God Creates the Universe
September 05, 1999 | Andrew Davis
Book Overviews, Spiritual Warfare, The Doctrine of the Trinity, Miracles, Creation
God’s creation of the Heavens and the Earth
In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. With those words, God begins his communication to us in scripture. Very familiar words to us, I'm sure. And as we begin a study in the first 12 chapters of Genesis today, we begin with a contemplation of God's creation, as recorded in Genesis chapter 1.
Recently scientists have discovered a star, a single star, which is in diameter the same as our solar system. Now, that may not be amazing to you, but you should understand just how large our solar system is. The outermost planet, which took until 1930 to discover because it's so small and so far away. Pluto takes 248 years to travel around the Sun one time. . . 248 years. It takes light from the sun four-and-a-half months to reach Pluto. That's how large our solar system is, and there is somewhere out there one star, so immense that it is the same diameter as the trip that Pluto makes 248 years around the sun, that's how large it is. The immense power of God displayed in what he has made.
And then there's that inner universe within you. When you got in the car today and drove here, I bet you didn't realize just what there was inside you, but inside every one of your cells there is something called DNA. Now, we learned in this 20th century that the DNA structure is that of a double helix, kind of a spiral within a spiral. If all of your DNA were taken and put in one place, it would be smaller than that, than the size of an ice cube. But if we were to take all of that double helix and stretch it out and set it end to end, it would travel from the earth to the sun and back 400 times. Within your body, there is that much wisdom in the creation of God, the power of God, and the wisdom of God evidenced in his creation. And, so for this reason, it is so important for us to come to the root, the beginning of scripture and understand what God has taught us about his creation. Now, as we do so, we enter the world of the Old Testament.
Essential role of the Old Testament
Now, many Christians, I think, are somewhat unfamiliar with the world of the Old Testament. It feels a little strange. And it's even more strange, perhaps the world before the flood and all the changes that have occurred since the flood of Noah. It's an unfamiliar world to us, a little bit strange, it's also a controversial world. Now, I could spend my entire time this morning delving into some of the controversies that have been fought over Genesis chapter 1, but I'm not going to take the time to do that. We'll touch on a few of them, but we have to realize also that it's well worth our effort to roll up our sleeves and study in Genesis 1 and the first 12 chapters of Genesis, because these chapters are indispensable to our Christian faith. We do well to study them and understand them carefully. Every Christian doctrine... every key doctrine in the New Testament finds its roots in the Old Testament, and most of them, I would say in the first 12 chapters of the Old Testament. You have the doctrine of creation, the fact that there is a creator God. We have the doctrine of humanity, of men and women made in the image of God. We have the doctrine of sin and how it ended the world. And we have the doctrine of redemption.
All of these things finding their roots in Genesis. Genesis is truly the book of origins, of beginnings. We have the account of the origins of the universe and of the solar system. Of the atmosphere which surrounds us. Of life itself, of the human race, and of work given to us to do. Of marriage and then of evil as it entered the world of crime and of punishment. The origins of language, of government, of science, and culture, nations, religion, ultimately the chosen people with Abraham. All of that we see in the first 12 chapters of the book of Genesis. And yet as we do so, we enter into controversy with our surrounding culture. We enter into controversy even with theologians who study the gospel and study the book of Genesis carefully. There has been a tremendous battle over Genesis in the 20th century, a tremendous debate. There is a conflict with science, a conflict with science. Cosmology, the study of the universe around us, a study of the origins of the universe seems to bring an evidence which contradicts what we read in Genesis.
We have the Hubble Space Telescope, which is bringing back clear pictures of stars and of galaxies as they are spread out through the universe, and it seems to challenge what some people believe about the book of Genesis. We have the theories that come with that, the ‘Big Bang’ and the red shift with the stars and the expanding universe. All of this seems to challenge what is said in Genesis, but yet in Psalm 19, it says that the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands. As we look up in the stars and the skies, we don't see... We as Christians don't see that which should produce controversy, but rather that which should produce worship. And that is my purpose today, to wade through all of that and to get at the real issue here which is that God as creator is worthy to be worshipped and praised.
