We are beginning a new series today looking at the book of Genesis. Many of the key doctrines of the Bible are rooted in Genesis and our passage today is Genesis 1:1-2:4
A few years ago, I read an article in Christianity magazine on the different views, held by Christians on creation. It outlined the main points of contention and looked at the strengths and weaknesses from various standpoints. In my opinion, it was a fairly good look at the subject but in the following months, the letters section of the magazine was full of contributions from people from both sides claiming the article was biased. I suppose that means it was probably quite well balanced.
The division centres largely on whether the earth can be aged in thousands or billions of years and it can get very heated. I have Christian friends that I respect on both sides of the debate and like most believers, I have a view myself. I would urge everyone to read up on the subject because if you talk to people who are not Christians; it’s something they want to talk about. Personally, I find the whole thing fascinating and I can get quite passionate but I have to acknowledge it is a little self-indulgent. It’s a little like arguing over the type of brush that was used by a great artist or the kind of pen chosen by a great poet. It may be interesting in a nerdy sort of way but really it should be about the work of art and the artist.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
Our purpose today is not to get into the debate but to take a step back and stand in awe of our creator.
Today’s passage can be read in a few minutes but there is enough material in it to keep us going for years. I realise of course that most readers are under time pressures so I will try to be as brief as possible – honestly. Just a few points;
- God is eternal. We learn so much from verse one – it’s only ten words but they are full of meaning. When there was a beginning, there was God. He is eternally self-sufficient. He doesn’t need the universe or the human race. He existed before the universe and when this world is eventually destroyed he will still be there.
- There was a beginning. In the first half of the last century, cosmologists held to the ‘Steady State’ theory of the universe which stated that the universe was eternal and had always been the same. When the Catholic Priest, Georges Lemaitre proposed the ‘Big Bang’ theory (it isn’t just a sitcom) which held that the universe had a definite beginning, he faced considerable opposition from the scientific community. These days the theory is widely accepted but Christians we have always believed in a beginning – it’s there in the first verse in the Bible! There was a moment when God spoke and it came into existence. Without God, there would be no universe.
- It was good. God is good so all that he does is good. It isn’t a very clever observation as it’s repeated throughout the passage; ‘And God saw that it was good’ (1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). When we see the beauty all around us, we realise this is a masterpiece of understatement.
- It was very good. As we have seen, God saw that his creation was good but it is clear that when he made human beings, he saw it as very good (1:31). We will have a closer look at this tomorrow but it seems that all of creation was leading up to God’s greatest work of art – us. That changes everything; it means we are not the descendants of an ape that got lucky; we are created in the image of God and made for a purpose. It means that everyone has dignity, value and worth.
When I see the beauty
Of the sunset’s glory
Across the evening sky
When I feel the mystery
Of a distant galaxy
It awes and humbles me
To be loved by a God so high
What can I do but thank you
What can I do but give
My life to you
What can I do but praise you
Every day make everything I do
A hallelujah, a hallelujah
Hallelujah. (What Can I Do – Graham Kendrick)