Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creation: God Makes



Part 2 of God Revealed

BIBLICAL CREATION

In the end (when all the facts are known), there will be no conflict between Scripture and science. You can be both a man of faith and a man of science (e.g., Isaac Newton, Blaise Pascal, Michael Faraday).

The Bible was not written to be a scientific textbook. God is the focus, not creation.

All Christians believe that God is the Creator. But there is much about creation that Christians don't agree on. We can discuss and debate the details of creation, but we should not divide over them.

What does the Bible say about creation?
  1. God made everything out of nothing. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (Hebrews 11:3; Psalm 33:6, 9). "Through him [Jesus] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3; cf. Colossians 1:16).
  2. God made everything "very good." "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Genesis 1:31).
  3. God made everything to glorify Himself. "The heavens declare the glory of God" (Psalm 19:1).
A REVEALING CREATION

What does creation reveal about God?
  1. God is eternal. God is the "uncaused cause."
  2. God is powerful. "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 men are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).
  3. God is beautiful. He didn't create a black and white world.
  4. God is personal.
  5. God is transcendent (separate from creation).
  6. God is immanent (active in creation).
CHRISTIAN VIEWS OF CREATION

What are the Christian views of creation?
  1. Old Earth Creationism – What God created in Genesis 1:1 existed for an undefined period of time before God began the work of preparing the uninhabitable land for the habitation of man. "Now the earth was formless and empty" (Genesis 1:1a; cf. Jeremiah 4:23).
  2. Young Earth Creationism – God created the entire universe, including Adam and Eve, in 6 literal 24 hour days, making the earth less than 10,000 years old.
  3. Literary Framework View – Genesis 1-2 are poetic and should not be interpreted literally.
  4. Gap Theory – There is a gap of millions of years between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.
  5. Day-Age View – Each of the days of Genesis 1-2 are long periods of time.
  6. Theistic Evolution – God used evolution to make everything.
Common questions:
  • Are the six days of Genesis 1-2 literal twenty-four-hour days? It’s true that "day" sometimes refers to an extended period of time ("Day of the Lord"). But each day is described as have an "evening" and a "morning." "In six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy" (Exodus 20:11).
  • How old is the earth? Archbishop James Ussher dated creation to 4004 B.C. According to traditional Judaism, the year 2010 is actually year 5,770 of creation. But there may be gaps in the OT genealogies. Two good arguments for a young earth: (1) God created a mature universe. (Adam appeared as an adult when he was only one-day-old!) (2) The flood (Genesis 6-9) caused the earth to appear older than it really is (geological layers).
PROBLEMS WITH ATHEISTIC EVOLUTION

Three problems with the theory of atheistic evolution:
  • Nothing made everything. The cosmological argument: (1) every known thing in the universe has a cause, (2) therefore, it reasons, the universe must also have a cause, and (3) the cause of such a great universe can only be God.
  • Chaos made order. Design demands a designer (teleological argument, fine-tuning argument). The more complicated something is, the more intelligent the designer must have been.
  • Impersonal matter made personal humanity. How can we know that we can really trust our minds if we (including our brains) are the result of time and chance?
"The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the big bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications."—Stephen Hawking

To accept either creation or evolution requires faith. Neither can be proven. Which is more probable?

"We cannot allow a divine foot in the door."—Harvard professor Richard Lewontin

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Romans 1:18).

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?

What if atheistic evolution is true?
  • You came from no one.
  • You are alive for no reason.
  • When you die, you will go nowhere.
What if biblical creation is true?
  • You are valuable to God. "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the creatures that move along the ground.' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:26-27).
  • You can live with purpose.
  • You can live in hope.
"I don’t feel depressed about it. But if somebody does, that's their problem. Maybe the logic is deeply pessimistic, the universe is bleak, cold and empty. But so what?"—Richard Dawkins, when asked if his view of reality made him depressed

Rather than saying "so what?" to our pain, the Bible promises that God will wipe every tear from our eyes.

[Doctrine by Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears was used extensively for this sermon.]