Trinity Sunday Proper A
Rev. Dr. D.K. Schroeder
Genesis 1:1-2:4 Sermon
June 19, 2011
Hymns (from The Lutheran Hymnal):
250 "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name"
240 "Father Most Holy, Merciful And Tender"
246 "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" (now playing)
“GOD DOES ALL THINGS RIGHT”
TEXT (v. 1 & 31a): “1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
As I was reading through the Scripture lessons appointed for this Trinity Sunday, I was once again very intrigued with the story of creation. I am always in complete awe of how God created things the way he did out of nothing except the power of his Word. And not only that, but the order in which it all happened shows just how detailed and complete the mind of God really is.
And then there's the speed of which everything happened. It is measured not in terms of even years, but in the terms of days. It only took God six days to finish his work of creation.
Oh sure there are those who speculate that the days spoken of in Genesis are metaphorical terms for enormous periods of time. But even a cursory study of Genesis chapter 1 shows that a day is a period of time that came into being at creation. The Hebrew word "yom" cannot mean anything else except a literal, 24-hour day.
The part of all this that captured my interest this time around, is the way God created in terms of order as opposed to chaos. It was like the various pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that all fit together to make one very beautiful picture. And as each piece was created, God examined it and said that it was very good indeed. So when all was said and done, God had created the perfect world.
Order and chaos are two opposite words. So far in the year 2011 we have seen a whole lot of chaos in God's creation. There was the massive tornado that hit in Tuscaloosa, Alabama this past April. It was reported that this tornado was the worst in the state's history. 63 People lost their lies in that one.
And if that wasn't bad enough, the small city of Joplin, Missouri was almost torn to shreds this past May. This tornado was the biggest one experienced in the United States in the past 50 years. When you look at the news footage, it's almost unbelievable. Homes, offices, schools, churches, and hospitals were reduced to not much more than a pile of toothpicks by the 200 mph winds the storm generated. 154 people lost their lives there, and many more lost all of their possessions.
And even now, we are hearing the reports of the massive floods that are taking place. The Missouri river is going on the rampage. The future of Hamburg, Iowa is tenuous at best, considering the condition of the levees that are supposed to hold the floodwaters at bay.
And on top of that, the people in the southwestern part of the United States, who have otherwise been able to escape the tornados and floods, are now being threatened by some fairly sizeable wildfires. When is all this chaos going to stop? What has happened to our God of order that we see in the six days of creation?
Well, let's take a step back and look at Genesis again. When God created the world, he brought about order. We read right from the start that the earth was without form and void. The Hebrew words for this are "tohu va vohu." It was a type of chaotic emptiness and nothingness. And it was from this that God brought about the order of nature and life itself.
When Adam and Eve were the only two inhabitants of the earth, they didn't have to worry about floods, or tornados, or being eaten by wild animals. There was this harmony and order in God's creation that sustained life, and gave the animals and humans a great place to live. Things couldn't have been any better.
For most of the world's history, people haven't had too much trouble accepting the idea that God's creation was one of order. However, human beings have interjected their own ideas and thoughts into this process. What has happened, is that God has taken a back seat, or he has even been eliminated in the whole process. And what we have, is the Atheist's idea of how things came to be.
On the front cover of your bulletin this morning, I decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary. This is something I ran across on the Internet. This is how the Atheist believes things came into being. It says, "Atheism: The belief there was once absolutely nothing. And nothing happened to the nothing until the nothing magically exploded (for no reason), creating everything and everywhere. Then a bunch of the exploded everything magically rearranged itself (for no reason whatsoever) into self-replicating bits, which then turned into dinosaurs. And they mock your beliefs!"
That's about the best description of accidental chaos that I've ever seen. And when you look at what evolutionists are trying to get us to swallow, it pretty much boils down to what I just read to you. It's crazy, isn't it?
They'll try to get you to believe that things came about by a series of accidental cell mutations. Do you know what happens when cells mutate? I can tell you what happens. We call it "cancer." Those cell mutations that are purported to give different varieties of life turned my father from a 280-pound man into a skeleton draped with skin. In fact, every situation I can think of where cell mutation has happened, like over exposure to radiation, has been devastating. That type of chaos does not somehow magically turn into order by any stretch of the imagination.
The companion idea to this "order from chaos" theory is the belief that things evolve and are continually getting better. Science has proven this to be wrong. If we look at the laws of thermodynamics, the second law, stated in layman's terms, is that everything eventually wears out. Human beings get old and die. Car engines won't run forever. Even the soles of your shoes will develop holes and eventually disintegrate. So how can the idea of chaos reverse this process? Naturally it can't!
