God’s Greatest Dream

Genesis 1-2

January 8, 2006 | Brian Bill

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that they had come a long way and no longer needed God.  So they picked the smartest one to go and tell God that they were done with Him.  The man walked up to the Lord and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you.  We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so don’t bother us anymore.”

God listened very patiently and then said, “Very well, but before I leave you alone let’s have a man-making contest.”  To which the scientist replied, “Okay, great!”  But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”  The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” as he bent down to grab himself a handful of dirt.  God looked at him and said, “What are you doing?  Go get your own dirt!” 

For the next nine weeks we’re taking a journey through the first five books of the Bible, commonly called the Pentateuch, or the Torah.  We know them as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. 

You see, many people say that the Old Testament is boring.  I beg to differ, and you will to if you read it personally, learn it corporately, and apply it in community.  As one of your pastors I’m personally challenged by George Barna’s recent rant against the biblical illiteracy that is all too common in churches today.  Listen to what he says: “Although most contend that the Bible contains truth and is worth knowing, and most argue that they know all of the relevant truths and principles, our research shows otherwise…people are oblivious to committed study of the Bible for various reasons.  Among those are the fact that they think they know what is important to know; churches have de-emphasized Bible teaching; families have become too busy…and the messages derived from cultural communications often directly conflict with biblical messages, causing confusion or an outright rejection of biblical themes.”  

In the Beginning

Let’s begin where it all begins in the book that is called “beginnings,” the Book of Genesis.  The opening verse of the Bible is perhaps the most controversial but is also the most beautiful for from these words everything else flows: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Skeptics, atheists, evolutionists, unbelievers and doubters of all varieties have taken aim with their artillery against the opening chapters of Genesis, arguing that it is absurd to believe in a 6-day Creation, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal serpent talking, a Garden of Eden, Noah and the Ark, a worldwide flood and the Tower of Babel.  As Ray Pritchard points out, “Unfortunately, many Christians have bought into these attacks to a significant degree.  Because we are intimidated by the cacophony of criticism…it has been easier for us to keep silent so we won’t be mocked or to make a series of compromises so that we can live at peace with the unbelieving majority…there is no need to make compromises with unbelievers.  It never works, it never helps, and they won’t be convinced by our compromising anyway.”

We could say it this way.  If Genesis is not true, then the whole Bible is suspect.  If you can’t trust what is written here, how can you trust the rest of Scripture?  A.W. Pink refers to Genesis as the “seed plot of the Bible.”  If you discount Adam and Eve, how can you be sure Christ is real?  Jesus, Paul, and Peter took Genesis literally.  When discussing marriage, Jesus quoted from Genesis 1 (Matthew 19:1-9).  He also referred to Noah by name (Matthew 24:37).  Paul directly compared Adam to Jesus in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 and in 1 Timothy 2:13 refers to Adam and Eve.  Paul also holds up Abraham and Sarah as models of faith in many of his letters (Galatians 3:6-9).  Peter references Noah and the flood (2 Peter 2:5).  There are nine references to Adam and Eve as historical people outside of the Pentateuch.  If you scoff at the opening verses of Scripture, be careful because the Bible is really an interlocking puzzle, with no unimportant pieces.  Remember that “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16).  

Our emphasis in this 9-week study will be a bit different from other series, in that we will not be going verse-by-verse.  Instead, we will hit some of the major themes in these five books.  Having said that, I do want to spend some time in the opening verses today because this section is so important and foundational to our faith.  Several truths bubble to the surface right away.

1. God is eternal. 

Notice that we are not given any arguments for the existence of God.  The fact is simply declared: “In the beginning God…” He is referred to by name 35 times in the first 34 verses!  The Bible simply states that when you go back to the very beginning, God is there.  He had no beginning and He will have no end.  This is the foundation of all true theology.  Every other religion starts with man and works its way up to God.  The Bible begins with God, for everything has its beginnings in Him.

2. God created everything. 

The second part of verse 1 is profound and yet simple enough for everyone to understand: “God created the heavens and the earth.”  Elohim brings design out of disorder; He created the cosmos out of chaos; He birthed beauty out of barrenness, and He continues to do the same in lives today.  

