Genesis Series: 1:1-2:3 "Let All Creation Teach Us"

January 19, 2013

Genesis 1:1-2:3

“Let All Creation Teach Us”


Intro:  The Creation Story.  It has got to be one of the most heavily studied passages of Scripture.  Many theological battles have been fought over the pages Moses wrote about creation.  Even saying that Moses wrote Genesis is cause for argument among scholars. There is a saying attributed first to Socrates and then to Einstein, “The more I learn the less I know”.  That’s how I’m feeling as I work my way through Genesis.  So I need to be honest and let you know that I am learning this book again.  I am thinking through what I thought I understood and am being challenged to think again.  This is good!  Every word I speak this morning will be biased by what I grew up believing, broadened through studying and learning how to read the whole Word of God, and tweaked due to what I’ve read of late.  And as you listen, your hearing will be biased by the same things.  So how does one approach this Scripture? 


We could take 18 months to tear these 34 verses all apart, or we could look at what truly seems to be universally apparent and see what we can learn and apply from there.  I’ve chosen plan B for this morning.


Remembering the overarching theme of the book of Genesis (creation-fall-redemption) we have the luxury of reading about the very first account of pure creation:  Creation that happened prior to sin, prior to the need of redeeming.  At the beginning of time, there is a clean slate, a pure canvas that God was free to paint upon as He chose. 


Let’s read this together responsively.  


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 said,

“Let there be light,”

and there was light. 

God saw that the light was good,

and he separated the light from the darkness.

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.”

And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.  PPT


And God said,

“Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  

So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.”

And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day. 


And God said,

“Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 

God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.”

And God saw that it was good. 


Then God said,

“Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”

And it was so.

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.

And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.  


And God said,

“Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”

And it was so.


God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. 


And God said,

“Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.

And God saw that it was good. 


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.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. 


And God said,

“Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.”

And it was so.


God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.

And God saw that it was good.


Then God said,

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 


So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them,

“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 


Then God said,

“I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it— 

I give every green plant for food.”

And it was so. God saw all that he had made,

and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. 


Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing;

so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.


Things that are clear:

God created

There is an order

It’s all good!

God established rest at the end.


God created

When God appointed Moses to author this recounting of creation what do you think God was after?  What was the purpose in writing this for the people of Israel who were fugitive in the desert, bored of eating manna and quail, missing their home in Egypt, yearning for a place to stop and settle?  What did the people need to hear in the day that Moses was writing?  What would have been on his heart and the heart of the Father of these people, God?


Perhaps the reassurance that God created all things.  God created with purpose and authority.  The reminder that even though they seemed to be living in chaos with no home of their own, God had been in control of the situation from the beginning of time and they could trust him.


The Israelites struggled to trust God even after he pulled them out of slavery in Egypt, got them across the Red Sea, sent pillars of cloud and fire to guide them on their journey.  He had proven both his care for them (manna and quail) and his discipline of them (ground opening up and swallowing some who had been disobedient).  God had shown himself to be faithful and just and yet they doubted to the point that none of them in the desert, save Caleb and Joshua, were allowed to enter the Promised Land.


What are you worried about this morning?  Do you believe that God created all things?  Can you find some reassurance that the creator of the universe knows your needs?  Can you trust that He is just and kind and that He is walking with you?   What does it mean for you to trust that God created all that there is?  How does that fit in with everything else you know about God?


There is an order

Genesis one establishes that God created all things and it establishes that there is an order to all things.  Many good arguments have occurred over this ordering.  We have Creationists on one side and Evolutionists on the other and a vast array of ideas in between. But what is absolutely revealed is that Moses understood that God created with purpose and order.  Personally, I have no need to know more than that.  I am satisfied with the mystery.  I don’t need to know if the chicken or the egg came first.  I’m glad they are both here for my digestive delight.  But I believe, because of what this Scripture says, that God created all that is with intention and purpose and order.  Trusting that, I do not have to prove it and because I trust that God had an order for the universe, I can also trust that he has an order for my life, that I may not always understand either.  But this is what reminds me that He is the Creator and I am the creation.


It’s all good!

You said this repeatedly as we read through the Scripture:  “God saw that it was good.”  God takes pleasure in this planet.  He takes pleasure in his handiwork.  He takes pleasure in the stork and then elephant and in you.  It’s all good!


God established rest at the end.

In the great debate mentioned above regarding creation vs. evolution, it seems that the last day gets left out and tossed aside. So when I came across the following idea in my reading this week, it really provoked me.   What if the whole reason Genesis one was written was to establish the importance of Sabbath rest?


Moses had received that commandment from God when he got the whole Law on the tablets. In the five books attributed to Moses the topic of the Sabbath shows up 43 times.  Too often we read it in Genesis one as an aside.  But what if that was what Moses was really trying to get at.  What if that was what God was really trying to establish in the hearts and minds of his people? 


What would change if we put down the argument of creation in these chapters and picked up the one bit in it that God made law for his people to follow?  What if that became the first thing we argued from this chapter – We are called to work like God worked and we are called to rest like God rested.


Concl.  In spite of doing a thesis on Sabbath keeping, I am wretched at keeping one.  But here I am confronted with the task again.  If we believe that God created all there is.  If we believe that God had an intention in the ordering of creation.  If we believe that God made all things good, shouldn’t we also believe that God established the Sabbath at the time of creation for a reason? 


What are your excuses for not keeping the Sabbath rest?  (Mine are too long to list.) 


My challenge for us this week is to:

  1. Be aware of all that God has created and rejoice in it
  2. Be aware of the order that God has established in your life and be grateful
  3. Accept the goodness of God in all things, even if you have to dig to see it
  4. Establish a day of rest.  Take a Sabbath.  Plan it into your next seven days