ByCraig van Echten
August 29, 2018
Bible reading: Genesis 1:3-25
Brothers and sisters,
What an amazing universe we live in. From our vantage point only a few thousand stars are visible to the naked eye. And yet, there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy the milky way. And although to the naked eye the stars look so small, they are massive!
Boys and girls do you remember I said once Our sun is so big that if you hollowed it out, it would hold 1.3 million earths. And the largest known star – Epsilon (Canis majoris)– is so big that, if hollowed out, it would hold 27 billion of our suns. Now that star is not longer the biggest! The hypergiant UY Scuti is now the largest. It is eight times the distance to the sun (8 astronomical units).
And all these stars are so far away that it would take more than a life time to travel to them. The closest start is Alpha Centuri, and it would take 20years in a space ship. And another 20y to get back! Boys and girls can you imagine that? Sometimes in the car you say ‘are we there yet?’ Imagine if mum and dad said, ‘we have to wait till it’s your birthday before you can get out. And then another 19 birthdays after that!’ Our galaxy is huge. We can’t even imagine the distances, let alone travel them!
What’s even more amazing is that our galaxy is one of one hundred billion. If our galaxy were reduced to a toilet cubicle, then the size of the universe would be as big as the distance from planet Earth to the planet Venus. And if our galaxy were reduced to a toilet cubicle, I suspect, the earth wouldn’t be more than a that speck of dust that you see in the light falling to the floor.
Whatever way you look at the universe, doesn’t it boggle the mind? It is absolutely incredible, even to the point of overwhelming.
How much more awesome then, is the God who made it! Who spoke and it came to be. And who holds it all in the palm of His hand!
This morning we continue to go through Genesis 1. We are going to see that our God is supreme in power and worthy of worship and trust.
Firstly, God stands behind all of creation. As I’ve mentioned before this chapter is all about God. In these verse we are told that God “saw” (v4,10,12,18,21,25), “separated” (v4,7), “called” (v5,8,10), “made” (v7,16,25), “set” (v17), “created” (v21), and explained to the man and women what He had done (v28-30). These verses do not record the actions of anyone else, but God!
And very importantly, we are reminded that God stands behind all of Creation. This is another way of saying God comes before all Creation. Or that God existed before everything else. We saw this in the very first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God.” We now continue to see this as a regular drum beat throughout the chapter.
“And God said” “And God said” “And God said” Each time is a reminder that God came before Creation.
This is a very significant point. Theologians refer to this as God’s self existence. Or God’s independence which basically means there is no first cause for God. God has no origins. He simply exists.
Do you remember the way God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush? What did God reveal there about His name? Moses asked, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name? What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM” And He said, “Say to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.”
It seems a strange thing to say doesn’t it? But it is the most profound thing that God could say! God was saying that He simply exists. He has no beginning. So boys and girls, ‘who made God’? No one! This is a profound truth. It means there’s a hugely significant distinction to be made between us and God. He is the Creator, and we are creatures. This is what Genesis shows very clearly. Everything receives its existence from God.
God is the only one who can say He exists in Himself.
John 5:26 “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in Himself.” Nothing in all of creation can say that, but God!
What are some of the implications of this?
a. God has no rivals. In the Israelite’s day much of creation was deified and worshipped. Like the moon. But, Genesis 1 makes it clear. God is God. The rest is created. There are no rivals.
b. Another implication is that God is not in creation. This is what the Eastern religions teach. They identify God with creation. To them everything is God.
c. Another implication is that matter just came to exist in some big bang. There was nothing, and out of nothing God created everything.
Now what does this mean for us?
It is very humbling isn’t it? We only exist if God grants existence. The grim reality is that we are only ever one heart beat away from dying. And life is lived between two hospitals. We are indeed, as Isaiah says, like the flowers of the field. And our deepest fears flow out of the fact we are fragile. I am afraid of cancer. I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of...
But, as well as being humbling, this text is comforting. For originally it brought comfort to Israel. They were fearful as they were about to enter the promised land. What enemies would threaten their existence? However, their existence was secure in their covenant keeping God.
And how much more is our existence is also secure in God. In Revelation 1:17 Jesus says to John, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and hehold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Life is fragile for the creature, but not for the Creator. And He has secured the existence of all who trust in Christ.
Secondly, we see God’s power in creation. In referring to God’s power, theologians often speak of God’s omnipotence. Omni in Latin means ‘all’ and Potent in Latin means power. God is all powerful. And there is no better place to go to see this power than Genesis 1.
