Adrian Rogers / Now in Heaven
http://www.lightsource.com/ministry/love-worth-finding/ (Click this Link for Video Presentation of Dr. Rogers’ message)
The Lost World
The Bad News that make the Good News, Good
- We live in a lost world.
- Our world is on a collision course with judgment.
- Even the things we laugh at, such as in entertainment, are despicable.
- Yet, we are told to be tolerant.
- The sin today, as viewed by many, is not sin itself, but to simply call sin a sin.
- Today’s culture views men as sick, but not sinful.
- Today’s culture says that we may be weak, but not wicked.
- Today’s culture says that we may be ill, but not evil.
- We find many giving excuses for the way we live.
- Romans 1 shows that this lost world is without excuse. Sin is inexcusable and is headed for judgment, and that judgment is called the wrath of God.
- It is that bad news that makes the Good News good.
- Romans 1:18
- God is a God of infinite love.
- He is also a righteous, holy God and a God of judgment.
- Paul shows in Romans 1 why this world is lost and ready for judgment.
- Paul gives three steps in man’s path to eternal separation from God.
- MAN’S WILLFUL SELF-DETERMINATION (Romans 1:19-20)
- The revelation of God’s truth.
- According to this passage, mankind has no excuse for refusing God.
- God’s existence is clearly seen.
- God reveals Himself to mankind through:
- Romans 1:19
- “In them” – the inner, subjective witness of conscience.
- Regardless of background, circumstances, or environment, there’s an inner witness in each of us.
- John 1:9
- Romans 1:20
- “Unto them” – the outward, objective witness of creation.
- Psalm 19:1-4
- The reach of God’s truth.
- This revelation of God is to all of mankind.
- Everyone is without excuse according to Romans 1.
- The resistance of God’s truth.
- Romans 1:18
- The word “hold” in this passage means to “hold back the truth,” “repress the truth,” “smother the truth,” or “suppress the truth.”
- This essentially means to resist the truth; some don’t want to know the truth of God.
- Those who do not believe in Almighty God hold back the truth.
- MAN’S WICKED SELF-DECEPTION (Romans 1:20-21)
- There is a selfish indifference.
- Romans 1:20-21
- We don’t glorify God.
- Truth is not given to satisfy our curiosity, but so that we will worship God and glorify Him; be thankful to Him.
- There is a sophisticated ignorance.
- Romans 1:22
- There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. But those who refuse to see think that they see perfectly clear.
- They profess themselves to be wise.
- When man does not believe in the true God, it does not mean that he believes in nothing. It means that he will believe anything.
- It’s not that men won’t believe; it’s what men will believe.
- There is shameful idolatry.
- Romans 1:23
- The word “changed” in this passage literally means “exchanged.”
- They want to glorify man and creation rather than God.
- Humanity takes our worst vices of war, greed, lust, and pride, and makes gods out of them.
- First, the sinner molds the idol, and then the idol molds the sinner.
- An idol is anything we love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God.
- 2 Timothy 3:4
- We exchange, or substitute, the glory of Almighty God for these idols.
- MAN’S WOEFUL SELF-DESTRUCTION (Romans 1:26-27)
- How does a society self-destruct?
- They become sexually perverted.
- Romans 1:26-27
- Leviticus 18:22
- Luke 17:26-30
- Ezekiel 16:48-50
- 2 Peter 2:6
- Isaiah 3:8-9
- They become socially perverted.
- Romans 1:28-31
- They become spiritually perverted.
- Romans 1:32
- They are aware of the judgment of God, but they don’t care.
- Three times in Romans 1, it states that God gave them up and gave them over.
- Hosea 4:17
- The worst thing that could happen for an individual or for a nation is to so resist God that He obliges us and leaves us in our sin.
- But the Good News is that Jesus Christ has paid our ransom and that God offers salvation to all who will believe.
- Romans 1:16
- Isaiah 1:18
- Through Jesus Christ, every sin can be forgiven.
- Do you know Jesus?
- Call upon Jesus today. Repent (turn) from your sins, and turn to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.
- Romans 10:9-10
- Romans 10:13
FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH
There are five fundamentals of the faith which are essential for Christianity, and upon which we agree:
1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20). 
And those who disagree with any of the above doctrines are not Christians at all. Rather, they are the true heretics.
So disagreements are perfectly acceptable within the confines of Christianity, because our salvation does not hinge upon doctrines other than the above five.
But if some deny even one of the five fundamentals mentioned above, they have departed from the faith, “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). By denying the above scriptural doctrines, they have heaped to themselves “teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3); thereby even “denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2:1). These are the true heretics, who are preaching “another Jesus”, according to 2 Corinthians 11:4:
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
And later in this same chapter, Paul refers to these people as the ministers of Satan, in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
So, please – if you take offense to differences in lesser doctrines, don’t think that we are condemning you as unbelievers or heretics. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as you hold to the five fundamentals of the faith, you may join the debate. And together, we shall reprove the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).
 Please note: this is NOT a reference to the “King James Only” debate; rather, this is a reference to people who claim to have revelations apart from the scriptures.
Back to Being Berean: Various Subjects and The Bible’s Answers
Heaven Can Be Yours!
The Way to Heaven Made Plain From the Word of God!
By Dr. Robert L. Sumner - Purchase “Heaven Can Be Yours!” tracts.
Robert L Sumner
Dr. R. A. Torrey told of talking with a young society lady at New Haven, Connecticut, when suddenly she interrupted him to say, “Don’t talk that way; it makes me think and I hate to think.” This sin-weary world is filled with people who hate to think, somehow supposing that by thus ignoring the issue of salvation everything will eventually turn out all right for eternity. Nothing could be farther from the truth and I earnestly urge you to think seriously with me for a few moments about missing Hell and gaining Heaven.
Everyone wants to go to Heaven! No one in his right mind desires an eternal home in Hell’s house of horrors. The only man in my entire ministry—he was in the Livingston, Illinois, county jail at the time—who told me that he definitely wanted to go to Hell was judged insane and taken to a state hospital three days later. I know I am expressing your choice when I say you desire to reach Heaven eventually.
Yet, as the Negro slaves sang while chopping their Alabama cotton, “Heab’n, Heab’n, ev’ry body talk about Heab’n ain’t goin’ there, Heab’n, Heab’n.” Jesus Christ Himself is the authority for teaching that more people will miss Heaven and end up in Hell than will make Heaven. He said in Matthew 7:13, 14:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Since this is a subject of utmost seriousness—the most important one you will ever consider—it is vital that we start at the root of the matter and note first,
I. SIN, the Bar to Heaven!
Some might question, “Why doesn’t God just let everyone into Heaven when they die and be done with it? What keeps anyone out of Heaven?” The answer is sin!
Consider how plainly the Bible declares that sin shuts Heaven’s doors to every guilty sinner. After God gives that glorious picture of Heaven in the 21st chapter of Revelation, describing the gates of pearl, the streets of pure gold like transparent glass and the walls of jasper, He warns:
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. —Revelation 21:27
Notice the expression, “in no wise!” God will permit no sin or sinner in Heaven under any circumstance whatsoever. In the next chapter, the last in the Bible, after again describing some of the glories of Heaven, He declares:
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and make a lie. —Revelation 22:15.
Again we have the strong insistence of the Almighty that every sinner must remain “without” Heaven. That lovely, unspoiled, unspotted city will not be tarnished or polluted with the single sin of a single sinner. So, in order to protect His Paradise and keep it pure, every sinner must be denied access to it.
If God allowed a sinner to enter Heaven, that sinner would sin. A Hitler or a Saddam Hussein would not be in Heaven long before he started a revolution. Confidence men would soon be trying to sell some prospective sucker a golden street. Liars would unceasingly be endeavoring to deceive the redeemed, the angels, and even God Himself. The adulterers would attempt to satisfy their passions if only through the thoughts of their hearts (Matt. 5:27, 28). In Revelation 22:11 God explains this truth about sinners continuing to sin forever, saying, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Therefore, if one sinner entered Heaven he would soon spoil it by his transgressions. Heaven must be kept “off limits: for unredeemed sinners.
In I Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Word of God declares:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The same truth is stated in Ephesians 5:5, 6:
For as ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Another strong emphasis of this truth is found in Galatians 5:19-21 where we read:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Sin, A Universal Fact
Perhaps you are one of the many who seek to still the pricking of your conscience by telling yourself that you have never killed, never committed adultery, never robbed a bank, never defrauded a neighbor, or committed any of the so-called “baser sins.” Then let me remind you that God classes hatred with murder, envy with adultery, strife with drunkenness, and anger with witchcraft in the above scriptural condemnation.
He has further stated,
…for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. —Romans 3:22, 23
No difference! No difference between the society queen and the scarlet woman! No difference between the president and the pauper! No difference between the community leader and the common thief! If you are a moral, self-righteous woman who has never trusted Christ, you are on the same level before God with the worst fallen woman of sin who plies her trade on ignorant, foolish men. If you are a man without Christ, no matter how highly esteemed in your community or respected by your associates, you are on the same level before God with the worst drunkard and dope addict who ever staggered into a rescue mission begging for free soup and a place to sleep.No difference!
There may be differences in the degree of sin and the amount of sin, but in the fact that both are guilty sinners whom God is forced to shut out of Heaven, there is no difference!
How abundant are the scriptural statements that all stand guilty before God as sinners deserving a just condemnation in an eternal Hell of torment!
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. —Ecclesiastes 7:20
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. EVERY ONE of them is gone back: they are ALTOGETHER become filthy; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE. —Psalm 53:2, 3
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? —Job 15:16
ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way… —Isaiah 53:6
As it is written, there is NONE righteous, no, NOT ONE: There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.—Romans 3:10-12
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. —I John 1:8, 10
Some have sinned more than the average, some have sinned less, but everyone has sinned and thereby “become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). To deny it is to deceive yourself and in addition commit the terrible crime of calling God a liar! It was Christ Himself who said, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). God’s conclusion is that you and I are both sinners and that our sins have shut the door of Heaven to us.
Sin Must Be Paid for by Someone!
Sin must be settled. There must be a penalty for disobedience. Some suggest that God merely pardons sin without any payment, any settling or making right. Others tell us that since God is love He will never send any of His creatures to an eternal Hell of unending torment.
But human reason unites with Divine revelation in decrying such foolish philosophy. Can you imagine what your city would be like if there were no penalty for the broken law? Suppose there were no policemen, no jails, no sentence or penalty executed against the rapist, the thief, the murderer, the seditionist, and the criminals of various descriptions! What would a state be like with no penalty for the breaker of its laws? What would a nation be like in such circumstances? What would the world be like in such a hopeless condition?
All reason cries that sin must be punished and that law-breakers must be separated from the innocent so they cannot ply their evil upon them. It is exactly the same with God and His Laws! The Scriptures rightly insist, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). It is not unjust for Him to declare that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The eternal principle ever must remain:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. —Galatians 6:7
It would not be right or possible for sinners to sin and remain unpunished.
From the many Scriptures thus far considered we have seen the following positive Bible conclusions:
1. All sin and every sinner must be barred from Heaven;
2. Every person on earth is a sinner guilty before God;
3. Therefore the door of Heaven must be shut to every single individual, with no exceptions, unless his sin is completely and entirely removed.
But, thank God, all is not hopeless! The same Word of God gloriously, joyfully announces to all the world the blessed truth,
II. CHRIST, the Way to Heaven!
In the 14th chapter of John, the Savior told His disciples about the wonderful Heaven He was going to prepare. When Thomas asked that all important question everyone desires to have answered, “How can we know the way?” the Lord replied:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6
Notice that Christ is the way to Heaven and the only way! No individual can ever go to the Father or the Father’s house of many mansions except by Jesus Christ! Paul’s epistle to the church at Colosse describes it—“…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). No one can have a sure hope of Heaven without Christ in his heart!
Christ’s Death Opened Heaven to Guilty Sinners
How could Christ open Heaven’s barred doors for wicked sinners? By paying personally the penalty of their sins! This He did at the cross of Calvary, making it possible for God to remain just and yet justify the ungodly who receive Christ as their Savior (Rom. 3:26).
Isaiah looked down through the centuries to God’s sacrifice at Calvary and wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
Surely he hath borne OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. —Isaiah 53:4-6
Scores of other Scriptures unite in telling the glorious gospel story of a Savior who offered Himself a sacrifice for sinners and paid the penalty of the condemnation they justly deserved. The Bible says:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. —I Peter 2:24
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. —John 1:29
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. —I John 3:5
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. —I Peter 3:18
In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. —Ephesians 1:7
Oh, dear reader, thank God again and again that His lovely Son left the glories of Heaven, coming to earth and taking upon Himself the outward form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), that He might “give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The Bible expresses:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. —Philippians 2:8
Sin had placed an uncrossable chasm between man and Heaven, but Jesus Christ bridged that gulf with His cross. Sin had built a wall between God and man so tremendous that, in the words of the old Negro spiritual,
My Lord, it’s so high, Can’t get over it;
So wide, Can’t go around it;
So low, Can’t crawl under it.
