THE OLD TESTAMENT
THROUGH THE EYES OF THE APOSTLES

THE BEGINNING
The Creation of the World
Genesis 1:1-28

. INTRODUCTION

C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were two of the greatest and most influential Christians of the 20th century. These 2 Oxford professors were not only brilliant, they were also deeply committed Christians. As a result their writings reveal their deep commitment to Jesus Christ. It is no accident then to see the same Christian themes operating in both of their writings. One theme in particular stands out in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and in The Lord of the Rings, the theme of man being elevated to the position of rulers over Narnia and over Middle Earth. At the end of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Peter, Lucy, Susan, and Edmund are placed upon the thrones of Narnia, while in The Lord of the Rings Aragorn is placed upon the throne of Middle Earth. Lewis and Tolkien do not create these 2 events in order to make for exciting reading; instead they are expressing their belief that God created all things in order to elevate man to the position of lords over creation, to be sons and daughters of God Himself. From this study we shall see that Tolkien and Lewis have correctly understood that this indeed is God's goal for man.

One person in particular is significant for man to achieve this goal, that person being Jesus. From the study we shall see that throughout eternity God has had a dynamic vibrant relationship with Jesus His Son. Because of that relationship God has chosen to raise up more sons and daughters for Himself. God will use His Son Jesus in order to accomplish this goal.

We start this study by looking at the creation of the world. The physical world serves as the stage upon which this great event occurs. It is upon this stage that people will make the decision either to become what God has designed them to be or to reject what God's purpose and will are for their lives.

Unfortunately because of the culture we live in, there are other side issues that we are going to have to deal with as we study creation. Not dealing with these issues can undermine our faith in the Bible. The main problem in dealing with these issues is that it can distract our attention from the main theme. While dealing with these issues then, let's keep focused on what God is doing: using His Son Jesus to raise up sons and daughters who will have a vibrant and dynamic relationship with the Father.


THE GENESIS ACCOUNT OF CREATION

It is incredible that at the very beginning of the Bible, Moses did not start off with a philosophical contemplation of the nature of God, of what heaven was like before the creation of the world, etc. Moses does not contemplate whether or not God exists. For Moses and the rest of the Bible the evidence for God's existence is so overwhelming in nature that only the fool says there is no God (Psalm 14:1). (The fact that 95% of the world's population believes there is a God places the burden of proof upon the atheist and not upon the person who believes there is a God.) This matter is already settled for Moses. Instead Moses starts off with a bang: "In the beginning God created . . ."

Creation is so complex that the chance of it just occurring is statistically impossible. The odds of the universe just appearing are the same as a person hitting the bullseye of a target with a rifle--with the target being on one side of the universe and the rifle being on the other side. IT'S JUST NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

Antony Flew was the leading atheist of the 20th century. As a part of the Socratic Club at Oxford University he used to argue with C. S. Lewis that God did not exist. At the age of 81 (year 2005) he has just recently changed his mind . The complexity of the DNA molecule has convinced him that the universe had to have a Divine Designer for the universe to appear. If DNA which is the BASIC BUILDING BLOCK of life is so complex, then Somebody complex had to create it because it could never just simply emerge.


The Method of Creation

According to Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, and 24 what did God use to create the world? His hands, His mind, or His word?



The Days of Creation

According to Genesis creation takes place over a 6-day period. Look at the table below and write down what is created on each of the 6 days of creation.

DAY THING CREATED DAY THING CREATED
Day One (Gen. 1:3) . Day Four (Gen. 1:14) .
Day Two (1:6) . Day Five (1:20) .
Day Three (1:9) . Day Six (1:24) .


Are these days literal or symbolical? Did the creation of the world really take place over a period of six 24-hour days, or is Moses speaking figuratively? Simply because Moses uses the word "day" though does not mean that he is referring to a 24-hour period of time. Sometimes you will hear older people say, "In my day, I used to . . ." When they speak like that, they are not speaking about a 24-hour period of time. Rather they are referring to the period of time in which they were youth and young adults, a period of many years. In the same way the creation account in Genesis does not dictate against a long period of time for creation to occur. (This understanding of the word "day" then helps us see that there is no conflict the idea of an old universe with dinosaurs, etc. and the belief that God created all things. In fact when scientists inform us that the universe is 13.5 billion years old, they are admitting that the universe did NOT exist 13.6 billion years ago. If it did not exist, what brought this massive universe into being? That is where the Bible steps in. The Bible's answer to that question is God. Some well-meaning Christians claim that God created the universe old or to make it look old. Whereas that might be true, such a response almost makes God out to be a deceiver, something He is not.) Whatever else Moses is trying to get across, he is emphasizing that GOD was the One who created the universe.

