In the Beginning
March 11, 2018
All right mark this day today. Because we are now starting the book of Genesis and we're going to go through the entire Bible. It'll take us just a few years.
It's interesting because Paul wrote, he said he did not shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God's word. Well, in order to have the whole council, the full council of God's word, you pretty much need the full of God's Word. It's important to recognize the significance of going through every book that God has given to us. Which we're going to do. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and we're going to go through all the way until we get to Revelation and then when we finish Revelation we'll start it all over again. This is our fourth time through the entire Bible. Fourth time and so if you stay with us for about nine years or so, maybe 10, we're going to have the whole Bible.
Now, also it's important to recognize the correlation between our Wednesday service and our weekend services. The weekend services that I teach. Because obviously, Mathew does Sunday night, but here's what we do, on the Wednesday services we go verse by verse by verse by verse and wherever we left off that's where we start the next week. Then out of that section, where there's one chapter or two or whatever, then we'll take a section from that and then on the weekend services we'll dive deeper into that. You really need the Wednesday service to connect the dots. As that's our study of verse by verse, and chapter by chapter. That's how the correlate and of course all of its online. It's on the App.
I. In the Beginning - God
You can get it also that way. All right, so let's look at Genesis 1. It's the book of beginnings. In fact, Genesis means beginning. Here in the book of Genesis we really get some answers to some of the greatest questions that people wrestle with. How did I come into being? Who is God? What is God's plan for the ages? It begins with a very powerful statement. Let's read it starting in verse 1, we're going to read just five verses and then we'll do more of course on Wednesday. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth and the earth was formless and void and darkness was over the surface of the deep and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, "Let there be light," and there was light and then God saw that the light was good and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day and the darkness He called night and there was evening and there was morning. One day. It continues as it goes through the creation of day by day which we'll look at more on Wednesday. I want us to look at these verses. Starting in verse 1, "In the beginning God." It says, and these four words we begin with.
A. Before the beginning - God
We want to look carefully what's behind them actually better to say what's before them. Because we can say this way, before the beginning God. In the beginning God, but before the beginning also.
In other words, God existed eternally before creation. That idea right there is more then we can comprehend. Infinity, in the past. God is infinite. That's part of His nature. That being said, are there limits to God? The only thing that limits God is His own nature. Let me give you some verses. For example, in Luke 1:37 it says, "For nothing will be impossible with God." That's one of the great promises we love. That's one of the strength of our faith verses. For nothing will be impossible with God. Having said that it's also true what it says in Hebrews 6:17-18, "God desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie."
In other words, all things are possible with God, but it is impossible for God to lie. Because His nature is the truth. The only limitation is His own nature, His own character. It's important to say. We also understand that before creation, this is fascinating to me, that before creation before the worlds were formed God knew your name and God was committed to you before the foundations of the world. What a great promise is that. He was committed in love to you before the worlds were created. I'll give you Ephesians 1:4-5, "He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. That we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. According to the kind intention of His will, He committed His heart to us before He created the worlds."
B. No one created God
Then we add this important point to recognize and that is that no one created God. We say that because I've been asked many times who created God and my answer's always the same. If God was created by anyone or by anything He's not God. No one created God. God is self-existent in power. I don't know if you're familiar with other systems of belief, but Mormon doctrine teaches that God is the God of this Earth only and that there are other planets with gods of those planets out there somewhere. Some Mormon missionaries came to my door one time and I was in my bathrobe. I wasn't really happy, but they insisted. I said, "Okay, if we're going to do this we're going to do this. I'll do it in my bathrobe then."
We get into this conversation and I said, "Do you believe you recognize that you believe that God is God of this world only and that you believe that there are other planets with gods on them." He said, "Well, that's true." I said, "Here's my question. There must be a God over all of these gods." He said, "Well, there is, but we don't know who he is." I said, "That's my God right there."
The God over all gods. The one who created all things, the universe, but that does bring up an interesting question. In the beginning, did God or gods create the Heaven and the Earth? Now, that's an interesting question. Because to have an exact and literal translation of Genesis 1:1 it would be in the beginning gods. It's actually a plural name. The name gods there or God translated into the English is Elohim. The I-M at the end makes it a plural name. For example, when you're in Israel you hear about the kibbutz. They live in these collective farming kinds of things. That's a kibbutz, but when there are several you say then kibbutzim. That's how you make a plural. We add the S, they add the I-M.
The name Elohim is actually plural. Which is intriguing for many people. For example, then look in your Bibles to Genesis 1:26-27, the literal translation of that. You'll be familiar with this verse, Then God said. Actually, literally, then Elohim, which is the plural word. Then Elohim said, "Let us." Isn't that interesting? "Let us make man in our image according to our likeness." Then it says, "Let them rule over the fish of the sea et cetera." Then look at verse 27, "And Elohim created man in His." Now we got to the singular. "And Elohim," in plural, "Created man in His," singular, "Own image. In the image of God, He created them. Male and female he created them." How intriguing is that?
