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News for Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Sunday School Lesson — Bible Studies for Life
Feb. 16: How Did We Get Here … and Why?
By Josh Moore
Focal Passage: Genesis 1:1-3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 26-27
The controversy between belief in creation or evolution continues to rage in this country. Just this week, Ken Ham, cofounder of Answers in Genesis, debated Bill Nye (the Science Guy), an avowed evolutionist and agnostic, at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. The national media coverage of this debate demonstrates the power this issue has over the American psyche. Academic and media establishments in this country and around the globe label any brand of evangelical understanding of life’s origins to be intellectually suspect and injurious to serious scientific inquiry. Yet, believers, who take the Bible seriously as the divine revelation of God, are compelled by two incontrovertible facts in Genesis chapter one that stand diametrically opposed to naturalistic evolutionary theory.
God created the universe out of nothing by His Word (vv. 1-3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20). Genesis 1:1 states clearly that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The very first sentence of the Bible argues against several views prevalent today. First, this verse rejects naturalistic evolution. Naturalism argues that the universe has always existed and has developed through chance reactions to culminate in the world we live in today. The Bible, however, declares that the universe had a beginning, and is dependent upon God for its very existence. Second, Genesis 1 opposes polytheism. The triune God created the world by Himself; He did not need any other agent for creation. Unlike the pagan gods during Moses’ day, God did not need pre-existent material from which to fashion the world. He merely spoke creation into existence out of nothing. As the days unfold in the first chapter of Genesis, we see the order of God’s creation on display. This order demonstrates the ultimate rationality and wisdom of the Creator God. This orderly account opposes the prevalent polytheistic views which saw the creation as a result of chaotic clashes between rival gods. Third, Genesis 1 opposes pantheism, which sees God and the created order as the same being. Although God intimately cares for and providentially rules over the created order, He is separate from it. God does not need the creation for Himself to exist. Instead He graciously created the world and provided a way of salvation for humanity to have a relationship with Him. Fourth, Genesis 1 contradicts dualism, which argues that evil, along with God, is eternal. Yet, God’s Word declares evil had a beginning, and it will have an end. God speaking the universe into existence demonstrates His tremendous power. As we learn more and more about the complexity and immensity of the cosmos, we stand in awe of the might and wisdom of the Creator.
God created humanity in His own image (vv. 26-27). In the second part of creation’s sixth day, God made humanity in His own image. When God created us in His image, He gave us a spiritual awareness and capacity to relate to God. Also implied in this relationship with God as image bearers is the dominion given to humanity over the created order. We should be faithful trustees of this responsibility, not exploiting creation for our own purposes. Although the image of God was tarnished and perverted by the Fall, it was not totally lost (Gen. 9:6). The purpose of God in creating man in His image is ultimately fulfilled by Jesus Christ the Redeemer. It is no coincidence that Paul describes believers in Christ as new creations (II Corinthians 5:17). A good God fashioned a good creation with love. Although humanity and the world is corrupted in sin and rebellion, God purposes to glorify Himself by restoring His creation through the redemption of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:21-22).
— Moore is the director of church relations at Union University in Jackson. He also serves as pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church, Milan.
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