But the Son of God used His cross as a spiritual battering ram to blast a hole through that wall big enough to let the vilest sinner through. Now all who will come by the way of the cross and its Christ can enter into fellowship with God.
Calvary’s Sacrifice Sufficient for Any, All!
Now none has an excuse for missing Heaven and entering Hell since any and all can be saved forever by trusting Christ. The meanest man, the wickedest woman, the most defiled youth, all can find forgiveness and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. The standing offer of God is: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37), and, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
Anyone can be saved and gain Heaven who wants to be saved! Earlier we reminded you of God’s vow that no fornicator, idolater, adulterer, thief, drunkard, or sinner of any kind (I Cor. 6:9, 10) will enter Heaven. But in the very next verse He declared:
And such were some of you: but ye are WASHED, but ye are SANCTIFIED, but ye are JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. —I Cor. 6:11
Yes, sinners of every description—guilty of every conceivable sin—can find pardon and forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not know you or what sins you have committed, but on the authority of the infallible Word of God I positively guarantee that you can be forgiven and saved by trusting Christ!
The poet was right when he cried:
The blood that purchased our release
And purged our crimson stains;
We challenge earth and Hell to show
One sin it cannot cleanse!
The Word of God expresses it, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin” (I John 1:7).
John Newton, the man who wrote one of the sweetest songs of all time, “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” had been guilty of every sin known to mankind in his days as a drunken rum runner and slave trader in the South Sea Islands. Yet his own epitaph, hung over a century ago on the north wall of the Woolnoth Chapel, is:
JOHN NEWTON, CLERK,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of salves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our
Lord and Saviour
Preserved, restored, pardoned, and
Appointed to preach the Faith he
Had long laboured to destroy.
He will do the same for you that He did for John Newton and countless thousands of other guilty, Hell-deserving sinners down through the ages. Sin is the bar to Heaven but the atoning death of Christ opens the way to Heaven for all who want it.
Do you ask how this salvation offered by Christ can be yours? Then follow the Scriptures carefully as they unfold,
III. FAITH, the Key to Heaven!
Here is the strange thing exceedingly difficult for the natural mind to understand: salvation is by faith alone, completely apart from any human merit! The average person supposes that Heaven is gained by good deeds, works of righteousness, religious acts, exceptional morality, or other forms of righteous achievement. But the Bible is crystal clear that such is not the case and that it is absolutely impossible to earn or merit Heaven.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
And Titus 3:5-7 reminds those already saved of how it happened:
NOT BY WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH WE HAVE DONE, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being JUSTIFIED BY HIS GRACE, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Augustus M. Toplady was right when he wrote in his beloved hymn, “Rock of Ages,”
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy laws demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.
The Bible Way Is the Faith Way
Throughout the entire Word of God the only plan of salvation taught is that sin is forgiven and eternal life received only by faith. Over and over God guarantees a home in Heaven to all who will believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider just a few of the plain statements:
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM shall receive remission of sins. —Acts 10:43
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST, that we might be justified by THE FAITH OF CHRIST, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. —Galatians 2:16
…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. —Acts 16:30, 31
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto all and upon all them that BELIEVE…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVETH IN JUESUS…Therefore we conclude that a man is JUSTIFIED BY FAITH without the deeds of the law..—Romans 3:20-22, 24-26, 28
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned already, because he hath not BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God. —John 3:14-18
He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON hath everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. —John 3:36
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him ALL THAT BELIEVE are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. —Acts 13:38, 39
Don’t you see, dear reader, that salvation is merely a matter of accepting what God has provided through the finished work of His Son at Calvary? A home in Heaven will be yours the moment you will trust Him to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven. Can you trust Him? Can you risk Him, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), to do what He said He would do for all who receive Christ as their personal Savior? It is simply a matter of taking God at His Word.
The great reformer, Martin Luther, was asked on one occasion if he felt his sins had been forgiven. That mighty man of faith replied, “No, I do not feel they are forgiven, but I know that they are because God says so in His Word!” That’s it exactly! God has promised salvation to all who will receive His Son as their personal Savior. Now, if you will receive Christ, salvation and Heaven will be yours according to the very Word of God! He died to make your salvation possible; will you let Him save you?
God Is Helpless to Save Those Who Reject Christ
Before I close this message I must warn you that the finished work of Christ at Calvary is absolutely worthless and meaningless for the individual who refuses to receive Him. God reminds us in Hebrews 10:26, 27:
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more [lit. “no other”] sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
There is no other way of salvation for the individual who scorns the sacrifice Christ made at Calvary through His death, burial and resurrection.
One of the strangest cases in the annals of American legal history centered around a young man named George Wilson. For crimes committed on December 6, 1829, Wilson and a companion, James Porter (alias James May), were charged with six indictments in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, all dealing with obstructing or robbing the mail, two of which were for “putting the life of the carrier,” Samuel M’Crea, “in jeopardy.” Found guilty, both men were sentenced “to suffer death on the 2nd July following.”
Porter was executed on schedule, but because of a “numerous and respectable body of petitioners” pleading with him for Wilson’s life, President Andrew Jackson issued a formal pardon, signed on his behalf by Secretary of State Martin Van Vuren, in which he said he “had pardoned, and do hereby pardon the said George Wilson the crime for which he has been sentenced to suffer death, remitting the penalty aforesaid.”
Then came the blockbuster: Wilson refused the pardon!
The finest minds in the field of legal jurisprudence were called in for consultation as to what to do and eventually the problem reached the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, that top legal body ruled a pardon to be unqualifiedly ineffective until accepted by the party involved. John Marshall, one of America’s ablest lawyers and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote in the decision:
A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed….
A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.
It may be supposed that no being condemned to death would reject a pardon, but the rule must be the same in capital cases and in misdemeanors.
The same is true spiritually! You are a sinner under the sentence of sin, condemned to an eternal Hell. It is hardly to be supposed that you, in your right mind, would reject the pardon of God’s love which His Son Jesus Christ provided at Calvary. But if you do, it is no pardon and the atonement is worse than worthless in your case—you must pay the penalty of your own sin in Hell forever!
Don’t Refuse God’s Pardon; Trust Christ Now
Yes, Heaven can be yours! But you had better settle the matter right now before it is too late. Multifold are the warnings in the Word of God against putting off salvation. For example, He tells us:
Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. —Proverbs 27:1
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. —Proverbs 29:1
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, TODAY if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…)…—Hebrews 3:7,8
Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. —II Corinthians 6:2
Decision for Christ
If you want to make sure of Heaven and will receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior today, please indicate it by signing the following decision form. Then, as soon as possible, let others know of the stand you have taken.
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God Created the Earth and All that is in it: Day 3
By John MacArthur
Audio Link: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-214/creation-day-3
Let’s open our Bibles to Genesis chapter 1. We are continuing in a study of creation, the account of creation; the only authoritative account of creation given in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, the book of beginnings, Genesis.
Let me read down through verse 13. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness, and God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so. And God called the expanse heaven, and there was evening and there was morning, a second day. Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear,’ and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas, and God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them, on the earth,’ and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and the trees bearing fruit with seed in them after their kind, and God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning, a third day.”
Now, let me sum up what the Word of God in this much of Genesis has taught us about origins. With plain, understanding of the text, the inescapable account says that the eternal God created out of nothing, without preexisting material, the heavens and the earth, which simply means the universe. He created the universe as it is now, in a sequence of six solar days, the first three of which we just read. He capped His creation, as we will find out, on the sixth day, by creating man in His own image; an intelligent being with personality, with self-consciousness and cognition. This creation occurred in a period of one week of normal days, about 6000 or so years ago, and the entire creation was mature and aged at the instant of its creation. Death did not exist, nor any corrupting influence; and the creation was good. Death and corruption entered the creation for the first time at the Fall of Adam and Eve, which is recorded in the third chapter of Genesis. When they sinned in disobedience to God, death entered the scene; prior to that there was no death. That means there could be no evolutionary processes because nothing died.
Later the surface of the earth was reshaped, drastically and dramatically, by the great universal Flood, described later in the book of Genesis; a flood which rearranged the earth cataclysmically, as water rose literally above the mountains, coming down from above and surging up from the bowels of the earth. As a result of that flood only eight people survived: Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, and the animals survived which were in the ark, and from that the replenishing of the earth occurred. That is the Genesis record.
And as I told you last week, science is not a hermeneutic. Science is not a principle for interpreting Genesis, or for that matter, any other passage of Scripture. And the accuracy of the Genesis account is no different than any other biblical text. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. All Scripture is moved in the hearts of men, produced in the hearts of men by the working of the Holy Spirit, so that they wrote down precisely what the Spirit wanted them to say. And Jesus summed it up when He said in John 17:17, “Thy Word is truth.”
Now, from that foundation we must conclude that any form of evolution is a contradiction and a denial of the clear revelation of Scripture, and I mean any form, whether it comes from an atheistic evolutionist like Julian Huxley, or whether it comes from a theistic evolutionist like Hugh Ross. Any form of evolution is a contradiction and denial of the clear revelation of Scripture, which indicates that somewhere around 6000 years ago, God created the entire universe as we know it in six 24-hour days.
There’s only one source of the account of origins and that is the Bible, the Word of God, and in particular and in specific, Genesis chapter 1. As I have been saying, there are no scientific facts that necessarily contradict the Genesis creation account. Rather, all true science supports the biblical creation teaching. It has to be that way because Genesis is true. Therefore all true science is in support of the Genesis account.
It’s a hard thing for people to admit this because science for so long has reigned supreme on the throne of contemporary thinking. Evolution has been a given. In fact, it’s become an absolute in our society, but it is systematically coming apart at the seams. The more we know about the nature of the universe, the more we realize the utter impossibility of any form of evolution, even to the degree – and this is an interesting source to quote – that Robert E. Smith, a member of the western Missouri affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, whom you would know to be no friend of Scripture, says this, and I quote: “For the past five years, I have closely followed creationist literature, and have attended lectures and debates on related issues. Based solely on the scientific arguments pro and con, I have been forced to conclude that scientific creationism is not only a viable theory, but that it has achieved parity with, if not superiority over, the normative theory of biological evolution. That this should now be the case is somewhat surprising, particularly in view of what most of us were taught in primary and secondary school.” He goes on: “In practical terms, the past decade of intense activity by scientific creationists has left most evolutionist professors unwilling to debate the creationist professors. Too many of the evolutionists have been publicly humiliated in such debates by their own lack of erudition and by the weakness of their theory,” end quote.
Paul Ackerman has written a book called It’s a Young World After All, and in it he says this – some of you have been to Disneyland, I can tell. In the book he says this: “Let me be blunt on this matter. Evolutionists around the world have had to learn the hard way that evolution cannot stand up against creationism in any fair and impartial debate situation where the stakes are the hearts and minds of intelligent, undecided, but nevertheless objective and open-minded audiences. Experience will prove that the same is true for the age issue as well. Evolutionists’ beliefs regarding the origin and development of life cannot withstand the scrutiny of an informed opposition, and neither can evolutionists claim to the effect that the universe has existed for 10 to 20 billion years, and the earth for 4.5 billion years. To delay the collapse of widespread public acceptance of such claims, it will be necessary for evolutionist scientists to carefully avoid debate,” end quote. They cannot survive a debate, and so they won’t debate.
Now, this is an illustration after an illustration about science, some facet of science that supports a young earth and a biblical account of creation. I’ve tried to give you a few as we go along. Here’s one that I find somewhat fascinating. Every once in a while you see on the weather report that there’s some indication of how many raindrops fell, and it added up to a tenth of an inch, or an half an inch, or three inches, or whatever. It’s not a very sophisticated test that they do to determine that. They just have a container with an open top, and when it rains they measure how much water is in the container. You can do that science yourself. It rains a certain number of raindrops, and it fills up the can to a certain level, and they can then go out after it stopped raining and tell how much it rained by measuring the amount of water in the container.
Now, it is possible, by that simple method, that with a slight modification in your procedure, to turn the rain gauge into a kind of clock. Let’s assume that we live in a location where it rains continuously, and rains at a known rate. When we set the container outside under those conditions of continuous rain and a known rate, we can therefore, by measuring how much water is in the can, determine how much time has gone by – pretty obvious – so that the can with the water in it becomes a measure of time. It becomes a kind of clock. The longer the container has been exposed, the more water is in it. The more water is in it, the longer it’s been exposed. So we can measure a certain amount of time having gone by, by the amount of water that’s in the can. Now, I know I’m not taxing your intelligence with that; I don’t want to. I just want to give you a simple illustration.
And when you see the people in southern California make a road through a mountain, and they cut a wedge out of that mountain to make a road, and you look at the side of that cut mountain, you see various lines of stratification. Or when you go to the Grand Canyon, and you see the amazing geological stratification that has occurred there, you’re seeing what evolutionists assume has been this continual building up of sediment for billions and billions and billions of years.
