Anyone remember learning about Constitutional Convention? Taking you back to junior high history class here. Constitutional Convention was meeting when forefathers of country, people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, got together and wrote up our Constitution.
Constitution is amazing document, set up structure for our country that still exists today. And we fortunate in that we know a lot about how constitution got written up. One of the delegates, James Madison, took notes during meeting. Without his notes, all we would have known is that forefathers got together in Philadelphia, voted on several issues, came out with the Constitution. But through Madison’s notes, we get insider’s look into this meeting. We know what happened during the convention and what main debates were. We have inside look into how Constitution was drafted.
It’s great to get inside look into something. See and understand what actually happened during important event. Through notes and diaries people have taken, gotten inside look at how Oval Office works, how important decisions in Congress made or not made, how presidential campaign operates.
All helpful stuff. However, is one inside look that beats them all. It’s first inside look anyone has ever been given. We find it Genesis 1. Genesis 1 gives us insider’s look into how God created world. We actually get see what was said, what was done, to bring everything into existence - heavens, earth, and all that’s in them.
Now, this insider’s look isn’t totally exhaustive. What I mean that is our insider’s look comes from one perspective – perspective of imaginary person standing on surface earth, watching and taking notes while God creating everything.
So, for instance, we not seeing this from perspective of modern scientist, who got all his instruments around him, able to take tests and measurements. Lot of people get hung up on Genesis 1 trying to make it give perspective it doesn’t give. So, people say, this isn’t scientific correct. 6 days to create everything? But world is billions of years old? How did all this happen?
Genesis 1 was never meant to give us that kind of inside look. So, we don’t know have measurements to tell us if when God made earth he made few billions of years old already, or if he did something else entirely.
The perspective we have is of an imaginary person who got to be there and observe things with their own two eyes. That’s it.
And what would that person have seen? Well, v.1-2 - 1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The 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.
Last week, we looked just at v.1. v.1 really leads right into v.2. In other words, in the beginning God created everything. First nothing, and then boom, we got heavens and earth. However, was more that needed to happen. Earth uninhabitable. v.2 tells us it was without form and void – sense here that it was barren, dark and empty place. Not suitable for life.
So, God then began to form, shape earth. What we would have seen, if we had been standing there, is that, seemingly in just 6 days, God shaped earth from place that was dark, barren and empty into a place with light and life. A perfect place for mankind to live.
Don’t have time tonight to read every single verse here about what happened on each day – why had Jamalee read before so that we can refer to different parts as we go along.
But, if sum up inside look into creation, see pattern:
First 3 days, God forming creation into environment that will produce vegetation and sustain life.
Day 1 – v.3-5 – God says, “Let there be light,” and there was light
Day 2 – v.6-8 – God creates an expanse to separate the waters. In other words, God creates space and sky and separates the surface waters of the earth from the atmospheric waters or clouds.
Day 3 – v.9-13 – God does some more separating by gathering waters on earth together into seas and let dry land appear. He then also has the earth start produce plant life – v.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.
Last 3 days, God filling what he created in day 1-3.
Day 4 – v.14-19 – God fills space and sky now with the sun, moon and stars to give light to earth and also help mark time – v.14 – “And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.”
Day 5- v.20-23 – God fills the heavens with sky animals and the seas with water animals. And here also we see God giving these animals his blessing to multiply and bring more life into the earth.
Finally, Day 6 – v.24-31 – God fills the earth with all kinds of land animals. And he also brings into existence the climax of creation, man and woman created in image of God. Couple of weeks look at this special moment in creation on its own, but enough to say for now that everything God did in previous days really sets the stage for mankind to come, for it is only mankind, out of all creation, that gets created in the image of God.
So that’s quickly description of Gen 1, an inside account of creation. Now, though need to sit back and think about meaning behind what saw. Miss it, if all did just read through casually. However, if you sit back and think about, see that creation teaches us some incredibly important facts about God.
