Out of Nothing

A quick aside…

As most everyone sitting here knows, Augie's full name is Augustine—named after Augustine of Hippo, a famous theologian who lived from 354 to 430 A.D. However, some people don't think it should be pronounced uh-gus-ton, but instead aww-gus-steen. At night when I fall alseep…or wake up and need to go back to sleep…I throw on podcasts, and one of the speakers I listen to is Dr. Albert Mohler (http://AlbertMohlher.com), president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. (Some of you might remember me quoting him when we talked about whether we should sign The Manhattan Declaration.)

Either way…I don't remember exactly since I was going in and out of sleep, but when it comes to how to pronounce Augustine Dr. Mohler quoted someone else who said:

"Aww-gus-steen is in Florida. Uh-gus-ton is in Heaven."

Our Augustine is a little heaven on earth for us…

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the "extras" that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

A quote to remember…

Speaking of quoting someone…I won't tell you who yet, but please remember this quote:

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long.

[ Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (154). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. ]

[ Repeat twice. ]

Creation Weekend

Speaking of podcasts…on a Wretched Radio podcast I heard that "Creation Weekend" was coming up. Now…it turns out it was last weekend, but creation still seemed like a very good subject for a sermon.

Do you remember back in school when you were forced to choose a subject for a paper? What was one of the things that would automatically get a topic rejected?

[ Wait for answers. ]

One sure fire way to have a teacher zap it was to have a topic that was too broad…and although creation is a great subject for a sermon, it is far to broad for a sermon that is supposed to only last 20 to 30 minutes.

So, what part of the subject of creation should we focus on?

Statistics

How about statistics?

How many here believe God created the heavens and the earth?

How many of you think that a huge percentage of your fellow Americans do not believe in creation?

Well, looking at a Gallup poll from 2004…people were given these three options:

God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years: 45%

Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation: 38%

Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life. God had no part in this process: 13%

[ http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm ]

Although the sad news is that the final percentage has increased to 13% in 2004 from only 9% in 1982, 83% of Americans believe God created the heavens and the earth…even if 38% of them…in my opinion…have needlessly compromised the clear teaching of the Bible about how creation happened to satisfy scientists who claim the earth is billions of years old.

And I could continue the rest of my talk on statistics…but no…

Proof the earth is young

Instead maybe we should spend our time discussing evidence that the earth is only about 10,000 years old—or at least not billions of years old. I could spend hours sharing tidbits available from Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/). For instance the article, "Evidence for a Young World" (http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/4005.asp), gives "fourteen natural phenomena which conflict with the evolutionary idea that the universe is billions of years old."

It has everything from galaxies winding up too fast (basically if the universe is billions of years old we our galaxy should look like a "featureless disc" instead of the spiral shape we all are so familiar with)…

To too little mud on the ocean floor (which would mean if the earth was really 3 billion years old we'd have sediment kilometers deep)…

To our earth's magnetic field being to strong to have the earth be more than 20,000 years old (at the rate it decays)…

(Oh…while I think of it…to those I mentioned it to in Bible study on Wednesday…the argument for a young earth based on the lack of moon dust is no longer valid…it was based on incorrect assumptions about the amount of dust that would accumulate each year—that's more info thanks to Answers In Genesis.)

But no…we aren't going to have a sermon about "proof" that the earth is too young for evolution to be true…

Intelligent Design

A very logical choice for a sermon would be intelligent design…where scientists argue that the universe, including life in it, is too complex to have come from chance—that an intelligent designer had to be involved.

During my last doctor's visit I was looking at the medical diagrams of hands and the wall…noting how incredible the mechanics of it are. I am not alone:

Paul Gentuso was a budding evolutionist until he studied the human hand in medical school. "In anatomy class," he said, "we dissected a human hand. In investigating the hand, I first removed the skin, then isolated the individual tendons and muscles as I worked my way to the bones. The tendons of the hand are aligned in tendon sheaths, like self-lubricating pulleys, allowing the hand to work in a tireless, noiseless, almost effortless fashion. It was perfectly designed to carry out all the work it was called to do, everything from lifting a small object to lugging a tree trunk."

