Genesis 1:1-2:3 / In the Beginning

April 30, 2020

Ray Galea

We are starting a new series on Genesis 1-12. It’s called The Blueprint, as it lays the foundations for God’s great plan to save a people for himself. 

I was talking to someone who said “I don’t know why I am so afraid to open the bible and read it.” They then said “I think it’s because I don’t want to hand over control of my life.” But what is the alternative? We can’t keep ourselves alive. The world has been brought to it’s knees by one mutant virus.

So, let go to Genesis 1 for there we see an awesome God who creates an awesome universe, worthy of our worship, He can be trusted.

1. God is awesome because He alone is the creator.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. ~Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

Before its about us its about God. Not gods but God – Just one. Unlike the movie Thor who shares the heavens with a bunch of other gods fighting it out, God has no peer! He alone creates, He will not share his glory with another.

In the beginning God. There is no attempt to prove the existence of God. God’s finger prints are all over his creation.

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. ~Romans 1:20 (NIV)

2. God is awesome because he creates out of nothing.

The fancy word is Ex nihilo. God is not like a Do it Yourself mum or dad who goes to Bunnings, buys wood nails and glue and makes a chair. ‘In the beginning’ refers to a starting point, before which only God existed. Christianity has always taught there was a beginning to the universe. It took Science as recent as the 1960s and the Big Bang theory to catch up. All matter had a starting point.

3. God is awesome because he created everything.

“Heavens and Earth” is code for all things. God is not just the God of Israel, He is not just the God of this earth. He is the God of the known and unknown universe, all 100 trillion galaxies that make up our universe. That is why we should be impressed by creation, but we must only worship its creator. Although I do like to hug the odd tree.

God created the Heaven and the earth that includes the spiritual beings. That is why the right response is worship. Let’s join the chorus of praise and say together:

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” ~Revelation 4:11 (NIV)

As my wife Sandy walks each day, she thanks God for different parts of creation, she has noticed it helps her anxiety. God may have rested from his creating work but he has not rested from his sustaining work. “In him we live and move and have our being” That would include the 37 trillions cells that make up your body.

And as Bill Bryson said “each one operating in more or less perfect concert more or less all the time.” (Bill Bryson The Body p9) 

Many claim that the simple cell evolved by chance into complex life forms. The simple cell is not so simple, its more like a complex factory at work as seen in this image.

4. God is awesome because he creates by his powerful word.

Christians may differ on how long it took, but all agree that God created the universe by the power of his word, by just talking. We read again and again “and God said… and it was so”. 100% success rate.

I love to watch Grand Designs UK. Many plan to be build their dream house in 9 months and 2 years later the house is still not finished and they have blown their budget. 

God speaks and all matter, time, energy, and space came into being. Like Father like Son, in Mark 4, Jesus is woken up on a boat caught in a massive storm, half awake Jesus tells the storm to shut up! and immediately it collapses into ideal lake conditions. The disciples say to each other, “Who is this, even the winds and waves obey him” He calms raging storms with a simple word.

Notice how the process is so effortless with God. God doesn’t strain, and he doesn’t sweat, no resistance, very different from the other ancient creation stories, like Enuma Elish, where one god kills another god and slices it in two, the upper part is heaven and the lower part is earth. What we get “Let there be light” and the universe comes alive. Gods word never returns empty.

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:11 (NIV)

That is just as true when God’s word leaves your mouth about Jesus, people are born again and become a new creation. Do you have any idea how powerful God’s word is? Ponder the sheer size of creation. If you were travelling at the speed of light, at 300,000 kms per second, in one second you would circle the earth 7 times.  

At that speed it would take 100,000 light years to cross the galaxy and 20,000,000 light years to reach the next cluster of galaxies and you have only just begun to explore the universe. And all of it created by God’s word. That’s is why God told his anxious people in Exile.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? ~Isaiah 40:12 (NIV)

God really does have the whole world in his hands. 

Anyone having problems trusting in that God in COVID-19?

5. God is awesome because his creation is a sheer act of Grace

We did nothing to earn or deserve to be created. And then God stamped us humans with his image. We go from nothing to something to someone to sons of God. God could have created a world to glorify him and left us out of the picture and saved himself a lot of hurt. But he created it for us to rule and care and enjoy and to glorify him. Knowing we would break his heart. It wasn’t because he was lonely.

6. God is awesome because He is more than one person.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness. ~Genesis 1:26 (NIV)

Not my image, my likeness, our image, our likeness. God takes counsel not with the angels but with himself. Father, Son and Spirit. What is hinted at in Genesis 1 is made clear in gospels about Jesus the Word of God who becomes flesh, we read in John 1:3

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (NIV)

Jesus is not ‘plan b’, downloaded to fix up the problem of sin that God did not see coming. As Melito said in the 2nd century, ‘He who hung the earth in its place, hung there on the cross’ 

I’m always stunned when I realise that we humans crucified the creator. We killed author of life.

