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*Title: The Great God of Creation*
*Text: Genesis 1:1-19, Psalm 8:1-4*
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on June 17, 2007/
NOTE: To view the presentation played by Pastor Phil in the beginning of the sermon about how the heavens and earth declare the glory of God, see below “Powers of Ten” website demo
Last August or September, when I came to speak as a candidate, I spoke in a Sunday evening service on the greatness of God from Psalm 8, which I wasn’t able to finish as the evening service is usually only a half-hour.
Someone came up to me after the service and said if you become pastor of this church, please finish that message and preach on God’s greatness again, and I told them I would.
This morning I hope to make good on that promise.
This Father’s Day it is a real blessing having my dad and hero here and to have them hear me preach in person for the first time.
Creation, Evolution, and Genesis were issues God used in the spiritual pilgrimage of my family (dad evolution teacher before I was born, now missionary in Philippines in a creation science ministry, declaring about the great God of creation to peoples that other missionaries haven’t been able to reach and training locals to do the same)
God’s Greatness is the greatest subject I could ever talk about, the greatest object of our attention and focus, and the greatest and best thing I could do for you on Father’s Day is to direct your attention to our Heavenly Father, a God of dazzling splendor, greatness and majesty, the God whose glory we are created for
In one of my first sermons here, I began with how John Piper began his book /The Supremacy of God in Preaching /[p.
“People are starving for the greatness of God.
Most of them would not give this diagnosis of their troubled lives.
The majesty of God is an unknown cure.
There are far more popular prescriptions on the market, but the benefit of any other remedy is brief and shallow.
Preaching that does not have the aroma of God’s greatness may entertain for a season, but it will not touch the hidden cry of the soul: “Show me thy glory!”
If you’ve been here long enough, I hope you sense and share our desire to be God-centered and have a high view of God and honor Him and His Word in our teaching, and that it is not mere words, but is what we’re pursuing however imperfectly we do so.
God is God, we are not – His glory is most important, not us.
And what you believe about God and your view of God is the most important thing about you, and a church or individual or father or family will be strong or weak in proportion to its conception of God.
The scripture in Genesis we read talks about how God created the trees on day 3 of creation, and I have been studying the details of the Hebrew text of Genesis 1 and some of the implications for modern debates about evolution and creation and science which are a fascinating interest to me.
But it’s possible as they say to get so stuck on the trees that you miss the forest.
This morning I want to give a more panoramic view of days 1-4 of creation, and how this bigger message was applied by other Bible writers and the psalms, and ultimately that we would praise our great God.
King David said it this way in Psalm 145 (NKJV):
/1 //I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.//
\\ 2 //Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever.//
\\ 3 //Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.//
\\ 4 //One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts.//
\\ 5 //I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, And on Your wondrous works.//
\\ 6 //Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, And I will declare Your greatness./
I want to focus on the big idea of this section of Genesis which is revealing the great God of creation.
The big idea can be summed up in 3 words “God is Great” – and the goal is that we would worship God more in light of this, like King David did.
God’s Greatness in creation in manifested primarily 2 ways:
I.                   Incredible design and beauty of our planet
Infinitely massive majesty of the universe
*First, the Incredible design and beauty of our planet*
We live in an incredibly beautiful world – God could have created a very boring world without much color or variety, but the millions of manifold ways He displays Himself and His creativity and attributes are painted all over this world.
On these first few days of creation God formed on our incredible planet a beautiful pallet of radiant colors, creatures that are incredibly designed, mountains of grandeur, lush forests, all kinds of beautiful flowers, intricate details of leaves, incredible complexity and design that we can now observe through microscopes, beautiful dazzling starry skies that we can observe through telescopes, massive oceans which can produce enormous swells which are truly awesome and give a hint of God’s majesty.
His greatness and power is displayed in rolling thunder, typhoons, tsunamis, tornados, and all creation speaks unmistakably of a great God of awesome wonder and design.
The seventeenth century mathematician and philosopher Sir Isaac Newton had a mechanical replica of our solar system made in miniature.
At its center was a large golden ball representing the sun, and revolving around it were smaller spheres attached at the ends of rods of varying lengths.
They represented Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and the other planets.
These were all geared together by cogs and belts to make them move around the sun in perfect harmony.
One day as Newton was studying the model, an unbelieving friend stopped by for a visit.
Marveling at the device and watching as the scientist made the heavenly bodies move in their orbits, the man exclaimed, “My, Newton, what an exquisite thing!
Who made it for you?”
Without looking up, Sir Isaac replied, “Nobody.”
