Isaiah: Prince of Prophets—Creator of the Heavens and the Earth
Did God create the Heavens and the Earth in the manner that the Book of Genesis attests to? The Prophet Isaiah believed so. Yahweh—the covenant-keeping God of Israel—is the author of creation, and continues to maintain His creation.
God has created the heavens and, having created them, has stretched them out. The idea is that God has cloaked the earth with our atmosphere from horizon to horizon. The Prophet wrote in chapter forty: “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, ... He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” (Isaiah 40:22, NIV84). But not only has God created the heavens, He has also spread out the earth and all that comes out of it. The picture is that of the wide expanse of the earth covered with the greenness of grass like a tapestry.
But not only has God created the heavens, and not only has He has spread out the earth and all that comes out of it. The physical globe we call Earth is the direct result of God’s creative work. And all that the Earth brings forth—vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees, and living creatures—is also the direct result of God’s creative work. Genesis 1:1 is succinct: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
He also gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk in it. It was God who breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
In one line of poetry the Prophet Isaiah sums up the entire first chapter of Genesis!
But there is something else going on in this verse. In the original Hebrew, Isaiah 42:5 implies that not only was the original act of creation affected by God, but also the creative power of God is exercised in the continued existence of His works. In other words, God created the Heavens and the Earth and He continues to sustain the Heavens and the Earth. This truth is also taught in the New Testament.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15–17, NIV84)
The verb hold together in Col. 1:17 reveals that God in Christ is sustaining the Heavens and the Earth. In Christ, the universe continues and coheres. It is the Son who holds in his almighty hands the reins of the universe and never even for one moment lets them slip out of his grasp.
The implication is that we live in an orderly universe. This, to be sure, does not always appear to be true on the surface. Nature seems to be “raw in tooth and claw,” without harmony and order. Yet, a closer look reveals a basic plan that is meticulous in how it works. We have a glimpses of this orderly process in, of all places, the Book of Ecclesiastes:
“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4–7, NIV84)
Can we really believe what Isaiah writes about the Creator and His Creation? We live in a modern, technological age where a lot of Christians are unsure as to how to interpret God’s creation narrative. Is it merely the poetry of an pre-scientific culture attempting to describe natural processes they could not possibly understand? Or is it an accurate historical account of a Supreme Being at work?
For the first 1,700 years of western history, the Genesis account of creation went pretty much unquestioned. The Bible said it, that settled it. Besides, there were no credible alternative theories. Then came the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions. There was a tremendous growth in knowledge and the dissemination of that knowledge. Scientific inquiry and rational thought became the dual standards by which all knowledge was tested. One of the products of the Enlightenment was a man by the name of Charles Darwin. He wrote a book entitled The Origin of the Species that would fundamentally change the way we looked at man, the world, and the Scriptures. In his book, Darwin postulated that all species have gradually evolved into the forms we see today. This included man. Through natural processes, every species evolves. Enter the theory of Evolution.
It is a theory that most scientists and researchers have elevated to unquestionable fact. It is the golden calf of the scientific community. To accept any other interpretation of Earth's geologic history is to risk being labeled a rank heretic, a crank, or just plain stupid.
So how important is the Creation account to Christianity and what should the Christian position be toward Evolution? As long as we believe in God, does it make any real difference whether the Christian believes God created the world almost instantaneously in six literal days or slowly over billions of years?
I. THE CONSEQUENCES OF REJECTING THE CREATION ACCOUNT
- If You Deny the Accuracy and the Authenticity of the Creation Account than You Deny the Authority and Inerrancy of the Scriptures
- that is dangerous
- “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV84)
- “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19–21, NIV84)
- ILLUS. There was a day, when most attacks on the Scriptures came from those outside the Church. Sadly, most attacks upon the veracity of the Scriptures today come from those within the Body of Christ.
- it's story and message are utterly fantastic and is predicated on the presupposition that God is almighty and can and does intervene in the course of history and the lives of men
- we believe the stories because we have a God who cannot lie and who would not ask us to put faith in myth
- that is dangerous
- Jesus believed in the historical accuracy of the Scriptures
- He believed that Moses was the author of the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Bible
- “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?” (John 5:46–47, NIV84)
- “But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.” (Matthew 22:31–32, NIV84)
- ILLUS. I actually remember one of my more liberal professors in college claim that, as the Son of God, Jesus knew that Moses really didn't write the Pentateuch and that the Creation account as recorded in the Bible was untrue, but he pretended that they were so as to accommodate the ignorance of the common man of his day.
