God is Sovereign Despite Our Faults

The account of Isaac and his family found in Genesis 25-27 is very interesting when discussing the importance of God’s sovereignty, man’s free will, and man’s sinfulness.

We read very little about Isaac in the Genesis account of the Hebrew patriarchs. We know he is the promise given by God to Abraham (Genesis 21). We see that God tests Abraham by requiring that he sacrifice Isaac , and how God provides a substitute when Abraham is faithful (Genesis 22). We read the account of Abraham sending his servant to find Isaac a bride (Genesis 24), we read about his dysfunctional family, and some of his poor decisions in Genesis 25-27.

In the account of the birth of Isaac’s sons, we briefly see that Rebekah has been without child and Isaac is petitioning God to bless them with a child (Genesis 25:21). This seems like a common occurrence with the early patriarchs. God wanted them to understand that he was building this family and the future nation of Israel was by his work.

God is faithful to his promise, and Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins! I am sure Isaac and Rebekah felt like they may have prayed a little too hard. Of course this was before ultra sound and I am uncertain if they were able to distinguish two heart beats, but the twins movements alarm Rebekah. And God comforts them with the news of twins (Genesis 25:22).

With this news there is also revelation of what will take place in the boys future. God actually chooses one of the boys, before birth, to continue his covenant with and also shares his plans with the expecting couple. No mystery here, God’s sovereign plan is clear, the second born will be used by God to bring about his promises to mankind (Genesis 25:23).

We often discuss (and sometimes argue) the roles of God’s sovereignty and our own free will. I think this account is an excellent example of how God’s sovereignty is supreme despite the fact we have free will.

The author of Genesis wrote that Isaac favors Esau (the first born) over God’s chosen twin, Jacob. We also see that Rebekah favors Jacob (Genesis 25:28). This favoritism creates a lot of resentment within the home and should be a warning to all parents on the impact we can make on our children’s futures both positive and negative.

It is apparent that Isaac attempts to give Esau the eldest son’s birth right despite God’s revelation. However, Jacob manages to swindle the birth right from his brother with what must have been the best bowl of soup, ever (Genesis 25:34). Then, Jacob tricks his father, with his mothers insistence, to giving him Esau’s blessing as well (Genesis 27).

From the account in Genesis it is clear that Isaac favored Esau so greatly that he was willing to defy God’s will. Twice Jacob manages to secure what was ordained by God as his, through deception. Despite Isaac’s unfaithfulness in this matter, God was faithful to his promise and again we are left in awe of his ability to orchestrate the outcomes of history.

 

Let There Be Light

 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And 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, the first day.

Genesis 1:3-5

God Created The Light

After creating the universe (the heavens) and the earth, God began to shape the earth. Notice that in his account of creation, God creates everything from nothing simply by speaking it into existence. On his first day of creation, God illuminated his canvas.

How appropriate that creation of mankind’s temporal home would begin with the light. Scripture is full of references to light. Light is used to describe God, Christ, Heaven, and all things good. Our world began taking shape when God uttered the words, “Let there be light.”

It is important to note that this light does not come from our solar system’s resident sun. This is not the light of the stars that illuminates creation. Those celestial beings will be created on the third day of creation. This light is the light of God that illuminates the world.

 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

 1 John 1:5

Day One? So you believe in six literal days of creation?

When studying Genesis you might find that there are differing views on how long it took God to create the universe that mankind resides in. The earliest belief was in a literal six 24-hour days and God rests on the seventh day. This was the most popularly held belief until the Darwinian era of scientific theory became popular. At this point the church did something that should have been considered heretical. They started inferring man’s assumptions of the earth’s age into the scripture. And so men began to imagine theories such as the “Day Age” and “Gap” theories. 

The Day Age theory states that God did not create everything in six 24-hour periods, but within six collections of time, maybe thousands or even millions of years. These day/ages allow for all of the fossilized remains of extinct plants and animals to be found in the rock layers that the scientist of their time said were millions of years old. (We will talk about fossils when we get to Genesis chapter seven).

The Gap Theory says that after God created everything in Genesis One, he realized that creation was not very good and scrapped everything previously made (creating the millions of years worth of death in the rock layers) and started all over with Genesis chapter two. 

