We’re at the very beginning of the Book of Beginnings. The first part of Genesis that we’re just beginning to look at is the beginning of the human race, and the first subsection there is the work that God did in Creation. Genesis chapter 1 is an overview of God’s creative work in the six days of Creation.
We have seen Genesis 1:1: original Creation being brought into existence by the handiwork of God. We’ve seen in Genesis 1:2: that original Creation in its unfilled and unformed state. Nothing is necessarily wrong with Creation; it just hadn’t been shaped and populated. As we’ve tried to describe it, it’s like a lump of clay on a potter’s wheel. There’s nothing wrong with the clay; it’s just a matter of expectation—how the potter is going to shape or mold that clay.
Then, in verse 3 all the way through the end of chapter 1, what we have is the Creation week itself—God shaping and molding Creation. It’s like an empty canvas. What’s the painter going to do with this canvas?
It’s like a lump of clay. How is that clay going to be shaped into something beautiful? And that’s what God begins to do in the Creation week.
We have seen Day One: light comes into existence. Day Two: water and sky come into existence. Day Three: land and vegetation come into existence. It’s interesting that Day Four parallels Day One, Day Five parallels Day Two, and Day Six parallels Day Three. Because in Days Four, Five, and Six, God is no longer shaping but He’s populating. Days One, Two, and Three? Shaping. Days Four, Five, and Six? Populating.
Day One—light comes into existence. Day Four—God continues the light through the luminaries—the sun and the moon and the stars.
Day Two—water and sky come into existence. On Day Five God fills the water with sea animals and He fills the sky with birds.
Day Six parallels Day Three because on Day Three land comes into existence—it comes up out of the water. On Day Six, God is putting land animals on the land. Then, the pinnacle of His creation—humanity—He’s putting on the land as well.
The last time we were together we were studying Day Six of Creation. I want to return, just for a minute, to verses 26-28. Those verses are so pivotal, and they are so important towards understanding what has been lost in our culture today.
Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ”
So what we begin to see here is man is different than any other thing that God has made. He is unique. He is special because he bears the very likeness and image of God. And in our world where evolution is taught so dogmatically, what people are being told is that they are nothing more than naked apes—evolved animals.
The fact of the matter is the Bible could not be more clear that such a sentiment is completely wrong. Man is different than the animals. He’s higher than the animals for the simple reason that he bears God’s image and the animals do not. I can say here, categorically, that human life in the eyes of God has more value than animal life.
Jesus made this statement in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:26. He says, “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” He’s arguing there from the lesser to the greater, “Why are you worried about finances? Why are you worried about money? Why are you worried about provision? Why are you worried about shelter? I mean, doesn’t God do a good job taking care of the very birds? If that’s true, won’t He do even more for you since you are more valuable—as a human being—than they?” Why would He say that? Because human beings are different in the sense that they bear God’s image.
In Matthew 12:11-12 Jesus is speaking. “And He said to them, ‘What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.’ ” Jesus did something there in the New Testament that defied the religious restrictions of the Pharisees. He actually healed a man on the Sabbath. What an outrageous thing to do!
How audacious of Jesus to do that on the Sabbath. And Jesus, when He was criticized for this, turns the argument around. He says, “Don’t you pull your sheep out of the ditch on a Sabbath?” Apparently that was a common practice in Israel; people did that all of the time. “If you take care of an animal on the Sabbath, why do you have any problem with Me healing a person on the Sabbath since a person is more valuable than an animal.”
Why would He make that value judgment? Because human beings are unique amongst God’s creatures—they bear God’s image. You see, you might be here today or listening thinking that your life is insignificant. You might be thinking that your life doesn’t count. You might be thinking that God is not really looking out for you or God doesn’t love you. And the fact of the matter is nothing could be further from the truth.
Because you share in humanity you are the pinnacle of God’s Creation. It’s why Jesus died on the Cross to restore us to Himself—humans have value—humans are precious to God.
We have entered into a time in American history where we have embraced the concept of “quality of life.” “People have value,” we think, “because of what they can do or what their skill set is or what their level of talent is or what they can produce or if they’re employed.” We think that people are valuable if they have those attributes. And those that don’t—those that just take up space so to speak—somehow lose their value. That is a mindset called “quality of life.”
