Bryan Clements -The Sound of Music and Star Wars - The Creation Story
Sound of Music and Star Wars
We watch a lot of movies over the holidays, new and old, but mostly old. There is always a lesson to be learned, even in the movies that we have seen over and over.
– Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start. But if you remember Star Wars George Lucas had a different thought. Back in the late 70s Star Wars was a cult hit. We couldn’t wait for it to hit the theaters and then we waited for the next release like a child waits for Christmas. Somewhere in the process we learned that Lucas did not start us at the beginning of the story. It was well into the middle of the story. Years later he came out with the First Episode. Lucas said that it was because the technology didn’t exist for him to do the first part of the story the way he wanted. But I think he did it because he was a master story teller. By the time the first episode was released we already knew the end of the story, we knew the characters. As we watched the beginning of the story unfold we were looking for things that we knew and we discovered how the different characters were related to the end of the story. At every turn we wanted to see how the evil Darth Vader got his start, where did Obi Wan Kenobi come from? Questions abounded. Lucas has been hailed as a story telling genius. But as I thought about it I realized that Lucas wasn’t the first one to use this style of storytelling. Christians have been using it for years, hundreds of years.
When we have somebody who is new to the church, who is not familiar with the Bible and everything that is going on in the story we help them out a little. We want them to get right to the “good stuff”. We don’t send them to Genesis and tell them “start reading here and when you get to Revelation you will understand how it all fits together.” We start them in the NT, that’s where all the action is, that is where you see how it all comes together. After we have read in the NT for a while we get brave and start reading bits of the OT. There are some good stories in there. But we don’t usually take them back into the OT until they have a pretty good understanding of the end of the story. And I don’t know about you but the OT was usually taught to me in little bits and pieces. It was all these little stories and every one had a moral lesson that you could learn from it. I am not saying that this was wrong; we can always find lessons in the stories of the Bible. It usually goes like this:
Abraham had faith – you want to be an Abraham.
Joshua was obedient – you want to be a Joshua.
the people of Israel complained against God – you don’t want to be like them.
David committed adultery – don’t be a David.
David was a man after God’s own heart – you want to be a David.
But the OT is more than just a bunch of life lessons strung together, it is not a godly version of Aesop’s fables where every story has a moral, a lesson to be learned. The 39 books of the OT and the 27 books of the NT weave a story, God’s story, that is an unbelievable literary work. 66 books, over 40 different authors, 3 continents, 1500 years and this book holds the most masterfully written, cohesive story ever written. Every story serves a purpose, they build on each other. We can’t just hop all over the OT and expect to understand what is going on.
If I handed you a copy of Moby Dick and told you to read it you wouldn’t begin in chapter 4 and then jump to Chapter 8 and then come back to Chapter 1. You would start at the beginning and as you read you would know that the author put everything in the story for a specific reason.
Most of us have read enough of the NT to have a pretty good understanding of where it is going. Jesus came to redeem us, was crucified and rose from the dead. He is coming back to wrap everything up and finish the story. Those are the basics.
As we go through this sermon series I want us to use the Star Wars approach as we look at the OT. Now that we know how the story turns out we want to look at the beginning and see how it started, see how it all fits together. I want you to read a story and ask yourself, “Why is this in here?” How does it fit into the story? These stories are there for a reason.
I want you to ask, “Why is the story of Noah in the Bible?” So we know where rainbows come from. There is more to it than that. Why is the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible? To teach us that adultery is wrong? We already know that, there is more to the story than that. Where does the story fit into the overall picture of the book? This is what we want to know.
For this week we are going to do what Julie Andrews taught us in the Sound of Music: Let’s start at the very beginning it’s a very good place to start.
Turn to Chapter One in Genesis: (fly over at 10,000 feet)
The bible opens up in the setting of creation and there are a few things that we need to see.
As God creates we see there is an order to His creation:
Day One – light separates the darkness from the light
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
Day Two – Dry land appears and separates the waters
10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Day Three Dry land brings forth vegetation
12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Day Four – Lights in the heavens to create day and night
14 Then 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; 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
Day Five – fish and birds are created to be fruitful and multiply
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Day Six – Animals created as well as man
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:26 (NASB95)
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
There is a recurring theme here. God creates and then He looks at what He creates and he decides that it is good, “tov”.
It is God’s responsibility to determine what is “good”. It is not our responsibility. This is God’s right and nobody else’s. We get into trouble when we try to decide what is good and what is not.
What God desires is always good. What we desire is not always good. We may think it is, but it is not always good. God doesn’t really care about our opinions. His is the only one that matters. Our job is to figure out what is good and then do it.
