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Genesis 1:1-2 | In the Beginning, God | Andrew Gutierrez

April 8, 2018 Speaker: Andrew Gutierrez Series: The Beginning of Creation

Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: Genesis 1:1–1:2

Turn if you will to Genesis, chapter 1.  Genesis 1:1-2.  Please follow along as I read.

1In 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.

I’ve entitled this message, “In the Beginning, God.”  The theme of the whole Bible is God, not man.  Even as we begin to explore Genesis—which means beginnings, the beginnings of time and space and matter—even as we begin to explore Genesis, we realize the main thing is not creation.  The main thing is the Creator. 

God is the subject of this passage; God is the subject of every passage.  Even the book of Esther, which has no mention of God, shows God’s fingerprints and providential care over the entire book.  God is the theme of everything.

And so, as we examine Genesis, we’re not just looking to answer questions.  Well, how long did it really take?  (I’ll give you a hint: six days.)  How did this happen?  How did that happen?  Why did this happen?  Why did that happen?  The theme of all of that is God.  God is sovereign; God is in control.

I’ll be very honest with you; this is an intimidating book to study and prepare to teach in today’s age.  All sorts of questions.  I am not going to go through this series and teach you a lot about carbon dating.  I’m not going to teach you a lot about fossils.  My plan is to do what I do with every book, to teach it verse by verse and to show you what’s in there.

It was said by some preacher at some point who was asked how he was going to defend the Bible, and he said, the Bible is like a lion.  You don’t defend a lion; you just let it out of the cage. 

So, as we go through Genesis, we’re just gonna let the Bible speak, let God speak.  We’ll explain the words; we’ll explain the syntax—how the words fit together—we’ll explain the history.  We’ll explain all of it.  And we’ll let the Bible speak.

It’s been said that if you believe the first two verses of Genesis, you can destroy all the “isms” of the world.  You believe the first two verses of Genesis, you can destroy atheism.  Because the universe was created by God.  You can destroy pantheism.  Because God is transcendent to that which he created.  He is not a part of his creation, in his creation, as if he was a tree god.  He is the God over trees.  Polytheism, because there is one God and Creator of all things, not many. 

You can destroy materialism, people’s fascination with material things, and even idolatry toward material things, because matter had a beginning.  All things had a beginning.  Don’t be fascinated by the thing that had a beginning; be fascinated by the one who did have no beginning, God himself. 

You can destroy dualism, because God was alone when he created.  God was not competing with Satan before time began.  God alone is the Creator.  You can destroy humanism, because God—not man—is the ultimate reality.  God, not man, is the self-existent one.  And you can destroy evolutionism because God created all things.

The Bible will teach us about God.  And specifically, these two verses will teach us some things about God.  And so that’s the outline I want to give you this morning: three facts about God our Creator.  Three facts about God our Creator.

1.  God Existed Before the Beginning

The first is found in the first part of verse 1.  God existed before the beginning.  The Bible starts with these four words in the English, “In the beginning, God.”  And it’s, “In the beginning, God created.”  He’s going to create time, space, matter.  He’s going to create it.  So if time, space, and matter have a beginning, the Creator of those things existed before what we know as the beginning.  God in this sense is eternal.  Eternal from the past. 

And I want to highlight what Moses writes to us.  The first mention of God is Elohim—not Yahweh, which will be the prominent name of God in the Old Testament, Yahweh.  But this is Elohim—God spoken of in the plural, which was a common way to speak of God, in the plural.  It doesn’t mean that there were multiple gods.  It simply speaks of God in plural as a way to show his majesty and grandeur and sovereignty.  So that’s why it’s spoken of in the plural, and this is consistent throughout the Old Testament.  When he’s spoken of in the plural, it goes to show you how wonderful and amazing he is.  That’s the intent of the Hebrew language.