Two things are interesting with regards to the order of creation in Genesis. The first interesting thing is that Moses parallels the creation of days 1-3 with the creation of days 4-6. For example, day one and day four deal with the heavenly bodies; days 2 and 5 deal with the air and sea; and days 3 and 6 deal with the land. It's as if in cycle 1 (days 1-3) Moses deals first with the heavenly bodies, second with the sea and sky, and third with the land, and then in cycle 2 (days 4-6) Moses deals with these in the same order but in even greater detail. The second interesting thing is that the development in these 2 cycles corresponds to what we actually see in geology. For example, from geology and biology we know that the heavenly bodies came first in the order of creation, followed by the development of the atmosphere, then in the creation of the sea creatures, then bird creatures, and finally land creatures. Both the Bible and geology affirm that man was the last to appear in creation. There does not seem to be a contradiction between geology/biology and the general treatment of creation by Moses.

Again, be very careful in dismissing the scientific element in the the Genesis creation account. For example, it seems preposterous that plant life would appear on the earth (day 3) before the sun was finally formed (day 4); yet there are plants and creatures living on the floor of the ocean who never have and never will see the light of day.

After God creates the heavens, earth, land, and animals, on the sixth day God creates man. Fill in the blanks to determine God's plan and purpose for mankind: (Gen. 1:26) "Then God said, 'Let Us make man according to Our __________________; and let them _________________ over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" (Gen. 1:27) "And God created man in His own _____________, in the image of ____________ He created him." (Gen. 1:28) "And God ________________ them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and ____________ it.'"


THROUGH THE EYES OF THE APOSTLES

The apostles look at Genesis 1 and see that it teaches that God has used His Son Jesus to raise up for Himself sons and daughters unto Himself.


Before the Creation of the World Jesus was in a Vibrant Relationship with God His Father

Whereas Moses does not speak about what was going on before creation took place, the author of the Gospel of John does. Before God created the heavens and the earth, who in addition to God was alive (John 1:1-2)?

Who specifically is the Word (John 1:14)?

John claims that the Word (Jesus) was "with" God. The word "with" literally means "towards." In other words, the Word (Jesus) was "towards" God. He was literally "face to face" with God the Father throughout eternity. They were in the most intimate of relationships, that of a father and his son. This is the best insight we have into what was going on before God created the world.


God Over Matter

The apostles affirm the truth that since God created all things, then He is over all things, greater than all things. All things include (1) people, (2) relationships, (3) material possessions, (4) time, (5) fame (6) money, (7) our health, (8) family, (9) our energy, (10) the environment, (11) the political parties, etc. In Luke 14:26 Jesus compares Himself to all these things. What should be our attitude towards these things as compared to our attitude towards Jesus?

According to Romans 9:19-21 because God created me, who do I belong to and what rights does He have over me?


As a result of this I should submit myself to the goal and design God has for my life.


Creation Reveals God's Nature

The NT claims that nature reveals God to us. Just as a painting says something about the artist who painted the picture, so creation says something about the One who created it. According to Romans 1:20 what 2 things does nature tell us about God?


What else does nature tell us about God and His attitude towards us (Matthew 6:28-30)?


Finally, what does nature show us about God's love (Matt. 5:44-45)? Is God's love conditional or unconditional?

Because God loves us unconditionally, we can be confident that whatever God's will and purpose for my life are, they are good.


God Uses His Son to Create the World

According to John 1:1-3 whom did God use to create the world? (John 1:14 helps you identify this Person.)

In Genesis 1 Moses writes that "God said 'Let there be light . . . '"; "God said 'Let there be atmosphere . . . '"; "God said 'Let there be land . . . '"; "God said 'Let there be stars in the heavens . . . '"; "God said 'Let there be birds and fish . . . '"; and finally, "God said 'Let there be land creatures and man . . . '." According to John every time Moses writes "God said," Moses is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the One God used to create the universe. What you are seeing is a vital and unique connection between Jesus and creation.