That he uses an Elohim plural and then He uses the singular pronoun to describe Him. What an interesting-- What does this mean? Does it mean that there are other Gods? By no means does it say that or does it mean that-- In fact, one of the famous verses of the Old Testament has to be Deuteronomy 6:4-5. It's part of the morning and evening prayer of the Jewish family. Because it is a constant reminder of this great truth. Deuteronomy 6:4-5, "Hear oh Israel. The Lord our God the Lord is one." Let there be no misunderstanding about this. Hear oh Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your might," Which Jesus, of course, quoted as "The greatest thing that God has ever said to man."
Who was God speaking to when He said, "Let us make man in our image." Was He speaking to the angels? But nowhere do we see that angels are made in the image of God nor do we see anywhere that angels have creating power. I suggest to you that He is speaking to none other than the Son of God. In fact, let me give you a tremendous verse, Colossians 1, these are all in your notes. I know that these are many things being added here. We want to get the full council of God's Word and to recognize what He's teaching us. Notice in Colossians chapter 1 verses 16 to 17, forth by him, his beloved Son, "All things were created."
C. How great is our God!
Now, this is another interesting statement by Him, by his beloved Son, all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones are dominions or rulers are authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is, using the present tense, He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together. Colossians 1 is like a magnanimous chapter that declares who Jesus is. "Let us make man in our image." What a declaration. From Genesis 1:1 or Genesis Chapter 1. In other words, by a point that I'm trying to exclaim here is how great is our God.
We're understanding more who God is in this chapter. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth," Helps us to understand His nature, who He is. He's revealing Himself to us in the book of Genesis and throughout the bible which helps answer the question that Pharaoh of Egypt asked. Exodus 5:2, Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?" Well, I'm glad you asked. "Who is Jehovah? Who is Jehovah? I don't know Jehovah." Of course, the Lord God began to declare who He was to him. God answers that for us, for all men that He's not a local God. That was the common understanding in that day.
That the God that they serve is a local deity of this valley or that mountain or this area. Here, God then declares Himself as the creator of all things. God overall Gods, Lord overall Lords, King overall Kings. The answer is that. He's the creator of the universe. There's nothing like Him and there's none beside Him. Would you turn your Bibles to Isiah chapter 41. Isiah 41 is absolutely one of the great chapters, one of my- Isiah 40, rather. One of my favorite chapters in all of the old testament. It is such a declaration of who God is.
Isiah chapter 40, let's begin in verse 1. I'm going to read several verses because it's just so powerful. Verse 21, "Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. It is He who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. It is He who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes judges of the earth meaningless.
Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely have they're stock taken root in earth and He merely blows on them and they wither." I love that expression. "The storm carries them away likes so much stubble. To whom then will you liken me that I should be His equal?" says the holy one. "Lift up your eyes, Lift up your eyes on high. See who has created these storms. The One who lives forth their hosts by number and He calls them all by name." Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing.
"Why do you say, O Jacob? Why do you assert O Israel?" "My ways is hidden from the Lord and the justice do to me escapes the notice of my God. Do you not know? Have you not heard the everlasting God, the Lord, the creator of the ends of the earth? He does not become weary or tired. He's understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary and to Him who lacks might He increase His power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumbled badly. Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strengths."
"They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, and they will walk and not faint." That's a powerful chapter. It declares to us who God is in power. How amazing is God, how amazing is God's creation. Ever go out at night and just stare at the stars and the skies and say, "God, you're amazing." Did you know that 1.3 million earths- It would take 1.3 million earths to fill up the sun. Man, that is just mind boggling. There is a sun named Antares that is 700 times larger than our sun. There is a star in the southern hemisphere that is absolutely humongous that if you're traveling at the speed of light, it would take three hours to pass through that sun. How awesome is God. He puts our life and our problems and perspective when you recognize who he is.
I love Psalm 138:7-8 that declares, "Here is His almighty, all powerful, the creator of the ends of the earth." Then he says in Psalm 138, "Though I walked in the midst of trouble, you will revive me." In other words, He creates all of those things and yet He's concerned for my life. "You will revive me. Your right hand will save me. The Lord will accomplish what concerns me, your love and kindness, O Lord, is everlasting." Isn't it amazing to step back, you see the amazing creation of the universe and then to recognize that God's love is personal towards us?
II. God Created by the Word of His Power
It's amazing to consider the personal nature of this creator, powerful God. Because it then shows us that God created by the Word of His power. So amazing in power, he created by the Word of His power. God is Omnipotent in power created the universe by the Word. God said, "Let there be light and there was light." Only God can make something out of nothing. I've been asked several times. I remember when I was sharing my faith when I was younger and people would try to challenge me back and ask difficult conundrum questions.