I’ve made reference to this before. This is a quote from Richard Lamm, former Governor of Colorado. This is what he said on March 28, 1984. Quoting the referenced New York Times article dated March 29, 1984, “Elderly people who are terminally ill have a ‘duty to die and get out of the way’ instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means, Governor Richard D. Lamm of Colorado said Tuesday. People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to ‘leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,’ the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital. ‘You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way,’ said the 48-year-old Governor. ‘Let the others in society, our kids, build a reasonable life.’ ”
This is what you call a “quality-of-life” mindset. He’s obviously very down on the elderly. Apparently, what he is saying here is the elderly just need to get out of the way—they are holding up society. They have a duty to die and make room for people that are productive. This is what you call “quality of life”—you evaluate people based on what they can do, what they can produce, whether they’re employable or productive or healthy. But once they lose those abilities, they suddenly lose their value. That’s what you call “quality of life.”
It’s very interesting to me if you do the math on this. He made the statement as a 48-year-old in 1984. How old is he today in 2020? If you go to his Wikipedia page, he would be 85 years old. I wonder if he still stands by the statement he made in 1984? The fact of the matter is the Bible knows no such doctrine of quality-of-life. What the Bible teaches is the sanctity of life. This is what is being lost in society. This is what is being lost in culture.
A lot of it is evolutionary. If we are exactly the same as the animals, if I can go to the Houston Zoo and visit my great, great, great grandpa in the orangutan’s cage, then I’m nothing more than a naked ape and I really don’t have any value. The Bible on the first page is saying that’s nonsensical—that’s outside the parameters of God.
God says all human beings are valuable—period. It doesn’t matter how wealthy they are. It doesn’t matter how much money they have. It doesn’t matter if they have teeth or don’t have teeth. It doesn’t matter if they salivate and spit all over you when they talk. It doesn’t matter if they’re homeless and have alcohol over their breath.
The Bible teaches on page 1 the concept not of the quality of life but the sanctity of life. And I do fear that we’re losing this very aggressively in American society. There is a war on the elderly. There is a war on the pre-born. The war on the unborn you know about already through abortion, but there is also a war on the elderly. The only difference between the elderly and the unborn is the elderly are outside of the womb and they can organize politically to stop it. The pre-born (or the unborn) don’t have that luxury.
You know, it’s interesting. My daughter and I try to read through a chapter of the Bible every evening. We’re currently in the Book of Deuteronomy. We just came to Deuteronomy 28:49-50 where God says He will bring a pagan nation against Israel because of discipline. And when God describes that pagan nation, He describes it as follows: “They will show no respect for the young or the old.”
The young and the old in paganism are expendable because paganism is characterized by not sanctity of life—which is what Scripture teaches—but quality-of-life. May God help us understand the time period that we’re living in; there is an actual price that a culture pays for abandoning the truths of God’s Word on page 1.
It says in Acts 17:26 concerning Creation, Paul speaking, “and He [that’s God] made from one man [that would be Adam] every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.” You notice that humanity comes from one man: Adam.
The big talk today in society is the issue of race. And this has been particularly compounded with the death of George Floyd—what I would consider—most would consider—to be a tragic death. The issue of race and race relations is now front and center. Almost every talk show, every panel on cable TV, somehow gets embroiled in this discussion about race. The fact of the matter is your Bible says something about race.
What it says (Acts 17:26) is there’s one race: the human race! Why is that? Because all of us as human beings descend from Adam. Therefore, all of us are what? Image bearers of God. The pigmentation and color of one’s skin, then, becomes somewhat irrelevant, doesn’t it? Since we all share the same lineage, going back to Adam, since we all share in the fact that we are manufactured and made in the likeness of God, it is completely unethical, it is completely immoral, for one race to see itself as superior to another race.
It is immoral for one race to subjugate another race. Now that’s not front page news; that’s just basic Bible reading from Genesis chapter 1. And it is very interesting to me that those who hate Christianity somehow want to blame Christianity for racism. It’s a mindset and it’s a mentality that I don’t understand at all.
Christianity is the greatest attack against racism that you could ever have! Because it teaches in Acts 17:26 that we are all descendants of one man. Who? Every nation of mankind: color, creed, nationality, ethnicity. It doesn’t matter as far as God is concerned. All of us—regardless—are manufactured and made in God’s image. And I believe, historically, the greatest advocates against racism, against slavery, were people who believed the Bible on page 1.
One such man you might think of is a man named William Wilberforce. Wilberforce used his position in parliament repeatedly to speak out against the slave trade. There is actually a movie that you can watch about the life of William Wilberforce—how he, through great perseverance, finally got the slave trade abolished. Why would he do that? It was his beliefs in the Bible that caused him to do that! It was his beliefs in Christianity that caused him to do that! It was his convictions as an evangelical Christian, due to reading Genesis 1. God—on page 1—says all human beings are bearers of the image of God.
