Thursday, February 12, 2015

Primary Issue: Creation as Genesis and All of Scripture Dogmatically Teaches

Excerpts from John MacArthur's sermon on The Theology of Creation:

Now, because the Bible is so clear about this in Genesis 1, and then giving us an even further and more detailed look at this creation, rehearsing its elements in a broader way in chapter 2, you face a test at the very outset of the Bible.... And the test is this, do you believe the Scripture? Do you believe the Scripture? That is the test. No one gets past the opening verses of the Bible without having to face the test of whether or not that person believes the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God. Do you submit to Scripture? Genesis 1 is your first test.

The first word is, faithfulness. Either you believe what the Bible says or you don’t. That’s the test. You can accept what Genesis says, or you can reject it. You can’t change it, you don’t have that privilege. In fact, were you to add to Scripture or take anything from it would be added to you the plagues that are written in it. There’s no need for you to edit God. There is nothing lacking anywhere in Scripture and that’s true of Genesis 1 and 2 which somehow needs you to embellish it. You either accept it or you reject it, you have those two options....

You weren’t there and nobody else was there, only God was there and told us how He did it. You can either believe it or you can reject it. If it’s true, the Bible is true. If it’s not true, the Bible is suspect. If you look at it the other way, if the Bible is true then this is true.
The issue, friends, is fidelity to the truth. This is theological. I’m very much aware of the interesting creation research. I’m very interested in science that is being done today by Christians who believe in creation. But I think there’s a very large missing component, and that is the biblical theology of creation. They seem to always be trying to prove their point that evolution doesn’t exist by using some scientific method. And while nothing in the world supports evolution, nothing, nothing in the world supports evolution now or in creation, disproving evolution now doesn’t necessarily disprove it in creation because there is no scientific explanation for creation. So we don’t gain any ground by somehow saying that because evolution doesn’t exist now, it couldn’t have existed then. God did not use evolution because it is clear in Genesis that He created everything in six days....
Furthermore, look at Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 3. “By we go, fidelity, faith, faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the Word of God.” We have to do this by faith, right? We weren’t there. No one was there. It is by faith. “So that...this is very critical, verse 3...what is seen...what is seen, the material creation...was not made of things which are visible.” In other words, God made everything that we now see from what is invisible. That is to say He made everything out of nothing, ex nihilo. Hebrews 11:3 is telling us what Genesis records, that God created everything that exists in the universe out of nothing, from no preexisting material, obviously, that obviates evolution....
So I say to you, Scripture is the test then of what you believe about origins. Scripture is the test. And we come to the formidable battleground on this issue and it is a formidable one. Even Paul recognized it when he said this to Timothy, 1 Timothy 6:20, “Guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called science which some have professed and gone astray from the faith.” Watch out for false knowledge, false science.
These are the things which Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 10:3 to 5, these are the ideologies, every high idea raised up against the knowledge of God. So the first word to consider in the theology of origins is the word fidelity, trust in Scripture. The matter of origins is the foundation. It’s the starting point of all reality revealed in the Bible. It is your first opportunity to believe the Bible or to reject the Bible. But understand that whatever you do with Genesis 1 and 2 sets the tone for your attitude toward Scripture....
There’s a national ministry that not too many years ago was having one of the greatest impacts on this country of any ministry in terms of numbers of people influenced ever. That ministry affirmed the gospel of Christ, the authority of Scripture, said it was Bible based, Christ proclaiming, gospel centered.
A letter was written to t he president of that organization to ask the position of the organization on origins. Here’s the written answer. “Our ministry takes no stand on such secondary issues. Our efforts are designed to bring people together based on the historically essential doctrines of orthodox Christianity. Creation is one of those secondary doctrines and we believe it falls into the category of non-essentials like spiritual gifts, eternal security and the Rapture, etc.”
All of a sudden we have an organization that’s now decided what the second class doctrines are. Amazing. We don’t get into secondary issues. There isn’t any issue more primary than this because it’s the first one you’re confronted with when you open your Bible and get past the title page. Amazing.... 
