This is the beginning of a new series on different facets of the Presence of God. The devil’s greatest triumph is producing alienation between us and God – at least alienation that exists in our mind!

And according to Colossians 1:20, Jesus came to reconcile us back to Father, and ultimately to have us in His presence for eternity.

Having solidly anchored that relentless existential objective, let’s flesh it out 100 ways.

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Our culture makes much of “first impressions.” God clearly edited the creation story He shared with Moses, so one has to assume that His choice of first impressions was absolutely intentional.

And by extension, it was something hugely important for mankind to know about HIM.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2 AV

. . . the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

To me, that is a word picture of “the dimensions.” For those who have had the extreme misfortune to have a part of their humanity trapped out ‘there,’ the biggest issue is that there is no ‘there.’

There is no directionality. No wall to climb over, no distant frontier to walk to, no barrier to transcend. There is no time or space at all, just the horror of being in a context the human spirit or soul was never designed to thrive in.

Is that really what the verse is saying?

I don’t know for sure, and there are definitely differences of opinion on the topic. But at the very least, God is communicating that there was a context that is both less than our cosmos, and distinctly uninviting, before creation.

And He was THERE.

Some implications of the presence of God THERE.

–He was not intimidated by what messes with us.

–He was not diminished by it and could move as He wished there.

–He could effortlessly create from a deficit position. There is no record of His going back to heaven and creating from that position of strength. His strength was portable, internal and limitless. Without having any “ground” to stand on, flying through darkness, He created light with sound.

–What moves me most of all is that He was there without any human petition. He came to ugliness and camped there and changed it. Because, really, what else would God do? Hide in a monastery so as to keep clean? Not so much.

While the first impressions He wanted us to have is of His being THERE, the story actually began before that.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:4ff AV

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. I Peter 1:17ff NIV

He made us.

He foresaw our mess.

He prepared redemption.

He did all that before creating a world for us to mess up in.

God was there first.

And if God could create a cosmos out of “without form and void” He can surely create a masterpiece out of the mess we make of our lives.

So the first presence of God recorded in Scripture is The God Who is Completely Comfortable Being Present in Chaos.

Copyright by Arthur Burk
November 2022