Charles Darwin wrote a book in 1859. Charles Darwin, I believe, is one of the seven men that rule the world from the grave in the sense that he left a legacy of evil that far transcended his own life span. And most people, when they see a subsequent addition of Charles Darwin’s book, know the title very well, 1859. It’s called On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection. Did you know that’s not even the title of Charles Darwin’s book? That’s not even the full title.
What, then, is the full title of the book? You’ve got to go back to the original edition to see it because the subsequent part that I want to share with you very quickly here is clipped out of modern day editions. What is Darwin’s original book called? It’s called On the Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection… Everybody stops there. But look at the rest of it. …On the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.
What in the world is he talking about with “the favored races”? He’s talking about a worldview that rejects Genesis chapter 1 and says that we all came from the animal kingdom—from the goo to you via the zoo over billions of years—Darwinism. It’s what is dogmatically taught in all of our classrooms today.
In fact, you can’t even introduce today scientific data that might contradict this. And what I want you to understand is that philosophy is racist at its absolute core! Why is that? Because once you believe evolution and reject Genesis 1, then you can say the following. “One race has evolved more than the other. The white race is more sophisticated than the black race. The white race is better at mathematics than the black race. The white race is better at language or social skills than the black race.” Why is that? “Because the black race is not evolved as highly as the white race. Therefore, the black race is inferior to the white race.” Evolution opens the door for that!
In fact, I would challenge you to watch the video by Ben Stein, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. He is tracking in this particular video—it’s 13 years old—how evolution has come into the public square and how you cannot ever contradict it, or your career is destroyed instantaneously. If you happen to be a professor of one of the sciences in the Universities, your grants dry up. Your tenured position disappears. Your career track disappears—simply for articulating anything that would contradict evolutionary dogma.
It’s very interesting. At the end of this particular movie Ben Stein quotes people in the third Reich, or people that have studied Hitler’s Third Reich. The Third Reich, as you know, was a horrific movement that took Jewish people and placed them in concentration camps, exterminated them—6 million of them. How could a culture ever do something like that?
In fact, I’ve actually been to Dachau. This was before the movie Schindler’s List had even come on the scene. I was escorted into the showers where the Nazis would bring the Jews off of these cattle cars. They would tell the Jews to “Run down the hill. Run into the room and receive a shower.” And they would be running, panting, breathing, going into the shower room expecting moisture to come out of it. The Nazis would turn on the poisonous gas as the Jews were panting and trying to catch their breath from the run. It’s eerie to walk through a place like that where so many people were exterminated. My point is that the ideas that went into Nazi Germany were developed long in advance through evolution.
The Ben Stein movie brings us out very well as it interviews scholars and historians of that time period. The Nazis had convinced everyone that, “The Aryan race is more highly evolved in the Jewish race. Therefore, the Jewish race is in the way of progress.” And anybody that has a racist bone in their body is not going to gravitate towards creationism.
They are not going to gravitate towards Acts 17:26 which refutes that, because it says there’s one race—the human race—all of us descending from Adam, all of us bearing God’s image regardless of pigmentation of skin. That belief is discarded.
You have to move into an intellectual model of evolutionary thought, and once that door is open you can say, “Our race is more important than yours!” Why? “Because we are higher on the evolutionary scale than you are (people of a different skin color or pigmentation).”
I’m telling you, folks, Darwinism is one of the most wicked, it’s one of the most diabolical, it’s one of the most evil things that has ever been unleashed on the human race. I would challenge you to go get the book by Henry Morris, the great creation scientist, entitled The Long War Against God.
In The Long War Against God Morris doesn’t talk about the scientific problems with evolution; he does that and other books. But here he talks about the cultural and the sociological impact of evolution, how Darwinism can be linked to Nazi-ism for reasons I’ve tried to explain, as well as how Darwinism can be linked to communism.
Are you aware of the fact that Karl Marx dedicated one of his volumes, Das Kapital, to Charles Darwin? I mean, why in the world would Karl Marx dedicate one of his volumes to Charles Darwin? Karl Marx, who unleashed communism on the world, killing countless millions of people in the 20th century, why the world would he do that? Because communism comes from the idea that God doesn’t exist!
And if God doesn’t exist, then how do you explain Creation without a Creator? Well, Charles Darwin solved that: “We evolved over billions of years through random processes.” And Karl Marx said, “This is great. In fact, this is so great, as I’m constructing my diabolical theory of Marxism and communism, I’m going to dedicate one of my chief volumes, Das Kapital, to Charles Darwin.”
This is the part of the formula that most people don’t think through. Darwinism is racist at its absolute foundation! Christianity cannot be because of what we just read in Genesis 1:26-28.
