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God Creates and Controls everything

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God Creates and Controls everything

Genesis 1:1–13 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. 6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
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As we start our Family Discipleship series I want to set some expectations. Over the next few months we will be moving through Scripture and looking at specific texts that address certain topics and move us through a theme that is look like this....
Creation, Fall, redemption, restoration...
The idea is to look at what we know from scripture and how it affects us as believers today. We want to specifically look at topics like Human dignity (being created in the Image of God), Marriage before and after the Fall, God ordained order in our home and in the church, Sexuality and brokenness, Parenting, generational worship in community, stewardship of Finances and life, and ultimately consummation of the kingdom of God with eternal glorification.
This series is going to be an overview of the whole of scripture with specific insight to each of these areas that I just mentioned. Our desire is to lay the groundwork for what we believe and that will ultimately inform how we live and worship together.
During this series it is our desire to answer as many questions as possible. Since the Sunday morning sermon is not sufficient in and of itself to answer all questions and provide complete thorough discipleship, we have decided that you need to know WHY we are doing this and how to keep the conversations continuing between us. So, we are starting a Podcast that will air weekly in an attempt to address these questions. It will not be limited to questions about Sunday morning sermons but we will certainly address those questions there. Also you can ask questions via email.
With all that said I realize that the text we have before us today is one that has caused more questions over the history of Christianity than perhaps any other text in all of scripture. Today it is m y heart to give us an overview of the creation account and to focus on What we actually know. I want to mention opposing views but I will not get us hung up on any particular view, because there is information here that we can all agree on and then there is debates that side track us from the truth found here.
This may seems to be a long teaching rather than an emotional preaching, but it is so important as it will inform everything else we share from scripture moving forward. SO, as we approach this text there is a list of questions we need to ask in order to get to the heart of what this is all about.
Who wrote Genesis?
Who was it wrote to? the original audience.
What is the theme and what is the goal? or what is the purpose of this text?
what did it mean to them, what does it mean to us?
What is God saying here, and equally important… What is God not saying here?
Finally what is the point?
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are so busy that you can’t see the Forest for the trees”???
Do you understand what that means? It means that we can get so caught up in details that we miss the main point, the biggest possible thing that is directly in front of us is lost on the fact that there can be a million details to get sidetracked with.
Sometimes the simplest of things get lost in the desire to see more than we need to see in order to understand. That, in my opinion perfectly describes how the modern church reads Genesis1. Instead of trying to take an up close view of every word here, we need to back up and take the 30,000 ft view and make sure we do not miss the point.
So what is the point? You would think I would end with this question, but rather I will repeat it over and over, not just in this sermon, not just in this series we starting, but Lord willing, in every sermon I ever preach for the rest of time the Lord will grant me to preach… so what is it? What is the point of ????

God Creates and Controls everything

this is not only the main point here today, but I would submit to you that this is the main point of the whole Bible. That the Bible is not a story about you or me, it is a story about God. It may contain truth for us that has very serious implications for our lives, but it has a main purpose which is to inform us of truth about God!
This is a revelation of God, from God to us, for the purpose of us knowing who God is. It says what it means and means what it says, it should not be obscured and over complicated, but rather should be plain and simple and meant to be taken in a manner that causes us to believe and have Faith in Him.
If anything said here today causes you to want to argue over this and divide, then either have not done my job in presenting to you Biblical truth or you have missed it, “You can’t see the forest for the trees”!!!!
Ok, that is enough introduction, let’s answer some questions and look at the text!
What do we know about Genesis?
Moses wrote Genesis, and the best we can tell it was some 1500yrs BC. While we do not have an exact date, we are sure Moses wrote and that he was not an eye witness of these events. That would mean that the events written in Genesis were passed on to him via Oral tradition, but even more importantly we would say that the Holy Spirit, third person of the Trinity, inspired him and wrote through him. We believe that this along with every other part of scripture is God breathed and true and accurate.
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Genesis is no exception to that.
So, Moses wrote it under the influence and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So, then who did he write it to?
He wrote it to an enslaved people that God was setting free from Egypt. He wrote this to a recently freed people that were being pursued by Egypt, a people that were making an exodus, a people that were wandering through the dessert on their way to a promised land, a land by the way, that was full of hostile enemies who worshipped false gods. I want you to hold on to this one point here… The people who were the first to hear about this creation narrative were people who were either under the control of Egypt or lived near people who served false gods. Remember that...
So knowing that Moses wrote this to the Children of Israel who being delivered from foreign people who served false gods, then what is the theme and goal of ?

