The Story | Ch. 2 - His Creation

February 26, 2017 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: THE STORY

Topic: Gospel Passage: Genesis 1:1–2:25

The Story: His Creation from Damascus Road Church on Vimeo.

Introduction | Who is the author?
Good Morning! Welcome to Damascus Road Church where we are Saved by Jesus Work. Changed by Jesus Grace. Living on Jesus Mission. Today we continue our series, The Story looking at the narrative of the Bible taking us from now until after Easter. Who is the author of your story and every other story? We make bad authors because we are flawed characters. We write stories about us that are too small… because they start and end with us. We have to look to better author who isn’t as flawed as we are who has written a bigger story that by nature can’t start with us, but who still knows all the characters.

PART I | The Main Character and Author | Genesis 1:1a
In the Beginning God. Once upon a time….. is not how The Story begins, because it is not a myth, legend, or fairy tale. The Story only matters because it is true! It begins with God not us. GOD IS, God exists. The only other option besides in the beginning God is in the beginning nothing or in the beginning us. Before you, me, or any other person enters the scene of The Story there is God. Eternal, God had no beginning, rather God began all beginning. We need to understand this character or we’ll get the story wrong. God has many attributes you can fit into three key categories that help us understand the author of The Story.

God is powerful (Sovereign) There is not one thing happens outside of God’s control. He as absolute control that means there isn’t something, someone, or some force greater than God which God can’t overcome. In The Story God is the King creation is His kingdom and no other king or kingdom is greater. That means there is no other stories, god’s, or people to ultimately appeal to beside God to influence our circumstances. It also means there isn’t anything random or accidental in the perspective of God. Because God is all powerful we can trust He is able to do all things necessary to accomplish His purposes.
Psalm 135:5-6 | 5 For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. 6 Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
God is wise (all knowing) seeing everything in perfect perspective. God is never surprised. He is never confused or perplexed. God is wholly competent to be God. He is not foolish does not use bad judgement does not make mistakes, and is able to see the big picture and know each individual part fully comprehend all outcomes to all actions. Because God is wise we can trust he knows what do in all circumstances.
Isaiah 40:28 | Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.
Job 12:13 | “With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.
God is good (Loving). He is always trust worthy and acting with perfect justice, mercy, and love. God defines goodness. We cannot define goodness apart from God or that we ourselves should judge God based on any standard we come up with. God is good all of the time, all of the time God is good. We know what love is from God. Because God is good and loving we can trust God will do what is right. Psalm 145:7-8 | 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
What happens when you take one of these away? God is wise and good, but not powerful. – He knows what is right and desires for good and loving things to happen in the story but he is powerless (or disengaged, or handcuffed) by something more powerful. (This could be our own will individually or collectively) God is powerful and good but not wise- God can effect change and engage with the world, God has really good intentions but He is basically incompetent. He gets things wrong, he doesn’t understand what he’s done or not doing. This is most common for disciples when we face suffering or God does something we don’t agree with. We forget Is 55 that says His thought are not our thoughts and his ways are higher. Lastly, when we take the goodness of God away we end up with the greatest potential of terror. A god who is all powerful, knows precisely every outcome but lacks goodness, even consistency. You end up with a god that randomly rages. This is a Bad Story. God is good all of the time. His goodness is not a mood but a state of being. What you believe about the main character and author will determine how you view the rest of The Story.
PART II | God Creates | Genesis 1:1-5
Genesis 1:1-5| In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
God, existing in the trinity we see the Father (speaks), Son (Jesus is the word), and Holy Spirit (hovers over and empowers) of perfect content community, God decided to create (Let us make… plural/3.) (Deut 6:4 The LORD our God, the Lord is one) God didn’t need to create, He wasn’t lonely he wasn’t board. All of creation is an act of grace where God gives/creates not out of His need but to display His glory. God is THE creative force behind everything in the Universe. So we don’t say things like “the universe is against me” because the universe is merely all that is created by God. He is outside His creation, not part of it. That doesn’t mean he’s disengaged, but that you can’t say I see God in a flower or sunset. You see God’s creative work in flower or sunset. All powerful, He merely spoke the Universe into existence. He wasn’t dependent on anything outside of himself to create, there wasn’t stand alone raw materials that God then fit together. He is all wise, there is great intentionally in every aspect of His creation. Each part was made in the wisdom and knowledge of an intelligent design. Because God is good, all He made He created “good”. In this, we see creation itself isn’t good, but because it’s made by a good Creator. He is both willing and able to declare what He created “good” therefore we don’t decide what is good, God does.
