The Significance that God IS Creator (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-5)

The Significance that God IS Creator (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-5) Why does it matter that God created? I will also introduce the series in this sermon.

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, January 8 and Sunday, January 9, 2022

On Christmas Day 1968, the three astronauts of Apollo 8 circled the dark side of the moon and headed for home. Suddenly, over the horizon of the moon rose the blue and white Earth garlanded by the glistening light of the sun against the black void of space. Those sophisticated men, trained in science and technology, did not utter Einstein’s name. They did not even go to the poets, the lyricists, or the dramatists. Only one thing could capture the awe-inspiring thrill of this magnificent observation. Billions heard the voice from outer space as the astronaut read it: “In the beginning God”–the only concept worthy enough to describe that unspeakable awe, unutterable in any other way. “In the beginning God created”–the invasive, the inescapable sense of the infinite and the eternal.[1]

G. K. Chesterton shared:

It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into anything.[2]

Today, I begin a new series on Genesis chapters 1-11 and my goal is to talk about how these chapters are foundational to our faith. Today, we begin with God as creator.

My theme today is:

God as creator is foundational to our faith.

Read with me Genesis 1:1:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

  1. Let’s talk about God as creator from Genesis 1:1.
    1. God created….
    2. The passage begins with “first” or “the beginning.”
    3. It is like this is a lesson on when time began.
    4. This is the beginning of time.
    5. God created. God is creating.
    6. In the beginning is the best translation, “beginning” implies the definite article within it, though in Hebrew there is no definite article “the.”[3]
    7. This is also the beginning of the Torah. Torah means “instruction” not “Law.”
    8. The Torah is a book of instruction about the Law.[4]
    9. First, distinction in Scripture is the separation between Creator and creation. Later distinction between humans and the rest of creation.
    10. God created the heavens, plural, and the earth.
    11. They would view heavens as plural and the earth.
    12. This encompasses everything.
    13. This means that God created matter.
    14. God had to also create the space to fit the matter.
    15. This is a figure of speech called a “merism” this means He created everything. Dr Rydelnic believes heaven has always been there (Open Line, Moody Radio, Oct 19, 2019).
    16. Dr Rydelnic: There is nothing in Genesis 1-2 that reads like poetry until the end: “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh… the rest is narrative and narrative we read as narrative.[5]
  2. Why does this matter for the rest of the Bible?
    1. I aim to make the case that Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith.
    2. This means that we start with God. In a moment, I will share applications as to why God as creator matters to our life, but what about the rest of the Bible?
    3. Why do foundations matter?
    4. I heard about a building at Ohio State University, it is a postmodern building. It has staircases that go nowhere and all kinds of odd stuff.
    5. One author writes about it: I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.
    6. He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”
    7. I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?”
    8. He said, “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind. When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built and somebody has paid for it.”
    9. I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should the building have any design?”
    10. He said, “That is correct.”
    11. I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?”
    12. All of a sudden there was silence.
    13. You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a hurry.[6]
    14. The foundation is critical. Genesis is the foundation of our faith. God is teaching us important foundational elements to our faith.
    15. If we cut out the foundation what happens?
    16. Is Genesis 1-11 we have:
      1. The origin of the doctrine of marriage.
      2. The origin of clothing is in Genesis.
      3. Genesis records God’s plan for gender.
      4. The Gospel is found in Genesis: We need a Savior because Adam (the father/head of the human race) sinned and brought literal death into creation (Genesis 3). That’s why Jesus had to come and literally die a physical death to take our place.[7]
    17. We see these ideas repeated in the New Testament and the rest of the Bible. We will talk about them in the coming weeks. But what about God as creator?
    18. John 1:1-3: 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.
    19. Colossians 1:15-17: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
    20. Those texts in the New Testament connect God as creator with Jesus as creator.
    21. God created through Jesus.
    22. As Piper writes: So Paul teaches us that Jesus Christ created all that is. They were created through him. He was with and in God — and was God (John 1:1–3) — as God created all things through him.
    23. And all things were created for him. All that came into being exists for Christ — that is, it exists to display the greatness of Christ. Nothing — nothing! — in the universe exists for its own sake. Everything from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains, from the smallest particle to the biggest star, from the most boring school subject to the most fascinating science, from the ugliest cockroach to the most beautiful human, from the greatest saint to the most wicked genocidal dictator — everything that exists, exists to make the greatness of Christ more fully known — including you, and the person you have the hardest time liking.[8]
  3. Some applications:
    1. If God created then, we have a purpose.
    2. God created: this is NOT nihilism which means life has no purpose. We have a purpose because God created us. We are created and if we walk through Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we see God giving man and woman a purpose. Man and woman were called to tend the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15). We are still called by God to steward the planet. We are called to have children, that is still part of our purpose.
    3. God created: this is NOT existentialism, which means I must find meaning in my life because my life has no meaning.
    4. No, God gives us meaning to our life. God created us.
    5. God created: this is NOT hedonism: life has no purpose, have fun, go for it! Funny as it is, those who make life all about their own purpose are the most unhappy.
    6. No, life has a purpose and it is not simply about our fun.
    7. God created: this is NOT humanism, I must make the world a better place for humans.
    8. No, God is the creator. Humanism is closely linked with naturalism, which I already mentioned.
    9. God created: this is NOT transcendentalism which is nature is God, not pantheism, not panentheism.
    10. God created: this is NOT Pantheism which teaches that all is God. “Pan” means “all” and “theism” means God.
    11. God created: this is not panentheism which teaches that everything is in God. “Pan” means “all” and “en” means “in” and “theism” mean God.
    12. God created: this IS Theism
    13. God created and this also means that God is separate from His creation. God is not the same as His creation. God is separate from His creation.

