Summary: In the beginning GOD created heaven and earth!
Introduction: Reading of The Creation by James Weldon Johnson
In 1977 Alex Haley’s novel Roots came to life on television and became an instant hit with viewers across racial lines. Many of us sat spell bound throughout that mini-series as we followed Haley on his ancestral tracing. This morning, we begin our summer series, “Classic Chapters of the Bible,” with a return to humanity’s “roots” – Genesis 1.
The poem I just read is James Weldon Johnson’s poem The Creation. Some literary scholars suggest that he wrote it as a tribute to the various African-American preachers that were a part of his life. Now while it may not be theologically correct, it is based on the Genesis 1 story of creation and it is certainly inspirational.
This morning we are going to hear the Genesis account read aloud by several members of our congregation. You can follow along in your Bibles or you can simply listen to the text being read aloud.
(Group reading of Genesis 1:1 – 2:3)
The first thing we notice as we look at this chapter is that it begins with a declarative statement. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” A declarative statement is a statement that announces something matter-of-factly and forthrightly.
These kinds of statements set the tone for what is to follow. For example, we recall a declarative statement in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
Our presidents have often made in their inaugural addresses declarative statements that have rallied our nation. For example, FDR said at the beginning of his presidency, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” JFK noted, in what would be a rallying point for activism in the 1960’s “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your county.”
The Bible also contains many declarative statements including Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” and John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son.”
But, what is important to remember about this passage is who is being talked about – God. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Bible begins with a statement about who created this world and us – it was God, not some random cause or force.
There is purpose in our world and our lives. We were created for more than just to exist for a time and then that’s it. More about this important truth in a few moments.
Another thing that we notice about this chapter is the orderly flow of the Creation. (Overhead 1)
During Day 1 we see that God creates light over the dark empty mass called earth and night and day are created. God calls this new creation of light, “good.” Why?
Let me suggest two reasons: First, we need light to live by. Think about what happens to plants when all they have to exist on is darkness. They can’t exist alone on darkness; they need light to help them survive or they die. And if there were no plants to eat we would not be able to eat corn and beans and rice and such nor would there be feed for the cows, hence no milk or meat. We would be in trouble. We would probably freeze to death, as there would be no spring or summer, just a cold, dark environment. We need light.