This morning, we begin a new series in our study of the Bible. I’m calling it, “Twelve Stages in the Bible.” I’m going to take twelve messages to scope out twelve of the major movements in the Bible. My aim is doing so is to help solidify your understanding of the flow of the Bible storyline. Too often, the history the Bible all mixes together for people. Christians don’t quite have it all straight in their minds. When was the Exodus? Were the kings first, or the judges? What’s the exile? My hope is that by the time we are done, all of you will have a clear grasp of the Bible story line.
The twelve stages we will examine are the following: Creation, Patriarchs, Exodus, Conquest, Judges, Kingdom, Exile, Return, Silence, Gospel, Church, and Missions. These stages in the Bible are not original to me. Rather, I have pulled it from a book entitled, “30 days to Understanding the Bible,” written by Max Anders. It’s a book that my wife and I have found to be very helpful in giving people a good introduction to the Bible. It’s not the first book that we have given to people, as such a book can be overwhelming and ignored. But, when the people are ripe for it, it is really perfect. When people we have dealt with have expressed an interest in the things of God and displayed a bit of commitment to this, but are Biblically ignorant, this is a great book to give them. The book assumes that you know nothing about the Bible. And so, it takes you from the very beginning.
Chapter 1 is entitled, “The Structure of the Bible.” It talks about the two testaments: the Old and the New. It talks about the sorts of books that fill these testaments. In the Old Testament, there are Historical, Poetical, and Prophetical books. In the New Testament, there are Historical books and letters to churches and to individuals. Chapter 2 is entitled, “The Geography of the Old Testament.” In this chapter, the book gives a basic overview of the places where the events of the Bible takes place. It discusses places like Israel, Egypt, Ur, The Dead Sea, the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. From then on, the next half of the book is committed to telling the story of the Bible, from the creation, through the judges, until the church and her mission. The last half of the book puts forth some of the most important doctrines of the Bible.
The book is like a workbook, filled with many blanks for you to fill in as you read through the book. The process of writing in these blanks, is very helpful to understanding the basic, most important concepts of the Bible, because you write them over and over and over again. Though this book assumes that you know nothing, it’s still a profitable book for those who want to solidify the structure of the Bible in their minds. Right now, our two teenage children are reading this book. They are both about two-thirds the way through it and finding it very doable.
Anyway, over the next twelve weeks, I plan on preaching through the entire Bible, borrowing the twelve stages from this book, “30 Days to Understanding the Bible.” There is something about knowing and understanding the flow of thought in the Bible that will help you in days to come as you read your Bibles. I want to do all that I can to help you understand and remember what takes place during each of these stages of the Bible. My wife has put together some CD’s and song booklets to help ingrain these twelve stages (and the details of the stages) into your minds. The aim of these songs are to help you learn the stages of the Bible and the key facts of each of the stages.
The song about creation helps you to remember what took place on each of the six days of creation. The song about the patriarchs help you to remember all of the sons of Jacob. The song about the Exodus help you to remember the 10 plagues. (The quality of the songs isn’t great at all, but the content is very helpful). Our two year old goes to bed every night listening to this CD.
Please open your Bibles to Genesis, chapter 1. The very first verse of the Bible reads this way, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
In this verse, we have the foundation of all of the Scripture. You take away this verse, and you have undermined the very heart of the Biblical revelation, and you have undermined very heart of our faith. Ken Ham has well said, ...
If you destroy the foundation of anything, the structure will collapse. If you want to destroy any building, you are guaranteed early success if you destroy the foundations. Likewise, if one wants to destroy Christianity, then destroy the foundations established in the book of Genesis. Is it any wonder that Satan is attacking Genesis more than any other book?
The Biblical doctrine of origins, as contained in the book of Genesis is foundational to all other doctrines of Scripture. Refute or undermine in any way the Biblical doctrine of origins, and the rest of the Bible is compromised. Every single Biblical doctrine of theology, directly or indirectly, ultimately has its basis in the book of Genesis.
Genesis is the only book [of the Bible] that provides an account of the origin of all the basic entities of life in the universe: the origin of life, of man, of government, of marriage, of culture, of nations, of death, of the chosen people, of sin, of diet and clothes, of the solar system ... the list is almost endless. The meaning of all these things is dependent on their origin. 
