Series on Genesis, Text:1:1,The Centrality of Creation, Old Testament Reading, Psalm 96

Introduction

These are without a doubt, without fear of contradiction, the most important words ever written. A Jewish writer said, “The Genesis account of creation is brief, giving evidence of having been intended only as a prologue to the more important human drama: but what a prologue to what a drama.” The opening verse of your Bible sets the scene and erects the framework for everything that follows. Without creation there is no God, no meaning, no responsibility, no sin, no Savior, no salvation. Over against this statement is all the existentialism and postmodernism of our time that assumes we are here by accident. In a recent cartoon, Opus the penguin us discussing the meaning of life with the human character. He looks up into heaven and says that he wonders how all this came to be. The man says if you don’t believe in God then we are just a cosmic accident and life is purposeless. Opus concludes, “Ah life’s meaning, maybe it’s not so much found as it is made.“ This is the antithesis of Genesis 1:1 and it is the philosophy of man so exquisitely pondered by Renee' Descartes who said, “I think therefore I am.” And though he did not realize the futility of his affirmation, he thus stated the essence of all humanism. Man is the measure of all things. You should not begin with man dear friends, you begin with God. Art Linkletter had a show entitled “Kids Say the Darndest Things” like the little girl on her wrinkled, white-haired great-grandmother’s lap who said, ‘Did God make me?” ‘Yes!” “Did God make you too?” “Yes! “Well… don’t you think he’s doing a better job now than he used to?” It is precisely the child's simple question, “Who made God?” That is the greatest question of life. If we do not establish the difference between that which is created and that which is not created we have nothing: thus Genesis 1:1. Today we are going to look at creation, the work and wisdom of God.

I The Work of God


Under the work of God we look at two questions, what is creation, and Who did it ?

A What Is Creation?

The first word of Genesis is the Hebrew bereshiyth, "in the beginning." I don’t remember my Hebrew as well as I should, but I can never forget “bereshiyth bara elohiym eth ha-shimayim ve eth ha-aretz.” In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. So in Hebrew the name of Genesis is “beginning.” John's gospel begins likewise, “In the beginning was the word.” The derivation of the word “beginning” in Genesis 1:1 is head or source. in other words that from which everything else flows. The Greek word is the word from which we get architect and it has the same connotation. The word “create” throughout the Bible is always used with God as the subject. Only one subject is allowed, and the word is never used casually as we do today speaking of a creation by an artist or composer. Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the world was created by the Word of God so that which we cannot see became that which we do see.” This is confirmed by Genesis 1 as we read that God spoke and it was done: so creation is ex nihilo or out of nothing. Nothing, that is, except the will and Word of God. Thus everything that is becomes finite and dependent on the one who made it who is infinite and eternal. our second question was who did it.

B Who Did It?

It may seem like a silly question with an obvious answer, but of course God did. But from the beginning it was the triune God who created this universe. In Genesis 1 we see the Spirit of God mentioned but it is only further scriptural elucidation that makes clear that the spirit mentioned in verse 2, is separate from the Father and that the Son of God was also active in creation. In the Old Testament we read that Elohiym created and Jahweh created. These are the general and personal names of God. But in the Bible we are also told the Father created, I Corinthians 8:6, “there is but one God and Father from whom all things came.” The Son  also created, John 1:3 “All things were made by Him”, Colossians 1:16, “by him all things were created.” And the Spirit created, Job 33:4, “The Spirit of God has made me” and Psalm 33:6 “the starry hosts were made by the breath (spirit) of his mouth”. So the triune God created all things out of nothing, and this is the starting point of all thought, all reasoning, all thinking. I am not here by accident and God alone has the right interpretation of who I am and why I am here.

II The Wisdom of God

It is vital that we ask what the implications of this doctrine are beyond what I have already pointed out. We find that there are several responses to this greatest of all truths: the witness, the weakness, the wonder and the worship.

A The Witness

According to Romans 1:20 we are told the truth about God in creation but we suppress it. We are blinded by sin but his power and all his attributes like his personality, his wisdom, his love are revealed in the creation. Thus, the first use of the doctrine of creation is to know about God. Sinners deny it, but world business leaders take the following quote very seriously: "quality is never an accident; it is always the result of intelligent effort." At a 1981 symposium, Sir Fred Hoyle, the world renowned cosmologist who was not even a Christian said:  "The chance that higher life forms might have emerged through evolutionary processes is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a boeing 747 from the materials therein." Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining even a single functioning protein by chance combination of amino acids to a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s cube simultaneously. In his  book “Evolution from Space,” he calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for even the simplest living cell was one in 10 to the 40,000th power(one followed by 40,000 zeroes). Since the number of atoms in the known universe is infinitesimally tiny by comparison 10 to the 80th power(one followed by 80 zeros), even a whole universe full of primordial soup wouldn’t have a chance. In other words, to add my own calculation, you would need a one followed by 39,920 zeros more atoms in the universe just to make the spontaneous generation of life possible. Truly, the man that sees the witness and denies that God exists is a fool.

B The Weakness

Isaiah 40:22 says, God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth and its people are like grasshoppers. We are reminded of how puny we are by the doctrine of creation. We see, as did the Psalmist in Psalm 8, When i consider the heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have put in place what is man that you are mindful of him. Or we feel like Job did when confronted with God’s power and wisdom in creation, said, I put my hand over my mouth, I am unworthy. I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. So, the second use is to see how small we are.

C The Wonder

This goes beyond the witness and the weakness. It is expressed by the prophet Isaiah in 40:28, The Lord is the everlasting god, the creator of the ends of the earth… his understanding no one can fathom. God is incomprehensible. So vast is the gulf between us it is beyond our capacity to understand it. The moral disruption, the spiritual separation of sin is bridged by the mercy of God in the cross of Christ, but the essential difference between the creator and the creature can never be bridged. Paul expresses it in Romans 11:33-36, O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths past finding out. So, the third use of the doctrine of creation is fear and awe, and this leads to the fourth and last use which is worship.

D The Worship

The Russian novelist Dostoyevski said, “The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great. The infinite and the eternal are as essential for man as the little planet on which he dwells.”  The trees are called to worship as Psalm 96 says, Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the lord. The rivers, the hills and the mountains are all called upon to worship God in Psalm 98, Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy, let them sing before the Lord. The angels in heaven praise Him who was and is, and is to come. But it is when we who are redeemed at such tremendous cost praise Him that He is most pleased. In Revelation 4:11 the 24 elders representing God’s people (12 tribes and 12 apostles) fall down before Him, lay down their crowns before the throne, and sing, You are worthy o Lord, our God, to receive glory  and honor and power for you created all things and by your will they created and have their being.

Conclusion

There is no doctrine so important and only a few more useful than the truth that the inifinite eternal unchangeable God created us out of nothing. When the Bible begins with these words it takes us out of our selves, out of our blindness and ignorance, and sets us on a different path for understanding life: the path of truth. As  A.W. Tozer wrote, “God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship. . . . the very stones would praise him if the need arose and a thousand legions of angels would leap to do his will.