Sermon #2000 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Creation by Divine Design
Designed to Picture
God’s Saving Grace
Text: Genesis 1:1-31
Subject: Creation as a Picture of Grace
Date: Friday Evening — August 17, 2012
Sovereign Grace Church, New Castle, IN
Turn with me to the opening chapter of Holy Scripture, Genesis 1. We recognize that this Book teaches creation by Divine design. It takes an incredible fool to deny that fact that is so plainly revealed in this Book. Those who claim to believe in evolution simply shut their eyes to that which is obvious to a child. — This world was fearfully and wonderfully made by Divine design. — As the very existence of a working watch necessitates a watchmaker, so the very existence of this vast universe with all its necessary precision necessitates a Creator.
The title of my message is Creation by Divine Design. But I didn’t come here to teach science or disprove evolution. Really the title of my message is a little longer. It is — Creation by Divine Design — Designed to Picture God’s Saving Grace. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Apostle Paul tells us, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” And the work of God in the new creation of grace is beautifully symbolized in the creation of the world.
The vast majority of those preachers and religious leaders who are enraged by the fact that local schools teach evolution are guilty of a far more serious evil than the teaching of evolution. They teach that the new creation of grace is an evolutionary process!
Proposition: As the creation of the world was the work of God alone, so the making of men and women new creatures in Christ is the work of God alone.
Divisions: Let me show you three things in Genesis 1 about God’s creation. In these three things you will clearly see the work of God in the new creation.
1. The creation of the world (v. 1).
2. The confusion of God’s creation (v. 2).
3. The restoration of God’s creation (vv. 2-31).
Creation and the Creator
First, we see the creation of the world stated in Genesis 1:1 — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Thus opens the Word of God with a bare statement of fact. — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” That is all we are told concerning the original creation. No argument is given to prove the existence of God. Instead, His existence is simply affirmed as a fact to be believed. Nothing is given to gratify the curious minds of men. How long did it take for God to create the world? We are not told. How old is this world? We are not told. We are simply told, “In the beginning God created.” The truth of God is simply stated as a fact to be received and understood by unquestioning faith.
“In the beginning God” — This is the foundation of all truth. All true doctrine, all true theology, all true religion begins with this — “In the beginning God.” All human religion and philosophy begin with man and work up to God. The Scriptures begin with God and work down to man.
If we are to understand salvation, we must begin with God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned and brought in death. But God was not taken by surprise. In the beginning, before ever the world was created, in anticipation of the fall, God provided His Son as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20).
In the new creation the sinner who is saved by grace repents, believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, and walks with Him in the newness of life. But it began with God. In the beginning God chose us in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), and predestinated us to be His children (Ephesians 1:5), and today “we love Him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Everything begins with God. Understand that and you will not stray far from the truth.
The Book of Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. In fact, the word “genesis” means “beginning.” Someone said, “The Book of Genesis is the seed plot of the Bible.” It contains in seed form all the great doctrines and truths revealed more fully in the rest of the Volume. In the Book of Genesis…
· God is revealed. — He is revealed as the Creator-God, the Covenant Keeping God, and the Almighty God, “the Most High, Possessor of Heaven and Earth.” From the opening verse hints are given concerning the Blessed Trinity, the plurality of Persons in the Godhead (Elohim — “Let us make man.).
NOTE: The creation of the world was a work that involved all three Persons in the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, even as the works of redemption and providence involve all three of the Divine Persons.
· The origin and character of man is setforth. — First, we see him as God’s creature, then as a fallen sinner, then as one brought back to God, finding grace in His sight, walking with God, and made the friend of God.
· Satan’s devices are exposed. — The arch-enemy of our souls, the tempter, the deceiver seeks to ruin men by calling into question the Word of God, casting doubt upon the goodness of God, and raising suspicions about the veracity of God.
· God’s sovereign election is exhibited. — God approves of Abel and rejects Cain. God chooses Abram and passes by his idolatrous neighbors. God chooses Isaac and rejects Ishmael. God loves Jacob and hates Esau.
· Salvation in Christ is typically displayed. — Our fallen parents, Adam and Eve, were sought and found by grace and clothed with the skins of innocent victims. In order to clothe the fallen pair, blood must be shed, the innocent victim had to die in the place of the guilty. As those innocent animals were slain for Adam and Eve, so the Lord Jesus Christ was slain for sinners that we might be robed forever in His perfect righteousnesss.
