Monday, December 21, 2020

Living Biblically - Christmas

 Family and HOA in dispute over a cross they added to their Christmas decorations. HOA – show us in the Bible where the cross has anything to do with Christmas. To do so takes the whole Bible.

We don’t always make the connection because we typically read the Bible as a collection of stories and not as one book with one story. At times we see that more clearly than others, but there remains one overarching message.

That message is God’s Plan of Redemption. It runs from cover to cover. The basic characters involved in this Plan are collectively called the Family of God. First, the Jews, starting from Adam, begotten through Abraham, then drawn down to a specific family – Judah – from the sons of Jacob, and winding up with a young couple in a stable in Bethlehem. Then comes the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. At that point the Christians are brought into the Plan. They now join the Family of God, being adopted into the original family through faith in who Jesus was and what He did.

To show that transition from Old into New, John wrote: John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

Prior to the Cross, to become a member of the Family of God you had to be born a Jew or choose to convert to Judaism. That birth or decision placed you into the stream of God’s Purpose set before the foundation of the world.   

That Purpose saw God designing life with a means for people to have a relationship with Him and He would use those people to carry out His plan along the way. This people would be the Family of God. He formed that family with Adam and Eve. Family lineage was the key. However, upon that family lineage, God placed expectations. The interesting thing is, He was placing these expectations on the entire Family not just to the Jewish portion of the Family. So, when Christians came into the picture, the same expectations applied.

Moses said: Deut 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 

Jesus repeated it: Mark 12:30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 

Habakkuk said: Hab 2:4 The righteous will live by his faith

Paul repeated it: Rom 1:17 "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." 

Even the writer of Hebrews: Heb 10:38 but my righteous one shall live by faith;

For the combined Family of God, the requirements are the same: Love the Lord your God and live by faith. Now I have to admit those are both loaded commands. The love God expects isn’t a felt love; it is a love that consumes our lives: heart, mind, soul and strength. Also, living by faith isn’t a declaration we make with words from our mouths but a demonstration that in all things we trust God implicitly: without question, doubt, or hesitation.

Both the old system and now the new had the same requirements of faith – relying on the work of God to sustain your life. It was a faith by which a person surrendered to God’s will. By that surrender, God would declare someone righteous.

In the Jewish phase, God used the evidence of Loving the Lord your God and living by faith to declare people righteous.

Heb 11:4-6 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 

Gen 15:5-6 And He took him outside and said, "Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants be." Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness. 

Now, when God expanded the Family to include Christians, He added a requirement specific to Jesus. A family member was not just someone who loved and trusted God. They were now required to believe in who Jesus was and what He had done – that Jesus was the Son of God, sent to die for the forgiveness of their sins and by believing in Him, they would be declared righteous and then brought into the Family of God. This new requirement was met with violent rejection.

John 1:11-13 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 

The ultimate demand was still there – to be righteous before God. But now, there was an actual transaction of faith, that came through Jesus. Before, they could be born of blood – born as a Jew, or born of will – chose to become a Jew. Now, there was more. Receiving the One sent who was the only One who could present them to the Father.

When the Cross came into the picture, believing in the fulfillment of God’s plan through Jesus was essential. God leveled the playing field by requiring everyone to pass through Jesus as the narrowed way to have relationship with the Father. A challenge to the Jews but a revelation to the Gentiles.

The idea was, if the Jews truly Loved God and Trusted Him, when He presented the greater revelation of Himself through Jesus, they would embrace Jesus. Instead, they rejected Him. So, from then on, being Jewish, without accepting Jesus as Messiah, left them incomplete – trying to sustain their religion with only part of the story. From Jesus on to today they live separated from God because they choose to stay in the past of what God used to do instead of embracing what He did presenting the Savior to the world.

Now, we have final terms (the completing requirement) through which God declares people righteous. 2Cor 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. For someone to enter into the Family of God, they can no longer expect to enter because they have an assumed righteousness from their actions. They must be declared righteous. God does this when we surrender our lives to what Jesus did to make this all possible. Loving the Lord our God and living by faith are now driven desires from hearts set free from the entanglement of sin.

