"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." These are the introductory words to the Pentateuch. They provide both instruction and insight for many around the world. Seldom have they had so great an impact as when they were read by Frank Borman on Christmas Day, 1968 as Apollo 8 looped around the moon. An inspiring message coming from three astronauts on board a lonely spacecraft 240,000 miles away. They found immense pleasure and awe in viewing the Earth with its distinct blue color. They had tasted of its goodness!
Earth is "The Blue Planet" and it has no equal. Scientifically it has the largest accumulation of water. Cosmologically it has the largest accumulation of life. In stark contrast to the bleak moonscape, the waters of the Earth embody all known life and the fruit of the vine from Earths vineyards express the richness that life on Earth does offer. The mission objective of Apollo 8 was to circle the moon and return to Earth for a water splash down of the fragile craft. The astronaut's objective was to reunite friendships and accept a toast of earth's fruit in celebration of their completed space journey. It is in the depths of humanity that scientific discoveries and cosmological gratification find their fulfillment. Water and wine are silent partners to the fullness of man's nature.
The chemical composition of water is H2O. Wine is water with a high concentration of C6H12O6 sugar and an OH added to a portion of the sugar molecules to facilitate its fermentation. Scientifically, wine is water that has been converted from an abundant inorganic fluid to a specialized organic fluid. This remarkable conversion does not require a significant change in the hydrogen to oxygen ratio (2:1) but it does require a 100% increase in the carbon atoms found in the sugar molecules. It is the presence of carbon bonds that makes it organic. This conversion only happens through the process of photosynthesis. Fermentation can happen after photosynthesis and in the presence of yeast. The making of sugar is a monumental part of Earths cosmology because the foundation of the food chain starts with life that possesses the ability to convert water to sugar as it assimilates carbon dioxide. Animals cannot do this. The plant kingdom therefore provides the sustenance for the animal kingdom. Planet Earth is the cosmic greenhouse where this miracle of "water to wine technology" takes place.
In the second chapter of the book of John of the Holy Bible is found a divine rendition of this biological miracle. Here it is recorded that Jesus quickly turned water into wine at the celebration of a wedding. Not only was this of great assistance to the wedding party as the ceremony came to a close; it was also the first demonstration of Christ's divine power. It is the intent of John's gospel to show the deity of Jesus Christ. The divine power and wisdom to create is primal to all other attributes. When the water became wine His disciples were compelled to acknowledge their belief in Jesus as more then just another man of influence. It is through the record of their eyewitness accounts that all people today can know of the deity of our Emmanuel, Jesus the Christ.
John begins his gospel with the same words that the Old Testament begins with, "In the beginning. . . " This implies that his scriptural authority is valid for matters covered in Genesis. Looking back to chapter one of Genesis, Adam and Eve are given physical bodies and a straightforward command to "be fruitful". In chapter two, the couple are formally introduced to each other and then ordained into the institution of marriage. In the New Testament, the Apostle John looks at the glamour and content of a marriage, and includes how Jesus provided the remarkable "best wine". It is apparent that creation and marriage are connected. God introduces marriage during the creation process, Jesus shows approval of marriage in John chapter 2, and Jesus declared marriage a valid institution in Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6. He validates by combined verses from the first two chapters of Genesis and included direct reference to "the beginning of creation". Marriage is an essential ingredient of the creation. The Bible presents that the procreation of human offspring is to take place through ordained marriage. Adam and Eve were given this command to fulfill the final element of The Creation.
A deeper look at the wedding in Cana reveals Jesus as Creator. Jesus was at the wedding with his mother and his disciples. He quickly establishes that He is the authority of both what He does and when He does it. He was the sole authority in Genesis also. The flow of time during the wedding is not recorded but the wedding appears to start on the third day after He called his first disciples. Jewish weddings can take several days before the groom consummates the marriage. Toward the end of the ceremony the time "was right" that Jesus gave the command for six stone jars to be filled with water. Because these stone jars were used for ceremonial washing, they would only be filled with pure water. Obediently they were filled to the brim. They were then presented to the Lord that He might proclaim what would be done next.
The filling of the six earthen jars to the brim appears to be representative of the earth being filled in six days. Each day of creation was full, nothing was left out and nothing needed to be added. The water in the Genesis creation is the initial and central ingredient. The Spirit hovered over it, the heavens divided it, the dry land was drawn out of it, and the ground was nourished by it. Therefore, the plants would produce "fruit after their kind" and "the seed bearing plants would be for food".
The water in the ceremonial jars became the central element of the wedding as Jesus commanded that a portion of it be drawn out and taken to the "governor of the feast". The governor was responsible for all events leading up to and including the consummation of the marriage. Truly God is the "governor" of marriage, assuring that those who bare His image will procreate to complete His creation.
The New Testament "governor of the feast" uses the Greek word "apciTpikhinox". It appears only three times in scripture and is the conjunction of three Greek words. The first word is "apxn" and is the word "beginning" as found in John 1:1 and Revelation 1:8. It denotes primary authority. The second word is "Tpia" and simply means three. The last word is "Klivw" and implies resting in a very relaxed position. The accepted translation is that at a Jewish wedding the "the primary authority does rest on three pillows". Another possible reading of this word is "three primary authorities that are very relaxed". This would be in complete agreement with the very first wedding that was preformed "In the beginning." The triune God of Creation was resting as He sealed His creation with the marriage of the first man and woman. He blessed it and promised that the two individuals would become one flesh. Then God announced, "It is very good". Jesus repeated this performance in John 2 and His Jewish disciples could not ignore God's almighty work in their presence.
The grandeur of this wedding was in the behind-the-seen event of changing water into wine. Something inorganic instantly became organic! The bonding of created carbon atoms to the existing hydrogen and oxygen atoms without the presence of either time or enzyme-catalyzing photosynthesis is the essence of a "true creation". Jesus is recorded in doing such a miracle only once. All other miracles that He did were either for "restoration" as in his many healings, "multiplication" as in his feeding of the people, or "glorification" as in raising a few from the dead. This miracle alone was destined to affirm Him as The Creator, as He had done "in the beginning".
Creation and marriage are bound together inseparably. These two "absolutes"
of human existence are the foundation for humankind to believe in the God of
all Life. It is therefore not surprising that the Creator Himself chose the
marriage of two humble servants, Mary and Joseph, to facilitate His entry into
His created order that He might become the perfect redeemer of all that was
created. We celebrate this event at Christmas, no matter where in the universe
we might be. It was all done properly. It was all done GLORIOUSLY!
Written by Lynn Hofland, September 2000