January 13, 2013

In The Beginning - Part One

Preacher: Randy Smith Series: Genesis Scripture: Genesis 1:1– 2:3


In The Beginning-Part One

Genesis 1:1-2:3
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Pastor Randy Smith

Put yourself in the shoes of Moses. The people you have faithfully led out of Egypt are about to enter the Promised Land. After wandering in the desert the moment had come when they would fully realize the great promise of God. Unfortunately, you will not be a part of the celebration. You have led God's people and now that leadership will be passed. And even though you will not be with them, God will be with them, both in Spirit and written instruction. Because before they enter the Promised Land, you will give them God's Word, the first five books we have in our Bible commonly called the Pentateuch.

The first book in the Pentateuch is called "Genesis." And the first chapter of that first book truly deals with the Genesis, the origin of the world as we know it. The first three words read, "In the beginning." The Book does not make a defense for God's existence it simply affirms that the eternal and triune God was present before everything was created, "In the beginning God." And that God Himself is the One who created all things, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." We could spend years unpacking that verse!

So as the Israelites enter the Promised Land they would be given a codified account of all God's expectations. At the beginning would be the truth that their God, in contrast to all the false gods that the nations worshipped, is the true God who as Creator is the rightful owner of everything and as Omnipotent Sovereignty is the One who will support His people and deliver on all His promises.

Today as we start our series on the Book of Genesis, we will examine the first chapter that deals with creation. No doubt trying to cover this chapter in one or two sermons will leave many of your questions unanswered. Our goal is to simply provide an overview of the creation account. If you would like more information I would encourage you (if you are not committed to a class already) to attend Tim Eshelman's Sunday school class or check out the ministry "Answers in Genesis" on the Internet.

What Did God Make?

So as we begin the first point (probably all we'll cover today), let's take some time to examine what God created in the universe and the order in which He did it.

Yet before we do that we must understand that God created all that we see out of nothing (ex nihilo). As the Scriptures say, He spoke, and when He spoke He commanded the existence of everything. Verse 1 again, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." There was nothing and then there was everything. God did not build the universe through a lengthy construction process using preexistent materials. There was nothing but Him and He spoke and the universe was created. Even in the New Testament we read, "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" (Heb. 11:3).

That is what the Bible teaches from cover to cover. Do you have faith to believe that? I think the other options are much less believable! Few would affirm the universe is eternal. Most admit that it has a beginning. So was it a "big bang"? And if so, where did that preexistent matter come from that was part of the big bang and what caused the "bang" to even happen? And from that unintelligent chaos how do we end up with a universe with such beauty and detail and harmony and order? For instance, how do we end up with a human being that is so remarkable: eyes that see, brains that compute, skin that heals, ears that hear and feelings that express from an unorganized explosion? Personally I believe it takes more faith to accept the theory of evolution than it does to accept the fact that a loving and powerful God made all that we see as a reflection of His character and demonstration of His glory. As I've said before, it is vastly more likely that a hurricane can whip through a junkyard and produce a Rolls Royce than the theory of evolution can explain the formation of a human being, much more the creation of all of creation!

So the universe was created by God without God being part of His creation. Only God is eternal - the universe and God are not eternal peers. And God created all things out of nothing.

Verse 2 tells us the condition of the earth at the dawning of the first day. "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." These words speak of waste and desolation, the raw materials that God originally created to work with.

Beyond the matter to be used, the most significant aspect of the first day of creation is the creation of light. Verse 3, "Then God said, 'Let there be light;' and there was light. 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." Though this was not the creation of the sun, moon and stars since the Bible says in verse 14 they were created on the fourth day, this was the creation of light by the God who is Light (1 Jn. 1:5). Beyond that, I believe it is hard to be specific.

What we do know are the incredible properties of light. It travels at an amazing 186 thousand miles per second. To give you a frame of reference, this means that light can travel around the entire earth seven times in one second. Though the moon is 240 thousand miles from earth, it takes light only one and one-third seconds to get there. When God said, "Let there be light," our minds can't get around what He had just created! And our minds can't imagine the despair of what it would be like to live in a world engulfed in eternal darkness.

Verses 4 and 5, "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."

The second day is described in verses 6 and 7. "Then God said, 'Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.' God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so."

As the second day dawned, much of the earth was still covered with water. This day speaks of the vertical separation of the waters. The expanse or firmament (as it is sometimes called) became what is now our breathable atmosphere. The waters below are the seas and the waters above very likely are the rain and clouds. Verse 8, "God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day." Though this is the only day that God does not say it was "good," we again do see a deliberate act accomplished by God's almighty Word.

So the water is separated vertically on day two, now on day three we see the water separated horizontally. Verses 9 and 10, "Then God said, 'Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear;' and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good." We obviously see this today - one interconnected body of water divided into several oceans and seas. Dry land now became visible which God called "earth." This also prepares us for the rest of day three's creation.

Still in day 3, verses 11 and 12, "Then God said, 'Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them;' and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good."

Life is now brought forth. This must be one of the evolutionist's biggest problems. Sure they can say humans evolved from the monkey and the monkey from another life form all the way back to the simplest life form found in the primordial swamp. But the question that I have never heard answered to my satisfaction is where did the original life form come from?

The Bible says God who is Life created life. And the first species of life He created was vegetation: plants and trees. They were created in their mature form and they were created with seeds to reproduce "after their kind." That's a significant phrase as we find it repeated ten times in this chapter. Every life form has its own unique DNA structure. All the cross-breeding in the world will not create a new life-form from the species that exist. That is why the life-forms God created then are the life-forms we still see today. There is no evidence of transitional fossils and there is no current existence of transitional species.