God Created the Universe by his Powerful Word

This is a truth that we see all through scripture and it was seriously important for the original hearers as it is for us. There are serious implications to this truth, and there is a beautiful obvious truth about God. First notice that God speaks. God is not a silent God, he speaks and creates. He creates by His powerful word and there is nothing before him and no clues to any other source in all the universe. God is the source of all creation. and this is not just seen here for them to hear, but reinforced through all of scripture.
Let’s look at it.
Genesis 1:1–5 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Genesis 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Notice that God Created everything, and he did this by speaking. The Bible leaves no other option and so we will accept no other option. And what we know is that God did this out of nothing but his own power and words. We call this Creatio Ex-Nihilo, meaning God created something out of Nothing. We know this because of and because of other scripture.
Hebrews 11:3 ESV
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
God did what science says is impossible, he made something out of nothing, and we believe that by Faith. If we do not all start from this point, then his Word is not as powerful and true. We believe that Gods word is Innerant, Infallible, and Inspired, meaning it is without error, it cannot be wrong and it is spoken/written by him!
Furthermore the Bible declares that God the Son, Jesus and the Word are one, and this word is what created everything...
John 1:1–3 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
So Ot and NT declare the same truth that was being told for the first time to these people by Moses.
This Theme we see in , “That God created the universe by his powerful word” is clear and obvious, it is the Forrest we are staring at today in scripture.
So then what is the Goal of Moses and the Holy Spirit/God in writing this truth to his people back then and us to hear it now?
I would submit to you that the Goal of is the same for the original audience as it is for us.

To comfort God’s fearful people with knowledge of their Sovereign God who controls everything

Why do I say God’s fearful people?
Think about who we said this was written to… Israel was under the control of Egypt, they were then delivered by many miraculous signs, only to be chased by the most powerful army on the planet, to then be instructed by God to go in to a land ruled by hostile foreign people who served false gods.
Think about this as we read through . these are the people who are hearing this and understanding this for the first time, put yourself in their position. Now let’s read this.
Genesis 1:1–5 ESV
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
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What do we know from this? God creates the heavens and earth, God creates Light, God does this and calls it day and night… He does this all by his word. let’s continue...
Genesis 1:6–8 ESV
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
God creates a separation between heaven and earth, he speaks and and creates and then names the space above heaven. This is an important concept for people who have been living in lands with false gods being worshipped. Remember who was learning this for the first time… let’s continue...
Genesis 1:9–10 ESV
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
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Who created the waters? GOD did! who gathered those waters to one place or another? GOD did!
who created the dry spaces of land in between water that is called earth? GOD did!
Remember that these people were afraid of their Egyptian slave master who worshipped false gods, one of which was their pharoah who would chase them all the way to a natural barrier… the Red Sea. They surely thought they would die, but God delivers them by parting the Sea and making dry ground for them to pass through and also destroys their enemy Egypt with the waters that he gathers and and moves miraculously. Thinking about that and hearing this verse really makes sense of an invisible force called God, doesn’t it? especially for a people who are being told that God loves them and will help them. A people mind you that have only seen foreign people worship false gods. Remember I told you to hold that thought before? we are almost to the point of making sense of that, let’s continue.
Genesis 1:11–13 ESV
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
Think about this… the original audience was not only delivered by the God who created everything, but also controls everything, including the waters and land by which he delivered his people, but now we hear that this same God allow the earth to produce food. We can get caught up reading this now and asking, “who was that food for, why was it on the third day and not on the 6th day when he creates humanity”… again missing the point. what do I mean by that? these people are about to go into a dessert place and need God to miraculously provide food for them, but they must know that this God is able to do that. And so the creation story continues by assuring them that it is God who creates a land that can produce.
and now it gets real interesting, let’s continue...
Genesis 1:14–19 ESV
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
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So what did Create on the 4th day? Lights in the heavens to rule the day and night… for what purpose? For signs and seasons… for days and years. To separate light from darkness, meaning to give purpose to contrast. One reason for the signs and tracking of time by these created lights will eventually become a calendar by which they will worship God in unique ways. But I will submit that there is more!
Here is why this is so interesting and important… When we read the Bible it is just as important to notice what it does and as it is to notice what it doesn’t say. What do I mean by that???
What do we call the light that rules the day? the Sun! and the light that rules the night? the Moon!
Why doesn’t Genesis say that God created the sun and the moon by name???