7. Our God is awesome because He creates with purpose and order.

Genesis 1 moves from chaos to order.

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. ~Genesis 1:2 (NIV)

And that is not good. But what is good is when the Spirit turns dark into light, when the formless is given shape, when empty becomes full of life. So, God creates the space then fills:

Day 1 he creates light and Day 4 he makes the Sun, Moon and stars.

Day 2 he separates the water below from the sky above and Day 5 he fills the sky with birds and fills the water with fish.

Day 3 he makes land and Day 6 he fills the land with animals and finally humans.

We are clearly not told everything. In my bible translation there are only 813 words which make up Genisis 1. My iphone instruction manual has over 73,000 words.

At MBM we hold with an open hand on the different views of the age of the universe. For some hold to a young earth and others hold to an old earth. For some, God directed form of evolution. Each with their problems but what is clear, no species of life exists without God’s direct hand. This is a closed hand issue. Non negotiable.

It’s worth remembering that Charles Darwin, who came up with Evolution remained a believer in God. In his autobiography he thought it impossible to conclude that ‘blind chance or necessity’ could account for ‘this immense and wonderful universe including man.’

Sir Fred Hoyle, English Astronomer, not a Christian, said that the idea of the origin of life by chance is absurd. Even a 15 billion year old universe is too short for the formation of complex higher life by chance. Once an atheist, he agreed that there was an external, intelligent designer.

The God of Genesis 1 is that external intelligent designer, He alone commands, speaks, names, creates, separates and blesses. God is the main character of this story. Genesis 1 reduces fear and makes science possible. The sun and moon that were worshipped as gods are not even given names just told to do their job and they can be studied. That is why when Christianity comes to town superstitions go and modern science is born. 

There is only one God and who created an ordered world. Its able to be studied by his image bearers for God’s glory and our good.

8. Our God is awesome because his creation is so diverse and fruitful.

There is so much variety. The skies, like the seas, like the land are teeming with life. God blesses his creation and orders it to reproduce and fill the earth.

God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” ~Genesis 1:22 (NIV)

The life giver calls forth more life, each according to their kind. There are 20,000 types of butterflies. Do you know how many different types of moths? 160,000. 200 hundred would have been more than enough. Don’t you think!? Such diversity reveals God’s awesome wisdom and Glory.

Do you know how many types of humans there are? Just 2 – Male and Female. Matt Fuller helpfully writes, “All creatures are made ‘according to their kinds’; there are different species within fish, birds, reptiles and mammals. Yet the only distinction in humanity is male and female.

Both made in God’s image and both given pride of place in this creation

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. ~Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

How you understand the world came into being and how you see the place of humans has a massive flow on. Reject Genesis 1 and Lawrence Krauss (A Universe from Nothing) is right

“The lessons I want to give people, is you’re more insignificant than you ever thought, and the future is miserable.”

Reject Genesis and the most basic human rights are lost. Yuval Harari (Noah Harari Sapiens 122) wrote in his book Sapiens:

“According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal’. The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation. The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, … ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently.’”

Harari states that human rights exist only in the imagination. You can see the problem, this world view leads to racism and chaos. Harari then quotes Voltaire:

“There is no God, but don’t tell that to my servant, lest he murder me at night”

But we have an Awesome creator who made an awesome universe and has graced every human male and female a special place. God alone is worthy to be worshipped. God is so adamant about doing you good that He will bring about a new heaven and earth and the rest promised on the 7th day will be yours for ever more. A new heaven and new earth where there is no more crying or grief or pain. 

Soon after Sandy and I were married, one of her school friends, Lorraine died in a car accident. Lorraine was recently married and living in Kurrajong and she was driving from the school where she taught. An oncoming truck crossed lanes and tragically killed her in a head on. It was a Thursday afternoon.

On the Monday night before she died her bible study group was studying Genesis 1. She shared how “If God went to all the trouble of making this wonderful world which he knew would come to an end, imagine what the next one will be like. Little did she know she was about to find out. Lorriane still speaks to us …. We have an awesome creator who made an awesome universe and is worthy of our worship.

Father God,

You are an awesome God and you made an awesome creation. Your power is breathtaking, bringing the universe into being by the power of your word. You are so worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. You are so deserving of our trust and obedience. 

We acknowledge that our creation is an act of grace. We did not deserve it. 

We acknowledge that our status as image bearers is a greater act of grace.

So, we thank you and praise you for being good and for doing us so much good. May we live for your glory and take time to look at creation and praise you.

In Jesus name,

Amen.