Now, evolutionists believe this. They believe that for billions of years, this sediment has been building up, but there are a number of ways to pose problems to them. Here’s one that I find very interesting: scientists can tell you just about how regularly meteors shower the earth. They’ve measured that for a long, long time. They can tell you how many meteors burn up in space before they hit the earth, and how many meteors generally, some very small, hit the earth each year. With the passage of billions and billions of years, and the building up of sediment, it should be true that that sediment has within it meteors at every interval. If the continuity, and the perpetuity, and the uniformity of meteor life is equal to the continuity, perpetuity, and uniformity of everything else in this theory of uniformity, then this earth has been being showered with meteors for 4.5 billion, or however old it is. And so you should be able to go down the strata, you should be able to go down the geologic column and find meteors all through that column, like the rain shower, therefore you could measure the age of the earth.
Interestingly enough, this is what the data shows: a survey of all literature on the occurrence of meteors in sedimentary rock failed to turn up one single case of a meteorite being found anywhere in any geologic column. The meteorite clock indicates we have a very young earth; all the meteors are on the top.
Philip Johnson has written a fascinating book called Darwin on Trial. If you’re interested in more scientific information, read that book; he marshals abundant scientific evidence against evolution, as do many, many other writers. Now, that’s just sort of a little bit of an introductory tidbit about the science side of things. I want to mention one other thing that’s a biblical issue before we look at day three.
The question always comes up, at what point were angels created? They’re not mentioned in Genesis 1, so how do we know when angels are created? Well, neither Genesis, nor for that matter any other text of Scripture, states specifically when angelic beings were created. What is definite is that they are creatures, and they were created, and they did have a beginning. They are immortal. Once created they live forever, but only the triune God is eternal, without beginning and without ending. Angels are created beings.
Now, some have suggested that they had to be created on the sixth day, because it was on the sixth day that God created man, and angels, according to Hebrews 1:14, were created to be ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who will be the heirs of salvation. And since they were created to serve those who were human, and who receive salvation, therefore they would have been created along with them on the sixth day. I find that a pretty weak argument, frankly, because that’s not all angels do. They don’t just minister to the saints. In fact, if you go into heaven in Revelation 4 and 5, you find them doing what? Worshiping God.
Primarily, and throughout all eternity, they will be worshipers of God. So it would be fair to the purpose of angels, which is primarily to worship God, to associate them in the created order with some point at which they would begin to praise and worship God. They – they’re definitely seen in the book of Revelation, worshiping God at the consummation of history, and it seems to me likely that they could well have started worshiping God at the beginning of history.
In fact, there is one passage of Scripture to which we can turn. I’ll just refer to it; you can look at it another time. Job 38 verses 4 to 7; Job 38 verses 4 to 7. And it tells us that the angels were present when the foundations of the earth were laid, and were rejoicing over it. So it could well have been that that was day one, if the foundations of the earth means that original formless, void earth that had not yet been shaped and refined into its final form. If it means the foundations in the sense of elements and the components that were there, but as of yet not shaped into their final form, then the angels would have been created at that time. Psalm 104, write that down, Psalm 104 verses 2 through 5 speaks of the shining of God’s light during the original creative process and mentions the angels just before referring to laying the foundations of the earth.
Now, if the shining of God’s light refers to verse 3, “Let there be light,” which occurred on day one, and it was followed by the foundations of the earth, and it means therefore the shaping of the earth that occurs actually on day three, it could well be that the angels were created after that shining light and before the foundations of the earth, meaning the shaping of the earth rather than its unformed character; the shaping which took place, as we will see, on day three.
So you can take your choice; but I believe that the angels would have been created by God either prior to the full creation of the earth that is described on the first day of creation, so that they could worship God for doing that, or they were certainly created before the shaping of that earth on day three, when the land was separated from the waters, as we read.
Now, the question of when they were created obviously isn’t important enough for God to include it. What is important is to know that they are created by God. They, as it says, in the Nicene Creed, are the product of the creator of all things, visible – that would be the material world = and invisible – that would be the spirit world of angels.
Now let’s return to the text of Genesis chapter 1. I think it’s fair to assume at this point the angels have been created, and they are there praising God and worshiping God for the wonder of what they are beholding as He is bringing His creation into magnificent and beautiful shape. Verse 1 gives the overview: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That’s simply an overview of everything. Verse 2 then goes back to describe how He did that. Obviously, it includes all of the elements and all of the components; ex nihilo, out of nothing, He made all the necessary materials from which to shape His universe. And then there came the earth in its, its preliminary condition, formless and void; that is, it was chaotic. It was not yet pulled into the order which would sustain life, and it was not yet inhabited. And God then, creating that earth surrounded by darkness, adds light to it in verse 3. And so you have this unformed, uninhabitable earth, a kind of a composite of elements not yet put together in their final form, and you have that surrounded by darkness until the light is created that surrounds it.
And then on day two, starting in verse 6, God creates the heavens. The earth is engulfed in water, as we remember, clearly indicated to us in verse 2. The earth is engulfed in water, God slices into that and sends some of that water upwards. And it seems to me best to understand that that water goes all the way up beyond the stellar heavens, because the space between the upper water and the lower water is called the expanse or space. It’s called heaven, and it’s where the light is, and it’s where, later on, the stellar bodies, the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, the stars, are all placed. And so that part of that water goes to the infinite ends of the universe in some fashion. We don’t know exactly how to explain all of that; nothing more than what’s in Genesis is a justification for being dogmatic. But God then leaves the earth still engulfed in water, but He has created heaven. That heaven then is filled with light when you come to the end of day two.
The earth is still uninhabited, uninhabitable, and not in its final form until day three. Before we go to day three, I just want to stick something in here for your thinking. On the day that God created the expanse, there was this tremendous cataclysmic movement of water coming off the earth and just literally moving to the extremities of the infinity of heaven. This great expanse that we know as space, the great expanse that we know as heaven, takes its shape, and it came into being. Just imagine the speed with which the whole of the infinite heavens were created. A little later when we talk about stars, we’re going to talk about how vast outer space is; it just staggers your mind. And all of that came into being instantaneously, the full vast universe.
Science has come to the place where they have to recognize this. There are scientific clues; they call it the “Big Bang” theory. We like to call it the “Big God” theory. We know it was a big God. They think it was a big bang. World magazine records this. Now, this was the May 1 issue this year; I just read it. Scientific evidence for the Big Bang becomes more and more theological, according to cosmic inflation cosmology. The idea is that somehow the whole universe just went like that..
A Mr. Gregg Easterbrook explains, quote, “The entire universe popped out of a point with no content and no dimensions, essentially expanding instantaneously to cosmological size. This is now being taught at Stanford, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other top science schools. This explanation of the beginning of the universe bears haunting similarity to the traditional theological idea of creation ex nihilo, out of nothing.” Mr. Easterbrook quotes one of the world’s top astronomers, Allan Sandage, of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution, as saying, quote, “The Big Bang can only be understood as a miracle,” end quote.
Day two was a big bang by a big God, who instantaneously created the universe. Now we have an unformed earth, we have light, and we have a vast universe, and we come to day three in verse 9. “Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens’” – now, that would be the waters that are on the earth still; the other waters have gone above the heavens by contrast, and clearly that language indicates that. “‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” Now God, on day three, is going to shape the earth.
It begins – verse 9 does, as always in the Genesis account, “Then God said…” You see it again in verse 11, “Then God said…” In verse 14, “Then God said…” In verse 20, “Then God said…” And so it has been in the past, verse 2, “Then God said,” verse 6, “Then God said.” Everything comes into being from nothing by God simply speaking it into existence.
On the first day, God divides light from darkness. On the second day, God divides the water below from the water above. On the third day, God divides land from sea. “Let the waters below the heavens…” Now, that clearly is the water that still remains on the earth. The water above has gone into the expanse of heavens. The waters now still remain on the earth. Back in verse 2 the earth is covered with the water. The surface of the deep, it’s called, and the surface of the waters. Still, the earth is engulfed in this water. Beneath the water is the solid matter, hidden beneath the waters covering the earth.
God then commands these waters that cover the earth to be collected or gathered into one place. The Septuagint uses the word “synagogue,” a gathering place. All of the water surrounding the earth is now gathered into one place, and at the same time verse 9 says, “God said, ‘And let the dry land appear,’ and it was so.” So God separates the water from the dry land. Now, this is just a simple statement, a simple sentence, but can you even begin to fathom the cataclysm that occurred when that was spoken by God? All of a sudden, the material that is in its unformed condition, buried under the depths of the surface sea, starts to move, and all of those necessary elements start to work to produce land, to push up to create the surface of land. The water moves, gathering itself into one place. Tremendous chemical reactions get under way as the elements combine with each other to form the complex of minerals, the complex of rock and soil, making up the solid earth as to its crust and its mantle and its core. Just a staggering act of creation.
Henry Morris writes, “Great earth movements got under way. Surfaces of solid earth appeared above the waters, and an intricate network of channels and reservoirs opened up in the crust to receive the waters retreating off the rising continent.” Continent rises – it may well have been only one great continent, later divided into multiple continents by the cataclysm of the breaking up of the tectonic plates during the Flood, when the fountains of the deep broke open the continent and pushed it into its current form. But at this time, the continent, perhaps only one continent, rises, and all the water is gathered into one place. This is an incredible thing. The water is assembled, and not only in one great sea, but assembled certainly into numerous distinct basins. The gathering of the waters is a plural term; there were multiple waters. They were all gathered so that they touched each other, in the sense that they were all connected. There would have been underground reservoirs, there would have been underground tubes, streams, and rivers, and springs, and fountains, but all connected together. All the water flowing everywhere in the earth interconnected. And the condition would not be, as I said, the same as our post-flood seas. Everything changed at the time of the Flood. But God created the seas and He created the dry land.
Now, I want to show you that this is the clear testimony of Scripture, that God created all of this instantaneously. Look at Job 38, and this is worth a look because I’m going to take you in to something that is fascinating to me. Job 38, verse 8: now, the Lord is talking to Job here, and believe me, the Lord is not an evolutionist. Job 38:8, the Lord asks Job, just reminding Job that he ought to keep his mouth shut, you know, in verse 4 before we get to verse 8, He says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” That’s not evolution, folks, that’s creation. Where were you? “Where were you when the morning stars,” the angels, “sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy in creation?” That’s that text that indicates that they were there at creation. In verse 8: “Or who enclosed the sea with doors, when bursting forth it went out from the womb, when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band. And I placed boundaries on it and I set up bolt and doors and I said, ‘Thus far you shall come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves stop.’“ Where were you, Job, when I created the sea and I bounded it with shore lines? And I told the sea, “You can’t go beyond that; that’s your limit.” It’s a reference to God’s creative work, as described on day three in Genesis.
Turn to Psalm 74. Psalm 74, first of all, and verse 13; here the psalmist is extolling God. And in verse 12 he talks about God being his King from of old, his ancient King whose works, deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth; who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. Then in verse 13, “Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength.” Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength. In other words, it was You that created the sea. But he adds in verse 13 this most interesting statement: “Thou didst break the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.”
Go to Psalm 104. I’ll come back to that in a minute, but Psalm 104, verse 7. He says in verse 5 He established the earth on its foundations so that it wouldn’t totter forever and ever. Can you imagine a lopsided world going around like this, and we’d all be going around the same way, jumping off a few feet every rotation? That’s called the science of isostasy, that the earth is in perfect balance. The heavier materials of the earth sunk to the center, the lighter ones to the outer part, and it is perfectly balanced.
Verse 6: “Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment.” That’s exactly what Genesis 1 says. “The whole of the earth was covered with water; the waters were even above the mountains. But at Thy rebuke” – verse 7 – “they fled. At the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away. The mountains rose, the valleys sank to the place which Thou didst establish for them. Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.” Certainly, that could refer to the creation work of God; it could also refer to what God did after the Flood, had it engulfed the earth. I think I lean toward the fact that it refers to creation, because of the description of Him establishing the earth in verse 5, and covering the earth with water in verse 6, as with a garment. I think that this is a creative context and the language of the psalmist is describing what happened when God drew the land together and separated the sea. Verse 10 continues the same creative context. “He sent forth springs in the valleys, they flow between the mountains,” and so that again is a creative statement.
In Proverbs chapter 8 – and notice this is all in the wisdom literature, in Job and Psalms and Proverbs. It has a certain poetic design. But in Proverbs chapter 8, verse 27, it’s talking about wisdom, wisdom personified here, and verse 27, actually, you can go back to His everlasting nature. God at the beginning possessed wisdom, verse 22; from everlasting He possessed wisdom. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills were brought forth, verse 25, and again, it’s in this creative context again. Verse 26, “While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world, when He established the heavens” on day two, “I was there,” wisdom was there. “When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary,” all of that precludes any evolutionary activity at all. All of it is attributed directly to God. God did it all, just as described in Genesis chapter 1.
Now I read earlier from Psalm 74 the mention – this is an interesting footnote – the mention of a sea monster. And as you study the wisdom literature, you see that sea monster coming up a number of places. In Job, for example, chapter 7 and verse 12, “Am I the sea or the sea monster that Thou didst set a guard over me?” And again it’s saying that God set a guard over the sea, but very often when it talks about God setting a guard over the sea, it mentions this, this sea monster. You also see it in Job 9:13, “God will not turn back his anger, beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab.” And rahab is translated “sea monster.”