Verse 13, "There was evening and there was morning, a third day."

On day four we learn that God created the light bearing bodies. Beginning in verse 14, "Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth;' and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also" (Gen. 1:14-16).

Specifically God made the stars which of course would include our sun to radiate light, and God also made the moon to reflect light.

Let's pause for a moment and briefly consider this aspect of God's creation. Think of the stars. Our star, called the sun, gives us warmth because hundreds of billion billion billion billion (10 with 38 zeros) fusion reactions take place every second. More than 400 million tons of hydrogen are being converted into helium every second in the heart of the sun. The central temperature in the heart of the sun is a toasty 15 million degrees Celsius.

Our sun (a mere 93 million miles away) is only one star in our Milky Way galaxy that contains anywhere from 150-200 billion stars. And we are only one galaxy among some 150 billion other galaxies with each galaxy containing tens upon tens of billions of stars. It is estimated that one galaxy known as Virgo contains 5 trillion stars to itself alone! Considering the sheer quantity of the stars; it has been said that the stars in the heavens outnumber the grains of sand on every beach on the earth!

Isaiah 40:26, "Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, 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."

It is amazing! And the creation of the stars is mentioned almost as a side note in verse 16: "He made the stars also." Actually, in the original Hebrew it is only three words, "the stars also."

Let me give you a little more. Our sun is at 864 thousand miles in diameter (that's over 100 earths touching side-by-side). Yet despite this size, our sun is a relatively small star. There is one star called Eta Carinae (etta CAR-a-nie). The diameter of this star is a tad more than 400 million miles. If this star were in the place of our sun, it would swallow up our solar system all the way to the orbit of Mars. The star is so bright that even if it were fifty times the distance to the planet Pluto, it would still shine as brightly as our sun.

Or how about the constellation named Cassiopeia which is 60 quadrillion miles away? Within this constellation was a star names Cassiopeia A. I say "was" because the star blew up about 320 years ago. Catch this, when Cassiopeia A exploded it shined with a brightness of 100 billion of our suns!

One more, ever consider the mass of a star? Some stars are 50 million times the mass of the earth! One star named Sirius B contains matter a million times as dense as steel. How about a neutron star? If you took one teaspoon of its matter, you would be holding 3 billion tons in your hands! And if you dropped your teaspoon of Siruis B it would cut right through the earth and come out on the other side!

All of this sheds a little perspective on Psalm 147, "He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite" (Psm. 147:4-5). Creation surely does point back to God's greatness!

Back in Genesis 1 we read, starting in verse 17, "God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day" (Gen. 1:17-19).

The fifth day is covered in verses 20-21: "Then God said, 'Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.' God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good." On the second to last day of creation a form of life higher than the plants was made.

While that which roamed on the face of the earth would have to wait until the sixth day, on the fifth day the Bible says God made all that lives in the waters. Among the many creatures that are still with us today is the archerfish who can spit water for up to five feet at insects outside of the water and sea horses that swim vertically and hermit crabs that migrate from one shell to another when they outgrow their homes and sea cucumbers, the spineless sea creature that actual expels its organs when attacked for the predator to eat and then grows a new set of organs for itself. How about the blue whale that can exceed 100 feet long and weigh 150 tons. And as it pertains to smallness, the tiniest form of life in the ocean is a virus about 40 nanometers in diameter. To put that into perspective, if you lined these marine viruses up end to end alongside a ruler you would have to lay down 635 thousand of them before hitting the 1 inch mark.

Also on the fifth day God made the creatures in the sky and what a display of His creative abilities and artistic interest in beauty: From the he flamingos to parrots to the eagles to the peacocks. Again like the rest of His creation, the formation of the bird population defies our imagination.

Consider a pelican with a wingspan of six feet and a pouched bill that can hold three times as much food as its stomach or an albatross that has a wingspan of nearly twelve feet and can drink sea water and fly 1,000 miles in a single day or a woodpecker that can peck up to 500 times a minute or a hummingbird that can flap its wings up to 80 times per second and can be as small as five centimeters. Consider how many birds can also migrate hundreds of miles with uncanny precision.

At the end of day five we read in verses 22 and 23, "God blessed them, saying, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.' There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day."

We are out of time, but what is left to make on day six? That's right, the animals on the earth and then different from the animals, humans, the only beings God created in His own image. Make sure you come back next week as we conclude Genesis 1 with the crowning jewel of God's creation. Also, we'll cover why I believe the Bible teaches that God created the world in six literal days and what all of this instruction in Genesis 1 means for us today.

But as we conclude let's just sit back and reflect upon what we have learned. Let's consider the power and imagination and beauty and glory of our God. No wonder Romans 1 tells us that all people who reject Him are "without excuse" (Rom. 1:20) "because that which is known about God is evident within them" (Rom. 1:19). Only the fool, Psalm 53:1 declares, can consider creation and then say there is no God. Psalm 19:1, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands."

God created not because He was lonely or needed glory. He created that His glory might be seen by all and that all people might embrace and enjoy Him as their God in a personal relationship through Jesus Christ, our Lord. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the aim, goal, intent, purpose, consummation and culmination of every molecule that exists. As Colossians 1:16 teaches. "All things have been created through Him and for Him." I hope all of you leave today not worshipping the stars, but falling before the One who made those stars with your love and adoration and obedience.

other sermons in this series

Oct 27


Providentially Secure - Part Four

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Genesis 42:1– 50:26 Series: Genesis

Oct 20


Providentially Secure - Part Three

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Genesis 41:1–57 Series: Genesis

Oct 13


Providentially Secure - Part Two

Preacher: Randy Smith Scripture: Genesis 38:1– 40:23 Series: Genesis