16 Verses The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses
Genesis 1:31: God creates a kingdom and he is the king
Our journey for the next 16 weeks will be an introduction to what is called “biblical theology”.
Systematic theology takes the broad topics revealed in Scripture and teaches what the whole bible has to say about that topic. (Example: What does the whole bible say about the Holy Spirit?)
Biblical theology is much less neat. Biblical theology is concerned with how the narrative connects from story to story with the common thread of the gospel of the kingdom. How does each person, story, pattern and type point us to the redemptive work of God in Jesus Christ? This is the quest of biblical theology.
Because Jesus Christ is the fixed point of reference for biblical theology, we are concerned with how the text relates to Christ and how we relate to Christ.蜉
Example: How in the world does the account of the Levite who allows his concubine to be abused, as a result dies, then he cuts her up in 12 pieces and sends those parts to the 12 tribes, therefore inciting a civil war, lead us to Jesus? (See Judges 19-21) It must.
There are two ways. One, in the overall theme of the book, Judges 21:25 tells us that in those days there was no king and everyone did what was right in his own eyes. If we look at this story inside the theme of the book (there was no central and godly leadership and therefore there was ethical chaos) we see the author pointing to the need for a king, and as the next book Ruth reminds us, that king would be David.
However, as good as David was, he couldn’t cure the people of the heart problem of sin because even David will commit adultery and murder. So who will be a perfect king and bring a perfectly ethical kingdom?
Enter the better David, the one who is from the line of David (one of the reasons God gives us genealogies in the beginnings of the gospels to show us Jesus’ connection to David) who would come and establish an unshakable kingdom, Jesus. Jesus is not only the standard of right from wrong but can work on the person at the heart level. This gospel promise brings obedience from a transformed heart.
There is another way. You see in Judges 19 a man who will sacrifice his own wife to save his own skin, which makes him a bad husband. How can we not think about, by contrast, a good husband who will sacrifice his own life to save and purify his wife? Ephesians 5:22ff…Jesus is that good husband who will not sacrifice us for himself rather he will sacrifice himself for us.
This is what we mean to do for the next 16 weeks. We want to help find our way through the biblical narrative to Jesus.
To illustrate: You know the saying “can’t see the forest for the trees”? What that saying means is that we can’t see the entirety of something’s shape and meaning because it’s so large that what makes it large prevents us from seeing it’s largeness.
Well, in our study of “16 verses” we are going to focus on 16 “trees” that will help us navigate our way through the forest of God’s work in history (all history is God’s designed work) and will help us understand other “trees” (stories and people) that climaxes at and centers on the cross and comes to resolution and complete restoration at Christ’s return.
The bible is one book that tells one story, containing 66 chapters and one divine author mediated through human scribes in multiple genres through different times in history that all point us to Jesus, his work and his kingdom.
TREE 1: Genesis 1:31: God creates a kingdom and he is the king
Genesis 1:31 “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
Genesis 1 and 2 give us a glimpse of what will be when Revelation 21-22 come to pass.
God sets the stage for what is normal, right and very good in the first two chapters of Scripture.
We would all do well to note that when the New Testament authors lay out rules for church order they do so from created order in Genesis 1 and 2 as what is right and normal.
Therefore, “Our view of the world begins with our view of God.”蜉 Therefore, our view of the world and how it should be begins with how God designed in the beginning and where he is taking it back to.
What do we see? What does it mean?
1. God speaks his word and matter comes into existence and obeys.
“…everything that he had made…”
1a. God’s word is powerful.
1a. God’s word is effective.
It is not our job to make God’s revelation bend and flex to other explanations of what is in existence particularly when those explanations are derived from a view of God that believes there is no such person as God.
2. God’s power and authority extend to every part of the universe.
“…everything that he had made…”
1a. God set up a kingdom in which he is the Sovereign King.
1b. This is why kings and kingdoms are key themes in the bible.
***Not to get too far ahead, but the rebellion is an establishment of a Satanic counter kingdom with mankind as its pawns.***
1c. God has complete authority such that when he speaks things happen.
God is the king and ruler and has the right to rule over his creation.
3. God’s entire work is pronounced as “very good”.
“…and behold, it was very good…”
“Very good” is what God makes. This speaks to the quality of God’s work.
4. God is the one who pronounces his own work “very good”.
God is the determiner of what is good. This speaks to who is the determiner of what is good and what is not.
There is no one else here patting God on the back and affirming his work. He is the Creator and determiner of what is good.
4a. God does not need or ask for affirmation regarding his work. He’s the determiner of what is good and what is not.
5. “Very good” carries the idea that God’s creation was doing what it was supposed to do…what he created it to do…what he wanted it to do.
Very = exceeding; greatly
Good = orderly; pleasant; efficient
6 times God pronounced his work “good”. But in verse 31 God pronounces all of it “very good”.
