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Creator of Heaven & Earth

The Beginning of All Things is in God

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11 Sep 2019 (All day)
Creator of Heaven & Earth

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

This is how our Bible, the Word of God, starts. These words are so significant, the crew of Apollo 8 read them to the world while orbiting the moon on Christmas Eve in 1968.

Yet the understanding that God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth is the one biblical concept which has come under the sharpest attack in modern times. In fact, many churchgoers today can believe much of what the Bible says, except that He is the Creator.

Not by chance
Since Charles Darwin published his work “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, countless scientists claim to have disproved the Bible and some even say the very existence of God. According to Darwin, ‘survival of the fittest’ was one of the main driving forces of Nature, not an all-creating God. Small changes within species gave one an advantage over the other. By a gradual and random process, these better-adapted species not only survived but eventually dislodged the weaker species.

At the time he proposed this theory, Darwin was unaware that such ‘small changes’ – like gradually growing wings, legs, eyes, etc. – was not just an accidental change in the physiology of a creature, but required a highly complex alteration in the DNA code of an organism. DNA codes are the building blocks for any living being and consist of massive arrays of highly complex molecules. Today, we know that Darwin‘s ‘small changes’ are in reality extremely improbable changes to elaborate systems.

In 2004, microbiologist Doug Axe demonstrated that to accidentally arrange the various elements of a protein called beta-lactamase (an enzyme which confers antibiotic resistance upon bacteria) would need an incredible amount of chance. Axe showed that to rearrange just this one particular enzyme by chance would be a probability of 1/1077. The number 1077 is an incredibly large number: A one followed by 77 zeros. To illustrate just how huge this number is – or how small its probability – consider that there are roughly 1080 atoms in the universe! This means the probability to form just this one protein by chance would be only slightly higher than finding one particular atom from all the particles that exist in the entire Universe; obviously a task infinitely less probable than finding the proverbial needle in the haystac.1

There are many more examples from science itself on how improbable life on earth truly is. Scientists today speak about the ‘fine tuning’ of the cosmos or about the ‘Goldilocks theorem’, meaning that our universe on so many levels seems to be incredibly fine-tuned just to make life on earth possible. From the size of the earth, its distance to the sun, the type and size of the sun, the tilt of our planet, etc., everything seems so perfectly tuned to make life on earth possible. Again, the probability that such conditions are found anywhere in the entire known universe is extremely unlikely. 2

All these factors make the notion of evolution by chance scientifically less and less plausible. The odds against it are mounting to such a staggering degree that a whole new theory is being formulated in order to maintain belief in Evolution – and to avoid acceptance of a Creator God.

In May 2007, Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology stipulated that our known DNA-based world is inexplainable by current probability models. He thus proposed a totally new approach. But instead of considering the simplest and most logical of all explanations – that there is a omniscient and omnipotent God who created our amazing world – he suggested that since our own universe does not account for all the improbabilities of life on earth, there must exist an endless amount of parallel universes that would explain the infinitesimal chances of life here on earth.

A high view of Man
Years ago, I was discussing science and God with one of my fellow students at the Weizmann Institute. When I submitted to him that he would need more faith to believe in pure chance than I need to believe in the God of the Bible, he laughed. But today, this seems to be truer than ever.

Long ago, King David knew already what scientists are discovering only now: “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech,
and night unto night reveals knowledge.”
(Psalm 19:1-2)

To believe in God and science is not a contradiction, as many greatest scientists of the past were inspired by the Bible when developing their theories to describe the amazing order which God placed into creation.

However, the question remains: Why start the Bible with such a seemingly provocative statement: “In the beginning God created…”? Is it necessary to believe in a Creator God? Why would it matter to believe in evolution by chance? A leading megachurch pastor recently stated such a start to Scripture is confusing, at least to young modern-thinking people, and advised therefore to avoid reading the Old Testament in general.

But it does matter because the reality of God as Creator of the heavens and the earth is central to a biblical worldview and to the way God wants us to know Him.

Early on in Scripture, we find the core of mankind’s calling and identity. We are created – both male and female – in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). This separates and elevates us from the animal world and from the concepts of human origins in other religions. Being created in the image of God gives a tremendous calling to humanity to rule, cultivate and tend the earth (Genesis 1:28; 2:15). It is a calling which encourages science, research and technology to accomplish these ends. It gives us – even in our fallen state – the enormous hope that one day we will be like Him (1 John 3:2), and already in our fellowship with God here on earth we are being “transformed into the same image from glory to glory”. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

This truth of humans being created in God’s image also gives us something that no other creature on earth possesses. It gives tremendous value and dignity to every human life, whether a believer or not, rich or poor, regardless of race or gender.