This being Christmas, why did Jesus come? A Canaanite woman (a woman from the world of mankind) asked Jesus to heal her daughter. Matt 15:24 But He answered and said, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 

But then John told us: John 1:11-12 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 

John wasn’t saying God changed His mind midstream in some vengeful act driven by His disappointment in the Jews. This was in the Plan all along. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 

God didn’t send Jesus because He so loved the Jews but because He loved mankind.

The Plan of Redemption set before the creation of the heavens and the earth scheduled the very moment the Jews would reject and the door would open to the Gentiles.

It goes back to the Beginning. God, who designed all that is with a purpose specific to His Plan, created mankind and then formed Adam and Eve. As we continue reading, we see how that Plan works out.

When the Plan of Redemption meets its climax in Jesus, what began with the Jews, has now expanded to the world. The Disciple John saw where God was taking the Plan in Jesus.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 

What did Simeon see when he looked at baby Jesus: Luke 2:29-32 Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, and the glory of Your people Israel." 

What did Isaiah see prophetically: Isa 60:1 Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. 

What did the angel tell the shepherds: Luke 2:10-11 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

Why was that a great message to the shepherds? Because, though they were Jews, they were excluded from the benefit of being Jewish. The Pharisees placed them in the category of the unclean because they lived out in the pastures and couldn’t fulfill the requirements of the Law. They were seen as ungodly and separated from God and no better than Gentiles. Then, God included them in His Plan.

God was making a way to all mankind: both Jews and Gentiles. That’s why we’re here today. We came into salvation from the world. Had God not, through Jesus, opened the way to a relationship with Him, only the Jews would be in God’s family and we’d still be living separated from Him without hope, and the Plan would have failed.

When John the Baptizer announced that Jesus was John 1:29 the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, he saw what Jesus came to do.

Sin has always been the hindrance keeping us from God. It is the wall of separation that prevents relationship with God. It is the defining cause of ungodliness and says we are unrighteous and unacceptable to stand in God’s presence. Sin declares us unholy and unworthy to even approach God.

To see that, let’s go back into the Adam and Eve story.

Gen 3:1-7 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'" The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened 

Why was eating from the tree God forbid them to eat from such a big deal? It was rejecting God as their ultimate Head and choosing to disregard His command. It was throwing the actions of an Agnostic world into God’s face – we don’t need there to be a God. We’ll be our own gods.

When did they decide that? When Satan convinced them they could eat the fruit and become like God. The serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 

It wasn’t until Paul explained that their actions defined sin and showed how the implications of that sin expanded to cover the entire world, that we learn of the real consequence to what they did. But from what we’re given in Genesis, we see two immediate results:

Gen 3:17-19 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field; By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return." 

But notice this: Getting expelled from the Garden wasn’t their punishment. Their punishment was the harshness of life because of the curse. Getting expelled was actually an act of Grace by God. And moved His Plan into the next phase.

Gen 3:22-24 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. 

It wasn’t anger or punishment that got them expelled but Grace. God could not risk them remaining as they now were – cursed and separated from Him – forever. Remember, they were God’s representative people. They held the beginnings of the promise to the fulfillment of God’s plan. They were the A-team with nobody to back them up. They were essential to the Plan. So, God had to keep them in the picture but not in the Garden.

But watch what was going on: by moving them into the world that had been cursed, they also took with them the solution to the curse. The solution wouldn’t be found in the Garden. It would be found in a Baby born in a stable in Bethlehem. With them cast out of the Garden, God was setting the stage for the moment the ultimate gift of life, the fulfillment of His Plan set before Adam and Eve sinned ever sinned, when He would present Jesus to the world. That’s why that baby was born: to set us free from the curse of sin and make us holy and blameless before the Father.

What does the cross have to do with Christmas? It has everything to do with Christmas. It is the very reason for Christmas.