How do we figure out what is good? We do this by knowing what God desires; by knowing the Word of God and learning what the character of God is like. We know what is good when we compare what we think with what we find in the Word of God.
Every day we see examples of man deciding what is good. A doctor decides that it is good for man not to suffer so he practices euthanasia. Someone else decides that it is good to kill people who do not agree with his religious beliefs. Someone else decides that it is good to just take what they want even if it involves killing someone else. It is good in their eyes. (goofed up) But one of the first things that God shows us in His Word is that He is the sole person who decides what is good.
So what is our responsibility? Our responsibility is to know “good” when we see it and to know what is not good when we see it. Not what we think is good, but what God thinks is good.
The second thing that we see in this first chapter is that we are made in God’s image. We are to be his representative here on earth, over His creation.
There are two ways that a person can be the image of his father:
Physical: spitting image, this is a function of DNA. This image is not affected by anything other than your birth.
Obedient: you can be the obedient image which requires that you act like your father. He is just like his father. We see this all the time. We say things that our parents said, things that we swore we would never say. We pick up on the traits of our parents, even when don’t mean to. Abusive parents tend to produce abusive children, who grow up to be abusive parents who…
You can be one without the other, or you can be both.
The common eastern belief was that the king was the divine representative of God here on earth. The creation story shows that we are the divine representative of God. We are elevated to kingly status in God’s eyes. We see this in Psalm 8
Psalm 8:3-8 (NASB95)
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
The psalmist makes the connection.
The ancients also believed that idols, images, were representatives of the deity. The divine spirit was often thought of as indwelling the image. This is, in fact what we see in the coming of the Holy Spirit. The HS lives within us as we are the representative, not just the king, every man and woman bears God’s image and are his representative here.
We were put here so that others could see God through us. People should be able to see God’s character, His desires, His love, His attributes as they flow through us. If not, we are doing it wrong.
Because we are God’s representative every attack on us is a direct attack on God. We also have to remember that every time we attack someone else we are attacking God’s creation. This takes us back to square one – God decides what is good not us. God calls us to love, not to judge. God calls us to be the example, not to condemn those who are not being the example. God will do the judging we are called to do the representing, the loving.
If we are going to rule and live in the image of God then we will have to be like God.
Lev 19.2 – Be ye holy for I am Holy.
So, we know that it is God’s job to determine what is good and then it is our job to represent Him, so that people can see Him through us.
The final thing that we see today is that there is a set order to God’s creation.
Some things are the way they are because God set them up that way. We may think, “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”, but we don’t think like God thinks. We aren’t working with all the information, He is!
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NASB95)
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Trying to do it with incomplete information.
This goes back to rule 1; God decides what is good, not us. But he sets a natural order to things. In this case we see that natural order as God, then man, then beast. God rules over man and man, as His representative, rules over all of the animals.
As God’s representative we are to rule over the beasts. We are to dominate the earth and use it as we represent God.
Genesis 1:28 (NASB95)
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We have been given God’s creation to use at our disposal. It is His gift to us. We are to use it responsibly, and care for it.
Alaskan Natives and the animals that they kill, they use every part of the animal. Nothing is wasted.
We have to be careful not to waste what God has given us. We are responsible to use everything that He has given us to glorify Him. Nothing left out. This includes our talents as well as the stuff that we are blessed with. We have to be careful that we do not just see His blessings as a way to get more stuff. God blesses us so that we can bless others so that they can see the image of God come through us.
God decides what is good. We are His representatives of that good. We are responsible for following God’s given order. Satan will try to turn this upside down every chance that he gets. He will try to convince you that you are smart enough to figure out what is good for yourself. You don’t need God’s help. He will try to convince you that you don’t need to be the image of God, you can be your own God and create your own image. And he will try to convince you that you don’t need to be obedient to God.
We need to recognize these for what they are; Lies! We need to know God’s word good enough that we know immediately when something does not fit with it.
We need to be close enough to God in our daily lives that we truly His image, that we reflect who He is and not project who we are.
John said this best:
John 3:30 (NASB95)
30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.
We have the opportunity to examine ourselves this morning and ask:
Is God the ultimate judge of good or am I trying to help Him out? He doesn’t need our help.
Am I a good representation of God to the people around me? Can they see Him living in me or do they just see me? We need to make John’s words our prayer. God let me decrease that You might increase.
Take a minute this morning and see where you are. See where God is in your life. Is He even a part of your daily life? Ask for His help, He wants you to be the best representation of Him possible.