But it's not just cosmology and physics. There's also the whole theory about the origins of the human race itself with Darwin's theory of evolution. We have the controversy of the age of the Earth and fossils, the whole fossil record. The historicity of the flood account; could it really be true? Or is it just a myth? The origins of languages. Did all languages come from one single language, or is there some other explanation? But along with that has come conflict with theologians. Even before the time of Darwin, people... theologians started to question the Genesis account, started to begin to wonder about it. In Germany, there are theologians that question whether it was Moses who wrote the first five books of the Bible, and they began to come up with theories about the origins of that. Even the SBC, the Southern Baptist Convention has been rocked with controversy in relation to the book of Genesis. In 1961, Dr. Ralph Elliott, who was Professor of Old Testament at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, wrote a book called “The Message of Genesis” and that's a very key title.
The message of Genesis, according to Dr. Elliott is the key thing, not the facts found in the book of Genesis. We're not supposed to be so concerned with the scientific facts, we're supposed to be concerned with the general message. And this is what he said, "We must learn to think of the stories of Genesis, the creation, the fall, Noah's ark, Tower of Babel, in the same way as we think of the parables of Jesus. They are profoundly symbolical though not allegorical stories which aren't to be taken as literally true like the words of the textbook of geology would be.” Significant statement. "But which yet bare meaning that cannot be paraphrased or stated in any other way without losing something or their quality of existential truth."
What are all those words? Basically, the book of Genesis is a moral allegory or parable? It's just meant to tell us something about truth? We're not to re-arrange it because then we lose some of the truth, but it is not to be taken literally true the way the words in a textbook of geology would? And so what has he done but put geology above the scripture as a source of absolute truth. But there is a danger to this kind of compromise. Where does it stop? At what point do you say that, “Well, this is just allegory” or “This is the moral truth, but this is historically accurate.” Some theologians go so far as to say it really doesn't matter whether Jesus was ever born, lived or died on the cross, or rose again. What really matters is the truth we get out of it. What we receive from it. But what the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17, he says, "If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is futile and you are still dead in your sins."
Overview of Genesis 1
In other words, if the tomb is still full of the body of Jesus Christ, then you have no hope on judgment day. The historical facts mean a great deal. My convictions about this, and if any of you would like to come and talk to me about it, and in a time when we don't have so little time, I would love to tell you why I believe this. Every word in here is inspired word of God. It's all true. My God is big enough to create the universe in six days, fully capable of doing it. And that science rightly understood does not compete with theology rightly understood, but rather supplants it. I really believe that God gave us our minds and our intellect so that we could study the universe and worship him, and that we could give glory to him. Many of the great scientists of history have been true Bible-believing Christians who sought to use their intellect to create praise and worship for God. Well, having said that, let's look at an overview of this chapter, Genesis 1 to try to understand it in a big picture. As I said, I believe this is a chronological account of the creation of the universe. In other words, what I mean is that day two followed day one and day three followed day two.
Now, there is a theory called the “Day Age Theory,” namely that the Hebrew word for day, Yom can mean an age or an era, and that there was the first era and then there was the second era, and there was a third era. The problem is it doesn't read that way at all when it says there was evening and there was morning, the first day. You have to ask yourself if he had wanted. . . if God had wanted to communicate to us that he created in six literal days, what language would he use? Could he have been any clearer? And then in the Ten Commandments, it says, Remember the Sabbath day To keep it holy. Do all your work in six days. And rest on the seventh. Why? For God made Heaven and Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. The analogy falls apart if God made Heaven and Earth in six indeterminant eras. I take it to be literally true and in consecutive order, but yet there is a logical framework here. If you tend to look at it, look at it a little more carefully, you can see something. In the first three days — day one, day two, day three — you see a preparation, what I call a preparation by separation. God prepares in each of those three days, what I consider to be realms of inhabitation where the inhabitants of day four, five and six would go live.
So day one prepares for day four. Day two prepares for day five. Day three prepares for day six. I'll show you what I mean. In day one, we get the separation of light from dark. What do you get in day four? The sun moves into the day and rules over... The moon rules into the... Moves into the night and rules over it. In day two, you get the separation of the waters above, namely the sky, from the waters below. Well, what do you get in day five? You get the birds to fly in the waters above, and you get the fish to swim in the seas below. And then in day three, you get the dry land. What do you get in day six? Those that live on dry land, including beasts and living creatures, and the human race itself. There is an organization to the way that God did it, and I think it's marvelous and beautiful.