  1. Christmas is the reason for Creation.
  2. The Plan designed before the earth began is wrapped up in the Baby born in Bethlehem.
  3. God’s purpose is to provide the opportunity for all mankind to enter into a relationship with God through what Jesus did.
  4. When we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are given the right to become Children of God.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Living Biblically - Mankind and Adam

 One of our men sent me an interesting article after last Sunday’s message. Christianity from College Station to Cambridge by Lauren Spohn. She had gone from A&M to Harvard and found instead of facing Atheistic pushback, there was an Agnostic sense of “whatever you believe is fine with us.” She wrote: It is only in taking the position as an Agnostic institution, “can Harvard embrace all religious faiths as equally valid. Only by denying Truth with a capital “T” can our college community—as a faculty speaker mentioned at Freshman Convocation—pursue its “varying standards of truth.” Harvard is agnostic not because it flatly denies the existence of Veritas, but because it insists Veritas exists everywhere—and thus nowhere at all. Living in this community, it is no more difficult to be a Christian than it is to be a Muslim, or an atheist, or a Hindu, or an agnostic, or anything else. Everyone has a right to his or her own truth.”

The Agnostic has no need for God. And without God, it doesn’t matter what you believe. Creation is as good as a Big Bang with asteroids bringing life to our planet or Alien intervention. Unfortunately, even Christians can take on Agnostic tendencies, whenever we try to take God out of any area of life. When we ignore Him or reject His involvement, we have invited in a godless hopelessness.

That’s why the creation account establishes God’s preeminent importance right up front: Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

Because of that statement, we have to pay close attention to all that follows. From Genesis to the end of the Book of the Revelation, the Bible is telling of the incredible work of God in our world and His worth in our lives. Let’s continue the story, picking up at Genesis 1:24.

Gen 1:24-2:4 Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule 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." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. 

Gen 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven. 

We spent a lot of time last week making sure it was clear: the most important fact about creation is the God who created. We found out that God created with purpose, design and a plan. Knowing that, is vital to understanding the rest of the Bible. Knowing that, gives us a foundation upon which we can build our lives. Knowing that, gives us the assurance God will accomplish His purposes in our lives today.

You can see His purposes in the design of each thing God created. It was specific to its genre. It reproduced after its kind. It developed according to what it was. Amoebas reproduced amoebas, horses reproduced horses, dinosaurs reproduced dinosaurs, humans reproduced humans.

When DNA was discovered it opened a new window into the inner-workings of creation and better explained what after its own kind really meant.

Why is DNA important? It is important because DNA is the programming of creation. For me, it’s the fingerprint of God on His creation. It’s another proof of a Creator simply because programming requires a Programmer. DNA reveals what the Mind of creation desired. It told creation what it was, how it would develop and what it would become. A child’s lifetime is wrapped up in the DNA produced at conception. It’s hair color, height, bone structure, physical attributes, personality characteristics, even conditions it will inherit from its parents. And though we are also affected by our environment, our education, our upbringing and experiences, most of who we are as humans is genetically predetermined.

DNA is in every living organism. In simplest terms, it is the instruction needed for organisms to develop, grow, survive, and reproduce. Parents who are confused about their child’s gender need a simply DNA test. The mystery of gender is not a mystery. It’s in the DNA.

In animals, people will describe unique features as adaptations. If there was a change at some point in their development, it is because God programmed that change into their DNA, not that they decided they needed to adapt a new feature to help them survive, as Darwin says.

So put all of this back into the original statement: Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This includes everything within it, and how everything within it works. All that was created was created with all it needed to serve the purpose for which it was created.

God made the Earth. He invented the eco-system for its operation and then filled the earth with creatures of all kinds. Then He brought mankind into the picture.

Physical mankind was the last to be created. The world was established and had developed into a habitat that made human life possible. Because of DNA, the uniqueness of the races, tribes and nations were included in God making mankind. DNA determined color of skin, physical distinctions, suitability to location.

You don’t get Chinese characteristics from a Middle Eastern DNA strain. Neither do you get African characteristics, or Mayan, or Native American, or Scandinavian, or Asian, or European. When God created mankind, He did so with the diversity we see today woven into His design, programmed at creation.

Now the question hangs out there: what about time? The scientific community says the earth has taken 4.54 billion years to evolve. The Bible doesn’t. It says six days. In fact, from Jewish tradition and Young Earth proponents, the earth is only 6000 years old. Those are pretty far apart extremes. Each says they are right and ridicules the other for being so wrong. What if we can’t accept either? One is too long, the other too brief. What are we to believe?