Because these were the names of the pagan gods of Israel’s neighbors. Clearly, the author is carrying on a polemic against the pagan worldview with its gods of Sun and Moon and Stars. Israel’s God created these so-called gods only on the fourth day, after the vegetation of the third day. They are only “lights.” Therefore a more specific goal than simply to teach is to oppose the influence of pagan mythologies and to shape or correct Israel’s worldview.

Because these were the names of the pagan gods of Israel’s neighbors. Clearly, the author is carrying on a polemic against the pagan worldview with its gods of Sun and Moon and Stars. Israel’s God created these so-called gods only on the fourth day, after the vegetation of the third day. They are only “lights.” Therefore a more specific goal than simply to teach is to oppose the influence of pagan mythologies and to shape or correct Israel’s worldview.

Remember I have been telling to hold the thought of the original audience being ruled by Egypt, wandering in hostile lands where people worship false gods???

The sun and moon, principal deities in ancient Near Eastern pagan pantheons, are not even named, effectively demoting them and emphasizing that they serve humankind according to God’s design.

Pagans often credited the stars (which were numbered among their gods) with controlling human destiny. Here they are mentioned almost in passing.

In the creation account we have One Supreme God who created everything that others try to worship and proclaim as God, making their God, Yaweh, more powerful than anything anyone else tries to worship. The Genesis creation account perfectly informs God’s people of the truth they need to trust God… Remember I said the goal was...

To comfort God’s fearful people with knowledge of their Sovereign God who controls everything

