10002 Genesis 1-2.3 The Creation
Genesis 1:1-2:3 The Creation September 17, 2008 Jan Henderson
A little girl crawled up into her great grandmother's lap one day. And looking up into her great grandmother's face she saw all those crevices, lines, and wrinkles. Then she felt her own smooth baby-like skin. She said to her great grandmother, "Did God make you?" Her great grandmother said, "Yes honey, God made me. " Then the little girl said, "Well great grandmother, did God make me?" Her great grandmother said, "Oh yes, God made you too. " And then the little girl said, "Well great grandmother, don't you think God's doing a lot better job these days?"
I. In the book of Job, the man Job was having a really bad time, I mean really bad. He had lost his children, his livestock and his health. This was a real man with real heartaches and real questions. This was a man who believed in God but who was being challenged by the world as to why a so called good God would be doing this to him; a world whose best answer to that was either, God wasn’t good, or Job deserved it. When the world had had spoken to Job, when the wife had encourage Job to curse God and die (Job 2:9), when human wisdom had had its say, Job finally heard from God.
A. I am reading from Job 38:1-11.
B. The interesting thing about the story of Job is that God never explains to Job the why of his pain, He only presents the who of who He is.
1. As readers of the book of Job, we know that there were things going on in the spiritual world outside the view of Job and his friend.
2. But God does not inform Job of the drama behind the drama.
3. God simply confronts Job with who He is. That is enough; the why questions disappear when Job faces the creator of the universe. The why question simply evaporates.
C. As we begin to look at this biblical account of creation this morning, I am pretty sure that some of you are anxious to, as one author has said, get your apologetical batteries recharged.
1. By that he means, get some good solid scholarly ammunition to refute your friends who argue for evolution.
2. I am really not the one to do that; there are wonderful books and even ministries that major in those arguments.
3. But when the wisdom of the world has had its say; there will come a time when anyone really interested in the origin of this world will have to let God speak for Himself.
4. A man will never come to spiritual understanding by human argument. Job had the best advice a man could ask for from men who were supposed to be his friends; but Job had no understanding of his life at all until God spoke. He wasn’t even asking the right question.
5. If you think that science will one day prove the existence of God, and that the whole world will then be converted; you are mistaken.
a) God is the judge of science.
b) Scientific discoveries do not confirm the reality of God.
c) God confirms the accuracy of scientific discoveries.
6. If a person comes to believe in the accuracy of the bible because archeological finds in the Middle East prove the stories to be accurate; then their belief is in a book's accuracy and not the reality of the God of the book.
a) Now, I don’t discount that some of these discoveries open men’s hearts to the possibility of God; but at some point they must let God speak into their life before their faith is living and unshakable.
b) We have read, and seen all that man said about the origin of the earth.
D. So the first question this morning is will you let God speak? Will you listen, at least give ear to His account of the story, given that you weren’t there?
II. We begin; in the beginning God. This phrase is telling us that in the beginning of creation God was there - God has no beginning Himself, and given that that whole idea is beyond our comprehension, I think we just have to leave it there. No human words can explain God; nor can we fathom any dimension outside of our time reference; we are locked in seeing in the time/space dimension in which we were created. But as that time/space dimension was about to be created; God was already there.
A. The story of creation was written down and given to the Israelites sometime after the nations Exodus from Egypt. While it may have existed in oral tradition or scratched on family scrolls in the centuries before that; Moses wrote it down as we discussed last weeks and the very scrolls on which He wrote it became sacred scripture among the fledgling Jewish nation.
B. It certainly wasn’t the first written account of creation; many cultures have their own - often with eerie similarities to the Genesis account.
C. My guess would be that as the new born nation of Israel was about to make their move into pagan Canaan; God wanted His story fresh in their minds. Yes, they were to route out the pagans in that land, but God knew of mans predilection for disobedience and He wanted His story told.
D. Again, whither He is able to convince you of the truth of it, is between you and Him; but let’s let Him tell it.
III. God created the heavens and the earth. God created the realm in which He would work and the stuff out of which He would fashion the things in that realm.
A. Allow me a bunny trail. We often say that we are like God in image because we too are creative. And perhaps there is some truth in that statement; but probably not as much as you might think.
B. We can create all kinds of things, but we have to work with things already here.
1. We can rearrange; reconfigure and reuse; but what we come up with is just a variation on something that went before.
2. The first house; was a different use for the first tree; or the first rock depending on how you build.
3. The first auto; was just a different way of using, tin, wires, and gas. Gas was just a different way of using a fuel already in the ground.