There are all kinds of examples of this. Read Psalm 33. All kinds of examples of this, worshiping God as the Creator. There’s no question about the fact that the writers of the New Testament affirm the Genesis record. There are 165 passages in Genesis directly quoted or referred to in the New Testament. Genesis has alluded to 200 times, 165 of them are quotes or direct references. They’re all clear. They’re all simple, straightforward affirmations of the book of Genesis and the simple account of creation that is contained there. Every New Testament writer, every New Testament writer refers to Genesis. Universally the writers of the New Testament affirm the reality and the truthfulness of Genesis. According then to the plain meaning of Genesis 1:1 in the original Hebrew, the infinite, personal, eternal God at a particular chosen point in eternity created all reality outside of Himself out of nothing. The verb in the Hebrew in the kal stem bara(????) has a much more limited use than we would use the word “create” in English, and it means to bring something into existence out of nothing..ex nihilo(??). This has been the universal confidence of God’s true people through history.
To reject the Genesis account is to reject not only Old Testament worship but New Testament worship and the worship of the church of Jesus Christ through the subsequent centuries when the believers put their confidence in their God and their Christ as the Creator. So fidelity and simplicity rest together.
As we read in Colossians, “All things created by Him and for Him.” And what is this grand design? What is this grand purpose? What is God doing? Why did He create this universe? Why did He create the earth? Why did He put on the earth all these creatures? Why did He make man? What is the point of all of this?
And the answer is, “The grand design is redemption.” The grand design is the gathering of a redeemed people into eternal glory for the purpose of worshiping Him forever and ever. And all God’s works of creation and providence and consummation are all associated with the work of redemption. The work of redemption is not incidental, it is the reason why the universe exists. It is the reason why there is an earth. It is the reason why there is a supporting life system for man. Every part of the creation is intended to focus on the purpose of redemption.
Even the heavens are declaring the glory of God so that men might be led to redemption. Even the beast of the field gives Him honor so that men might be led to the God who created the beast of the field that they might see Him as not just Creator but Redeemer. Every molecule in the created material universe, every spiritual entity be it a demon or a human fits somewhere into the subordinated purposes of God under the great unfolding plan of redemption.
In Ephesians chapter 3, just to show you this quickly, in Ephesians chapter 3 and verse 8, Paul says, “To me the very least of all saints, the grace was given to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things...listen to this...He created all things, He created all things in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
That is just profound. Why did He create all things? In order that He might put on a display of manifold wisdom for all the angels of heaven to see and for which they would forever praise Him. He created to redeem, to display His glory to the holy angels.
So, when you look at creation, you must understand that in creation is the very beginning of the purposes of God in redemption. The New Testament makes those kinds of connections as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. Romans chapter 5, I think, very familiar to us, verses 18 and 19, draw parallels between creation and redemption. 
 But perhaps the riches analogy between redemption and creation is in 2 Corinthians 4, and I want you to look at that and this is where we’ll kind of tie our thoughts together. Second Corinthians chapter 4, “For God who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness.’” Now we’ll stop right there.
What’s that referring to? What’s it referring to? Creation. God said, “Let there be light.” And so, Paul sees in the original creation of light a picture, an analogy of the light of salvation. For God who said light shall shine out of darkness. Do I need to remind you about that? “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Genesis 1:1. But verse 2 says, “And the earth was without form and void and...what?...darkness was over the face of the deep.”
It was formless. It was lifeless. It was empty. It was a void of darkness until God said, “Let there be light.” And the rest of the verse, “It is that God who spoke light into the primaeval darkness who is the One who has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”
Folks, God creating light in the midst of the darkness by His sovereign instantaneous power is a picture of what He does in the darkness of the sinner’s heart. If you introduce some convoluted concept of evolution into the book of Genesis, you tamper with the sovereign, divine, instantaneous miracle of God who gives life to a dark universe as parallel to God who gives light in an instant to a dark heart.
End quotes.

1 comment:

Peter G said...

Amen, well said.