1. God is all-powerful (i.e. he is omnipotent)
Probably most obvious thing creation teaches us about God. This what Paul points out in Rom 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.”
If you honestly look at world around, you can’t help but see that very powerful God was behind it all. Insider’s account really hits us over head with just how powerful this God actually is.
Notice for instance the repetitions? Each day, it says, “God said, “Let there be this now,” or “Let there be that thing now.” And the Bible tells very simply, “And it was so.”
So, for example, v.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 just like that, “it was so.”
God so powerful that he has but to say it, and it happens. Ex .- Always thought Mom pretty powerful growing up. Her word would go forth, “Vermon, Melissa, come to dinner!” Ignore her – keep playing on computer, playing our toys. Quickly learned that mistake. Mom called, we had to come. So, pretty powerful. But power of her word pretty small compared to power of God’s word. Here is power that able bring light and life where there was no light and life.
Notice that creation involved no struggle from God. No strain for him. Not threatened by some rival god. Other religions often described creation coming out of some great struggle or battle among the gods. Bible makes clear, that’s not what happened at. God’s word went out, and it accomplished all that it set out to do. Creation is testimony to fact that God is truly all-powerful.
2. Creation tells us that God in control over everything
Notice how systematic and ordered every thing is. God speaks, things created, evening and morning, and a day has passed. Give us sense that there is ordered rhythm to creation. God is God of order, not chaos. He is God who has complete and precise control over creation.
Each part of creation is in its place, and has its purpose. Each part is in harmony and symmetry. All of this is according to God’s will and control.
Skies, land, seas know their place. They don’t go beyond boundaries God has set for them. Life forms reproduce within restrictions and boundaries of their own. v.11-12 – “11And 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. 12The 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.” v.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.”
Fact God in control over all things also means that all things subject to him. They function in way God created them to function. Notice for example description of creation of sun, moon, stars. v.16-18 – “16And God made the two great lights--the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night--and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.”
Some strange things in that description. Sun and moon aren’t referred to by their names. They called the greater and lesser light.
This is intentional. This inside account of creation wants to make clear to whoever reads it that sun and moon are not gods. Back then, that’s what lot of people believed. Sun, moon, stars very important, people believed they determined human destiny. And even today, people read horoscopes and get involved in New Age religions and astrology, believing that sun, moon, stars have divine influence, can guide their lives.
So, Gen 1 doesn’t even use the words “sun” and “moon, just in case people read this and decide, “Oh, that must be the names of these two gods.”
Instead referred to by their function. Sun and moon, in reality, just greater light and lesser light. And, like everything else in creation, they created by God. They under his power and his control. They each do as God commanded them to do – serve the earth by giving light during day or give light during the night.
And notice, creation of the stars almost an afterthought. Just says, v.16 - “And so God made the two great lights – the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night…and, oh yeah, the stars.” The stars? You mean all those billions upon billions of stars out in universe? All those stars you see on dark clear night? Yeah, God created them to, just for good measure.
Creation testifies to a God who is a God of order, a God who in control over everything. Scientists should be very thankful to God for this. World controlled by chance, by chaos, get no consistency, would be able to discover any reliable consistent laws. Instead, we have world that we can study, understand, and survive in. World that is ordered, balanced b/c God has made it that way.
3. God is the ultimate Source of all that is good
Notice how the phrase, “it was good,” keeps getting repeated? v.3-4 – “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good.” v.10, 11 – “God saw that it was good.” v.18, 21, 25 - “God saw that it was good.” v.31 – “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
This world, this creation, originally created a good creation. Sin has marred this goodness. However, it still is able to testify to God’s inherent goodness. God is a God who does good things. He only does good things. He doesn’t make mistakes or mess up. When God created life, he created it good.
This also means that our standard for what is good does not come from us, but from God. Let me repeat that, standard for what is good does not come from us, but from God.