And we know that God is not plural—he’s not three different beings.  He has three persons, but he has one essence, one being.  You can see in Deuteronomy 6, which by the way is the same book—Genesis through Deuteronomy—same book.  Same Pentateuch.  Same book written by Moses.  And in Deuteronomy 6 it says, “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”  He’s not three different beings; he’s one.  But when he’s spoken of in the plural, it just shows to magnify how great he is.  That’s the intent of it.

So, “In the beginning, God.”  And when you hear Elohim, think sovereign, majestic Creator.  All right?  So when you see God in the Old Testament, think sovereign, majestic Creator.  He’s over everything.

“In the beginning, God created.”  In the beginning of what?  In the beginning of time.  At the very beginning of the created world.  God did something in the beginning, so as I said earlier, therefore he was before the beginning.  This is what the Bible asserts.

The Bible asserts that God never had a beginning.  And this is what I call one of those bunkbed questions.  Because your little kids, when they’re on their bunkbed at night, have these types of questions.  Who created God?  He didn’t; he always existed.  How?  I don’t know.  That’s what it says.  He always existed.

But if someone created him, then we really shouldn’t be worshiping God; we should be worshiping the one who created him.  So the fact that God never had a beginning shows that he is the one to be worshiped.  He is the sovereign one.  He is the powerful one.  He’s the strong one.

The Bible doesn’t begin with an argument for the existence of God.  Let me say that again: the Bible doesn’t begin with an argument for the existence of God.  It doesn’t say, in the beginning, God.  Now, hold on, you might be wondering how that all happened.  It just simply asserts that this is fact.  In the beginning, God.

God’s always existed, and he will always exist.  God is self-existent.  He needs nothing to help him exist.  He needs nothing to help him exist.

Psalm 90 is the first psalm written.  The first psalm written, and it’s written by Moses.  Same writer, human writer, of Genesis.  In Psalm 90, Moses says this: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  From everlasting past to everlasting future, you are sovereign Creator—Elohim—over everything. 

Now, how would this truth have helped the original readers of Genesis?  Who were the first readers of Genesis?  The Israelites, given this revelation in between Egypt and Canaan.  The Israelites were given this revelation in the wilderness.  They’re given this revelation when they’re in the middle of two places.  They come out of Egypt through the Exodus, and they’re being prepared for the promise land.

And there was a lot of discouragement in the wilderness, wasn’t there?  A lot of questioning of God and his leaders, Moses and Aaron.  The people needed to have confidence in who God was.  And God gives his people revelation of who he is and what he’s done from eternity past, and he gives it to Moses, and Moses gives it to the people.

Why would this have been encouraging to the people of Israel at the time?  Because they were being told by Moses that God, Yahweh, was their covenant God.  Yahweh, the covenant-keeping God of Israel, was their God. 

Yahweh—when you see LORD (capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D) in your Old Testament, you think Yahweh.  That’s the name of God it’s referring to.  And when you think Yahweh, you don’t think sovereign Creator; when you think of Yahweh, you think of personal, covenant-keeping God.

And so the Israelites were being told by Moses, Yahweh is your God.  He is in a relationship with you.  He chose you out of all the people in the earth—not because you were so wonderful, but because he determined to set his love on you out of his own desire and will.  But you have a relationship with this covenant-keeping God.

So the people of Israel come from a background in Egypt where there isn’t just one God; there are many gods.  And so it’s all nice and well that there is this God that wants to have a relationship with us, our people, this nation, and he’s leading us.  But is it the God?  Because there are many according to the Egyptians. 

So this truth, that God is self-existent and the eternal one, would have been very comforting to them.  Because what it’s saying is Yahweh, the personal, relational, covenant-keeping God of Israel, is also the God over all of heaven and earth.

The Babylonians at this time actually taught that the gods were at war with one another.  And sometimes one would get a leg up and sometimes another would get a leg up, and creation was kind of an afterthought and was a result of a war between the gods.