4. All of our creation is limited to the materials at hand.
C. God created the realm in which He would create (the time/space dimension in which we are locked) and the materials which would be used for His creation.
D. There has been much discussion as to why the earth was formless and void with darkness over the face of the deep, as described in verse 2.
1. I think your commentary discusses that a bit and I have had to contain my desire to discuss all of the various answers to that question with you; using clever charts and theories in my possession; because they are all theories.
2. Our understanding of those words is not as important as our understanding of the God who wrote those words. The answer to Gods question to Job, Where were you when is I wasn’t there.
3. God chose which pieces and parts of the creation story to give us; I believe to show us things beyond the historical account. He wants us to know Him; in His creative role.
a) When He spoke with Job; the point was; He created and governs the physical universe and all created things within it.
b) Here is what I see in verse 2. God can bring form out of the formless; light out of darkness. He can create and recreate according to His purpose.
c) My heart is more interested in knowing that than in learning the actual time line of creation.
d) My heart is comforted knowing that the very Spirit of God moved over the surface of the waters - once He had created water to have a surface over which to move.
4. I think your commentary did a great job of reminding you that the God of creation was the corporate; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, all present before the creation, all involved in it from the beginning.
IV. Then 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.
A. God will make three separations; light from darkness, sky from water or the waters above from the waters below and then the land from the sea.
B. In this first separation, I want you to notice that God did not say that the darkness was good.
C. The things God made were good, I believe because they would ultimately show people about His Son, they would give testimony to, or witness to the Son.
D. We don’t have to go very far to see how LIGHT fits that bill.
1. God is light. I John 1:5
2. Jesus is the light of the world. John 8:12
3. Of course this creation of light is good, it speaks to us something or God.
4. But symbolically and spiritually darkness speaks of that which is not God.
5. God tells us that He separates the two; there would be something called day; before there was ever a sun in place in the heavens; and there would be something called night.
6. I honestly don’t think God was giving us information so much as He was telling us about Himself and this world He would relate. He was telling us things with physical pictures we could understand.
a) If you know your bible you know that one day there will be no more night (darkness).
b) Why would God create something He had no intention of leaving? I think He meant the darkness to speak to us of spiritual truths; beyond what the eye could see.
c) Throughout the bible God speaks of people who come to His Son being transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.
d) Often night is uses to symbolically describe the kingdom apart from God. Do you remember when Judas left the Last Supper, John was clear to tell us that when he went out it was night?
e) But one day there will be no more need for that picture. Rev 21:23 - 25
7. And so we had one day from evening to morning; could we say the earth made one revolution on its axis? Ever wonder why Jewish people have always considered that the day began at sundown - God begins His recounting of days there was evening and morning, one day.
V. Then God said "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters."
A. God separates the upper expanse of water from the lower expanse of water in His creation.
B. Many see this as the separation of the water filled canopy which we call our atmosphere from the earth below still covered with water on the surface. The land was yet undifferentiated.
C. Just as there was a distinct separation from light from darkness; there is now a distinct separation of things above from things below.
D. Many think that the waters in the expanse above played into the world wide flood in Noah’s day. That certainly is a likely possibility.
E. But even more importantly is the imagery of the above and below.
1. There is a distinct difference above and below.
2. I firmly believe that God does not reside in a place; but our thinking usually makes us look up when we think of Him.
3. The Jews always taught that He lived in the 7th heaven - the highest one up there.
4. Moses when up to the Mt to meet with God. God came down to the tent to meet with Moses. Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind. Jacob looked up the ladder into the heavens. Jesus ascended up into the heavens in front of the disciples.
a) I am not saying that somewhere up there is God.
b) I am saying God gives us imagery to help us understand the otherness of God.
c) It is the heavens that declare the glory of God. Ps 19:1
d) Day two passes; another revolution on the axis; still no sun and moon to mark the day and the night.
VI. Now God separates the waters and the land on the earth, verse 10. The dry land he called earth and the gathering of the waters He called Sea. That was good.
A. Then God called for vegetation; plants and trees and notice the repeated statements 1) after their kind and 2) with seed in them.
B. We are going to come back to that idea in a couple weeks, but watch how many times it is mentioned in the next few verses.
