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Twenty-Six Reasons Why Genesis 1:1 Is the Most Offensive Verse in the Bible

The earth at creation


Hello, PJ Media readers. Good to meet you!

This being my maiden voyage here, it would make sense to tell you a bit about myself and where I’ll be coming from. Or here’s an idea: show, don’t say! Instead, let’s talk about why Genesis 1:1 is the most offensive, infuriating verse in the Bible.

That’s right, the familiar “In the beginning” verse. Forget the ones about homosexuality, Hell, wifely submission, all the rest. Relatively small potatoes, every one of them. If you understand it correctly, Genesis 1:1 is the single verse that should send the modern mind into apoplectic fits of rage.

Let me count it out for you. In the process, I’ll also be laying out what moves and shapes how I approach the world – which is actually more consequential than any kind of bio or curriculum vitae would be.

Hitting the highlights, here are twenty-six reasons why Genesis 1:1 is the most offensive, enraging verse in the Bible to the modern mind:

1. Genesis 1:1 starts with God. It presents the specific living God of Scripture as the sole sufficient starting place for reasoning, not as a conclusion reached at the end of a syllogism or evidence chain. We don’t get to stack the deck by massaging a preselected set of facts to adorn our predetermined conclusion. (It isn’t our deck to stack.)

2. Genesis 1:1 presents God alone as sovereign and self-sufficient. We like to reserve those adjectives for ourselves.

3. It was counter-cultural when Moses wrote it, and it is counter-cultural today. Attempts to argue the contrary have been shelled to ruins.

4. It explains why actual science can even be done. Many erstwhile scientists hate this fact, twisting themselves into pretzels in an effort to erect a contrary.

5. At the same time, it explains the limits inherent in all empirical experimentation, and gives all such endeavors an interpretive framework. If our “knowers” weren’t warped beyond our ability to repair, this would be welcome news. As they are hopelessly twisted (Jeremiah 17:9), it is not (Romans 1:18-23).

6. It packs a premise that leaves us with a binary choice. We don’t like to be cornered or to have our commitments exposed.

7. Its choice of opening word (Hebrew berešȋt, in-beginning, rather than, say, on the first day) points both to a purpose and an end. We imagine that we can invent both for ourselves.

8. It shows us that matter matters, but is not absolute. Matter is created, only God is ultimate. We like to play the insane game of both asserting the ultimacy of matter, and gassing about intangibles such as meaning and right and wrong. It can’t work, it won’t work, and Genesis 1:1 points us to the truth of the…well…the matter.