So there’s no polytheism here with Moses.  There are not many gods.  There is one God.  And Moses wants the people of Israel to know that Yahweh, your close faithful God to you, is also the sovereign God over all other gods and all other things.

Turn to Deuteronomy 6, if you will.  Deuteronomy 6—Moses is telling the parents of Israel, specifically the fathers of Israel, what to teach to their children.  And I want you to see how he constantly refers to God as the Lord God—Yahweh Elohim, Yahweh Elohim.  You can go through chapter 6 yourself and underline all the places it says Yahweh Elohim.  And I’m not gonna go through the whole chapter, but just listen to this theme.

1Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God [Yahweh Elohim] commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear [Yahweh Elohim] the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as [Yahweh Elohim] the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel [and this is perhaps the most famous passage to the young Israelites]: [Yahweh Elohim] The Lord our God, [Yahweh] the Lord is one. You shall love [Yahweh Elohim] the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10 “And when [Yahweh Elohim] the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget [Yahweh] the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the [Yahweh Elohim] Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.

You sense a theme there?  See Moses wanting the people to know exactly who God was?  Yes, he is the personal, covenant-keeping God with you.  He gave promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He brought you out of Egypt.  He’s preparing a land of milk and honey that you did not earn, that you did not cultivate.  He’s doing this all for you.  You see this personal God to Israel?

And he says, make no mistake, he is the sovereign one over all.  No other gods.  The one who is sovereign and over all things is the one who cares for you.

For us today, there are many religions, many paths to God, people say.  We know that that’s contrary to Scripture—John 14:6.  But know this, Christian:  Jesus, your personal Savior, isn’t one savior of many in the world.  Your Jesus is the sovereign God who created, sustains, and holds the destiny of everything in the palm of his hand.  That’s the one we serve. 

When we serve Jesus Christ and we pray to him and he cares for us.  He cares for us, and he knows the number of hairs on our head.  If he can care for the birds, he can care for us.  When we serve that one—the one who died for us and is in a relationship with us, is our groom and we are the bride—when we serve him, we’re serving the one who created all things.  He’s not one of many.  He’s one alone.

So the first thing we learn about God is that he existed before the beginning.  God existed before the beginning.

2.  God Created Everything Everywhere

Further on in Genesis 1, second fact about God our Creator:  God created everything everywhere.  God created everything everywhere.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The heavens.  What does this mean?  He created the sky, the universe.  He created all of that and the earth, the land.  Now, we’ll get to, starting next week, the specifics about those things.  We’ll look at stars.  We’ll look at light.  We’ll look at the moon.  We’ll look at land.  We’ll look at all of those things.

And so for the purpose of today, the beginning of this in verse 1, saying God created the heavens and earth is really saying he created everything.  In the Hebrew it’s called a merism.  It’s a way to speak that shows the comprehensiveness of something.

If there was a storm outside and I came in with a raincoat and I was all wet, and I said, don’t go out there; it’s not fit for man nor beast, what would I be saying to you?  No living thing should be out there.  It’s not fit for man nor beast.  When I say “man nor beast,” I’m saying every created thing.  Everything with a heartbeat.  Should not be out there. 

It’s similar here in the Hebrew.  In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth.  It’s a way of saying, in the beginning, Elohim—the sovereign creative one—created everything.  That’s what this is saying.

God is therefore to be recognized as sovereign over everything and everywhere.  If God created the furthest star, God is sovereign over that star.  God is in control of that star.  God is the Lord of that star.  If God creates a blade of grass, we may think we own it because it’s on our property, but he owns it all.  He can take it away whenever he determines and raise it up again if he determines. 

God is the one who creates everything everywhere, and therefore the Bible assumes in later revealed Scripture that because God created everything everywhere, God owns everything everywhere.  Let me say it this way:  God is Lord of everything everywhere.  God is master of everything everywhere.

For us, the created ones, the question isn’t whether God owns us or not; the question is whether we recognize God as owning us or not.  That’s the difference.  God created and owns everything. 