But, you know as well as I do, that people have this inclination to believe human logic over against divine revelation. People will take what man thinks as the litmus test for what God has plainly said. This is nothing new, whether it is with regard to creation, or just about any other portion of the Bible.
Remember a bit ago, I used the illustration of a jigsaw puzzle. Each part of creation is a perfectly interlocking piece with all the rest, so at the end we see one very beautiful picture. What we see people doing, is making their own puzzle and trying to fit God into the picture somehow. This is something we call "theistic evolution." That's the idea that the Darwinian model of evolution can somehow be worked into the Bible, taking what God has said and twisting it to fit the ideas of sinful man. It sounds good to some people, but taken to its logical conclusion, all you wind up with is one huge chaotic mess.
One quote I came across makes this observation: "Some people say that God used evolution to create the world we see over millions of years. Why then did God look at the world and say it is good, when for millions of years it has suffered disease and death? If God used evolution to create, then he is the author of death." That is pretty blunt.
The biggest problem with science is that it can only measure and reckon things according to what is happening now. Creation happened once, and then it was done and over with. Things moved from God's acts of creating into God's acts of sustaining. Creation happened only once, and there's no way that modern science can turn back the clock.
So what can we say about the chaos we see happening in the world today? How can we reckon this with the order of creation?
Let's look once again at the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes that happened this year. Or we can look at the Hallam tornado that occurred back in May of 2004. Or we can look at the floods and the wildfires. When we do, we know one thing for sure. This is not the way God created the world. This is not what God had in mind at the time of creation. God knows how to do things right. So what happened?
Sin is what happened. The chaos that we see going on in the world today is something that human beings brought on themselves. Evil was introduced into that which was created perfect. And suddenly, nothing is right any more. That beautiful picture has been torn apart so badly that it is not even recognizable as something created according to God's perfect will.
Verses 26-27 of our text for today read: "26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.... 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."
People have misused this section of the Bible in so many different ways. You'll hear people say, "Well, everybody has been made in the image of God." They say this without actually taking into account what the image of God really is, or what it means.
The image of God has nothing to do with physical attributes. The image of God is righteousness and holiness. That's the way humanity began, created in righteousness and holiness, and therefore in perfect fellowship and harmony with God.
When mankind fell into sin, that whole picture changed. In Psalm chapter 14 verse 3 we read: "They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." And in Romans chapter 3 verse 12, Paul repeats this idea when he writes, "All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
What this tells us is that image of God has been completely obliterated. It is totally gone from humanity. And when God's image is lost, then the only thing left is chaos and confusion and misery. All of creation suffers.
I think it's safe to say that we have all experienced chaos in our lives. Anger, discord, jealousy, fear, and a whole lot more dominate our day-to-day lives. Everything in the world is chaotic, and nothing can bring about the perfect creation God had in mind at the beginning.
Since today is the Festival of the Holy Trinity, our thoughts are turned toward our triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Just because humanity has sought to ruin God's perfect creation doesn't mean that God is absent, or that he doesn't care any more. Just because mankind has completely lost the image of God, doesn't mean that God has quit loving us or has left us on our own to fend for ourselves. Just because people are by nature inclined to create chaos, doesn't mean that God doesn't know how to bring order and do things right.
Here's where we see God breaking into our lives as humans. Even though creation isn't happening any more as far as the planet earth is concerned, creation does happen within each of us as people.
God the Holy Spirit comes to us and creates faith in our hearts. At our baptism, we became new and reborn creatures. The image of God that was lost through sin has now been restored through faith.
The object of our faith is Jesus Christ our Saviour. Jesus creates order in our chaotic lives. Jesus came and lived the perfect life and became the perfect sacrifice through his death so that we would have what was his to give, namely perfect righteousness and holiness. This cannot happen by something we do ourselves, just like order cannot naturally come out of chaos. This is something that comes into our lives only through faith alone. The image of God that was lost through sin has now been restored through our Saviour Jesus Christ.
As we look at God's creation, we know that we are very much a part of it. Even though the world is steeped in sin, we know that God is still present. He sustains us and leads us safely through our earthly life, and will finally bring us to our heavenly home.
As long as the world exists, there will always be the creation versus evolution debate. People will always want to create God in their image, and make him into something that conforms to their likeness. People don't want to take God at his Word when he tells us how he brought the world in to being. For some reason, they would rather believe that little snippet I put on the front of your bulletin this morning.
But when we open our eyes and see God in his proper place, then the whole concept of creation will make sense, and yes, science will bear that out. Science has yet to prove any part of the Bible wrong. And I'm not making that up either! People may say it, but they can't prove it.
Mankind can only bring about chaos and disorder. That's Satan's way of doing things. Thankfully we know that we have a God of order who knows how to do things right. The victory is ours, and God's image has been restored in our lives through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Blessed be the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.