· Justification by faith is revealed. — Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righeousness. Faith, by believing God’s testimony concerning His Son, receives righteousness, the very righteousness of God in Christ.
· The believer’s security is beautifully displayed. — As the Lord brought Noah and his family into the ark and shut them in, so every believer, being brought into Christ by almighty grace is shut in in Him, sealed, preserved, and kept secure by the power and grace of God. — “They shall never perish!”
The incarnation of Christ is prophesied. The substitutionary death of Christ is protrayed. The resurrecrtion and exaltation of Christ is symbolized. The priesthood of Christ is anticipated. And the blessings of Christ upon the Israel of God are declared. Genesis is the Book of Beginnings. And in this Book of Beginnings everything speaks of Christ.
In the Book of Beginnings, “Christ is all, and in all.”
I have deliberately strayed from my subject a little, because I want you to know Christ Who is the Beginning of the creation of God. All things were made by Him and for Him. He is before all things. He is in all things. By Him all things consist. And all things point to Him. The new creation, which is portrayed in the creation of the world, begins with Christ. You must know the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the One Who made all things in the beginning. And He is the One who declares, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
Now look at verse 1 again. — “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” — The creation was a reflection of the Creator.
Confusion and the Fall
In verse 2 we read that the earth became “without form and void.”
(Genesis 1:2) “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
But it certainly was not created that way (Read Isaiah 45:18).
(Isaiah 45:18) “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
The word translated “vain” in Isaiah 45:18 is exactly the same word translated “without form” in Genesis 1:2. It means “empty, desolate, worthless, a useless waste”. That which is “without form and void” has no life, is incapable of life, and cannot sustain life. That is what the earth became; but that is not the way God created it. In its pristine beauty the earth was perfect beyond imagination.
· No groans of suffering! No worms of corruption!
· No darkness of iniquity! No shades of death!
· God reigned supreme, without rival.
Then something happened. It became “without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” So, the second thing we see is a description of the ruin and confusion of God’s creation.
(Genesis 1:2) “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
The word “was” in verse 2 really should be translated “became” (Strong’s Concordance). God did not create the world in a state of confusion. Between verse 1 and 2, some terrible catastrophe took place. Perhaps the castastrophe was the fall of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-18).
(Isaiah 14:12-17) “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (15) Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (16) They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; (17) That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?”
(Ezekiel 28:14-18) “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (15) Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (16) By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (17) Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (18) Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.”
Whatever the catastrophe was, it left the earth “without form and void,” a desolate, uninhabitable, ruined mass of confusion.
NOTE: I have no interest in trying to answer the quibbles of godless scientists and evolutionary philosophers. But if it could be irrefutably established that the earth was many thousands, or even millions of years old, that would be no contradiction to the Scriptures. We have no indication of how long an interval there was between the creation of the world in verse 1 and the chaos of verse 2. It is certainly wide enough to embrace all the prehistoric ages that may have existed! However, all that took place from Genesis 1:3-31 transpired in six twenty-four hour days, about six thousand years ago.
“In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). — There is a difference between “creating” and “making”. In Genesis 1:1, God created the world out of nothing. In Genesis 1:2, “the earth became without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” In Genesis 1:3-31, God made the earth in six days, forming it and fashioning it out of that which He had created.
“Out of the chaos was brought the ‘cosmos’, which signifies order, arrangement, beauty. Out of the waters emerged the earth. A scene of desolation, darkness, and death, was transformed into one of light, life, and fertility, so that at the end all was pronounced, ‘very good.’”
(A. W. PinK)
As this is a picture of the world’s history, it is also a picture of man’s history. In the beginning of time, on the sixth day, God created man. What a creature he was, created in the image and likeness of God, gloriously reflecting the very character of God! God Himself said man was “very good!” He had no sinful heredity behind him, no sinful principle within him, no sinful stain upon him, and no sinful environment around him. Man and woman walked together with God in the bliss of perfection, contentment and mutual delight. Man was delighted with God and God was delighted with man.
Then a catastrophe! It is described in Genesis 3. Sin dared to raise its horrid head against God. Man defied God’s right to be God. Sin entered into the world, and death by sin. Man died. He was separated from God. The earth was cursed. It began to bring forth thorns and thistles. God’s creature became without form and void. The dark slime of the serpent has corrupted the race of mankind. This great catastrophe, the fall, is verified in hearts of all Adam’s descendants.
