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Gen 1-2 (Part 1): What Does Creation Teach Us About God? Print E-mail
Genesis
Monday, 07 November 2005

The Bible is a book about Godís revelation of Himself.  God has chosen to make Himself known to His creation.  He has chosen to reveal His purposes and His plans for the universe.  He has made known the truths about the world that are necessary for us to understand reality and existence.  He has revealed all this through the written word.  The Bible teaches us of God and His relation with man and all of creation.  It is a clear record and explanation of the History of Redemption.  It moves through the stages of creation to the Fall to our redemption in Christ to new creation throughout its pages. 

As we begin our study through the book of Genesis, we must realize that we are beginning at the beginning of the story, the beginning of the revelation of God.  We see the origin of the world, the origin of the nations, and the origin of Israel, Godís chosen people.  All of these are the beginning moves in the history of redemption.  Amazingly, the first two stages of Redemptive History are found in the first three chapters of this book.  The creation and the fall are primary and necessary events for us in understanding our faith and our world.  Thus, we have much to consider and much to learn as the people of God from the book of Genesis.  Indeed, as the title tells us, it is a book of beginnings.  This morning we will begin at the very beginning, namely creation itself.

Needless to say, there are many controversial matters to discuss when considering the Biblical creation account.  Let me be as straightforward as possible.  I do believe that God created the world in six days.  It is hard to know whether or not Moses meant literal days or ages or was using the days as a literary device, but either way, I believe in six days.  The best approach from the context is that the 6 days refer to 6 literal days of creation.  I do not believe the text supports the Gap theory, or that a gap of time is present between the first few verses of chapter 1, because the text does not support it.  I believe in a clear distinction between the Creator, namely God, and everything else, or His creation.  As for science and itís apparent problems with the creation account, I take a different approach.  Many begin their study of the creation account with a problem with the Creator in general.  Thus, their problem is not with creation and itís lack of scientific credibility.  Rather, their problem is with God, the Creator.  As a believer in God, I have no problem accepting the creation account as true and valid.  Moses was not teaching us science.  He was not trying to answer every question we would have about creation.  His focus was not so much the Ďhowí of creation as it was the ĎWho.í  Thus, instead of being so overwhelmed with the controversy surrounding the biblical account, may we stand in awe of the One who said, ďLet there be light,Ē and there was light (1:3). 

Thus, I believe the point of the creation account is to teach us that God is the creator.  God, and God alone, brought everything that is into existence out of nothing.  It is God who formed and shaped the universe, who filled it with seas and stars and planets and rocks and mountains and animals and mankind.  Moses is teaching us that God is the creator.  Thus, to put it simply: creation teaches us that God is the creator, which we will look at more today, and that man is part of His creation, which we will look at next week.  As we look at our text this morning and reflect on the fact that God is the creator, I want us to consider what this reveals about God.  In other words, what does God being creator and responsible for creation teach us about Him?  I want us to consider four attributes.

First, God is all powerful.

Theologians call this attribute of God omnipotence.  It is a fancy word that communicates that God is all powerful over all that exists.  God has power over all because He created all.  We see Godís omnipotence expressed in the language used in speaking of each of the six days of creation.  Moses begins with a clear statement of God as creator in verse 1.  Then he tells us that the earth was without form and void in verse 2.  Yet, in verse 3, as we will look at more in a moment, God begins to give the earth and the universe form and to fill the void.  He does this by simply speaking.  Look at verse 3.  God speaks and light exists.

This calls to mind the doctrine of God creating the world ex nihilo, or out of nothing.  God speaks and things come into existence.  This process is unlike any other in the world.  The creation is contingent upon what already exists, but not God.  He starts with nothing and creates everything.  The other Biblical writers pick up on this.  Consider John 1:3, All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  Or Hebrews 11:3, By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.  These passages along with the creation account itself make it clear that God created out of nothing.

As we read down through the account of each day of creation, we see over and over again Godís power.  Look at verses 6-7.  God simply spoke the expanse into existence and Moses tells us that it was so.  This pattern of command and report runs throughout the account.  God simply commands and we are told that it was so.  Look at verse 9.  Again, command and report.

Moses is teaching us here of Godís power.  He is the all powerful God who simply speaks and things come into existence.  And so you do not think that God is no longer all powerful, look at Paulís words in 2 Corinthians 4:4-6.  Paul connects the new creation with the creation account in Genesis.  Even though the god of this world has blinded our eyes, God simply spoke into our hearts and revealed to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (v. 6).  Thus, God is the all powerful God at creation and the all powerful God of our new creation in Christ Jesus.

Second, God is the ultimate authority.

Because God has brought into existence everything that exists, we know that He has authority over all things.  Moses shows this to us by telling us that God named creation.  Look at Genesis 1:5a, 8a, 10a.  In all these passages we God naming His creation.  For Moses and the original readers, this is a critical point because naming something demonstrates authority.  God is showing that He has authority over His creation by naming the day and the night, the Heaven, the earth and the seas.  Thus, we see Godís authority displayed as He names creation.

