Genesis 1:1 - 2:3
✠ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ✠
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” All things have a beginning except God. He alone is eternal and uncreated. We reject the evolutionist belief that the stuff of this universe has always been here and somehow formed itself into what we see now. For then we would be declaring the universe to be eternal, making a god out of creation rather than the Creator. That is the very definition of idolatry.
The God who created all things out of nothing is the Triune God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–three eternal Persons in one divine Being. Even in the beginning, we have a glimpse of God in His three-in-oneness. The Father creates. The Word of the Son is spoken. The Spirit of God hovers over the water. The Father creates through the Word, His Son, and He does it by the Holy Spirit who is in and with the water. You can see here that creation and baptism are intimately connected with one another. Both are beginnings, creation and new creation, the work of the Father through the Son in the Spirit with the water.
Interestingly, the Gospel of John in the New Testament begins just like Genesis, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Through Him all things were made.” The Word is Jesus, the Word made Flesh. Through the living Word of His Son, God created everything out of nothing. “Let there be light,” the Word says, “and there was light.” The Word is powerful and creative. He brings about what He says. Through the Word all things were made–water and sky, plants and trees, fish and birds, animals and man. All creatures owe their existence to Christ the Word, whether they know Him or not. In fact, it is written in Colossians 1 that not only were all things were created through the Son of God but that in Him all things hold together still. Jesus is the Logos, He is the logic, the wisdom of the universe. The Laws of nature, the intricate complexities of the smallest strand of DNA to the largest galaxy, the beauty and the orderliness and the liveliness of creation all find their source in Him.
One of the many reasons we reject the theory of evolution, then, is because it’s opposed to this Scriptural truth of the centrality of Christ. It imagines that all this beauty and order and life can be produced by chance random processes, that chaos can order itself, without any person doing the designing and organizing and sustaining. To use a familiar example: if I were to say that an auto assembly plant exploded, and out of that Big Bang, after a long, long time, came a perfectly assembled car, you’d think I was a little nuts. And yet what evolution proposes is infinitely more improbable than that; for our eyes, our brains, our DNA are vastly more complex in their design than a car. Not only does evolution fail to say where all the stuff in the universe came from (which is no small matter); the key question that evolution has yet to explain is: how can life come from something that’s not alive, as evolution proposes? Such a thing has never ever been done in the laboratory in even the most rudimentary way. We know that life only comes from another living thing, and that the Source of all life is God. The fact that there are similarities among living things is not a sign that we have the same ancestors, but that we have the same Creator. Our God is like a great artist who in His creatures shows a definite style to His work.
Of course, there are some who try to embrace both sides of the debate: Believe in God and believe in evolution. They propose that God created all things through the process of evolution. But that is mere fantasy and a delusion when compared to Scripture. For not only do the time frames not work–7 ordinary days of evening and morning vs. billions and billions of years–but the way in which all life, especially human life, comes into being couldn’t be more different. For the evolutionist, to get to human beings like you and me, death has to be in existence right from the start. It’s a necessary factor in the process of only the strong surviving and supposedly developing into higher and higher forms of life. There’s all sorts of death and bloodshed before human beings ever come on the scene. But there is no death at all in Genesis 1 and 2, not even among the animals. Full-fledged human beings are present before there is any death. What does Scripture say? “The wages of sin is death.” First God creates human beings, and then there’s death after they fall into sin. Evolution turns that Scriptural truth completely upside down and replaces it with a lie. For by denying that death is the wages of sin, it denies the need for a Savior from sin. It denies Christ. It undermines the Gospel which says that Christ took the wages of death upon Himself to free us from the curse of sin when He died in our place on the cross. Denying the Biblical narrative of creation undermines and contradicts belief in Jesus. For Jesus is the creative Word made flesh who alone breaks the curse of sin on this fallen world by His death and resurrection and brings the new creation.
It is only after the fall of mankind in the Garden that we see and experience death and disorder and decay all around us. It is written, “The whole creation groans.” The groanings can be heard in the earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes and fires that turn order into a pile of disordered rubble. Many creatures no longer multiply as they once did. Species go extinct. Weeds grow in our garden. Our attempts to rule over and use this creation often end up harming creation.
