Sermon Notes: Life and Teaching – What is Creation?

In this course of sermons, we want to equip TRC to live well in the public square and be competent ambassadors of the kingdom of God. 

1 Timothy 4:16 “Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

Our lives and our teaching are inextricably intertwined. We live out what we actually believe, and we teach lessons in words and actions that reflect what we believe. 

Creation, and the Bible’s record of creation, form the framework for a Christian understanding of all things. 

In fact, what the Bible says about creation should give us a blueprint of what the kingdom of God is actively restoring in people and the entire creation around us. 

Having a grasp on what creation is should help us live with a more keen sight set on the kingdom of God and his righteousness. 

So, it matters that we have a clear understanding of who created, what he created, and the purpose for which he created.

My definition: Creation is what the God of the Bible did alone with no help from any other being because he alone exists eternally. The God of the Bible created all things from nothing. He needs no substance or other being(s) to create. God calls into existence whatever he desires by his word. The God of the bible created everything for his own pleasure, purpose, and glory. 

Let’s read Colossians 1:15-17 together.

Colossians 1:15-17 (CSB) 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.

Colossians contains some of the most beautiful Christology in the Bible. 

We see that Paul, obviously very familiar with Genesis, tells us here that Jesus is the Creator of Genesis 1 and 2. Colossians 1:15-17 tells us that Jesus not only did it; it also tells us Jesus is the means for Father and Spirit to create (“created through him”), and the Trinitarian God of the Bible created it “for” Jesus. 

With the whole Bible as our interpretive framework, what can we conclude about who created, what he created, and the purpose for which he created?

