Genesis 1: 1-5 (30 Jun 2013)
God willing, I plan to take you through a series of studies on the book of Genesis.
This morning, I have organized our meditation into 3 questions that we will attempt to answer:
Question 1: who wrote the book of Genesis?
Question 2: Why is it important for us to study the book of Genesis?
Question 3: What happened on the first day of Creation & What Can we learn from it?
Let’s start with Question 1: Who wrote the book of Genesis?
The answer: God, through Moses, wrote the book of Genesis.
But how can Moses write the book of Genesis since he was born only in the time of the book of Exodus?
You see, before Moses was born, history was remembered by “word of mouth”.
What do we mean by this?
Remember what God said of Abraham in Gen 18:19?
God commended him as one who would instruct His children.
So what exactly did Abraham teach his children?
The genealogy of his household;
The things that happened to each individual & family in his household;
The things that they must do to worship & obey the LORD God.
And when this was diligently done by every tribe & household, the Israelites retained their identity & culture even when they were slaves in Egypt.
Now the common belief was that Moses only started writing the book of Genesis after he spent 40 days on Mt Sinai.
That was when God revealed to him all the details of the moral, civil & ceremonial laws.
Most likely, God also revealed to him all that had happened from the time of creation till he was born.
And the bible reminds us in 2 Pet 1:21 that “…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”
Therefore, God the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to record this book called Genesis.
And so we have today, an inspired record of things that happened from the beginning of time.
How can we confirm that Moses wrote this book?
When our Lord Jesus was on earth, He regarded the 1st 5 books of the bible (the law of Moses) as the word of God.
So here we have it: God – Jesus Christ, confirming that this book we have in our hands is indeed the word of God.
We should have no doubts about the account of creation and the symbolic implications written about redemptive history.
We should therefore take heed, believe and obey everything that is written therein.
And that leads us to Question 2: Why is it important for us to study the book of Genesis?
The answer: Because Genesis provides the foundation upon which all of the bible is built.
Here in Genesis, we will read about the origin of everything.
Your understanding of the sovereignty of God will be shaped by what Genesis tells us.
You will read about the origin of the universe, the origin of man, the origin of marriage & family life.
You will read about the origin of salvation, the origin of agriculture, nations, government, cities, language & even music.
If you build your understanding of the rest of scriptures on the right foundation of these things, you will be strong.
But if your foundation of these things is weak, you will sway with every wind of doctrine.
So let me urge you to pay attention as we study this book.
Read the chapters and verses in detail at home and write down any questions you may have.
If these questions are not answered when I preach, talk to me separately so that we can learn those things together.
Pray that God will open your eyes to the truth in His word.
Pray that I may faithfully explain, illustrate and apply the text, giving all glory to God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
So with these 2 introductory questions answered, let us now go to our 3rd question for today.
Question 3: What happened on the first day of Creation & What Can we learn from it?
Genesis 1: 1 declares “In the beginning, God created the heaven & the earth”.
At that stage of creation, the earth was not like what we know of it today.
It was without any form; it was void – v2
And there was apparently no clear distinction between land & water at that time.
Darkness was all over the place until God said in verse 3 – “let there be light”.
And through that spoken word of God, light came into existence.
Now the source of this light was not the sun or the stars because these were only created in day 4 – verse 14.
All that we are told is that God separated the light from the darkness – verse 4.
And God called the light day and the darkness, He called night – verse 5.
And this iteration of night and day became the first day in the history of all Creation.
It is probably very difficult for us to imagine what things looked like at that time on day 1.
What we do know is that the end product of all creation (as we know it today) is a progressive work of God over 6 days.
And in that process, God put a system & order in all His creation.
And most importantly, He continued to sustain that system & order even after the completion of His Creation work.
Now, there are 3 lessons that I want to point out from these 5 verses describing day 1 of creation:
1) First, I want you to know that God is eternal – Deut 33:27 & 1 Tim 1:17
God existed in eternity even before anything else ever existed.
God created the heaven & the earth at a point in eternity when He decided to do so.
And He created the heaven & earth out of nothing.
Well, you may be asking this question – “if God created everything, then who created God”?
The fact is that the scriptures did not reveal this to us.
The scriptures simply said that “He is God”, implying that He was not created.
Your next question you may then ask is: “Why then did He create all things”?
Our simple & direct answer would be “For His glory”.
What you have to come to terms with is the fact that your existence is not about you.
Your existence is about the God who created you.
It is not about what you feel you have a right to know.