The first three days of creation He was bringing form to what is formless a context for The Story as you see God said “Let there be light,” and there was light. Forms are made: Day 1: night and day – Time. Day 2: Water and Sky – Place and context. Day 3: Ground and vegetation – setting. The second three days the void of these contexts begins to be filled the stage becomes set if you will as Day 4: Lights fill the sky, Day 5: Fish and birds “according to its kind” fill the sea and air. Day6: Animals again according to their kinds. And man. Gen 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. The comprehensive nature of these individual parts of creation working together in harmonious rhythm make a creation that sings exceedingly better than the sum of its parts. All the individual parts are “good” but together they are VERY GOOD!
Finally you see this 7th day of God resting. Let’s be clear He is not tired or worn out and He hasn’t stopped existing or engaging. (Daniel Tosh said “God worked for 6 days and by my account hasn’t worked a day since) God is still at work. His “rest” is a refraining from creating because what He has made is declared by him to be “very good” not “good enough,” Each of the previous six had an evening and morning (beginning and end) but this 7th day doesn’t have the same “end” because it is intended to be a day without end where God’s creation is to share in the Sabbath of God.
Part III | He is Creator We are created | Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7-9,15-17, 18-25
Genesis 1:26-28 | 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Where are we in this chapter of the story? Humanity is made to participate in His creation by reflecting the good and creative character of God. As His creation, we recognize we are not all powerful or wise and we are dependent on the Creator. All good we have or experience comes from Him. Because there is a Creator we can know we are made distinct and we are made for a purpose. Because God is wise and good we can trust His good design for our life and world. Because there is a God, we can have great freedom knowing we are not Him. This releases us from the tremendous pressure of believing we write our own stories. We understand our roll in The Story knowing we are Created purposefully for a purpose.
His image! God doesn’t talk about any other aspect of His creation being made in His “image and likeness” Now His attributes can be expressed in creation (might river, wings of eagles, etc) We are created to be distinct from the animals. The lesser story is “you and me baby ain’t nothing but mammals” and that leads to less dignity not more. God has dominion (a kingdom) and He has created us to be purposeful in the rule of His kingdom. We see a clear order of creation that God places, explicitly ranks men and women to be OVER the rest of creation. It’s what makes a grilled cow a great meal and grilled person a great tragedy. It means a billion blades of grass mowed down is maintenance but even a few people mowed down in gunfire is mayhem. We make lesser stories where we create god’s in our image so we have God’s that are angry or unjust or too soft or end up serving whatever ideas we have pretending we are really god.
Male and Female, Both created in the image of God. This means there are distinct yet equal characters in the story. This is exceedingly important when we look at other chapters in the story and see women treated as less than or when our world tries to elevate one gender over another or calm it is somehow it is man made invention of our culture. It is a distortion from what was intended at the beginning of the story.
Be Fruitful and Multiply productive and prosper. Verse 28 says that God blessed them for a purpose! God has blessed people to procreate to fill the earth to work similar to Him in taking what is formless and empty and making it intentional, orderly, and filled. The story will have many more people! More people is God’s design and we are to work with creation to subdue it for the purposes of human flourishing and stewardship. So when see we a mighty river and build a dam creating power for people’s homes, irrigates fields for food, and makes new parks, campgrounds and lakes for recreation we rejoice not revolt.
Genesis 2:7-9 | 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
While God spoke everything else into existence, the account of the creation of humanity is distinct from all other forms of creation, because man is made to be distinct and unique in all of creation. It says God “formed” intentionally like a master craftsman. God breathed life into man, and He still does! When you are created by a craftsman it means you have great dignity and value. God doesn’t see us as valuable He has created us valuable. When we’re looking for affirmation in our stories what we need to remember we’re valuable not because of how great we’ve made ourselves but how great is the one who made us.
Random chance + time + survival of the fittest = Chaos purposeless and pride that will end. Rather than a Sabbath with God forever. This why this chapter matters so much. When we believe a lesser story it is too easy for us to see other people as lesser characters. Then it’s easier to dismiss them when they are no longer convenient or get in the way of what you have decided is your story. So we reject or kill, or simply do not respect others we see as less than rather than as image bearers of God formed and valuable.