“So God made the expanse…” (7)

“…He also made the stars.” (16)

“So God created the great creatures of the sea…” (21)

“God made the wild animals…” (25)

“God saw all that He had made…” (31)

When contemplating God’s creation we see that it is…

  • Pervasive.  When you look up into the sky, you are gazing at God’s creation; when you look around the earth there is nothing that He has not created.  Revelation 4:11 states this truth clearly: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” 
He cares for His creation with tenderness and compassion, hovering and helping and holding everything together
  • Personal.  God is not some detached deity who flung things into existence from a distance.  Nor is He a mere cosmic force.  He sees and speaks and is personally involved.  God took what was formless and empty and filled it with purpose and meaning.  Out of nothing, he created something.  Look at the last part of verse 2: “…And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  This is a beautiful word in the Hebrew.  In Deuteronomy 32:11 it’s used to describe the care of a mother eagle caring for her little eaglets as she hovers over them providing care and protection and warmth.  God is personally present as He hovers over the unformed and lifeless material and then births it all into being.  He cares for His creation with tenderness and compassion, hovering and helping and holding everything together.  Incidentally, the Holy Spirit is seen hovering over Jesus at His baptism.
  • Pronounced.  All God had to do was pronounce it and creation came into existence.  He speaks and it is so.  Nine times in this first chapter we read this phrase, “And God said…”  This is followed by “And it was so…”  People much smarter than me call this Creation Ex Nihilo, which means creation out of nothing.  Everything came into existence instantaneously out of no pre-existing material.  One slogan on a T-shirt captures this truth: “I believe in the Big Bang.  God said it and “Bang!  It happened.”  All God has to do is say the “word” and wonders happen!  This shows us that it was effortless and majestic.  Psalm 33:6, 9: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth… For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”  John Piper puts it this way: “God can issue a command that is so powerful that if nothing is there to obey; the word itself brings forth its own obedience through creation out of nothing.
  • Precise.  Nothing about creation is haphazard.  Everything is organized and orderly.  The sequence of events follows each other perfectly; the complexity of nature reflects just the right amount of gravity and oxygen and light and rain and temperature.
  • Perfect.  At the end of each day of creation, we read “And God saw that it was good.”  Six times God declares that what He has done is good.  On day six, as he contemplates what He has created and watches the wonder that sprang into being by His Word, verse 31 says: “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.”  

Many years ago Sir Isaac Newton made an exact miniature replica of our solar system.  At its center was a large golden ball representing the sun, and revolving around it were small spheres attached at the ends of rods of varying lengths.  They represented Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and the other planets.  These were all geared together by cogs and belts to make them move around the “sun” in perfect harmony.  One day as Newton was studying the model, a friend who did not believe in the biblical account of creation stopped by for a visit.  Marveling at the device and watching as the scientist made the heavenly bodies move on their orbits, the man exclaimed, “My, Newton, what an exquisite thing!  Who made it for you?”  Without looking up, Sir Isaac replied, “Nobody.”  “Nobody?” his friend asked.  “That’s right!  I said nobody!  All of these balls and cogs and belts and gears just happened to come together, and wonder of wonders, by chance they began revolving in their set orbits and with perfect timing.”

The unbeliever got the message!  It was foolish to suppose that the model merely happened.  But it is even more senseless to accept the theory that the earth and the vast universe came into being by chance.  How much more logical to believe the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.”  Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

3. Human beings are the climax of creation. 

As you read the first chapter of Genesis, it becomes clear that God created a fully functioning world for the enjoyment of man and woman.  We are separated from all that is around us.  We are not apes, though some of us act like it sometimes.  There are at least three aspects of human beings taught in the first two chapters of Genesis.

  • We come from dust.  Look at Genesis 2:7: “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”  We must never forget that we come from dust and are therefore limited and fragile.  John Ortberg says that we are like little “dust bunnies” that collect under our beds.  We are derived from dust and Genesis 3:19 says: “to dust we will return.”  This should keep us humble as we realize that we are nothing on our own.  We must continually guard ourselves against pride and remember that He is God and we are not.  This lesson was learned the hard way shortly after creation came into existence when God had to scatter the languages in Genesis 11 because the people had united in their efforts to “make a name for themselves” as they made a tower to try to reach the heavens.  God reminded them that they were dust and so He dispersed them over the face of the earth.  Having said that, we are much more than dust.
  • We are created with dignity.  Genesis 1:26-27 says that we are made in God’s image and in His likeness.  We are not the result of some coincidental cosmic accident.  That means that we also have dignity, value, worth and purpose.  We are humbled because we come from dust but we are also honored because we are created with dignity.  You are more than just matter because you matter to the Almighty.  We are the apex of God’s creative work and yet we are not God.  

