Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Holiness of God, Chapter 1

For the next several weeks, I will be reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, one chapter a week. I am doing so as part of Tim Challies' group: Reading Classics Together. If you're interested in joining us on the journey, just go to This Thursday blog will be my comments and reflections following each chapter.

Chapter 1 of this modern classic begins with a biographical sketch from Sproul's time in college. When I first started listening to Sproul teach on the radio, I felt like I had to keep a dictionary beside me at all times. He is a brilliant theologian and a gifted teacher, and what I loved about the way this chapter opened was that it gave insight into his personal life.

What was particularly striking about this first chapter was Sproul's description of God's act of creation. It was mind-stretching to, once again, try to wrap my mind around the idea of God creating everything 'out of nothing'. He writes: "Before the world began, there was nothing. But what in the world is 'nothing'? Have you ever tried to think about nothing? Where can we find it? Obviously nowhere. Why? Because it is nothing, and nothing doesn't exist. It can't exist, because if it did, then it would be something and not nothing. Are you starting to get a headache like mine?" (p. 7)

Then, God speaks, and everything changes. Here's part of Sproul's imaginative description of creation that was particularly gripping to me:

"The first sound uttered in the universe was the voice of God commanding, "Let there be!" It is improper to say that this was the first sound 'in' the universe because until the sound was made there was no universe for it to be in. God shouted into a void. Perhaps it was a kind of primal scream directed at the empty darkness.

"The command created its own molecules to carry the sound waves of God's voice farther and farther into space. Yet sound waves would take too long. The speed of this imperative exceeded the speed of light. As soon as the words left the Creator's mouth, things began to happen. Where His voice reverberated , stars appeared, glowing in unspeakable brilliance in tempo with the songs of angels. The force of divine energy splattered against the sky like a kaleidoscope of color hurled from the pallet of a powerful artist. Comets crisscrossed the sky with flashing tails like Fourth of July skyrockets."

The God who did all of this is holy. He is worthy of worship and reverence. He demands that we be holy because He is holy, and if we are not, there are real, severe consequences. My prayer is that, as I read along with everyone participating, God will hallow His name (Mt. 6:9) in my heart and cause me to freshly stand in awe of Him as the holy God.