We continue in Genesis 1:29-30; we’re still on Day Six. “Then God said, ‘Behold, I have given you 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; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food’; and it was so.”
What was early man to eat, exactly? It is very clear here: plant, tree, fruit. I don’t see any existence of a sirloin steak there, do you? The fact of the matter is early man was not carnivorous; he was herbivorous. He was vegetarian by the design of God.
Now, why is that? Because when God created the heavens and the earth and the Garden of Eden, He designed a world where death didn’t exist. Death never existed in the world God originally designed. That’s why God said to our forebears, “The day you eat from the forbidden tree is the day you will surely what?” Die. That’s where death comes into the picture.
Speaking of the consequences of that sin, Genesis 3:19 says, “ ‘By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.’ ” Now, as I like to say, you might not believe this is true until you go to your high school reunion and you can’t recognize a person in the room anymore. Even that real cute girl or guy that you had such a crush on you? See them and you say, “Well, thank You, Lord, for unanswered prayers! Thank You that I never married that person!”
Because the body is in a state of decaying; it’s in a state of death. It’s going right back to the dirt from which it came. God never designed the world that way. That has to do with the consequences and ramifications of sin. That is why, when God originally designed the world, He specifically told Adam and Eve that they were to eat of the trees and the fruit and the plants. There were no animals being killed.
Because if an animal was killed to create a sirloin steak, that would be death, wouldn’t it? An animal would die. That’s why, when you get to Genesis 3:21, after sin had happened, God kills an animal. He took the garments of skin from that animal and He clothed Adam and Eve. And I believe that was one of the most shocking things that they had ever seen up to that point in time. Because they didn’t even know what death was; they had no concept of it.
God was showing them, “This is the price of your sin. The price of your sin will be the death of a substitute.” Now, what did the poor animal do wrong? Nothing—that’s the point. “The animal is an innocent substitute that I will use to clothe the sin of Adam and Eve.” That was shock jock stuff! That no doubt convicted them, or unsettled them, or startled them to the absolute core of their being because you’re dealing with people who don’t even know what death is. And that’s the significance of them eating plants, and trees, and fruit, etc.
Now, I love the Longhorn Steakhouse just like you do. So should we feel guilty about having a hamburger for lunch? Well, you get your hamburger not in Genesis 1; you get in Genesis 9. Because in Genesis 9:3, following the Flood, God says, “ ‘Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.’ ”
Now eating from the green plant (herbivorous) and eating meat (carnivorous) are equated and God gives humanity permission to do that. See, this is why it pays to be a dispensationalist. Can I use the D word? A dispensationalist. The word dispensation just means rules—that God, throughout the Bible, changes the rules depending on the situation.
I would consider myself a traditional dispensationalist. And God has changed the rules at least seven times in the Bible. Salvation is always the same; it’s always faith alone in Christ alone. In the Old Testament they were just looking forward by faith to a Messiah that would come. We, in the age of the church, are looking backward to a Messiah Who has already come. The plan of salvation is always the same.
But having said, that the rules obviously have very significantly changed. For example, how many of you today brought with you your unblemished lamb to sacrifice? The Book of Leviticus tells you to bring one!
By the way, why are you here on Sunday? You should have been here yesterday. I was here yesterday, the church was empty, and we certainly didn’t sacrifice any lambs. Why is that? Because the rules changed!
Once the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ happened and the age of the church started, the animal sacrifices are no longer necessary; they are null and void. So, change of rules is not a big shock.
In fact, there’s a massive change of rules from Genesis 1 and 2 into Genesis 3 as we shift from innocence into something called conscience. You look at Genesis 1 and 2 and there’s no such thing as death. In fact, work is a joy. You don’t have to even work to survive, Genesis 1 and 2. I’m telling you, things sure changed in Genesis 3 with the fall of man; now you have to work by the sweat of your brow.
Now death becomes a reality: from dust you are to dust you shall return. And now pregnancy itself becomes difficult. It sure wasn’t in Genesis 1 where God said, “Be fruitful and multiply.” Suddenly (Genesis 3) it becomes difficult. Why is that? Because the rules changed! The rules in the Bible changed seven times. The plan of salvation never changes.
These are important teachings to grasp, or you get confused about whether you have to be herbivorous today or carnivorous today. Go ahead and be carnivorous. God says “go for it” following the Flood; that rule was never altered.
