Genesis 1:1 - I Believe that God Created Everything - June 10, 2018

Since the beginning of time, every generation has found it necessary to wrestle with certain fundamental, philosophical questions: 1) Where did I come from? 2) What is my purpose in life? 3) Where am I going? And because so many have tried and failed to find satisfactory answers to these questions – it is good for us to see that the problem isn’t that the answers are unknowable, it’s that the questions themselves are wrong. They imply that we are the center of the universe, that all that was, is, and will be revolves around us. The Apostles’ Creed (and the Word of God it is based on) invite us to ask better questions: 1) Who is God? 2) What is he like? 3) What can I expect of him? Because in order to find any explanation for our origin, for our purpose, and for our future we must find our place in God and his story. This morning, we will find ourselves in the true history of how God created everything that exists in 6 normal days using nothing but his Word. This is the only Biblical, rational, and meaningful explanation of who we are and where we came from.


1 בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 in Hebrew and English) You notice something right from the start: Scripture never “makes the case” for the existence of God. Unlike comic-book superheroes, he was never bitten by a radioactive spider or the result of a military experiment gone wrong. It simply assumes that he exists – and that, at one point in his infinite, timeless existence he created everything from nothing with only his Word. God spoke and in six days, everything from the farthest reaches of space to the deepest depths of the seas; from mountain peaks to cascading streams; from schools of salmon to herds of bison to the crown of his creation: man and woman – sprung from his lips into real, physical, material existence. That is what we mean when we confess “I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”


It’s embarrassing to have to make this point, but it is necessary nonetheless: this is the only Biblical explanation for the origin and creation of everything. It’s embarrassing because historic Christianity (found in Apostles’ Creed) has never wavered in confessing God’s six day creation from nothing because book after book and prophet after prophet both assume and proclaim that God is the sole Creator of everything – and that nothing exists that wasn’t created by him in the first six days of history. It’s such a clear and prominent doctrine of Scripture that we might take it for granted that all Christians believe in God, the Creator.


The sad truth is that many, if not most, Christians no longer believe in the literal six-day creation account of Genesis. With the exception of a few conservative, confessional church bodies, all of the traditional mainline Protestant denominations tolerate or even accept the concept of theistic evolution. Theistic evolution is the belief that God set creation in motion, but used evolution to continue and complete it. Seeking to cozy up with the unbelieving world many have used this philosophical argument in an attempt to find an acceptable compromise between Biblical creation and the theory of evolution. For example, beginning on February 12, 2006, the 197th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, “Evolution Sunday” has been celebrated in churches around the world in which Christians are taught that they no longer have to choose between the Biblical account and the evolutionist theories of scientists – that Christians can in good conscience accept evolution. [1] Sadly, even more recently, leading voices in the LC-MS have cast doubt on the literal six-day creation and have opened the door to all varieties of interpreting the Genesis account. [2]


In view of this, we must ask: what does the Scripture say? In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) And on each of the succeeding days there was evening, and there was morning. (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31) While it is true that the Hebrew word used for “day” (yom) can mean a longer period of time, in Genesis 1, the Holy Spirit defines a day as the cycle of one evening and one morning: 24 hours. The Genesis account takes pains to record that God that God created trees and plants and animals – all according to their kinds (Genesis 1:12, 21, 24-25) – which clearly refutes the argument that single-cell organisms became fish which became birds which became land animals. You heard our Lord and Savior Jesus give his support to a literal reading of the Genesis account of creation by precisely quoting it in his defense of marriage. Finally, and most definitively, if God needed the evolution of species to finish his creation, that means that all things were not good (Genesis 1:31), and that God built death into his perfect creation which Scripture categorically denies. (Romans 5:12) Make no mistake, the only Biblical explanation of the origin of the world is that God created everything we see today from nothing with only his Word in six 24 hour days.  


But not only is this the only Biblical explanation of creation, it’s the only rational one as well. Don’t misunderstand, we’re not saying that we can prove that God created the world in six days using the scientific method. Our understanding of creation is still based on faith, not sight. (Hebrews 11:3) There are, admittedly, a number of questions that will remain unanswered on this side of heaven. (How could there be light without the sun? When did God create angels? How could Eve have come from a rib?) But we are saying that the Biblical explanation of an eternal, absolutely self-sufficient God who created the universe from nothing is far more rational than the absurd theory that this complex universe, with its never-changing laws, ever-changing seasons and incredible diversity is the result of a cosmic accident. The theory that evolution got started with an inexplicable “big bang” contradicts the very laws of science: that there was a result without a cause, a carefully crafted design without a designer, that complex order could come from absolute chaos.