Now, what is this? Well, Rahab apparently was the name of an ancient mythical sea monster. Rahab was a familiar term to describe a sea monster that rebelled against God. There were apparently some ancient myths among the pagans that when the gods were designing the world, and wanting to provide land and the sea, there was some great, rebellious sea monster they called Rahab who was trying to prevent God from separating the land from the sea – who wanted the sea to overrun the land. And God had to confine the sea, and confine this sea monster that was wanting to rebel, and so God, in defining the borders of the sea and the shoreline, in legend, had to defeat this great monster known as Rahab, who wanted to fight against God. That was the legend; that is not in the Genesis account, but that was the legend – that there was some monster trying to prevent God from separating land and sea.
Isaiah 51 also mentions this, and it mentions it in a different context. “Awake, awake” – verse 9 – “put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces?” And again, here is this same mention of Rahab again, this, this sort of pagan mythical sea monster. You see it also in Psalm – one more and I’ll leave you alone on this point, but I think it’s an interesting point – Psalm 89, verse 10, “Thou thyself didst crush Rahab, like the one who was slain.”
Now, here’s the way it goes. The Gentiles, or the people around – it wouldn’t be Gentiles at that point, since Israel wasn’t necessarily defined that early – although it would’ve been Proverbs times. But the pagan people around have invented these creation myths in which the gods were attempting to separate land from sea, and there was resistance by this great sea monster who was fighting to preserve his sovereignty, and to be able to overrun the land and drown whoever he wanted to when he wanted to. The great gods were able to defeat the sea monster.
Well, this legend found its way into some of the rabbinical tradition. And Rahab, then, became a name that would refer to any sort of any reality, or any fantasy which caused havoc – which rebelled against God, which fought against divine purposes, or the people of God. And you find a number of references to Rahab, to the sea monster, in rabbinic literature. They called Rahab “the lord of the sea, the great monster of the sea” – I suppose today his name would be Neptune – and he was always opposing the will of God in these legends. But the Holy One was able to contain him and control him.
It seems as if the Jews then borrowed the idea of Rahab, and turned it into a sort of a metaphor for anything that resisted the power of God; anything real, or anything in fantasy, that resisted the power of God. And you find the references to Rahab, as I noted them, all throughout Old Testament wisdom literature. And what is so interesting to me about that is when you come to the Genesis account, and the actual account of creation, there is no Rahab. There is no sea monster. There is no other existing power. There is no other existing force, or existing deity in a sea monster form.
What you have in Genesis is a very careful, detailed, believable, real account of creation, with nothing poetic, nothing legendary, nothing mythical whatsoever. And the very fact of that, I think, acts as a protest against those ancient myths which tended to corrupt even the thinking of Jews as time went on. The Torah, the law of God, Genesis would spell it out like this: far be it from you to think, as do some pagans, that the sea is endowed with an autonomous divine power that fought, as it were, against the creator of the universe. Far be it also from you to imagine, as some Israelite poets relate, that the sea refused to do the will of its maker, and that He was compelled to subdue it and force it to obey. It is true that the Torah records that God assigned a fixed place for the waters of the sea, but this was not done by suppressing the will of the sea which sought to rebel against God, the God of heaven. God simply said, “Let the waters be gathered together, and it was so.”
Now, I said all that just to take a shot at those critics of Genesis who want to turn this text into legend, or myth, or give it some unfounded poetic license. The writer of Genesis meticulously avoided making any use whatsoever of a well-known legend that even appears in other wisdom literature, and is even referred to by the prophet Isaiah, he using it metaphorically to speak of anything that wreaks rebellion and havoc. There was no such battle. God said it, and it was so.
Back to Genesis 1: so verse 9, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place,” and that would include subterranean lakes, subterranean rivers, and streams, and springs, and wells, all interconnected; and the land, probably in one great massive continent. And by the way, just as a footnote, if you take the continents of the earth and push them all together, it’s almost a perfect fit, almost as if they cracked and split apart.
Verse 10 then tells us that God named what He had made. “He called the dry land erets” – earth – “and He called the gatherings of the waters mayim” – “seas. And God saw that it was good.” It was good. It had been so; He said back in the very beginning that He created light, and there was light. He said He created heaven, and it was so. And He created in verse 9 dry land and seas, and it was so. But now He says it was good. It was good. Why? Because it was now habitable; it was now habitable. Oh, the light was good in and of itself, according to verse 4. But the earth now became good. And then the plants, verse 12, were good. And verse 18, the bodies in heaven were good. And verse 21, everything He made in the sea and in the air was good. And verse 25, all the animals were good. And verse 31, He made man, and He looked at all of it, and it was very good. There’s no sin there, folks. There’s no death. It’s just good.
So by the time you get to where we are in verse 10, you have the tripartite universe; tripartite meaning three parts, earth, sea, heaven. That’s the created universe, and it was good. And God could say it was good because it had reached the point where it could contain and sustain life. And so God moved into the second phase of creation on day two, verse 11, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth,’ and it was so.” Again I remind you it came because God said it, He spoke it into existence, verse 11. Always and unmistakably God speaks it into existence. And this is vegetation; verse 11, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.” Now, I think that’s a general category, and there are two parts to that category. There are plants, verse 11, and trees. Vegetation is divided into two parts: plants and trees.
Down to verse 29, God said, “Behold, I have given you” – speaking to man – “every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you and for every beast.” So God divides the vegetation into two parts, plants and trees. And what is the difference? The difference is the plant has the seed in it, and the tree has the seed in its fruit. That is clearly indicated in verse 11. Plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit with seed in them. That’s the distinction. All the vegetation which itself contains the seed would come under the plants; all the vegetation which in its fruit contains the seed would come under the trees. So as soon as the inanimate material was ready to sustain life, without delay, life in its simplest form was created and intended to be the food for all of the higher life yet to be made.
Now, I want you to notice that first of all in describing the plants, He says of them in verse 11, “plants yielding seed.” He says it again in verse 12, “plants yielding seed,” then again in verse 29, “plants yielding seed.” He continues to repeat that feature to let us know – this is so important – that the vegetation was capable of what? What? Reproduction. That’s the whole point. He made full-grown, fully-mature vegetation with seed in it that could be dispersed. One of the great, great wonders of the world is the science of seed dispersal. I watched an entire video on that; just absolutely astonishing to see how God designed seed dispersal, not the least of which is accomplished by birds in your own yard, and sometimes even attempted on your car and on your head. Pre-fertilized seed dispersal is very efficient. I’ll leave it at that.
There are a number of other ways. One of the wonderful works of the wind is seed dispersal. The whole science of seed dispersal is just absolutely phenomenal. Plants were made, then, by God, not as seeds, but as full-grown plants, containing seeds that could then multiply. That’s the way the whole of creation was made, and I remind you of that again; it was made mature. When man was created he wasn’t created as an infant, had to grow. He was created as a full-grown man. Everything was created full-grown. There were plants – edible ones, of course – that yielded seed – verse 11 – and fruit trees whose seed was in their fruit, bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth, and it was so. So he had those two categories of vegetation. Just one very important note: catch this little phrase. It’s repeated over and over – after their kind: verse 12, after their kind; once in the middle of the verse, toward the end of the verse, after their kind. May I encourage you a little bit? That phrase is repeated ten times in the first chapter of Genesis; ten times. The Hebrew word for kind is min, M-I-N; what is does is indicate the limitations of variation. A plant can only bring forth something of its own kind. A tree can only bring forth something of its own kind. It only has the capacity to function on the basis of a genetic code that is in it.
Now, whether in the Hebrew, kind corresponds to our word genus, or our word species, or our word family, or our word phyla, or whatever you want to use – and I’m remembering words from my college class, and I have no idea what they mean. But whatever the Hebrew word min means, or whatever it corresponds to in English, the one thing it does do is eliminate any possibility of an evolutionary process. Because whatever the plant is, and whatever the tree is, it can only reproduce after its own kind. To say that all living things come from a common ancestry is refuted by the ten times repeated phrase, “after its kind.” After its kind; I used to illustrate this with college students by talking about amino acids. I mean it get so individual that you’re made up of amino acids, and your body, no matter what you put in it, will only reproduce more of you. In fact, if you put too much in it, it’ll reproduce more of you than you care to see. But amino acids are called the building blocks of life. Now, you could decide that you were going to eat fried chicken the rest of your life; 20 years from now, you would not cluck. No combination of chicken amino acids and human amino acids will produce Big Bird. All you will ever produce is more of you, no matter what goes in – that’s after their kind.
In the wonderful resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, verse 38, God gives it a body – well, go back a little bit, “That which you sow doesn’t come to life unless it dies,” in verse 36, verse 37, “That which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be but a bare grain or a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. God gives it a body just as He wished and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh isn’t the same. There’s one flesh of men, another flesh of beast, another flesh of birds, another of fish, and God is saying there are distinctions. There are designs beyond which any living organism cannot pass.
The meaning of seed can be easily grasped. Seed is clearly the ability to reproduce a form of life in its own likeness. “Implanted,” says Henry Morris, “in each created organism was a seed programmed to enable the continuing replication of that same organism. The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the biblical teaching of the stability of kinds. Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds. A great deal of horizontal variation is easily possible, but no vertical changes.”
I mean, look around; look at all the different-looking people here – a lot of different looking people, all people. The exact limits of kind may be a little more challenging. We don’t exactly what Genesis meant, but we do know limits were set, and we understand that organisms were to stay within their own kind. The biggest thing we could say is birds remain birds, and animals remain animals, and fish remain fish, and reptiles remain reptiles, and insects remain insects. And that itself halts the entire evolutionary process, and that’s how God created.
So we have already talked about genetics, and how genetics guarantees that no evolution can occur. It is absolutely impossible. Michael Behe, whom I mentioned, who wrote Darwin’s Black Box, not a Christian but literally questioning everything about evolution, devotes two chapters in his book to showing that as more is learned about the amazing complexity of cellular structure, the theory of chemical evolution is becoming more and more impossible. He says, “This stuff is the pre-biotic chemist’s nightmare.”
So what do you have? Go back to the text. In Genesis 1:11 and 12, you have the origin all vegetable life, and you have not only its origin, but you have its orderly continuity fixed by means of certain seeds and kinds that perpetuate that life. Never has a plant evolved into something higher; only on the Sci-Fi channel, not in reality. In fact, if you study mutations and change in genetics, it’s always negative. It is always negative. It is always downward. The study of fruit flies has been something evolutionists have given their life to because it – fruit flies have such a short life span they can observe it over many generations. And the theory is you can see enough generations to see change, to see the evolutionary process taking place. The only problem is they take these fruit flies, and in order to make them mutate rapidly, they bombard them with radiation, they radiate them. And radiation, exposure to heat, chemicals and radiation can create mutations, we know that that is true. We understand that even in the chemistry of radiation that’s used with regard to cancer. It has the ability to cause cells to be killed and to change. But mutations do not create new structures. You may have in the study of fruit flies crumpled wings, oversized wings, and undersized wings, you may have double sets of wings, but you don’t have a new kind of wing; nor does the fruit fly become a honey bee. Mutations, by the way, are very rare, and this is fortunate, because they are virtually all harmful. They all decline, and in most cases mutations never even survive. That’s why evolution has been called “fact-free science.” Thought you’d like that one.
So, what are we learning then? Genesis 1:1 to 12 shows us that the intelligent agent is the living God, who on the third day of creation separated the land from the sea, caused plant life to sprout from the land. Two categories, plants which have their seed in them, trees which have their seeds in the fruit that comes from them; they therefore are able to replicate themselves throughout the end of time as long as a given species exists. God looked at it all in verse 12 and saw that it was good. And then God signs off again in verse 13, “And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.” There was ereb and there was boqer. There was a 24-hour day; that is so clear. Those terms, evening and morning, are used more than a hundred times in the Old Testament, and they always refer to a 24-hour day. God did it on the third day.
Let me close – Job 26, verse 7. God’s the object of this, the subject of it. “He stretches out the north over the empty space.” What a statement! “He stretches out the north over the empty space. He hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds and the cloud does not burst under them. He obscures the face of the full moon and spreads His cloud over it. He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters,” that’s the horizon of the earth, “and the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke. He quieted the sea with His power, and by His understanding He shattered Rahab, by His breath the heavens are cleared, and His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these” – I love this – “are the fringes of His ways and how faint a word we hear of Him, but His mighty thunder, who can understand?”
When God – he’s talking about rain, and when God breaks into the darkness with light, and rain, and storms, and lightning, and fury, and all of this, we’re just hearing a faint sound, a faint indication of His immense incomprehensible thunder. We’re only looking at the fringes of His ways. What a God we have!
Father, we thank You again for the Word which gives light in this most important and urgent area of creation. Thank You for this tremendous portion of Scripture, and may we worship You all the more for the greatness of Your power, to call these things into existence which were not. You are the creator, You are our Lord and Savior, and our great Redeemer, and our friend, a friend to sinners. What a glorious truth that is. Thank You. Thank You. Amen.
