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Author:Pastor Keith Davis
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Congregation:Bethel United Reformed Church
 Calgary, Alberta
Preached At:Lynwood United Reformed Church
 Lynwood, IL
Title:In the Beginning (Part II)
Text:Genesis 1:3-25 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday
Topic:God and our Creation
Preached:May 13, 2007

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

In the Beginning (Part II)

Genesis 1:1-25

Rev. Keith Davis (5-13-07)


Beloved congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ, a week and a half ago, on May 3, the top ten Republican Candidates for President squared off in a political debate. In this debate, the candidates were asked to state their position on such timely issues as the war in Iraq, immigration, abortion, and the economy. 


But one question in particular got a lot of attention.  The moderator asked Senator John McCain whether he believed in evolution. When he said yes, the moderator directed this question to the entire panel of candidates asking: just curious, is there anybody on stage who does not believe in evolution?


At that point, three of the ten candidates raised their hands.  Three out of ten did not believe in evolution.  The reason I mentioned this was to share with you some of the media’s response to this shocking revelation—that there are actually people—successful, educated politicians no less--who do not believe in evolution.     


One person wrote this in response: It's hard to imagine a lower point for an American political party.  He descibed this as a jaw-dropping moment that should make all thinking Americans flee from the Republican party…


He wrote: Evolution is fact. It's not an issue where thoughtful people can disagree..if you want to be president of the greatest country in the world, of the most powerful nation in history, accepting evolution as scientific fact is a must.


A well known political editorialists wrote an article saying that these three men have made the entire Republican party look like fools. Any 6th grader knows that evolution is a fact.  Finally, in an article posted on an atheist web log, it was stated that this shows why the Republican Party is such a danger to our freedom and to our society. 


So that gives you just a little sampling, just a little taste of what people out there—outside the Bible belt—are thinking and saying about this issue.  You get a pretty good idea of how people in the world look at us as Christians; how they perceive our beliefs. 


We who embrace the Biblical account of Creation, we who believe in Creation’s God, we are called simple minded fools whose beliefs are so ridiculous, so unacceptable, that they are considered to be offensive—even dangerous--to others around us.        


Therein we are given yet another warning, yet another vivid reminder that this world is no friend to grace. Once again the world displays its outright hypocrisy: although the world preaches a gospel of tolerance, accommodation and acceptance, it proves that it has no patience, no tolerance for views that conflict with its own secular, godless agenda . 


There is no tolerance, no acceptance, no quarter given for the authority of God’s Word; for the faith which embraces the fact, the truth that God Created the heavens and the earth out of nothing, and by nothing other than the Word of His power.  


The text that is before us this morning proclaims this truth clearly and boldly despite all the opposition, despite all the claims to the contrary. Here in Genesis 1, Almighty God Creates Heaven and Earth by His Word.  Notice three aspects of His Word:  

1)      The Word is God’s Power

2)      The Word is God’s Wisdom

3)      The Word is God’s Order  


1)  The Word is God’s Power

Last week, when we looked at the opening verses of Genesis, we made mention of the fact that God’s Spirit was hovering over the face of the deep. We said how this helps us to see the Trinitarian presence of God and the Trinitarian character of creation.


This week we continue to witness God’s Trinitarian presence and character, for we see that all creation was called into being by the Word of God’s power.  Now I know that this phrase may sounds a little strange to our ears—maybe even backwards to us. 


In fact, when I used this same phrase in catechism class, I was asked: Don’t you mean God created all things by the power of His word?  And I replied: No.  I meant that God did it by the Word of His power. The explanation for that is found right here in our text--in our understanding of what it means that ‘God spoke.’ 


Look at verse 3: And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.  The expression: And God said appears ten times in this chapter.  The name God appears many more times than that—in fact I counted 11 times just within the first ten verses. 


So our text is definitely emphasizing the presence and the power of God.  But do you notice anything unusual about the fact that God speaks here?  On that first day of creation, as well as the rest of the days for that matter, no one is there to hear God speak.