Immediate focus on God
Now let's look a little more carefully at the verses themselves. We begin in verse 1 with the statement that I already read. “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth,” and then it says in verse 2, “Now the Earth was formless and empty. Darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” And so we get in scripture, since this is the very first communication to us as we read scripture, we get an immediate focus on the person of God. In the beginning, God. God is the author and the perfecter of the universe. He is the central actor in all history. God speaks and worlds are simply created. An immediate focus on the person of God, scripture does not try to prove the existence of God, it just assumes it. Immediately, God makes his appearance in the first verse, and it says, “In the beginning,” in the beginning of what? In the beginning of everything that was created. In the beginning of all creation. This is the doctrine of creation from nothing. God spoke into nothing and it was created. He spoke and worlds came to exist.
Now, we find out later in scripture that there was a whole bunch of things that happened before Genesis 1:1. They were all within the trinity — Father, Son and Spirit — but they all existed. There was an eternity of fellowship, Father, Son and Spirit, before Genesis 1:1 ever came to be. Father, Son and Spirit have always existed. If they are Trinity today, they were Trinity yesterday. They will be Trinity tomorrow. They have always been Father, Son and Spirit, and they were Father, Son and Spirit before the earth was created. And so Jesus prays in John 17, “And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the creation of the world.” So the Son had glory with the Father before Genesis 1:1 ever came to be.
Glorify me with the glory I had in your presence before the world began. But yet... You know what else, the salvation plan itself was worked out before Genesis 1:1 came to be. There's many verses about this in the New Testament. I like this one in 1 Corinthians 2:7, it says, "No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden, and that God destined for our glory before the world began." Isn't that marvelous? The whole wisdom, the plan of God for your salvation was worked out in completion before Genesis 1:1. It's all figured out ahead of time. And so it says in Revelation 13:8, that Jesus is the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. In what sense was Jesus slain from the creation of the world? In the mind of God, Jesus died on the cross. Before Genesis 1:1, he had it all worked out. Nothing surprised him.
Now, it says that God created the Heavens and the Earth. Now, as we see Genesis 1 unfold, the Heavens, in Genesis 1 means the physical Heavens. But we learn later from scripture that there is a spiritual realm as well where God dwells, and so we say, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name,’ etcetera. Also it talks in Ephesians about a spiritual force of evil in the heavenly realms. They were good when they were originally created, but there is a heavenly realm, a world of spirit beings. We find out more about them in the book of Revelation. You remember those living creatures that were around the throne? Those are spiritual beings. And God created them at this time as well. So we have the Heavens and the Earth, but we also have the physical Heavens, namely outer space, the universe, then innerspace, the atmosphere, etcetera, where the birds fly. So you have both the sun, the moon, and the stars in the Heavens, and we also have the birds flying across the Heavens. God created it all. And he also created the Earth.
And then it says, “The Earth was formless and void." The Hebrew is powerful here. It says, the Earth was tohu wa-bohu. Isn't that great? Tohu wa-bohu. And I learned Hebrew, I said that over and over, I had to memorize it, but formless and void, tohu wa-bohu. Like a desert, a trackless waste, a sense that it's like a world waiting to be ordered and organized. I get the image here of a potter taking some clay and throwing it down on the center of the wheel. And then beginning to take his hands and arrange it and create it in beautiful order, and that's what he does in the six days. And it says that darkness was on the surface of the deep. The Hebrew word for deep usually refers to the depths of the ocean, but it could just be deep of the universe, the sense of infinitude. The darkness was over it. The light had not yet been created. There's a sense of foreboding, a sense of immediacy, a sense of the universe waiting for God to form and shape it.
Darkness later in Scripture tends to symbolize evil and ignorance from God. Ignorance of God. And so into all of this, God is about to create. And it says "The spirit of God is hovering over the waters." It's an amazing thing that the second verse of the Bible mentions the third person of the trinity. Father, Son and Spirit, active at creation. Now, we don't see the Son active as we will see in a moment, but the Spirit of God is there, hovering. Now, the Hebrew word for spirit can also mean wind, but winds don't hover, do they? You all came to work... I mean to church, this morning, and you saw the wind. Was the wind hovering? No, it was blowing. Alright?