But I’ll tell you something else. The rules are going to change again! How do I know that? Because of Isaiah 11:7 in the Millennial Kingdom. It says, “…the lion will eat straw like the ox.” Isaiah 65:25 repeats it and says “…the lion will eat straw like the ox…” You mean there’s coming a time in history where the animals themselves will not be devouring each other as is the case in our fallen world? Yes, that’s the glorious Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ which will be established for a thousand years.
By the way, Jesus, in Matthew 6, says that we ought to be praying for that to come into existence. He said, “ ‘Pray, then, in this way: “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 “Your kingdom come.” ’ ” What are we praying for? We’re praying for that time period to be established on the earth where the curse will be significantly curtailed. The rules change again.
In fact, the Book of Isaiah says that in that time period a child will be able to put his hand into the cobra’s nest and not be harmed. Would you let your child or your grandchild do that today? “Oh yeah, that’s our grandson in the back fooling around with those cobras again!” Such a thing is unheard of today because we’re living under a different set of rules. But the rules are about to be changed again.
So you see here at the beginning of human history that man is herbivorous not carnivorous. Then we come to the very last verse in chapter 1, Genesis 1:31, which speaks of the perfection of Creation. Notice what verse 31 says, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
Now, it could not be clearer that the days here are 24 hour days because it uses the word “day” with the numerical descriptor “sixth” day. And every time you see that combination—it’s used about 359 times elsewhere in the Bible—it always refers to a literal 24 hour day.
YOM plus a number equals a 24 our day. Esther fasted three days. I hope that wasn’t 3 billion years! The children of Israel circled the walls of Jericho six days—not 6 billion years! And on the seventh day the walls would fall. It’s YOM plus a number.
Now, if that weren’t clear enough, God throws in another descriptor here: evening and morning. That’s a normal Earth rotation. There’s not just one descriptor in these days; there are two. There’s a number, and then there’s the expression “evening and morning.” This is what has come into existence; part of it is humanity—Adam and Eve on Day Six.
Look very carefully at verse 31. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” It was what? “Very good.” It doesn’t even say “good” anymore. See, as you as you go through the Creation days—all six days—it’ll say, “and it was good…and it was good…and it was good…” Now we have a summary statement looking backwards, and God doesn’t just say, “It was good”; He says, “It was very good.”
You say, “Well, how does this impact my life today?” Let me show you how it’s going to impact your life. Let me show you how it’s going to impact your life this week. What is going to happen—and if it doesn’t happen to you, I’m going to pray that it does happen—is you’re going to have an opportunity to share your Christian faith with the lost. Which is what we should be doing anyway, right?
There are certain things that you will not be able to do once you get to heaven; one of them is evangelism. So, you’d better enjoy it now. It’s a rare opportunity that God has given you to share your faith with the lost—whether it’s a coworker, a family member, whatever—the “J” word might come up: Jesus.
The argument that you’re going to get back from people is, “You’re speaking to me about how God is a God of love, and my grandma just died of cancer. My grandson just got hit in the crosswalk.” They’ll describe some horrific thing that’s happened to them in the course of their life, and they’re going to ask you, “Where is your God of love now? How can you sit there with a straight face and talk about the love of God when this world is filled with evil?” Your answer to that is Genesis 1:31. Why? Because that’s not God’s design.
God did not design a world in which such tragedies would occur. What He created was a world with no evil in it and no death in it. And you say, “Well, where did evil and death come from?” Genesis 3—that’s where it comes from. It doesn’t come in Genesis 1 and 2. Because in Genesis 3 the creature made a decision to use his free will to rebel against the Creator, and that’s what sent everything cycling downward.
Why is it that God allowed the creature to use his free will to rebel against God? It’s related to the fact of what we just saw in Genesis 1:26-28, where people bear God’s image. God did not create the world as computer-type robots. I mean, if your computer is saying, “I love you,” that’s really not that flattering when you think about it. But when someone, as an act of their own free will, says it, that is completely different, isn’t it? That’s part of what it means to bear the image of God.
It is one of the most awesome powers that we have as image bearers: choice or volition. Why didn’t God just create the Garden of Eden with no Tree of knowledge in it at all? That would have solved the problem. God can’t do that—and won’t do that. If He did that, He would be erasing the design of humanity which is an image bearer of God.
An image bearer has to have a choice. And here the choice to accept God or rebel against Him is reflected in the very existence of the Tree of Knowledge. The Tree of Knowledge becomes necessary because of how God has manufactured us. And man used his free will—tragically—to rebel against God—and that’s where problems come from!
The insurance companies call hurricanes and tornadoes—Harvey and all of these kinds of things—”acts of God.” You want to blame God for that? That’s not what your Bible teaches! What your Bible teaches is that man followed the design of Lucifer—an angel who used his own free will to rebel against God and then convinced humanity to use their free will to rebel against God. That’s where the fallen nature of our world comes from.