C. These trees complete with seeds and fruit; showed up at Gods command.
D. The first created form which had capacity for life was the plant kingdom. Plants have physical life in a physical form, but they often were used by God to help us understand things beyond themselves.
E. How many times does God incorporate the imagery of the tree to speak of things of a spiritual nature?
1. The vineyard is always speaking of Israel and her fruitfulness.
2. The tree planted by the water speaks of spiritual nourishment.
3. Of course the two trees in the garden are going to show us choices in the physical that speak of choices in the spiritual realm.
4. Think of the great Cedars of Lebanon and how often they are used symbolically.
5. The dream about the tree in the book of Daniel.
6. The branch thrown in the bitter water to make it sweet.
7. The tree the Master cursed because it didn’t produce.
8. How many times in the NT are we told to be fruitful?
9. How many times does the seed, refer specifically to Christ?
F. But let me speak for a minute about the water; there is a clear distinction in scripture between sweet or fresh running water and sea water. And when Sea is used symbolically as it often is; it is always a picture of death.
1. Think of Jonah
3. The Red Sea
4. Remember the demoniac and the pigs and the plunge into the Sea.
5. Remember how the Sea of Galilee threatened the disciples in the boat and they who made their living from the sea were terrified; yet Jesus showed His power over the Sea.
6. Once again the Sea - as a picture of death will one day be no more
a) Rev 21:1 and 4
b) Did you notice how the author of Rev said: the first things will have passed away. Why do you suppose?
c) Because they have done their job as intended in creation. They have witnessed to the Son and in the fullness of time He fills up all they speak of.
7. Day three passes with the separation of land and sea and the coming of vegetation on the land.
VII. Verse 14; now God creates the lights in the expanse of heaven (also not needed in the new earth, Rev 22:23)
A. These lights in the heavens are for signs and seasons and days and years.
B. These are to help us to make an accounting of time. As man is locked in this time/space dimension, we need to account for the passing of time. God moves the stars and the moon in the heavens and we tick off the days and months of our lives.
C. Do you know whenever a star was a sign??
D. And didn’t He say in Matt 24, when ask about the sign of His coming, The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky.
1. God uses the physical sun, moon and stars to paint a picture of events at the end of the age.
2. Do you really think the stars will fall to this earth? If a star, which is much larger than the earth actually hit the earth, we would be obliterated. There would be no one left to interpret the sign.
3. God controls the heavens and man tries to account for time and the seasons.
4. God asked Job, Can you bind he chains of Pleiades, or loose the chords of Orion, can you lead forth the constellation in its seasons and guide the Bear with her satellites, do you know the ordinances of the heavens or fix heir rule over earth. God is asking Job who rules the heavens and makes the plan of the movement of the constellations.
E. There are many times when God uses the stars, moon and sun as a way to teach us.
1. In the real natural world, the skies, govern the passing of the days, the moving of the tides, the weather to some degree.
2. But God uses them to speak beyond the physical world some times.
3. We will look at Josephs dream about the sun, moon and stars.
4. We will remember what the skies did the night of Jesus birth; and what happened in the skies the day of His crucifixion.
F. Oh yes this part of creation was good, for it would speak of the Son, but there would come a day when it was no longer needed. Rev. 22:5 And there shall no longer be any night, and they shall not have need of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them. The Sun often spoke of the Son, but one day there will be no more need for types and shadow; for God will no longer be painting pictures. The time for that will be passed.
G. There was evening and morning the fourth day.
VIII. Verse 20; now God called forth life from the waters and the skies. Although plant life is complex at a molecular level, when we come to animal life we have moved to a higher life form which has capacity for behavioral life function; mental, emotional, and volitional function. Now God has created life with body and soul. Certainly some animals have the ability to learn, remember, experience emotions of fear, happiness and things you just never see in a potted plant. God was increasing the complexity of His creation. But they are good because God uses the animal kingdom to teach us things about His Son.
A. Do you know how many animals God uses as He tells us about His Son?
B. Lets think.
1. There was the first covering of skin in the garden.
2. Hundred of years of sacrifice.
3. And then a dove.
4. And there is the lamb.
5. And the lion.
6. And Jesus uses the dogs under the table for an illustration.
7. There are the birds of the air that He cares for.
8. There are four horses in the apocalypse.
9. And the great antagonist, the snake.
10. No wonder these were good.
C. But again notice; they all reproduced according to their kind.
1. Living creatures after their kind.
2. Cattle and creeping things after their kind.
3. Beasts of the earth after their kind.
4. And it was good.
D. And the fifth day ended.
IX. The sixth day; the triune God made mankind (man and women). Here is where we get the summary statement about the creation, the details of which are coming next week.