Suppose that we invited one of the founding members to come up here and tell us a little bit about the history of this building. And suppose this person proceeded to tell us, in all seriousness, that many years ago this was nothing but an empty, dusty lot. Then one day, a tornado ripped through the area and when it was gone there was a church, complete with pulpit, altar, baptismal font, running water and electricity. We’d laugh that person out of town as a lunatic, as someone who needed to be committed to a mental institution. We know that these things do not happen. The very existence of this church tells us that there was an engineer who designed it and a construction crew who put it together. In the very same way, the design of creation (with its profound complexity) tells us that there is a Creator. (Hebrews 3:4)


Then how can so many people be convinced that everything sprang out of nothing without any cause or explanation? How can they say that mankind – who aren’t particularly fast, don’t have thick armor or sharp fangs, who need clothing and shelter to survive – how did relatively fragile creatures like us rise to the top of the evolutionary pyramid? How can they say that we are the knuckle dragging idiots for believing in an all-powerful Creator? Paul explained: Although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. (Romans 1:18-19, 21-22) Contrary to what most people simply accept as truth today, the theory of evolution does not represent the highest and most intelligent learning mankind is capable of; it represents plain, old, run-of-the-mill unbelief. It is the product of sinful minds that have rejected the one true God and have been drawn deeper and deeper into the darkness of unbelief by the god of this age. (2 Corinthians 4:4) No different from ancient peoples who worshipped sun gods or gods of the sea, instead of worshipping the One who created the laws of science, they worship science. They have exchanged the Creator for his creation. They have suppressed the truth by their unbelief. Ironically, those who teach and believe the theory of evolution are people of faith every bit as much as we are. The difference is that they have neither the eye-witness testimony of Scripture nor the laws of science to back up their theories. The only rational explanation of the origin of the world is the one found in God’s inerrant Word: that God created everything from nothing with only his Word in six 24 hour days.  


As tempting as it might be, this should not lead us to laugh at those who believe in evolution; it should, instead, fill us with pity for them. Because the sad fact is that if a person has rejected God as the Creator, he has also rejected God as his Savior – and the only destiny in store for those who reject God the Savior is a tortured, eternity in hell preceded by a completely purposeless and meaningless life on earth. Apart from God, life in this world is utterly meaningless.


And the fact that many people in our world feel that way is no accident. For decades now, teachers in our public schools have been telling children (your children) that they are the descendants of monkeys. They have pointed to a monkey picking fleas off of his partner and shoving them into his mouth and stated as undeniable fact: this is where you came from. This is why you are who you are. Find your purpose and meaning for life here in this cage – because for all intents and purposes, this is your god. And, not coincidentally, our nation is beginning to reap the fruits of sowing this evolutionary lie. If we come from the jungle – where the only law of the land is survival of the fittest – it should come as no surprise to us that women are murdering their unborn babies, children are shooting their classmates and teachers at school, and our nation is suffering the epidemics of drug addiction, depression, and suicide (just this week two celebrities who seemed to have it all ended their own lives). If a monkey is your god and the only possible purpose of your life is to survive – it’s really no surprise that many people see life as cheap and meaningless – because, according to evolution, we are accountable to no one but ourselves. Turn on the evening news and understand that this is what it looks like when God gives people over to the foolishness of their unbelief. It doesn’t lead to enlightenment and progress; it leads to death and destruction.


What a blessed contrast, what a glorious gift of God it is, then, to know and believe and trust that we are not the result of a scientific accident but the product of a wise, power, and gracious God! What a relief it is to acknowledge the clear evidence all around us and the voice of conscience within us that are perpetually proclaiming the existence and the glory of God! (Psalm 19:1) The Biblical record not only gives God his rightful place as the Creator of everything – it gives us a meaningful place in his vast universe.


It means that while God simply spoke galaxies and barn swallows and crude oil deposits into existence – he personally gathered up a handful of clay, breathed life into it, created it in his own image, gave it an immortal soul and called it Man. It means that we are not the descendants of monkeys bound to the laws of the jungle but works of art handcrafted by an almighty God and bound to his will. It means that we are not here to serve creation but that God ordered all of creation to serve for our good. And yes, this even gives meaning to all of the apparently meaningless parts of life, the parts that sin has corrupted and ruined. The fact that our bodies, minds, and hearts don’t work as intended has not escaped the attention of our ever-present Creator. He knows how we suffer. He knows how we hurt. He knows that eyes he commanded to see, ears he commanded to hear, bodies he commanded to reproduce don’t always work as commanded. He knows and in his compassion he became one of us in order to redeem, repair, and restore us. The Creator suffered the indignity of having his diaper changed by his own creature, of feeling hunger and sorrow and loneliness, of a natural world that storms and rages against humanity, of having his back whipped, his hands and feet pierced – and finally, he tasted most meaningless thing in this world: death. And he did it for us. He did it to redeem us from the corruption our sin had brought. He did it to guarantee that we and all who believe would one day get to experience the perfect body, perfect mind, and perfect creation he always intended for us. He did it so that we would have life and have it to the full! (John 10:10) Full of wonder at this awesome universe, full of love for our neighbor – who was also created and redeemed by God, full of praise for our Creator, full of hope for the eternity to come!


In the end, drawing us to trust and believe in him as not only our Creator but our Savior is why God made this universe so vast, so complex, so intricate, so beautiful. He created everything in six 24 hour days for us. It’s the only Biblical, rational, and meaningful explanation. So treasure your life, your body, your mind – they are God’s one-of-a-kind gift to you, cherish your neighbor as a fallen but fellow redeemed creature of God, wonder at the mysteries and marvels of nature – but above all praise and worship God your Creator and Savior! Amen.