In fact, what is happening right now is abnormal. Did you know that? As far as I can tell, this is something that is unique to biblical Christianity that is taught by no other worldview. Every other worldview out there, to my knowledge, says that what is happening now has always been and will always be.
You run into, in Eastern mysticism, somebody that is suffering on the street—a homeless person—and they say, “Well, that’s just my great uncle Joe who misbehaved in a former life and has now been reincarnated into this life.” So what is existing now has always been and will always be. Evolution teaches that.
Evolution teaches the survival of the fittest over billions of years right up to the present time. “And it’s always going to be that way!” That is not what your Bible says. Your Bible in no way, shape, or form says that what is happening now is normal! In fact, what your Bible says is what is happening now is an abnormality.
In fact, if you want to understand what’s normal, you don’t study what’s happening now; you study the two times in biblical history before evil got a foothold through man’s volition. Normal is Genesis 1 and 2. That’s normal!
Normal is Revelation 21 and 22 where God has a whole design in history whereby evil is going to be taken out of this universe just like it entered. And Jesus paid a horrific price to put our trajectory moving that direction.
If you want to see what’s normal, study Genesis 1 and 2. If you want to see what’s normal, study Revelation 21 and 22 where it says, when God remakes everything, “…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death..” Gosh, that sort of sounds like Genesis 1, doesn’t it? Man is herbivorous.
“…and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain…” Why? For the first order has passed away; the fallen condition of the world due to humanity’s sin is gone, and God remakes everything to what He originally intended.
That’s the story the Bible, isn’t it? From a Garden to a City with a Cross in between. How Jesus left His position of glory in heaven to identify with our suffering through His death to put the forces in motion whereby we’re moving to a better world, as if sin never entered the picture at all.
Can you imagine a world with no tears in it? No death? No mourning? No crying? No pain? That’s what’s normal! Genesis 1 and 2 was that world; Revelation 21 and 22 will be that world. Everything that’s happening today since the Fall of man (Genesis 3) to when Jesus will create this new order (Revelation 21 and 22) is an abnormality. That’s what you tell your friends that you’re witnessing to who are blaming every single problem in their life on God.
Let me tell you something about people: people are angry at God. First of all, why are they angry at God? They’re angry at God because circumstances in their life haven’t materialized the way they thought—a business failure, a health failure, whatever it is—and they target God for that. That’s why a lot of people resent you and they resent your message.
It reminds me of what God said to Samuel. “Look, Samuel, they’re not rejecting you; they’re rejecting Me.” Your very presence in your business, job, family—wherever God has you—is light, which is resented by people. And the reason they resent it is not so much you; it’s because you represent God, and they hate God. They’ve misunderstood this foundational point because Satan has so skewed their thinking that they somehow think everything that’s wrong in their life has something to do with God.
See, this is to every man an answer. I mean, this is basic apologetics. And I’m going to pray that you have a chance to explain this to someone this week because the world needs to hear this. They’re not hearing this. And that’s the significance of a world where God says, “It was very good.”
Well, come on, Andy, don’t you believe—at least—that God used the evolutionary process to create the world?” That’s called theistic evolution. To me, I’d rather just be evolutionist, because evolution is now blamed on God. Theistic evolution: God use the evolutionary process to bring forth humanity. “Don’t you believe that?” I reject that from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet—and there’s a lot of distance between those two—because I believed that as an early Christian.
The fact of the matter is…you can’t reconcile the two ideas. See, I went through the school system. I was told, “Evolution is a scientific fact. You can’t even question it!” Then I got saved at the age of 16. So I spent my early Christianity trying to somehow mix evolution with the Bible, only to find that the two philosophies separate as water and oil separate.
You can’t mix the two together. Why not? Because evolution is survival of the fittest over billions of years; the strong dominate the weak. In fact, the strong kill off the weak! And as this process goes on for billions and billions of years, finally man climbs out of the primordial soup. Now you want to put that on the shoulders of God?
You want to say that God used that, as so many Christians flippantly believe? It just rolls right off their tongues without even thinking about what they’re saying. That means God is responsible for the fossil record, for all of the deaths, and for all of the cruelty throughout eons of time. How could we ever think that God would do such a thing? God’s very character is love. First John 4:8, of God, says, “God is love.”
“Can’t we, at least, put a gap between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2?” This is called the Gap Theory, where Satan fell and marred the world that was. Even some people like the late Merrill Unger, Hebrew scholar at Dallas Seminary, argued for a pre-Adamic race that was somehow marred by Satan’s fall.