Common belief these days is that we each determine what is good, we each determine what is right for ourselves. Silly to think that, if you’ve really understood Gen 1. Humans are not ultimate judges of what is good. Fact is, we have no authority to set a standard for what is good and right. If really serious about truly understanding and judging what is good, doesn’t start with our opinion or feelings. If we are to know what it means to do good, to understand what is good, to understand how we can relate in good way with others and with creation, must go to Lord God of the Bible, the One who actually brought good into the world, the One ultimate Source of all that is good.
So, those are at least three things we learn about God after observing him create everything. Lot more we could mention. But I think if sum what looked at tonight, come away with one main description of God, and it’s this:
God is a God who rules over all, and cares for us all. Through creation we see that God is transcendent – in other words, he is all-powerful, sovereign Master over everything. He rules over all, nothing beyond him. At same time, through creation we see that God is immanent – in other words, he is someone who intimately involved with creation, caring for it, sustaining it.
Right from start of Gen 1 we get description that has within it both of these aspects – that God rules over all and cares for us all.
v.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.” v.2 basically describes God as hovering over everything, ready to start forming earth into inhabitable space. Word used for “hovering” here also used in Deut 32:11, a verse which describes how God is “like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, spreading out is wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions.”
So here is perfect picture for us of how God created everything. Mother eagle hovers over its young, in position of power and authority over her young, but also in position of loving care and guidance over her young. In same way, God hovered over creation as divine Ruler and also divine Caretaker.
And God in a sense continues to hover over creation, through Jesus Christ. As we read last week in Col 1, Christ is the firstborn over all creation. He is Lord over it all. As disciples once said, with fear and awe, “Even the wind and sea obey him!”
At same time we also know that Christ is Sustainer of all creation. Through Christ all things continue to exist and hold together (Col 1:17). God through Christ continues to give life to creation, continues to bring about his good purposes in the world, especially for those he has called to himself.
So that who God is, when we look at creation. So, question ask you all tonight is, after reading this inside account, after seeing this picture of God, question must ask is, “Who is God to you?” We’ve gotten good picture of picture who God is. So question is, is this the God you following, or you following something different?
Tendency is to make God who we want him to be, and we tend do that by emphasizing one side of him and ignoring other.
Do you see him simply as this unknowable being who far away from you, not interested in world or in your life? Then need to look at creation and see that he is someone who intimately, intricately involved in all that happens in this world. And he is especially interested in you. Through Christ, can be in close fellowship with him. In fact, you can call him your Father. Do you have that kind of fellowship, that kind of relationship? Cannot happen on own strength, following your own agenda. Only happen through Christ. And if you do have relationship with God through Christ, how is it going? Are you putting time into it? Are you actively developing it? Is it truly a love relationship, or is it more like a business relationship?...
Or maybe you see him simply as someone who is just your buddy buddy, your divine Santa Clause, your magic genie who, if you just rub his lamp a couple of times by doing good Christian things, he’ll do what you want. Do you see him that way? Then you need to look at creation and recognize the fact that he is mighty and awesome God. Because of this, God deserves our holy fear and respect. And we should be committed to living holy lives and humble lives. Commitment been forsaken by many people these days, people say love Jesus, they say they believe in Jesus and God, but lives show commitment to holiness, no respect for fact that God Lord of their lives. If going to relate to God rightly, must give God glory and worship he is rightfully due.
Brothers and sisters, tonight we privileged to get a true insider’s look at creation. And it’s given us a picture of our God, a God who is powerful mighty Lord over everything, and also one who is sovereign Sustainer and Caretaker over everything. Our God is much bigger than we imagine, and he is also much more involved in our lives than we imagine. May our understanding of who God is expand as result of what we’ve seen tonight, and it may it truly change our lives as result.
Ancient Mesopotamia – Mankind created from blood of slain deities and sometimes mixture of clay material. Man created to meet needs of gods, to relive gods from their hard duties (contrast with God, where his actions serve the needs of man and woman).
Blessing of God seen in ability to reproduce (Hamilton v.22-23)