  1. Creation and created intent is the foundation for a distinctly Christian worldview. 
    1. Creation is vital for the Christian worldview.
    2. First, what is a worldview?
      1. A worldview is a fundamental framework from which we view and make sense of life and the world.
        1. It’s quite literally how we view the entirety of everything around us. 
      2. A worldview has to ask and answer these questions:
        1. Who is God (theology)?
        2. How do we know (epistemology)?
        3. Where did we come from (cosmology)?
        4. Who is mankind/humanity (anthropology)?
        5. What is right and wrong (ethics)?
        6. How are people rescued from the state of things not being right (salvation)?
          1. NOTE: Everyone has a doctrine of salvation. The question is: is what I’m trying to be saved from real OR what or who do I worship as God?
        7. What is our purpose (teleology)?
        8. What is mankind’s end (eschatology)?
      3. Creation is how we develop the framework of a “cosmology” or an answer to the question, “where did we come from”, and our cosmology helps us answer questions about theology, knowledge, man, ethics, salvation, purpose, and what the end looks like. 
      4. Christians are wise to reset back to creation, as taught in the whole Bible, to address these questions at the foundational level. 
        1. Begin with the creation and the evident revelation in the reality of what actually exists as clearly taught in the Bible. 
          1. If you dig up bones from thousands of years ago, physical creation itself will shout from the grave by analysis of the bones and tell you if there is an X or Y chromosome and, therefore, if that human could feel food on its face or not. 
          2. Creation will not lie to you because the Bible says it tells of the glory of God (Psalm 19:1-4). 
      5. Don’t get caught in the tangled web of social contagion and the peripheral manufactured arguments that distract us from the reality of creation and created intent that actual biology and real science will always support. 
  1. God, the Triune God of the Bible, is THE God and he alone created all things and all beings from nothing, and he alone is to be worshiped.
    1. Genesis 1:1 (CSB) 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      1. Part of Moses’ intent is to prepare the people to enter a land that was full of the practice of elevating fallen supra-natural spiritual beings to the status of someone to be worshiped, and he wants the Israelites, who are already familiar with Mesopotamian cosmology, to know who THE God is so that they worship correctly and don’t worship fallen supra-natural beings who are intent on carrying on the rebellion begun by one of their own in Genesis 3. 
    2. The Bible makes sure we understand that nothing in heaven or earth shares eternal status with God.
      1. Hebrews 11:3 (CSB) 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.
        1. Hebrews 11:3 expounds on creation and we understand that God created “ex nihilo”, from nothing.
        2. Hebrews 11:3 makes sure we keep God and the creation distinct, and we’ll say more about that in a little bit.
          1. Keeping God and creation distinct is crucial because we are never to ascribe eternal or worship status to anything with a born-on date. 
          2. Creation from nothing teaches one of the great Christian truths that the Lord is the God, and only the Lord God is to be worshiped because he alone is the Creator God. 
  1. God created all things “very good”. 
    1. Genesis 1:31 (preceded by 1:4, 12, 18, 21, 25) affirms that everything God created is innately good.
      1. Genesis 1:31 (CSB) 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.
        1. God himself declares his word to be very good. 
        2. Creation is good, and there is nothing in creation that is innately bad. 
        3. This is important because it preserves for us the good nature of all the physical and spiritual world AND the God-given gift of vocation in domains of society that sin has wrecked.
          1. Thus we understand that the renewal work of the kingdom of God is the saving of people AND the restoration of creation to its pre-sin state.
          2. Part of the Christian’s work is to steward the good creation to the restoration of all things back under the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ by his authority and power.
            1. Who should lead the charge in technological advancement and do it in responsible ways?
              1. Christians. 
            2. Don’t let politicians rob us of the good of human advancement and comfort and help and advancement achieved while advocating for and preserving creation.
              1. Christians are NOT to be recruiters for political parties who pander to us for votes. 
              2. We represent Jesus, The Creator, and we are on his agenda, not theirs because all of creation is good and being restored to him with us caring for it. 
  1. God created by his word and his word determines a thing or being’s meaning.
    1. Psalm 33:6, 9
      1. Psalms 33:6 (ESV) 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. 
      2. Psalm 33:9 (ESV) For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
        1. God spoke and by decree he created. 
        2. God used words, and by the sheer fact that creation exists by his speaking it, his definition of a thing or being’s existence is the definition. 
    2. God’s word interprets what creation is.
      1. After God created light, the Bible says that God called the light, “day”.
        1. In doing this, God establishes a system of language and meaning as means by which the true nature of things is to be expressed. 
      2. As a result, we don’t get to assign meaning to things God himself assigns meaning to in creating them.
        1. They are what he intends them to be in creating them and assigning a word to them that defines them. 
    3. God’s creation with language also means that we create with language.
      1. We can NOT create like God from nothing. We are not God.
        1. We are creators of things with what he gave us to work with in the creation mandate. 
      2. As image bearers, what we do with words either creates life or death because that’s how God decreed words to be used in his using language to create.
        1. This is why verses like Proverbs 18:21 should make us pay attention.
          1. Proverbs 18:21 (CSB) 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
  1. God’s creation and salvation are intertwined. 
    1. “Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Since creation is such a vivid revelation of God’s lordship, we should expect significant parallels between creation and salvation. And of course, Scripture does not disappoint that expectation. The Genesis creation narrative, written by Moses, reflects and anticipates God’s redemption of Israel from Egypt. God commands all the forces of nature. He brings light to the earth as he later brought darkness to Egypt. He divides the waters of the earth as he later divided the waters of the Red Sea. He makes the earth teem with living creatures as he later inundated Egypt with frogs, gnats, flies, and locusts. He celebrates his creative work in a Sabbath of rest, as he later called Israel to celebrate redemption from Egypt by keeping the Sabbath day. In both creation and redemption, God displays himself as the Lord of all the earth. Creation, redemption, and judgment are similar events, requiring the same sovereign power, authority, and presence.” – John Frame, ST, p. 189-191