Well isn’t just for them, because we are much to smart through science to believe such silly nonsense?
And this is where I can address a question people want an answer to… How does Genesis reconcile with what Science tells us???? The answer???
It doesn’t and it is not supposed to. The Bible is a revelation of God not a Science book.
To Quote John MacArthur… “Science came into existence as a result of creation. Science has nothing to say about creation. All science is based on observation, verification by repetition. You observe it, you verify it by repeating it. Creation had no observers. It can’t be verified because it can’t be repeated. It is not observable; it is not repeatable. It did not happen according to any laws that we know about. It did not happen by a way that is predictable, repeatable or fixed. In a word, creation was a massive, supernatural miracle. And if you just let it be what it is, you’re going to get science out of it; and science belongs out of it.”
Think about it… “If God came to you and said, ‘I made everything in six days.’ 
What would you say? ‘Well you see God there are some things you need to know about science.'”
So when it comes to the Age of the Earth we say Young Earth rather than old and feel no tension in trying to reconcile that… But I would be quick to point out that an actual age of the earth is not explicitly stated in Genesis, because it is not the purpose and goal of God in making sure we have Truth about him. So I will Boldly make a statement here and now… If you are old Earth or Young Earth, you are welcome to worship with us and we will not let this be an issue to divide us because the main point to agree on is that God created the earth and controls all things. And to this day it stands to inform God’s fearful people of his sovereign control over his creation! For us as much as them who first heard of it.
How so??? to quote Sidney Greidanus
“like Israel of old, God’s people today are fearful of unknown, unpredictable powers: terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, disasters, disease, death.”
What would you say? ‘Well you see God there are some things you need to know about science.'”
It is just as important for us here and now in 2018 to hear Genesis and believe that there is comfort in knowing our sovereign God controls the world’s destiny and ours, Because he is the creator and sustainer of all!
Do not miss the point of ! Let’s continue to read it now having both them and us in mind as we continue...
Genesis 1:20–25 ESV
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
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What can we with them who first heard this gain in understanding from this part of the creation account? Well, again what is being said here? God creates using his words… God said, and there was!
notice also what has been said over and over and i haven’t yet mentioned… God saw that it was GOOD! the original creation was good, there is no fallen nature that we now know of. This will be talked about more as we go on, but we need to recognize that 7 times in this account it will say that God saw that it was GOOD!
Notice also the phrase, “be fruitful and multiply”, this implies that there is a process of filling the earth that has been created, it was not created in a max capacity way that is finished. everything is given a specific job of continually filling the earth. So God’s creation has a perpetual consistency in sustaining itself.
Notice also that there also Beasts of the earth and Livestock… why is that important? Because God is showing that in his creation he is making distinctions between useful domesticated animals and wild animals. This will continue to play out throughout the Biblical text in both positive and negative ways. And remember the people who first hear this are traveling in dessert places and living in lands where they are sure to encounter wild animals and need domestic animals for food, even as we do to this day! And yet the point is that God Creates and controls that too!
Genesis 1:26–28 ESV
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
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Now for this week we are not going to touch as much on the Imago Dei, or the fact that we are created in the image of God, because that is a whole other sermon and we will talk on this next week. But today the biggest thing we need to see is the first appearance of the Trinity… The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are seen here speaking about making humanity. This is the beginning of a mystery that will shape our understanding of God through all scripture. Somehow God is self sufficient, he creates everything and there is no apparent beginning or end to him because he is eternal… and if that were not enough he is one yet more than one but that is somehow contain within himself. We are going to hear more about this further on in this series, but for now let me simply point out that God is revealing himself from the very beginning as more complex than any other god this world could ever know, and yet more simplistic in speaking in a manner that we should be able to grasp truth about him.
The big thing I want us to see here is that we, Humanity that is created by God have been given a specific task and position on his creation of earth, and that is directly informed by God himself! We are to be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth and all in it. We have been given the earth and animals therein to steward. This is the first Pre-fall command that God gives us, and I would submit it is one that we still uphold as his distinct people.
Genesis 1:29–30 ESV
29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.
What does it mean to Behold? To Behold means to Look and see! To understand as you gaze upon something… Church today I would declare to you BEHOLD not just the creation, but more importantly the God who gave you this creation… he is saying Behold, what I am saying to you!
He didn’t say Behold, the earth… he said “Behold, I have given you...”
Church today let us Behold our God and his Gift to us!
But look at what happens next!!!
Genesis 1:31 ESV
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
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What did God make on that 6th day??? He made Man, after everything else he made, and together with it, it says AND BEHOLD… which means to look upon… It was VERY GOOD! Creation is not an accident that God was a catalyst for… Creation is from God and God saw it as very GOOD!
That means everything in its original state was created and viewed by God as Very Good! This is the pre-fall condition of Humanity and the earth, and really the whole universe. This is what will need to be restored and this would’ve shown them back then, and shows us now that God is creator and he is Good because this is what was expressed by his creation!
Genesis 2:1–3 ESV
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
It is finished! Creation is done! And as we will go on to see God doesn’t just rest and stay uninvolved in the rest of the story… No we are just meant to hear that when we was done he rested. Why is that important? God provides a model of labor and rest, and the scripture tells us this before he assigns that to us.
So God rests and enjoys his creation and please notice that this is the first thing in all of scripture that he gives his Holiness to. And as much as I do believe in Sabbath rest and understand all the debate again around the Lord’s day and how God’s people use and abuse it… Again I would submit that this is yet another way we miss the point.
It is not about a legalistic way of resting but rather seeing that our creator and sustainer rested and enjoyed the work he finished should impart to us a divine sense of needing to rest and enjoy creation, because that rest and enjoyment is Holy unto the Lord!
We do not worship the creation but the creator, and when we rest from work and worship him who Created and enjoy that creation we are restored and commune with Him.
So in closing this very large Chapter in the simplest way I can...
In Genesis God’s word assures us of not only his creation of all, but his Control! With his powerful words he creates order out of Chaos. and because he is the creator, God is greater than any other god people may try to worship, God is greater than any asteroid, or super nova star, God is greater than the milky way Galaxy or even the whole universe! God created everything Good and he will take care of his people. And no matter what dangers threaten us, we can only find security and rest in him!
Revelation 4:11 ESV
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
This we believe and always will! Let’s pray!
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