Turn to another passage if you will—Acts 17.  This idea is not just an Old Testament idea, that God creates and owns everything, or God is sovereign over everything he’s created.  Paul has the view that because that’s true, all men everywhere must be subject to him.

Acts 17—Paul is not in a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem.  Paul is in Athens.  Paul is among Gentiles, who probably didn’t know much about the God of the Jews.  And Paul gets up and tells them this (Acts 17, starting in verse 22):

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for

“’In him we live and move and have our being’;

as even some of your own poets have said,

“’For we are indeed his offspring.’

29 Being then God's offspring [and so Paul’s saying, everyone therefore is in that sense God’s offspring], we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands [Why does he command?  Because he made everything; he has the right to command.] all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

See back in verse 24, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man.”  You can’t contain this God.  He is bigger than your gods, people of Athens.

And what does Paul assume?  Paul’s just rehearsing the truth in Genesis 1:1.  God created the heavens and earth, and Paul gives us in Acts 17 a “therefore.”  Therefore repent.  Therefore see yourself as being subject to him.  Repent because he’s going to judge the world.  You need to be right with him before he judges the world, through a man. 

Who’s the man?  Jesus Christ.  Well, how do we know that Jesus Christ is actually the Savior?  How do we know that he’s the one that can judge?  Because God raised him from the dead.  God did for him what no other man had ever had happen.  God raised him from the dead.

So, because God is the Creator of all things, every single person he’s created must be in a right relationship with him.  How do we do that?  By embracing his Son, whom he sent to die in our place because we offended this holy and righteous God. 

And you don’t see just the holiness of God in this passage.  You see the mercy and love of God.  Paul is crying out to the Athenians, who didn’t deserve a second chance.  It’s the same as us.  Don’t deserve a second chance to please God.  The one who created, the one whom we have rebelled against.  But Paul makes known there is this man that you can embrace.  Repent of your sins and trust this man, this one man.

So because God is the Creator of everything, he is the Lord of everything.  He’s the master of everything. 

3.  God Purposed the Earth to be Inhabited

We don’t just learn that God has existed before the beginning or that God created everything everywhere; third, we learn that God purposed the earth to be inhabited.  And this is where we come to verse 2, back in Genesis 1.  God purposed the earth to be inhabited.

Verse 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.”  Now what does this mean?  What’s happening here?

Well, it says the earth was without form and void.  This means that the earth was uninhabitable.  It was not ready for man or animal to dwell on it, or trees or plants for that matter.  This matter, this material, was without form and void.  It was uninhabitable, and it was empty.

Quoting Dr. Henry Morris who is certainly a well-respected scholar on creation, he said this:  “The physical universe, though created, was as yet neither formed nor energized.  The absence of physical light means darkness, just as the absence of form and inhabitants means a universe in elemental form, not yet completed.  No evil is implied in either case, merely incompleteness.”

So what the Bible is teaching is when God speaks light into the world in Genesis 1:3—which we’ll get to next week—when God speaks light into the world, there was before that some substance without form, and the text continues on to say that, “and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”  So there’s some substance.  There’s waters somehow, someway.  But there’s no light; there’s no darkness, and it’s basically saying, God created out of that.

Now, be careful, because then you could think, well, who created that?  God.  John 1:3—nothing was created that wasn’t created by him.  He created it all.

Cassuto, one commentator, says this:  “Just as the potter, when he wishes to fashion a beautiful vessel, takes first of all a lump of clay and places it upon the wheel in order to mold it according to his wish, so the Creator first prepared for himself raw material of the universe with a view to giving it afterwards order and life.” 

This is what Genesis 1:2 says.  There was something; it wasn’t habitable; it was without form.  Evidently there was water.  And when God speaks in Genesis 1:3, all of that starts to develop and becomes habitable for man in the first day, and then continuing on through day six.

