The Beginning: Why It Matters

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Series- Great Stories From God’s Word

Scripture: Genesis 1-2

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The Astronomer Dr. Peter Edwards from Durham University, explained the size of the universe in this way. You will never, ever, get your head around how big the universe is. It is just enormous. There is no way, I think, that the human mind can comprehend the true immensity of the universe. We are happy with the size of an elephant, or the size of a tree, or maybe even the size of (a) cathedral. But if we go beyond that our brains just start to run out of gas. We pointed the Hubble telescope at what…appeared to be a very ordinary patch of the night sky. If you imagine holding up your finger with a grain of sand on it and looking at the patch of sky that grain of sand blocks out, that’s the field that the (Hubble) telescope zoomed in to.

What the telescope saw was incredible. There are 10,000 galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. If this tiny patch of sky is like every other, then we can calculate how many galaxies are out there. The visible universe contains around 100 billion galaxies. Each one of those galaxies contains around about 100 billion stars. That means the visible universe contains something like 10,000 million, million, million stars. That means there are more stars in the visible universe than there are grains of sand on the earth.

Where did the universe come from? This is the question before us as we consider the beginning, and why it matters, from Genesis 1-2.

As we approach this passage, I want to point to several truths I affirm, and we affirm as a church:

  • Genesis 1-11 is literal truth, and is asserted not argued in the text,
  • God is eternal, and there was never a time when he was not.
  • God created out of nothing (ex-nihilo) all that exists, by the power of his Word.
  • The account of God and creation, is the foundation of the entire Bible.

If the Bible is not reliable concerning creation, then it is not reliable concerning salvation. If the foundation is compromised, the building cannot stand. The Bible is reliable concerning creation, and it is reliable concerning salvation. The path between Genesis 1:1, John 3:16, and Revelation 22:21 is intricately connected and interdependent.

The language of the Scripture makes it evident that creation was spoken into being by God, out of nothing, in 6 literal 24-hour periods with no time gaps between the days. This is evidenced by a normal, common sense reading- There was evening, and there was morning, with each sentence building on one another .

Day 1 of Creation (Genesis 1:1-5)

God created the heavens and the earth. “The heavens” refers to everything beyond the earth. Then God spoke light into being. He separated light from the dark, and named the light day, and the dark night.

Day 2 of Creation (Genesis 1:6-8)

God created the atmosphere. The sky forms a barrier between water on the surface and moisture in the air. Earth had an atmosphere.

Day 3 of Creation (Genesis 1:9-13)

God created dry land. The seas were gathered together. continents and islands were above the water. God created the grass and trees, all plant life both large and small.

Day 4 of Creation (Genesis 1:14-19)

God created the stars. Two great heavenly bodies were made in relation to the earth. The first was the sun which is the primary source of light and the moon which reflects the light of the sun. The movement of these bodies distinguished day from night.

Day 5 of Creation (Genesis 1:20-23)

God created all life that lives in the water. Any life of any kind that lives in the water was made at this point. God also made the birds. The language allows that this may be the time God made flying insects as well (or, if not, they were made on day six).

Day 6 of Creation (Genesis 1:24-31)

God created the land animals that live on dry land. This included every type of creature not included on previous days.

Man was created in the image of God and is special above all other creatures. God placed man in authority over the earth and over all the other creatures. God blessed man and commanded him to reproduce, fill the earth and subdue it.

God’s creative work was complete at the end of the sixth day. The entire universe in all its beauty and perfection was fully created in six literal, consecutive, 24-hour days. At the completion of His creation, God announces that it was very good.

Then on Day 7 (Genesis 2:1-3)

God rested. He was pleased with what he had made. God established the Sabbath day as pattern of one day in seven to rest.

Creation itself is very important and we could spend considerable time on it. I want to focus at a higher level, on the Creator Himself. Creation points us to a Creator who is worthy of our worship, and faithfulness.

What can we learn from creation about the Creator?

First- Creation proclaims the existence of God.

 Gen 1:1 In the beginning God. . .

There was a time when the universe as we know it did not exist. The “beginning” here, references to a particular point in time.

There was never a time when God the Father did not exist. The word used for God here in Hebrew, is Elohim, for he is strong and mighty. God is eternal, independent, and self-existent. God created the heavens and the earth. God willed creation into being with his word. God produced something out of nothing. V2a Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths.

There was never a time when God the Holy Spirit did not exist.

Genesis 1:2b The Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. . .

There was never a time when God the Son did not exist.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Colossians 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.

We know what we know about God, because he has revealed himself, and made himself known to us.

