The Bible Story
God Is Speaking
We Are Listening
SEPTEMBER 11, 2016
God created and then other stuff happened; dangerous stuff. Yet in the creation story God's truths for human thriving and prosperity are revealed. Words are powerful forces to make all things new, this message is about how God reshapes our world through us.
We had a dog once—actually, quite an amazing, well-trained dog. At the command of a simple word, Babin would do some amazing stunts. The one I liked the most was the command "sik'em." At that command, be it cat or rat, Babin would pounce into action and run down whatever you were pointing at. Point at a person and give the "sik'em" command and that person had better run hard.
Amazing; a simple little command would send our dog chasing. Needless to say, during Babin's reign, we had few rats or cats around, not that I put those animals in the same category. Let's just say I could play in a clean sandbox anytime I wanted.
We often assume creation begins with things being created, but it didn't. Creation began with God and then God's power to verbalize words.
So to comprehend the creation story fully, we must begin at the ground zero of creation. Everything (if "thing" would be a proper word for what I am about to say), before matter could be summed up in one word or title: "God."
Before creation, there was "God" (Elohim). God or "Elohim" is not really the name of God but the Hebrew word or title for God. If you wanted to say God's title in the singular, you would use the title "El"; if you wanted to say God in the plural, you would use the title "Elohim." Why would God use the plural title to describe Himself to His creation?
Obviously, God is more interested in truth, in His creation really knowing Who He is than being concerned with human confusion.
God created humanity to know Him, so God has hidden in His Word depths of insight regarding Himself that leave the human mind both comprehending what He has revealed but also in awe.
Plural and Singular
The Hebrews never imagined there to be many gods when God was referring to Himself, because the verbs, adjectives, and pronouns associated with the plural form of "Elohim" were always in the singular forms.
We see this in the first verse of the Bible: “In the beginning, God [Elohim] created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The verb “created” in this verse is singular, not plural.
More importantly, in Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, and 24, "Elohim" (plural) "said" (singular) "let ..."
God was hinting right from the beginning that He was plural but also very much One.
In verse 26 and 27, God begins to unveil His nature and what He meant by using the plural from of "El." "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
It would break down to read something like this: God (plural) said (singular), "Let Us make (plural) man (singular) in Our image ..."
It then goes on to say, "So God (plural) created man (singular) in the image (singular) of God (plural) He created him (singular) male and female (singular).
I think you see the point; God created man or humankind singular, calling the male and female creation a singular man while they were two persons. Elohim is plural because while He is one indivisible God, He is three separate Persons we come to know as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In Isaiah 45:18, God makes this perfectly clear.
For thus says the LORD, [Yahweh/singular] Who created the heavens (He is God!), [Elohim/plural] Who formed the earth and made it (He established it; He did not create it empty; He formed it to be inhabited!):
“I am the LORD, [Yahweh/singular] and there is no other.”
In the verse above, I added everything in [these] brackets so you could see that Elohim is the same One Who created and is the same One Who is the singular "Yahweh." Every time you see LORD capitalized in the Old Testament, it is almost always translating the name Yahweh.
From the first verse of the Bible, God introduces Himself as the Creator of the heavens and earth—One God yet three Persons Who speak in resolute unity to bring matter into being. His amazing, creative power alone should draw deepest praise from our hearts.
"Praise Him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD! For He commanded and they were created." Psalm 148:4-5 ESV
God Created Something from Nothing
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
The best way to look at these first four verses of Genesis 1 is to include the Hebrew meanings to some of the key words: "created," "without form," and "void." These words are used other places in Scripture and give us a good idea as to their meaning here in the first few verses of Genesis 1 (Deuteronomy 32:10; Isaiah 45:18; Jeremiah 4:23).
Created (bara), the creation of something from nothing.
Without form (tohu), unshaped by humans.
Void (bohu), unblessed by God's hand.
These three Hebrew words indicate Yahweh created the matter out of nothing, and the earth being a part of that matter existed for some amount of time without "form" (tohu) and "void" (bohu). It would seem Yahweh was saying that the earth was uninhabited (tohu) and unblessed (bohu), a muddy morass covered in liquid gas.
Igniting Life into Existence
What we learn about creation from Genesis 1 and 2, although the account is brief in duration and survey by approach, is immense.
First, God is the Creator of all matter.
Second, God created all matter out of nothing.
Third, God created matter out of nothing by becoming a prophet and speaking it, not existence (Genesis 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26).
Fourth, matter obeyed God's prophetic voice, "and it was so."
God creating, from nothing, the world by the power of His word and then God shaping that world into a home for humans to flourish in, as all of creation obeyed the voice of God is clearly articulated in 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" (ESV).
In essence, we learn creation was designed to respond to and obey the voice of God—His word being the hidden power behind the ongoing existence of the world.
Not only did creation not evolve its way into existence, but it was fashioned and formed at the very voice of God, words from God igniting life into existence.
The Creation Days
God did not create something from nothing during what we call the creation week; that had already been done. During what we call the creation week, God went to shaping or making (asah) the earth into a home, using the same power to shape the world as He did to create His world.
Look at the Creative Process
God Advertised: "…and God said."
God Announced: "Let there be..."
Creation Answered: “…and there was…."
God Appraised: "…it was good."
Creation was made to respond to God's voice, to say yes to God's voice. We assume creation responds to the way we feel—the way we feel about morals or our gender or what we feel will satisfy or what feel will make us happy. The creation actually was made for God's voice; creation is destined to say yes to God and to rebel against all contrary voices.
God's voice causes the earth to be fruitful, to thrive, to accomplish His purposes, so creates harmony, peace, and wonder.
"It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it." Isaiah 55:11 NLT
The Creation Story Portrays God's Voice as:
a) the originating force of creation
b) the unstoppable force in creation
c) the force darkness cannot withstand
d) the force which shapes environments that flourish
e) the force which makes seeds sprout, multiply, and thrive
f) the force which shapes every soul, even fallen souls, to reflect God's image
g) the force no one should dismiss, disregard, discount, or disfigure but rather revere and seek to hear and obey, just like the rest of creation
God's Voice Will Fashion and Shape Your World
" ... you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God ..." 1 Peter 1:23 ESV
The earth was birthed and shaped by the very word of God and we and the earth are being reborn and reshaped by the word of God.
The beginning of the new creation is through the listening ear.
“Everyone then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 ESV
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 ESV
RPMs (Read, Pray, Meditate, Sign)
One does not merely listen but studies and meditates until the Word of God is a part of him and what begins to direct thinking and thoughts.
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Joshua 1:8 ESV
... his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:2-3 ESV
Gripped with faith in God's Word, one fully believes God will keep His word and will walk by God's Word and not sight. Believing is when someone fully trusts, fully relies upon another, and in the case of a follower, fully trusts in God’s power and love to fulfill His Word, no matter what.
... He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love ..." Ephesians 3:16-18 ESV
... for we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
Finally, God does what He has always wanted to do, put His voice in our mouths so not only our souls could be saved but all of creation become new. The follower welcomes in voice God’s kingdom to come from His throne in heaven to earth. The follower expects His voice to affect the natural world in powerful ways. The follower knows when his or her mouth is filled with God’s Word, then the new life all of creation is groaning for is beginning to appear.
Speaking and doing God’s Word are powerful forces; they build something that stands against and wins against all adversity.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." Mark 16:15 HCSB
Psalm 29 and the Voice of the Lord
The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders, ...
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; ...
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness ..." (29:3-8)
... the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children,* including the new bodies He has promised us. Romans 8:22-23 NLT
For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. Romans 10:10 NLT