Now, 2 Peter 3:5 also echoes this.  In 2 Peter 3:5, people are questioning whether God’s really gonna come again.  I mean, nothing’s changed since God’s created the earth.  I mean, it’s been a long time; I don’t know that he’s coming back.

And Peter writes to refute that, and he says this, just kind of as a matter of fact, as a side note (2 Peter 3:5):  “[T]he earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.”  So even Peter’s affirming that God used water to form the earth, and he is highlighting what’s said in Genesis 1:2. 

Now again, that water, whatever that deep was, didn’t exist without God.  As Cassuto says, it was his substance that he used to form the earth—not over billions of years, but starting with the first day. 

Now because we’re in Genesis, there are certain attacks on Genesis that have come up, or modifications of Genesis.  Maybe people with different theories about creation.  I’m not gonna get into every single theory and spend a lot of time—it actually kind of distracts from going through the text—but it is important when there have been prevalent ones to show how the text would say something different.

So as a sidebar, I want to tell you about the gap theory, because some of you may know that, and maybe even you hold to that, and it does not mean that someone who holds to the gap theory is not a Christian.  But I’ll tell you what the gap theory is and a few reasons why I don’t think it holds water—pun intended.

The gap theory teaches that there’s a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.  “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  That was his initial creation, and then came millions of years.  And something happened that ruined the creation—Satan fell.  Satan sinned.  And the earth started to become corrupt and started to decay.  And then Genesis 1:2 happened.  So Genesis 1:2 is not creation; it’s actually recreation.  That’s the gap theory.  And the attempt is to allow for millions and millions of years to fit into Genesis 1.

And I don’t know the motives of people for why they hold to these theories.  I want to be careful when assigning motive to people.  But a lot of people think the motive is to win credibility with the outside world.  There’s a way that we can kind of agree that it’s billions and billions of years ago and still hold to Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

But again, I don’t believe that that is the case for a few reasons.  First, verse 2 isn’t describing chaos.  Verse 2 is not describing chaos.  “The earth was without form and void.”  That’s not describing chaos; it’s describing potential. 

It’s the difference between going into my college dorm room in 1995 and looking at a foundation that’s getting ready to have a house put on it.  That’s the difference here.  People that hold to the gap theory think that the world at this point in verse 2 is speaking of this chaotic and horrible place that’s come about because of sin.

And so again, it’s like going into a college dorm room and seeing just like—I mean, you walk in, and you just … the smell hits you, and things are all over the place.  Like, how is this inhabitable?  You know, half-eaten sandwiches … then you walk across the room and they’re not sandwiches; they’re something else. 

That’s the idea that some people have of what the earth was like in verse 2.  That’s not it.  You can translate the words, “without form and void.”  There is material that hasn’t been developed yet.  And so God starts to create with it in Genesis 1:3.

It’s like driving by and seeing a lot with a foundation on it and the wood stacked to the side.  And you know there’s going to be a house there, but it’s not a house yet.  You don’t drive by that and go, oh, that is horrible!  You drive by and go, potential.  Something’s gonna happen with those materials.  That’s the idea.

Secondly, the text simply doesn’t say anything about millions of years in between verse 1 and verse 2—and this is probably the strongest argument—it’s just not stated that way.  This is a theory.  Nothing says that Satan fell after 1:1 and the consequence was 1:2.  We just have to admit the text doesn’t say that anywhere.

Third reason—and I believe this is perhaps the strongest—Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21 show that death came, not because of Satan; death came because of what Adam did.  The corruption of the earth happened later on because of what Adam and Eve did.  Romans 5 attributes it to Adam.  Death doesn’t come because of Satan.  Death comes because of Adam, according to the Scriptures.

Romans 5:12:  “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.”  And verse 14 of Romans 5 says that death reigned through Adam. 1 Corinthians 15:21 says that death came by a man, speaking of Adam.

So, those are a few reasons I do not hold to the gap theory.  It’s simply not there, and Scripture says that death came because of some other reason, specifically, Adam.