You know the problem with that? You cannot harmonize that with Genesis 1:31 where God said, “It was very good.” How do you put death in between verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis 1, when God is looking back on the whole Creation week saying, “It’s very good.”
How could a person say that God guided the evolutionary process of billions of years of death, survival of the fittest, and the fossil record, and then God says, “It is very good.” What’s good about that? There’s nothing good about that. And yet, your Bible says, “It was very good.” Death didn’t exist yet. Pain didn’t exist. Suffering didn’t exist.
One thing to understand about theology. And if you understand this you will understand me better—why I would take a stand on something like this. Theology is like dominoes in a row. If you knock over a domino, they’re all going to start tumbling. You start playing games with Genesis, chapter 1, and there are all kinds of other doctrines that get sacrificed in the process.
Not the least of which is the compassion and the goodness of God. “…His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22b-23) You can’t mix a God like that with Darwin’s Origin of Species or some kind of fall of Satan which destroyed the first Adamic race and God made a new Adamic race. It’s insanity!
In fact, both of those systems, whether it’s the Gap Theory or Theistic Evolution, when you think about it, put death before Adam. Death existed before Adam’s sin. That, in and of itself, is a foundational attack on the gospel. Because Jesus came into the world to abolish the last enemy which is what? Death.
Second Timothy 1:10 says, “but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death…” That’s why Christ came into the world: to get rid of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15 says, “Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death…” Didn’t we just get finished celebrating that this morning at the Lord’s table? Isn’t that what the bread and the cup represent? It means something. To get rid of death, God had to die.
“…that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Jesus came into the world to rid us of the consequence of sin—which is death. And He came into the world that when you trust in Christ you don’t even have to fear death. That’s why Paul calls death, “the last enemy to be abolished.”
Theistic evolution says, “Oh, death has always been around. No big deal!” The Gap Theory in its classical articulation says, “Death existed before Adam was created on Day Six.” That’s why there’s a problem. It is a chiseling away of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ Who came into the world to eradicate death.
“Well, what’s the big deal with that? Why be all that concerned about death? God created a world with death in it anyway.” That’s why I’m taking a stand on whether man is carnivorous or herbivorous. Why go down that road? It has to do with death! If you make man carnivorous, you’ve got death in the world—by the design of God. If death is in the world before Adam’s sin, by the design of God, then it renders trivial everything that Jesus did to abolished death. You see that?
I would just challenge you as a Christian to be really careful what you’re there with Genesis 1. Because what you do with Genesis 1—dominoes in a row—is going to infect other doctrines. Not the least of which is the substitutionary atoning work of Jesus Christ.
“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” That statement goes all the way back to Genesis 1:1 where it says, “In the beginning God created the…” It doesn’t just say “heaven,” does it? It says “heavens” and the earth.
The Hebrew for “earth” is ERETS. The Hebrew for “heaven” is SHAMAYIM. The “im” ending, like the “S” at the end of a noun in English, communicates plurality. When the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” When God says it was all not just good but very good, it’s a statement that goes all the way back to verse 1, which includes not just the earth but the heavens.
Everything was functioning like it was supposed to function at this point in Genesis 1:31. That’s what you explain to the person that you’re witnessing to who wants to blame all of their problems on God. That’s not the design of God. Everything was supposed to be functioning exactly like it was functioning. Everything was not just “good”; everything was” very good.” Not just on the earth, but in the heavens, SHAMAYIM.
Well, now we have another issue, don’t we? Because we learn of a fallen angel (don’t we?) named Satan. When did Satan fall, exactly? The traditional model places the fall of Satan sometime in eternity past before the world was. Well, if the fall of Satan already happened, how in the world could God say that it was very good (not just “good”—but “very good”) in the heavens?
The Bible and the Greeks did this—they divided the heavens into basically three parts. There is the heavens from the ground to the clouds—heaven one. And then there is the heaven from the clouds to the stars: heaven two. And then there is the heaven beyond the stars where God lives: that’s heaven three.
Paul, 2 Corinthians 12, was caught up to the third heaven. He was caught up to where God resides! When the Bible says, “It was very good in the heavens,” it’s making a statement not just about level I or level II but level III.
By my way of reasoning, Satan had not fallen yet. If Satan already fell, then Genesis 1:31 (it was very good) connected to the heavens (Genesis 1:1) doesn’t make any sense. And yet, quite clearly when we get to Genesis 3, we run into a talking serpent.
Who was that talking serpent? The Book of Revelation, two times (Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2) calls that talking serpent the devil or Satan. Clearly, by the time you get to Genesis 3, Satan has fallen.
