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Genesis 1:1 tells us.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
So how did it all begin?
This opening section of the bible can be divided into three parts. The first two verses stand as a sort of an introduction. Chapter 1: 3-31 then begins what is called Day One, and the rest of the chapter covers what is called the six days of Creation. Then in Chapter 2: verse 1-3 there is sort of a conclusion.
Genesis 1: 1 begins by telling us; “In the beginning God….
Let’s pause for a moment just there. The bible starts by saying that in the beginning God. It doesn’t try to prove that statement or give us any theological arguments about God’s pre-existence. It just assumes it. In fact, it says elsewhere, if you don’t believe that God exists, then you are a fool.
“The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14: 1a)
The 1st verse continues;
“In the beginning God…….. created the heavens and the earth”.
That’s fairly straightforward however things get a little more complicated in verse 2;
“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”
There are three radically different interpretations of these first two verses and before I explain them let me qualify this by saying Christians who hold any one of these views are welcome here.
The first I am going to call the traditional view. The traditional view says that verse 1 and 2 are describing the original creation. In other words, the phrases used in verse 2 describe the condition of the earth as when it was first formed in verse 1. So, the long held traditional view says, this is the original creation being described here in these opening two verses.
The second view is the gap theory which says that verse 1 is the original creation but that there is a huge gap after verse 1. Then verse 2 describes the re-creation, or the new-creation. Some Christian put evolution in the gap between verses 1 and 2. Here is what I believe is the lynch-pin of that position. Look again at verse 2, “the earth “was”.
Therefore, the word translated “was” kind of drags you back to the traditional view. Adherents to the gap view say the word “was” can be replaced with “became”. Let me clarify Christians who hold to the gap theory as way of trying to harmonise scripture with science, or scripture with scripture, are all welcome in this church.
There is a third view and that third view has appeared very recently on the scene. This view says these opening verses are both describing the re-creation. In that third view the whole passage is not even mentioning the original creation. They say that a description of the beginning of things was beyond Moses purpose in writing what he wrote. I personally was brought up in the traditional view but for some time felt drawn to both other views. However, one day, I just read the opening verses of Genesis and decided if someone hadn’t come up with these other alternatives, I don’t think I would have ever read that into the text. On that basis, I have returned and settled on the traditional view. However, many Christian’s who are cleverer than me sometimes think otherwise. I believe (Ex 20:11) combined with Genesis verse 1 and 2 says, God created the universe (Ex Nilo) a Latin phrase that means “out of nothing”. The universe did not come about by chance, I believe it came about by creation.
It was without form it hadn’t been shaped yet, and it was void. Void means, empty of everything, even the solid masses of land had not yet been formed. It was shrouded in darkness and the Holy Spirit hovered over the face of the dark deep void. Not only was it unformed, but it was uninhabited. Just a formless, lifeless, mass. It had to be shaped and populated before it could be called good. The remainder of the chapter will show how God will form it, and how God will inhabit it with living things.
All I have said so far this morning comes to one thing, one statement of faith for Christians everywhere, That is that, God created the universe - out of nothing. If you walk out of here this morning knowing that much, I will be well pleased, and I will feel I have done my job.
This book was written and the society it was written into are simply being told that the creator God of the Universe is the same God who will reveal a promise to first Moses, and then renew that promise with Abraham Isaac and Jacob and then ultimately fulfil it in Christ himself. You see more than one thing is going on here, either the universe just happened by chance, or God created it. Therfore, the really big question I would like to ask each and every one of you this morning is.
Which virgin birth do you believe in?
Philosopher of science and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford Professor John Lennox when debating. Professor, Peter Singer, one of the world’s most influential atheists. Challenged him to answer this question: ‘Why are we here”? This was Professor Singer’s response.
“We can assume that somehow in the primeval soup we got collections of molecules that became self-replicating; and I don’t think we need any miraculous or mysterious [explanation] of that.”
Lennox’s reply was
“Self-replicating molecules somehow emerging out of a primeval soup strikes me as leaving substantial room for mystery” said Lennox. “In fact, without further clarification, this theory sounds not dissimilar to a virgin birth”.
Lennox is asking the question. Is the scientific claim any less miraculous than the story of creation or even the birth of Jesus told in the bible? Therefore, it seems to me it it’s just a matter of asking which virgin birth we choose to believe in. We can believe in the virgin birth of an atheistic/empty universe that is indifferent to us. A universe where “there is, no thought or design behind it, no purpose to it, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”
Alternatively, we can believe a creation which God created it by his loving will. Genesis 1, vs 1 says God created the world, sounds too simple to say, but nevertheless I believe it is true. The opening two verses of the bible are incredibly important because If God did create the universe then that statement of basic truth not only establishes somethings. It eliminates somethings as well.
It eliminates atheism, because, because is says God exists as creator.
It eliminates Pantheism which believes God and the creation are one.
Because it puts God above the creation, not part of the creation.
It eliminates Polytheism (The worship of many Gods) Because there is one creator God most high who created the universe and He is not one among a multiplicity of Gods.
It also eliminates materialism because it says matter was created and is not eternal.
It eliminates dualism because it says God alone created everything.
It eliminated humanism because it says God, not man is the ultimate measure of all things.
It also eliminates fatalism, because it says God is a personal creative being that you can have a meaningful relationship with.
Some have said these first two verses of the bible serve as the whole foundation of our faith. It all starts with the opening 2 verses of the bible. Get those right and you won’t have any trouble with the rest of the bible. It’s an incredibly simple point I want to make this morning. You and I didn’t just happen by chance; the bible teaches that God created the whole universe. Which means he created you and me.
Sir Isaac Newton made a model of the solar system and at the centre was a large gold ball representing the sun. Revolving around it where smaller spheres attached to rods of varying lengths, these smaller balls represented the other planets. The model was constructed in such a way as the model planets moved around the sun in perfect harmony. Newton had a friend who was a scientist and he did not believe the bible was relevant in the modern world. One day as he was marvelling at the model the friend commented. My what an exquisite model he said, who made it for you. Without looking up Sir Isaac Newton replied. Nobody! Nobody? his friend asked. That’s right. Nobody - All these spheres and belts and gears just happened to appear. Then wonder upon wonder by chance they began to revolve around each other in orbits, and in perfect timing. Newton in his writings stated he believed that the universe could no more just happen by chance, than a model of it could appear out of nothing. If God created the material universe, then that means he created you and he created me and if he created you and me that’s incredibly important because that means he is our father. And we should listen and obey to what our father says to us.
In the Beginning