God’s Creation According to Genesis and John

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!” Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.

Hebrews 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say: You are my son; this day I have begotten you? Or again: I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says: Let all the angels of God worship him.

John 1:1-18

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 came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The prologue of the gospel of John, which we hear in this Sunday’s gospel reading, sets itself apart from the other three gospels by adopting the opening expression of the first book of the Old Testament, “In the beginning,” or “be-resheeth” in Hebrew, from which the name of the book, “Genesis” which means “origin” in Latin, was derived.

By adopting the opening expression of Genesis, John wishes to communicate to us two “beginnings”. First, the beginning of Jesus in terms of his genealogy. Unlike the Matthean genealogy which goes forward in time from Abraham to Jesus, and the Lucan genealogy which goes backward in time from Jesus to Adam, the Johannine genealogy transcends time and goes “upward”. In fact, it is out of this world in that it traces Jesus’ origin directly to God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Whereas Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies are historical and human, John’s is transcendent and divine. For what is God’s origin but God Himself?

Second, in repeating Genesis’ well-known opening statement, John is harkening back to God’s be-all-and-end-all act of creation in Genesis. In so doing, John wishes to draw our attention to a very different kind of creation account that his gospel endeavors to offer: one whose primary concern is the New Creation that Christ ushered in through redemption, one in which darkness is no more and true life is what the human race will enjoy (cf. John 1:4-5, 10:10).

What causes the theologians to believe creation is the common thread connecting the opening chapters of Genesis and John is more than “imaginative theology”. The scriptural evidences that they came up with to support this position are eye-opening to say the least. Worth mentioning among others are:

  • Since everything is created through the Word (John 1:3, Col 1:16, Eph 2:10, Prov 8:22-30), His presence was prominent and indispensable in both creation accounts (in Genesis, God created by what He “said”, i.e. by His word; in John, all things came to be through the Word (John 1:3)).
  • Like Genesis, John’s creation account contains a day-by-day narration of events and activities, totaling 7 days (John 1:1, 29, 35, 43 being the first 4 days plus 3 days – “On the third days” – in 2:1).
  • Like Genesis whose creation culminates in the Sabbath on the 7th day, the day of holiness of which man must partake, John’s creation account also culminates on the 7th day in the wedding in Cana, a mirror image of the heavenly wedding of the Lamb (Rev 19:9), i.e. the eschatological union of God and man in the New Creation that Sabbath points us to.

Beautiful indeed “are the feet of him who brings glad tidings” (Is 52:7, the first reading), first the Lord Himself personally (Heb 1:2, 2nd reading), then the apostles, and now the Church which includes you and me. This Christmas let’s go caroling. Let’s get on top of the mountain and shout at the top of our lungs. Let’s do whatever it takes to bring glad tidings to the world. For Christ our Lord – the Messiah, the Holy Infant who was born through the Virgin Mary in the fullest of time (Gal 4:4) – is come! For us men and for our salvation He comes. To become a man He comes. For the Son of God must come down from heaven to become the Son of Man so that the sons of men could be transformed to become the sons of God – the New Creation! That is why John wrote his gospel. That in a nutshell is the real Christmas message that must be proclaimed!

Posted: December 25, 2016

Edmond Lo

As a Catholic speaker, writer and RCIA Catechist, Edmond is very active in promoting and defending the Catholic faith. He has a MBA, a CPA-CMA, and a MTS (Master of Theological Studies) from U.T., St. Augustine's Seminary. Having worked many years as the CFO of a non-profit organization, he retired at 55 to follow his special vocation of evangelization. The activities he conducts include the CMCC Bible Study Program, the Catechism Revisited Program, the FLL Spiritual Formation Program, Living in the Holy Tradition, RCIA, family groups and retreats, etc. Edmond is a member of the FLL Core Team. He writes Sunday Mass reflections regularly for the weekly FLL NewSpiration. His personal blog: http://elodocuments.blogspot.com/

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