Yesterday we started the 4th Year of the Narrative Lectionary (the year of John’s Gospel). For the fall (yesterday to the Sunday before Christmas) the primary text will be the Old Testament reading. Yesterday we read Genesis 1:1-2:3. Other readings were Colossians 1:15-20 and John 1:1-5. Here are a few thoughts from the sermon.
The challenge of this section of Genesis comes with the attempt to pit the Biblical narrative against the scientific realm. We believe that God created all thing sin six days. Is that miraculous? Absolutely. Is it explainable? Not by us. We go as far as Scripture, but no further. Scientific method starts with the premise that we observe and make measurements, etc. But even science has its limitations.
But in the process of this comparison we lose sight of what the text is truly saying. So, let’s see in three major areas how the text reveals something about God in his creation.
1. Creation Reveals Sovereignty of God
Everything exists is made by God, thus under his control. Staggering to the ancient world. Plagued with worship of false gods, who challenged the affection and allegiance of God’s people. But the gods were limited to created things: sun, moon, stars, animals, rivers, etc. In other words, the everything that the true God had created. Thus, these gods should not pose any temptation for the people of God. God is above and more powerful than anything else called “god” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). Even more, this true God is not only a God of creative and sustaining power. He is a God who saves, redeems, restores, etc.
Sadly, we see in the Old Testament the people of God often forgetting their creator God. What is our response to God as Creator? Do we just dress up our “gods” in better clothes, more technology, but fall into the same disregard for God himself? For further thoughts, this truth of God as creator has implications for our own stewardship of God’s of creation.
2. Creation Lays Foundation for God’s Word (Law)
God’s Word is all powerful. God spoke, and it was… God’s Word then also establishes the order of creation, how things are to be related, to function so that “it is good.” If God was indeed before all things and made all things, then why should the people of God have any other god? It is foolish. Psalm 115:3-7, then note the call to trust in Yahweh, the true God, in v. 9. If God made humans in his image, how foolish of us to try to fashion God in our image.
Do we see God’s Word as no longer absolute? No longer applicable? A barrier or hindrance in our lives? Or do we see God’s Word, which reveals His desires and guides us to live in light of his created order?
3. Creation Reveals Activity in Saving (Gospel)
Sin marred the creation of God (Genesis 3). From that point forward, God reveals his plan to redeem humans. Thus, we find that God’s creating Word is also a redeeming, saving Word, even a re-creating Word. At the beginning there was darkness over the deep, waste and void, but by the end of this section of Genesis there was a marvelous creation. God’s rest was not because of fatigue, but rather reflects the completeness and wholeness of God’s purpose of creating. Creation, then, is blessed and sanctified by God. This account shows that God transformed the unformed chaos into that which is formed exactly as God intended, and therefore “very good.”
As the narrative continues in the Old Testament, we find this same God redeems Israel from the darkness of slavery in Egypt, leading them to rest and blessing. God’s saving work culminates in sending His Son, Jesus, to once and for all redeem humans (Colossians 1:15-20), to take away the sting of sin and death, and turning darkness to light (John 1:1-5). For those who believe there is that declaration of rest and blessing.
The title of this sermon/post is intentional. Some might suggest that “Us” does not fit properly. But theologically, it does. “Us” is the accusative form, the direct object. God is the subject of creation, which means we are receivers from God. When we keep that perspective, then we gain the insight from this text that our relationship with God begins and ends with God. God creates and saves us. We do not create God. For that we are thankful and give praise to this creating, redeeming God.