Dan Phillips Lists “Twenty-Six Reasons Why Genesis 1:1 Is the Most Offensive Verse in the Bible” (original source not as a conclusion reached at the end of a syllogism or evidence chain. We don’t get to stack the deck by massaging a preselected set of facts to adorn our predetermined conclusion. (It isn’t our deck to stack.)
2. Genesis 1:1 presents God alone as sovereign and self-sufficient. We like to reserve those adjectives for ourselves.
3. It was counter-cultural when Moses wrote it, and it is counter-cultural today. Attempts to argue the contrary have been shelled to ruins.
4. It explains why actual science can even be done. Many erstwhile scientists hate this fact, twisting themselves into pretzels in an effort to erect a contrary.
5. At the same time, it explains the limits inherent in all empirical experimentation, and gives all such endeavors an interpretive framework. If our “knowers” weren’t warped beyond our ability to repair, this would be welcome news. As they are hopelessly twisted (Jeremiah 17:9), it is not (Romans 1:18-23).
6. It packs a premise that leaves us with a binary choice. We don’t like to be cornered or to have our commitments exposed.
7. Its choice of opening word (Hebrew bereš?t, in-beginning, rather than, say, on the first day) points both to a purpose and an end. We imagine that we can invent both for ourselves.
8. It shows us that matter matters, but is not absolute. Matter is created, only God is ultimate. We like to play the insane game of both asserting the ultimacy of matter, and gassing about intangibles such as meaning and right and wrong. It can’t work, it won’t work, and Genesis 1:1 points us to the truth of the…well…the matter.
9. It reveals matter as real, but not as real as God. The first part is unwelcome news to mystics of all stripes, as is the latter to all materialists, who are exposed as missing the greater while worshiping the lesser. These days, we want to pose as both.
10. It tells us that creation comes to us predefined. Our fantasy is that we are free to redefine, and that our redefinitions are equally valid with the Creator’s definitions.
11. Therefore, Genesis 1:1 exposes all attempts to ignore, reshape, violate, or rebel against created categories as suicidal fools’ errands. We prefer to see them as heroic, noble, and life-affirming.
12. It challenges our de facto assumption of our own deity. This leaves our religion in shambles.
13. It makes the universe not to be all about us. This is ruinous to our self-image.
14. It makes God literally infinitely big, and us literally infinitely smaller, anticipating God’s response to Job. We prefer the reverse and hate His response.
15. It means that, if I ever disagree with God, I am not only wrong, but foolishly wrong; and the longer I argue the contrary, the greater fool I am. This is, to us, unthinkable.
16. It dooms every attempted moral argument that starts with with “It’s my body” to ultimate failure. But we like those arguments!
17. It similarly destines any attempt to ghettoize Biblical faith to defeat. “The heavens and the earth” is a merism, a figure of speech where naming two poles includes everything between them. But we want to see God-talk kept out of the public square, and believers banned from public life.
18. It assures me that God alone is ultimate, and that He doesn’t need me; whereas I am dependent, and utterly do need Him – on every level, and regardless of how I feel about it or what I prefer to think.
19. It collapses all my feelings into irrelevance in the face of God’s fact.
20. It affirms God’s priority over every individual created thing, and over all created things, combined. That would include me, and all my favorite SJW causes.
21. It shows arguing or disagreeing with God to be literally infinitely above our pay grade and robs the exercise of all its faux pretenses of nobility.
22. It frames the worldview within which the gospel of Jesus Christ not only makes world-tilting sense, but is the best news we could ever want to hear. (See a book-length explanation here.)
23. It sets the framework within which the truth of Jesus’ Godhood will later be revealed (John 1:1, 3).
24. It sets the norm against which our childishly God-defiant age is judged a foolish, fraudulent, and failed rebellion.
25. It sets the stage for that future day when “The kingdom of the world [will] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 11:15), and raises the question of where we fall in that equation. These are thoughts we prefer not to face seriously.
26. Ultimately it shows us why we need to know Jesus Christ, and why we can only know Him through the submission of repentant faith. The world was created perfect. It is our sin and rebellion which has twisted and marred it. Therefore the ultimate righting of our wrongs would need the intervention of one who had the power, purity, and infinite worth of God, but who could address the moral and spiritual deficits of man as man. The names in that category reduce to one: Jesus Christ. And we really, really don’t like that.
The list is not exhaustive, but it will do for starters. Take Genesis 1:1 on its own terms and every word that follows, all the way to “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” (Revelation 22:21) makes perfect sense. Try to steer around it and nothing makes perfect sense.
That is why it is the most offensive, infuriating verse in the Bible.
Want proof? Just read the comment section under the assertion of any one of these deductions…let alone all of them.