- that’s the length that some liberal bible scholars will go to in order to deny the authority of the Scriptures
- there’s only one appropriate response: Fooey!
- that is dangerous
- if everything is evolving upward then why after 10,000 years of recorded human history have we not eradicated hunger, greed, hatred, war, malice, poverty, etc., etc., etc.?
- evolutionists deny the existence of a real Adam and Eve
- they scoff at the story of their creation and subsequent fall from grace
- if the secularists are correct, then how do you explain our world's miserable condition?
- if the Creation account isn't accurate, then what is the cause of man's pain, unhappiness, and suffering? And why doesn't the Bible clearly reveal the true source?
- and if sin is not the source of man's problems, then why do we need a Savior?
- and if we don't need a Savior, then God's judgment of our lives will undoubtedly be based on our good deeds out-weighing our bad deeds if there even is a judgment (if there even is a God who will judge us)
- ILLUS. Just this last week, Van Jones—President Obama’s former erstwhile “Green Jobs Czar,”— used his influence to support a slate of global statutes that would protect planet Earth in as vigorous a manner as living beings. Translation: He and others want to give the planet the status of a “person.” “Mother Nature” has rights, too, don’t ya know!
- this view is a stepchild of the theory of evolution
- if, according to the theory of evolution, man is merely the result of chance mutations and natural selection, then we are not fundamentally any different than the Garden Slug or Redwood tree which are also the result of chance mutations and natural selection
- and, if we are are not fundamentally any different than the Garden Slug or Redwood tree then they deserve the same rights that we enjoy as a part of the natural world
- and, if they deserve the same rights that we enjoy as a part of the natural world, then some authority somewhere ought to have the right to deny us our rights in favor of the Garden Slug or the Redwood tree
- Van Jones wants to create the organization that would deny us our rights in favor of the Garden Slug or the Redwood tree
- but have you ever thought of the hypocrisy of their position?
- the extreme earth-rights proponent would argue that man is just a creature with no more rights to this planet than a spotted owl, or a snail darter
- yet the theory of evolution unequivocally states that species that cannot adapt to changing conditions must eventually die out—that's the natural order
- if the spotted owl or the snail darter cannot adapt to their changing environment, that’s just tough!
- thus the very ones who use the theory of evolution to promote their belief actually deny the theory in practice!
- Secular Humanism is a World-view that is atheistic in its theology, naturalistic in it philosophy, relativeisitc in its ethics, globalistic in its politics, and socialistic in its economics
- it is the dominant world-view in higher education and academia
- Secular Humanism maintains that this life is the only one you're going to get, so enjoy it while you can
- do what makes you happy
- grab for the gusto
- have it your way
- Secular Humanism says why worry about trying to figure out what is right and wrong if there is no ultimate, eternal meaning to life anyway
- Secular Humanism maintains we have a right to make out own rules and guidelines about living in this world
- why not do whatever you can get away with
- Secular Humanism says there is no reason to feel guilty about anything done with our sexual drive
- there is nothing morally wrong with homosexuality, adultery, or promiscuity
- Secular Humanism maintains there are no moral absolutes
- Secular Humanism believes that because we are just animals anyway
- abortion is a great thing for woman who do not want to suffer distressing consequences for little mistakes
- Secular Humanism says you have a right to decide how to live, and you have a right to put your own interests first
II. THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACCEPTING THE ACCURACY OF THE CREATION STORY
- “I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:6–7, NIV84)
- accepting the accuracy of the creation account provides the basic world-view for the Christian
- IF the creation account is true, THEN God is Sovereign
- IF the creation account is true, THEN sin is our greatest problem
- IF the creation account is true, THEN our greatest need is a Savior
When the doctrine of creation withers it is not soon other doctrines of Christianity begin to wither. Thomas Aquinas once said that, “any error about creation also lead to an error about God.” Wrong ideas about creation systematically deconstruct the true Christian meaning of almost every doctrine. For that reason it is critical to have a biblical understanding of the cosmos.