In other words, if you attack Genesis, then you attack the foundation of Christianity. In my message today, I have two points. The first of my points will be conceptual. I want to argue for the importance of the creation narrative to the rest of the Bible. My second point will be textual, as I will walk us through the first eleven chapters of the Bible. So, let's dig in.
The premise of the Bible is that there is one God. There aren’t competing gods in this universe, as the Hindus believe. Rather, there is one transcendent God, who rules all things. He is mentioned here in verse 1, “In the beginning God.” This is the God with a capital "G". This is the transcendent, almighty God.
The premise of the Bible is that this one God has created all things. “In the beginning God created.” The Bible denies spontaneous generation. Instead, there was design and intentionality. As Creator, God owns the creation. He has authority over all of creation. We, as His creatures are called to bow our wills to His will.
The premise of the Bible is that our universe began when God created, and will end when He comes back for final judgment. Again, Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning God created.” The book of Revelation deals with the end, with the judgment. If you undermine the beginning, then, you undermine the end, and you compromise everything in between.
In short, Genesis 1:1 is the foundation to all of the Bible.
Notice further in Genesis 1:1 that God’s existence and creative power are declared, they are not argued. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In fact, nowhere in the Bible does it seek to prove the existence of God. Rather, it merely declares that God is and that He created everything that we see. Now, in our day and age, this is often debated. Evolution is taught in our schools. People readily debate the existence of God. Atheism is embraced by many, who cannot believe in God. However, there is no debate in the Scriptures. God is declared to be. We are called to love Him.
Now, it’s not that God has ignored this issue in the Bible, as if you need to take the entire thing by blind faith. On the contrary, God has already proven Himself to every human being alive. There is no need for God to argue for His existence. He has given to us witnesses to know Him. For instance, there is the witness of creation, itself. In Romans 1:20, we read, “Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
When God created the world, He created it in such a way that it gave testimony to Himself. The visible world teaches us of God’s eternal power. You see the power of the mountains and the hills and the rivers and the oceans and the volcanoes, ... and you are taught that there is a power beyond yourself. It teaches you of God’s eternal power. The visible world also teaches us of God’s divine nature. You see the distances between the stars, ... and you are taught that there is something beyond you. You see the amazing complexities of life, like squirrels and cows and plants and the life cycle, ... and you are taught that there is a life giver. Such is the divine nature.
So, those who deny God are really without excuse (Rom. 1:20). God has made Himself known to everyone who has ever stepped into this creation. The Bible has no need to debate God's existence and prove God's existence, because God already did this in the creation. So, in the midst of all the debates on the existence of God, know full well what is happening. On the one hand, you have those who are arguing for the truth. And on the other hand, you are denying everything that they know about the truth. They know deep within themselves of the truth. Instead, they seek to deny the truth, so that they can live in their sin. Romans 2:15 says, “They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.”
In the creation, God has established a witness for Himself. In our conscience, God has given us a moral barometer that testifies to Him. But, His witness goes beyond merely a witness that He exists. God has also testified to His goodness. When Paul preached to those in Lystra, who were worshiping him, because of the miracle that he had performed in their midst. He said, ...
Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
I trust that you can see how Paul brought things back to the fact that there is only one God. It is God, the Creator. It is this God with whom we have to give an account. He left Himself with a witness of His goodness, in that he has satisfied the nations with food through the rains from heaven. So, turn to him.
The way that Paul argues here is all throughout the Scripture. So, don’t think that the importance of God creating the world is only given in the beginning of the Bible. No, when you read your Bibles, you see that Genesis 1 is not the only place where the Bible speaks about God being the creator. The fact that God is the creator is laid out in nearly every book of the Bible. If it isn’t explicitly stated, it is surely assumed.
a. That God created the world is the foundation of the Sabbath.
God told Moses, "In six days the LORD made the heavens and the 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" (Exodus 20:11). Just as God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, so also did He command Israel to work six days and rest on the seventh.
b. That God created the world is the foundation of our worship.
Consider the following words from Psalm 148, ...
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
Notice the reason the Psalmist gives why the creation is to worship the Lord. It is because He created us all! "For He commanded ant they were created."
c. That God created the world is why God can do as He will with this creation.
In Jeremiah 18, Jeremiah tells the story of how he went down to the potter’s house. He wrote, "There he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make" (Jeremiah 18:3-4). And then God gave the exhortation to this object lesson, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does? ... Behold like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel” (Jer. 18:6).
