I Believe In God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth
What has the church traditionally taught about God? Our church forefathers crafted a concise statement about God in what we’ve come to call The Apostles’ Creed. Two words express the core of His being and character: He is Father Almighty. How did God express that almightiness? By creating the heavens and the earth. It is through His creation that God is clearly revealed to those who have eyes to see.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." (Ro 1:18-20, ESV)
No sinner will be able to stand before a Holy God on Judgement Day and declare, “I just never saw any evidence of your reality. If I had, I would have responded to you.” And God will answer, “You had the stars, and the oceans, and the mountains, and the plains, and the glory of a sunset. Those things alone should have pointed you to me.”
What do the biblical accounts of creation tell us? They tell us:
- There is but one God.
- God is the ultimate origin of each human being.
- God is not in competition with an equally powerful evil counter force. (there is no "dark side" comparable to God)
- All that is in the creation: night, day, waters, lowliest creatures, the human body and sexuality, are fundamentally good.
- Human beings are the goal of creation.
- God's is sovereign over His creation.
I. THE AFFIRMATION THAT GOD IS MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH HELPS CHECK OUR MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF GOD
- "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1, ESV)
- the Bible begins with a simple, concise statement that is pregnant with implications
- if it is true, then it is the most astounding declarative statement in all of literature and puts everything in perspective
- it’s all about God and His glory
- if it is simply a myth, just one of many ancient creation narratives invented by ancient men in a pre-scientific age, then redemption is unnecessary and the Bible is a hoax
- it’s all about us and our pleasure
- there are no other possibilities
- when Genesis 1:1 declares that “God created the heavens and the earth” it is making a statement of fact – God made everything
- if it is not true, then what part of the Bible can you believe?
- was there really a world-wide flood survived only by Noah and his family?
- did Abraham really live and begat the Jewish people?
- did Moses really lead a million Hebrews out of Egypt to the Promised Land?
- did David really slay a giant, become a king and establish an Israelite Kingdom?
- did Jesus really raise from the dead three days after his crucifixion?
- if you do not believe Genesis 1:1, then where do you being believing the Scriptures?
- declaring “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth” immediately nullifies any misunderstandings or misconceptions we might have about God
A. GOD IS ALL-POWERFUL – WE DARE NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS
- “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2, NIV)
- "For nothing is impossible with God.” (Lk 1:37, NIV)
- God is not limited
- He is almighty and not dependent upon us
- ILLUS. “This is my Father’s world, I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.”
- the universe is not all there ever was, all there is, and all there ever will be
- life on Earth is not the result of random forces accidently coming together in a primordial soup and evolving over the course of billions of years
- "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." (Ge 1:3-5, ESV)
- God merely spoke and things came to be
- no less then ten times in Genesis 1 do we read “ ... and God said ... “
- He willed on six successive days that certain events take place
- He decreed them to exist, and in every instance there was an immediate result
- "For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast." (Ps 33:9, KJV)
B. GOD IS SOVEREIGN – WE DARE NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS
- "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein," (Ps 24:1, ESV)
- "How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!" (Ps 47:2, NIV)
- God is the great Originator and Initiator
- it is the ignoring of this which is the basic error in all human schemes
- false systems of theology and philosophy begin with man, and seek to work up to God
- but this is a turning of things upside
- we must, in all our thinking, always begin with God, and work down to man
- men have the propensity to always want to scale God down to our size
- this was Israel’s great sin
- "These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face." (Ps 50:21, NIV)
- He is sovereign – we are not
- ILLUS. During the Constitution Convention the delegates were at an impasse in attempting to form a working government. It was during a heated debate that Benjamin Franklin counseled the convention to stop and pray with this statement: “God governs in the affairs of men; and if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, neither can a kingdom rise without his aid.”
- ILLUS. An old Jewish proverb is more succinct about God’s sovereignty, “If God doesn't approve, a fly doesn't move.”