Copyright GTY John MacArthur
TREASURE IN HEAVEN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
Audio Link: http://www.wacriswell.com/player.html?theFile=MP3s/1964/64-10-25m2_TR787.mp3
W. A. Criswell
If you are sharing with us on television or radio the service of this First Baptist Church in Dallas, in your Bible the message is based upon a humble, simple, beautiful admonition of our Lord in the passage of Scripture that we read together, Matthew chapter 6, verses 19 and 20. And the title of the sermon is Treasure in Heaven. The word of our blessed Lord is this:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.[Matthew 6:19-21]
Our Lord makes here a plain and simple distinction between treasures upon earth and treasures in heaven. And His first admonition is this. It is against the investment of our hopes, and our dreams, and our ambitions, and our love and devotion in this world, in this earth, because, our Lord said, because of the providences and exigencies of life that so bring defeat and despair and disappointment. And He summed up those exigencies and providences in the words of a moth, of the rust, of the thief that carries it away. When we invest the love of our hearts, and the devotion of our lives, and the dreams and ambitions of our souls in this life, our Lord would say there awaits for us an inevitable disappointment and despair. “Lay not up for yourselves the treasures of hope and devotion of soul and life in this world.”
Sometimes we can invest our dreams and our hopes in a field, in the product of the ground. As you know, for so many years I was a village and a country pastor. And in one of those churches there was a farmer who had a great, vast wheat field. And having planted it, and having seen it grow, the time came for the harvest. And he spoke so much and so often of what the field would buy when the harvest of grain was sold, and even his wife began to speak to me of the things that they would buy with the money the field would bring.
Upon a time, visiting in the home, she said to me, “Last week, my husband went up on a little knoll overlooking the field, and buried his face in his hands, and cried like a child. For that week a heavy hail storm had come, and beat down every stalk of the wheat into the ground.” This is the treasure in the world that brings with it so oft times disappointment.
Sometimes our hopes and our dreams are in the investments we’re able to make in the financial community and economic program of a great nation like America in stocks, in bonds, in many other ways can we treasure up for ourselves in this world. And it also has the possibility of loss and disappointment. In this very city, in the circle of this very church, there came to see me one time a sweet, dear woman who all her life had lived in wealth and affluence. She had come to see me about the possibility of her finding a job. And I said, “You? You?”
“Yes, I.” For they had lost everything they possessed in an investment venture that had turned to ashes and to dust, and she was seeking employment in order to sustain the basic needs of her little family; treasure in this world.
Sometimes we can dream of it, and think of it, and work for it, and build it in behalf of our children. And there could hardly be a nobler aspiration than for a father and a family to work, and to build toward an estate that the children can possess, and continue to build up like some of the great names and the great fortunes in America. But it also has in it the possibility of indescribable sorrow and loss. Sometimes the child is prodigal and wasteful and doesn’t assume those marvelous opportunities placed in his hands by a provident father. And, of course, sometimes every dream and every hope is dashed to the ground by the visit of the pale horseman, and death takes away everything for which we’ve prayed and loved: treasure in this world.
Sometimes our treasures are exhibited in the diligence of a man for his business. And again, it is a virtue commendable for a man to be diligent in his business. He works. He’s not lazy. He’s not slothful, and he’s ingenious, and he pours his heart into it, and he seeks to make it flower and to grow under his guiding and skillful hands. It is only that if we invest in that labor the whole dreams of our lives, the possibility of infinite loss is also present.
A little boy one time playing at his mother’s feet, said, “Mother, I don’t think Daddy will go to heaven.”
And the surprised mother said, “Well son, what makes you think Daddy will not go to heaven? Your father is a fine, noble man.
“Oh,” said the little boy, “I don’t think he will go to heaven because when I asked him to play with me, he said, ‘Son, I’m too busy at the store.’ And when we ask him to go with us on a picnic, he says, ‘But I’m too busy at the store.’ And when we invite him to go to Sunday school and to church with us, he says, ‘I’m too busy at the store.’ And mama, I was just thinking that when time comes to go to heaven, Daddy will be too busy at the store.”
I think of that with so many of our professional men especially. How many doctors do I invite to church? Everyone that I ever have opportunity to talk to! As a profession, they are so influential, and they touch life at its most strategic place. Most of them will never come, and their reason? “You see pastor, I have a profession, and I’m ministering to mankind, and I’m doing my part in this world. But I’m too busy to take time out for God, or the work of the Lord, or the worship of His name, or the assembling of God’s people together. I’m too busy at my profession.” So through all of the gamut of life will you find that. Their hearts are in this world. Their dreams are in this world. Their accumulations are in this world. Their treasures are in this world, and our Lord says it carries with it ultimately, finally an infinite loss and despair.
It was our Lord who told the story of that abundant, and affluent, and prosperous farmer who so increased in his yields, he tore down his barns and built greater granaries, then finally said, “Soul, take thine ease, for thou hast much store, and to come, and to spare. Eat, drink, and be merry. Look at the substance; you have incomes from half a dozen sources.” The Lord said, “Upon a night, God knocked at the door of his life, and said, Foolish one, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall be these things that thou hast provided for thyself? So,” said our Lord, “is he that heaps up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” [Luke 12:16-21]. When our dreams and the love of our hearts, and when our treasures and all that we propose, think, and love, when all of it is in this world, there comes along the moth, there comes along the rust, there comes along the thief, there comes along death, there comes along disappointment and grief when our treasures are in this world.
Then our Lord spoke of the beautiful alternative, “But, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where the moth cannot destroy, and where the rust can eat away, and where the thief cannot break through nor steal [Matthew 6:20]. Put your heart and the love and devotion of your life in heaven.” What a glorious prospect, and what an infinite promise that it is possible for a man to possess what he possesses forever, that a man enjoy the fruit of his life and his labor world without end, that a man can be rich toward God. Why, the very thought of it is inspiring and challenging and wonderful to behold.
Now, our Savior would not deny that there is a gladness, and a glory, and a triumph, and a blessing in this life in our philanthropy, in our giving, in our remembrance, our sympathy, our understanding, our sharing. There is a reward here. Even our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” [Acts 20:35]. There is a reward in this life, in this world, in our investment in the kingdom of God and in the work of our Savior.
I do not know of a more beautiful story than a testimony of the great merchandiser John Wanamaker. In the city of Philadelphia is one of the most magnificent stores in the world, John Wanamaker. He grew up in the days when people somehow found it difficult to support the church and to exalt the Lord in the earth. You know, it’s mighty easy for people to become miserly and small and diminutive in their outreach and in caring for God’s house and God’s work.
So in the Broad Street Church, located near the city hall, where the boy John Wanamaker was growing up, there was a grand old pastor by the name of Dr. John Chambers. In those days, the people built their own paving in the street; and if the street was paved, the people who owned the property had to do it. So the pastor stood up and said, “The paving around our street is so shabby, and it makes God’s house look so poorly, and the whole community is not blessed by our indifference.” And he pled with the congregation to put a beautiful paving around the church, and there was no response; fell on deaf ears and hard hearts.
So young John Wanamaker—he said he was sixteen years old then—young John Wanamaker decided in his own soul that he’d do that for God and for the pastor. He was the son of a man who owned a brickyard in Philadelphia. So he gathered together all the brick that he could in his father’s yard, and then he went to the other brickyards and gathered together all the brick he could from those yards; then he took his own little savings, and then he gathered savings from others, and finally enough to pave the street around the church.
And so it was finished on a Saturday evening. And early the next morning, the boy John Wanamaker went down to see what the pastor would think when he saw that beautiful brick paving on two sides of his church. And after a while, and early in the morning, the grand, old preacher, Dr. John Chambers, came walking to the church with his head bowed, thinking about God’s message for that morning hour. And he walked onto the street and out into the middle of it before he noticed it. Then he put his foot down hard on it to see if it was real. Then he walked around on it. Then he looked up one way, and then he looked up another way.
And the preacher was so happy and so glad, and the young John Wanamaker, getting into the spirit of it, began to follow the preacher as he walked around looking at the pavement. And then suddenly the preacher just stopped and turned around, and there the boy stood. And the old preacher said, “Son, my boy, you had something to do with this. Thank you, my boy, thank you, my boy!” John Wanamaker said in the years of his life, he said, “You know, that was one of the finest moments I ever lived through.” He said, “That was my first introduction to the infinite joy of doing something for God. Now,” he said, “I’ve been doing it through the years since, and every year better and finer and sweeter than the year before.”
And when President Harrison in 1889, appointed John Wanamaker as postmaster general of the United States, he said to the president, “I will accept on one condition: that every Lord’s Day I’m privileged to return to my church in Philadelphia, and teach my Sunday school class.” Men like that kind of exalt our humankind in the earth.
But I’m not speaking of that. I’m just saying that there is a joy, there is a gladness, there is a reward of doing things in this earth—to see it with your eyes, to feel it with your heart. But what our Lord said, “As much as it is blessed in this life, and as richly as the reward comes like a flood over our own souls here in this world, the riches,” he says, “and the true treasures are those that we experience and enjoy and lay up in glory.”
Well, I got to thinking about that, started thinking about that. The Lord says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” [Matthew 6:20]. So I got to thinking about that. Treasures in heaven, how do I get them over there? Every thing we possess in this world and this life we leave behind here, all of it, all of it. All of it’s left behind: stocks, bonds, lands, jewels, gold, silver, bank accounts, homes, houses, whatever, it’s all left in this world.
How do I send it over? Lord how do I lay up treasures in heaven? How do I get them beyond the great divide? I began thinking about that. And then something came so poignantly and meaningful to my heart. Why, it is a simple thing, it is a plain thing. The way I get treasure on the other side in heaven is through somebody who’s going there. That’s how I get it across. That’s how I place it on the other side: through someone who is going there.
Well, I started to thinking about that. Well, who’s going there? Who’s going there? Ah, Last Sunday morning, I was thinking about this sermon as I walked around our blessed Sunday school. When I don’t have to preach at the eleven o’clock hour, I just look around, watching our people at the Sunday school hour. So last Sunday morning when Dr. Sullivan brought the message at this eleven o’clock hour, I just walked around and looked at our people. And this was my answer: treasures in heaven, people who are going there. Well, I walked by our Special Education department, a ministry we have to retarded children. And I stood at the door, and I watched them. Oh, I just thank God for it. They were so jammed in there. Some of these days, we’re going to build a beautiful place for those retarded children, where they can have a fine place to come to church.
Looking on the inside of that room where our retarded children are loved and taught, I saw a little boy that is so dear to my heart. You see, his mother brought him to me here at the church, and she said, “I took my boy to another church, and to another denomination. And that week I was called on by the leaders of the church, and they said to me, ‘Don’t you bring that boy to this church anymore. He’s not like us. He’s different from us, and we don’t want him. Don’t you bring that boy anymore to this church.’”
And the mother said, “And it just killed me. It broke my heart.” Then she said, “And I heard about you. I heard about you, and I heard about your church, and I brought my boy. I wonder if you’d take him? Would you have him?” I said, “Dear mother, God sent us here just for this. You bring your boy. You bring him.”
Then, upon a time, she brought the boy to me and said, “You know, my boy says he’s taken Jesus as his Savior, and he wants to be baptized. And I thought you could talk to him and see if he understands.” Why, I never saw a boy that understood better in my life. And I pray with all the children. I prayed with him. And the mother said, “Ask him to pray.”
I hadn’t thought about it; being a retarded boy, you know, I was kind of reluctant. The mother said, “Ask him to pray.” That little boy, down on his knees, prayed with the tears falling off his face, prayed for me, and thanked God for me, and prayed for the church, and thanked God for the church; sweetest prayer, sweetest prayer. So the mother said, “Now when the boy comes to join the church, I’m coming too. We’ll both be joining.”
There he is. Every Sunday he’ll be here. He’s going over there. And all of those dear, precious retarded children, they’re going over there. And when I do good for them, and invest in them, and make possible a ministry for them, that’s treasure over there. They’re going. They’re going. Oh, I love this church!
Just walking around looking, there’s our Oral Deaf department. They can’t hear. They’re little children that are born with an oral defect, an auditory defect, and we’re so given to ministering to those children. They don’t meet with our Silent Friends because they try to make it possible for them to lip read, and not use manual signs. And those dear children are there. And they’re going over. They’re going over, and I’m sending treasure over there with them.
And I walk around the church and look at this dear church, and there’s the apple of my eye and the love of my heart: my Good Shepherd department. That’s a ministry to the poor people downtown. Every great city has a sub-marginal area around it, where the people who used to live have gone out, further out, and built beautiful homes, but that doesn’t mean there’s nobody lives there. Poor people crowd in; and I’ve always felt—and you’ve heard me say this for the years of my ministry here—our church, whether any other church ever feels it or not, our church under God has an obligation to the poor people who are pressed against the heart of this great city, and our Good Shepherd department is our ministry to those poor people. They’re won to Jesus. They’re baptized here by the hundreds. They’re going over. They’re going over; treasure in heaven.
And I just look at the whole fabric of this blessed ministry. Our own children, why, I just love to go by and look at them. Our own children: there’s little Johnny, and there’s little Mary, and they’re the bone of our bones, and the flesh of our flesh, and the life of our life, and the love of our loves; these are our children. They’re going over. They’re going over.
