Summary: In the Beginning, Part 1 of 7.
IN THE BEGINNING
The 21st century has arrived. The Y2K bug threat fizzled out. On New Year’s day, the Los Angeles Times called the Y2K threat a “no-show, an anticlimax.?At its peak, even my wife had Y2k dreams! The world did not end, but the tiresome millenium party had started, and Armageddon-style cults, self-proclaimed apostles, and publicly-acclaimed added to the lunacy.
This year, my pastor friend Michael wants to communicate a sense of urgency to his congregation about reaching the world with the Gospel because the Kingdom is near, so he is preaching from the book of John and his theme is "The Kingdom is Near". Another friend, Ray, for his first sermon in the new millenium, is preaching on the Signs of the End of the Age, an exposition of Matthew 24.
Unlike Chicken Little, I am one of those who believe the sky isn’t thundering, unfolding, or falling. The new is as old as the Bible, the more things change the more they remain the same, whatever will be has been, and there is nothing new under the sun. People repeat themselves tediously, predictably, and laughably.
So I have decided to go against the grain and preach a series of seven messages from Genesis, and not Revelation. Genesis is a universal, historical, and theological account of God, his creation and man. Chapters 1-11 talks about who God is, what He did, and why he did it.
Let us begin with Genesis 1.
THE GOOD EARTH
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come along way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.
The scientist walked up to God and said “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you; We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t You just go and get lost.?
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man. After the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this? Let’s say we have a man-making contest.?To which the scientist replied, “Okay, great!?
But, God added, “now we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.?The scientists said, “Sure, no problem?and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt. God looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt.?
God is pre-existent, almighty, and wise. The world that God created for us is one of intelligence, beauty, and abundance. It’s a wonderful world, a strange planet, and an earthly paradise. The song, "It’s a Small, Small World" expresses this thought:
It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears.
It’s a world of hope, and a world of fears.
There’s so much that we share
And it’s time we’re aware it’s a small world after all."
How did God create the world? What did He supply it with? And why did He give life to man?
GOD ORDERED THE WORLD FROM CHAOS CREATION (GEN. 1:1-5)
1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning--the first day.
On day one of creation, God created the light, and God saw that the light was good (1:4), the word good is repeated daily. The world is suited for us, its properties are jarring, and the conditions are right.
Encyclopedia Britannica says earth is a terrestrial body whose solid surface, abundant waters, and oxygen-rich atmosphere have combined to create conditions suitable for life…The Earth is a nearly spherical body with an equatorial radius of slightly more than 6,378 kilometers (3,963 miles)…The Earth’s magnetic field shields the planet from the most direct effects of the ionized gas that constitutes the solar wind, carving out a cavity known as the magnetosphere.
Earth’s enormous size keeps it from losing its interior heat so that it remains geologically active. Its density provided enough gravity to hold onto a substantial atmosphere and a large ocean. Its distance from the Sun, around 93 million miles, keeps the earth at an average temperature with which life can exist -- between the freezing and boiling points of water. If it’s too hot, we become barbecue, too cold, we become Popsicle’s, so we are kept at room temperature.
The 23.5 degrees tilt of its axis gives the seasons. However, when we go skiing and skating this winter, the four seasons in Asia are: sunny, hot, muggy, wet.