The wind does not hover, but the Spirit does like an eagle over its nest. And so the Spirit was waiting to move out with God's creative plan. And so we see the Trinity active, we don't see the Son, but we realize later in Colossians chapter 1, that the Son... By the Son, Jesus Christ, all things were created, things in Heaven and in Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created for Jesus and by Jesus. And so that's what we believe, Father, Son, and Spirit, and then the six days of creation unfold from there. And I believe that the whole thing is the preparation of the male and female, or the man and woman to make their entrance as the culmination of the six days of creation. God is getting everything ready. And so just like he did with the first physical creation, so he is doing now with the spiritual creation, isn't he? There will some day be a new Heavens and a new Earth, the home of righteousness. And so Jesus says in John 14:2, "In my father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, I would have told you,” for I'm going to do what? "To prepare a place for you." Isn't that marvelous? Jesus has been getting this place ready for you for thousands of years, and he's getting you ready for the place as well, so there's a sense of preparation. I think the same thing happened with the physical creation as well, God getting everything ready for the appearance of the human race.
Verse 3, And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light, and God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day and the darkness He called night, and there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” So the beginning of the shaping of the physical universe is the creation of light. The creation of light. Now, light is a form of communication, is it not? You're all looking at my face or looking at something, maybe you're looking at the Bible, you're looking at something, but light is hitting off something and coming into your eyes. It gives you information about the world around you. Light is also a source of energy, ultimately when God creates the vegetation, it will be a source of food. So the first creative act of God in shaping the universe that he's made is saying, “Let there be light” and there is light. What's so beautiful is the same thing happened in your soul when you came to faith in Jesus Christ. It says in Corinthians, that God who created light out of darkness spoke the same thing into your soul. He said, Let there be light in your soul when you didn't even know Jesus or believed, and then you were born again by the power of the spirit. It's the same creative power. God speaks and there is light where there wasn't any before. Isn't that beautiful?
And I've got... When I was at MIT, we got into all these debates all the time, Well, how could there be light if there wasn't a sun? Well there's light in here, and the sun isn't too bright. That thing creates light, there's all kinds of light bearers around us. I can't ever see up there, don't think that I'm not thinking of you, but when I look up, I get blinded by the lights that come down here. But the fact of the matter is that there's all kinds of light bearers, but God himself is the ultimate source of light. He is the one that creates light, and so he doesn't need the sun. He can wait until the fourth day to make the sun. So it says in Revelation 22:5, "There will be no more night in that finally eternal city, there will be no sun, there will be no light of the lamp, for God Himself will give the city light." He's fully capable of doing that. Doesn't need the sun. So we dispensed with that one. There are a harder debates, but that was an easy one.
Then the first separation we see on the first day, light from darkness. Remember preparation by separation. Light from darkness, and God calls the light good. The second day in verse 6, it says, "And God said, Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water, and so God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it, and it was so. And God called the expanse sky, and there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” Now, in the King James version, you know what the King James version is for expanse? Firmament. Isn't that a great word? I love that word, firmament. The Hebrew word for expanse, or firmament, is connected to a verb, which means to spread out like with a hammer, like with beaten metal. So if you imagine some metal and you hammer until it gets thin and spread out. So it's something thin and yet firm.
Job 37:18, it says, "Can you with him spread out the sky, strong as a molten mirror." Same Greek... Hebrew word, there's a sense of spreading out and yet firmness, and so this firmament is spread out and it's a separation of the waters above, from the waters below. The third day in verse 9, it says, "God said, Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear, and it was so. And God called the dry ground land and the gathered waters, he called seas, and God saw that it good. Then God said, Let the land produce vegetation, seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. And it was so, the land produced vegetation, plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good and there was evening and there was morning, the third day."
