God Made Everything Good
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Dr. Jeff Myers: There was a guy in Scotland many, many years ago, named Samuel Rutherford. And, he wrote a book called Lex, Rex. which means what? Law is king. You see all of the leaders up until that point in time, thought that the king was the law. Whatever the king decided is what was going to happen in that country, because the king was a direct descendant of Adam. And, Samuel Rutherford went through and did a Bible study and found out that the king is a direct descendant of Adam, and so are all the rest of us. So, the king does not get the privilege of telling everybody else what to do. In fact, we will establish a law and the king will obey it.
The king was unhappy with Samuel Rutherford’s book, as you can imagine. He was so unhappy he decided he was going to kill Samuel Rutherford. And, Samuel Rutherford very rudely in the meantime, died on his own. So the king, not to be deterred, had his bones dug up and burned. So there, I don’t understand some things about history. That’s what happened. All right.
But, this is so important to grasp that God communicates with everybody about all kinds of things, not just about theology, not just about what we ought to do on Sunday mornings, but about everything. Lesslie Newbigin was a missionary to India and he had a Hindu friend who said to him, “I can’t understand why you missionaries present the Bible to us in India as a book of religion.” “It is not a book of religion, and anyway, we have plenty of books of religion in India, we don’t need anymore.” “I find in your Bible, a unique interpretation of universal history, the history of the whole of creation and the history of the human race, and therefore a unique interpretation of the human person as a responsible actor in history, that is unique,” this Hindu person said. There is nothing else in the whole religious literature of the world to put alongside it.
So, the Bible is a special book. It’s revelation from God is unique, among all the religions of the world. But, what is the Bible’s actual story? Because you see, when Sally Lloyd-Jones claimed in her children’s story, that the Bible has a lot of stories in it, but they’re all really telling one big story. A lot of people don’t grasp that. They say, no, that’s not true. There are 66 books in the Bible, they were written by a whole bunch of different authors over the course of 1500 years, they can’t possibly be telling the same story But scripture itself, when all of the books are put together, creates a coherence that has at least three parts. Some people break this up into four parts. Some people break it up into six parts. For the sake of simplicity, we’re going to say there are three parts to it. And, these three parts are creation, fall and redemption.
Creation, fall, redemption. That God created the world, that human beings fell into sin, and that God is in the process of redeeming His people as well as creation. There’s a whole lot to this. So, let’s take a look at each one of those points individually. First of all, creation. The doctrine of creation says, “A relational Creator made human beings in His image, releasing them to do two things.” What? To relate and to…Create.
Create. To relate and to create. Relationship is something that is part of who God actually is. It’s not just something God does. Do you understand that? The biblical idea of God is the Trinity, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit that there is communication within the Godhead itself. Communication, relationship is not just something God does, it’s something he is. And then, God enabled the human beings he created to actually turn around and create. Scripture says in Genesis chapter one, God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” If you look at the words for image and likeness, you see that they refer to shape or bodily resemblance. This does not mean to say that God has a body. God is spirit does not have a body as we do. But, we are made in such a way that our persons, our identity can be seen to be, bearing God’s image. It’s hard to imagine how unusual this was in the ancient Near East culture, in which the Bible was first revealed.
Because those cultures, if a King came into a territory and wanted to take control, he would set up a statue of himself, you’ve seen this. You saw probably pictures of one of the wars in the Middle East. And, at the end of one of those wars, the people have the statue of say, Saddam Hussein, and what did they do to the statue?
They made it topple over, because when the statue was there, it represented the power and authority of Saddam Hussein. When he no longer had the power and authority, they tore down the statue. God didn’t build statues. In fact, God forbade the building of statues about Him and said, “My image is going to be born by the living, breathing human beings I create.” So when we say, “We bear God’s image,” it gives enormous value to your life. Maybe you wondered sometimes, “Does my life in particular have any meaning?” If I disappeared, would anybody even notice that I’m gone?” And, the answer from God’s perspective is, “God made you, you personally, not just everybody around you, made you personally to bear His image.” If somebody saw God and then saw you, that person would say to you, “I know your dad, because you bear His image.” Isn’t that astounding to realize?
I mean, isn’t there great value that comes from that recognition? And, we’re just getting started with the doctrine of creation, there’s so much more to it, but you can see the doctrine of creation, not just in Genesis, you can see it all throughout scripture, several places in the Psalms that talk about the creation. Colossians talks about the creation. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Colossians 1:16-17 gives an additional piece of information that a lot of Christians don’t really think that much about. It says, “For, by Him, all things were created,” and the Him refers to who? Have you ever read the book of Colossians? It refers to Jesus, not just to God as in the single solitary Creator, but to Jesus as the word through which God spoke the universe into existence.
So Jesus, isn’t just a little baby born in a manger. He existed from before the beginning of time. And, it was through Him that God spoke the universe into existence. This is very different from the story you hear in class, what you hear in class is the story that all of life began with a self replicating molecule and it evolved through time. And, you can see this tree of dinosaurs there, little octopus over here, the man and the woman over here, that’s the story you will hear.
It’s interesting how many people are beginning to call into question this story, even in the scientific literature, the idea that there is such a thing as a tree of life, its that simple, is rarely believed by scientists anymore. They just don’t think it’s quite as easy as some of these pictures make it out to be. One of those who actually question not only some aspects of the way the theory of evolution is presented, but also aspects of a lot of things about the world was Robert Jastrow, who was a leading pioneer in the exploration of space.
He was so highly regarded in this field that when he wrote a book with a following sentence it made national news, but this is the conclusion of his book. He says this, “At the moment, it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation, for the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream.” “He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak as he pulls himself over the final rock, he’s greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” But, in fact, new research has come out, there was an Israeli scientist who just a couple of months ago said, “The new research on the Big Bang proves that there was a creation of the universe.”
“There was an actual beginning to the universe.” He said, “Just like the book of Genesis says,” it’s a secular scientists saying this. So, it’s pretty interesting. And, it ought to encourage you that your Christianity is not at odds with scientific discovery. However, that’s not the whole point of the doctrine of creation. If we just make it an issue of creation versus evolution, we will have missed some of the greater meaning and depth that is part of this in scripture.
Particularly this phrase right here, Genesis 1:31, “And God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good.” God made everything good. Is there any question that the Book of Genesis teaches this? It can’t be clear, God made everything, He made it to be very good. The word good in Hebrew is the word tov. It’s a word that’s hard to translate because it is so good. I mean, it actually means good in every possible way. Good in potential, in beauty, and convenience and joy, and fruitfulness, and economics, and wisdom, and sensuality, and happiness, and even in morality, that good is really good.
But this phrase in Genesis 1:31 is that, “God made all these things and they were very good.” The phrase, “Very good, tov meod”, and again, it’s almost impossible to translate it. Here’s my best attempt. It means something that is exceedingly heartbreakingly, abundantly, richly, loudly, immeasurably good in a festive, generous, happy, intelligent, charming, splendid way.
So, some people say to you that, “Creation is not really all that good.” Well, God made it to be very good. And, there’s something of redemption then, that begins to restore this, and we’ll see that in just a few minutes.
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