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Posts Tagged ‘creation’

Everything Is Good

March 21st, 2017

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim. 4:4-5 ESV)

There were in the First Century church communities some who put strict limitations on certain behavior – even marrying – and certain foods as well as on certain created things, labeling some impure or even evil. This passage gives us a very simple but clear principle by which we can live with, understand, and enjoy the world God created.

The false teaching characterized some animals, and probably plants, as evil or impure, associating species with evil. We do this in our fairy tales, especially those of European origin, characterizing wolves as evil or foxes as sly and swans as pure. Of course, even the Bible does this, comparing Satan to a snake and also to a “roaring lion seeking whom he might devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

But Paul reminded us of the biblical principle proclaimed in Genesis 1, that God made the earth and pronounced it good. So we may saw that every created thing has its place in this world. We have developed an entire science of this in Ecology and the study of the environment. There was and is order and symmetry in creation, placed there by the Creator. There are even the means in the created order for adjustments, migrations, lateral evolutionary developments, and the capacity to restore balance when it is upset.

Because of evil in our hearts we have found the means to corrupt many things, but the things themselves are not evil. We have been able to ferment fruit and grains and some lives bear witness to the tragedy of alcohol addictions. We have made sophisticated poisons out of other plants and killed people. Yet these same plants could be used for good; many cures we have discovered for deadly diseases are found in the plants themselves.

There was an indirect curse put on the world when mankind sinned, as Paul described for us in Romans 8:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:19-23 ESV)

“Creation was subjected to futility” due to the hardness of humanity’s heart. The world was made o bear witness of God (Psalm 19:1) but man’s heart is blind to this reality so its original purpose is frustrated. Mankind received direct curses (Genesis 3:16-19) but creation received the indirect result as well due to the role God created us to play in caring for creation. We could easily say that after so many years of human civilization that the ecological problems we have in this world are caused by human sin, and not that creation was flawed in and of itself.

So how are we to use the creation?

First, it should be made holy by the Word of God. That is, we should not use the created order in ways that are contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Immoral sexual behavior is often excused along these lines – people say, “We are just admiring a beautiful creation of God!” The reality, however, is that lust and pride are perverting hearts and turning that which God made to be shared in holy matrimony, in intimacy between husband and wife, into unholy things.

Sin is fundamentally a perversion of what is good. Sin needs good to exist – cursing is a perversion of blessing, lying a perversion of telling the truth, sexual immorality a perversion of marital faithfulness, etc. Good, however, does not need evil to exist. Good can exist all on its own.

Secondly, it is to be received in prayer – meaning in the daily communication with God by His Spirit. As we walk with Him and converse with Him, He guides us. We are to use things in accordance with His Word and in accordance with His Spirit’s leadership in our lives.  There should be no contradiction here for the Spirit is the Author of the Bible and will lead us in the upholding of its principles. The Word of God applied under the Lordship of Christ, which is another way of saying in the filling of the Spirit, is the Christian ideal.

Thirdly, it is to be received in thanksgiving. We are different from the animals in that we have the capacity of inner gratitude and outer thanksgiving. Whatever we receive, however much we receive, we should be grateful for, sincerely thanking God for His grace and bounty.

So, in these few short words Paul has instructed us on how to use the created order around us. We should not be dominated by fear but by “power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7). W should be wise and spiritual, guided by His Word and Spirit, and we should be grateful, not greedy. In living like this we will enjoy God’s creation which still holds a great beauty.

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The Foundation for Lordship

May 12th, 2016

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

The foundation of the doctrine of the Lordship of Christ is his role as Creator of the universe. He is not an intruder into another person’s territory. He simply claims his own. He has bought us twice – once by his act of creation and again by his act of redemption.

This short little verse is amazingly well-crafted – with several nuances that the English translation does not pick up.

By faith we understand – The biblical principle is plain, that we must believe to understand. The story of Christ and the biblical account are not unreasonable – his resurrection, for example, as amazing as it was, was well attested by eye witnesses. But ultimately we take the step of faith and believe in Him because of his call in our lives. And then faith enables us to understand. We do not understand in order to believe, but we believe in order to understand.

That the universe was created by the word of God – Last night I sat in a Bible study with some seriously well-educated people – one working on his second master degree in Physics, another with two engineering degrees, another studying architecture, etc. All were multi-lingual and together we formed an international world coalition of sorts – only South American was omitted – North America, East Asia, South Asia, Africa, Europe were all represented.

We asked the question about the logic of Creationism, and these brilliant minds all came back to the point that in their minds some One who stands outside the system of creation must have created the universe. Since the universe is decaying (Law of Entropy), and everything is moving from organized to less organized, and since this is always the case, then some one who is not affected by the physical decay must have created it by an act of will.

This is exactly what this verse says. And it is interesting that it used the word aiona in Greek and not kosmos – “universe” and not “world.” This is a metaphysical idea that includes not only the matter of the universe but the physical laws that govern it. A fundamental flaw in Marxism-Leninism is the belief in the eternal existence of the physical universe – “dialectical materialism” is the idea that the conflict of society is between material forces, and not spiritual forces. But science tells us that this philosophy is fundamentally flawed. The spirit is eternal, not the physical universe.

Created – This little word is worth our attention. It means to have been “knit together,” to have been created in such a way that the various elements depend on one another, support one another, interact with one another. It includes the idea of ecology and the interconnectedness of life. God did all of this with intention, forethought, planning, and purpose.

Not made out of things visible – Consider “visible” to mean “measurable.” God who is Spirit and unaffected by the system that he created is the Power and the Personality who made the universe. He placed within the make-up of the world human life to tend for the planet. When human life lost its moral direction we vacated the role that God made for us to hold. Derek Kidner described it this way: “Leaderless, the choir of creation drones on in discord.”

But we can be put on the right track as individuals by repentance and faith in Christ. We can be restored and redeemed to the original purpose God had given to us to tend to this world, and to prepare people for the next world. Speaking of this very point, the Spirit inspired Paul to write:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:19-25)

The frustration and futility that the creation has been subject to is due to our human sin, and our failure to fulfill our role. But God is also a Redeemer and he is redeeming us through Christ. So all of creation waits until the Creator can be properly enthroned in the lives of an obedient and faithful people. This is our hope, that one day this universe’s purpose to bring glory to God will be fulfilled.

And this is our purpose as well, to bring glory and honor to God through Christ. So His Lordship rests upon the truth of his role as Creator and upon his work as Redeemer. By surrendering to his authority and living underneath his Lordship we have become reunited with our original purpose as God’s creation.

A testimony of faith: Dr. Boris P. Dotsenko, received his first academic degree in physics and mathematics at University of Luou, Ukraine, 1949. M. Sc at Univ. of Leningrad and doctorate at Moscow State Univ. 1954. After working three years in the Academy of Sciences of the USSR on intercontinental and space rocket research, Dotsenko moved to the Institute of Physics in Kiev, where he was eventually appointed Head of the Nuclear Laboratory. In 1966, while traveling on official business he sought political asylum in Canada. He has taught at Waterloo Lutheran University and University of Toronto.

He became a believer in Christ and one of the key influential elements of his conversion was his understanding of the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy. Which in his understanding meant that if there were no God who stood outside the material system and had authority over it the universe would have disintegrated into a chaotic cloud of dust long ago. In faith he embraced Christ but it was also his science that influenced him to seek logical answers to the questions of our origins. He found these in Christ.

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