“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.”(Genesis 1:31) When we read the account in Genesis of the time of creation before the first rebellion, there was nothing but beauty and harmony. There was peace between man and his world, between man and woman, and between man and his God. It was the rebellion from God’s good that has brought trial, discord, and marred the beauty of God’s world. Yet, God is still good, and wants good for this fallen creation. It is why He came among us. The amazing truth of our good God is that He cared so much for His created beings that He got down in the mud with us so He could lead us back to His good life. God became man in Jesus Christ, a truth even more amazing than the creation itself. In Jesus Christ we have forgiveness, cleansing, and a new life. We are recreated in Jesus.
I have written often about God as the author and source of life, and His breathing life into us. When I do, it often brings up the debate about creation vs. evolution. I’m not all that concerned about there being billions of years of the cosmos’ existence. I don’t know what happened to this 8000 mile diameter ball of rock we live on before God said, “let there be light” bringing order out of chaos. What I do express as an essential truth of our faith is that we did not come from some lower form of life, and that, at some point in time past, we were created by God, complete and without sin. And further, it was from this sinless initial state, that we later rebelled from the will of our God, becoming estranged from Him ever since. If it were not true that we began in a sinless relationship with our Creator, and later broke that relationship by our rebellion, there would be no need for a Redeemer, and the whole of Scripture becomes reduced to ancient history topped off with a few moral lessons. This, tragically, is the way many treat God’s Word today. The message we declare in Jesus Christ is that, apart from Him, we are eternally separated from our Creator. By His gracious sacrificial act, we have been redeemed and restored to our Lord. Understanding this helps us make sense of today’s life, and gives us a sense of direction and a reason for hope.
I have emphasized often that God is the author and source of life. We hear of the creation/evolution debate often with its emphasis on billions of years of the cosmos existence. That doesn’t concern me all that much. I don’t know what happened to this 8000 mile diameter ball of rock we live on before God said, “let there be light” bringing order out of chaos. What I do express as an essential truth of our faith is that we did not come from some lower form of life, and that at some point in time past, we were created by God, complete and without sin. And further, it was from this sinless initial state that we later rebelled from the will of our God, becoming estranged from Him ever since. If it were not true that we began in a sinless relationship with our Creator, and later broke that relationship by our rebellion, there would be no need for a Redeemer, and the whole of Scripture becomes reduced to ancient history topped off with a few moral lessons. This, tragically, is the way many treat God’s Word today. The message we declare in Jesus Christ is that, apart from Him, we are eternally separated from our Creator. By His gracious sacrificial act we have been redeemed and restored to our Lord.
“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 said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”(Genesis 1:2-3) This is the description of the beginning of creation, but it is more than the physical creation of the cosmos. This is us. We are that darkness and emptiness over which God’s Spirit hovers. It is His creative act of grace that brings light into our being. God has made us capable and creative people, but unless we stand in His light we remain emptiness, darkness, confusion. “In him (in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ) was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”(John 1:4-5) Into the midst of our questions, doubts, fears, and anxieties shines the light of Christ. He alone makes sense of the surrounding darkness. Just as we all feel better on a bright sunny day, so we find our joy, strength, and peace as we seek to stand in the light of our Lord. “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”(I John 1:5)
Over the years I’ve written about quite a variety of things, but really they all come back to one – our daily life with our Lord. Psalm 100 says that “It is He who has created us and we are His”. When I am making something in my woodshop I have determined the item’s purpose, the method of construction, and I envision how it will be used. I don’t believe God has done any less in making us. We are intentional creations of His, for the purpose He determined. We are not random accidents of evolution. And just as the piece of furniture I make for my home is not abandon as soon as it is done, but put into functional and enjoyable use, so our God does not abandon His creation, but (as I said as part of the marriage service Sunday) is ever present with His abundant blessing. And just as I love and appreciate the qualities of the wood I use in a project I want to be able to enjoy it for years to come. So too, our God has created us for eternal fellowship with Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. It is these truths that underly all my messages. It is God who created us for His good purpose, and He remains ever a part of His creation in order to bring us into His eternal fellowship. Thinking about this should cause us to turn toward Him and consider again what this means for daily life.
Some people will say that they don’t believe in God because there is no real evidence for His existence. The cosmos is all there is, as Carl Sagan was famous for saying. Yet the Apostle Paul would disagree, pointing to the very cosmos as evidence. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.”(Romans 1:20) God’s hand is clearly seen in all that He has made. And even further, He did not just create the world and all that is, then move on His way to do other things. He has stayed intimately involved in His creation. From the truth of His incarnation, to the daily presence of His Holy Spirit, He works in hearts and lives to draw people to Himself. We don’t always see this as clearly as we would like, but God’s hand of love is ever on His creation for His good purpose.
A few years ago some friends of ours gave us a small wooden wall hanging from Italy. It is a picture of a building with ornate arches, and a tower in the background. The wood process is called marquetry, where many different and tiny wood slivers are cut, shaped, and inlayed to form a larger picture. Each individual piece doesn’t look like very much, but when assembled by the artist’s hand, all form a beautiful picture. The parallel is obvious. God is the Great Artist. We are those small and different wood slivers. Individually, we may not seem to be of great value, but we are very necessary in the plan of God. He has called us to be a part of His life. He has a purpose for every one of us. If one is missing there would be a blank spot in the work He is forming. Just as that little chip of wood, you are unique and necessary in God’s plan for His Kingdom. And it will be a beautiful work of art.
The Psalmist asks, “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,…”(8:4-6) The Psalmist question is one we would do well to ponder more frequently. The vast majority of people say they believe in God. They also say that, by whatever means, He did create us. But why? Most people also believe that there is some kind of life beyond our earthly years. If we really are intentional creations of God, what does it mean that we will occupy a life after death? Does God have some purpose for us in eternity? Think about it. The answers to these kinds of questions makes a huge difference in the way we conduct our lives now.
I was reading an article yesterday about the efforts to gender neutralize all English textbooks. There are a variety of other efforts to remove the idea of gender distinctions from society. There’s only one problem with this. It doesn’t change what God has established in the people He created. “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”(Genesis 1:27) And further, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”(Genesis 2:7) However you might take these images the truth is there. We were created by God as two distinct genders, and that distinction is marked, not just in the outward features of the body, but in the deepest part of each human being. We can do all that we care to do in changing language and appearance, but we cannot change the distinction that God stamped on our inner being. God knew what He was doing in the beginning and He is always right.
When God created our first parents they were not perfect in the sense of being complete, being all that God intended them to be. They had much growth ahead of them. They were without sin and they were innocent. When they rebelled from God they lost their innocence. They learned what evil was. Once lost innocence cannot never be regained. This is the tragedy of our modern culture. All of our entertainment media and commercial advertising are robbing our youth of innocence. Even as our first parents, things are presented as attractive, and they learn things that they are not equipped to handle. At times adults will argue that youth need to know these things so they can make the right choices, but they are not mature enough to make those choices. This has had a devastating affect on our young people. Parents have the responsibility to put a shield of protection around their children so they have the proper foundation for making right choices. That foundation must include growing into a relationship with the Lord who made them, and wants the best for them. Only then will then will they see the true beauty of all God has made, and receive it as God intended.