I suppose someone could argue that by the sixth day the angels were created and they could hear God speak.  But God did not speak all things into being simply because he had an audience.  No, that’s not it at all. 


Even though no man heard God speak in Creation, the fact that God spoke is of utmost significance to humanity. God spoke so that one day man could acknowledge the absolute power and sovereignty and might of His Creator. 


God simply spoke and it was done.  Psalm 33:6 testifies to this: By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.  As well as Psalm 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.


It is a mighty king who commands thousands with but a word from his lips.  So how much more then is our God to be praised and exalted, for he speaks, and instantly light appears.  He speaks and there is an expanse between the waters above and the waters below; He speaks and the water is gathered to one place so that the dry ground appears.


He speaks and the land brings forth vegetation, plants and trees; He speaks and instantly the sun, moon, stars, planets and galaxies are called into being. He speaks and instantly the oceans are teaming with fish, the heavens are filled with fowl.


He speaks and the earth is filled with animals and beasts; He speaks and afterwards man is shaped and formed and brought into being in the image of God.  So first God speaks His Word, and then the act of creation follows. 


In this singular expression of power, in this singular act of speaking, God distinguishing himself, He sets himself apart from all other would-be-god (imitators).  Here in Genesis 1, God is already knows that man will fall; God is already aware that fallen man will turn to idols for help, to false gods for salvation--to gods who have mouths but cannot speak; who have eyes but cannot see; ears but cannot hear; hands but cannot touch.


It is God who declares in Isaiah 45:16-19: All the makers of idols will be put to shame and disgraced; they will go off into disgrace together. But Israel will be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation; you will never be put to shame or disgraced, to ages everlasting. For this is what the LORD says-- he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited-- he says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob's descendants, 'Seek me in vain.' I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.


And if God is the one who has the absolute power to call all things into being from that which was not, then don’t you think, brothers and sisters, that this same God deserves our total trust, our complete reliance, our sincere worship, our undivided affection?  


And don’t you think that He who (in His great power) spoke into existence the mountains and valleys, the oceans and rivers, the meadows and forests, who created something as massive as a galaxy and tiny as a micro-organism—don’t you think He is wise enough to know our petty needs and powerful enough to provide for them—Oh, ye of little faith?


After all, this is our God, beloved--our God who used this same power to raise up from the dead His only begotten Son Jesus Christ so that we might have life, so that we might have victory over sin and death and hell.  And so God has already revealed his amazing power to us in creation and in redemption. 


Now, this God of our creation and salvation calls for our trust; he calls for us to trust His plans, His will, His direction, His timing for our lives.  He calls for us to depend upon His hand of protection and provision; He calls for us to depend upon His unfailing love and for His unending mercy.  He calls for us to have faith in His almighty power!     


So that is first.  The fact that God creates all things by the Word of His Power is a testament to the absolute power and control and might of creation’s God.


2)  The Word is God’s Wisdom

Secondly, the fact that God created heaven and earth by His Word reveals to us that the Word is God’s wisdom.  Now, looking at our text in this manner congregation, it is not far-fetched at all to say that God is revealing Himself to us as a ‘Word-centered’ God.


Now, we use that phrase a lot, don’t we.  We use that phrase to describe our worship.  We say that we have a Word centered worship service, and anyone that has ever worshipped here can testify to that.  The preaching of the Word of God is central in every service.


We also talk about living a Word centered life, with the Word at the center of our homes, at the center of our children’s education, at the center of our work & play.  We want to make our lives in this world—all that we say, think, and do--revolve around God’s Word. 


Why? It’s because we realize the importance of God’s Word for life—for all of our life.  We realize the priority of the Word, that without the Word, there would be no life, no world, no purpose, no order, no hope.


But when we talk about the Word, we’re not talking about the printed pages of our Bibles (although that is part of it).  No, we’re talking about the Logos, the eternal Word of God; the second person of the Trinity; the Son who was begotten from all eternity, who is the Alpha and the Omega the beginning and the end; the Son who is forever praised, amen.


