Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Did God really say..." Lessons Learned from Genesis 3

Studying Genesis 3 today. A few observations:
  • Satan, our adversary, is crafty. Ezekiel 28 says he is the wisest of all God's created beings, "the model of perfection, full of wisdom. He is sly and subtle. He tempts Eve not by bringing into question God's existence, but by challenging His goodness. Satan tempts many of us by trying to persuade us either that God is unfair; denying us something, or that He is unjust; withholding some good that is due us.
    • The key to resisting his schemes then is to hold onto God's truthfulness and trustworthiness. Eve was a perfect example of how we fail at this. In Matthew 4, Jesus is a perfect example of how to fight off Satan's schemes with the truth of God (His Word and promises to us)
    • The most dangerous lie is the one that contains some truth. "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God..." "...and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked."
  • Sin looks satisfying. The fruit was good for food, a delight to the eyes, and desired to make one wise. If it's too tasty, too pretty, and too cautious. Remember that God is for your joy! Psalm 16.17 says that in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore! Don't settle for Satan's sloppy seconds. His pleasure comes with a price.
  • Sin separates. It separates people (Adam and Eve start blaming each other). It separates self (they feel shame and guilt). And it separates us from our Heavenly Father (they hide from God)
  • GOD SAVES! It is God who comes looking for Adam and Eve. It is God who provides adequate clothing to cover their shame. It is God who promises to crush the adversary who tempted our first parents. Despite our rebellion and desire to steal His glory, He pursues, provides protection, and promises salvation. God is good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Creation: Fact or Myth

I love the creation story. I hate when it comes under attack. Guys too smart for their own good, like to use the brains that God gave them to try and disprove Him and His beautiful, majestic work in creation. I'll admit, there are moments when their arguments and theories threaten my faith and  I can feel the sting of their arrows. But I know deep in my soul that God made everything. I can't look at a sunrise or sunset and not think of Him. It's impossible for me to drive through the snow-covered Rockies and not dwell on Him.

That's why I love coming across books and articles that cement my faith in the creation account told in Genesis 1 and 2. Genesis Unbound, is one of those books. It has changed the way I read these two chapters and those arrows from Evolutionists and others who argue that creation is a myth lose their sting. Reading Genesis 1 through this lens resolves the apparent conflict between science and the Bible.

Creation in One Verse

Here is the big shift:

Read Genesis 1.1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Ten words in the English, seven in the Hebrew. This verse is packed! This is the creation account. Let's break it down:
  • In the beginning..."at some point during an unspecified period of time"
  • God created..."God brought into existence"
  • the heavens and the earth..."everything" (don't think literal heaven and earth, think top to bottom)
So in sum, Genesis 1.1 refers to the creation of everything (top to bottom, head to toe) at some unspecified point in the past during some unspecified period of time. It could have been 4 billion years ago; it could have been 4 thousand years ago. It could have taken God one year or one billion years to reach a final product. The text just doesn't say. Is the earth old like scientist argue? Possibly. Is it young like biblical literalist argue? Possibly. Either could be right. The Bible leaves room for both.

What About the 7 Days?

Okay, so what about verse 2 and following. The seven-day creation account? What do we do with the Sunday School felt-board retelling of God making different elements of creation during each day?

These seven days do not refer to the creation of the universe, heavens, and planet earth. Narrow in your focus. The seven day creation account speaks of a time after the creation of the universe when God prepared a specific piece of real-estate for Adam and Eve: His image-bearers. With this in mind, go back and read through Genesis 1.2-31. Where it says earth, don't think planet Earth, think land. Where it says heaven don't think outerspace, think sky. In verse 2 where it says "earth was formless and void" don't picture a huge planet of mud. Think a piece of real-estate that is unihabitable or wilderness. It's the same phrase Moses uses to describe the wilderness in which he wandered for 40 years before entering the Promised Land. Now can you see how the seven days focus in on an area that God was preparing for man.

Falling into Place

When I had all of creation in mind during the seven day account, certain parts didn't settle. Like where did the light come from on day one if God didn't make the sun, moon, and stars until day four? Well, if you read Genesis in this light of what we just discussed, it all fits together nicely. God created everything, including the Sun in Genesis 1.1. On day one of the creation story, God causes the Sun to rise over the land He is preparing. Verse 2 says it was dark over the land so in verse 3 when God says let there be light...BOOM! Sunrise. On day four He when it says God made two great lights, the word there isn't create. It is made. Think made as in you made your bed this morning. Did you create a bed this morning where there was no bed? No, you prepared or fixed your bed. When it says God made the Sun and the Moon, He is preparing them, fixing them to rule the day and the night so that the man and the woman can have guides for days and seasons. Each day, God does something to this piece of land to get it ready and habitable for man. He pulls together dry land, creates Seas, fills the land with animals and plants, and puts fish in the water and birds in the air. It goes from an uninhabitable wilderness to a flourishing, prime piece of property.

This is just one example of how things start to fall into place when you think of Genesis through this lens. I could keep going, but I don't want to spoil all the fun for you. Hope this helps and fans the flames of your faith.

And God saw that it was good.