Do you ever wonder why God created people?  He did so in order to live in community with His creation.  Think of it this way.  God exists in eternal community as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  This doctrine of the Trinity is fully developed in the rest of the Bible but I want you to notice that its found in embryonic form in Genesis 1:1 as we see the Father creating; in verse 2 the Spirit is hovering; and in verse 3 God creates by speaking His Word.  In the beginning of the Gospel of John, we learn that “the Word” through whom all things are created is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 1:1, 14).  I believe there is also an allusion to the Trinity in Genesis 1:26 where the plural is used of God: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…”  God calls us into community so we can bask in the glorious fellowship of the Trinity.

  • We are commissioned with duties.  Life is meant to be lived under His Lordship and design.  Genesis 1:28 says that we are to be fruitful and increase in number (we’ve done a pretty good job on this one) and in Genesis 2:15, Adam is put in the Garden of Eden and is told “to work it and take care of it.” Once everything is in place, God creates peoples to take care of creation.  We are to work and minister because God has invited us to be coworkers and partners with Him.  This by the way is why Evangelicals should be the best environmentalists around.  Unfortunately, as Tony Campolo says, we have allowed New Agers to hijack the environmentalist movement.

Let me mention that if your judge of Scripture is science or a courtroom, you are on very shaky ground.  Science can never prove or disprove the Bible and no judge can determine whether an Intelligent Designer and Benevolent Creator exists or not.  The Holy One will not be held hostage by the demands of proud skeptics.  Some of you might waver in your commitment to biblical creationism, but that’s where faith comes in as Hebrews 11:3 states: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”  I am so thankful that biblical creationism will always be taught at Pontiac Christian School and in this church!  Home-schooling families have that same privilege.  And we can all teach others about God as Creator.  That’s something a judge in Dover can’t take away from us.

For many people evolution is more a religion than it is a science.  Some simply do not want to face the alternative.  For if God made everything and made us, then He has the right to place some demands on us.  The real issue in many cases is not intellectual or scientific; it’s moral and spiritual.  If eternal matter plus impersonal chance caused all this, then we don’t have to submit to it and repent of our sin.  We can live as we please.  In other words, it’s convenient to discount God as Creator.  If creationism is correct, and it is, then the Creator demands a commitment.  Because a personal God created everything in this universe, including human life, we cannot ignore Him and there are some definite implications for us.  Let me mention five from Genesis 1 and 2.


1. God owns all things. 

Properly understood, since He is the Creator, and I am the created, I own nothing.  Psalm 89:11: “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.”  I am but a steward or manager of all that He has given me.  That means that I must use my time, my talents and my treasures accordingly.  Have you settled the ownership issue?  If you have, then you will give back to Him in every way.  Let me challenge you this year to tithe your minutes and your money.  God deserves it all, so we can at least give him a portion of our days and our dollars.  If you work 40 hours a week, why not determine to find a ministry and serve 4 hours a week?  If you make $400 a week, try to give $40 each Sunday.

2. God owns me. 

Romans 9:20: “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Since God owns me, what He wants to do in my life is up to Him.  That means that even the bad things can be used to celebrate His glory and accomplish my good.

3. I must submit and surrender to Him. 

Since He is the head of the universe, He must be Lord of my life

Psalm 95:6: “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”  The ultimate test of whether or not I believe in God as Creator is if I will bow before Him.  Since He is the head of the universe, He must be Lord of my life.  Is He in your life?  Let me encourage you to spend time in God’s beautiful creation and if that’s difficult to find in the flatlands of Illinois, I can recommend a few locations north of here!

4. My life has a purpose. 

Since I am more than dust, God has designed me to display His glory.  In Isaiah 46:10, God says: “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” Do you know why you are here?  It’s not for your enjoyment, but for His.  Figure out how He has made you and commit yourself to making an IMPACT this year through Instruction, Ministry, Prayer, Adoration, Caring and Telling.

5. Allow God to recreate you. 

Is there a spirit of darkness and a deep void in your life?  The Spirit of God is hovering over you right now and wants to help you.  It’s time to reach out to Him and ask Him to save you from your sins.  Because you are made in His image, you can know Him personally.  His greatest dream is for His creation to live in community with Him.

God continues His work of creation and community building today through His church.  Those who have come to saving faith have been recreated according to 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”  God enfolds us then into His church where He continues His work of recreating out of the chaos and brokenness and darkness and void and He then uses believers to rebuild and to restore.  

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?