As we continue to work through the Westminster Confession which is a founding document referred to in our Basis of Union and therefore informative to us, we come to Chapter 4, which refers to Creation.
I was a bit shocked when I read this again. I was reading a statement on Creation, that was not apologetic. The writers were not concerned with Evolution and trying to establish the validity of the Christians belief, in Creation over Evolution.
In recognizing my surprise, I also realized the answer. This document pre-dates the Evolution debates by some two hundred years. When the people who produced this document, came to a discussion on Creation, their concern was not “Is it real?’, rather, “What does it mean for us?”
Their question is important. So today lets us skip past the debate on Creation verses Evolution and go to the heart of the matter and ask what difference does believing in a Creator God make to the Christian. I believe that the answer to that question, looks back at you, every time you stand in front of a mirror. Let me explain.
In recent years many criticisms have been leveled at Christians. We have been told that we are blind, naive, ignorant, uninformed and that we are out of touch with reality and that we have our heads in the sand.
Yet I am seeing more and more the very opposite to be true. This world embraces a doctrine of ‘Socialistic Atheism’. It is a belief that there is no god, and that we are answerable to no one and everyone. It is a belief that we are all entitled to life and its pleasures. Such a view is in strong contrast to our call as Christians.
As a Christian, my highest call, is to regard my neighbor as myself. In other words, when I look into a mirror, I should recognize two things. First, that image looking back at me is a creation of God for whom I am intimately responsible for, and second, that every other face I see that day is likewise a unique creation of God.
When the Atheist looks in the mirror, that person sees two things. First they see a pointless piece of biological matter, that exists by accident and second is that every other face they see that day is either a challenge to their existence or prey to be cannibalized for their existence. Of course I use the word cannibalize figuratively. While other people are not being ‘eaten’, I do think that they are ‘preyed upon’.
“For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.” Proverbs 6:26
I would suggest that in many ways we all have been reduced to ‘a crust of bread’ by a person whose motives are entirely selfish.
It is to this end, that Creation becomes the whole foundation, for everything we do, say or believe.
There we have two incredibly divergent views of life and meaning, that arise from the answer to the question of how did we get here.
The consequence of these two divergent views is self evident.
History has many episodes where Christian revival has restored the social and mental health of a nation. The opposite is being experienced right in our midst today.
Social Atheism is bankrupt as a framework for society. For my entire lifetime, good intentioned but Godless people have been theorizing, hypothesizing and organizing change. Yet every step has seen the very problems they have sought to address multiplied through their restructuring of Society.
This mayhem is the result of social morality being built on a philosophy that has no foundation. If there is no God, and human existence is the result of chance and the product of the fittest surviving. Then brutality, deception and violence are the building blocks of our development. There is no such thing as fairness as what is good for one is bad for another.
A baseless society can only degenerate and unravel. A world-view that says there is a God, and that we are answerable to God for the way we live, however has repeatedly brought harmony, prosperity and dignity where ever it has gone.
The Christian Gospel, transformed a rapidly degenerating England into a Great Empire, that led the way in dismantling of Slavery in the Western World. Such was the effect of the Methodist revival.
The same Gospel turned the warring sometimes cannibalistic Pacific Islands into the gentle ‘Friendly Islands’. The same Gospel transform the U.S.A. from slavery in the south, and ‘Wild’ in the West, to a great Nation, that today is decaying as quickly as it abandons Jesus Christ.
No it is not the Christians who have their heads in the sand, it is their aloof and arrogant critics who have ‘led the way’ these past fifty years.
Coming back to the ‘Mirror Metaphor’ I used earlier, in which I was trying to demonstrate both the sacred nature invested in each life and our divine duty to see that same value in every other person, I placed the following blog on FaceBook earlier last week.
Please don’t put a Cherry on top of my Cake.
When its my birthday, and I am asked, “What sort of cake do you want?” I answer straight away, without even stopping to think, for even a moment. “A fresh cream filled vanilla sponge cake, please.” Now I know there are a hundred, fancier, richer cakes to be had, but this one, is my favorite.
How do you make a great cake even better? Well most people would say “Put a Cherry on top.” Most people might say that, but not me. I’m not all that into glazed cherries. For me the only way to make this cake better, is to surround it with people I love, let them sing ‘Happy Birthday’, blow out the candle, then share every last crumb of that cake, with them.
In fact the only way I know, to make anything better, is to share it with people you love. Loved ones and not glazed fruit, will always be ‘the cherry on top’ for me.
When I open up my Bible at the beginning, I read of God making everything. He made the stars, flinging them deep into the Universe. He made the sun and the moon and He made this planet we we live on. Then God made the sea along with every living thing in it. And God made the Land, the trees, the soil, the birds and the animals and everything that exists. It was all made by God.
At the end of each day of Creation God sat back and took in the work of His hands and with a sense of satisfaction said “This is good!”
Then on the last day of Creation, God decided to put the ‘cherry on top of His cake’. He decided to make that which was good, even better! He made us! You and I are the ‘Cherry on God’s Cake’.
So when this world tells you, “You are nothing!” Don’t believe that, not even for a second! It is repeating the lie of a devil! A devil who wants God’s throne, and sees you and I, as nothing more than garbage, to be walked on and thrown out. Do not believe that lie!
Not only were we the object of God’s affection, we were the target of His great ‘search and rescue’ mission, when He sent His Son Jesus ‘to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).
To think that the Creator of the Heavens and Earth could look at us and know in His heart, that of all the things His hands had made, we are the pinnacle of all that. The ‘Cherry on top of all creation!
Before closing, I want to share another blog with you, that demonstrates another aspect of the value of Creation in establishing how we should live.
To work is Good, to slave is not!
I once heard of a long distance truck driver, who used drugs to enable him to work both day and night. Instead of working 50 or 60 hours a week, like most truckies, he would work a hundred plus hours a week, barely taking more than a few minutes each day for rest.
One day he went to the doctors because he was feeling incredibly weary. The Doctor examined him and told him the ‘bad news’. His heart was worn out and he would soon die. “How can that be?” asked the truckie “I’m still in my forties!”
“Well,” replied the doctor, “It seems you have squeezed fifty years of work into the last twenty five, and your body now thinks your over seventy!” “You did not sleep or rest for all that time, I am sorry, but you have very few heartbeats left.”
The truckie died a few months later.
As I read the story of creation, I have no doubt that we were created by God to do work. However we must remember that just as God gave us the need to work, He also ordained rest.
Working is a great gift, but when it is not done with integrity and balance, it can quickly become a curse. There are few things in life, that can compare with the sense of satisfaction and exhilaration we receive, when a job is done well and done well. Work give purpose, the ability to express ourselves with creativity and to know the thrill of achievement.
However we must also keep that work in balance. For we have an equally important need to rest from our work. This is coupled with the need for worship, friendship, intimacy and family responsibility.
In looking back at the Genesis Creation account, I am reminded that life is ‘Good’, and that a balanced and Christ centered life, lived in relationship to God, spouse, family and neighbors is ‘Very Good!’
From the Bible and in particular the Creation narrative in Genesis we get many of our social values. This book is foundational to the only social framework, that has ever proven reliable. It works best when a society is transformed by it one soul at a time. The Good of a society is the collective good of its members. If those members are without moral foundation and see their duty simple to survive and thrive, Society can be nothing but a dangerous jungle filled with people whose charm and friendliness is nothing more than a lure for the unsuspecting.
However if the people have a moral law in their hearts that says that every life is sacred to God, then they will seek to serve God by seeking the best for each other.