This is amazing because it’s one of the rare times the Hebrew language uses one of its closest words to a superlative it has, and it is God who uses it.
Moses records for us God’s view of the quality of his creative work. God uses a superlative in a language devoid of superlatives to describe his work. It was greatly good!
5a. God’s handiwork and order is never less than. It is always “very good”.
5b. Everything God creates is “good” but the sum total of all his “good” work is “very good”.
5c. God’s creation was doing exactly what it was created to do. It was perfect.
Conclusion: Gospel observations and applications
Key Biblical Theological Themes: Creation and Kingdom
1. God created a kingdom over which he is the king.
This is why Jesus came preaching the good news of the kingdom.
This is why the church preached the gospel of the kingdom.
God created a kingdom and he is that kingdom’s king. Through Jesus’ coming, dying and rising he has invaded to return all things back to Christ, it’s creator and rightful king.
The kingdom is the supernatural activity of God in which he saves people and restores all things back to their created beauty under Jesus’ rule.
The good news makes a clear boundary between the Kingdom of God and the false kingdom of Satan
Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God (Jesus rule and salvation) and his righteousness (hearing and obeying God’s word), and all these things will be added to you.”
1a. Make sure you have been reconciled to the King and are subject to his kingdom rule through faith and evidence this through hearing his word and obeying it.
2. God created a kingdom and he is king, and he created man in his image and put him in charge of managing his kingdom. So, God does not intend to be a dictator but a king with managers of his property.
God declares this arrangement “very good.”
2a. Man is manager/steward not owner, and therefore responsible for giving an account of how he has managed created order in every way.
Human to creation relationships
Use of God’s resources (the biblical basis for giving is that everything is God’s so we give not a percentage but according to generosity birthed from the correct view of whose everything is).
3. Based on our current experience of life, there is clearly a problem.
Not from the text of Genesis 1-2, but our experience tells us that something went horribly wrong.
God makes everything to function and work right and it did, but our total experience is that everything does not work right.
The good we have can be tarnished and broken either physically or by attitude.
3a. The brokenness of life is a gospel opportunity to point people to God’s solution in Christ and his kingdom.
Everyone is looking for something to assuage the anguish of life. They either find solace in dismissing all meaning in life through naturalism and atheism or by finding meaning in escaping the pain of this life through transcendental thought. Everyone is looking for some form of salvation.
Let us be offering the only solution.
4. Since God’s creation is very good then we understand that the law God is going to give, which to some gives the appearance that certain things are not good, is not a statement on the quality of God’s creation, but rather a “tutor” or “teacher” to lead us to Jesus to be saved.
God does not make everything “very good”, then suddenly declare it bad.
The law (the exposition of how to live out the 10 commandments) would become for a time God’s people’s expression of loving obedience to God because they are his people. It was never a way to make us his people. (See Exodus 20:2; Galatians)
1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV) “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God (God’s pronouncement that all he made is good) and prayer.”
The law was to teach them and us that no matter how hard we tried, the love of God and love of neighbor was not possible without a new and living heart that delighted in God.
4a. This new and living heart is only made possible through Jesus’ death in our place and his resurrection to defeat Satan, sin, and dead hearts and make new living hearts possible through faith and repentance.
5. God is good and makes good, therefore, anything that is evil and bad did not come from God but from evil’s source.
We will tackle the source of evil in a couple of weeks.
What we have to note now at this “tree” in our journey is that God is good and all of his creation is good and something has gone terribly wrong and needs to be made right again.
5a. We must have new gospel bathed eyes to see what is God’s good and delight in him and the truth that he is good come what may.
This is a work of grace that God does in salvation. Without that work we will call good evil and evil good.
Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!”
5b. The inability to properly attribute good to good and evil to evil is a result of the curse and is only properly restored in salvation that gives new eyes, new ears, a new heart and a new set of desires that delight to obey God’s word and thus know the difference between good and evil.
6. God is sovereign and powerful.
When God decrees there is no such thing as resistance. God’s word is powerful.
When Aslan determined it was time for Narnia to thaw, it thawed because it’s creator told it to.
God speaks and creation obeys.
When the eternal Word, Jesus, spoke and decreed “it is finished”, the veil of the temple tore in two, the earth shook and the restoration of all things started moving toward Revelation 21 and 22 because the decree came.
The curse was broken and all hell could not stop it.
In Christ you have new hearts that delight in responding to the word of God.
If we don’t respond to the word we don’t have new hearts from God’s salvation.
6a. Hear God’s word of the gospel to salvation for the non-Christian. Hear God’s word of instruction on kingdom life for the Christian.
6b. Obey God’s word to repent and believe for the non-Christian. Obey God’s word that we may have his results in his power not our own.