So this is the third great separation, the separation of the waters from the dry land. And we see God's great power. Do you realize how easy it is to separate? To say the words separate water from land, but you realize how many trillions of gallons of water we're talking about? In the book of Isaiah, it says that God gathers the seas as in a jar, it's nothing to him. He can move that water around. He'll do it again with the flood and then he'll move it back off again, God can move the water anywhere he wants. God is immensely powerful. And so he takes these trillions of gallons and moves them and sets a boundary for the sea and says, You'll go this far and no further. Have you ever seen that boundary, it's called the beach. You go there and there's nothing all that powerful about a beach. Alright, you think, “Well, this isn't much protection.” I bet people down there right now aren't feeling very protected from the ocean, but there is not much protection. You know what stops the ocean? It's the command of God. You're going to go this far and no further, the waters could easily inundate the Earth if God said, but he controls it. And then God speaks and creates vegetation, creates plants, and they come up and each come up according to their kind, and that's such an important word here in Genesis 1.
We have the word kind connects, I think to genetics. There's a sense that when you take a tomato seed and plant it in the ground, you're going to get a tomato and not an eggplant. If you bought a packet of tomato seeds and you got eggplant, what would you do? You'd think you'd been ripped off. That somebody had... you didn't think that you were seeing evolution occurring right before you. You'd think somebody put the wrong seeds in the packet, you expect to see a tomato coming from a tomato seed. God said that it would grow according to its kind, and genetic material in the seed and the vegetation grows up. And so now everything is ready. Separation by... Preparation by separation is all done. The three days are ready, and now we're going to get the inhabitants moving in. When I was a student at MIT, there was something called moving day. It was right around this time, maybe a little bit, a week or two ago. And all the students would come and they would double and triple park on Beacon Street in Boston, and they'd move all their things out. Their parents would be there, the U-hauls would be there.
And then they'd move into the places that had been prepared for them. Well, I think that between day three and day four, we get moving day, and now we're going to get the inhabitants moving into the realms that had been prepared for them. In verse 14, it says, "God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to move to mark seasons and days and years. And let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth, and it was so. God made two great lights, the greater light to govern the day... " Interesting word, "and a lesser light to govern the night. And he also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on Earth to govern the day and night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good, and there was evening and there was morning the fourth day." I think the word govern is very interesting. We get the sun and the moon, somewhat like kings within realms, don't we? The sun is the king of the day, the moon the king of the night. Later we're going to get another king. And that is man, created male and female in the image of God to rule over the dry land and over all that has been created on Earth. And then on the seventh day, we get the ultimate king, God himself sitting down to rule over all of it.
So we get these leaders, and yet at the same time, the sun and the moon are servant kings, aren't they? They are serving the Earth, they give light to theEarth, and we use the sun to mark our days and seasons and years, don't we? And the moon also serves the Earth in ways that we can't fully understand, but the gravitational pull has a certain effect on us. The sun and the moon both serve the Earth. There's an Earthbound focus here in the 16th century. An astronomer named Copernicus discovered that it was not the sun that traveled around the Earth, but it was the Earth that traveled around the sun. Well, that is true, it is true. No question about it. But yet here in Genesis 1, the purpose of the sun is Earth-bound. Did you notice that? It's created to give light to the Earth, and the stars as well have an Earth-bound focus. Notice how in... I think it's in verse 17, it just nonchalantly says, he also made the stars. Do you know how many stars there are? Billions of galaxies. And how many stars are in each galaxy? Billions of stars. Do you know that God gave Adam and Eve the job, Adam the job, of naming the animals. But he reserved the job of naming the stars to himself.
It's too big for us. We can't handle it. We named stars like star C17 and sector B3, we can't... we run out of names. But God doesn't run out of names. He knows, and it says in Isaiah, “because of his great power and his mighty strength, not one star is missing, and he calls each one of them by name.” God's immense power with the stars. Now, around that time, way back then, ancient cultures, they worshipped the stars, didn't they? They looked up at the starry host and they saw them as representative of deities. But God created the stars by the breath of his mouth, they are not to be worshipped, but they are servants just like the sun and the moon.
And they have an Earth-bound focus, it says at the end of history, in Matthew 24:29. Jesus himself said, "The sun will be darkened. The moon will turn, will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies would be shaken." In other words, when history is done here on Earth, history is done out there as well, and then there will be a new Heavens and a new Earth, the home of righteousness, Earth-bound focus.