C. GOD IS ALL-KNOWING – WE DARE NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS
- “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his." (Job 12:13, NIV)
- "From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do." (Ps 33:13-15, NIV)
- God is a God who knows where every molecule in His creation is today and where it will be tomorrow
- God does not sit and wonder, “Now what did I do with that hydrogen atom in the Crab Nubula? I knew where it was yesterday!”
- He is not befuddled be what takes place in this world or in you life
- one of the newer theologies on the block is called “Open Theism”
- Open Theism strikes at the heart of God’s omniscience
- it is a philosophical view of the nature of God that maintains that God is Incapable of knowing the future actions of human free will simply because they haven’t happened yet
- in other words, God doesn’t have any more of a clue what’s going to happen tomorrow than you do!
- Open Theism also maintains that “God is always learning”
- because God does not know the future exhaustively, He learns as the realities of the future occur
- Open Theism asserts that “God can make mistakes”
- because God does not know all things and because He is dealing with free will creatures (whose future choices He does not know), God can make mistakes in dealing with people
- according to Open Theism, here are some of the things you might hear God say From time-to-time ...
- uh, oh
- Oh, no
- Dang it!
- Let me get back to you on that
- Whoa! That was a surprise
- Oh good grief, what’s he going to do this time?
- No, I haven't heard the joke about the open theist
- Please, oh please, please, please believe in me
- Boy-oh-boy, I'll not do that again
- That didn't turn out to well, did it?
- I'd answer your prayer but I don't know what is going to happen
- Hey, I just learned something
- Well, I can always go to plan B
- Well, I can always go to plan C
- Well, I can always go to plan D
- God can change His mind on issues depending on what He learns and what He discovers people do
D. GOD IS GOOD AND CREATED EVERYTHING GOOD – WE DARE NOT MISUNDERSTAND THIS
- God merely spoke and things came to be, and at the end of each day’s creative work there was an evaluation process
- God looks at what He created and forms an opinion – the days’ work is good
- and when God created man on the sixth day He stepped back and the evaluation was that it was very good! (Gen. 1:31)
- when the Lord looked upon the completed result of his creative acts, he expressed peculiar delight and extreme satisfaction
- everything in the universe, from the biggest star to the smallest blade of grass, brought joy to his heart, and glory to His name
- the Creator’s satisfaction is here expressed in terse yet vivid language
- "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good ... " (Ge 1:31, NIV)
- ILLUS. As Ethel Waters once said, “God don’t make no junk!”
- the answer to that quandary is also found in the Book of Genesis
- "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (Ge 3:6-11, NIV)
- God created everything good
- Sin de-constructed and tainted everything He created
- God will ultimately redeem even creation itself
- "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, ... " (Is 65:17-18, NIV)
II. THE AFFIRMATION THAT GOD IS MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH HELPS CHECK OUR MISUNDERSTANDINGS OF THE WORLD
- ILLUS. Many of you are familiar with the Berenstain Bear book series for children. In one book, the Bear family invites the reader to join them for a nature walk. We start out on a sunny morning, and after running into a few spiderwebs, we read in capitol letters spread across a beautiful sunrise, these word: Nature is all there IS, or WAS or EVER WILL BE.