As we build on this idea about Genesis 1-11 being foundational to our faith. I want to share that the whole Bible is about Jesus. I did not write the following, but it is good:

Whole Bible is about Jesus[9]

Genesis: He (Jesus) is the promise to Adam and Eve. He is the seed of the woman that would crush satan’s head.

Exodus: He (Jesus) is the Passover Lamb that saves us.

Leviticus: He (Jesus) is our great High Priest.

Numbers: He (Jesus) is our smitten Rock.

Deuteronomy: He (Jesus) is the prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:15).

Joshua: He is the Captain of the Lord’s armies, Captain of the Lord of Hosts.

Judges: He is the Creator and final judge.

Ruth: He is the Heavenly Kinsman Redeemer.

1 Samuel and 2 Samuel: He is the Anointed One.

1 and 2 Kings: He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

1 and 2 Chronicles: He is the glory of God in the Temple.

Ezra: He is the teacher that comes from God.

Nehemiah: He is the rebuilder of broken lives.

Esther: He is the protector of His people.

Job: He is the only comforter in times of trouble.

Psalms He is our good Shepherd.

Proverbs: He is the Wisdom of God.

Ecclesiastes: He is the preacher of the Kingdom of God.

Song of Solomon: He is the bridegroom whose coming to His bride, the church.

Isaiah: For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given and the government will be on His shoulders and He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa 9:6).

Jeremiah: He is the Potter that shapes the clay of our lives into the image of God.

Lamentations: He is the weeping profit.  

Ezekiel: He is the Wheel inside the Wheel (Ezekiel 1).

Daniel: He is the Son of Man coming on the clouds in Great Glory; the fourth man in the furnace (Daniel 7 and Daniel 3).

Hosea: He is the Love of God to the back slider.

Joel: He is the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Amos: He is the author of judgment and mercy.

Obadiah: He is the God of vengeance.

Jonah: He is the Salvation of our Lord.

Micah: He is the great intercessor.

Nahum: The stronghold in the days of trouble.

Habakkuk: He is the God of mercy.

Zephaniah: He is the establisher of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

Haggai: He is the Desire of all nations.

Zechariah: He is the Branch of Jehovah.

Malachi: He is the Refiner’s fire, the Son of righteousness that will rise over the whole world with healing in His wings.

Matthew: He is the Kingly Messiah.

Mark: He is the miracle Worker.

Luke: He is the great physician.

John: He is the Lamb of God that takes a way the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Acts: He is the Risen Lord.

Romans: He is our justification.

1 and 2 Corinthians: He is our Sanctification.

Galatians: He is Liberator.

Ephesians: He is our perfection.

Philippians: He is our joy.

Colossians: He is the Head of the body, the church.

1 and 2 Thessalonians: He is the coming Lord Who will reign and rule forever.

1 and 2 Timothy: He is the judge of man.

Titus: He is the redeemer of the world.

Philemon: He is the Friend that sticks closer than a brother.   

Hebrews: He is the author and finisher of our salvation (Heb. 12:2).

James: He is the healer of all nations.

1 and 2 Peter: He is the Chief Shepherd and bishop of our souls.  

1, 2 and 3 John: He is the Word of God.

Jude: He is the coming Lord with 10,000 of His saints to exude judgment on the earth.

Revelation: He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of Jesse, the root of David, the Lamb of God, the Word of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

Prayer


[1] Ravi Zacharias, “If the Foundations Be Destroyed,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 142.

[2] Source: G. K. Chesterton in The Quotable Chesterton. Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 13

[3] Open Line, Dr. Rydelnic. Moody Radio; 11.28.2020

[4] Dr Rydelnic; Open Line; Moody Radio; 05.08.2021

[5] Dr. Rydenic; Moody Radio; Open line second hour; 06.27.2020

[6] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justin-taylor/ravi-zacharias-on-postmodern-architecture-at-ohio-state/

[7] https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2016/12/29/genesis-foundation-of-christianity/

[8] https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/all-things-were-created-through-him-and-for-him

[9] Dr. Michael Yousseff; His radio program, Leading the Way, LTW; Nov 1, 2019

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