Fifth day, verse 20, "And God said, Let the waters team with living creatures and let birds fly above the Earth across the expanse of the sky, so God created the great creatures of the sea, and every living and moving thing with which the water teams according to their kinds and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them and said, Be fruitful and increase in number. And fill the water in the seas and let the birds increase on Earth. And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day." Here we get a tremendous proliferation of species, one after another, but each of them proliferate according to their kinds. Again, the genetic information passed from the parent to the child, never across, or a confusion about that. You're never going to see a bird mate with a fish or vice versa, but they proliferate according to their kinds. And notice also that God created the great creatures of the deep.
In the Babylonian and Canaanite creation myths, the good god had to wrestle with a sea serpent or an ancient kind of figure of evil, and when he had slain it, then creation came out of that evil sea creature. Here God just makes the whales and lets them play in the water. Isn't that beautiful? God creates the immense creatures of the sea. Some of them, I don't even know that we've discovered all of them down in the depths of the sea, and there they are, giving glory to God, their creator. Do you know that the humpback whale, do you ever wonder how the humpback whale fishes? Probably you didn't, but I'm going to tell you. The humpback whale lets out a stream of air bubbles out of its blowhole, and it swims upward in a spiral, breathing out the whole way. And what this does is it creates a curtain of bubbles, and all that krill and small fish, they don't go through the bubbles, they stay in there, and then it moves up through the center and eats them. Isn't that a marvelous thing? And God created that. We could go on and on with all the beauty and the wisdom in the creation of God. And God created these sea creatures.
Now we come to the sixth day, the climax of all the creation, and the sixth day comes to us in two basic steps. We get the beasts of the earth created first, and then we get the creation of man, of male and female in the image of God.
First the creation of beasts of the dry land. Verse 24, it says, "God said, Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds, livestock creatures that move along the ground and wild animals each according to its kind, and it was so. And God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good." Did you notice a phrase I kept saying over and over? According to their kinds, five times in two verses. God has said that these creatures are to multiply according to their kind. He had already said it about vegetation as well. It couldn't be clearer, that the proliferation of species is going to be along genetically determined lines according to the purposes, the wisdom, the plan of God. We get livestock, we get reptiles and game, how many species are there on Earth? Who can say? But God created them and created every one of them for his glory. But then we get the second step in the sixth day, and this is the culmination of it all, the creation of man.
It says in verse 26, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule." Here we get the special act of creation. God's speaking in a way that he has not spoken up to this point. He says, Let us create man in our image, in our likeness. A number of years ago, in the early '70s, there was a book called “Chariots of the Gods.” Do you remember that book? Chariots of the Gods? There was a theory posed by this guy, and he took it from this verse, that our creators are actually extra-terrestrial beings from outer space. And why? Because there's a plural here, let us create in our image, etcetera, plural.
Could it be a precursor of the trinity, Father, Son and Spirit? Could that be a better explanation than that we are descended from extraterrestrial beings? I think the scripture makes it clear. This is kingly language. He's speaking like a king, and I think he is speaking within the Trinity, within the triune Godhead saying let us create in our image. It's a statement of intention. Let us make man in our image and our likeness. And in verse 27, we get a statement of execution. So God did create man in his image, in the image of God he created him male and female, he created them. Statement of intention, statement of completion. When God intends, he completes. How unlike us he is.
But he intends and it comes about in the image of, and likeness of, God is implanted to us from creation, it's very significant. It sets us apart from all of the rest of what he's created. Our skeletal structure, that which is left in the earth after we die, does not separate as much from the beasts of the Earth, does it?
It is that which is implanted when God created us in his image. Now, what is the image and the likeness of God? There is a sense of God like character and characteristics. There's a mental side to it, the ability to think, to reason, to remember, to plan, there's the feeling side of it. The ability to emote, to have passions and feelings, all of that part of the image of God. There's a moral side to it as well. The ability to approve of what is right and to glory in it, to rejoice in that which is good.