    2. This is why Paul will refer to man’s salvation from Isaiah’s language in Isaiah 65:17 by creating all things new.
      1. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (CSB) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! 18 Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    3. Creation and salvation are intertwined in such a way that people become new creations upon faith in Jesus, and Christians as new creations, participate in the restoration of all things as new creation like themselves. 
  1. God is distinct from his creation and thus he alone is to be worshiped. 
    1. No object or being, despite their amazing created glory, is God and Creator, and none of them carry all of his attributes.
      1. God “communicated” some of his attributes to humans as well as the hosts of heaven, and did not “communicate” some of his attributes to the same.
        1. In other words, there is nothing or no one Like the LORD who is God!
    2. This means no part of creation, whether beings or objects, is to be worshiped.
      1. Exodus 20:2-6 (ESV) 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
  1. God created the spiritual world. 
    1. Psalms 33:6 (ESV) 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
      1. Genesis 2:1 declares that the heavens and the earth and everything in them were finished within God’s creation, and he ceased his work on the 7th day. 
      2. So, all created things, beings of all kinds, and inanimate objects are completed.
        1. The word “host” is used in the Bible, most of the time, to refer to the supra-natural beings sometimes call “angels” and a bunch of other words we don’t have time to unpack.
          1. Luke 2:13-14 calls the group of angelic beings who announced Jesus’ birth, a multitude of the heavenly “hosts” who were praising God. 
      3. Therefore, the supra-natural beings of the unseen world are created by God and are subject to God.
        1. It is in this realm that the rebellion of Genesis 3 started and multiplied to humans, and is still in play right now. 
      4. What we understand and take away at the surface level for today is that the spiritual world was created by God, and therefore, is subject to him, and in Jesus and the establishment of his kingdom, he has secured the subduing of the rebellion in that realm and the end of those who oppose his rule in that realm.
        1. We will talk about angels and demons in an upcoming sermon. 
  1. God created Adam and Eve. 
    1. Genesis 1:26-28 (CSB) 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
      1. God’s order in creation is to make mankind in his image, and that image is male and female.
        1. Genesis 2:18-24 (CSB) 18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” 19 The LORD God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. 21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. 22 Then the LORD God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.
      2. God made woman to complement man, and he created her out of man. 
      3. God made male and female to be married and inside of that marriage, multiply and rule over his creation with him as his co-regents. 
      4. God himself performed the first wedding in Eden, and he gave the first bride away as a Father to Adam.
        1. NOTE: This is why we do some of the things you may see at weddings.
        2. Gender and identity and function are determined by God not us and any sociological contagion or pressure from dark forces that want to propagate the rebellion of darkness in creation. 
  1. God establishes our purpose and the scope of our purpose as humans in creation. 
    1. Genesis 1:26-28 (CSB) 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”
      1. We were created to steward creation with God in our vocational giftings. 
      2. We were created to steward the whole of creation.
        1. Thus, the Great Commission is all nations. 
        2. The Great Commission is healing and proclaiming the good news of Jesus for salvation and restoration. 
  1. God created all things for his glory. 
    1. God tells us in his word of an inanimate creation glorifying him.
      1. Psalm 19:1-4; 50:6; 89:5; 98:7-9; 148:1-14; Isaiah 55:12
        1. Psalms 19:1-4 (CSB) 1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour out speech; night after night they communicate knowledge. 3 There is no speech; there are no words; their voice is not heard. 4 Their message has gone out to the whole earth, and their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun.
          1. NOTE: speech, declaration, proclamation, and communication are all acts of worship according to Psalm 19:1-4. 
      2. Creation even worships the Lord!
    2. Unfallen supra-natural beings glorify the Lord.
      1. Revelation 4:9-11 (ESV) 9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
      2. Why, among many reasons, do these beings called “elders” before God’s throne worship?
        1. Because God created all things and thus all things exist by his will. 
    3. Jesus told the religious leaders who wanted Jesus to rebuke his disciples for attributing to Jesus what belonged to God that if the people don’t glorify him, the rocks would do it.
      1. Luke 19:37-40 (CSB) 37 Now he came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen: 38 Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven! 39 Some of the Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out.”
  1. Conclusion: Worship
    1. The end of the Bible (Revelation 4:9-11) records all creatures glorifying/worshiping the Lord because he created all things. 
    2. Because he created all things and is restoring all things, we glorify/worship the Lord because we have hope that new creation will overtake the curse of sin.
      1. Life in the kingdom is hard because we are in a real battle in creation for and for creation and our saving.
        1. That darkness of defeat is of the curse not of the faith. 
        2. Don’t give in to it. 
        3. Compassion fatigue is real. 
        4. Coming to the end of our ropes is real. 
        5. Being worn out is real. 
        6. Being beat up is real. 
        7. Needing a break is real. 
      2. Fight the curse of sin that suppresses joyful worship with the hope that what God created is very good, he is restoring all things and people and the kingdom of God will overtake the darkness. 
        1. So, bring worship to the Lord in that hope that he will win and order and peace and joy and love will overtake the fallen darkness of sin. 

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