God Fills the World
Topic: English Passage: Genesis 1:3-28
There are certain questions about historical issues that can rile some people up. Did the United States really land on the moon? Did extraterrestrials really land in Roswell, New Mexico? Did the Holocaust really happen? Was the World Trade Center really destroyed by Al Qaeda? Was Lee Harvey Oswald really acting alone in the assassination of JFK? Are Elvis and Tupac really dead? Is Mark Zuckerberg really human? And is there really such a thing as Bigfoot and the Chupacabra and the Loch Ness Monster?
Those are not questions we are going to deal with this morning, but if those kinds of questions interest you, there are some who would label you a conspiracy theorist. A conspiracy theory is a belief that there is some important secret that should lead us to question the official story that we’ve all been told.
If you’ve ever known a real conspiracy theorist, one of the attributes you may have noticed is that they are not really capable of being convinced. For every argument you make against the theory, they find a way to turn it around, and all they see is further evidence for their beliefs.
You see, there’s a difference between looking at things trying to figure out what happened and assuming what happened while trying to fit the evidence into your chosen narrative. And there may be no greater example of this than the topic of the origin of the world.
Like I said last week, the origin of the world isn’t really a scientific issue, it’s a historical issue and it’s a religious issue. None of us were there, and so we are choosing to place our faith in someone else’s account of what happened. Neither of the major views is a secret, so they don’t qualify as a conspiracy theory. But it basically comes down to this: we either believe that all of this came from randomness and chance and impersonal forces, or we believe that an all-powerful God made it.
Our faith is in God’s own testimony of what happened. Most people in this world have placed their faith in the scientific consensus. What that means is, according to the world, we are the weird ones. We’re not getting with the program. And that program is called evolution.
I took a class at Cal State Fullerton called “Creation and Evolution,” and according to one scale we were shown, people who believe in a young earth, people who affirm God’s literal account in Genesis, were placed just one notch up from those who believe the earth is flat. The Genesis account, we’re told, is incompatible with science. So, we are alienated. We are strangers and exiles in a foreign land.
What should we make, then, of evolution? How should we interact with it? To answer those questions, the best place to start is going to be the Bible. More important than knowing the details of the latest adjustment to evolutionary theory, we need to know what Genesis says. Then, we’ll be able to think about how that relates to what the world says.
Last week, we talked about Genesis 1:1-2, and we saw that God created everything. Go ahead and start turning to Genesis 1; it’s the first page of your Bible. God created time and space and matter. He created and energized all the raw elements of creation. But how did that all turn into a world inhabited by life? For six consecutive days, God gave form to the creation, and He filled it. Remember, at the end of verse 2, we’ve got a dark, watery mass. But now, in verse 3, God continues.
Now before we look at this, I want you to know that each day of creation has so much packed into it. There are fields of science today studying all these aspects of creation. I don’t have the time and the expertise to talk about that. My main goal is to introduce us to what the Bible says, and then help us interact with the beliefs of most people in the world. That’s important for us as exiles. We need to be able to give a defense for our faith and our hope. So, again, what does God say happened?
Let’s start with day 1 on verse 3—And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
So, on day 1, God created light. For the first time in the Bible, God speaks. That’s how He created. That is the power of His word.
Now, immediately, we come to a question: What in the world provided the light? If we don’t have a sun or stars yet, what is the source of this light? Frankly, I don’t know. Some think it could have been some obscure source created just for this time period. Others, myself included, believe that God Himself manifested light onto creation.
First John 1:5 tells us that God is light. Revelation tells us that the new heavens and the new earth will have no need of the sun, because the glory of God illumines it.
Whatever you believe, God’s glory, for the first time, gets manifested through the new visible spectrum of light. The study of light is called optics. Light is an amazing, mysterious, and distinct creation of God. You can’t actually see light; you can only see it bouncing off things. Light is necessary for life, and light is what enhances many of the joys of life. God made it like that, and it pleases Him. That’s why it says it was good.
God shines His light onto the world creating alternating times of light and darkness. What was once a chaotic, dark mass, now has some order. God made a distinction. God created a rhythm, if you will, in His creation.