I had to work through whether it was okay to ask: Is it essential we follow the time schedule of Genesis 1 or is there room to believe God was giving us a framework for believing? The outline Moses gives moves us quickly through the what of creation to get us to the story of the why.

By giving Moses only one chapter to cover something as complex as creation, it’s clear God didn’t want us to know all there was to know about how He created, only that He created. For me, it’s not vital to believe in six-24hr-days or six millennials. It doesn’t change the fact that In the beginning God created…,

2Pet 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 

Ps 90:1-4 Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man back into dust and say, "Return, O children of men." For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night

Moses is saying: God is eternal. He is infinite in either direction. He operates beyond time and space. So, give Him time to work His plan. He is not limited by the rules of science and therefore can do whatever it takes to accomplish His purpose.  

Can Almighty God create in six-24hr-days? Of course. Nothing is impossible to a God in whom nothing is impossible. Is it required to believe six days? Not as long as I don’t place anything other than God as the Creator and Sustainer of His creation.

But now, let’s consider the creation of mankind and the forming of Adam and Eve.

Gen 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule 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." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

Two words catch our attention: man and created.

The word for man used here, in Hebrew, is Adom. The Adam we will learn about later is simply the name man turned into a proper name. But in this section, it means man in general, not a specific man. There is no article defining “the man” or “a man.” It’s the same when we talk about man and really mean all of mankind and not just the male.

God created mankind in His own image and made mankind both male and female. And opened up to them the world He had created, giving them freedom to take charge of this world (subdue it) because everything they would need to survive on the earth has been provided. Live, enjoy and reproduce.

There is no similarity between the position of mankind evolving from other creatures and mankind being created by God. One is a sequence of mindless changes to make the most complex of all creation from the gene pool of other creatures. Compare that with the magnificence of God’s design of mankind as the height of His creation. After each other segment He said, “It is good.” But after He created mankind, He said, “It is very good.”

That means to God, each person born is a “very good” creation. Regardless of the circumstances behind how that person comes into existence, that person comes bearing the image of God. That’s why abortion is so radically opposed in Scripture. It denies the purpose behind every birth. Abortion says life is meaningless. God says no, it isn’t.

Ps 139:13-17 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 

All of mankind fits into the picture of creation as that which reflects the image of God. It doesn’t make them a child of God but it does lift them above everything else in all of creation and makes them a target for His love.

This is where Adam and Eve come into the picture. If you’ll permit me, and hang on with me, Adam and Eve were unique and specific creations, separate from the creation of mankind, unique to God’s grand scheme. God introduced mankind to the earth as physical creatures and let them multiply and subdue. But mankind was comprised of men and women connected by image yet separated from relationship with God. Adam and Eve enjoyed both image and relationship with God in the Garden.

The Bible calls mankind natural men. People caught between their creation and the fulfillment for why they were created. They were created to know God, yet: 1Cor 2:14 a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 

Though the natural man struggles to grasp any sense of a spiritual connection in life, there remains a tug toward the God he cannot reach by his own efforts. Every society throughout history has had some type of religion blended into their culture. As extreme as many of those religions were, they were, at their basis, an attempt to find God.

Rom 1:19-20 that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 

Created with a desire for a God but separated from Him, they would never be able to personally know God until the way to God was made possible.

Since God’s ultimate plan, predetermined before the foundation of the world: that we would be holy and blameless before Him, required the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But to get to that moment, God needed a family through whom He would make that happen. That family would originate in Adam and Eve. They were the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of God’s plan.

The Bible gives two lineages specific to Jesus. One is through Joseph for documentation and legitimacy. It starts with Abraham, which gave Him his Jewish connection. The other is through Mary. It traces her lineage backwards to Adam, which connected Jesus with the plan God set before the foundation of the world. That’s why I see Adam with a specific beginning, separate from mankind, uniquely specific to God’s plan. God created Natural Mankind first then the Spiritual man, Adam, producing the distinction between the sons of men and the Family of God.

The Bible is the story of that Family of God living within the world of natural men, yet following a specific trail that requires them to live by faith and will culminate in Jesus.