One of the difficult conundrum questions, this was asked to me when I was just young in my faith on the school bus. I was trying to share my faith to someone on the school bus and he said, "Let me ask you a question, can God make a rock? You said God is the creator of all things. Can God create? Can God make a rock so big that even he can not lift it?" I'm just on the school bus like, "I don't know." How am I supposed to know that? I didn't get that class. But it is an interesting thing. I pondered a long time, I want to have an answer.
The answer is no. Moving on. The answer is no because the question is like, "Can God make something finite, a rock, so big that it is more infinite than Himself?" Well, no. There's no such thing as more infinite. Infinite is infinite, and you can not make something more infinite. That's like, in the Toy Story, when Buzz Lightyear says, "To infinity and beyond." No such thing as infinity and beyond. Can God make something more infinite than himself? No. That's because it's dumb question. Sorry about that. But in fact, creation reveals His nature.
Romans 1:19-20, we add verse 22, "That which is known about God is evident within them." God made it evident to them for since the creation of the world. His invisible attributes, His eternal power, His divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made so that they are without excuse. Professing to be wise they became fools.
A. God spoke… and it was so
In other words, God expects us to see the creation itself and to recognize the creator that is behind it. God makes Himself known and there is- the point that He's making to us is that God spoke and it was so. He's speaking to the power of our creator. God spoke and it was so. First, there is God. Then God spoke. Then He created the Heavens, and we were not there, so we understand that by faith.
In fact, Hebrews 11 says that very thing. Hebrews 11:1-3, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. For by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible." Which is actually a very intriguing statement. The things which are seen are not made out of things which are visible. He creates by the Word of His power and the things that are seen are not made out of things which are visible. In other words, everything is made from pure energy, you might say. It's like, where did that come from? God.
It's like this amazing declaration. By faith, we understand that God created the vastness and the greatness of the universe, but has us in mind. It's an amazing thing. God has us in mind as His crowning glory. When you think about that it's like He says, "Earth is my footstool." Someone said to me one time, "Do you know how many planets are out there?" I said, "I assume that there are billions and billions of planets, but I submit to you of all the planets that are out there, God says that Earth is my footstool." Because of all the planets He sent His son here. Because He planted men, He created man here, as His crowning glory.
Psalms 8:1 and we add verse 3-5, "Oh Lord our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth. Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens. When I consider Your Heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars which You have ordained what is man that you take thought of him or the son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than God and You crown him with glory and majesty." There's an amazing thought. How much God cares about us, but we are His crowning glory he says. Isiah 49 speaks to it. Verses 15 and 16, "Can a woman forget a nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even this may forget, but I will not forget. I would not forget."
Behold, He says, I have inscribed you in the palm of my hands. How personal is that? I have inscribed you. I've written you on the palm of My hands. In other places it like you're the apple of my eye. God who knows each star by name is the same God that He would never-- He said, "I will never leave you. I'll never forsake you. I'll supply all your needs. According to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. That He will come again. I will send My son to receive you unto Myself." God, in all of His grandeur and all of His glory, says I want a relationship to you. Isn't that amazing? Creator of all the universe says I want a relationship to you. I will send my son that I might have relationship to you.
B. And it was good
Then He adds, with each of these statements of God creating, then He adds, "And it was good." This is a statement we see over and over in Genesis as He creates. He saw and it was good. That word it means beautiful, complete, finished in His completion in His beauty. Of course, there's a great debate about whether we were developed through evolution. The creation account tells us that God created by His word. It was good. It was beautiful. It was complete. It seems straightforward that if there's a God, there's an amazing design, that there's an amazing designer.
Charles Darwin in his book Origin of Species said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous successive slight modifications then my theory would absolutely break down." Well, that is an interesting quote. Because there is this theory. The theory breaks down with the principle of what's called irreducible complexity. Biochemist Michael J. Behe PhD says, "A system or a device is irreducibly complex if it has a number of different components that all work together to accomplish the task of the system and that if you're to remove one of the components the system will no longer function."
Some examples are easily seen by us. Your mother says don't pick your scab. Because the body's ability to clot its blood is what saves our lives. We would die without it. The mechanism of blood clotting cannot evolve in the sense because everything prior would be extinct even before it lived. Bombardier beetle is a famous example of this. When disturbed the Bombardier beetle ejects a hot noxious chemical spray of hydrogen peroxide and some other thing I can't say, which explodes immediately upon contacting one to the other. These two chemicals explode immediately when they contact each other and yet the beetle lives. Because these two chemicals are separated, but how then did it evolve?
Because those two chemicals would explode when brought together. How would that have evolved? That's called irreducible complexity. The human eye, the immune system, single cells, systems of reproduction, even DNA, irreducible complexity. God formed the Earth that was formless. Shaped that which was good out of that which was nothing. God didn't create the universe and then just stand back observing it. He is in the midst of it. He's interacting with it. He is within the creation. He sent His son to the Earth to bring a relationship to the Almighty and God is at work in our lives. The Creator of all things is at work in our lives to bring about His purpose so that he would say it is good.