The proclamation of Creation is God’s general revelation.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

The proclamation of Scripture is God’s special revelation.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The proclamation of Jesus is God’s preeminent revelation.

Hebrews 1:1-2 God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him.

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution dominates modern education and worldview. It is the supposed scientific explanation of how creatures have “evolved” or developed progressively, through natural selection and variation/mutation over eons of time from a tiny cell to the largest creatures on earth today. This is not just microevolution but macroevolution.

Evolution is so negatively influential because it serves the agenda of atheists. If there is no God, there is no accountability. The root of the problem is found in Romans 1:25- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

The outcome of this way of thinking is there is no need for a Creator because life arose from non-life, and evolved from simple to complex. An amoeba, became a lizard, that became a monkey, and here we all are!

Scientific method requires something to be observable, verifiable, and repeatable to be considered science. Evolutionary theory falls short, and requires more faith than to believe in a Creator.

Some Christians have tried to resolve the supposed tension between science and faith by holding to alternative theories like the Gap Theory or Theistic Evolution. I think these also are contrary to the straightforward teaching of the Bible. Further, while I don’t claim to have all the answers, I think the age of the earth could be apparent age, and I think most certainly the catastrophic event of the worldwide flood inalterably impacted it.

Moses, who wrote Genesis, did not write to people who were isolated from competing religious views. Israel spent 400 years in captivity in Egypt where they worshiped the sun and a pantheon of others gods. Yet he sets for a God who is, and who has always been.

Creation proclaims the existence of God.

Second- Creation proclaims the purpose of God.

The purpose of creation is to bring glory to God.

Psalm 19:1-2 The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

 The artistry, the grandeur, the variety of creation- all point to God’s glory.

The creation of man as the image bearer of God, points to his glory. Man in the image of God does not refer to his biological form because God is Spirit and man is earthly.

John Rendle Short wrote an article entitled “Man: The Image of God” in which he outlined some characteristics of people created in the image of God:

Language- God communicates and we are able to communicate as we do because we are image bearers.

Creativity-   God planned out this remarkable universe, and God gave to man the ability to procreate and also to use gifts for the development and stewardship of the world.

Love-  God is love, and we love because he first loved us.

Holiness- God is holy, and before the fall, Adam and Eve walked in the Garden in perfect communion with him. As redeemed people in Christ we are declared holy in him.

Immortality-   God is eternal, without beginning or end. We have a beginning but we have no end as image bearers.

Freedom-  God is free to do as he pleases according to his character. We are free and responsible moral agents, who, redeemed, can use freedom for the good and in service to God.

The purpose of creation is to bring glory to God. What is the most beautiful place you have ever visited?

Grand Canyon? Rocky Mountains? Pacific Ocean? The Sumidero Canyon in Mexico? Clear and blue waters of the Caribbean on the coast of Jamaica? New River Gorge in the Fall of the year? Or what about looking into the face of a new born baby? All of these are glimpses, shadows, of the glory of God which he has faithfully and graciously revealed to us!

God gave to Adam and Eve the Garden of Eden and they were to work it and watch over it, to rule over it and have dominion. When we live within the purpose of God in his creation, it brings glory to his name!

God has acted redemptively in creation to brings all things together in Christ.

Ephesians 1:8-10 In all wisdom and insight he made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his kind intention which he purposed in him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on the earth.

Creation proclaims the purpose of God.

Third- Creation proclaims the goodness of God.

V10 God saw that it was good, 12 God saw that it was good, v18 God saw that it was good, v21 God saw that it was good, v25 God saw that it was good. V31 God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

God is good. Creation proclaims the goodness of God, because God is good. Creation is good because it is based in, and proclaims, the nature, character, and goodness of God.

We cannot separate what is good from God. You cannot have goodness without God, and you cannot have God without goodness. God alone is good.

Psalm 16:2 You are my God, I have no good besides you.

God withholds nothing good from his children.

Psalm 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

Presently, this world is sin fallen and troubled. You may have wondered, is God really good?

We are focusing on the theme Renewed this church year from Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, the Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him!

Jeremiah wrote it as Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 BC and they were in great distress. He wrote some of the sweetest, most comforting words in all the Bible. Sometimes we fail to clearly see the mercies of God and have a hard time seeing through the fog of life.

To believe in God’s goodness is one of the pillars of our faith. This truth fills us with joy and gives us confidence even when life doesn’t feel good. Even when we don’t understand that the Lord is good, we can trust Him and know He cares for us.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Genesis 2:4 These are the records of the heavens and the earth, concerning their creation, at the time the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.