The clay in the potter’s hands is completely under his control, to shape it and fashion it as he pleases. So also, is the creation completely under God’s control. He had made us, so He can shape us and fashion us however He wants. The warning of resisting this implication of creation comes in Isaiah 45:9, “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker ... Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?”
d. That God created the world is the very foundation of all prophetical passages in the Bible.
Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, ... “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hand and I ordained all their hosts. I have aroused him in righteousness And I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city and will let My exiles go free, Without any payment or reward,” says the LORD of hosts.
This passage is speaking about how God is going to raise up Cyrus to take from the funds of Babylon to build Jerusalem. But, notice how the foundation of all this is centered upon God, the creator. Since God has created the world, God knows what’s going to happen in this world. He is orchestrating the events of this world, and they are fully in His control. The prophetical passages of the Scripture rest upon God's creating of us.
The creation of the world is no secondary doctrine. It is the very foundation of the Bible. It sets a trajectory for the rest of the Bible. It is the very foundation of what God is doing in this world. He created us for a purpose. He created us for His glory. In Isaiah 43:6-7, we read, "Bring My sons from afar And My daughters from the ends of the earth, everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” God created us for His glory. Colossians 1:16 says it this way, “All things have been created through Him and for Him.” The entire creation was created for Jesus Christ.
This is why Solomon said near the end of his life, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (Ecc. 12:1). So, listen, church family, let us remember our creator. That God created is the foundation of the Bible. It is the foundation of how we live. “All things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13).
Let’s now move on to ...
2. The Story of Creation
At this point, I want to walk through the first 11 chapters of Genesis with you. Next week, we’ll pick it up in Genesis 12 with Abraham, the first of the patriarchs. Our time this morning will be much in chapter 1, and then we'll pick up speed as we go through the remaining chapters.
The actual creation is told in Genesis, chapter 1, where we have recorded the six days of creation. Each day usually begins with God speaking. Whatever He spoke came into existence. At various places along the way, commentary is given upon the creation that just took place. Let's begin by looking at the first day of creation.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
There’s the first day of creation. Before this day, there was nothing, but God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit in perfect happiness and harmony. But, it was on this day that the universe had it’s beginning. That’s the point of the time reference in verse 1, “In the beginning.”
On this day, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the stuff of creation. “The heavens” refers to the space in which matter resides. It’s hard to think about there ever being a time when there was no space in which the substance of the creation exists. But, before this day of creation, even space didn’t exist. There was nothing but God. Perhaps the best way to think of this day is the God created a closet in which He was able to put His "stuff."
“The earth” refers to our planet. It was “formless and void” (verse 2). The best we can do to understand this statement is that it was “without form.” It was without definition. It was a big blob, covered with water, as the Spirit of God was hovering above the waters (verse 2). At this point, please notice that God “from nothing.” Or, as those who like to impress with Latin phrases say, He created ex nihilo, which means "out of nothing.” The verse that best explains this is Hebrews 11:3, "the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.”
Before the first day, there was nothing. There was no time. There was no space. There was no matter. Behind it all, God was the driving force and energy. On this first day of creation, God created all of these things. We see time created with the phrase, "in the beginning." We see space created with "the heavens." We the matter created with "the earth." And, we see the one with the creating power mentioned, "God."
Furthermore, on this day, God created light (verse 3). The emphasis here isn’t so much upon a specific light that God made, like the sun (for the sun wasn’t made until day 4, which is addressed in verse 16). Rather, the emphasis here is upon the principle of light. At this point, God invented the principles of physics that govern light.
As many of you know, I was a physics major in college. While in college, I did an honors project and worked closely with one of the professors at the college. When I finished my honors project with him, he gave me a shirt. It reads, ...
These four equations are known as Maxwell's equations. These are partial differential equations that describe the properties of the electric and magnetic fields and relate them to their sources, charge density and current density. The first formula states that the magnetic flux through a Gaussian surface is zero (because magnetic charges come in pairs). The second formula indicates that the electric flux through a Gaussian surface is a constant (i.e. unrelated to the size or shape of the surface). The third formula relates the curl of an electric field with the changing of a magnetic field. The fourth formula indicates that the curl of a magnetic field is the sum of the change in the electric field and the electric current.
