Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. (Ps 145:3)
The word ‘Great’ is ascribed to God in a number of ways throughout the Bible. But what does the word mean as we would read it? We sing frequently of such greatness but how easy the word may fall from ones mouth without thinking. Of course, God is great, but to explore the meaning and ask the questions, ‘Why is God great?’ We all use the word ‘great’ in describing our day to day- it was a great day or a great Sunday service…..when asked, we can describe what we mean, what made it great. This is usually subjective to the individual. I may describe it as great but another who was present may not describe it with the same enthusiasm! The greatness of God. The Scripture proclaims for all to know God even to the point as the Psalmist says, “….his greatness no one can fathom.” This does not mean one cannot see or know a measure of what makes God great.
In these opening chapters of Genesis, we see such greatness without the word being used. God is personal. God is relational. God has mystery but mystery revealed in such manner that we may see greatness. A curious revealing of such mystery is within Genesis 1:26,27: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image….” God is one yet he says, ‘Let us..’ The same in Gen 3:22 the plural is used. From all God created this plural form is only used in the creation of Mankind. How then do we understand God as One yet revealed here in the plural? Using the rest of Scripture to we do see God disclosing himself more and more from the beginning. While there have been other suggestions on what the, ‘Let us…’ means, we cannot mistake here God as One and God as Trinity. Surely this is mystery revealed and clothed in Greatness of which, ‘No one can fathom.’ The greatness described to God is above and beyond our human framework. This is what makes God, God; and no matter what anyone thinks on what God is like, this will never change who God is, and God revealed. Context of God disclosed in the Scripture governs how greatness is ascribed; also a spirit of quietude as one reads the Scripture and allows it to speak…as Jesus says, “…the Holy Spirit will teach you all things.” (John 14:26).
We may note that as Gen 1-3 God self discloses himself as ‘Us’ and relates this to the creation of Male and Female, this also shows God as relational even before the Beginning. We may also note that the creation of Mankind in the image of God relates to us being relational both to each other (particularly as husband and wife) and relational to God as, “Our Father in heaven….”
Some quiet reflection and thought now on the, “Let us…in our image…” here in Gen 1-3. Once again, the whole of Scripture is at our use to see God as revealed. We will not cover every reference, just some.
Very purposefully, John opens his Gospel paralleling Genesis 1- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning (Note: ‘with God’, ‘was God’). Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made….(very comprehensive that Jesus Christ was present in Genesis 1!)…..No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (Note: relationship with the Father)
Greatness revealed and described and also Greatness, ‘no one can fathom’.
Looking further: “….if you really know me (Jesus), you will know my Father as well….How can you say, ‘Show us the Father? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me…..” (John 14:6-14).
“I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (John 16:28)
“You (disciples) will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (Note: God is disclosed as being relational before the creation of anything that exists). (John 16:32)
“On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20). Note: again the relational aspect of God as Trinity and God with us and for us- only Mankind is given this relationship. Christ came to heal the wound caused by the Fall in Genesis 3.
Just one more reference: “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and WE (note the WE!) will come to them and make OUR home with them (believers)” (John 14:23-24) the ‘we’ and ‘our’ corresponding to the ‘us’ in Genesis 1-3.
PRAYER: Oh the mystery of God! Thank you Lord that you have chosen to make yourself known that we may know and love you as Our Father; Our sustainer; and, our redeemer. Amen
HYMN: Have you any room for Jesus, he who bore your load of sin?
As he knocks and asks admission, sinner, will you let him in?
Room for Jesus, King of glory! Hasten now his word obey;
Swing the hearts door widely open, bid him enter while you may.”
Sung by The White Sisters – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1JZMKFi-Zk