Sunday, August 28th - Ending Where We Began | Gen 1:1-31, 2:1-3

This past Sunday, we concluded our Summer Blockbuster series. Pastor Scott delivered a thought provoking message that served to end the series "where we began" - in the beginning.

Personally, I've always been intrigued by the various schools of thought surrounding the Creation event. We live in a time where subtle differences in religious beliefs, politics and basic social ideals can become extremely divisive and polarizing. Yet, this message provided a refreshing take on the truth we find in our origin story - God is the Creator, He created you with a purpose, and He is in control.

Let's take a deeper look at the "points of conflict" we find in this story, then reflect on how we apply the truth from Scripture to our daily life.
1. Ex Nihilo - Gen 1:1
This is a Latin term that translates "from nothing" - meaning, Creator God formed the universe as we know it from scratch. He didn't take pre-existing matter and rearrange things to form our planet over time, He spoke it into existence. As Scott said Sunday, this immediately contradicts one of the most fundamental laws of science - matter cannot be created or destroyed.

How marvelous that one of the very first things you learn about God (if you read the Bible from front to back) is something we could never replicate or fully understand. God not only created everything "ex nihilo", but He proceeded to design the laws by which nature and physics are bound to, establishing that only He is the Creator of matter. I recently saw a video and explanation of how scientists can create the perfect environment for water to exists in three states (solid, liquid, and gas) in the same container and at the same time. While it was definitely impressive and awe inspiring, not a single hydrogen or oxygen atom was created or destroyed in the process.

I also find it interesting how closely this resembles the Big Bang theory. I won't pretend to be an expert on the matter, but an oversimplification of this view is that: without cause or reason, our universe boomed into existence in a fraction of a second, which created an enormous amount of heat and energy. Seems to me that an almighty God manifesting His will and speaking a universe into existence would also happen with speed and power...
2. The Creation Event - Gen 1:2
Another point of conflict in the Creation story happens right after verse 1...or rather between verses 1 and 2. The Gap Theory states that there exists an unknown amount of time between "God creating the heavens and the earth" and the verses that follow, almost as if these are 2 separate events. Alternatively, the more traditional view would be that God created the heavens and the earth ex nihilo, then proceeded to form and fashion His creation.

While there are some very interesting points of view that support both sides of the argument, I feel as though it's important to remember who is doing the "creating" here. Just as we cannot understand how exactly God created everything we could ever see, touch, smell, or experience from absolutely nothing - we also cannot understand how exactly He formed and fashioned a planet (just a reminder - there are other planets too, we just focus on Earth here...)

As Scott said Sunday, it's okay to have some differing opinions on topics such as this. As long as we can agree who and what this story is really about - God is the almighty Creator. I would also like to add - as a believer, you should research these things. Study the Scripture, have conversations with other believers, pray about it and ask God for clarity - and when you (inevitably) disagree with another believer on something, do it with love! Lots of things are black and white, plain and simple when it comes to Scripture. Others, not so much...but don't let these things derail you or your relationship with God, or your relationship with a fellow believer. Not only is God alone all-powerful, He's also the only one who is all-knowing. Let's not pretend that we are too...
3. The Days of Creation - Gen 1:3-31, 2:1-3
In the rest of chapter 1, we are provided with a detailed account of the 7 days of Creation.
Day 1 - Light
Day 2 - Sky, Land and Sea
Day 3 - Vegetation
Day 4 - Stars, Sun and Moon
Day 5 - Aquatic Life
Day 6 - Mankind and Land Animals
Day 7 - Sabbath (He rested)

As I'm sure you can imagine, there are some differences in opinion on this topic as well: are these 7, literal, 24 hours days? Or are these metaphorical "days" that refer to a span of time that passed while each "portion" of Creation was developed? The latter view is referred to as the Day Age Theory. Again, here I would challenge you to determine what you believe to be true. Does the Biblical account seem clear that each "day" was comprised of a "morning and evening"? It does. Does the Day Age Theory open the door for more contemporary views like Theistic Evolution? You bet. Again, each side of this conversation is backed by many God-fearing, intelligent, wonderful people.

My two cents - if we believe that the universe was SPOKEN into existence instantaneously, then taking an entire day to create each of the items listed above seems like plenty of time for God. I mean, even science shows that the universe appeared in less than 1 second... Once again, the takeaway here is that God is the Creator, and He created everything intentionally, with purpose, and according to His will.
4. Image Dei - Gen 1:26
Another Latin term, this one translated "image of God". In the midst of the telling of the Creation event, we are provided with this powerful message that the Triune God decided to make mankind in His likeness, so that we may rule over the rest of His Creation. I think the truth in that verse is sometimes lost on us. Take a moment and ponder the fact that God, the same God we've been discussing - the all powerful, Creator, designer and sustainer of life - God, created you in His be the pinnacle of His creation.

As a parent, I can't help think about the likeness that exists between a parent and their child. It always bring joy to my heart when someone comments on the likeness between myself and one of my kids. How much more awesome is it that we share likeness with God. Not in a physical sense - but in a much deeper way. We were all created by Him, for Him, in His likeness...and through that likeness we should be a caretaker and a blessing to everything else (and everyone else) He has created!

There are a lot of topics that truly intrigue me when it comes to scientific advancement and discovery. However, I always find myself irritated when I hear that we as humans just so happen to evolve into the species we are today. Not that I take personal offense to the idea that I came from an ape-like ancestor, but it seems undeniable to me that we were placed on this planet with a purpose. The rest of God's Creation is beautiful, magnificent, and seemingly endless...but we are the only beings created in His likeness. We should live like it!
Lastly, let's take a look at what we can take away from this story.

Two important questions can be answered by the Scriptures we studied...two questions that I feel many people today are struggling with.
1. Why do I exist?
2. What is my purpose?
These are questions that all of us have probably struggled with at some point in our life, and the uncertainty these questions create can leave us feeling hopeless, meaningless, or even worthless. Here's the answers according to Scripture:
1. Why do I exist? God created me!
2. What is my purpose? To do what God wants me to do!

Before we look into these 2 answers, I love the reality that Scott revealed to us Sunday.

If God created me, and my purpose is to serve Him, then He has the right to do what He wants with me. 

Now, while this should be a message of encouragement...depending on your view of God, it could be terrifying. There is an almighty God out there, capable of speaking the universe into existence, who created mankind (including me), and He has control over what happens to me.

Yes, this may seem scary...but God doesn't want to hurt you. He doesn't want to take advantage of you. He doesn't want to see you suffer. He doesn't wish evil upon you, or hold grudges or any of the other endless things that another person may want to do to you.

He loves you more than you can imagine. He has done what only He can do in providing salvation through His Son. He desires, deeply, to have a personal relationship with you and for you to confide in Him in all things.

If there's one person/being in all of history that you'd want to have complete dominion over you, it's God.

So, what is your relationship with this Creator? Are you living your life as if you were created with a purpose? Are you living your life as if you were created in His image?

I hope you can wake up each day and know that you are here, at this time, in this city, in your body with your strengths and weaknesses...for a purpose. There's a reason this big God created you.

1 Comment

Kim Ogletree - August 31st, 2022 at 8:05am

Thank you for these great reminders of who God is , and our purpose !