The distinction of Adam from the rest of mankind comes in the word associated with God making mankind: create. It is the same word used in Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It is creation that results from God speaking something into existence.

Gen 1:27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them

But the word changes for the specific creation of Adam: Gen 2:7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being

The new word is formed. It means fashioned from available material. God formed Adam of dust from the ground.

Little boy heard the pastor explaining the dust aspect of life. Adam came from dust and we will return to dust after we die. He yelled at his mom to come into his bedroom. “Mom, look under my bed. There’s either somebody coming or going under here.”

This word formed required a different process than the spoken creation of mankind. It is the specific, unique forming of a man and by extension his family line through which eventually will come the Messiah and Savior of the World.

You get the same perspective with Eve: Gen 2:21-22 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 

And she has been a pain in his side ever since. No. Matthew Henry says: “She was not made out of his head to surpass him, nor from his feet to be trampled on by him, but from his side to be equal to him, and near his heart to be dear to him.”

Formed and fashioned are different from create. God is doing something more specific.

So, Adam wasn’t the first human created? What about 1Cor 15:45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The word Paul used for first doesn’t mean first in counting order, but first in significance – the prototype, the first of his unique kind from which others will follow.

When we place Adam’s formation in with Mankind’s creation we run into problems. One will be the timeline; another is DNA which explains the diversity of mankind. But the greatest problem is the distinction between the physical aspect of populating the earth and the spiritual aspect of God’s ultimate plan.

For mankind, God gave no commands, only instructions for living within a physical world. Instructions are guidelines for life. But for Adam, God gave a command: don’t eat from the Tree of Good and Evil. A command is a specific law with spiritual implications.

To see this more clearly, we need both the OT and NT. Because of the NT, we can understand difficult sections of the OT. We also need the OT to make certain parts of the NT clearer. Both give clarity and understanding to the other. We learn things later in the NT that don’t even show up in the text of the Old but by using both, we gain the bigger picture of what God was doing. The story of Adam is one of those stories it takes both the OT and NT to understand.

For example, we don’t find out the real problem Adam and Eve’s disobedience caused until Paul explains it in the NT. The OT doesn’t mention sin but reveals consequences. There was clearly a different standard God placed on Adam that He didn’t place on the rest of mankind. Why? He was shaping and defining a specific family through which He would accomplish His ultimate plan. This family would experience God’s personal involvement in their live. Sin and consequences would become crucial in God dealing with His people.

Gen 2:7-8 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. 

Adam was a specific formation of God. He had a different beginning – formed from the dust from the ground instead of being spoken into existence. He also had a different place to live – God put him in the Garden. He had a command instead of instructions – don’t eat from the Tree. And he had a different purpose – not just populate the earth but live in relationship with God. All of that made Adam unique and separate from the rest of mankind. He was a one-of-a-kind, a one-and-only man, specific to God fulling His purpose for which He created the heavens and the earth in the first place.


  1. It is essential we give God time to accomplish His purposes. Regardless of when He created, He still took 4000 years to present the Savior to the world.
  2. One of the hardest disciplines to develop is giving God time to accomplish His purposes in our lives.
  3. A God in whom nothing was impossible at the beginning can still do the impossible.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Living Biblically - The Creation

Because none of us were at the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776, how could we know what went on? We can’t interview those who were there and get their stories since none of those men are alive. We’d probably research things others said about what went on. Or we might just Google it and see what Wikipedia offers. But, how much of what we find is reliable and does it cover every detail of what went on? What we’d end up with would be a summary from collected sources.

Imagine the day God said, “Moses, write an account of the creation of the heavens and the earth.” “Uh, Lord, that was a long time ago and I wasn’t there.”

What would you do? You’d collect what had been passed down through families connected with that story. How reliable would that be? Normally, not very, since stories change over the years. They get embellished or cut down, added to or subtracted from. Some details lost completely. But we’re talking about what will become Scripture. People are going to count on what Moses wrote being accurate so they can build their belief system on what he said.