We know the words so well. But, isn’t it staggering to read:
“Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
“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.”
a. Notice God has the power to create from nothing. We often talk about creativity. Maybe some of the boys and girls have created a nice drawing, or made a nice cake. But, you’ll know that in all our so called creating, we use existing materials. Boys and girls you didn’t just make the paper and colour pencils appear did you? You didn’t make the ingredients appear? You see, humanity cannot create out of nothing. But God can.
b. Not only does God create from nothing. He also creates from the power of His voice. God didn’t even lift a finger to make the 100 billion galaxies. By the power of His voice, He spoke it into existence. By the power of His voice He commands the sun to shine. By the power of His voice He made the beautiful Creation we see.
Can you see the power in that! If you add up all that has been built in human history, it would be nothing compared to what God made in a moment!
By the way, that’s why we put so much stock on God’s Word. By the power of God’s voice, His Word, people are also redeemed, lives are changed!
So, what a great and awesome God! As Psalm 147:5 says, “Great is the LORD and abundant in power.” The songs in the book of Revelation praise God for His awesome power. Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
So what is the implication of this? The big bang theory behind a lot of evolutionary thinking is fake news. Evolutionists have often promoted the theory that there was a big bang 13.8billion years ago. And all the gases exploded to produce matter. The only big bang going on in Genesis 1 is, God said it, and bang it happened! Afterall, not only is the big bang theory unbiblical. It’s also unscientific. R.C Sproul says, “This idea accepts the irrational idea of self-creation, which is a logical absurdity. For something to create itself, it must exist before it is.” In simple terms, you can’t create something from nothing!
So what does it mean for us? What a great comfort for the believer! The Israelities took great comfort from Genesis 1. Their God is supreme in power. The gods of the other nations did not even get a mention! You can take comfort from Genesis 1 too. Genesis 1 is why we can sing, ‘He’s got the whole world in His hands.’
Finally, God’s order in creation. Like a well organized architect God operated by his Word and Spirit so that the undifferentiated mass was formed into God’s house, a theatre for His glory. In this first point we are looking at the house.
Last time we saw that Genesis 1:2 describes how God had created a lump of chaos. Genesis 1:2 says, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep.” In short, it was disordered and empty. Uninhabitable and uninhabited. But, just as a potter shapes a lump of clay. So God shapes this chaos into order.
This order is evident even in the arrangement of chapter one.
- The six days of creation are perfectly divided. The first three describe the forming of the earth. The last three describe the filling of the earth.
- There is also a numerical harmony to chapter one that purposely revolves around the number 7. Boy and girls what is the number 7 symbolic of? Perfection. God is mentioned 35x (a multiple of 7). The heavens are mentioned 21x. The earth is mentioned 14x. The seventh paragraph has three sentences of 7 words. And do you know what the middle word is? “The seventh day.” The fact that everything is created “good” is mentioned 7x.
So even in the description of creation there is order and harmony!
And God’s order in creation itself is evident too. Notice how things aren’t being created by chance. Nothing in creation is random. Rather, we see an orderly unfolding of the mind and purposes of God. Over six 24 hour days God progressively unfolds His handiwork.
You’ll even notice in the narrative that God creates the different “kinds” of vegetation and different “kinds” animals. Today in biology there is a hierarchy in which all plants, animals are ordered. This is called taxonomy. The order is: Domain, Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and species. Now the purpose of Genesis 1 is not to give a complete taxonomy. However, knowing God created the different “kinds” highlights order. And order from the beginning.
By the way it also reminds us that we need to distinguish between Macro and micro evolution. Macro evolution is where one species can evolve into another. We don’t believe in macro evolution because God created the different “kinds” of animals. But, we do believe that animals can adapt and even evolve to their environments. It’s likely God created just a few kinds of wolves or dogs, but from those few kinds we have all the dog breeds today.
Back to the point: God is not a God of chaos but of order. This order is a beautiful aspect of God’s character. 1Corinthians 14:33 says the same thing in relation to worship, when it says, “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”
What does it mean for us? Because God is a God of order we can do science! Sometimes people say that Christians are against science. Is that true? Not at all. In fact, Christian beliefs actually lay the foundation for science. The majority of those who founded modern science (1600’s) were Christians or at least living within Christian beliefs. Issac Newton etc.
So, because of the order in God’s creation we can study the way penguins stay ice-free. Ice crystals don’t stick because God gave them nanoscale ridges and interlocking hooks on their feathers. We can study the pores on certain cactus plants and make more efficient membranes on fuel cells. We can study how wasps are nature’s pest control and remove 1Kg of insects in a 185m2 area. We can study the beauty of the rainbow.
In addition to studying order in Creation, we also see the goodness of order for our lives. Sin causes disorder in God’s good world. Redemption recaptures order. Life on this side of the fall is what we call ‘messy’ But, the ultimate hope that Jesus Christ has secured is a new world. And to a certain extent that begins now as Christ brings order to our lives and homes through the gospel.
So, in a nutshell, I hope you can see this morning, what a great and awesome God we worship and trust in!
Take time to look at what He has made. See the results of Genesis 1. Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
Take time to meditate on who your God really is. Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; He puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”