January 6, 2015: Reading Plans and Bible Study


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Reading Plans
Bible Order: Genesis 17:15–19:38
Chronological Order: Job 6–8
Old Testament Only: Genesis 13–15
New Testament Only: Matthew 5:17–37

Daily Verse: Luke 3:9

 Luke 3. 9

 

Bible Study

Genesis 1:1-31

Creator God

Okay, so the first chapter of Genesis and we’ve got to face a heated debate that rages not only within the world at large, but Christianity as well. Evolution vs Creation. Boy there have been, and continue to be, knockdown drag out battles over just this first chapter. Now I am of the opinion that when we Christians disagree about what the Bible says and what it means it is usually because we are focused on the wrong issues. Don’t get me wrong, there are very serious theological issues at the heart of Christianity that that leave no room for dispute for those who truly belong to Christ, but most of the things that have left the body of Christ so divided today seem to me to usually be about less weighty matters.

There are many things upon which the Bible is silent. For some reason we feel an almost desperate need to fill in the blank. Why? If God is silent about something in His communication with us it is because He has a more important point to make. I think if the missing information was important it wouldn’t be missing.

In the first chapter of Genesis we are told that God created the heavens and the earth. We are then treated to a “six day account” of creation. When I was in high school I participated in what we called speech team competitions. There were a variety of categories but this particular year I was competing in something called Dramatic Duet Acting. The event required a pair of actors to perform a dramatic scene within a prescribed period of time before a judge and audience. The piece my coach chose for me and my partner was from a play entitled “Inherit the Wind” and it was from a play based on what was famously called the “Scopes Monkey Trial” which had been held right here in the state of Tennessee. I played the character based on the real life Chicago lawyer Clarence Darrow while my partner played the character based on the real life William Jennings Bryan. Both of these men were celebrities of their day; Darrow in the world of law as a leading member of the ACLU, and Bryan in the world of politics. Bryan, a brilliant and famous orator, ran unsuccessfully multiple times for the presidency of the United States as the Democrat nominee.

In the play, the Bryan character defended the biblical account of creation while the Darrow character ridiculed the biblical account in defends of a teacher, who had introduced evolutionary theory into the class room. Darrow made mincemeat out of Bryan but lost the case; though ultimately winning the cultural war. I enjoyed the play and my part in it, but I couldn’t understand why Bryan had been willing to go to the mat over a literal 24 hour creation day when the Bible itself doesn’t define the length of those days. Let’s take a look at a couple of verses from the Creation story.

Genesis 1:3-5 ESV

“[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.”

So here we have God making light and separating it from the darkness. He calls the light day and the darkness He calls Night. We are told there is an evening and a morning constituting the first day. Since we have an evening and a morning within the first day, and subsequent days, it seems reasonable to assume we are talking about a 24 hour day. Take a look, however, at the following verses a little further into the story.

Genesis 1:14-19 ESV

“[14] And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, [15] and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. [16] And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. [17] And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, [18] to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. [19] And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.”

Okay so let me get this straight. We have 24 hour days before there is a Sun and Moon? Day one we had light and day three we had vegetation but it wasn’t until day four that we got the Sun which we know is necessary for plants to grow. Well, let me tell you brother, if you have the power to speak something into existence out of nothing you can pretty much do things however you want to do things.

Science is man’s attempt to understand the physical world. Another way of saying this is that it is man’s attempt to understand how God did it. Perhaps this is why there is so much arguing over the Creation story; it doesn’t really tell us how He did it. In fact, from our limited vantage point the narrative we have been given doesn’t even make sense from a scientific perspective. Well that my friend is the heart of the problem. God isn’t trying to tell us how He did it. How He did it is His business. The point of the Creation story isn’t “how” but rather “who”. In the beginning GOD created. It wasn’t an accident and man had nothing to do with it.

The argument over the actual length of time of each of the days of creation is of no practical value. God didn’t tell us about the biological and quantum mechanisms he used. He didn’t go into detail on dinosaurs or the Higgs particle. God has something more important to tell us.

God willed the universe into existence. Why is this important? It is important because it verifies God’s right to command creation. It verifies His right to determine what is right and wrong, and who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. Now you may feel like I’ve just been wasting time here with today’s post but I hope not. This is a most critical piece of information. God is God and you are not. He rules you drool. He commands you obey. You are not His equal and never can be. He is Creator and you are the created. He owns everything and you own nothing. Do you know what a sober understanding and acceptance of this fact is called? It is called the beginning of wisdom. It is the beginning of a “right” relationship with God.

Before long we will get to chapter two of this book and there we will see how God intended our relationship with Him to be. We will see the way it will be once again for those whom He has chosen to save. But have no confusion here. Right relationship with God begins by understanding that He is the Creator and has every right to order things as He sees fit. He has the right to determine right and wrong as well as who will enjoy eternity with Him. May His name be praised forever and ever!

Have a blessed day!

Your brother and servant in Christ,

Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

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1 Comment

  1. Larry LaFever
    January 6, 2015

    Totally agree with you. I “came back to the Lord” first through Chuck Colson, but began to reconcile my science background with scripture through Reasons To Believe, a ministry headed by Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist and a progressive creationist. Later as I began to feel more comfortable with the inerrancy of scripture I began to read other creationist literature and began to lean towards the simpler and more direct Young Earth creationist position. Today, but maybe not tomorrow, I again fall more closely in the progressive creationists’ camp. I see merit, as well as difficulties, in both camps. Those two groups can and do fight each other in ways I feel oftentimes brings harm to our witness for Christ. Other various groups often do the same over other discretionary beliefs. My point is the more I study these issues, while important, the more I realize how ultimately unimportant they are relative to our primary mission as Christians, to bring glory to God. If you know me, and I forget this, please feel free to remind me.

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