And think about this—the alternating of daytime and nighttime was God’s idea. Ultimately, it’s not a result of the sun. God, as we’ll see in verse 4, sets up the sun to continue the pattern, but the alternation started even before there was a sun. God created light, and the alternating of light and darkness became a unit of time which we call a day. So, as the end of verse 5 tells us, there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
We generally count days from midnight to midnight, but the Hebrews counted days from sundown to sundown. So, it makes sense that the days are counted with evening first, then the morning. So, again, on day 1 God created light.
Let’s move on to day 2. Verse 6—And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
Again, God creates simply by His word. God separates the water into two layers, creating a gap, and that gap is called the expanse. It’s a space. Genesis refers to it as “heaven.” It’s not the same heaven as where God dwells; to use modern language, this is talking about the Earth’s atmosphere. If you want to study the atmosphere, that’s called meteorology or atmospheric science.
At day 2, you’ve got a watery planet, and God made a gap of air between the water on the planet and some other form of water at a distance. The water on the planet is what would eventually be the ocean. That gets studies by hydrology and oceanographers.
But what in the world is the water in the sky? That’s not entirely clear here. It could be a reference to our upper atmosphere, where the clouds typically are, or to some kind of unique condition in the upper atmosphere.
Some creation scientists have theorized that there could have been a kind of protective layer of clouds or vapor that would have given the planet protection from massive fluctuations in weather, shielded it from the harmful rays of the sun, and it may have been responsible for the long lives of those before the Flood. That protective layer or atmospheric condition, many theorize, would have been undone when the Flood came, which is when God brought an excess amount of water from above and from below, and it’s also when life expectancy began to shorten.
Even if we don’t have all the answers to what’s happening here, we understand that just like God separated the light from the darkness on day 1, here on the second day, He separates the waters below from the waters above, creating our atmosphere. Day 2 is the atmosphere.
Now, some of you may have noticed that day 2 of creation does not include God saying that it was good. That doesn’t mean this day was bad, but it doesn’t get a special emphasis on God’s part. There have been some proposed explanations for this. I’ll just share four with you very quickly.
The first explanation is that the second day of the week is Monday, and this God acknowledging that Mondays are not good. Some of you may like that kind of theological position.
A second explanation is that since God separated waters, some say this was not a direct act of creation. You don’t have to agree with that, but some people say that’s why God doesn’t give this day a special emphasis.
A third possibility some have offered is that day 2 focuses on the heavens, instead of mentioning some direct effect on the earth. And since creation is focused on earth, day 2 doesn’t get God’s special emphasis.
A final option I’ll share with you is that God’s creation of Earth’s atmosphere is only the beginning. It was somehow incomplete in making the earth habitable. And that completion comes on day 3. So, let’s look at that now.
Verse 9—And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
Day 1 brought light. Day 2 brought the expanse, or the atmosphere. And now, day 3 brings us dry land and plants.
Notice again, there’s another separation or distinction being made. God makes a distinction between the earth, meaning the dry land, and the seas. The water over the face of the earth gets collected into pockets, and dry land appears, by the creative power of God.
Now you’ve got some place for people to live. Today, the study of the ground is called geology. We’ve also got soil science, which is a little different. For a lot of us, it’s just dirt, but science is amazed at how it all works. It didn’t get here on its own. God gave us dry land. He made it appear by speaking it into existence.
And then God provided the plants. Again, the study of plants is an area all by itself. That’s called botany. God created a wonderful diversity of plants. Some are known for their beauty, others for how they can improve our lives in a practical way. For example, your house is made of wood. And in case you didn’t know, wood comes from trees. God made it like that.
There are also many, many plants also provide a source of food. And these plants replicate through their fruit and through their seeds. The seed contains that plants genetic structure.
God created distinct “kinds” or varieties of plants. We are going to see the same thing happen with the animals. God created distinct kinds of animals and plants. Over time, there will be variations and changes, but the general structure has limits. It stays within its “kind.”