Then our teenagers and our young people, the whole ministry; then I think of our services here, and the appeal we make for Jesus, and those who respond and are saved. They’re going over. And finally I begin to think about our missions, the six missions of our church and the souls that are won there, and they’re going over; and then, ultimately, the ministry of our dear church beyond the seas and to the farthest ends of the world, and they’re going over. And they’re going over; treasures in heaven.
There was a vision I read one time. It was a vision of a couple laden. They had everything. And they had come to the great divide that separates between us and the beautiful city of God. And when they came to the great divide, they came with reluctance, and dread, and foreboding, and anxiety, and fear; and they were laden down. And the angel who stood on the other side before the beautiful city said to the couple so laden down, “Now, see that scrapheap? Put all of that stuff you’re carrying on the scrapheap.” And the man said, “On the scrapheap? But these are the accumulations of my life! Look at this gold.” And the angel said, “Gold? Why, we pave our city with that. Put it on the scrapheap and come over.” And with great reluctance he put it all on the scrapheap. And the angel said to her, “What do you have in that case you clasp to your heart?” She said, “These are my jewels.” And the angel said, “Those little jewels? Why, we make the foundation of our city out of those jewels. Put them on the scrap heap.” And they went over with reluctance, and empty-handed, all left on this side of the great divide.
Carve your name high o’er the shifting sand,
Where the steadfast rock defies decay;
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand
Is what you have given away.
Count your great conquests on sea and on land,
Hoard up and treasure as you may—
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand
Is what you have given away.
And there came another couple, practically nothing, unladen; and they came to the great divide. And the angel met them, and with gladness and with joy and with anticipation they laid down what little they possessed and entered into the city of God. And at the gate there was rejoicing, and welcoming, and singing, and happiness, and in shaking hands with the people, they met so many they’d never seen before, had never heard of before. And as they shook hands, the dear couple said, “Well, who are you? And how did you know our names? We never saw you before.” And they replied, “When we came to this beautiful place, we saw in the Book of Life your name, and we read on the pages bright and fair of your gifts that made possible the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God to us; and we’re here because of you.” treasures in heaven, invested in those who are going over.
Oh, what a beautiful and marvelous thing God hath made possible to us. And isn’t it wonderful thus so to love God and thus so to serve Jesus, that when the time comes, we go to Him or He comes for us. It is not with dread and foreboding, but with exultance, and anticipation, and glory, and triumph? It can be like that if we’ll make it.
If Jesus should come in the rise of the morning,
When all of the world is engrossed in its care,
How many of us could our Master discerning
Turn in our accounts and welcome Him here?
Or if He should come at the bright hour of noonday,
With a light far more glorious than that of the sun,
How many have eyes that could gaze on His glory,
And hearts that could say, Even so, let Him come!
If deep in the night, when the third watch is starting,
A cry should go forth, The Bridegroom is here!
If upward in rapture the bride were departing,
Could you without fear meet your Lord in the air?
If I know my soul and if I know my heart, I am ready. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20]. Treasure in heaven: the love and the devotion of our lives on the other side, where it becomes a possession forever, oh, bless our dear people as we become rich toward God.
And while we sing our song of appeal, somebody you, give your heart to Jesus. Somebody you, put your life in the fellowship of the church; a couple you, a family you, one somebody you, while we sing the song of appeal, make it now.
We’re still on the air. If you’ve listened to the sermon today, either trusting Jesus as your Savior or devoting your life again and anew to Him, make a commitment of your soul to our blessed Lord now. You may be driving along on the highway; pull to the side of the road, bow your head over the steering wheel, and say, “Lord Jesus, I just give all I am or ever hope to be to Thee.” In a bedroom, kneeling on the floor; in a living room, down by the side of the chair; in a family circle, the commitment of the whole house to the Lord; “God bless us this holy day as in a new and a deeper, a more meaningful way, we offer to Christ all that we have and are.”
And in the great throng of people here, in the balcony round, there’s a stairway down front and back, and on either side, and there’s time and to spare; come. Come. “Here I am, preacher, I give you my hand; I give my heart to God.” Or, “Here’s my wife and our children; all of us are coming today.” A couple, or one somebody you, make it now. On the first note of the first stanza, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.
The Creation of God
John MacArthurAudio Link: http://www.gty.org/MediaPlayer/sermons/90-213
This is the first time I’ve really gone verse by verse through the account of creation. Obviously, I’ve studied it through the years and, of course, writing the notes for the Study Bible as well, going into it in some depth. But this is the first time for me, so I’m sharing with you as I go. And that’s the richest way to do it actually.
Now, as we come to Genesis chapter 1, we come to that now very familiar verse to us. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and that answers the questions of origin. The heavens and the earth, which was a Jewish phrase substituting for the absence of a word for universe by which they described the universe. And it answers the question of origin. “In the beginning God created the universe.” Now, we’ve been adding to that as we’ve been working our way into the text of Genesis a little bit. And let me sum up what the Word of God in Genesis teaches about origin. It is really unmistakable. It is plain language. There is an inescapable account here in Genesis telling us about the origin of the universe.
And, summing it up, this is what it says. The eternal God, at some point in the past, created out of nothing, without preexisting material, the universe as it is now in six solar days. He captures creation on the sixth day by creating man in His own image. That is intelligent, with personality, with self-consciousness and cognition, or the ability to think and reason. This creation occurred in six days. The seventh day it was over, and God rested from creating. It occurred about 6000 years ago, and the entire creation was mature and aged at the instant of its creation. At the time of creation, death did not exist. In fact, no corrupting influence of any kind existed. And that’s why God looked at His creation and said, “It is very good.” There was no death. There was no corrupting influence. Therefore, there couldn’t have been any animals dying, any plants dying. There couldn’t have been any kind of natural selection process going on. There couldn’t have been any survival of the fittest because everything survived in that perfect creation.
Death and corruption entered the creation for the first time when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God. Then came death and then came corruption. But that is described in chapter 3 and has nothing to do with the six days of creation. Later on, after the fall, the surface of the now-cursed earth was reshaped drastically by a worldwide flood. It was so deep that it completely covered the mountains all over the face of the earth. It was that cataclysmic world flood that drastically reshaped the surface of the earth, which also deposited fossil beds all over the globe. That flood wiped out all humanity, with the exception of eight people and the animals in Noah’s ark. They alone were the survivors.
Now that is the Genesis record of origin…creation, the fall, the flood reshaping cataclysmically the face of the now corrupted cursed earth. Great judgment falls on all of humanity so that only eight survive. All of us then are the descendants of those eight. Noah, his three sons, Noah’s wife and their wives. That is the Genesis record.
And let me say something to you that maybe you can just kind of file in your permanently useful file. Science is not a hermeneutic for interpreting Genesis. Or, for that matter, for interpreting any other portion of Scripture. Science is not a hermeneutic. It is not a principle of interpretation. The Bible does not bow to science. The accuracy of the Genesis text is no different than the accuracy of any other portion of Scripture. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. All Scripture is God-breathed. All Scripture comes not by any private interpretation, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. Jesus summed it up when he said, “Thy Word is truth.” The Bible is true whether you’re talking about Revelation and eschatological prophecy or whether you’re talking about Genesis and historic origins. The Bible is true whether you’re talking the history of Israel or the history of the Canaanites. The Bible is true whether you’re talking about salvation or sanctification, whether you’re talking about the life of Jesus or the theology of Jesus. Whatever the Bible says is absolutely true. And the Bible is as true in Genesis as it is anywhere else and everywhere else.
Furthermore, since origins are not repeatable, they are outside the realm of science. Since origins were not observable, since there was only one there and that was God, no one can comment on origins but God. And so what you have in Genesis is the only and accurate firsthand eyewitness account of origins by the Creator, Himself. Now, in spite of that very clear-cut approach to the Word of God, many people, including Christians, have turned to science and turned to scientists who speak authoritatively on Genesis.
In fact, there are theologians, many of them, bible commentators, pastors, well-known, popular pastors and preachers, some of whom you would even know, who deny the Genesis account. They flatly deny the Genesis account because they accept evolutionary science to one degree or another. I’ve said this to you all the way along, and I’ll repeat it again without going into all the verification. Science has proven nothing that negates the Genesis record. In fact, the Genesis record is what answers the mystery of science. But, sadly, Christians and Christian theologians, bible commentators, Christian college professors, as well as pastors and teachers, have denied the Genesis account, being intimidated by science.
Now, there is one book. There is one book that comments on Genesis, of great note. One book that I would say is absolutely authoritative, and it’s the only authoritative book. One true, infallible, inerrant, authoritative commentary that has been written on Genesis. One unarguable divine book, one heavenly inspired commentary on Genesis that speaks with absolute authority, is to be unchallenged in its truthfulness. And, frankly, for me, this Book forever settles the issue of the accuracy of Genesis. What Book is it? It’s the New Testament. It’s the New Testament.
It was not written by any scientist and not even by a creation scientist. It was not written by theologians or a theologian. It was written by simple men, who were given the words to write by God, Himself, so that the Creator is the author. You have in Genesis the account of the creation. You have, in the New Testament, the Creator’s inspired commentary on the Genesis record. If you go to the New Testament, you will find there is an affirmation there of six-day creation. There is an affirmation of divine fiat, or instantaneous creation. There is an affirmation of man being made in the image of God, an affirmation of Adam being created and then Eve. There is an affirmation of the fall there in very specific terms. There is an affirmation of the flood there in very specific terms. There is an affirmation of Noah and the surviving family of Noah. All of the Genesis record is very carefully referred to by the inspired New Testament.
Hubert Thomas, in his French book on Genesis 1 to 11, in the introduction, writes this, “In effect, three main points are demonstrated by reading the list we provide. These three points confirm that the New Testament can in no case whatsoever be appealed to in order to sustain any sort of evolutionary theory.” He’s absolutely right. You can’t find anything about evolution in Genesis. It’s not there. You can’t find it anywhere in the Old Testament and you can’t find anywhere in the New Testament where, commenting on Genesis, somebody casts it into an evolutionary light or into the light of legend or fantasy or some kind of poetic license.
And then Thomas goes on to give three reasons. “First, without exception, references to creation and especially the citations of Genesis 1 to 11 point to historical events. They are no different than the historical death of the Lord Jesus Christ on Golgotha. As far as the New Testament is concerned, creation ex nihilo…that is out of nothing…and the creation of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and the flood, as far as the New Testament is concerned there is no legend and no parable. All deal with persons and events of historical and universal significance.”
“Secondly,” writes Thomas, “without exception creation is always mentioned as a unique event which took place at a particular moment in past time,” not something that’s going on all the time, as is the theory of evolution. He further says, “Creation took place, it was finished. Events occurred which corrupted the world, and now it awaits a new creation which will take place in the future at a given moment.”
“Thirdly,” Thomas says, “recitations of creation given in Genesis 1 to 3 are considered in the New Testament to be literally true, historical and of surpassing importance. The New Testament doctrine based on these citations, out of Genesis 1 to 3, would be without any validity and even erroneous if the events of Genesis were not historically true. For example, consider the entry of sin into the world. If Adam were not the head of the whole human race, then Jesus Christ, the last Adam, is not the head of the new creation,” end quote. He’s referring to Romans where it says as in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive. And clearly the New Testament writer, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, saw sin and death enter the world through the very historic man, Adam, and through his very historic act of disobedience.
And so, that sort of sums up the issue for us. The New Testament makes no small number of references to Genesis and to creation. And it does so very naturally. It doesn’t…it doesn’t come across affected. It doesn’t come across as sort of incredulous. It doesn’t come across saying, “Oh I know this is hard to believe and I know you’re going…you’re going to really have a tough time swallowing this, but this is how it is.” It doesn’t do that. There is no attempt to defend, no attempt to explain somebody’s incredulity, it’s simply stated as fact.
Now, for example, Matthew 13:35, “I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world,” indicating there was a point in time when the world was founded. Mark 13:19, “For in those days shall be affliction such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created.” John 1:3, “All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.” That is there alone a verse that would immediately cancel the creation of anything by chance by some random process. Everything made was made by God.
Acts 4:24, “Lord, Thou art God which has made heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them.” That’s as comprehensive as you can say it. Acts 14:15, “That you should turn from these vanities, these idols under the living God who made heaven and earth and the sea and all things that are therein.” Everything, the heaven, the earth, the sea and everything that inhabits all of that. Romans 1:20, “For the invisible things of Him…that is of God…from the creation of the world are clearly seen.” Second Corinthians 4:6, “For God…and we studied this last Sunday night…who commanded the light to shine out of darkness.” That’s exactly what He did on day one. He commanded the light to shine out of darkness.
Colossians 1:16, “By Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, all things were created by Him and for Him.” Hebrews 1:10, “And Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the works of Thine hands.” And we’re going to see that a little later on day two. Hebrews 11:3, “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God.” He spoke them into existence so that those things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” That’s ex nihilo. He created things which are seen but they weren’t made from anything which existed before.