I think the physical side comes into it as well. Though our physical structure does not separate us from the beast, yet it is significant to God that we are created in his image. And so Jesus, the firstborn of the new creation has a resurrection body. And so that is a clear indication of the image of God even extending to our physical side as well. And then there's the relational side, male and female, both created in the image of God. There's a relationship there, and we are going to proliferate and cover the Earth and so there's going to be a relationship, not just between the male and the female, but between descendants and others as well. There's a relational side to the image of God, and there's also in terms of our role, a connection with the image of God. We are to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the Earth. We’re to subdue the Earth and rule over it. This is very God like, is it not? Just as we rule over the Earth, so God rules over us and all he has made. And so the image of God extends to our role, namely that we should rule over the Earth. Now, of course, sin has entered the human race. It has defaced the image of God, has it not?
And so the image of God, though it still remains. Yet it is twisted, it is perverted by sin, and yet when Jesus Christ came and died on the cross, he began that redemptive work, that redemptive work of taking the image of God and restoring it, so that we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24, "And we know that when Jesus comes back, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is." Isn't that marvelous? And so we're actually going to go past the image of God that Adam and Eve experienced before they fell, and we'll be established in the eternal perfect relationship with God in Heaven. Something that was held back from Adam as we'll discuss next week, depending on what he would do with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The image and likeness of God imparted, and it is imparted to both male and female, both the male and the female have the image of God, no one more than the other, and so they are created.
So gender also becomes a very important part of God's plan, how can we fill the Earth and how can we multiply except by the way that God has ordained male and female. Equality of worth established here at the beginning in that the image of God is given to both male and female. Now, equality of worth does not necessitate equality of roles or our different roles. Male has one role, the female, another. And that is even tied to biology. But also to others as well as we'll discuss next week, but yet it is clear that the image of God given to both male and female.
Now, Satan has been working so hard recently to blur and to make strange no distinction really between male and female. And this is something that we need to go back to the very beginning and say that gender was given to the human race at the very start, and it was given to each one of you at your own creation as well, a gift from God. So this is the culmination of creation. And then God gives them their mandate. He says, "Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the Earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Now realize, as I said, all leadership coming from God is meant to be servant leadership. We're not to subdue the Earth in a crushing sort of way.
It says in the book of Revelation that God will destroy those who destroy the Earth. It was not meant to be a destructive thing, but rather a serving thing, as we'll see next week more carefully. I believe that ultimately we were meant to be “scientist-worshippers.” Not worshippers of science. I mean, scientist worshippers of God. We're supposed to go around as we proliferated without sin. We're supposed to fill the Earth, holy and righteous, we would be, and we're supposed to pick up every rock and look at it, look at what's under the rock, those creepy crawlies that God made and realize that God made them. And we're supposed to study them, study the soil and what's in the rocks, and give glory to the God who made it.
We're not supposed to worship and serve created things more than the Creator who was ever praised amen? But we're supposed to study, and we're supposed to know and understand the glory that God has put in his creation, his own glory. And so it says in Habakkuk 2:14, "The Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. What in all that's been made here in the six days can have the knowledge of the glory of the Lord? Only man." And so we're supposed to take that knowledge and fill the Earth and know what God has done and worship him. We can still do it, we who have been recreated now through Christ, we can be scientist worshippers. Study what God has done and give him glory, for God has put glory in this world. God gives them a blessing and gives them vegetation and fruit for food, both to them and to the beasts of the earth.
God’s reaction to his creation
And then God sits back and reacts to what he has done. It says in verse 31, "God saw all that he had made and it was very good, and there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” God declares it all good. There is no evil in the universe at this point, though there are created spiritual beings who will rebel and will fall. Yet at this point, all things Satan included were good. And God richly enjoys his work, doesn't he? He's pleased with it. If you don't think God is pleased with his creation, read the final chapters of the book of Job, as God boasts about different things he's made. Did you make that? Could you do this? I did this. Were you there at the time? God loves his creation, because it's glorious. The Heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of his hands. The entire creation in all of its vast array was complete.
In verse 1 of chapter 2, "Thus the Heavens and the Earth were completed in all their vast array." Isn't that a great word? Their complexity, their interwoven systems were created. Only God fully understands them. But they're all done. They're finished, and so God rests in verse 2, chapter 2, it says, "By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing, and so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work." Now, we should not think of this rest, as I said on Wednesday, as some kind of build-up of lactic acid in the muscles of God. God doesn't get tired the way we do. He doesn't have muscles that have lactic acid that builds up. He didn't need to kick back and rest because he was so exhausted with the work he had done. Creating is exhausting work. And on the seventh day, you just need to rest. Is that what this is? I don't think so. The image I get instead is of a marvelous throne room with a red carpet going right down the middle, and God just moves through his creation, comes up the stairs, turns around and just sits down to rule over it. That's the picture I get. He's ruling over his creation, that's his rest. Sovereign king, sitting down to rule.
