [and lots of them] on the road. Who would dare go and lead this mission? In view of the high significance that God attached to this mission, He put forward His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who gladly accepted.
Prophet Isaiah provided a postscript of what the experience on earth was like for the Son of God. “He was despised, oppressed, afflicted and rejected. He bore our griefs and sorrow. He was wounded for our transgressions and the chastisement for our peace was upon Him. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And God laid on Him the sins of us all. And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death. Because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” [Isaiah 53].
But why would God allow His only begotten Son to become such a sacrificial Lamb? Why would Jesus Christ accept to undertake such mission and suffer such cruelty in the hands of mankind for the sake of our redemption?
The answer is simple. It was all for the sake of the first love; the first love that caused God to make man in His own image and likeness; the first love that caused God to breathe life from our Lord Jesus Christ into man to make him a living being; the first love that caused great excitement and rejoicing in Heaven at the creation of man; the first love that caused God to grant man authority and power, and entrust him with the works of His hands; the first love that caused God to put forward the grand redemption plan and for our Lord Jesus Christ to be the Executor. This is the sweet, unconditional, gracious, and organic love. This is God’s Covenanted Love.
My dear friends, what are we going to do with this first love? What are we going to do with God’s Covenanted Love? The Bible reminds us that “this is love; not that we loved God, but that He [first] loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” [1 John 4: 10].
What does God’s Covenanted Love demand of us? Such love demands reciprocal love, first to God, and then to God’s creations. The Bible says, “dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is made complete in us” [1 John 4: 11-12]. “And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” [1 John 4: 16].
My dear friends, we have a divine call to not keep this love to ourselves, but to express it and generously share it with the wider world, through the mission to make our Lord Jesus Christ known and proclaim His massage of forgiveness, peace and redemption. The Bible says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion [to the whole world], “Your God reigns!” [Isaiah 52: 7].
God’s Covenanted Love is at the heart of Creation.
God’s Covenanted Love is at the heart of Jesus Christ’s redemptive mission.
God’s Covenanted Love is the perfection of God’s purpose in our lives.
Such Love, “as vast as the ocean”. Such Love, “so divine, so excelling”.