In Matthew 19 Jesus said, “Have you not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female?” Again, speaking of mankind as being the direct result of the creative act of God. Acts 17:26 says, “God has made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth and has determined the times before appointed in the bounds of their habitation.” He is the creator of all the nations of men. First Corinthians 11:8 and 9, “For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man, neither was the man created for the woman but the woman for the man.” Again created. First Timothy 2:13 and 14, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.” Romans 5:14 takes us to the fall, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses.” Romans 5:17, “By one man’s sin, Adam’s, death reigned by one.” First Corinthians 15:21, “Since by man came death”…by man meaning Christ…“came the resurrection from the dead.”
And I remind you again of 2 Peter 3:5 and 6, how that Peter refers to the flood and even to the pre-shaped world when it was engulfed in water, when he says that, “By the Word of God the heavens were of old and the earth standing out of the water and in the water,” and so forth as we noted last time. Ephesians 3:9, “The mystery which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God who created all things by Jesus Christ.” James 3:9, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father, and therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God.” Again, God is the One who made man in His image.
Revelation 4:11, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou hast created all things and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 10:6, “And swear by Him that lives forever and ever who created heaven and the things that therein are and the earth and the things that therein are, and the sea and the things that therein are.” Revelation 14:7, “Worship Him that made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of waters.” Romans 1:25, “Man worships and serves the creature more than the Creator.” And so it goes. Hebrews 2:10, “It became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things.” And so it goes. Over and over and over and over in the New Testament creation account is referred to.
Now as we have been saying, evolution has been introduced really as an atheistic alternative, as a godless alternative. And evolution demands irrational faith in impotent chance. Evolution can’t happen. It is impossible. It has been proven by science that it can’t happen, as we saw, because of DNA, genetic code information systems. Creation is rational faith in Almighty God. Evolution is irrational faith in impotent chance. Evolution is…is really naturalism. Any sort of evolution is a form of naturalism.
Naturalism believes that God exists only in the mind of non-intellectuals, only in the mind of low-level religious people. Naturalism says nature is all there is. That’s really all there is. And that is virtually the assumption that underlies all natural science. It underlies all naturalistic, humanistic philosophy. It underlies all intellectual work. It underlies all morality, or better, immorality. In other words, the underpinning of our entire culture is this idea of nature is all there is.
If naturalism is true, then man created God, God didn’t create man. And belief in God is nothing more than a groundless superstition, and more importantly, since it is a superstition, we don’t have to listen to anything in the foolish Bible, certainly not the Ten Commandments, the moral laws, and so forth. So, we aren’t interested in what religious people think. They’re a threat. They’re non-intellectuals. They’re…they’re more than a bother. They intrude on our moral freedom. In fact, we don’t even talk about morality anymore. We just talk about rights and values, don’t we? Rights and values. And rights and values are to be decided on by every individual.
People don’t do wrong because of sin. With all…in the wake of all this massacre up in Littleton, Colorado, you haven’t heard anybody talking about sin. People don’t do wrong because of sin. They do wrong because somehow they overextended their rights. Somehow they had warped values. They are psychologized rather than theologized. There is no Creator, there is no moral law, there is no moral judge. There is no purpose for life. There is no reason for life except to get through it as happy as you can. There is no destiny. And there is no true theology. Folks, I want to take you there ‘cause that’s the most important thing. There is, in a naturalist’s world, the humanist’s world, the evolutionary world, no true theology. So a theologian is really a useless interruption. In fact, they would probably hope that theologians are so low on the evolutionary chain as to be unable to survive. There’s no such thing as a true theology because there’s no such thing as a true God.
The issue for evolutionists is not that Genesis is not believable. It’s just a simple, straightforward account. It’s not that they want to argue about whether Genesis is true or not, I mean that…they’ve already won that battle. And that’s why I’m going back there. Listen, they’ve already convinced most of the Christian world that Genesis isn’t true. They have successfully attacked with their relentless theories and scientific illusions and sleight of hand and misrepresentation. They have successfully attacked Genesis and gotten most of the evangelical Christian world to believe that Genesis is not a true account. But that’s not really…they’re just not trying to debunk Genesis. I mean, that in itself doesn’t gain them much ground.
The real issue with evolutionists is that if God created man and cares so greatly about what he does as to identify eternal consequences for his behavior, that is a serious threat to their sinful pleasures. The naturalistic evolutionist hates God and loves sin. Sometime you should read Paul Johnson’s book, the historian’s book on the Intellectuals. Read the…read the biographies. It’s absolutely riveting reading, the biographies of the people who shaped western society. They were perverse, to put it mildly, in their own personal lives. The naturalist hates God and loves sin. The theistic evolutionist who wants to bring evolution and impose it on Genesis and kind of marry it up with God, he will say he loves God and he will say he hates sin, but he actually loves God a little and his academic reputation a lot.
Now let me tell you something, and I’m not blowing my own horn. It just so happens that it does refer to me. The governing discipline in the world, the governing discipline in the world, the governing discipline in the matter of life on this planet, the most important realm of thought, the most important arena of understanding is not science. Did you hear that? Now you would think it was. You would think it was. That’s what our whole society goes back to all the time. And what do we do? I picked up three magazines this afternoon to read them, Newsweek, Time magazine. One of them had some kind of a missing link on the cover. The other one promised on the pages on the inside to show the difference in the brain makeup of a criminal from a normal person, and it had some kind of photographs of some medical analysis of brain patterns. And then the discussion is all about the processes of evolution that lead to or away from that kind of behavior.
Listen, the queen of sciences in our world today, in the sense of knowledge is naturalistic science. They’re supposed to have all the answers for everything and the fact is they don’t. The governing discipline in the matter of life in the universe at every single point is not science. The governing discipline is theology. The only way you will ever understand the universe, the only way you will ever understand the history of man, the only way you will ever understand behavior and why people do what they do, the only way you will ever understand the flow of life and where we came from and where we’re going is when you understand a true theology, the only way you’ll ever understand it.
We cannot then allow our theology to vacate its throne at the beginning of the Bible and take a footstool while science ascends the throne. Science and every other discipline, every other realm or arena or sphere or paradigm of human thought bows to the king of all disciplines. And the king of all disciplines is a true theology, and a true theology is a theology that comes from the Word of God. Theologians aren’t respected today. That’s tragic. And in some measure they’re not respected because they’ve jettisoned their position. Theologians aren’t respected who hold their ground because they’re the enemy.
There’s a concerted effort to paint them as non-intellectuals, people who are bound up in superstition and fantasy. But every one of you, as a Christian…and I am going to elevate you, you don’t even have to take any classes. I’m going to do this to you just…you are all theologians. And I want you to understand what I mean by that. You understand theology. You may not understand every nuance of theology.
You may not be able to tell the difference between sublapsarianism, infralapsarianism, and a Labrador retriever. You may…I just threw that in. You may not be able to explain the doctrine of the imago or every aspect of kenosis. You may not know all the terminology. You may not know all of the ins and outs of every theological concept. But let me tell you something, folks, you are all theologians because you know the true and living God, and you know the means by which He is known. And furthermore, you know the Word of the living God which is the substance of all truth in theology.
Give evolution the throne and you make the Bible the servant of man and you court disaster. But the queen of sciences today is natural…naturalism. Everything goes back to it, and naturalism is defined in evolutionary terms. So what rules our whole society is evolution. It’s even gotten into theology to the point now…I am reading a number of different resources lately where the writer is saying, “God Himself is also evolving.” Oh yeah. This is God in process of becoming what He would like to become. So even God has been swept up and God is just another little piece of the evolutionary process.
Give evolution the throne and it takes over everything. Give it the throne in the first few verses of the first book of the first page of the Bible and you’ve abdicated at the very outset. And in a world that evolves, it’s very hard to have any fixed points. That’s why educators today are relativists. And they’re basically relativists on everything. You know, you hear all this about we’ve got problems in the schools, and you’ve heard it lately. “Well what are we going to do? What are we going to do? We can’t have kids going shooting up the schools. What are we going to do about this? We’ve got to teach them some standards. We’ve got to teach them some standards.”
So I have a great solution. Just take into every single school the very finest Bible teachers in a given community and let them have the kids every day for a week, and just let them teach the Word of God to them. That’s the standard. That’s the absolute standard. Fat chance. That isn’t going to happen. And until it happens, things are going to get worse ’cause there are no answers. What they’re talking about…and when the educators get into this and they say, “We need help, we got to do something,” they use this phrase, “Values clarification.” Values again.
What does values clarification mean? Well they…it basically…you know, they’ve got it down to you work hard and you don’t hurt people. Moral reasoning which means I have all the freedoms to do whatever I want but my freedom stops where your nose begins. If I want to go out and beat my head against the wall, and if I want to go out and behave in a certain fashion, that’s fine. But I cannot take a weapon and shoot you because now I’ve invaded your space. So I have to learn to reason morally and know that my freedoms have some moral limitation and the limitation is where, by society’s standards I’ve stepped over some line that effects you.
By the way, it gets very, very fuzzy, and the society is so fuzzy on it they don’t know what to do about it. They’re letting people produce video games, television programs, music, movies that cross the line by miles in creating evil influences in the lives of young people that are as deadly as if somebody put a gun to their head and fired it. There is no hope for a society where naturalistic evolution is the queen of the sciences, where everything has to answer to that. Students are supposed to be given values clarification by teachers who don’t have any moral standards. They’re supposed to be taught moral reasoning by people who don’t have any absolutes. And then they’re told they need to forge their own lifestyle. No authority, no sin, no fixed divine law, no shame, no guilt, no set consequences.
But there’s one thing in our society that they’re not relativistic about. Do you know what it is? Evolution. That is the one dominating absolute in our society. If you say you don’t believe in evolution, you literally are viewed as a moron, somebody who doesn’t have all his marbles, somebody who is bereft of normal reasoning ability. There’s a sweeping relativity until it comes to the one fixed absolute that makes the relative system work, and that is evolution. You see, if you come and say, “Well, you know, I don’t believe in evolution; I believe in divine creation by God,” the whole relativistic house of cards collapses cause you have to have…you have to have randomness, free choice, free expression.
You can’t have fixed absolutes, you can’t have the lawgiver and a law and a judge and all of that. So the one absolute that perseveres in the midst of this relativity is the absolute of evolution. And that is they are absolutely convinced beyond any argument that everything that exists today is a result of chance and random processes. As one writer said, and I’ll never forget the statement, “The universe as we know it is just one of those things that happens from time to time.”
But contrary to all of that, theology is the queen of science. This theology is what is the most important realm of thought. Theology is the controlling element in all of human understanding. And an unwavering faith in the accuracy and truthfulness of the Bible is at the heart of all sound theology. And it starts with believing the Genesis account. That is critical to a Christian worldview. As I told you a few weeks ago, the Master’s College participates in the Christian College Coalition, 110 Christian colleges, of which five or six affirm the Genesis account. So we have a hundred Christian colleges that do not have a Christian worldview. What is a Christian college? Well, I get exercised about that but let’s go to the text. I’m trying to do two things in these messages, give you some…some rational thought, a little philosophical thought, some scientific stuff before we slide into the text, but let’s go to the text.
Let’s look at day one. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was formless and void”…desolate and uninhabited. Remember, that’s what we told you that means. It was desolate and uninhabited. It hadn’t yet been shaped or inhabited by any living thing. And it was completely engulfed with darkness. “The earth”…it says…”was covered with the deep, covered with the water.” Says, “The darkness was over the surface of the deep,” which is an Old Testament word for the ocean, “and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
So what you had, day one, is God creates time, space, and matter. Those are the elements…time, space, and matter. God creates them out of nothing. And you have this tohu and bohu, this unformed, unshaped and uninhabited mass of these elements. And this earth that He has…the elements are mixed perhaps like so much mud, as it were, not sorted out, and it’s covered with water completely and then surrounded by darkness.
And then on day one, verse 3, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” So God created light. “Saw the light that it was good, and separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, the darkness He called night, and there was evening and there was morning, one day.” So, on the first day God created the essential elements of time, space, and matter. God then added light. He fixed the light/dark cycle in the permanent day/night continuum of 24-hour solar days.
That’s why it says in verse 5 there was evening and there was morning. And somebody says, “Well, the sun hasn’t been created, or the moon.” That’s fine. God could still cycle the light any way He wanted until He attached that light to the heavenly bodies, which He does, as we’ll see later on. So, basically, the first day the elements are created and they’re left in a shapeless and uninhabited form and surrounded by darkness. Then light is created and there’s a mingling of light and darkness in the normal 24-hour cycle and that’s day one.
Let’s go to day two. God continued to shape those elements into a habitable environment for the life that He would create. And then God said in verse 6, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God made the expanse and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so. And God called the expanse heaven and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.” All right, let’s jump in and see what happened here. Day one, God separated light from darkness.
Day two, God separated heaven from earth. That’s what the expanse is referring to. Day three, as we shall see, God separated water on earth from dry land. So day one, day two, day three, series of separations. Before God can create life He has to separate light from darkness, and create the continuum of light and dark in the 24-hour solar day. He has to separate the heaven from the earth, which He does on day two. Then He has to separate the water that is now completely engulfing on day one and two, He has to separate that from the dry land so there’s a place for the fish in the sea and the land life on dry land. Thus the universe is made ready for life in the first three days, a very reasonable approach. Light from dark, heaven from earth, dry land from water.
