Monday, January 4, 2016

"In the beginning ..."

Day #1

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 1-3 ...

"In the beginning God created ..."  From the first words of Genesis the God who created the world and everything in it begins to reveal Himself to His special creation, mankind, through written words.  Genesis 1 reveals information that no human being could know unless God Himself revealed it.  While some ask how Moses, the writer of Genesis, could possibly know the details of God’s creation “in the beginning,” a brief examination of the genealogies in Genesis 5 and Genesis 10 reveal that Adam was still alive during the life of Noah’s father, Lamech.  Certainly, the oral account of creation, revealed by God to Adam, was passed on through the generations in both oral and written form.  From ancient philosophers to modern scientists mankind has attempted to find an alternate truth to the first five words of the Bible, with no success.  “In the beginning God created!”

It is no surprise that Satan, who enters history in Chapter 3, after having rebelled against God in heaven, would attempt to discredit the truth of God's Word at its most foundational point: Creation.  God reveals that He spoke and things came into being.  The creative power of God is the living Word of God, as the Apostle John begins his Gospel:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:1-3).

God’s sovereignty, His rule over His creation, including mankind, is at the heart of Genesis 1-3.  The Bible tells us that believers were chosen “in Christ before the creation of the world.”  Adam and Eve were created by God with a free will.  They could choose to obey God or to disobey God.  As the first man, Adam was the representative of the entire human race.  Therefore, when Adam chose to sin, to disobey God, to reject His rule over him and his wife, his very nature became sinful and that nature was passed on to all of mankind.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:12:  “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned ...”

God created Adam and Eve knowing that they would reject Him, but already having planned to send His Son, the living Word, into the world to be the “second Adam,” who would redeem those who would be saved, who would believe by the power of the Holy Spirit giving them new life.  This is the message of the entire Bible, and it begins here, in Genesis.

Reject the fact of God’s creation and you have no answers for how we got here, the purpose of life or what happens when we die.  Reject the truth of God’s creation and man is a "free agent," able to determine his own fate, his own destiny.  If Genesis 1-3 is not true, then mankind is an accident of evolution and the future is subject to blind chance ... or worse yet, the sinful will of mankind.  Either mankind was created in God's image, rebelled against God and is now facing the consequences of that rebellion OR mankind is the result of a chaotic process that has left this world in its present circumstance, with the pinnacle of evolution now able to destroy the very planet that produced our species through a series of chance events.  

The darkness of the human mind should be readily obvious.  Choosing to reject God and to deny the truth in spite of the testimony of creation itself, mankind gives up the only ray of hope that shines in the darkness:  the promise of a Savior!  Mankind must now attempt to save the world, because they have no other hope.  All of the talk about climate change and what the nations of the world must do to save the planet reveals the desperation of those who have rejected the God of creation.

Why is the world in such a horrible state?  God answers that question in Romans 1:18-21 for all who have His Spirit and who have been given understanding:  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  Rejecting the truth does not change the truth!!

We read in Psalm 19:1-4:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”  Indeed, all people are without excuse for rejecting the one true God, our Creator!

But God offers hope to those whose minds are opened by His Spirit and who believe that God is, indeed, our Creator.  Genesis 2 is a more detailed account of God's creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, the only part of God's creation that was created in His image, with a spirit ... with the ability to commune with God.  Did God know what Satan would do?  Did God know the man would disobey God and fall into sin?  Did God know that His perfect creation would be affected for thousands of years?  Yes ... Yes ... and Yes ...  Then why??

Because God desired to reveal His holiness, His justice, His mercy, His grace and His love to those whom He chose before the world was even created (Ephesians 1:4).  And so the first promise of the Gospel is found in Genesis 3:15:  "And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; HE will crush your head, and you will strike His heel."  Here is hope!  The hope of redemption, reconciliation, restoration ... the hope of LIFE!! God’s fulfillment of this promise is what the rest of the Bible is about!

Hope is given birth in the words, "In the beginning, God created!"  The same God who created all things out of nothing can give new life to those who are spiritually and even physically dead.  He is the God who revealed Himself to Moses and whose Word you are now reading.  Give thanks to God for His Word and believe what it says and you will have life through the promised Savior, Jesus Christ.

"O Lord God, open the eyes of the blind and renew the hope of those who have believed your Word; that You, O Lord our God, may be worshiped and adored as our Creator, our Redeemer and our Savior, through Jesus Christ, Your eternal Son, the Word made flesh.  Amen"

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