He didn’t hear God say, “Let there be…” How did He know that’s what God said? He didn’t witness the sun, moon and stars bursting into light. He had no clue of the sequence of each thing being created. How would he know you needed an atmosphere, sunlight and water before you made plants? How could he write the story of a beginning he didn’t experience?

It’s the promise of all of Scripture: 2Pet 1:21 no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. 

Moses, to write of what he didn’t know, needed insight he didn’t have. So, he was moved by the Holy Spirit and wrote the words God inspired him to write, drawing from the stories passed down through the ages. What he ended up with was just a limited glimpse of an indescribable event in time. God could have given him more but that wasn’t the purpose of Genesis 1. God limited Moses’ understanding to just the high points of what He did.

Something as complex as creation would need a warehouse to contain all the details God brought in. Moses only had a chapter. So, God broke the complexity down to six segments and gave an overview of what He did in each of those segments. Can you know everything there is to know about creation by reading what Moses wrote? Of course not. Moses wrote an outline, a brief summary. The purpose wasn’t to give us a detailed account, but to answer the single question: not, where did all this come from? But, Who’s behind everything that is?

For us that establishes the overarching principle behind the creation story from which we base our understanding of the rest of the Bible. This God of creation is the Almighty God of everything that follows. From the opening words we have:

Gen 1:1-3 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be…and there was.”

Moses said the earth was formless and void. Formless means without any image, design or scheme. There was no concept drawing of a world waiting to be created. Void means nothing was there. The earth existed only as an idea with nothing to point to but God, Himself. Which makes us read quickly over the how and begin asking the why:

1.      Why is there something now when before that moment there was nothing there?

a.     The Big Bang remains the primary theory to explain existence for a godless society.

b.     But, the question begs to be asked: what was there two seconds before the big bang? What banged? Where did the stuff made by the bang come from? What caused it to bang? Who pushed the button? For the Big Bang to have occurred, whatever was there afterwards had to exist in some form before the bang, because the Big Bang isn’t creation out of nothing, it is a redistribution of the stuff that was there. How is that possible? God told Moses the earth was void. So, what was there for the Bang to explode?

c.     Explosions typically destroy not create. You’ve seen the implosions of huge buildings. Why has another building never appeared in the rubble of the first? Because, you don’t get order out of the chaos of an explosion.

d.     What are the chances of blowing up a library, which shreds all the books into scraps of paper with only one word on each scrap, and then enough of those scraps come together to produce a perfect copy of the works of Shakespeare?

e.     The Big Bang as the source of existence takes far too much faith for me to even consider as slightly possible.

2.    The word void means nothing, empty. There was no stockpile of elements waiting to be triggered into creation. God took nothing and made everything. Which means: all you have is God plus nothing and from that nothing He creates everything.

a.     The Big Bang cannot be supported by Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Mathematics. It violates every principle and theory every proposed.

b.     In Physics, there is a progressive deterioration within the physical world. Leave a hammer out in the weather and it will rust. Put a rusty hammer out in the weather and it will never become a pristine hammer.

c.     But evolution says in their system, simple things can progress to a higher level. That a one-cell organism can turn itself into the complexity of a human being given enough time. [Really? So, Evolution can override Biology, Chemistry, Physics, even Mathematic Probability when all of those say that’s impossible?]

d.    One scientist said: “The universe came into being in a big bang, before which, Einstein’s theory instructs us, there was no before. Not only particles and fields of force had to come into being at the big bang, but the laws of physics themselves.”

e.     That means, not only the things we see but the invisible laws that govern all we see had to be created at the exact same moment: gravity, photosynthesis, cell division, energy, even the desire to reproduce.