Where, then, do I put the fall of Satan? I don’t think Satan fell before Genesis 1:31. But he’s clearly fallen in Genesis 3. It is sometime subsequent to Genesis 1:31 but before the events of Genesis 3 take place. And we’re not told the exact chronology of those chapters. I would have a tendency to believe that they occurred very close to one another. But somewhere in the interim Satan fell.
“Well, this is the weirdest church I’ve ever been in. I’ve never heard anybody say that!” That’s why I like to quote people more thought out than myself. Renald Showers, longtime theologian with the Friends of Israel, says, “When did Satan fall away from God? We noted earlier that sin was nonexistent in every part of God’s creation, including the angels, through the end of the sixth or final day of creation (Genesis 1:31).” By the time you get to the end of day six, everything is functioning perfectly, even the SHAMAYIM.
“Satan’s fall therefore took place after the end of creation. However, Satan was evil by the time he came to earth to tempt man to fall away from God (Genesis 3). These things prompt the conclusion that Satan’s fall took place in the interval between the end of creation and the fall of man. How long was the interval? It must have been quite short because when God created the first man and woman, he commanded them to be fruitful and multiply through procreation (Genesis 1:27-28), but there was no human conception until after the fall of man (Genesis 4:1).”
What I believe is this: these chapters take place in very close proximity to each other. But this traditional view that Satan already fell? It doesn’t make any sense in light of Genesis 1:31. But it makes a lot of sense if the fall happened after Genesis 1:31 but before Genesis 3.
Why did Satan fall? In Isaiah 14:12-15 Satan utters five “I will” statements. And what I believe is this: Satan, who was part of that angelic kingdom brought into existence during the Creation week (I’ll try to explain that point next week) was inflamed with jealousy because of the authority that God gave man on Day Six. Where God said to man and woman, “Subdue and rule!”
Satan says to himself, “Wait a minute! I’m the chief worship leader of heaven.” And he began to say not, “Thy will be done,” but “I will be done.” And there was something that happened on Day Six which provoked that jealousy and caused that fall.
And the jealousy was so profound in Satan that he set out to usurp man’s authority over the earth. That’s why, in Genesis 3, he’s speaking to Adam and Eve as a serpent. Why a serpent? Why doesn’t he just come into Eden as an angel? Why doesn’t he come into Eden as another human being through his deception?
He purposely speaks through the voice or the mouth of a serpent because the serpent was what Adam and Eve were supposed to be ruling over. They were supposed to be governing creation for God. Satan perverts things where now Adam and Eve are not ruling the animal kingdom; they’re listening to the voice of the animal kingdom! They became—might we put it this way?—animal rights activists.
We’re not here to mistreat the animals—don’t get me wrong—but they’re certainly not here to be worshiped! They don’t even bear God’s image. They start listening to creation, and they rebelled against God. Adam said, “It’s the woman You gave me!” And the woman said, “It’s the serpent!” And as the saying goes, “The serpent didn’t have a leg to stand on.” So this is how the story Genesis is unfolding.
If you’re here today and you’ve never trusted in Christ, our exhortation is for you to do that. Because Jesus did it all in your place. He did it all in my place. That’s what we celebrated this morning at the Lord’s Table.
Our exhortation is to get on the right side of history; get on the winning side by trusting Christ as your Savior. Through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, He did something for us that we can’t do for ourselves. And He doesn’t ask us to save ourselves. The world of religion will tell you to save yourself; that’s not what your Bible says.
The Bible says that Jesus has done all the work for us, and we trust in Him. We’re not trusting in our own good works; we’re trusting in His good work. And the moment that happens, you’re fast tracked. Did you know that? You’re fast tracked into glory. In fact, your glorification (Romans 8) is spoken of in the past tense. That’s how done a deal it is! And we are now moving into a time of history which is normal: where evil will be ripped out of this universe and it will be remade just like it was in Genesis 1 before evil entered the picture.
Our exhortation for people—anybody listening—is simply to trust, which means to believe in the work of the Messiah. It’s not necessary to walk an aisle, join a church, give money; it’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord where the Lord places a person under conviction, and they respond to that convicting ministry by trusting in Christ—and Christ alone.
This takes us to the end of Genesis 1, which only took six sermons. We’ll be starting Genesis 2 next time. Shall we pray?
“Father, we’re grateful for Your Word. We’re grateful for Your truth. We’re grateful for what it speaks into our lives. Help us to walk these things out this week.
Give us opportunities to boldly share the gospel as we give to every man an answer. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.” And God’s people said, “Amen.”