Not only this, but we also see Godís authority displayed over man in that He gives Adam a command.  Look at 2:16-17.  God gives Adam a clear command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He even tells him what will happen if he does.  If we skipped ahead and read only these verses, we might ask, ĎWhat right does God have to give the man a command?í  Yet, in context, we must answer that God has every right because the man is part of Godís creation.  He only exists because God spoke him into existence and breathed life into him. 

In this we see the connection of the creation account in Genesis and the rest of the Torah, or the five books of Moses, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  When the Lord gives Moses the ten commandments at Sinai, even then, we might ask, ĎWhat right does God have to give the Israelites commandments?í  But again, we must read all the story.  God has the right primarily because he has rights over all of creation as the Creator.  Not to mention that he chose Israel from among the nations to be his own people by his calling of Abraham, which we will look at in the weeks to come.  Also, in the book of Exodus, we read of God saving the Israelites from Egypt by drowning Pharaohís army in the Red Sea.  Thus, at every point we see that God has the right to give His people commandments and hold them responsible.  We will look more at the specific command to Adam in the next two weeks.

Yet, let me make this point: we must learn from the creation account that God has authority over all the creation.  Indeed, this is a humbling lesson but a necessary one.  God has every right over all that He has brought into existence.  No one else has such authority because everything else must first submit to Godís authority.  The only authority that we have as humans is first given to us by God, another point that we will look at next week.  This is why we must begin the gospel with the creation.  If we tell people that they need a Savior to save them from their sins, they might very well ask us, ĎWho has the right to punish me for sins or to tell me what is right and wrong?í  Yet, if we begin where the Bible begins, then people will see, whether they believe it or not, why we believe that they need a Savior.  The biblical account of creation makes it plain to us that God has authority over all because God created all.

Third, God is orderly and purposeful.

As we said a moment ago, Moses tells us in verse 2 that the earth was without form and void.  Yet, following this verse, in verses 3-31, we see Godís ordering of creation so that it has form and so that the void is filled with life.  The first three days of creation are spent on giving the universe form.  Thus, the Light is made and is separated from darkness, the Heaven, or sky, is made and is separated from the lower expanse, and the land and Seas are separated from one another and the earth brings forth vegetation.  Then, following His order, God creates the sun and the moon and the stars to fill the void of Day and Night.  On day 5, he fills the void of the sky with birds and the sea with fish.  And on day 6 he fills the earth with animals and then creates man to rule over the earth.  Thus, we see a clear pattern in the days of the creation account moving from giving creation form to filling it with life.

We also see that God creates in such a way as to sustain the order and prevent the return to the chaos of 1:2.  Look at verses 14-15.  God creates the sun and the moon to establish days and nights, years and seasons, and to rule over the light and the darkness.  And since that time, by Godís providence, the sun has indeed ruled over the day and the moon over the night.  Days have come and gone.  Seasons and years have come and gone.  Even the trees outside this morning testify to that fact.  God has created with order and has sustained His order.

We also see the order of six days of labor and then rest, the order that is picked up in the law for Israel.  It is this order that gives us hope for the coming rest that awaits the Bride of Christ, as the author of Hebrews teaches us in 4:9-10.  Not only this, but we see order in marriage.  God concludes chapter 2 by giving directions concerning the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman.  This is an order that is only fully realized when Jesus comes, as Paul explains to us in Ephesians 5.  Even though we cannot see it here, the order of marriage is to be a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, this is why marriage is ordered the way it is.  Thus, there is a purpose behind the order, which is revealed more and more throughout the pages of Scripture.

In all this we are taught that God had an order and purpose in His creation, an order and purpose that He has maintained and continues to maintain even today.

Fourth, God is good and personal.

We see Godís goodness expressed over and over again in the six days of creation.  The pronouncement is always the same and concludes in 1:31.  Look at that verse with me.  All that God has made is good.

Yet, we really see Godís goodness toward His creation in that He is personal with the creation itself.  We see this specifically with mankind in 1:28-30.  Read those with me again.  God provides for the man all that he needs.  He provides him with food and a place to live.  He provides him with a helpmate.  And above all, God provides him with himself.  God is personally involved with man in the creation account.  There is a relationship between God and man and the relationship is good, at least for now.

Although we may struggle when talking about Godís right over man and His authority and power, we must remind ourselves of Godís goodness toward us.  He does need us, we need Him, and He freely gave us a relationship with Him at creation.  Yet, as we will see next week that relationship has been distorted by our sin and is need of reconciliation through Christís redeeming work.  But before we go there, we must realize and recognize Godís goodness in creation.

Next week, as we move to a discussion of what creation teaches us about man, we will talk more about our response to the creation account.  Yet, just let me conclude this morning by calling us to humility in light of what the creation account teaches us about God.  His power should humble us.  His authority should humble us.  His order and purpose should humble us.  And His overwhelming goodness should humble us.  We should stand in awe of our great Creator.  For, as we will see in weeks to come, He has not only created us and given us life, but He has redeemed us through the blood of Christ.  The amazing thing is that John tells us that all things were made through the Son.  Yet, it is the Son who takes on flesh and redeems all that has been made.  How could we not humbles ourselves and conclude that our God is the faithful Creator of the universe and the Lord of all?  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 February 2006 )

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