Rather, it is about what God, as Creator, decided that you should know.
Let me illustrate what I mean.
In the military, I often had to deal with sensitive information.
And if I was curious and asked for more details than I should, my colleagues will jokingly tell me, “if we gave you that information, we would have to kill you after that”.
So we all understand and respect what is meant by “need to know basis”.
And here, God in His sovereignty and wisdom decided that it was sufficient for us to know that He created heaven & earth.
It is put in the bible simply as a statement of fact.
We, who are made of dust, are expected to simply accept that fact.
Probably because we only have the faculty to understand what has been created & not what is eternal.
For example, How did God just speak and light came into existence?
We cannot understand it because it is totally supernatural.
How did Jesus, when He was on earth, just speak and a little girl was raised from the dead?
How did He speak and the sea was calmed?
How did He speak and demons went scrambling away? – all of which is recorded in Luke 8.
These things are just mind boggling.
It just shows that there is a huge gap of understanding between God the Creator & man the Created.
Therefore, the only rightful response we should have is to bow down to God in respectfulness.
The only rightful response from us is the acknowledgement that God is God & worship Him only.
2) Secondly, the Bible also tells us in John 1:2 that Jesus was there with God when the world was created.
All creation, we are told, was “made through Jesus Christ” – John 1:3.
So this should be a reminder to us that the great delight of God the Father is His Son Jesus Christ.
He created the world through His Son.
He revealed Himself through His Son.
And in these last days, He has spoken to us by His Son – Heb 1:2.
So if you read the scriptures and you do not see Jesus Christ in the scriptures, you are missing it all!
I used to think that the stories in the bible were there just to teach us the morals of right and wrong.
And so we do isolated character studies and apply moral lessons of their lives for our learning.
For example, we will teach that God was source of Samson’s strength – Judges 13.
So the lesson is that we have to depend upon God for strength – now, that’s not wrong.
We will also teach that Samson toyed with sin and as a result, he lost his eyes.
So the lesson is that we should never be presumptuous like Samson and toy with sin – again, that’s not wrong.
But if we stop there & fail to teach our people that there is One who Greater than Samson who is coming….
If we fail to tell them that He is coming to rescue His people from the gates of hell just as Samson rescued the Israelites from the oppression of the Philistines, we would have missed it all!
And Samson in the midst of a sinful tragedy, exercised faith in God in his weakest moment before death.
And God delightfully responded to Samson in that exercise of faith in utter weakness.
That is an example of the faith we must have in Jesus to save us from our sins, no matter how we have fallen.
Jesus told the Jews of His time (in John 5:39) that the scriptures speak of Him.
So we cannot read the scriptures and don’t see Christ.
Because, Jesus Christ is referred to all over the scriptures – even right here in Genesis chapter 1.
The world was made through Him.
And He is equal to God because He is God – the second Person of the Holy Trinity, right there with God at the beginning.
So I urge all of you to look for Christ in the scriptures as you read and meditate on the word of God.
3) Thirdly, I want you to observe that God sustains His Creation
On day 1 of creation, we read in Verse 2 that “… the Spirit of God moved on the surface of the waters.”
Now, it’s kind of hard to understand what this means.
I also always wondered what the Apostle Paul meant in Acts 17:28 “…In Him we live and move and have our being,…”.
And the Apostle Paul also says that “…He is not far from each of us..” – Acts 17:27
So this tells us that God is omnipresent – ie. present everywhere.
And more than that, God is omnipresent to sustain His Creation.
He moved on the surface of the waters even on day 1 of creation – verse 2.
So God did not just create the world and leave it on its own.
The Holy Spirit of God was sustaining all creation even as it was progressively made.
This is a reminder that we are continually dependent on Him to sustain the world and all of life even till this day.
We are told in Matt 5:45 “He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
The moment God removes His sustenance & His grace from us, we are doomed.
I want you to realize that we were never meant to be independent of God because we are His creation.
Now, if you are a Christian, let me give you an application of this truth.
Supposing, you are struggling with a sin in your life.
You fast, you pray and God gives you victory over it – praise the Lord!
But then you forget about God and you fall right back into that sin.
Because you were never meant to be independent of God.
God is not going to give you power over that sin and you say “now I have it, I don’t need Him anymore”.
No! It doesn’t work that way.
To have victory over any sin & every sin, you must live in constant and complete dependence upon God.
The moment He draws back from us, we will fall.
Therefore, to have so-called victory in our Christian life, we need to constantly depend more & more upon God.