When I took my electricity and magnetism course in college, I remember well my final exam. The professor came into class with a shirt like the one that was given to me. He attached it to the chalk board and then explained to us the one question that we would have for our final exam. He said, "You have entered this universe through a peep hole from a universe that operates under different natural laws than ours. You enter and find this shirt, relating electricity and magnetism with the formulas on the shirt. Please explain what you know if these equations are true." He then left us to write for 70 minutes of everything that is true if these equations are true.
If I would take that exam today, I would certainly flunk. I barely understand these things which I learned some 20 years ago in college. But, I do remember the short answer to this question. The answer is that you get light. If these equations are true, then light will act the way that it does (i.e. a propagating wave of electricity and magnetism).
Now, my point is that when God said, “let there be light,” he was actually doing some pretty serious physics. But, His physics was a bit different than our physics. When we do physics, we discover the natural laws that God has given to govern the universe. But, when God does physics, He creates the natural laws that will govern the universe. We ignored it earlier when discussing verse 1, but God was doing the same thing when he created the heavens and the earth. For the earth and heavens to stay together, he must have established the gravitational force and the strong and weak nuclear forces. If not, the entire universe would have fallen apart.
At this point, I must point out that I have no idea how those who deny God explain the origin of these natural laws of the universe. When one realizes how complex the physics behind light is, then, the question must be asked of origins, "How is it that these laws came about?" I find it incredulous for anyone to believe that these way that electricity and magnetism interacts with each other was innately in the universe, or that it evolved. See, it's one thing to believe that life evolved from lower life forms (at least the building blocks are present), but it's another thing to believe that the natural laws of the universe (as we call them) just happened to be.
After a bit of thinking, you also discover that God was doing some pretty serious chemistry as well. We read how the waters were on the surface of the waters and that the Spirit of God was hovering above the waters. God must have established some chemistry to insure that water would float to the surface of the earth and that it wouldn't dissolve in the rock below.
Well, there’s the first day of creation. My guess is that more was going on there than you initially thought. Now, we don’t have time this morning to spend this sort of time on each of the days of creation. (We have 11 more chapters of Genesis to get through). But, we do have time to scan each of the days of creation. If you scan with your eye down the first page of your Bible, you can see each of the days of creation. Most Bibles separate them into separate paragraphs.
The second day begins in verse 6. On this day, God created “an expanse.” This refers to our atmosphere. God was doing some serious ecology on this day, creating a giant biosphere, which would be perfect for the life that he would soon create. This is more difficult than it may appear at first. Scientists have attempted to create biosphere environments, in which plants and animals can be self-sustaining, but have been unable to do so. But, God did it.
The third day begins in verse 9. On this day, God gathered water into one place and let the dry land appear. Then, God created the plants (verses 11-12). On this day, He was doing some serious botany. By this time in creation, God had worked out all of the intricacies that are involved in the reproduction process of plants. Plants produce the seeds, which produce the plants, which produce the seeds, and so on. And He did it all without experimentation. It was His first try and the plants are still producing more and more plants until today.
The forth day begins in verse 14. On this day, God made the sun, the moon, and all of the stars. On this day, He was doing some serious astronomy. Now, when we do astronomy, we place large telescopes like the Hubble in outer space and scan the heavens, identifying and logging the locations and the characteristics of the stars that we see. However, God wasn’t discovering the constellations and naming the stars and planets. God was creating the constellations, placing each of them where they belonged.
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars,
The One who leads for their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
The fifth day begins in verse 20. On this day, God created the fish and the birds. He created them to swarm over all the earth. He was doing some serious biology on this day. Oh, if we had more time, we could dwell upon the incredible complexities of life that simply cannot be explained by evolution.
We arrive at the sixth day in verse 24. On this day, God created the beasts of the field. He also created mankind. These verses are so rich, I simply want for you to consider the account God has given us.
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food"; and it was so. God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
This was the crown of creation! Man, made in the image of God, male and female. Here, we see the goodness of God, creating food and environment for them to live in. God called it “very good" and indeed, it was. So ends chapter 1.
In chapter 2, we begin with God resting on the seventh day. This became a model for Israel. God told them, "Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath for the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the 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" (Exodus 20:9-11). This correspondence between God resting on the seventh day and the call for Israel to rest as well is one of the reasons why I believe these days of creation to be seven literally, 24-hour days, as the natural reading of this chapter would suggest. Each of these days are marked out clearly with the phrase, “and there was evening and there was morning" (verses 5, 8, 13, 19, 22, 31).
