World without God Back to all sermons
Date: April 22, 2018
Speaker: Sean Grossman
Scripture: Genesis 6:1–6:8
- Genesis 6:1-8
- World without God
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose.
3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)
6 And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
- The main point of these verses describe the state of the world prior to the flood
- Humanity was tainted, fully immersed, in sin
- God decides that He will righteously judge those who are in sin
- Despite this, there is still hope as Noah finds favor in God’s eyes
- World without God
- We see the ramifications of the fall in full effect
- We were made in His image to enjoy Him in obedience, to the pain God has in His heart for creating us
- What we find in these verses are a reflection of what we find in ourselves apart from God
- We find humanity broken in its relationships
- All of these broken things stem from a society, a people, who have no interest in God
- They were a generation who lived for self
- Is it so surprising that the end result of such a people was sin?
- The way the text describes these individuals is poignant, they did evil continually
- World without God (2)
- How is this relevant to us?
- As we see, there are many who would seek to push God away from the table
- To bring God to the table of discussion is to be ridiculed, mocked
- Where does such a culture, where does such a world end up?
- Consider the words of Nietzsche in his, “parable of a madman”
“THE MADMAN----Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!"---As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?---Thus they yelled and laughed
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions?
Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us---for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."
Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars---and yet they have done it themselves.
It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"
Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]
- World without God (3)
- Nietzsche recognizes the repercussions of a world to exist without God
- During his time he and others were trying to bring about a world in which God did not exist
- He recognizes that it would lead to a detachment
- Some believe it is this thought which led him to believe that the 20th century would be the bloodiest century of all time
- He ended up being right as it became a world in which more individuals died through warfare and genocide than all others combined
- World without God (4)
- Despite foreseeing this reality, he had hope
- One of his famous ideas, “Out of Chaos comes order.”
- He believed out of the transformation would come a better world
- Has it? No
- These philosophers believed that the departure of God would bring a better world
- The reason why it hasn’t is that once you cut of God it leads to a world unhinged
- We see this in our own world when it comes to morality
- Is it possible for people to do good without believing in God?
- But that’s not the real question…instead the question is, “Can you be good without God?”
- World without God (5)
- If there is no God, then there is no foundation for objective moral values
- We know what is good, righteous, just, loving, etc. because these are part of God’s character
- But what happens when God is taken out of the equation
- Then that leads to subjective moral values
- When something subjective it means that it is based upon the subjects preference
- I enjoy Frosted Flakes (Yummy), you might enjoy Wheaties or Coco Crispies
- We are the subject, and we have our preferences
- This is the same with subjective morality
- World without God (6)
- Where does this lead?
- If this is true then that means there is no absolute standard for right and wrong
- It means that your preference is just as valid as mine
- Example: If morality is subjective, we cannot say the Nazi regime was wrong
- Example: We cannot say the shootings in the U.S. have been wrong
- Example: We cannot say the sex slave trade is wrong
- Why? Because if morality is subjective then those who commit such acts have their own morality and we have no right to say their actions, or their morality, is wrong
- World without God (7)
- But as it is, we recognize morality is objective
- Morality has an absolute standard apart from us and that is God
- Through His character and commands we learn what is morally good and right
- The commands to love the Lord your God…to love your neighbor as yourself
- They stem from the same place…God
- We can then condemn as evil what does not reflect that command
- If we hate our neighbor…cheat them…rob them…speak ill of them…then we know such acts are evil because they do not reflect loving ones neighbors
- World without God (8)
- Without God, however, there is no moral duties or standards
- If we see an event which is evil we instinctually know it is evil
- When we say, “This is an injustice!” We make a bold declaration that there is objective moral values
- How does this relate to our text?
- These people were not living morally
- Because we know what is immoral is that which is against morality, we know morality because we know God and His commandments
- World without God (9)
- In our own society, we deal with the same thing
- We who are of the faith cannot boast or look down upon them, because in all truth we were once part of them as well
- We once believed, “God does not exist, I can do whatever I want…”
- But now that we are in Christ we can know that we are like Noah
- We can live in a way which is in congruence with God’s own moral character
- We can love, be merciful, kind, gracious, just etc.
- We can because we have been redeemed by Christ
- World without God (10)
- Genesis has been fascinating so far as it keeps arguing for the existence of God
- Genesis 1 we learn of creation having a beginning, and that it is designed
- Now we find another argument, the existence of God based upon morality
- The generation of Noah is not so different than our own
- In the end, the generation of Noah merely shows us the reality of a people without God
- Such generations reflect the evil there, because even if some good is there, they still take for themselves what belongs to God
- We are all sinners at heart, and we all need a new heart
- World without God (11)
- Noah is not so far from us
- We are like Noah in our own generation
- For today, we reflect on the sorrow of humanity from then until now
- How we all share in the guilt, in the darkness, which is humanity outside of Eden
- Indeed, a seeking to live in a world as though God did not exist
- The Gospel of Christ