Media Sunday Worship Service

Sunday Worship Service

God Made It All

Genesis 1:1 – 13

 

Proposition: Everything draws its existence from God’s existence. He is the First Cause. He is the Uncreated Creator.

Application: If you are experiencing a season of darkness, if your life is in chaos if you are troubled with feelings of emptiness, be encouraged because the same Spirit that reversed the tohu vohu lives in you and He will undo the tohu vohu in your life.

A scientist told God, “We no longer need You. We have advanced to the point that we can create anything we need with our own ingenuity.” God said, “You want to put that to the test?” The scientist said, “Sure. What do You have in mind?” God said, “Let’s each make a man, just like I did with Adam. I’ll go first.” God made man from dirt. The scientist leaned down and picked up a handful of dirt, to replicate the work of God. “Wait a minute!” said God. “Go get your own dirt!”

Everything draws its existence from God’s existence. He is the First Cause. He is the Uncreated Creator.

I. Let there be: Darkness to Light (1:1 – 5)

Out of Nothing (1:1): This is a statement of fact. No attempt is made to prove God exists. In one simple statement, the Holy Spirit annuls atheism. The atheist has only two versions for why there is something rather than nothing. Either creation created itself; or creation always existed with no beginning or end. Scripture states that, time, space, matter and energy all have a starting point. Everything draws its existence from God’s existence. He is the First Cause. He is the Uncreated Creator.

Two thousand years ago Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph said, “A house bears witness that there was a builder; a dress that there was a weaver; a door that there was a carpenter; so, our world by its existence proclaims its Creator.” Nature declares there is a God (Ps 19:1).

The Hebrew word for God is Elohim. Elohim is plural. This suggests God has a plurality to His being. He is Father; He is Son; He is Spirit. The triune God created the entire cosmos. Not just the Father; not just the Son; not just the Spirit; the entire Godhead created the entire cosmos. Although Elohim is plural the verb bara, which means to create, is singular. Throughout Scripture, bara is used only for God. Bara is never used in reference to what humans can do. We can make things. We can fashion things. We can invent things. But we can’t bara – we can’t create out of nothing. We can’t make our own dirt.

Not only is bara used in reference to God, it also means to create something out of nothing – ex nihilo. Every time Scripture speaks of something from nothing it always uses the verb bara (Rom 4:17c). Because God exists – atheism is false. Because God creates ex nihilo – evolution is refuted. There is something rather than nothing because God exists. That something is the heavens and the earth. This phrase speaks of the totality of creation – space, time, matter, energy and laws.

The word heavens is plural (singular in KJV – the heaven). This suggests there are two or more heavens. So how many heavens did God make (2 Cor 12:2)? There are three heavens. The first heaven is often called sky – it consists of air, birds, clouds and planes. The second heaven is beyond the sky. It consists of sun, moon, stars and planets (Gen 15:5). The third heaven is paradise – where God and His angels dwell. Sky, space and paradise – the context allows us to figure out which of the three heavens is being described.

Although heavens are plural the earth is singular. There is only one earth in the whole cosmos. And earth is the focal point of God’s program. The Hebrew word for earth is haeretz. This word is derived from the root word rutz which means run. The earth runs in orbit around the sun (Ps 19:5b - run = larutz). The earth hangs on nothing – nothing visible that is. The earth runs in orbit by the invisible force of gravity (Job 26:7).

But it appears between Genesis 1.1 and 1.2 something happened to planet earth.

Out of Order (1:2): Although heaven is full of light, life and order the earth was dark, disordered and desolate. God does not create disordered, dark and desolate places unless it is accursed. Something went wrong with the earth. Tohu vohu is the Hebrew phrase for formless and void. Tohu vohu often refers to a cursed state (Isa 34:11; Jer 4:23).

The phrase was formless and void can be translated became formless and void (Gen 5:4, 6, 7). At the start the earth was created to sustain life (Isa 45:18 - did not create it as a tohu). Due to a catastrophe planet earth was ruined, such that it could not sustain life. It became an empty, chaotic, dark, desolate place. How did the earth become tohu vohu? The likely cause was the fall of satan and his demon angels. Before God created life, satan turned God’s earth into a waste land. Picture a builder who built a classy home for a family to move into. The home was finished but it was not yet furnished, and a family had not yet moved in. A neighbour hated the builder. In anger he ruined the home such that it could no longer be lived in. So, the builder fixed up the house making it fit to live in. When satan fell from heaven, earth became his abode. Seeking to thwart God’s program for planet earth, satan ruined the earth making it a dark, desolate and disordered wasteland (Isa 14:12 – 14).

Tohu vohu describes the effects of satan’s fall. Satan creates chaos but God creates order! God restores what satan destroys. So, the Spirit of the Lord, restored the planet so that it could sustain life (Ps 104:30b). The Spirit of God reverses the tohu vohu. He brings order by making distinctions – between light and dark; day and night; land and water; living and non-living; animals and humans; male and female. Satan brings chaos by blurring distinctions. God brings order by creating distinctions. Let’s look at some of God’s creative distinctions.