The scope of my message this morning doesn't allow me to further dig into these matters. However, I do want for you to consider the following cartoon. It does a great job of putting the issue into proper perspective.
We have been so engrained by secular scientists and the media to think in terms of long periods of time that we think it incredible that God would be able to create the world in six literal days. However, the proper question to ask is, “Why did God take so long to create the world?” Certainly, God is able to have created our world in less time than six days.
Anyway, let's press onward into chapter 2. Beginning in verse 4, we have another look at the 6th day of creation. There have been some who have been confused, calling this a second account of creation. It’s not a second account of creation. Rather, it’s an up-close look at the details to the creation of Adam and Eve. It begins with the creation of Adam (in verse 7). God formed him from the dust of the ground and God breathed in his nostrils the breath of life. God had placed Adam in the garden of Eden and given him a job to do. He was to “cultivate” the garden and to “keep” it (according to verse 15). In other words, he was to care for the garden.
In verses 16 and 17, we see the grace of God in abundantly providing everything that Adam would need, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (verses 16-17). God had placed Adam in an environment in which he could thoroughly enjoy himself. But, one thing he lacked, a helper. So, God created Eve from Adam, and established marriage as verse 24 states, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.”
This is the definition of marriage. One man with one woman for life. I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that with all of the attacks upon the literal interpretation of the Bible that has come in our day and age, that marriage in our culture is eroding. Once you no longer look to Genesis 1 as literal six days, then you no longer have to look at Genesis 2 as a literal man and woman in marriage. That was my point earlier. Genesis (and the creation account) is important. The foundation of our doctrine is found here.
In chapter 3, we see “the fall of man.” We see the perfect creation all destroyed. Eve was deceived by Satan to take the forbidden fruit. She refused to believe the word of God. She refused to believe the goodness of God. She was tempted by the lure of the flesh and she ate. To take matters worse, Adam witnessed the entire thing and did nothing to stop her from eating the fruit, and instead, he joined her. We read the account in verse 6, “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”
It’s one little fruit eaten off one little tree, but oh, did it have consequences! It plunged every human being into sin! It brought death into the world. And, perhaps worst of all, it brought God’s curse upon us. God’s curses come in verses 14-19. Again, rather than trying so summarize, I include the entire account for you here.
The LORD God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel."
To the woman He said,
"I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth,
In pain you will bring forth children;
Yet your desire will be for your husband,
And he will rule over you."
Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it';
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return."
With these words, the world has never been the same.
Now, these words are important for us to consider. They are just as important as is the creation of man. It is important for our salvation. Everything that Adam did to wreck us, Christ came to fix. Paul speaks about the parallel in Romans 5:12-21. We have two men, who commit two acts, which leads to two consequences. Through one man sin entered the world, and so death spread to all men (Romans 5:12). So also, through one man righteousness was restored, which spread to many (Rom. 5:15). To deny Adam is to deny Jesus, because the parallels are important. If we evolved from some lesser beings, then, there was no one Adam, but many. And if there were many Adams, then there would need to be many Christs. But, we have only one Christ.
The account of Adam is being attacked every day. Oh, it may not be attacked directly, but it is attacked as people seek to minimize sin. People say, "Such a behavior really isn't so bad." But, sin is bad. It brought death into the world. It required the death of God's Son to restore us to life.
Beginning in chapter 4, you can instantly see the effect of sin. In chapter 4, we see the first murder take place. Cain kills his brother, Abel, and then lies to God. “The LORD said to Cain, ‘Where is Abel your brother?’ And he said, ‘I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?’” (Gen. 4:9). Then God said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground" (Gen. 4:10). So, Cain is sentenced to be “a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth” (verse 14).
In chapter 5, we see further effects of sin. It brought about our mortality. You read through chapter 5 and the same phrase comes again and again and again. “So and so lived so many years, .... and he died.” Consider the following verses, ...
Verse 5, “So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.”
Verse 8, “So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.”
Verse 11, “So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
Verse 14, “So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.”
Verse 17, “So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.”
Verse 20, “So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.”
(Verse 24 - Enoch)
Verse 27, “So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.”
Verse 31, “So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died.”