So now, having the world prepared with dry land and vegetation, God says that it’s good, and we move on to day 4. The first half of the 6 days of creation are complete. God has created a habitable world, and now it’s going to be filled. Just so you know, days 4, 5, and 6 are aligned with days 1, 2, and 3. Day 1 brought light, and day 4 finishes that work.
Let’s start in verse 14—And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Day 4 brings the celestial bodies—the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, the galaxies. And, for God’s glory, they were created with the intent of helping us mark time. That’s part of what the sun and the moon do for us on earth in addition to providing light either by emitting light or by reflecting it. The study of the sun and the moon and the planets is called astronomy. It’s amazing, and it all point to the power and wonder of God. And God said that it was good. That’s day 4.
What happens on day 5? Let’s look at verse 20—And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
God arranged the air and the seas on day 2, now on day 4, He fills them with creatures. Every animal that lives in the water and every animal that flies in the sky gets created by the word of God. From the tiniest shrimp to the largest whale. This is what marine biologists study. The study of birds is called ornithology. God filled this world with a variety of flying things.
And God’s design for these animals is that they would reproduce. The waters and the sky were to be filled with creatures for the glory of God. And it was good.
Lastly, we come to day 6. This starts on verse 24— And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Notice again, the animals are made according to their kind. That doesn’t mean the animals can’t have variety in themselves, but there’s a limit to that adjustment. Evert animal that lives on the ground came into being on day 6, for the glory of God, and it was good.
So, now you’ve got animals in the sky, animals in the water, and animals on the land. The world is filled with life, but God’s most cherished creation is yet to come. Everything that He has made was leading up to a final creation—mankind. Look at verse 26.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
We’re going to talk more about what it means to be made in God’s image next week, because it has all sorts of implications for life, especially in our own culture. Next week, we’re going to talk about how abortion and euthanasia. Again, my goal in this series is to help us live as exiles, and that means understanding and standing up for what is holy and right.
Last week, we talked about the reality that there is a God who created the world. This week, our focus in on interacting with the issue of evolution. In light of what Genesis says, what are we to make of evolution?
The more you understand Genesis, and the more you understand the theory of evolution, the more you realize that they are completely opposed to one another. They are irreconcilable. There is no way they can go together. The theory of evolution only came about because it was an attempt to show how life came about without God.
Those who want to try and merge the Bible and evolution have some arguments they make. One argument is that each day stands for a long period of time. And they base that off a verse in the Psalms and in 2 Peter which says that for God a day is like a thousand years.
The problem with that view is that those verses are talking about God’s eternal quality. He is outside time. It doesn’t mean we get to stretch a day out to any length of time.
Over and over again, the Genesis account says, “there was evening and there was morning.” The author was trying to be crystal, clear. This is a normal day. Also, anytime that word “day” in the Old Testament is used with a number, like first day, second day, it’s taking about a literal 24-hour day.
The six-day creation, followed by one day of rest, set the pattern for the rest of life. That’s why Exodus 20, when it talks about the Sabbath day, it says “God worked six days and He rested on the seventh.” Any Israelite who believed in God understood that Genesis 1 was to be taken literally.
But what you might see today is people saying that that Genesis is poetry, or that we should see it as an allegorical account. We’re not supposed to take it literally. Well, that brings all sorts of problems because Jesus and the Apostle Paul took it literally. Jesus said, “God made them male and female.” And, as some of you saw, Romans 5 describes how Adam’s sin brought the entire human race into corruption.
Just because there may be some poetic elements to how God created doesn’t mean this is poetry, which we’re not supposed to take literally. If this isn’t literal, then what about Adam and Eve? Were they actual people? What about their sons? What about their sons? What about the genealogies that trace Adam to Abraham to David to Jesus? Were all those real people or not?
If Genesis 1 and 2 aren’t literal, who’s to tell when the literal stuff really begins. It would all be subjective.
Evolution teaches that life sprung from non-life in a primitive form. And then over billions of years tiny changes produced incremental benefits which eventually led to human beings. Everything that’s alive is related. If that’s what we believe, then mankind is just an animal. There’s no difference.