A. I want to slow down here to consider man being made in the image of God.
B. I know much can and has been said about this, but I would still like to linger here a minute and get you thinking, perhaps in a different way about this statement.
1. When we get to the creation of man, we have a living being that was more than just a living body, like the plant, more than just soul responding to its surroundings, like the animal kingdom. In fact even in mans soulish capacities he is a higher level being than the average animal.
2. Man had the capacity for spirit life.
3. Man can function at all three levels; he is body, soul and spirit.
4. What makes man different is that he was created with the capacity for spiritual life function, so that the very presence of God might dwell within the spirit of man in order to manifest in the soul of man and be expressed in the body of man unto the glory of God.
5. In Isaiah 43:7, God speaks of man whom He created for His glory. We were created with the capacity of spiritual life function, in order to allow the spiritual character of God to be visibly expressed in our behavior.
a) We were created with freedom of choice so we could decide if we would chose dependency, contingency, receptivity to God in order to allow his character to be expressed in our life.
b) Man is not a source of life; God is. Therefore man is dependent and derivative.
c) Man was created to be dependent upon a spiritual source and as we will see when man chose against living by the life of God in the garden; he really didn’t become an independent being; he became dependent on the one who lured him into the lie.
d) More of that in a couple weeks.
C. But God made man in His image to rule over this physical creation and to multiply within it. God gave it to man and told man that he could eat of the creation; only the vegetation.
1. I would love to say I had any understanding of the reasoning behind that, but I don’t really.
2. Suffice it to say; death had not yet entered this world and the giver of life seemed unwilling at this point to put that possibility in the hands of man.
D. I suppose we should observe that man was the highest created life form on this earth and Gods plan was as far as we can tell to this point that man would multiply and be fruitful and rule over all of creation. That is the set up for a very interesting story; which we are still caught up in today.
X. When God had created this time/space box and put all the things and characters in it that He had in mind; He ceased from His creative work and rested.
A. God blessed and set aside this 7th day for special attention.
B. Was God weary? I doubt it.
C. Was God finished being God, or doing God things? No, He was just done creating this world and all its environs.
D. I am hoping to do quite a lot of talking this year about Rest, and Sabbath Rest. In my opinion God sets up His picture of this Rest right here. A picture, like all of the others that will be filled up and completed in His Son who will become our rest, whenever we decide to stop creating ways to please God and rest in the completed work of the Son; more of that later.
XI. A few years back, when the Rochester Eve CBS class was doing the Pentateuch, the TD was telling me that when they did this lesson in their teen core that the Core Leader couldn’t get the core to come up to lecture because the kids couldn’t stop discussing this scripture; most had never heard this account before. Most of the teens in that core had never even heard this account before.
A. I suppose that shouldn’t have surprise me; but I have to admit; I was surprised.
B. I have no fear of reading the works of Darwin, of exploring the ideas of those who refute the biblical account; why such a ban in those circles on at least reading what the bible has to say.
1. In my studies this week; I came across several accounts of Darwin’s last days where he, if the accounts are true admitted surprise at the way the theories he expressed in his youth had caught on and spread when he himself had come to know truth in Jesus.
2. Here is the quote that shows up in all the books. I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything and to my astonishment the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion out of them.
3. They certainly have.
4. Perhaps we have made a religion out of creationism too. God gave us few facts and libraries have filled with mans opinions on these few verses.
C. God said to Job when He cried out with questions about his misfortune. Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
1. Now gird up your loins like a man and I will ask you and you instruct Me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
2. God does not answer with facts; He answers with Himself. He does not explain Himself; He invites us to come to Him and know Him and find our rest and our purpose in Him.
3. All Job could say was this, I know that Thou can do all things; and that no purpose of Thine can be thwarted. I have declared that which I did not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask Thee and do Thou instruct me. I have heard of Thee by the hearing of my ear; But now my eyes see Thee, therefore I retract and I repent in dust and ashes.
a) Do you think Job saw God with the eyes of his head or the eyes of his heart?
b) I think he saw Him with the eyes of his heart; the same way I am praying that we will see Him this year.