“A Creation Sermon,” Hebrews 11:1-6, The Experiment of Faith
Malcolm Muggeridge wrote, “O God, stay with me; let no word cross my lips that is not your word, no thoughts enter my mind that are not your thoughts, no deed ever be done or entertained by me that is not your deed. Amen.” That was my own prayer, and its form is an exception. That is why I wrote it down because I don’t very often feel induced to address my Creator in that sort of way. To me prayer is a sort of understanding.” I agree entirely.
I often pray in sentences, clauses, and direct statements to God. More frequently in prayer, I am silent listening for the still small voice of God, for a prompting, for clarity, feeling with my spirit for His presence. As often, I am silently seeking an understanding of Him. That understanding is faith.
CIS: The essence of prayer is faith. The foundation of faith is taking God at his Word about who I am, who He is, and how I may relate to Him.
This morning, I want us to see the connection between how we understand creation and the life of prayer. My thesis is something like this: how directly we understand God’s hand in our personal and collective creation directly relates to our ability to know God personally and collectively. In other words, only when I understand that God created me directly and personally will I have the ability to cultivate a direct and personal prayer life with Him.
Why does Genesis and the biblical account of creation matter and what does it have to do with prayer? How we understand the shaping of the Universe, the Galaxies, the World, and us, shapes our understanding of our relationship to our creator at a fundamental level. Who is the God that made me? How did He create? Why did He make me? Can I relate to Him directly and how?
How God created us holds the key to understanding why He created us…
There are three major Christian views as to how God created:
(1) Young Earth Creationism. This is sometimes called YEC. A popular voice for this view is Answers in Genesis with multiple platforms for education, ranging from videos, books, and curriculum to their creation museum and recreation of Noah’s Ark. The books, commentaries, and ideas of the late scientist Henry Morris remain popular among those who hold this view.
The essential tenants of this view are that God literally created the universe, the world, all the creatures in the world, and in six literal 24-hour periods. The Hebrew word “Yom” that is used in Genesis and translated “Day” in English literally means one day – a 24-hour period. It is used in that context in every place in the Old Testament, including when the sun “stood still” for 24 hours in Joshua chapter 10. This is based on a literal-grammatical reading of the text and a simple and plain reading of the Bible within the context that the Sacred Scriptures are the revealed Word of God.
(2) Day-Age Creationism. Another attempt to accommodate science to a literal, or mostly literal, reading of the Bible is the day-age theory. Here religion is accommodated to science by having each of the six days of creation be not twenty-four hours but long periods of time — even thousands or millions of years. This allows for recognition of an ancient age of Earth but still retains a quite literal interpretation of Genesis.
(3) Theistic Evolution. Theistic evolution is a theological view in which God creates through the laws of nature. Theistic evolutionists accept all the results of modern science, in anthropology and biology as well as in geology and elsewhere. Views vary in whether and how much God intervened — some believe that God created the laws of nature and allows events to occur with no further intervention. Others believe that God intervenes at critical intervals during the history of life (especially in the origin of humans). 
You can hold to any of these views and be a Christian. This is not about salvation. This is about knowing God. This is about knowing that God created you and me intentionally and with immediate and direct purpose.
The trouble with theistic evolution, as it relates to knowing God, is that the God who creates over countless millennia through evolution does so from a distance and with seemingly no regard for the immensity of the pain and suffering involved in millions and millions of creatures over millions and millions of years torturously grinding out survival as they evolve. That God is more like a detached mind behind evolution than a personal God. Then He pops on the scene after perhaps billions of silent years to know us personally?
This view is that of those who make the mistake of insisting that religious claims must line up with scientific claims to be valid. I do not think they do. There are many other possibilities. Religious claims are different categorically from scientific claims. They do not have to line up. They are different sorts of claims. In addition, modern science is always evolving like the evolution of the species that it increasingly claims as known fact, rather than theory.
|Appearance of age is well explained by the Noahic Flood. (answersingenesis.org)|
The trouble with day-age creationism, as it relates to knowing God, is less obvious but a bit more sinister. This view acts as if it is taking the biblical account seriously but instantly allegorizes the creation account. It sets out a manner of biblical interpretation that, if applied to the rest of Scripture, makes me the judge of what parts of the Bible ought to be taken directly as revealed truth and which I can say are allegory.
Both of these views turn biblical history on its head. They both say that perhaps the Genesis account is just a retelling of other ancient creation myths such as those of the Mesopotamians. If we take biblical history seriously, we can easily account for the commonality of creation myths with the Genesis account. At the Tower of Babel, humankind were spread throughout the world. They took variations on the Genesis account with them, retelling it from a place of having lost connection from their source, the God of creation. As the nations were paganized, the account of creation was paganized.
What is a sound way of considering our creation? What is a way of viewing creation that aids our ability to know God? Must we accept and hold firm to a literal 6-day creation to be saved in Christ? None of us was present at creation. None of us was present in the garden. We have in front of us, however, the record of Scripture, which was affirmed by the Early Church and the resurrection of Jesus to many witnesses, to be the Word of God.
The Bible, though, while commenting on science and history and containing the same is primarily a religious, not a scientific text. It makes theological claims which are frankly of a higher and more eternal order than that of human science, which is as helpful as it is often arrogant. What, then are we left to do and believe and how are we to think about our creation?
I accept first the primacy of Scripture. I see in the creation account the beauty of the intentionality of my creator in having created me to know Him. I read the creation account and the entire Bible through a historical-grammatical lens. The doctrines of salvation, which are intrinsically linked to Christ, are laid in Genesis, when God tells us that He will send the seed of man to crush the head of the deceitful serpent, who will bruise His, heal. That is the foretelling of Jesus at the Cross crushing Satan’s hold upon us in sin.
I read the Bible as God’s Word to me, telling me how I may know Him. That knowledge of Him begins with our intentional creation and ends with our intentional salvation. That is collective for the Church and personal for me.
Did God use evolution in creation? I am unconvinced, but perhaps He did. I am primarily concerned with knowing God and not with pleasing man. I am concerned with being a fool for Christ, not appearing wise to men. My faith, which is of eternal consequence if it true, is of far more real and personal consequence than thinking that my thinking must be in line with the fickle, limited, ever shifting, thoughts of even the most brilliant men.
|I am free of any sense of obligation to synthesize my faith
with the findings of men, even brilliant men, in the world.
Even if God did use evolution in the creation of man, one still must explain the ex-nihilo creation of the universe, matter, and me.
The foundation for knowing God is, indeed, a kind of understanding. That understanding must be rooted in the knowledge that He created you and me with purpose. That is why it matters how we think about how He did that.
That is why it matters that we think about how and why He did that.
Verse three of our text for today, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 NIV84)
Henry Morris said the Genesis creation account refutes atheism because the universe was created by God. It refutes pantheism [God as spirit of the universe] for God is transcendent. It refutes polytheism for one God created. It refutes materialism for matter had a beginning. It refutes dualism because God alone created. It refutes humanism because God, not man, is the ultimate reality. It refutes evolution because God created all things.
The essence of prayer is knowing God. The foundation for knowing God is knowing that He created us with intentionality and purpose. Don’t settle for a man-centered view of the world. We were created to know God. Amen.