The experience deeply affected Gentuso. Until then, he had entertained serious doubts about God's existence. "In seeing how each tendon was perfectly aligned along the axis of each finger and how each finger moved in a coordinated fashion when tugged by individual tendons," he said, "it became obvious to me that there was a Creator who had intelligently designed and created the human hand. This was the first time in my adult life that I could say with assurance that a Creator existed. It was really a spiritual experience for me. I went from doubt to certainty based on seeing God's creation."

Paul Gentuso later became a Christian, a missionary physician in Cote d'Ivoire, and a resident doctor in Nashville, Tennessee.

[ Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson's complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed.) (157). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. ]

But no…this isn't going to be a sermon about intelligent design…

What the Bible says…

During my research I think it was an article in Answers in Genesis which noted that the issue isn't how old the earth is…instead it is about the authority of Scripture.

And since baptized believers in the Church of Christ believe in the authority of Scripture, the rest of this sermon will be about what the Bible says about creation.

Coincidentally, the Bible starts off telling us about creation…let's turn together to Genesis 1:1-2:

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.

Who created? Can you read that and interpret it in a way that removes our Lord from the picture?

We could read the rest of the creation narrative…but I'm going to go too long anyway…so let's instead go next to Exodus 20:11:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

How long did God take to create the heaven and earth? [ 6 days ]

Can you read that and interpret it any way that allows you to agree with scientists who claim the world is billions of years old?

Now let's flip to Hebrews 11:3:

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.

What was the universe created out of? [ Nothing. Ex nihilo. ]

So…so far we have learned:

  • God created
  • God created in 6 days
  • God created out of nothing

Two magic words…over and over…

God created

Did Jesus confirm creation?

Just as we stand on the authority of Scripture…we look to Jesus as our perfect example. Does the Bible speak to Christ's view of creation? Let's look together.

Mark 10:2-9

And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" 3 He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" 4 They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away." 5 And Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 7 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."

The key verse is the 6th one…"But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.'" In saying this Jesus not only confirmed He believed in creation, He confirmed that humans were specifically designed by God—and that it happened at the beginning of creation…not billions of years after He gave the universe a push and then let evolution take over.

Let's also not forget that Jesus also absolutely trusted the Old Testament…so any "proof" of creation we find in its pages He has implicitly confirmed. (Also if you take a look at Mark 13:19 you can see him refer to creation again matter-of-factly.)

Jesus believed in creation

Who created?

It shouldn't be too surprising that Jesus believed in creation. Can anyone think of a really good reason beyond His trust in Scripture? [ Don't actually answer or confirm answers…go to the next verse. ]

Let's look to the inspired pen of John…

John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Of course Jesus believed in creation…He was the creator!

Now we would be unwise to base a whole doctrine on a single Scripture…so let's wrap things up looking at a couple other ones that confirm that jesus created…plus a little bit more…

Colossians 1:15-17

15 He is the image of​the invisible God,​the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created,​in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And​ he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Notice something "new?"

Not only did Jesus create everything…He holds it all together!

Hebrews 1:1-4

Long ago, at many times and​in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but​ in these last days​he has spoken to us by​his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

Again…Jesus created…and "upholds the universe"…

One final note…as we discovered during this week's Wednesday Bible study…we also see that the Father (e.g. Genesis 1:1 and Acts 14:15) and the Spirit (e.g. Genesis 1:2 and Psalms 104:30 ) were involved in creation. Although it seems to me that Jesus "led" in the process…creation was done by the entire Godhead.

What we've learned…

At this point if I've done my job right…we've all learned:

  • God created heaven and earth
  • God created heaven and earth out of nothing
  • God created heaven and earth in six days
  • Jesus believed in creation…but that makes sense because…
  • Jesus created heaven and earth…and all that is within them
  • And Jesus holds us all together…

Thank you Jesus!

Now…do you remember the quote from the beginning of the sermon?

False facts

False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long.

Does anyone know who said that?

It was Charles Darwin…prophetically speaking of the damage his own work would do…and still does.

Brothers and sisters…stick with the Bible and not . False facts aren't only injurious to the progress of science…they can close the doors to heaven…


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