The death of us all is the emphasis and point of the passage. With sin comes death. God had said, “In the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (2:17). Chapter 5 is merely demonstrating the fruit of sin, which is death. Praise the Lord that God gives us life through faith in Jesus (Rom. 6:23). The only exception in the entire list is found in verse 24, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” The fact that only one of those in the genealogy are mentioned who “walked with God” and didn’t die, gives some sort of indication of how many didn’t walk with God.
The wickedness and the sin continued to spread throughout the world. Things got so bad that God decided to destroy the world. The account is told here, ...
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The story is told in chapter 6, 7, 8, and 9 of how God flooded the earth with water and thereby blot out man upon the earth
. At the end of chapter 6, God came to Noah and told him to “Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood" (Gen. 6:14). It's dimension was to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall, big enough to hold the equivalent of more than 500 train cars, which is a train more than 5 miles long! It was certainly big enough to hold two of every animal (and 7 of every clean animal).
In chapter 7 we read of the flood. In verse 19 we read of how, “the water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.” This was a universal flood that covered the entire earth with water. Some might object to say that there isn’t enough water to flood the whole earth. How can you cover the Rocky Mountains with water? The simple answer to that is that the Rocky Mountains weren’t nearly as high then as they are now. They have arisen since the flood. Perhaps this explains why there are marine fossils high upon the Rocky Mountains and upon other tall mountains. At one time they were under water.
Chapter 8 records how the waters receded from the earth. Finally, the ark came to rest upon the mountains (8:4). Noah and his family came out of the ark and built and altar and “offered burn offerings on the altar” (8:20). In verse 21, the LORD made the promise to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.” In chapter 9, this promise came to Noah. Verse 11, “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” And then, God put forth the sign of this covenant, a rainbow. But, still, this doesn’t solve the problem of the sinfulness of men. Noah became drunk (in verse 21), and was disgraced by Ham (verse 22), which brought more curses upon people.
In chapter 11, the sinfulness of man again puts forth its ugly face. Those the land of Shinar came up with an idea. They said (in verse 4), “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But, God’s desire for mankind was for them to scatter. He had told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). But, these men were not doing so. Instead, they were seeking to make a name for themselves. And the LORD confused their languages and “scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city” (Gen. 11:8).
Well, that’s the creation account. People often identify it with four events: Creation, Fall, Flood, and the Tower of Babel. It would serve you well to be familiar with each of these events.
At the end of chapter 11, it’s pretty hopeless. You have ungodly people, speaking many languages, covering the world. We don’t get the sense that they are particularly godly or seeking God. So, what’s the point? Well, the point is that this isn’t how the world is supposed to be. It isn’t how God created it.
God created the world perfect, but sin had destroyed the world. In fact, Paul says ...
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly 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 also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
The world in which we live is a sin stained world. There is sin and sickness and death. There are conflicts and wars and troubles and fighting. There are storms and fires and tornados and tsunamis. There is rust and decay and ruin and uncleanness. Things break and people are poor and the powerful oppress the weak. There are injustices. There is hatred and strife. People are murdered. Things are stolen. People are abused. Spiritual darkness prevails. This world is not the way God created it.
The good news is that things are going to change. In Genesis 3:15, we saw the hope. In cursing the serpent, God said, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel." In talking with the serpent, God told him that he would one day be defeated. Between the seed of the woman and the seed of the devil, there would constant friction. “He shall bruise you on the head” (delivering a death blow). And “you shall bruise him on the heel” (delivering a crippling blow).
This is a prophesy of the coming of Jesus. Satan would injure Jesus. But Jesus would deliver the deathblow to Satan. And this He did upon the cross, when He took our sin upon His shoulders. And because of His victory, those who believe in Jesus can anticipate the day when all is made right. The creation in which we live today gives testimony that there must be something better. That something is “the new heaven and the new earth.”
The story of the Bible begins in Genesis, and it ends in Revelation (so turn there). The first two chapters of Genesis explain the perfect creation. The last two chapters of Revelation explain the perfect re-creation. Everything else in between deals with our fallen world. Paradise was given in Genesis 1-2. Paradise was lost in Genesis 3, with the results carrying on until Revelation 20. But then, in Revelation 21, we read of how paradise will be restored with the new heavens and the new earth. It would do you well to read and consider well the truths of Revelation 21-22.
This sermon was delivered to Rock Valley Bible Church on
May 24, 2009 by Steve Brandon.
For more information see www.rvbc.cc.