“Nobody?” his friend asked.
“That’s right!
I said nobody!
All of these balls and cogs and belts and gears just happened to come together, and wonder of wonders, by chance they began revolving in their set orbits and with perfect timing.”
His friend undoubtedly got the point.
The existence of Newton’s machine presupposed a maker, and even more so the earth and its perfectly ordered solar system …[1]
Because Genesis 1 speaks of some of the physical things God created, I will talk about some of those, where they display God
/6 //Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”//
\\ 7 //God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.// \\ 8 //God called the expanse heaven.
And there was evening and there was morning, a second day./
\\ \\
My Bible has the word “expanse,” some of you have “firmament” (ESV has “canopy” in footnote) – perhaps “sky” is best translation.[2]
This includes the area above the planet, the air, the atmosphere.
God designed it perfectly for life, as modern man has learned, 21 % oxygen is the exactly right amount.
If it were 25 percent, fires would erupt, if 15 percent, human beings would suffocate.[3]
But that’s not all God did precisely and perfectly in this expanse or sky above the waters.
We are told if water vapor levels in the atmosphere were greater than they are now, a runaway greenhouse effect would cause temperatures to rise too high for human life; if they were less, an insufficient greenhouse effect would make the earth too cold to support human life.[4]
These things speak of the incredible design of our planet by our great God.
The more we learn about how the heavens declare about God, the more difficult it is for unbelievers to explain all of these factors that perfectly fine-tune our planet for life, that these are just owing to a big bang, accidents, explosion, evolution, random chance, luck, naturalism, or mother nature.
For example, just the right level of carbon dioxide is maintained naturally in the earth’s atmosphere.
If the CO2 level were higher than it is now, the heat would make our life impossible.
If the level were lower than it is now, plants would not be able to maintain efficient photosynthesis, we wouldn’t be able to breathe.
The right ratio of nitrogen and ozone is also critical for life.
We are also told that the degree of transparency of the atmosphere is essential for life.
If the atmosphere were less transparent, not enough solar radiation would reach the earth’s surface.
If it were more transparent, we would be bombarded with far too much solar radiation down here.
God of course knew all these things and knew what He was doing when He created the heavens and the earth.[5]
Water makeup itself is uniquely and perfectly fine-tuned for life.[6]
What incredible design from an incredible designer with infinite wisdom!
Brilliant men have been around for thousands of years before they discovered these things – and if those with greatest intelligence have a hard time merely discovering or describing these things, how can they deny the possibility of intelligent design a creator – even the Great God of the Bible!
That’s just scratching the surface of all the variables required for life – the anthropic principle – there’s many more we’ll cover later.
If it was true in Paul’s day as he says in Romans 1 that men know God from nature and creation but they suppress the truth, how much more is that true in our day where far more truth is known!
/Read v. 9-10/
God created not only the perfect atmosphere for life, he created the perfect balance of land masses, which modern science has more recently understood.
Consider the following:[7]
-          Scientists tell us earth has the perfect ocean levels and just the right level and percentage of water, and if it wasn’t exactly right, life would not be possible.
-          If the thickness of the earth’s crust was greater (even just ten more feet of solid matter added to the 8,000 mile diameter), too much oxygen would be transferred to the crust to support life.
If it were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would make life untenable.
The thickness of the earth’s crust is just right.
-          If the 23 degree axial tilt of the earth were altered slightly, life would not be possible.
-          The earth also has a slight wobble angle of 3 degrees, and they say if it was much more or less, our planet would not be hospitable
-          Rotational speed - the earth turns once a day in just the perfect manner so one doesn’t burn up in the day nor freeze at night.
It revolves at a speed of 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, if it rotated slower on its axis, all life would cease to exist, either by freezing at night or by burning heat during the day.
-          The diameter of the earth is also just right for life (8,000 miles) – if it was significantly different and would result in enormous problems with gravity and other chain reactions.
-          If there were more seismic activity, much life would be lost.
If there was less, nutrients on the ocean floors and in river runoff would not be cycled back to the continents through tectonic uplift.
Even earthquakes are necessary to sustain life as we know it.[8]
Isaiah 40:12-14 says:
/12//Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, \\          And marked off the heavens by the span, \\          And calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, \\          And weighed the mountains in a balance \\          And the hills in a pair of scales?
\\ 13Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, \\          Or as His counselor has informed Him? \\ 14With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?/
Were these days 24 hours?
When it speaks of “evening and morning” the 3rd day, could it have been a really long time between sunrise and sunset rather than normal 24 hour days?
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