Creation Implications and Acts 17
Creation Implications and Acts 17
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1-2
With this simple statement - "In the Beginning God…" we establish a purpose for the universe and mankind. It was created for the very glory of God (Rev. 4:11). It also established the basis of ethics and morals for mankind was created by a holy and righteous God who gives us a standard. It also provides mankind with hope for God is in control and will accomplish His purpose.
There are also some 'negative' implications that can be seen in this simple statement.
1. It Denies Atheism for it affirms the being of God. Denying atheism denies the purposelessness that atheism affirms, gives the real basis of ethics that atheism can only borrow from this story, and denies the hopelessness that atheism produces.
2. It denies polytheism in all its forms for it affirms the singularity of God. 'Classic' polytheism of many differing deities with differing power, character, and will but here we learn that there is One God who is the creator of all. This statement also denies all forms of 'dualism' such as a 'Good God and Evil God (Satan)' or 'God and Eternal matter'. In the Beginning - God. Period.
3. It denies materialism for it asserts the creation of matter.
4. It denies pantheism for it assumes the existence of God before all things and apart from them.
5. It denies fatalism for it involves the freedom of the Eternal Being to create according to HIS will and to endow certain of His creatures with the ability to choose their behavior.
This is where THE story begins. The story of the universe, the story of man, the story of sin - it all begins here. In much of the world our efforts at conversion also must begin here. Look at how Paul used this story in his preaching to the men at Athens (Acts 17).
Paul's speech to a pagan population begins NOT with 'you are a sinner' for that requires a context of God, holiness, and what sin is. Instead, he began with GOD and creation! He acknowledges their spiritual condition (vs. 16-23). Though they were wrong in their thinking, they did have a concept of deity and humanity's relationship with such. The majority of people in the world indeed have a religious inclination. Most do worship something. It is WHAT (WHO) they worship that needs to be corrected.
He quickly moved to the fact that the object of their worship was wrong and turned to explaining the true God to them (vs. 16 - 31). He instructs them that the true object of worship is THE God; the one who made the world. This is He that made the universe and EVERYTHING in it. As the creator of all He is hence the RULER of all, the Lord of heaven and earth. This creator of all things does NOT dwell in temples of men. As the creator of all things He does NOT 'need' man in order to BE GOD.
Not only is He the creator of all things he is specifically the Creator of MAN - ALL men. It is HE that rules in the kingdoms of men to determine the times and boundaries of such kingdoms. Looking at how WE are created we can see that such a creator would be at LEAST as great as us but, in all considerations, would be greater (see vs. 28-29). We are not made of stone or wood and neither is the God that created us. To reduce God to an image of gold, silver or stone is an insult to the God of heaven and earth.
Paul also shows the PURPOSE of humanity: "THAT they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him" (27). We were created to be in relationship with God. Such relationship was to the glory of God and to the glory of MAN in his image. Paul affirms that we can indeed find Him "for in him we live and move and have our being."
The need of seeking is because man 'lost God' by changing the concept of His nature into the image of various parts of creation. Such is a great affront and insult to the creator. This creator will indeed bring such attitudes and actions into judgment (verse 30-31).
Here Paul begins a transition into the story of redemption from sin through Jesus. He affirms that God has given assurance of such a judgment to come by raising one from the dead. Before he can continue with this the men of Athens get sidetracked with the idea of 'resurrection'. IF they had been listening and thinking they would realize that with a creator God the idea of a resurrection is not only fathomable but completely agreeable with the power and purpose of such a God.
In our attempts to return people unto God we need to begin this same way. There is no understanding of redemption apart from the understanding of God. There is no real understanding of sin apart from the true understanding of God. "… whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb. 11:6).
In The Beginning, God..
NOTE: I know that much of the above has been learned from others, but over the course of my life and learning I have not made notes to give attribution to whom it is due. IF you will let me know who first made such observations, I will freely acknowledge and give tributation to them.