You have to decide: Are we just one species of animal that happens to be one step up the evolutionary ladder? Or are we designed by God for a distinct function in this world?
PETA will have you believe that we’re just animals. And since all animals are to be treated equally, we don’t have the right to kill a fly.
But Jesus looked at the birds and asked the people, “Are you not of more value than they?”
Every attempt to debunk God’s account of creation has a response. You may not know it, but there’s an answer. Some people will say, for example, “If there are stars whose light take millions of years to get to us, how come we can see them, if the earth isn’t millions of years old?”
And that’s an easy question to answer. One simple possibility is that God simply created the light in between. Isn’t that possible for God? It’s like when you turn on a garden hose. If you buy a brand new hose, there’s going to be a delay from when you turn it on to when water comes out the other end. But if you just used the hose, and it’s filled with water already, it’s almost instant—no delay. Couldn’t the God who created light in the first place, when He made the stars, have also created the light in between? That’s not difficult to imagine.
But if you look at the theory of evolution, you’ve got all sorts of problems. In the books, you’ve got all sorts of drawing showing how animals evolved, but those are drawing. In real life, the fossil record doesn’t show that. It has to be assumed.
Whenever an animal appears in the fossil record it appears suddenly, and then it doesn’t change over time. You might find the same creature in another layer of rock, and it looks the same. You might also find new animals. But to say that one animal turned into another is an assumption. There is simply no evidence.
By the way, the fossil record is marvelous evidence for a global catastrophic flood. And that lines up perfectly with what we’re told in Genesis.
In terms of evolution, something we do see in this world is knows as microevolution. Maybe some of you have seen this is your biology textbook. Animals can change certain features over time. Every time a new generation comes around, there can be minor changes because of genetic changes. So, dogs can get shorter hair or longer hair. They can be bigger or small, or different colors. That’s how all the breeds we have today came about; people made that happen. But in the end, they’re still dogs, right? And birds are still birds, not matter how much their beaks change in a period of time.
Microevolution in birds or insects, or whatever, shouldn’t be seen as evidence for macroevolution, where one kind of animal become a completely different kind. That goes completely against what we saw in Genesis, where God created distinct kinds, and it goes against what we know about genetics. Totally new additional genetic information can’t come about on its own. Information gets lost, not gained.
And again, if we go back to the beginning, there is no scientific data whatsoever that non-life can produce life. It just doesn’t happen. There is zero evidence for it. But evolutionists have to assume it happened because it fits their worldview. It fits within the confines of their faith that there is no God.
Well, like I’ve told you, I’m not a scientist, and my main goal today was not lay out every critique and every possible response to evolution or to creationism. But I want you to know that we don’t need to run and hide anytime someone attacks the biblical view of creation. We are the minority in this world, but we have been given the truth, even if the world denies and suppresses it. Again, I would point you to organizations like Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research if you want to learn more for yourself or your families. ICR, by the way, has 60 videos, about 2 minutes each, addressing a lot of these topics, so I think some of you would be interested in seeing that.
But along the lines of this world’s rejection, I’d like to close with a reminder. Our desire in this life is not simply to see people acknowledge that evolution is false. What’s our goal? We want to see people come to know God through Jesus Christ.
No amount of reason or logic is going to change someone’s mind. Turn with me to 2 Corinthians, chapter 4. And we’ll close with this. Second Corinthians 4 verse 3. Here’s what the Apostle Paul writes, under direction of the Holy Spirit:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
The unbelieving world is blinded by Satan. They are powerless to fix it. They can’t see the glory of Jesus Christ. So, what’s the solution? How does that get fixed?
Romans 1 told us. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. So, look at verse 5 of 2 Corinthians 4.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
We are just servants. We’re slaves. Verse 7 goes on to say that we are like jars of clay. We’re weak, with no inherent glory. But the God who said “let there be light” is the one who turned on the light in our hearts and brought us to Jesus Christ. He made us aware of our sin, and He made us aware of forgiveness through the Resurrected Jesus Christ. May God continue to do that as we minister to a world that needs to hear.