The Creator of the Cosmos Back to all sermons

Genesis

Date: January 28, 2018

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Genesis

Scripture: Genesis 1:1–1:2

Tags: God, Genesis, Origins, Creator, Beginning

Challies_Feb28-Mar5-04

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
-Genesis 1:1-2

  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Author(s)
    • Scholars agree that Genesis goes along with Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy to form the Pentateuch (five books)
    • For most of Jewish and Christian tradition Moses was considered the author
    • The tradition was challenged during the 19th-20th centuries
    • The main focus came down to what is commonly JEPD
    • J=Yahwist
    • E=Elohist
    • P=Priestly Writer
    • D=Deuteronomic writer
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Author(s)
    • The Yawhist for example would use “Yahweh” while Elohist would use the more general word for “God”
    • It is from this many believed the duplicate stories were brought together from these different sources
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Author(s)
    • Now, however, many within this interpretive tradition and conservative scholars began to push back against the many assumptions
    • It is just as likely that the different duplicates and differences were not different authors but different oral traditions within the tribes while in Egypt
    • The stories themselves also reflect earlier time periods not later ones as the JEPD critics argue
    • Thus, from this one editor could have brought all of them together…and there are those who argue this was in fact Moses
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Author(s)
    • Finally if there were editors after Moses, they were still using Moses’ text
    • Perhaps these editors simply made it easier for their readers
    • (Similar to modern translations of the Bible versus the King James)
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Date
    • If JEPD or some kind of its form is legitimate, then most would date the beginning around the time of David and have it go through to the exile
    • So it would start around 950BC-500’sBC
    • If Moses was the main editor then it would have been first collected around 1500-1300BC.
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Recipients
    • Depending on the date/authors of the book there are many perspectives
    • It could have been written for those in exile
    • It could have been written for the Davidic Monarchy
    • Others believe it was compiled for the people of Israel
  • Introduction to Genesis
  • The Purpose
    • If it was written for David it was a way to legitimize his rule
    • It was written for exile it gives them hope
    • If it was written for the people, it was meant to give them the foundation for their belief in Yahweh
    • The major point is exactly what “Genesis” means…origins
    • We find the Origins of the universe, origin of sin, origin of the nations, origin of the people of Israel through Abraham
    • Likewise, Genesis give us the founding for the world which is God, how He brings light
    • We are learning a great deal about God
  • Genesis 1:1-2
  • Origin of the Universe

1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

-Genesis 1:1-2

  • Main Point
  • This text deals with the origins of the universe
  • God created the heavens and the earth
  • He is the great Designer of the universe
  • Application Points
  • The Creator
    • Today we encounter God and the created order
    • Without God there would be no created order at all
    • This origin story is superior in comparison to other origin stories
    • Marduk killed the goddess Tiamet to create the world (Babylonian)
    • While there are similarities between creation accounts, it is the differences that are key
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (2)
    • In Egyptian mythology the gods come out of the matter
    • In Genesis God does not come out of anything, instead everything else comes from God
    • The different polytheistic religions held the gods connected to nature
    • Ra was associated with the sun (Egypt)
    • An was associated with the heavens, and Ki with the earth (Sumeria)
    • Aphrodite (Greek) and Venus (Roman) were associated with love and fertility
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (3)
    • In these pagan mythologies the gods were bound to nature
    • They worshipped the gods in their means
    • If you wanted children you would worship Aphrodite through intercourse at her temple
    • This was the same for good crops and safe travel
    • In this way one could receive a blessing while at the same time providing the god nourishment
    • It was a way to appease the gods, and help them remain strong
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (4)
    • In these pagan mythologies the gods were bound to nature
    • They worshipped the gods in their means
    • If you wanted children you would worship Aphrodite through intercourse at her temple
    • This was the same for good crops and safe travel
    • In this way one could receive a blessing while at the same time providing the god nourishment
    • It was a way to appease the gods, and help them remain nourished
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (5)
    • There is a stark contrast between the God of Genesis and the pagan deities found at the time
    • In Genesis there is not a multiplicity of gods, or God battling other gods, or a deity reliant upon anything
    • God is seen as self-sustaining, far above creation
    • He is sovereign over all the world
    • If we take the step the Scriptures take we find God doing the miraculous by creating ex nihilo (out of nothing)
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (6)
    • Likewise we notice the text informs us that the universe has a beginning
    • What agrees with this? Modern Science
    • Only Genesis’ account acknowledged that the universe had a beginning
    • Consider the following logic
    • Everything that begins to exist has a cause
    • If the universe began to exist, then it must have a cause
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (7)
    • The most logical explanation for that cause is God
    • Abstract concepts cannot cause anything, but God can
    • Why can’t the universe simply exist?
    • Everything that exists exists out of necessity of its nature or by an external cause/contingently
    • What exists out of necessity?
    • God and abstract ideas such as numbers and shapes
    • What exists contingently?
    • You, Me, Houses, Books, Phones
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (8)
    • Does the universe exist necessarily or contingently?
    • It does not exist necessarily
    • If gravity were a little higher or lower, if there was more or less carbon, if energy was slightly higher or lower
    • None of the necessary components of the known universe happen because they need to happen
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (9)
    • Thus, the universe exists contingently
    • It exists because something else caused it to exist
    • Only something timeless, necessary, not material, powerful, and not contingent on something else
    • The only possibility? God
    • Logic also teaches us that whatever caused the universe must be the first cause
    • The first Cause is God Himself, nothing caused God to exist, He exists necessarily
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (10)
    • What has science found?
    • Big Bang Cosmology argues that the universe does have a beginning
    • Prior to the Big Bang there was nothing
    • What scientists get wrong is assuming that the universe caused itself (which as we saw is not the case)
    • According to the second law of thermodynamics entropy occurs over time
    • We feel the effects of entropy…The same is true of the universe
    • The universe will run out of usable energy
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (11)
    • If the universe had existed for an infinite time then all energy in the universe would have been used up by now
    • Thus the universe must have a beginning
    • The expanding of the universe further shows the universe had a beginning
    • The universe is expanding outward and must have began somewhere
    • Thus, the universe had a beginning
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (12)
    • What isn’t surprised by all of this? The Bible
    • It all begins with, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”
    • No ancient text affirms a similar statement, and no view past or present better offers an explanation for the universe
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (13)
    • When there are those who argue for some other origin for the universe, consider what we’ve talked about
    • When they ask, “What makes the Bible different?”
    • Politely inform them how it speaks of God as creator not created (unlike the pagans)
    • It speaks of the cosmos having a beginning (which modern science agrees to)
    • It places God above the created order as the first Cause (which makes sense philosophically)
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (14)
    • The first verse of Scripture speaks to us in this regard
    • It should cause in us great wonder and awe
    • It should cause us to fall on our knees and worship
    • Thus, this should bring us to adoration, praise, and willingness to follow God
    • The whole universe was beckoned into existence and follows His decrees
    • We have been beckoned, and we too should seek to follow His decrees
  • Application Points
  • The Creator (15)
    • While we might be hard pressed to say that the Biblical authors thought about this all this way
    • We can be sure that the first verse of the Bible argues something remarkable and completely different
    • It gives us the foundation for the universe itself, of all reality, and that is God
    • In this verse we see the sovereignty of God on display
    • He who created all things has sought you and bought you and loves you through His Son Jesus
    • Praise His Name, for the Lord has brought forth the cosmos in all of its wonder, for His great glory
  • Application Points
  • The Gospel of Christ
    • Origins
    • Fall
    • Redemption
    • Glorification