A Few Thoughts on God and Creation

What does the Bible say about creation?

1. God created the universe out of nothing.

  • Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

Hebrew Bara – translated “created” means “creation from nothing” (Latin ex nihilo – “out of nothing”)

2. God created the universe by the power of his word. 

  • Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26 – “And God said” and “Let there be” or “Let the. . .”
  • Hebrews 11:3 – “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
  • Psalm 33:6, 9 – “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. . . For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.”
  • Psalm 148:5 – “Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.”

3. God created the universe to show his glory. 

  • Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
  • Revelation 4:11 – ““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.”
  • Jeremiah 10:12 – “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.”

Take Away: God created the universe out of nothing by the power of his word to show his glory.

What does creation reveal about God? 

God is the only God. God is Trinitarian. God is eternally uncaused. God is living. God is independent. God is transcendent. God is immanent. God is personal. God is powerful. God is beautiful. God is holy. God is a prophet. God is gracious. God is a sovereign king.

Transcendent – majestic and holy, far greater than his creatures.

  • Ps. 113:4 – “The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens! Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth?”

Immanent – near and present, fully involved with his creatures.

  • Acts 17:27–28 – “Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.”

Take Away: Creation is distinct from God, yet always dependent on God.

How did God describe creation after he created it? 

  • Genesis 1:31 – “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
  • 1 Timothy 4:4 – “For everything created by God is good. . .”

Take Away: The universe God created was very good.

Some Major Take Aways on the Doctrine of Creation

1. God created the universe out of nothing by the power of his word to show his glory.

2. Creation is distinct from God, yet always dependent on God.

3. The universe God created was very good.

Above are a blend of notes from Driscoll and Breshears’ Doctrine and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology. All scripture references are from the ESV.  Obviously much more could and should be said about God and creation, but I found these thoughts helpful and I pray they draw you closer to the Creator.

That’s My King

Never gets old.

Graffiti Artist Turned Theologian?

I don’t know if many of you saw this report in mid November. Police are on the hunt for the person responsible for spray painting “I KILLED JESUS”, on the marquee of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Youngwood, PA. Maybe we need to be the ones finding this guy and ask where he gets his theology from.

I don’t know if he knew what he was spray painting, but how many of us see the depth, and grasp the sinfulness of our sin in such a way to make this statement? He was killed because of our sin (Isaiah 53:4-6). Our sin was so  detestable before our Holy and Righteous God, that it took the death of the perfect God-man, Jesus, to atone for it. How easily I can forget the magnitude of my sin, and the even greater magnitude of Christ’s work. Not only did He take away the sin of His people, but he satisfied the wrath of the Father. And now the primary identity of the believer is not enslaved sinner, but Beloved New Creation (2 Cor. 5:16-21). How deep my sin! How much deeper the Father’s love!

How Deep the Father’s Love (Stuart Townend)

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Prayer, why do we struggle to do it?

A few months ago a friend and I were talking and the topic of prayer came up.  He made the comment that prayer was the hardest spiritual discipline for him to consistently do.  As I thought about it I had to agree with him. But wonder why, since prayer is such a simple but profound thing that can be done anywhere and anytime.

To start let’s take a look at what prayer is. The Westminster Shorter Catechism question 98 says it well by saying.  “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

Sounds easy huh?  Offer up our desires unto God, confess or sins.  How much time do we spend a day offering up desires in our minds?  I’d like this car, I’d like to eat dinner at this restaurant, I would like the new iPhone, this TV, that X, that Y, that Z, and the list could go on.  If we examine ourselves we are very good at offering up requests and desires, at a moment’s beckon call.  We are, of course, selfish people aren’t we?

Obviously the list above and others is not “agreeable to his will” as the catechism states, but to my point we are good at desiring.  So why is it hard for us to spend more time offering up desires agreeable to God’s will?  He is in fact our creator and the one we are supposed to glorify and enjoy forever, right?

A couple of thoughts that come to mind as why.

Our instant gratification culture certainly doesn’t help.  We live in a society that demands results, whether it is at home, work, or even church.  If we cannot wait a second longer for task X to be complete and positive results to come a flowing this can affect our prayer discipline if we are not mindful.  We may pray for weeks/years and there is no clear answer yet.  Or maybe we give up after a day.   In the workforce when this happens we scrap that plan and start a new one, right?  Let’s not do this with prayer.  Pray and fast more fervently!  Maybe in these cases we need to re-evaluate if we are praying in God’s will, but let’s not stop praying.  Remember “and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22 ESV)

Secondly I think of time.  We tend to fill our days, hours, minutes with something.  When we do have down time, we fill it with one of the many things that bides for our attention.  TV, computer, Smart Phone, iPad, phone call, txts, pick your distraction.  When there is an open moment I know I have to fill it with something.  How about prayer!

We all know there are many more reasons, but my intent here is not to continue to point out all the reasons why we do not pray, but only to list a few and then motivate us to action.

The exhortation to you and me is, let’s examine ourselves and strive to “continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 4:2 ESV).  Turn off the phone, TV, computer, whatever distraction and/or reason we don’t pray and let’s have communion with God as we are designed to.

I leave you with this quote from J.C. Ryle from I Have Something to Say unto You:

“Prayer is the only way by which man can approach God. Prayer is the only messenger we can send to tell God what we want; and if we would have good things for our souls, we must ask for them. Prayer opens the treasuries of God’s mercies like a key; if we ask, we shall receive. Prayer is the means that everyone can use if he will—and yet for all this many people never pray.

Reader, beware lest your neglect of prayer should prove your condemnation. If Jesus is to save you, you must pray. If your sins are to be forgiven, you must pray. If the spirit is to dwell in your heart, you must pray. If you are to have strength against sin, you must pray. If you are to dwell with God in heaven, your heart must talk with God upon earth by prayer. Oh! do not be a prayerless Christian, whatever others may think right. Begin to pray this day if you never prayed before. Remember if you and I are to meet each other with joy at Christ’s appearing, you must pray.”

Supernatural Spirit

The Christian’s life in all aspects — intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness — is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it.  So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.

J.I. Packer

Person & Work of The Holy Spirit

As of late everywhere I turn in my reading of scripture, books, blogs,  church, listening to sermons, and podcasts seems to be related to The Holy Spirit. With that kind of nudging it is pretty obviously where God wants me to be focusing my devotion/study time!  As a recently published book is titled Forgotten God, I would have to agree The Holy Spirit is the part of the triune Godhead most churches minimize.  Obviously there are others that put to much weight on the Spirit verses the other two.

Over the next few weeks Richard and myself will be blogging a series on The Holy Spirit.   I do not know what will come of it but we are open to let the Spirit lead.  If I start typing in tongues hopefully a faithful Spirit led reader will place  a translation in the comment area!

So lets leave for now with this passage and a few questions.
Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

Who is The Holy Spirit?
What are the Bible promises of the Spirit for us as believers?
What do we expect from Him?

Pray for great outpouring!

Pray daily for a great outpouring of the Spirit on the Church and on the world. This is the grand need of the day—it is the thing that we need far more than money, machinery, and men. The “company of preachers” in Christendom is far greater than it was in the days of Paul; but the actual spiritual work done in the earth, in proportion to the means used, is undoubtedly far less. We need more of the presence of the Holy Spirit—more in the pulpit, and more in the congregation—more in the pastoral visit, and more in the school. Where He is, there will be life, health, growth, and fruitfulness. Where He is not—all will be dead, tame, formal, sleepy, and cold. Then let everyone who desires to see an increase of pure and undefiled religion, pray daily for more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in every branch of the visible Church of Christ.

J.C. Ryle
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