Let’s look at it then in more particulars. Verse 6, “Then God said,” and again I remind you that creation was simply by the Word of God. He spoke things into existence. As day two began, when the dawning of the day came, the universe was light and dark, the earth was an undifferentiated mass of elements completely engulfed in water. But then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate from the waters from the waters.” And this is quite interesting. On day one the earth was covered all with water. On day two, God separated that water in to two places. That’s what it’s saying here. He put an expanse in between and some water was above and some remained on the earth.
So you have the water that was still on the earth and now some water that’s separated and taken above. That’s exactly what it is saying. And in between those two elements of water there is an expanse. Now the word “expanse” is the Hebrew word raqia. It means…interesting word. It means expanse. It means spread out thinness. And looking in the Old Testament to find its usage, in Exodus 39:3 when they were making things for the worship of God in the tabernacle, it says they got gold and they hammered out…they hammered out sheets of gold. They flattened it out and spread it out and hammered it into thinness. They use the same verb as the verb expanse.
The picture is of a thin area that God just cuts right through the waters that surround the earth. All the way around the earth is this water and God just cuts as if you would go in there with a knife and just cut all the way through that sphere of the undifferentiated mass of elements of the earth, separating it into two parts. There’s still the part that’s spherical and the water surrounding it, but now there’s water above it, separated by this expanse. Expanse is intended to convey the idea of space…space.
Look at verse 8. God called this expanse what? Heaven. It’s what we understand as heaven. It’s what we understand as the space above us. Heaven is shamayim, and it literally means the sky, or the skies. It refers to the universe and the space above us. So there was no heaven. There was no space as we know until the second day, and God just cut all the way around that sphere and released some of that water and sent it up, creating between the waters above and water below space. The Jewish writer, Cassuto, says, “From this we may infer that immediately after its formation the firmament occupied of its own accord the place appointed for it by the will of God, which is the sight of the heavens as we know it.” Literally created space. “Thus as soon as the firmament was established in the midst of the layer of water, it began to rise, arching like a vault.”
That’s very graphic. God cuts that water and then it just begins to rise, and it begins to expand until it’s going further and further, creating in between space. Cassuto says, “In its course…in the course it expands arching like a vault, in the course of its upward expansion it lifted at the same time the upper waters resting on top of it.” It just took them right up. “This marked a considerable advance in the marshalling of the components of the universe. Above now stands the vault of heaven, surrounded by the upper waters. Beneath stretches the expanse of lower waters, that is the waters of the vast sea which still covers all the heavy undifferentiated matter on the earth. “The universe”…he writes…“is beginning to take shape.”
Now that’s a very reasonable account written by Moses. At this…at the…as you go back into ancient literature you…you read some other legends that developed in the Mesopotamian mythology that are kind of interesting to compare with this. And pagan stories, there’s a lot of them to try to explain creation. None of them teaches evolution. But, for example, the legends of Mesopotamia say that after the God, Marduk…and by the way, you can name him a lot of different names depending on what the nation you belong to or what version you want…but the God, Marduk, had vanquished Tiamat, the goddess of the world ocean, depicted as a great and mighty sea monster, as well as the other monsters and monstrosities that she had created to aid her in her combat. And after he had slain his chief enemy with his weapons, he cut her carcass horizontally and divided her into two halves which lay one on top of the other and out of the upper half he formed a heaven and out of the lower half he made the earth, which included the sea.
You can read that whole story in the Babylonian account of creation. And it says actually in the text, translated, “He split her like a fish into two parts. The one half of her he set up and laid there with the beams of the heavens. He pulled down a bar and stationed a watch,” which refers to the earth below. In summary then the Babylonian priestly myth, which the Greeks also followed, says that the upper part of the universe and the earth here is the result of the cutting in half of the body of Tiamat, or Tamtu, or Tamte, a lot of different names. And that’s just…I just tell you that to show you how bizarre and silly those legends are.
But what the Bible says is completely reasonable. God took the waters way up…way up. Left some still engulfing the earth, and in between created the separator between the waters which was the expanse we call heaven, space…the vast space of the universe. Go to verse 7, and verse 7 basically reiterates, “And God made the expanse and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse and it was so.” And, again, he repeats the same thing again just to be sure you get it. There is an expanse and God separated it. The waters went up, some of the waters stayed below, He created space in between.
Just a couple of footnotes here. It’s important to understand that this is all creative. That is to say it is all creative power going on here of proportions that are just absolutely beyond our capacity to comprehend. And I want you to…I say that in reference to verse 7 because the word used there, God made the expanse. And some people have said, “Well this isn’t create, this isn’t the word bārā.” This is another word, asah, in Hebrew. Does it signify some different activity? But does it signify that this…and do we need to make a distinction here? A lot of times Bible teachers will make distinctions that they shouldn’t make because all languages have synonyms, and even words that have shades of variation can be used in a synonym fashion.
And the question here is does the word “made” change the actual action of God? And the answer is no. It does not signify any different activity on God’s part than creating out of nothing. In fact, over in chapter 2 verse 3 the verse ends, God rested the seventh day, blessed it, and sanctified it. Rested from all His work which God has created and made. And there you have those two words bara and asah and, basically, presented as synonyms. And I think that’s a wonderful note that the Spirit of God has placed there so we wouldn’t worry about whether there was some distinction.
The word bara is the defining word. And here in this context it…it means to create something out of nothing, or to put it another way, to do something that transcends normal ability, to do something that can’t be done. That’s bara in this text. And made is just a synonym to use another word referring to the same thing. Now bara can be used simply for something normal. It’s used in Isaiah 54:16, “Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire and coals and brings out a weapon.” God…57:19 of Isaiah, says, “Creating the praise of the lips.” Those things are more normal. They don’t necessarily speak of the same power of creation exhibited in Genesis.
So bara doesn’t always mean creating in the sense of ex nihilo, divine fiat creation, but in this context that is distinctively what it means. And the word “made” is just another word to affirm the same thing. We could say it is a synonym. And by the way, in Exodus, for you scholars, Exodus 34:10, asah is used as a synonym for bara in Exodus 34:10. So I see them used in synonym fashion.
We could say it this way. In the Genesis context this word, asah, is used to specify the kind of bara, the kind of creation of which the verse speaks. God is creating and in this creating He makes something that never existed. He is creating but in the creating, as verse 1 indicates, the broad picture, He is making things expressed by the use of the other word. And so in verse 7 He made the expanse. It was still creation, but it was a component of creation, it was the making of something that never before existed.
Now, I’m going to hurry and finish. The separation of water above the sky and below has led to much discussion, folks, much discussion. The question is what is this water? And, you know, I have to confess to you, I don’t know. I don’t know. It could be that clear out at the end of infinite space there is water. We know that there is water in the air, that we know. We feel the rain. There…there may be some other feature that we don’t know about way at the other…at the very end of the limitless vault of heavenly space. I don’t know. There are many who believe that there…there’s a…in this creation there was created around the earth a canopy, a canopy of water.
This is the view of Whitcomb and Morris, that the waters above the expanse, the waters above heaven were…were like a vapor that just engulfed the whole earth and created a kind of a hothouse environment. And that’s, they suggest, why animals lived so long and plants lived so long. You had animals living long enough to become dinosaurs. You had people living long enough to become like Methuselah, 900-plus years old because they were shielded from ultra-violet light because of this water canopy. And then at the flood, that canopy burst loose and drowned the earth, along with the tectonic cataclysm that occurred underneath the earth that broke up the basic elements of the earth and created the post-flood environment.
But we can’t know that for certain. The suggestions are made that this vapor was a water vapor canopy up over the earth. There’s nothing in here about that. So, folks, you can’t be dogmatic about it. It seems a reasonable explanation. And the suggestion has been made that water vapor has the ability to transmit incoming solar radiation and to retain and disperse much of the radiation reflected from the earth’s surface. So it would serve as a global greenhouse, maintaining a uniformly pleasant warm temperatures around the world.
They say that with nearly uniform temperatures, great air mass movements would be inhibited, windstorms would be unknown. With no global air circulation the hydrological cycle of the present world could not be implemented. There could be no rain except directly over the bodies of water from which it might have evaporated. With no global air circulation, because it’s all protected by this canopy, there would be no turbulence, no dust particles transported in the upper atmosphere. The water vapor in the canopy would have been stable and not precipitate itself.
Further, the planet would have been maintained not only at uniform temperature, but at comfortable uniform humidities by means of daily local evaporation and condensation, like dew or ground fog. The combination further of warm temperature, adequate moisture everywhere would be conducive to extensive stands of lush vegetation over the world. No barren deserts and no ice caps. A vapor canopy would be effective in filtering out ultra-violet radiation, cosmic rays, other destructive energies and it goes on and on and on.
And then at the flood when God wanted to drown the earth, He just broke that thing loose and it plunged to earth and we were all exposed to the ultra-violet light and life was shortened up and people just lived 60 years after that. Is that really the way it was? Well it doesn’t say that in Genesis. The text of Genesis doesn’t specify a canopy, but it does say there were waters above and waters below. There have been scientists, good creation scientists who have said this canopy theory doesn’t fly.
Robert Whitelaw and Walter Brown summarized the difficulties like this. “The heat problem, a large vapor or ice canopy would so increase heat that it would roast all living things if you have no movement of air and you just have this heat. The light problem,” they suggest, “starlight, which God said would be for signs and seasons, could scarcely have been seen and sunlight could not have reached through with sufficient heat to support tropical plants. The pressure problem, a vapor canopy holding more than 40 feet water would increase such high pressure at its base that its temperature would exceed 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
“The support problem, neither vapor, liquid, nor ice canopy, could have physically survived for the many centuries between creation and the flood,” a couple of thousand years. It would condense, evaporate, or vaporize, it wouldn’t just stay there. And then the ultraviolet problem. “A canopy surrounding the atmosphere would not have been protected from ultraviolet light which would have disassociated water into hydrogen and oxygen, thus immediately destroying the canopy,” and on and on and on.
Look, I’m not going to get into this argument. I haven’t got any idea. All I know is there was water here and water up there. That’s all I know. Now the canopy makes sense…there’s a canopy…there was one up there somewhere, there was water up there somewhere. Obviously it didn’t do what all those…maybe it didn’t…maybe it wasn’t water like the first group of scientists said it was, and maybe it wasn’t doing what the second group of scientists thought it would do if it was up there. But it was up there.
Now you say, “That’s a pretty simple non-scientific explanation.” Well I’m a theologian. That’s what the Bible says. It doesn’t give an explanation of science. it just says water went up and some water stayed here. We could safely say this. The resolution may be as simple as this. God creating the kind of canopy, the kind of vault in the universe, the kind of water in the atmosphere that was controlled so as not to produce the ill effects that Whitelaw and Brown mentioned. We do know this. There was water up there and at the flood, water came pouring down, according to Genesis 7, and drowned the entire earth.
So, between the waters God created space. Look at this note, this is really interesting. Verse 7, end of the verse, “And it was so.” Is that redundant? Is that redundant? He said in verse 6, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters.” In verse 7, “And God made the expanse.” And why does He add, “And it was so,” is that just a redundant sort of editorial comment? No, it serves a very necessary purpose, very critical statement. There is no such comment in verse 3. God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.” It doesn’t say, “And it was so.”
I’ll tell you why. That little phrase used here in verse 9, verse 11, verse 15, and verse 24 is used to affirm something that is fixed, something that doesn’t change, something that has remained for all time. You can’t say that after verse 3, “Let there be light and there was light,” cause there’s light and darkness, light and darkness, light and darkness. It’s not fixed. But when you say God created the heavens, that’s fixed. “And it was so” lends itself to the understanding of the firm and fixed and unchanging nature of that element of creation.
And verse 8 ends, “God called the expanse heaven.” And by the way, He doesn’t say it was good yet. He didn’t say it on day one. He didn’t say it on day two. He won’t say it until verse 10 when the earth is habitable. Then He’ll say “It was good,” only after it’s finally shaped into its habitable condition. And verse 8 ends, “God called the expanse heaven and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.” He did it in a day. Created the firmament, the expanse, the heavens, the sky. We’re ready for day three. Somewhere in here, just plant this thought, the angels were created. Do you know where? Stay tuned. I was going to tell you tonight but now I don’t have any time.
I would just like to close with a little praise, if I could. Psalm 104 probably is as good as any. Listen to this. Psalm 104, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, O Lord, my God, Thou art very great. Thou art clothed with splendor and majesty, covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters. He makes the clouds His chariot. He walks upon the wings of the wind. He makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers.”
Now if there was wind at the time of the creation, then maybe Whitcomb and Morris are wrong after all…or least they’ve overstated the effect of the canopy. But here is…here is the psalmist’s praiseful recollection of God stretching out heaven, of God taking the water to the upper chambers. And he praises God saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” And in verse 5 he says, “He established the earth upon its foundation so that it will not totter forever and ever. Thou dost cover it with the deep as with a garment.” You can see all the creation allusions here affirming what happened. And we’re going to see more in that Psalm as God separates the land from the sea and creates the springs and the valleys and the animals. It’s a tremendous, tremendous text.