Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. [Genesis 1:3 (NLT)]
But the Lord made the earth by his power, and he preserves it by his wisdom. With his own understanding he stretched out the heavens. [Jeremiah 10:12 (NLT)]
As I cracked eggs for the cookies I was baking, I considered the age old conundrum, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” We need a chicken (actually two) to have a fertilized egg but we need a fertilized egg to make a chicken. This seemingly futile question has been discussed for thousands of years. Even the Greek philosopher Aristotle considered it, although he evaded the answer by saying that both egg and chicken went infinitely backwards and always existed. Since the oldest fossilized eggs are 190 million years old and the oldest fossilized birds are only 150 million years old, paleontologists might say the egg came first. A strict reading of Genesis, however, would lead us to conclude that the hen came first because animals appeared on the 5th day of creation. Since we eat eggs at breakfast and chicken for dinner, it could also be argued that eggs come first! People ask this unresolvable question because they want to understand how something can come from nothing.
Although I just made cookies from scratch, I didn’t really start from scratch. Along with the eggs that came from chickens (that came from eggs), I needed flour from wheat fields, butter from cows, salt from the sea, vanilla from orchids, raisins from grape vines and nuts from pecan trees. To create cookies, I needed raw ingredients. My seamstress friend creates stunning clothing but she needs the silk from the silkworm (that came from an egg) or the cotton from the cotton bush (that came from a seed) to do so. My wood-working friend creates beautiful furniture but he can’t do it without the oak that came from a tree that came from an acorn that came from a tree which begs the question, “Which came first, the oak or the acorn?” Needing raw ingredients, mankind never can create something from nothing!
God, however, created everything from nothing. He had no eggs for the chickens, acorns for the oaks, seeds for the apple trees, or pollen for the flowers. He had no hydrogen or oxygen for water and no sodium or chloride to add to the water for the sea! Simply put, God spoke all creation into existence. That’s a rather unsatisfactory answer for those who want a technical explanation but the Bible is a book of theology that tells us the who and not a book of science that tells us how. We’re not about to get any more details as to how chaos turned to order, a void came to be filled, and nothing became something. Whether it was the chicken or its egg that came first will always be a conundrum.
The Bible tells us not just the who of creation but also the extent of His capabilities. After the first two chapters of Genesis, nothing else in the Bible should surprise us. Parting seas, calming storms or creating floods, droughts and plagues; collapsing walls or destroying cities with fire and brimstone; providing manna, a never-ending supply of flour and oil, or food for thousands; making time stand still; turning a rod into a snake or water into wine; smiting an army with blindness or hailstones; and miraculous healings, a virgin birth and the raising of the dead are just child’s play for a God who made everything from nothing. With a God that powerful, just consider what He could do with us if only we would let Him!