Genesis 1

What we read in the beginning of the Bible, in the book of beginnings, Genesis chapter 1, it’s all so simple and straightforward. It’s all a matter of fact, not at all confusing or controversial.

Why, then, has it led to controversy and the controversy led to confusion?

For example, did God really do this, or was it a matter of evolution?

I have thought about this and talked about it for decades, most of which I spent teaching high school science, and physics in particular and decided to tell fellow Christians not to bother with the controversy.  The account is so simple.  God started with nothing but himself and created all that exists.

So powerful yet so simple is his authority that it all came into existence just because God said so.

It seems to me that God gave humans a good quality brain when He put them in charge of the creation, responsible to care for it.  To do that he expected us to use our brains to figure out how it all works and, so far, we think evolution is a basic mechanism.

However, when we consider how well humans have done their job of caring for the creation it seems to me that we probably haven’t got it all all worked out and what we have worked out may not be correct either.

So the biologists have been working on the theory of evolution trying to go further and further back in time then hand the theory on to the chemists who have to work out the evolution of the chemical elements. That has turned out to be extremely complicated but it’s needed so the geologists can work out the evolution of rocks, and cosmologist can come up with the evolution of galaxies, stars, planets and the earth itself.

Nowadays those on the forefront of thinking are the cosmologists who try to work out how the galaxies and their components came about.  Where are they up to?

Well, everyone has heard that cosmologists think the universe started with a Big Bang and there is a common belief that because the universe started with a Big Bang therefore we don’t believe in God.

If someone tells you this see if you can get them to try to answer the next question.

What was it that went bang?  

A genuine scientific evolutionist can’t stop working backwards in the theory with the Big Bang.  They really should have an answer to this question, too.

The theory is that it was the entire universe of matter, time and space existing in one unique, peculiar singularity of extremely high temperature and density which went bang and has been expanding and, presumably, evolving ever since.

This initial singularity idea challenges the understanding of everyone.

It contained all of space.  There was no existence, no space outside it.

It contained all of  time.  Time only started when the singularity exploded. 

It contained all of matter.  There was nothing outside the singularity.  All matter was inside it and then it went bang.

If you can grasp that then you will know that it only shows your ignorance if you ask what was outside the singularity; what’s outside the universe.  The answer is something like “non existence” and to ask the question indicates you don’t understand what this singularity was.

And don’t ask “what was there before the big bang?”  The very word “before” simply doesn’t make sense if there was no time before the big bang.

Of course, all this is so far outside our experience that we can’t really understand it.  Even full-time professional cosmologists will admit that.

While the cosmologists are satisfied that this explanation will do for them as a working theory they prefer not to ask the question, “where did the singularity come from?” because, although it’s an unavoidable question the answer might lead to believing in God.

Some people are pleased to see some similarities between this theory and Genesis chapter 1 and that’s nice but Genesis chapter 1 is true whether the Big Bang theory is correct or not.

In the meantime what Genesis chapter 1 tells us is so simple and straightforward that we can tell anyone who cares to read it that it tells us what we need to know.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God spoke and creation happened according to his word and will.

Of course, we are talking about Almighty God, Creator and Father of us all.  

And we are talking about God the Holy Spirit who was there when it all happened - whatever that was - hovering over the chaos and the subsequent creation.

And we are talking about the Lord Jesus, God the Son. 

John 1:1 records his role, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Indeed the whole of creation came about so that Jesus could be the Lord of all.  Not only was Jesus there at the creation of it all nowadays it is his will and power that hold it all together!

 Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

In today’s Gospel reading we see Jesus’ last message before he ascended to take his seat beside his Father in heaven and he spoke to his disciples and told them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20)

God decided to create order out of the chaos and the universe came about because he said so.  The story is simple.  The universe was created by the will of the eternal and almighty God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 1: 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good

Perfection! Purity! So good it was good enough for the most holy God and, wonderfully, good enough for us.

But it isn’t that way now and you know what happened next!

By the time God rested from his work of creation he had made humans who had characteristics so much like his that they were described as being made in God’s own image.

In the process these humans had been granted autonomy and authority.

Gen 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

As they lived in this perfect environment they enjoyed the benefit of only knowing what was good, of knowing the personal relationship and life with God.  They were shielded from knowing evil.

You would have thought they would have trusted their Almighty Father Creator.  It was reasonable to expect them to have faith in God, their source of life and trust that he knew what he was doing when he told them don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  

Just enjoy the good I have made. Don’t try to discover what can go wrong.  You don’t need to know the difference between good and evil.  Leave to me to decide those things.

But the temptation was too great, and still is. Humans want to make their own rules even to decide what is good and what is evil rather than trusting God with such decisions.

We got what they wanted: we too know both good and evil.

But there is hope, and God provides it!

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Yet, even though the reality of God’s existence is evident before them every day people do not acknowledge Almighty God.

Does God care about this? Of course he does! You can’t get away with ignoring the truth about God when he reveals it to you every day!

Romans 1:18-20 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 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.

Humans, men and women, must face God’s wrath and they have no excuse. Their own pig-headedness will certainly not save them. 

The solution lies in Jesus’ own sermon: Repent, for the kingdom of God is near.

Having an unrepentant heart results in God’s wrath being stored up against us.

Repent! Turn to Jesus, God in the flesh,  whose crucifixion offers us forgiveness and new life and whose resurrection uniquely gives us the power to again relate and live in peace with our Heavenly Father.

The first chapter of the Bible reminds us how much we are blessed!

Just living in a beautiful, peaceful place like Bellingen and we look around us at the creation God has made and it declares to us the glory of God, the awesome power of God, the depth of the action of God’s Holy Spirit.

But we know also of the presence of sin in our lives, in our community and the consequences of this even in the disturbances from perfection in the creation itself.

And we have come to Jesus and done as he said we should.  We have repented.  We have been forgiven.  We have been restored in our relationship with our creator, with our saviour Jesus and his Holy Spirit. 

Then we are called to fulfil our duties as stewards of the created world, as godly neighbours and as messengers of the good news of Jesus.

But we do this with joy, celebration and praise. 

Reading Genesis chapter 1 again fills us with awe, breathless wonder and praise for God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and we look at his creation amazed at his love and power which is beyond our understanding.

How did he do it?  By all means come up with your own theory or follow someone else's but the answer is simple.

God said, and there was, and it was good.

1435 Modified: 04-06-2023
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