The first problem we should have with both of these, views or theories, should be that they infer something into the text of Genesis that is not found. If God were sharing the creation of the universe with mankind by having someone write it down, why would he leave out details that he knew we would find on our own? Doesn’t that create distrust in our creator? I do not believe God would do such a thing. Secondly both theories include the death of millions of plants and animals before the curse of sin. In Genesis chapter three we will look at the curse that is brought onto the earth by Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God. Why would God tell them death was a consequence of their rebellion if it already existed? 

These views exist as man’s way of trying to rationalize his theories and assumptions of what he sees around with God’s account of history. These views are not supported by the text and should not be considered as possibilities. 

There are three reasonings behind the six days of creation being literal 24-hour periods. 

First, the reading of the text very clearly means a single 24-hour period. Genesis one says, “The evening and the morning were the first day.” How can that be confusing? We have an evening and then a morning… that is a day,

Second, the Hebrew word used for day in Genesis chapter one is yom. In Hebrew, yom always means one day. The only time yom does not mean one day, is when it is preceded by a numeral. So, six yom would mean six days.

And third, God will rest on what Genesis says is the seventh day. Later, when God separates the Hebrews from the many people of the world he calls them to observe a Sabbath on the seventh day of the week just as he had rested on the seventh day of creation. It is clear that God was not instructing them to rest every seven hundred thousand years or every seven million years.

The Gospel

God began his creation by creating the light and the light is the first to be deemed good by God. It is a truth of humanity that we associate light with goodness. We picture our heroes wearing bright colors or maybe as a white knight, while the villain is often seen dressed in black.

 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

 John 1:9

When John wrote his gospel about the life of Jesus, he used the metaphor of light many times. He saw the correlation between Jesus our hero and the light of our world. Jesus came with a spiritual light. He is a light that has the power to illuminate mankind’s souls. He came to our world to offer us relief from spiritual darkness that plagues our lives. In him, and him alone, we can find the light that our souls desire.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

 John 8:12

In The Beginning

by Timothy West

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 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.

Genesis 1:1, 2

I love the book of Genesis. I have always been fascinated by nature and the world around me. Growing up in a Christian home, I was never discouraged from learning about the natural order of things. Maybe my parents knew that my hope in God was greater than my faith in man’s interpretations of things around him. Maybe they knew that God had the power to keep me, or maybe they were just being lazy. But when it came to information about the natural world I was a sponge. Especially about things like dinosaurs.

I also enjoyed reading and studying my Bible. As I learned where the text came from, who was believed to have written each book, and learned about the context of scripture I found the Bible was not simply another book to study for me. It spoke into my life. Within its text I found comfort, direction, and wisdom. However, the Bible begins with a book named Genesis, and Genesis did not tell the same story that I was reading in my science books.

I had a hard time reconciling what my school text-book said about dinosaurs and what the Bible taught in Genesis. If dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, how was Adam created on the sixth day (the same day as the rest of the land animals)? Did the writer of Genesis mean six literal days? Or was it a translation error? These were questions that I had to find the answers to.

Today, I believe I have reconciled my dilemma, and feel confident in the Genesis account of creation. I know many today subscribe to old earth theories, but I don’t see proof around me to support these claims. In fact, I see proof of the biblical account in the natural world around me. The theories that support the Genesis account are not new, they are the same beliefs that scientists understood before the Darwinian era began.

I believe it to be extremely important that Christians understand the creation story and the book of Genesis. It is after all the first book of what we consider the Word of God. It is the foundation of the Gospel, and our beliefs will crumble if we do not sure our foundations.

Father, thank you for your scripture that you have kept all these years. Thank you for its inspiration, and for its instruction. Lord, I pray that we would always allow its words to inspire and instruct us in our daily lives. Thank you for the story of love that it shares with us. How we see that in the very beginning of time it was always in your plan to send Jesus to be our sacrificial lamb. You always knew what was required, and you met every need.

Lord thank you for the book of Genesis. It has meant so much to me in my life, and I pray that my excitement passes on to my little girls. Your creation is so amazing, but I pray that we never lose sight of the creator. Thank you Lord, for hearing our prayers. Amen.

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