The Eternal Power of God's Word
We live in a world with competing powers. There are world powers which vie for strategic influence and territorial gain. There are corporate powers which seek greater marketshare. There are even powerful weapons which nations seek to acquire and other nations seek to prevent them from acquiring. We ourselves can feel powerless in the face of such a world. Yet, for the Christian, the greatest comfort comes when we realize that the Scriptures are clear that there is no greater power on this earth than God’s Word, the very Word which began and moves history.
Beginning at the very beginning, the Bible makes the astonishing claim that God created the world by his spoken word. The refrain, “And God said” occurs repeatedly in Genesis 1 followed by the affirmation, “and it was so.” Resistance falls in the face of God’s Word as it is spoken into creation. The pinnacle of creation occurs as God creates man in his image (Gen. 1:27) giving him dominion over the earth, calling him to multiply and subdue it (Gen.1:28 - 29). This entire creation, we learn, is very good (Gen. 1:31). From the beginning of Scripture, we are introduced to the speaking God whose Word goes forward and accomplishes every purpose for which he sent it.
At the end of Genesis 2, the man and woman inhabit a world of innocence and pure goodness. The Scriptures state that the man and his wife were both naked and not ashamed (Gen. 2:25). And, then catastrophe strikes. God’s good word which created the world is challenged by a talking snake in the majestic garden God created. The question seems innocent enough, “Did God actually say...?” (Gen. 3:1). It’s the first time in Scripture that God’s good word is questioned. The woman responds that they are not to eat of one tree lest they die (Gen. 3:3). Ultimately, the snake moves from questioning God’s word to denying it: “You will not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). At this moment, God’s good word has been defamed. Tragically, the man and the woman who were the pinnacle of God’s good creation are subdued by the snake that they were called to subdue (Gen. 3:6). Sin has now entered the world as they both know shame and hide from the God who created them (Gen. 3:7 - 8). And yet, the speaking God is not done speaking.
Genesis 3 ends with God speaking authoritatively again into his creation pronouncing judgment on the serpent, the woman, and the man. They are sent out of the garden into the wilderness into a cursed world of thorns (Gen. 3:17 - 18). Yet in the midst of this judgment, there is grace. A seed is promised whose heel will be bruised by the serpent while he crushes the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15). This promise was fulfilled as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). Yet, like Adam and Eve, he first must face the devil’s temptation in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1 - 11). Again, the tempter perverts and twists God’s Word when tempting Jesus. Yet, this time Jesus defeats him with God’s Word. Jesus prevailed where Adam failed. His victory in the wilderness and subsequently on the cross secured redemption for everyone who puts their trust in him and his finished work. His victory ensures the way back into the garden.
The question faced by Adam and Eve is the question we must all answer in this world. Whose word will we trust? As we move through the whole of Scripture, we will see that in this world, God’s word is always good, trustworthy, and ultimately prevails.