The first few chapters of the Bible have proved to be the most fluid of all the chapters I’ve read in God’s word. When I say “fluid” I mean that there is nearly always something new that I learn each time I read; suddenly the living waters become stilled over one particular verse or two, and I can see clearly, and I am awestruck by the revelation.
I am so entranced by the first 4 or 5 chapters of Genesis, that I wrote a chapter in my book on them. And so it was, the other night, when my daughter was reading Genesis 1 out loud to me, that yet something else caught my attention, something I’d never seen before.
And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. And God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (Genesis 1:7-8)
I have always believed that God lived in heaven, long before He created the earth. But if we read the verses above, God made heaven at the same time that He was making the earth. In fact, here’s the very first verse in the Bible:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
He didn’t simply create the earth to rest in the heavens. He created it all within the same week: every star, every planet, every asteroid, every black hole, and especially heaven, where He and His angels would reside, and where we would ultimately go to meet Him after death. We don’t know where God resided before He created the heavens and the earth. All we know is that where the earth and heaven are now, there was water before there was anything else:
And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
Why was there water? Just moments ago, as I was writing, it occurred to me that where God is, and where Jesus is present, there is living water. So even when everything else is formless and void, the living water of our living God is flowing.
And then God created the heavens and the earth. At that moment in time, God made a place for Himself to reside that was close to His beloved earth. He Himself has said that the earth is His footstool. That’s how close He is. That’s how much He loves us. We can’t begin to imagine how huge the universe is, or what’s on the other side of it, but we can know that God intentionally came to live near us. He actually intended to live with us on earth when He made Adam and Eve, and did for a short time, until sin entered. And He intends to live among us again, as He states in Revelation.
So even if we aren’t able to hear Him walking in the garden, as Adam and Eve did, we can know He is close by. Those who think God is far off–an uninvolved and aloof God–miss the incredible beauty of Genesis 1 that tells us just where our God lives: within reach, near His children, and where we are always in His sight. God so loved the world that He moved in right next door.