Created for Joy God is the creator of the universe and the author of The Story and within The Story we see Him intentionally create a smaller context for a more intimate story to be told. We see where God spoke all vegetation into existence and mountains and seas etc, it says “He planted a garden” that’s really intentional and orderly and distinct from other parts of creation. It isn’t a barren glacier or harsh dessert, or even a thick forest. It’s a beautiful garden called Eden which means delight! It’s a good garden. It’s better than whatever you got in your back yard. It is to be a model for how humanity is to cultivate the rest of the world. Humanity you have a purpose be fruitful and multiply, cultivate the rest of creation as I have with this garden of Eden be active in creating a culture that mirrors the beauty and order you find in the garden. We were made to work, enjoy, protect, and cultivate. This is our purpose in the world.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
God created with His word and He rules with His word. He said you were made for a purpose (to cultivate the creation and have a culture to make it a place of order and flourishing). Then we are put in a place to flourish and enjoy creation. God gives us the means of flourishing, the missions of flourishing, and places them in a context to delight. God gives His word. God is the source of all life joy and purpose. We are dependent on Him for these things. God gave us the great freedom to obey and enjoy. We are to live under His word for security, peace, freedom, and joy. We are created to make real choices between real options but guided by the charge to be fruitful and multiply as a kingdom under God’s rule. We are to remain dependent. The tree likely isn’t poisonous or magical but in God prohibition humanity is able to enjoy great freedom while showing great confidence in God’s word by simply trusting Him in obedience.
Genesis 2:18-25 | 18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Here is this beautifully created design that we see in each of our stories we are made for relationship. In this good individual creation God said there was one thing that was not good, for man to be alone. We are given some off the why in the story. You see here God’s purpose is men and women is for them to complement one another. The mission of God in the world He created has no possibility of being accomplished without loving respect filled complementary relationships between Men and woman. Quite simply, Men alone cannot accomplish what God has willed. The Bible starts with a royal wedding where the father has prepared His daughter to be given in marriage. Two individuals become one flesh and there is deep emotional and spiritual intimacy with no sin, shame, or brokenness to separate them. God has written a beautiful story in the grandness and they intimacy of His creation. We interact with His creation but there is much we enjoy and experience that we did not create, He did. We didn’t invent delight and joy God did. We didn’t invent beauty God did. We didn’t invent gender identity or sexuality God did. We didn’t’ come up with the concept of Marriage God did. We didn’t invent the idea of work or purpose, God did.
PART IV | Jesus is the Creator who holds all things together | John 1:1-3 – Colossians 1:15-17
John 1:1-3 | In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Where is Jesus in this Story? The Word was a way John described Jesus. That Jesus is the very embodiment of God’s spoken word. Jesus was there in beginning with Father and the Spirit. He was active in the gracious act of creation. Nothing was made apart from Him. When God said let there be light as the world became enshrouded in darkness he comes to shine light and over power darkness.
Colossians 1:15-17 | 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
First born doesn’t mean he is created it is a “positional” place in family of being the heir to the Father’s kingdom. In this we see Jesus is over all of creation. All authorities all smaller kingdoms all smaller stories were created through Jesus and for Jesus meaning all of our stories are to be subordinate The Story all about Jesus. Jesus hold all things together. As much as we try to create or author our own stories apart from Jesus our stories will fall apart either in this life or at our death. We are not powerful enough to hold our story together, we are not wise enough to write our story well, and we are not good enough to write a story that is ultimately loving to ourselves, others, and God. We need to remember our dependence on the creator and we display our dependence through our allegiance to Jesus.
This is your time to respond to the story of His Creation. We know The Story radically changes the life stories of individuals. We must respond either by receiving it as true and glorious or rejecting it favor of a lesser story. Reflect on your life in light of this story, and then respond to the offer of life with God in Christ. If you know Jesus we take Communion each week as we do we are acknowledging our story is insufficient we can’t be our own hero, Jesus is our hero in our place dying the death we deserve on the cross. We sing remembering His victory and hope in His return. We give financially remembering all of creation has been given to be stewarded for His purposes. If you are still not convinced, have bought into another story, or created your own, we implore you trade it in for one far greater and simply Trust Jesus.