Above all, we see that death and disorder in ourselves. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, turned away from God’s creative and ordering Word and believed the father of lies, who said that God is not to be trusted. The Lie turned the creature against the Creator. Turned inward on ourselves, the image of God is broken in us. There is disorder in our homes and our relationships with others. There is disorder in our hearts, where what we desire and what we know is right are in conflict. There is disorder in our bodies, where sickness and bodily ailments take their toll, leaving us finally in the disordered dust of the grave.
This is how it is. The Word brings life. The Lie brings death. The Word says, “Be fruitful and multiply.” The Lie says, “Children are a burden, not a blessing. Better not have too many. Separate the sexual relationship from the creation of life.” The Word says, “The two shall become one flesh.” The Lie says, “You don’t need God to join you together in the life of marriage to have sex. Follow your heart’s desires and needs and passions.” The Word says, “Male and female He created them.” The Lie says, “Male and male is fine; female and female is fine. People should be free to love whomever they want, even to live according to whatever gender they choose.” The Word says, “Have dominion over creation; fill the earth and subdue it. Continue God’s creative and ordering work.” The Lie says, “Human beings have no more right to life than the animals, perhaps even less than they do.” The Word says, “God is your Father; you shall be as He is.” The Lie says, “The animals are your ancestors; you shall behave as they do.” The Lie says, “You’re fine just the way you are; no need to change.” The Word says, “Repent, and believe the Gospel.”
And here is that Gospel: Just as He did in the very beginning, yet again 2000 years ago God spoke His Word into the chaos and darkness of this fallen world. The Father spoke His Word by the Spirit to a young girl named Mary, and the creative Word was made Flesh in her womb. The creative and ordering Word who made all things and set them in order in the beginning was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in the person of Jesus.
Jesus entered this world bearing our humanity to set things in order once again, to battle the darkness and the disorder. He healed the diseased. He cast out demons. He brought mercy and forgiveness to tax collectors and prostitutes and sinners, calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light. He brought order to our disordered humanity. He undid the damage of the Lie and took the curse of the Law against our rebellion. Jesus took into Himself the disorder and the darkness and the decay and the death and He put it all to death in His body on the cross.
When Jesus rose bodily from the grave on the first day of the week, a new creation dawned. It is the chief reason that Sunday is called the Lord’s Day in the new testament. The resurrection marks the beginning of a new creation. Just as light first shone into the darkness on the first day of the old creation, so the light of Christ broke through the darkness of our death on the first day of the week. A new creation has broken in even as this old one is passing away.
And the creation account itself in Genesis actually foretells and foreshadows this saving work of Christ. For notice how the days are marked: it’s not morning and then evening the way we usually think of it, but first evening and then morning. First it’s darkness, then it’s light. First it’s the shadow of death, then it’s the light of life. Jesus dies in the darkness of Good Friday to subdue creation, which literally shook at His death, and then He rises at the dawn of Easter on the first day of the week to be the Light of the world, to put an end to death and to bring about a new creation.
Man was created on the sixth day, and then God rested on the seventh. In Jesus who is the new Adam, man was redeemed and recreated on the 6th day of the week, Good Friday. He then rested in the tomb on the seventh day, having finished His work of redemption. And He rose again to bring about an eternal eighth day, a day of unending light and life. The Scriptures say that in the new creation there will be no night. For the Lord God will be its light at all times, and the Lamb will be its lamp. We will need no rest; for He Himself is our rest and our peace. For from Him flows mercy and forgiveness and life. In Jesus the image of God is restored to us. In Jesus our lost humanity is given back to us, and we are made fully human again, prepared body and soul to live in the joys of God’s presence.
And again, all of this is accomplished by the words of God. He speaks, and it is so. “Let there be light,” and there was light. Jesus says to the nobleman in the Gospel, “Your son lives,” and indeed he lives and is well. Jesus’ Word accomplishes what it says. And so it is for you. Jesus speaks His Word to you, and His Word creates what He says. “Be still and know that I am God.” And your hearts and minds are stilled and calmed. “I forgive you all your sins.” And your sins are truly removed from you as far as the east is from the west. “This is My body; this is my blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” And indeed, by that Word, the bread actually is His body and the wine actually is His blood, that you may be cleansed and filled with His life and light. God’s creative Word is still in effect for you. Like the nobleman in the Gospel, trust in that Word. Cling to it. Believe it that you may receive its blessing. For only the Word of Christ can recreate you and put you back in order again. It is written, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” “Then God saw everything that He had made in Christ, and indeed it was very good.”
✠ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ✠
(The first paragraphs above are adapted from a sermon by the Rev. William Cwirla.)