The Word is Christ, our worship as well as our lives revolve around Him.  And so it is that eternal Word that must come into view every time we that phrase “And God said”. As we talked about last week, John 1:1-3 reveals, the Word was with God in the beginning; all things that were made were made through the Word, through God’s eternal Son. Without him nothing was made that has been made.


The Son is not so much the instrument by which the Father created, but He is the personal wisdom by whom everything is created.  Everything in creation rests in the Word, in God’s Son; everything is created for Him (Colossians 1:16), and He is the master and head of all Creation (Ephesians 1:10).


In fact, in Proverbs 8, Solomon personifies wisdom—clearly connecting Christ with the work of creation. Proverbs 8: 23: I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.  Vv. 27-31: I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.  Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence…


In this way we see that Christ not only stands at the central figure of the salvation of the world and universe, but Christ stands as the central figure in creation itself.  It is the Father’s will that His Son, the Word of God, receives all the glory and honor and praise!


So that’s what we mean--that’s what we’re saying--when we say that God created the world by the ‘Word of His power’.  God’s eternal Son is the Word of His power, and by Him and through Him and for Him all things came into being. 


As a result, all of creation sings the glory and honor and praise of Creation’s King.  Isn’t that something to ponder: God brings forth this vast and wide creation-- this incredible masterpiece of beauty and order and perfection—and it all exists, not for its own purposes, not for its own ends—but it all exists for the praise and glory of the Son.


And more than anything in all creation, God calls for us, His people, His image bearers to praise and honor the Word of His power, His eternal Son.  He calls for us to honor and exalt Christ in our acts of obedience, in our lives of faithful service to one another, and to submit our hearts and minds and lives to Him in all things, for He is our King and Lord.  


3)  The Word is God’s Order

Congregation, the fact that God has created the heavens and the earth by the Word of His Power is significant for a third reason.  It reveals to us that our all-powerful God has a clear will and design and purpose for all creation. 


That is evident throughout our text.  We don’t have time to unwrap all the events of every day of creation, but we can certainly observe the undeniable, unmistakable qualities and attributes of a God who orderly and organized, who is thoroughly logical and reasonable. 


God not only creates, but He also classifies and names; God distinguishes one thing from another. He sets light apart from darkness; he calls light day, the darkness he calls night.  He separates the waters above from waters below and he calls the expanse sky; He gathers the waters together to make room for dry ground and calls the dry ground land. 

God’s perfect order is evident in the progression of the creation days.  God first creates the skies, then He fills the sky with birds of the air; God first creates the oceans, then He fills them with fish and sea creatures; God creates the firmament above, then He fills it with the sun, moon and stars. 


God creates dry land, then He calls forth vegetation--seed bearing plants and trees which bear fruit—and livestock, creatures, wild animals.  And it’s worth noting that in the case of plants and sea creatures, and birds and livestock (herd animals) as well as wild animals God specifically says that he created them according to their own kind.


Let’s just read vv. 24-25 a moment: And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.


What does this say to us?  Here God is declaring to all the humanity that He is the creator and originator of all species.  God is declaring to us that His wisdom, His knowledge gave rise to the variety and diversity of the families and species of birds, plants, & beasts.


God is saying that it was His wisdom and His knowledge that accounts for their unique and even unusual colors, shapes and sizes.   God gave to each creature its own distinct form and function. Boys and girls, God gave the tiger its stripes, the leopard its spots, the lion its mane, and the cheetah its speed.


Yes, they’re all types of cats, they’re all from the same family, but God is so great, God is such a marvelous and wise Creator that he even provided for diversity and variety even within certain families of animals, multiple species within one family.


Along those same lines, God has given to each vegetable, to each fruit its own distinct texture and flavor and properties.  The same can be said of plants, and trees.  And there is order within creation, so that a banana tree does not suddenly bar figs, or an apple tree does not suddenly bear oranges.