· Man is fallen (Ecclesiastes 7:9).
· Man is alienated from God (Ephesians 4:18).
· Man is depraved (Jeremiah. 17:9).
· Man is spiritually dead (Romans 5:12).
Genesis 1:2 describes the condition of fallen man. Like the earth after Satan’s fall, so man after Adam’s fall is in a state of disorder.
Restoration and the New Creation
Now, let me show you how the rest of this chapter describes the restoration of God’s creation (vv. 2-31). Time will not permit me to explain the meaning of every verse; and if I had plenty of time, I do not pretend to have the ability. There is much more in this chapter that I do not understand than there is that I do; but I do understand, and understand clearly, that which the Spirit of God here teaches us. I want to show you the spiritual significance of these verses.
The order followed by God in restoring the physical creation is the same order followed by God in the new creation, in the restoration of fallen man by His almighty grace. The work of God in the restoration of His creation corresponds exactly to the believer’s experience of grace. Here are seven works performed by God in the restoration of His creation which pictures His work of grace in chosen, redeemed sinners.
1. “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (v. 2).
The earth, no doubt, moved in its orbit and rotated upon its own axis, but its motions could not mend it. It had to be moved upon by the Spirit of God. Otherwise, it would forever remain “without form and void.”
Even so, regeneration is not accomplished by the works of man or the emotions of the heart, but by the working of God the Holy Spirit. The new birth is not an evolution, but a creation. — “It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). — “It is the Spirit tht quickeneth; the flesh profitteth nothing” (John 6:63).
The new birth is not accomplished by man’s movement toward God, but by God’s movement upon the heart of man.
2. “And God said, Let there be light; and there was light” (v. 3).
Mark this down — If the Spirit of God moves upon a man it is by the Word of God. No less than ten times in this chapter we read these words, “and God said.” God will not work apart from his Word. Without question, God could have refashioned and restored the earth without speaking a word. But He did not. His purposes were worked out and His counsels were fulfilled by His Word. Light came and was produced by the Word of God.
These two things are inseparably joined together — The ministry of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the Word of God.
3. “And God divided the light from the darkness” (v. 4).
As God separated the light from the darkness in the old creation, so He separates the light from the darkness in the new creation. — “Ye are the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5).
The Word of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit working in the new man, divides between the soul and the spirit, separates the spiritual from the carnal (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Note: Those who are born of God know light from darkness. And they walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:5-7).
(1 John 1:5-7) “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (6) If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
4. “And God said, Let the earth bring forth fruit” (v. 11).
Where there is the work of the Spirit, the Word of God, and the light of grace, there will be fruit unto God (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit is the result of a condition, not an effort. It is the result of what we are, not of what we do. The fruit of Christ in us is Christ likeness. Those who are born of God bear fruit after his kind. The seed within bears fruit after its kind on the earth. Apples produce apples. Grapes produce grapes. And grace produces grace. (Character and Conduct)
5. “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven…to give light upon the earth” (vv. 14-15).
The lights must be above the earth if they are to shine upon it. Now you who are born of God have been raised above the earth. — “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the moon reflects the light of the sun, the heaven-born soul reflects the light of Christ in this world — By the Gospel we Believe and Preach — By the Lives we Live (Matthew 5:16; (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8).
6. “God created man in His own image” (v. 27).
Here is the climax of the Creator’s power. God made man in His own likeness. And He made him out of the soil of the earth, even the earth which had become “without form and void!” But here is a work even greater. In the new creation the God of all grace creates sinners new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15; Colossians 3:10). God takes men and women who are utterly “without form and void” spiritually and makes them exact replicas of His dear Son!
· By Redemption!
· By Regeneration!
· By Resurrection!
7. And God blessed the man He had made and gave him dominion over all his creation (vv. 29-31).
(Genesis 1:29-31) “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Those who are born of God are blessed of God (Ephesians 1:3). — “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” And one day soon God shall put all things under your feet even as He has put all things under the feet of His dear Son (Hebrews 2:6-9; Romans 16:20). Then the purpose of God shall be fulfilled. Then God shall be all in all! —— Then the Sabbath!
Application: Until you are one with Christ you are out of harmony with God’s creation. Come to Christ. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do, I tell you upon the authority of God’s Holy Word that you are a new creature in Christ!
(2 Corinthians 5:17) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com