3.     Take any one aspect of creation – say the eye (not even the whole body, just the eye). The design and implications of an eye are beyond explanation. And to say this just happened is ridiculous. Because the eye is connected to the brain, we not only see but we also understand what we see, the colors, the range, the ability to examine a flea and then look into infinity in the night sky. You don’t accidently come up with an eye. Evolution didn’t make an eye happen. The eye required design. In Evolution there is no design, only chance.

a.     If you are walking deep in a forest, no evidence that any human has ever been there, and you find a red rubber ball, you immediately know somebody’s been here. A ball cannot simply appear in the forest.

b.     If you look at your watch, you immediately know there was a watch maker somewhere that made this. This watch didn’t make itself.

c.     I saw an accident this past week. I didn’t see it happen but I saw the evidence it had happened. Every emergency vehicle in Montgomery was on site with lights flashing. When I came by that same place later, it was all cleared away. At first, I forgot it happened, then remembered. Though the evidence was gone the fact remained because I had seen it. But if you saw no evidence you would never believe the wreck happened.

d.     Creation is different. God left the evidence behind. His fingerprints are all over everything He made.

e.     Ps 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 

f.      Rom 1:19-20 that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 

g.     Look at all that is. You see design, uniqueness, purpose. You know Someone did this. It could not have just happened.

4.    Then there are those who say God created then left what He created to work itself out. It’s called Deism. Having a God at the beginning then that God backing away to let everything just run its course. That’s where Darwin comes in with his survival of the fittest – only the strong survive. According to his theory, Darwin believed “all living things descended from a common ancestor. And that species were not to be attributed to God's endless creativity, but were the product of a blind, mechanical process that altered them over the course of millions of years.”

a.     In his early days, Darwin said that just because we don't understand how something can evolve does not mean that the Creator wasn't behind it. Many buy into this deception without realizing what it means. It means throwing away the rest of your Bible because you have removed God from having established a purpose for what He created and placed value on it.

b.     Later Darwin decided "I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God. I think that an agnostic would be the most correct description of my state of mind."

c.     The Atheist says there is no God. The Agnostic has no need for God.

5.     With Evolution, you need no God because creation is in charge of itself.

a.     If a lizard needs to fly, he adapts wings.

b.     If a worm needs to see, he adapts eyes.

c.     If an amoeba wants to walk, he adapts legs.

d.     If a monkey wants to dominate, he becomes a man.

e.     If a man wants to control his own life, he becomes his own god.

f.      Those who challenge the story of Creation do so because they want God removed from the equation. If you have a creator, you have the obligation of some level of loyalty to that creator. It’s expected that the invention is to work according to the design of the inventor.

6.    But Creation isn’t in charge. What has been created doesn’t decide what it gets to become. With being created comes the obligation to exist as created for the purpose behind why it has been created.

a.     Prov 16:4-5 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil. Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly, he will not be unpunished. 

b.     Isa 46:9-10 Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; 

7.     Which takes us back to the beginning of this study Living Biblically, where we discovered two aspects of one foundation:

a.    The Word of God is true and can be trusted to build our lives upon.

b.    The purposes of God will be accomplished.

c.     Now, when were those purposes were first established? Before God ever spoke a word of creation. During the formless and void time, God formulated His purpose behind everything He would do.

d.     Eph 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

e.     Those trying to understand creation from a spontaneous explosion of life never look beyond that moment to search for the reason for why what they believe happened.

f.      Micah 4:12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD, and they do not understand His purpose;

g.     It is far better to admit we don’t understand God’s purposes than to dismiss those purposes by denying they exist. I can’t erase God’s claim on my life simply because I don’t want Him to have any claim on my life.

h.    Or, on the other hand, it’s better to believe that the God of Creation is the same God who can do Act 4:28 whatever His hand and His purpose predestine to occur.

Gen 1:3-25 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God 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, one day. Then God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Then God said, "Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a third day. Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth"; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. 

Don’t read this without remembering Prov 16:4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose. That will become clearer beginning next week when we discover that the story of creation, even the whole Bible, is about a specific family God chose to accomplish His unique purpose through, and from that family, provide the life-giving gift of His Son to save the world. For God so loved the world He had created, that He gave His unique, one-of-a-kind Son, so that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.

Which means: God’s purpose in Creation wasn’t simply to create existence but to make possible a relationship. That is the story of the Bible. God choosing to dwell within the people He created according to the conditions He predetermined.


1.      Removing God from creation takes away the purpose behind why everything exists in the first place.

2.     Removing God from the management of His creation takes away His right to accomplish His purposes and His ability to fulfill His plans.

3.     Removing God as creator of life takes away the value of life and leaves behind no right or reason to exist.

4.     Which makes the most important fact about creation the God who created.