Yes, God has even allowed for adaptation, for change within His plants and creatures, so that farmers can plant hybrid corn and beans that are more likely to grow in this climate or in that climate; so that those who work in greenhouses can produce or sell hybrid flowers that have new and unique colors to them.


But you see, while God has allowed for adaptation and change within creation, He did not allow or provide for one species to turn into another.  In this regard, man cannot take an ape and expect that if you teach him how to do a children puzzle, if you teach him how to sit at a table and eat with a fork and spoon, that this ape will some day turn into a human being.


That’s simply absurd, because apes and monkeys were created after their own kind.  Apes and men are both primates, we share some similar physical characteristics, and yes monkeys and apes might even have own distinct personalities one from another—but mere similarity between species does not suggest or require that we were therefore the same at one time.


No, it merely shows the wisdom and genius of our Creator who has made all things according to their kind.  In other words, beloved, a faithful reading and interpretation of Genesis 1 completely rules out any argument for the theory of evolution--not just evolution as it is taught in public school, but it rules out any so called “theistic evolution”—that God used evolution as part of His creative process. 


I want to conclude, by commenting again on what was said at the beginning.  I pointed out how some people in our world (most people) are appalled, amazed, even downright frightened that educated, successful, clear thinking people reject the theory of evolution.  


They ask, how else can we account for the fact that on earth we can see light from stars that are over a million light years away?  How could that light possibly reach the earth if you believe in creation—that the earth is only a little over 6 thousand years old? 


They ask, how do you account for carbon dating of rocks and fossils that tell us that they are millions years old?  How do you account for dinosaurs and Neanderthal man; essentially they are asking us, how do you defend what science tell us?


What do we say?  Do we say “We reject science?”  Do we say “Science is evil”? or Science is wrong”?  I hope not.  God created us with scientific minds to observe, study, and understand the world in which we live. Don’t ever give people the impression that we Christians demonize science or have no use for it. 


No.  We answer by saying that while science certainly serves humanity well, while science plays an important role in our lives and in this world, science must nevertheless submit to what God says.


We don’t take God’s Word and try to bring it into agreement with science; rather, we take science and bring that into agreement with Gods Word. Granted, God’s Word isn’t a science book.  But it does tell us that God created the havens and the earth.


God brought forth this universe and put the sun in its circuit, the moon in its orbit and the stars in their courses.  In fact, the whole argument of how light from a distant star reached earth in 6 thousand years is a moot point.  For, God created light three days before He created the stars.


God called light into being, and only after that did he create the sun and moon and stars to bear that light. So the light didn’t take 6 million years or 6 thousand years to get to earth.  God spoke, and instantaneously there was light.


And so science, and all mankind for that matter, needs to listen to what God says.  I’m reminded of the books by Francis A. Schaeffer: The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent.


(Those three classics are now bound in once volume).  In those books Schaeffer discusses how modern man, modern intellect has abandoned the idea of absolute truth with tragic consequences in every area of culture--from philosophy, to art, to music, to theology, and within culture as a whole.


He explains how the present degradation and disintegration of modern life and culture is the product of corruption and lies and deceit that has been spread for many generations.  As one person wrote: Shaeffer contrasts the silence and despair of modern life with the Christian answer that God can indeed be known because He is there and He is not silent.


Beloved, God has spoken; and our Creator God has not only brought all things into being by His Word, but by His Word He has also established His perfect order, His absolute truth, His pure morality, His unalterable way in this world. 


And as we’ll see in the upcoming chapters of Genesis, when man rejects His Creator, he necessarily rejects His Creator’s truth, and morality, and will and ways; And when man refuses to listen to what God says, the consequences on his life and society are devastating and deadly.


So we can be thankful that we have a God who is there and who is not silent—who has spoken His Word in creation; who has spoken His Word in redemption. And that Word is Christ!  And when we hear, when we listen, when we follow Christ we are following true wisdom; we give no thought to the foolishness of men Amen.      

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Pastor Keith Davis, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
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