- the humanist, the naturalist, and the secularist would have us believe the nature is all there is
- that it has no cause – it just “is”
- that there is no rhyme-or-reason to it – that it merely goes along it’s evolutionary path with “chance” being the only operational force behind it
- but the Scriptures reveal that God cares about the totality of His creation
- "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Mt 6:26, NIV)
- “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." (Mt 6:28-29, NIV)
- "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Mt 10:29-31, NIV)
A. GOD IS NOT AN UNINVOLVED CREATOR
- according to the Scriptures
- "He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away." (Job 12:23, ESV)
- "He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." (Ps 23:2-3, ESV)
- "The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant." (Ps 25:14, ESV)
- "It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses." (Je 10:12-13, ESV)
B. MAN IS FALLEN AND DOOMED WITHOUT AN INVOLVED CREATOR
- "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Lk 19:10, KJV)
- the debate between Evolution vs. Creationism is not about dinosaurs and DNA
- it is really a debate between competing worldviews
- at the heart of evolution is the assumption that the beginning of the world, it’s development, and its existence have an entirely naturalistic explanation
- it is a philosophy that is the dominant view of academia and is taught in our classrooms schools as unquestionable fact
- anyone who would oppose the theory runs the risk of being labeled a rank heretic, a crank, or just plain stupid
- the result of the evolutionary worldview teaches that nature is all that exists – there is no such thing as the supernatural
- if the naturalistic worldview is correct, then man has only himself to answer to and it’s up to us to determine our own fate, our own morality, and even our own truth
- ILLUS. Charles Coleson writes in his book, How Now Shall We Live, “If nature is all there is, there is no transcendent source of truth or morality. Truth is relative, and we are left to construct morality on our own. Every principle is reduced to a personal preference. If we are animals and have no intrinsic value, then how is killing another human different from killing a cow or chicken?
- ILLUS. The classical author Dostoyevsky said, "Anything is permissible if there is no God."
- it’s a revelation we take be faith
- "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Heb 11:3, KJV)
- Colossians 1:15-17 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and 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 in Him all things hold together." NASB95
- a biblical worldview teaches that man’s fundamental problem is sin – all the world’s woes and problems flow from that reality
- a biblical worldview teaches that redemption through Jesus Christ is man’s – and society’s – only hope
- ... and God has a will that we must seek
- ... and God has revealed an unchanging moral standard of right and wrong that we must submit to
- ... and God has an opinion about everything that we must discover
III. THE AFFIRMATION THAT GOD IS MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH HELPS US CHECK OUR MISUNDERSTANDING OF JESUS
- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." (Jn 1:1-3, ESV)
- the Apostle John begins his gospel by echoing the language of Genesis 1
- here he affirms that before the world was The Word was
- now, most of you know that, “The Word” is John’s name for the second person of the Trinity before He came into this world in human flesh
- he tells us two things about The Word
- First, the Apostle John tells us that The Word was with God
- but not only was The Word with God, but The Word was God
- the Apostle is clear – Jesus is Devine – God the Son is as much God as is God the Father
- Jesus is not a “mini-me” of God
- Second, the Apostle John tells us that all things came into being through Him
- Christians worship Jesus not as a great moral prophet
- Christians worship Jesus not as the godliest man that every lived
- Christians worship Jesus not as an exceedingly wise, religious teacher
- Christians worship Jesus as Creator God
A. JESUS IS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN OF THE FATHER FULL OF GRACE AND TRUTH
- there must be no retreat, no compromise on this fundamental truth of the Scriptures
- "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." (Col 1:15-20, KJV)
- Where did I come from?
- Why am I here?
- Where am I going?
Daniel Dennet in his book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, writes: “We used to sing a lot when I was a child, around the campfire at summer camp, as school and Sunday School, or gathered around the piano at home. One of my favorite songs was “Tell Me Why.” Here are the lyrics.
Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me why the sky’s so blue,
Then I will tell you just why I love you.
Because God made the stars to shine,
Because God made the ivy twine,
Because God made the sky so blue,
Because God made you, that’s why I love you.
Dennet goes on to say: “This straightforward, sentimental declaration still brings a lump to my throat – so sweet, so innocent, so reassuring a vision of life! And then along comes Darwin and spoils the picnic. The sweet simple vision of the song taken literally is one most of us has out grown. However fondly we may recall it the kindly God who fashioned each and every one of us – all creatures great and small – and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for out delight, that God is like Santa Clause, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete of abandoned altogether. Let all the people of the earth assuredly know that we are a band of insane and deluded adults, for we do believe this.”