We Were Made to Be Like God's Son

According to Colossians 1:15 who is the image of God? In other words, God created us to be like who?

According to Romans 8:29 when we become Christians and actually are being made in the image of this Person, what do we become? Creatures? Half-gods? Sons and daughters of God?

John 1:12 reinforces this idea. After we receive Jesus as Lord, He gives us the right to become what?

The Genesis 1:27 and Rom. 8:29 passages help us understand the reason God created the universe and mankind. He did so in order that He might raise up sons and daughters who will reach out to Him as their Father. Our sonship is the goal of creation.


The only way that I can fulfill God's goal for my life is to trust Jesus, God's Son, so that Jesus Himself might come to live in me and truly make me God's son or daughter.

This concept has raised a few eyebrows. We feel like we should not equate ourselves with Jesus. Our sonship though differs from Jesus' in that Jesus is eternally God's Son, whereas ONCE we were NOT sons and daughters of God. Instead of being eternal children of God, we were adopted into His family. This adoption though differs from human adoption. Whenever I adopt a child, that child may be legally mine, but he will never be biologically mine. His genes remain the same after he has been adopted. On the other hand, whenever we become sons and daughters of God, we undergo a spiritual genetic change. The Spirit of Jesus comes into us to make us a new person who is like Jesus. We literally become sons and daughters of God (1 John 3:1). It is only because of Jesus that we become His children; however, we literally become His sons and daughters just like Jesus is His Son. (It may help for you to think of Jesus as God's Favored or Favorite Son. This distinction may help understand the difference between us and Jesus.) Instead of being skeptical about what the Bible says is true of us, we need to accept humbly the tremendous grace God has poured out upon us in Jesus Christ. Because we are now literally God's sons and daughters, we are of great worth and value.

Remember that although God intends for all people to become His sons or daughters, not everyone does. The only way I can become a son or daughter of God is to accept God's Son Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Only when the Spirit of Jesus God's Son comes to live in me do I become God's child. If you have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, NOW is the time to do so.

What follows shows us exactly the extent of God's grace upon us, His new sons and daughters.


The Destiny God Has for His Sons and Daughters

What does Revelation 3:21 promise to God's people?

According to Romans 8:17 Christians are joint-heirs with _________________. Think about what it means to be a joint-heir. Nathan and Molly are joint-heirs of Nancy's and my estate. When we die leaving behind $10, they will split it 50/50. $5 will go to Molly, will $5 will go to Nathan. In the same way being a joint-heir with Jesus means that we will inherit everything that He is going to inherit.

Why all this talk though about inheriting something? Doesn't someone have to die though before you inherit something? Yes. According to the author of Hebrews the death of Jesus on the cross serves as the death of God. Because of that death God's will is triggered and we start to receive our inheritance, for example, the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Heb. 9:15, 16).

This may all seem preposterous, but remember that God gave up His Son Jesus so that we might live. According to Romans 8:32 giving up all these other things to us is nothing since God has already given up Jesus for us. If He lavished us with the death of His Son, how much more does He want to lavish upon us other wonderful things now that we have become His sons and daughters.

According to Revelation 20:4 what will Christians sit upon whenever Jesus returns?

According to Revelation 20:4 what shall Christians do along with Jesus?

An example of Christians ruling over creation is found in 1 Cor. 6:2-3 According to this verse Christians will judge whom?

In Revelation 21:1-22:5 John describes the new heaven and new earth. What is the last thing he says about what goes on in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 22:5)? (It's last because it is that important!)


What does God want us to do in the meantime (Romans 5:17)?


God does not want us to live a meager existence, just getting by spiritually. He wants us to experience a truly victorious life here on earth. This life of victory can be experienced no matter how bad or how good the circumstances are in my life. Note though that this kind of life can only be experienced by a living and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. When Paul writes about this victorious life in Rom. 5:17, he is claiming that this is experienced by those who trust Jesus on a daily basis. Unfortunately what C.S. Lewis wrote is true about most of us: "Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mudpies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." Christ's goal for us is to reign, not to be enslaved.