Out of Darkness – Light (1:3 – 5): This light is distinct from the light on day 4 which comes from the sun, moon and stars. This was God’s very own light shining forth from Him (Rev 21:23; 22:5). On day 4, God’s light will be replaced by sun, moon and stars. God’s command is all that is needed for something to happen. When God speaks it is done at once and in the exact way He commands (Ps 148:5b).

Good means that what God makes functions according to its intended purpose. God makes distinctions. Distinctions are good. They are a crucial feature of order. When distinctions are blurred chaos results. Our role as stewards of creation is to preserve the creation order and protect creation distinctions. As western civilization forsakes God a blurring of distinctions follows leading to confusion and moral chaos.

Light is in charge of the day; darkness is in charge of the night. For most of the world the day begins at midnight. In the Jewish world, the day begins at sundown and ends at sundown. For instance, the Sabbath day begins on Friday evening at sundown and ends on Saturday evening at sunset (Lev 23:32).

Many believe day in Genesis one does not have to mean a 24-hour time frame. In Hebrew, the word for day is yom. Yom can mean an unknown amount of time. For instance, the phrase in the last days – refers to an unknown amount of time. We have been in the last days for about 2000 years. When yom is used with a number, such as one, it always means 24 hours. Just in case we are not convinced that one day means 24 hours, the writer adds the phrase evening and morning. When we add one evening and one morning we have one day. That is how long it takes the earth to spin one cycle around its axis.

God makes the earth fit to sustain life. He does so by making separations. He separates light and darkness and He separates water.

II. Let there be a separation: Disorder to Order (1:6 – 10)

Open Expanse (1:6 – 8): We need to briefly address the term expanse or firmament as found in the KJV. The Hebrew word is raqia. There is some doubt as to whether raqia should be translated expanse or firmament. The term firmament suggests a solid domelike structure holding back the waters of heaven.

Raqia means expanse, spread out, or a stretching forth. How did raqia get translated into firmament? Around 250 BC, 70 Jewish scholars living in Egypt translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (called Septuagint). This was done because Jewish people living in the Greek world spoke Greek rather than Hebrew. The scholars translated raqia into the Greek word stereoma, meaning that which is firm. It appears the translators were influenced by the ancient view of cosmology, which believed the sky was surrounded by a vault. Around 400 AD Jerome translated the Bible into Latin (Latin Vulgate). He translated stereoma into the Latin word firmamentum. The King James translators merely transliterated this word and thus was born the firmament. I believe stereoma/firmament is a mistranslation of raqia. The more accurate translation of raqia is expanse. In this expanse, sky, God separated the lower waters, in liquid form, from the upper waters in vapour form. This may suggest that in the past there was a canopy of water vapour high up in the atmosphere creating a global tropical climate – which the fossil record affirms (e.g. fossils of palm trees in Northern Canada). The separation of waters also established the water cycle of condensation and evaporation. Day two is over but God does not say it was good because His work of separating the waters was not complete until the end of day 3.

 

Now we come to the third separation of water and land.

Obstacle to Life (1:9, 10): The earth was unfit to sustain life because it was submerged under water. The Lord makes the earth fit to sustain plants, land animals and humans. He raises the land above sea level by causing the water to recede (ocean drenches form?). At the end of the third day, after the waters are fully separated and in their proper place, God declares it good.

The Lord pierces the darkness with His light. He makes the earth fit to sustain life by separating water and land. With the appearance of dry land God now fills the earth with plants.

III. Let the earth sprout: Desolation to Vegetation (1:11 – 13)

Origin of Plants (1:11 – 13): God created three groups of plants, seedless plants, seed bearing plants and fruit bearing plants. Botanists use this three-fold grouping. For instance, seedless plants are called acotyledons (grass). Seed bearing plants are called monocotyledons (corn). And fruit bearing plants are called dicotyledons.

The Lord instilled in all living things the power to self-propagate according to its prototype. Living things reproduce after their own kind. They do not have the capacity to transform into another kind. For instance, an apple tree will not produce cherries. The Lord has allowed a large degree of variation within kinds so that living things can adapt to a large variety of environments.

Think of all the different kinds of dogs and cats. But there are genetic boundaries to the degree of variation allowed within a kind. Evolution removes any genetic boundary within living things. According to the evolutionary hypothesis given enough time, as natural selection works on genetic mutations one kind of organism will eventually transform into another kind of organism. For the evolutionist genetic boundaries cannot exist. Lord willing, we will discuss this in more detail next Sunday, God reverses the tohu vohu that satan causes. If you are going through a season of darkness; if your life is in chaos; if you are troubled with feelings of emptiness, be encouraged because the same Spirit that reversed the tohu vohu lives in you and He will undo the tohu vohu in your life.

 

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