Continuing on in verse 2.  “The earth was without form and void [there’s potential there but it’s not been developed yet], and darkness was over the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”

So we learn that the Spirit of God is hovering over these elements.  There’s water.  There’s some material that’s without form and void.  And the Spirit of God is hovering over the surface of the waters.  You could translate that word “hovering,” fluttering.  And the picture is of a mother bird fluttering over her nest, ready to feed her children.  Ready to take care of something.  Fluttering, waiting to act for the good of something else.  That’s the idea here.

So, you ask if I believe in the Big Bang?  No, I don’t believe in the Big Bang, but I do believe in the Big Flutter.  The Big Flutter of the Spirit of God, waiting to create.  When God says go, the Spirit of God acts.  And we know in Colossians 1 Jesus Christ is said to be the Creator.  Elohim is said to be the Creator.  The Trinity involved in creation; the Spirit of God is waiting to act.  That’s what you see here.

Now, turn to one more place.  I want to show you this.  Deuteronomy 32.  Again, the end of the same book.  This is fascinating.  Deuteronomy 32, starting in verse 10.  Now this is Moses’ final song before he’s gonna die, the final thing he’s saying to Israel after all these years of leading them.  And he talks about the fact that they’ve been in this kind of state, the wilderness, waiting for the Promised Land that God was preparing.  Sound familiar?  Without form and void—think wilderness, in Moses’ context—waiting for a new place that will be created for them, Canaan, that will be prepared for them.  Deuteronomy 32:10.

10 He found him in a desert land,
    and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
    he kept him as the apple of his eye.
11 Like an eagle that stirs up its nest [same idea],
    that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
    bearing them on its pinions,   
12 the Lord alone guided him,
    no foreign god was with him.

 The idea here is Israel’s in the wilderness, but God is fluttering over them, preparing, getting ready to bring them into this new land, this Promised Land.  Similar idea in Genesis 1:2.  There’s this area without form and void.  The Spirit is fluttering, hovering, getting ready … for what?  Genesis 1:3, which we’ll get to next week.

So really we end this morning, Genesis 1:2, with potential.  Not yet happened.  Next week we’ll start with, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  It starts to happen.  It starts to unfold.

In a similar way, as I prayed before the passage, before we started the teaching part, we are in a sense in a wilderness, waiting for something else the Lord’s going to create.  Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you.”  Evidently Jesus is preparing something, and evidently heaven is going to bring it down at the word of God, at the command of God.  New heavens and a new earth.

So you see this theme in Scripture.  In the original creation, you see potential, the Spirit hovering, and then it’s time to act (Genesis 1:3).  You see the Israelites in the wilderness, this place that they’re not meant to be yet, and then God acts, brings them into the Promised Land, into Canaan in Joshua.  And then you see us, waiting for the new heavens and the new earth to come down.  Our God is a creative God.  He is a Creator who creates to be inhabited. 

Now, when God brought the people of Israel into the Promised Land, did he intend to bring them in to make them suffer?  No.  He intended to bring them in and to allow them to enjoy all that was in that Land.  When God brings us into the new heavens and the new earth, does he intend to bring us into the new heavens and new earth and for us to suffer?  No.  We’re gonna thrive in heaven.

Similarly, when God created the earth, did he create it and go, eh, this place is kind of horrible.  They’re gonna feel the effects of this place.  No.  He saw all that he created and said, this is good.  God created a good earth because he is a good God.  God purposed the earth to be inhabited.  He purposed the earth to thrive.  He purposed the earth to produce.  I’ll guarantee you Adam and Eve enjoyed that original creation.  God created the earth for human flourishing.  God created the earth to thrive and to be enjoyed.

I know a lot of people don’t like thinking of God as the Creator, kick against that idea.  I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of God as Lord.  He’s not gonna rule over me.  I’m not gonna subject myself to what the Bible says.  But let me say this; let me just go back to the very beginning:  God creates things for good.  He created the earth for good.  He created the earth to thrive for man, for man to enjoy.  When you trust in the sovereign Creator who is Lord, you’re trusting in one who is for your good, not your harm.