Jürgen Habermas, one of the leading philosophers of our time, made a profound statement. In a lecture entitled “Glauben und Wissen” (Faith and Knowledge, 2001), this self-avowed atheist expressed concern about the increasing secularization in modern societies. The very understanding that mankind is created in the image of God, he said, gives each man and woman a unique dignity, so that every human deserves respect no matter what they believe. Even as an atheist, Habermas recognised that retaining the concept of Imago Dei acts as a humane safeguard for our modern society. And this very boundary he saw as eroding. Amazing words from someone who denies God!

The results of abandoning God
Habermas’ concerns were proven correct over 70 years ago in Germany. Some time back, I visited the exhibition at Villa Wannsee, just outside Berlin, where in January 1942 Hitler’s ‘final solution to the Jewish question’ was rubber-stamped by various government ministries. In this beautiful lakeside setting, the decision was made to eradicate all eleven million Jews in Europe, followed by a toast with glasses of cognac.

I was intrigued to find out what drove these well-educated participants at this notorious Nazi gathering. For many years I viewed Christian antisemitism as the main engine behind Hitler’s murderous plans. But at Wannsee, I learned these men were driven by a pseudo-scientific theory called “Social Darwinism”. In certain ways it was a logical extension of Darwin’s theory from animals to humans, and this led them into the depraved field of eugenics, championed by Eugen Fischer, Josef Mengele and other Nazi ‘scientists’.

According to many Social Darwinists, not all races were equally fit to live. Some were ahead of others in the evolutionary process, and the race which was endangering humanity with degeneration the most was the Jews. German universities had special research departments to study the application of Darwinism to human societies. ‘Racial hygiene’ and euthanasia were the tools to maintain racial purity. The result was the brutal murder of six million Jews. The piles of corpses from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen show the depravity of humans who no longer saw themselves as created in the image of God, but an accident of nature. In such a world, morals had no place; man became a law unto himself and this led to the industrial slaughter of fellow humans.

Even today, man no longer considers himself as being created in the image of God but as elevated in the place of God. The moral ambiguity of our post-modern world carries few safeguards against evil. Years ago, the foreign policy chief of the European Union refused to recognise the terrorists of 9/11 as being evil. They were just misguided individuals, he said. Our world has become an increasingly dangerous place as it has thrown overboard the moral safeguards against human depravity.

The Maker of Israel
On the other hand, still seeing God as the Creator of the world gives us a sense of humility and accountability to our Maker. It gives ownership and final authority to Him. King David once again reminds us of these profound truths: “Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

Consequently, the Creator of the heavens and the earth is also their Owner, which gives Him full authority to do “according to His good pleasure…” (Ephesians 1:9).

The noted 13th century Rabbi Ibn Ezra once posed the question: Why does the Bible start with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?” His answer: “Because a time will come when men will question the right of the Jewish people to live in their own land. But as the Creator of the world, He can do as He pleases.”

The prophet Isaiah returns to this very point again and again. “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless.” (Isaiah 40:22-23)

“Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles.’” (Isaiah 42:5-6)

God made everything! He is not just Creator of the heavens and the earth, but “I am the Lord your Holy One, the Creator of Israel…” (Isaiah 43:15).

This means the Maker of Israel is also the One who “made all things” (Isaiah 44:24). He who called Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem is the One who “made the earth and man on it” (Isaiah 45:12). And the Saviour of Israel, and our own Redeemer, introduces Himself thusly:

“But Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever. For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who has established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’” (Isaiah 45:17-18)

That means the entire history and fate of Israel is in the hands of the God who made and possesses everything. While God wants us to reason with Him, to search His ways and have dominion on the earth, He also wants us to recognise that we all are accountable to our Creator. Paul gives us this healthy warning against the arrogance of our time: “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:20)

In summary, the amazing truth of the Gospel is God invites mankind to be reconciled with Him and to rule and reign with Him as the Creator of heaven and earth. This gives us both humility and confidence in our calling. It invites us to fight His battles, but also to rest assured that His purposes will stand even though we might not fully understand them.

Finally, it gives us incredible hope for the future, when once more the Creator of the heavens and the earth will majestically create a new heavens and a new earth “in which righteousness dwells”. (2 Peter 3:13)

Notes:
1 Stephen C Meyer, Signature in the Cell, Harper Collins e-books
2 Eric Metaxas, Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life, Dutton Adult/Kindle Edition.

 

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