And you cannot and must not let a day go by without reading your bible and pray.
Being lax in your communion with God is a guarantee for spiritual disaster.
We need His constant grace to sustain us.
General Mccarthur who led the allied forces to recapture the Philippines from the Japanese in world war II had this to say:
“No matter how tired I am, I will never let a day go by without reading my bible”.
I wish we have Generals in the Singapore Armed Forces who are like that.
Now, the same is true even when we get to heaven.
Some of us may perceive that when we are in heaven, it will be impossible to sin because it is a sinless place.
And now, salvation is fully complete, we have a glorified body, it is a done deal and we don’t need God anymore.
No! that’s not the case.
On the contrary, it is because we are constantly in the presence of God in heaven & He is constantly sustaining us.
It is the sustaining power of God by the covenant that He had made.
And we are constantly in His presence and that makes it impossible for us to sin in heaven.
That is what keeps us holy in heaven – the sustaining grace of God.
And even right now, God is sustaining His Creation just as He did at the beginning of His work of creation.
Now, if you are not a Christian, I have an application of this truth for you as well.
I want to warn you that you may be pursuing a type of holiness that will do you no good.
You may be trying to present yourself worthy of God’s acceptance by your own standards.
You may be trying to do those things that people would consider as being Christian.
And you say to yourself – when I come to that stage where I feel worthy enough, I will seek baptism.
But let me tell you what the Apostle Peter says in 1 Pet 4:11
“Whoever serves, (let him do so) as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ”.
You want to present yourself worthy of God’s acceptance?
You have to do everything by the strength that God supplies.
You want to do holy things (which you regard as being Christian) which you think God would accept?
You must come to terms with the fact that you are sustained by the grace of God & apart from Him you can do nothing – John 15:5.
That’s why the Apostle Paul says in Rom 15:18 “I will not venture to speak of anything except that which Christ has accomplished through me”.
God made you and He is telling you that you can only come to Him by the means that He provided.
And He says in His word that we must come through “the mediator between God and man” – 1 Tim 2:5, His Son Jesus Christ.
So, I urge you stop thinking of what you think you can do so that God would accept you.
Instead, start realising & acknowledging how dependent you are on God.
Now, associated with the truth of our dependence upon God is the fact that God is sovereign.
God did not have to consult anyone when He created “the heaven and the earth”.
He did not have to seek the approval of anyone as to whether His work was good.
He simply looked at what He had created and said “It was good” – v4.
As Creator, He can decide to make the sun rise on the evil and on the good.
He could also decide to give rain only to the just and not the unjust, which thankfully He didn’t.
Now, you may ask “doesn’t that make man totally helpless”?
I’m glad you realized that.
Because the reality is that man is totally unable to help himself.
He was created by God and has to be sustained by Him.
As soon as God withdraws His grace from him, man will fall.
That’s why the Apostle Paul says in Rom 9:16 “So then, it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs but of God who shows mercy.”
And God says (Rom 9:15) – “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion”.
So if you still do not know this sovereign and merciful God, let me urge you that you should seek Him quickly.
The fact that you are alive today shows that He is still merciful to you – still giving you a chance to repent and seek Him.
But I do not know when God will choose to withdraw His mercies from you.
“And it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” – Heb 10:31
So please do not delay coming to God through Jesus Christ.
Let me draw our meditation to a close by summarizing what I have covered this morning:
1) Who wrote the book of Genesis?
God through Moses wrote the book of Genesis.
Genesis was recognized by Jesus as being part of the law of Moses.
This is evidence of divine authority and inspiration of this book as the word of God.
2) Why is it important to study the book of Genesis?
Because Genesis provides the foundation upon which all of the bible is built.
I urge you to study it and get a good grasp of the book of Genesis.
3) What Happened on the first day of creation & what can we learn from it?
On the first day, God created the heaven & the earth.
What Can We learn from this?
Firstly, God is eternal & existed even before anything ever existed.
Your existence is not about you but about the God who created you.
If you don’t get this right, you will be lost eternally.
Secondly, God created the world through Jesus Christ.
God delights in His Son.
The scriptures speak about the Son.
If you read the scriptures but do not see Jesus spoken of, you have probably missed the essence of the passage.
Thirdly, God sustains His Creation.
God created the world and is sustaining it by His grace & mercies.
Should God withhold His grace & mercies from us, we will fall.
God willing, we will understand more of this when we continue in our studies on Genesis.
May God speak to each of us and exalt Jesus Christ in our lives.