And so when people constantly hear their family members—you should come to church, you should trust in God, you should read your Bible—and you think, I don’t want to do that; that would mean I’d have to change these things, and you think of it as constraining, it’s not constraining.  It’s an invitation to life.  The Creator creates for good, for human thriving.

There are ten billion reasons, ten billion examples of this.  I’ll give you one: peaches.  Peaches.  You eat a peach, and it’s good for you.  And by the way, it tastes good too.  How do you know that?  Because he created taste buds.  God creates for you to enjoy.  And even in a cursed world, he creates to enjoy.  Things are corrupted: there are bad peaches, there are things that happen to peaches.  But in its purest sense, they’re good.  Good for you, and they taste good. 

This reflects God’s glory.  He’s not just a sovereign God; he’s a good God.  And the Scriptures testify to this, over and over.  You get to Genesis 3 and you see the corruption begin in the world, and you don’t point to God and say, how dare you.  You point to Adam and say, how dare you?  Look what he did.  Look what he offered.

The God of the Bible is good for ten billion reasons.  Some of which are pepper jack cheese, peaches, mangoes … and there are many more.  Those of you who are lactose intolerant—curse.  Curse.  Wait till Revelation 21, and you come with me and we will eat pepper jack cheese for all eternity.  With no consequences.  None.

This is our God.  Our God is good, and when he creates, he’s good.

Three facts about God:  God existed before the beginning, God created everything everywhere, and God purposed the earth to be inhabited.  When we look at creation, when you look through your Bibles and you see creation attributed to God, what is it?  It’s a cause for praise—not doubt and questioning.  It’s a cause for praise.

A few years ago, just in my regular Bible reading time—you know how you might read through your Bible a number of times and then you come across something that just kind of grabs your attention for months, as if you’ve never read it before, but you have?  The Lord just does that.

A few years ago I was reading through my Bible, and I came across Psalm 96.  And I could not get it out of my head.  For months.  Whenever I was asked to preach at a camp or a different church, Psalm 96 was what they were getting.  Just so captivated by Psalm 96. 

When I was preaching those messages on Psalm 96, I gave them the title, “Why Everone in the World Must Worship the Lord.”  I’ll admit, that’s a rather arrogant title.  How dare you tell me who to worship?  But the Scripture assumes that the God who created all things is worthy of worship.  And therefore every single person on the face of the planet should worship him.

Listen to the first few verses of Psalm 96:

1Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
    tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
    his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
    he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.

We’re telling all nations who to worship, including our own.  That’s not arrogant; that’s truth.  Any other person or thing or being they worship is a worthless idol.  But the Lord alone made the heavens. 

Why is he worthy of praise?  Why should every human heart fall before him in adoration?  Why should your heart and my heart be constantly enamored with him?  Because he made everything.  Period.  Let’s pray.

Lord, we are humbled by your sovereignty, your power, the fact that you are Creator.  We’ve rebelled against our Creator, rebelled against you, and you have not, you have not cast us to eternal torment.  You have saved us.  You, sovereign Creator, are a good God. 

You create for our good.  When we corrupt it, you provide a means of salvation, your own Son and his death.  When we see corruption all around, you show us the resurrection of Christ.  You show us new life.  You allow us to sing Psalm 96.  You allow us to sing a new song.  You’re preparing a new heavens and a new earth.  You are sovereign, you are powerful, and you are good.  Lord, impress that onto our hearts this week.  In all that we do, may we be subject and worship you, our Creator.

And Father, as we live humbly before you, our Creator, fill us with joy.  Show us that living according to what you say brings about our good and flourishing.  Father, thank you for your grace to us.  Thank you for your revelation.  Thank you for telling us this about you.  Lord, we pray all these things in the name of your Son.  Amen.

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