John 5:17, Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working" If God ceased working, you would cease to exist. But God never ceases working, instead he sits and rules over his creation. Verse 3, it says, “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it, he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” This is the Sabbath rest, and I believe that Adam and Eve observed the Sabbaths before they fell, and they were to continue to be observed on and on. It's a sense of consecration up to God, a sense that he is our king, our ruler, and that someday we will come into our final Sabbath rest in eternity with God. . . once our probation is over. That's what the Sabbath was to be. And so it is today for us to observe a special day of worship points to our future glory.
Now, we have looked in an incredibly quick way at Genesis chapter 1. We have skipped more things that could have been discussed than you would imagine. You would not believe how long this sermon was the first time I wrote it. So count your blessings. Name them one by one. But we have looked very carefully and quickly at Genesis chapter 1.
Now we should come to a time of application. I could be the rest of my life telling you every point of application from Genesis 1. I've taken out four, but there are others besides. You think of them, you think of how should I live as a result of this?
- One of them, perhaps though, is weeding out false concepts. Henry Morris, who's a student of the book of Genesis says that the first statement of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth,” weeds out many of the false philosophies of our day. It refutes atheism for the universe was created by God. It refutes pantheism, the idea that the universe is God. For God is transcendent above what he has made. It refutes polytheism, for God was alone when he created all things. And it refutes materialism from matter, the stuff that everyone wants so much was created by God. He spoke it into existence. It refutes dualism, the idea that there's a good God and an evil God battling it out because there was one God and he created all things good. At the beginning, it refutes humanism, because God is the center of his creation, he rules over it all. We are not the center of the universe, but God is. And it refutes evolutionism as well. Time and time again, it's clear that God created all things and created them to replicate after their kinds according to his wise purpose. It refutes many of the false ideas of our day.
- The second is worship. We should go through Genesis chapter 1, and we should worship God. We should go through the word, we should sing that song, “This is my Father's world.” The God who made the Heavens and the Earth is my father, he loves me, and he sent his son to die on the cross for me. There's a sense of wonder and awe, isn't there? Psalm 8, it says, “When I consider your Heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man, that you care for him?” We look up at the stars and we are humbled by it, and yet we realize that he's made us a little lower than the angels. He has put a special place for us in Heaven by his own creative plan. There's a sense of wonder and awe and of worship. Psalm 139, verse 14, "I will praise you, O God, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." In creation, there is worship.
- The third is work. I already quoted John 5:17, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working." You know, Jesus did it the way we should have done it, we were created in the image of God. Adam should have had Jesus' idea. He said, I do nothing on my own. I do whatever I see my father doing, whatever I see my father do, that's what I will do. My work comes from his creation, and I observe what he does and I'm gonna be energetic and creative with my life. And now that work has moved over also into a spiritual realm as we're building the kingdom of God, as we're getting ready for a new Heavens and a new Earth, we can work at it. Our work comes out of the original creation because God is doing a new creation as well. And the final is walking righteously, walking righteously because God created everything, he owns everything as well. Including you. Look at your right hand. Go ahead and look at it. Say, “God made this, God owns this. And some day, God is going to ask me what I did with this.” See, out of the idea of creation comes the idea of accountability, stewardship, and some day, God is going to ask us what we did with it. It's his right to do, and he will do it.
- Now, in all of this, you should see the glory of God. In all of this, if you don't know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, You should have a hunger and a thirst to know a God like this. Today, give your life to Jesus Christ if you don't know him. If you have never come to faith in Christ, come up and talk to me. Say, “I want to know the God who sent his Son to die on the cross for my sins. I want to know him, I want to follow him.” If you have given your life to Jesus Christ, but you've been walking around in a blah sort of way, come back to Genesis 1. And let the veil be stripped from off your eyes so that you can give him the worship and praise that he deserves. Give him the glory and the honor due to his name.