Sabbath School Lesson Commentary for Sabbath, 14 January, 2012

Sabbath School Lesson Commentary for Sabbath, 14 January, 2012

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14.01.2012 IN THE BEGINNING

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

Creation:

‘the act of producing or causing to exist that which did not exist before.’

‘the work of God by which He produces the world and all that is in it without the use of pre-existent material. Man is made partly out of material that is by its nature unfit, for the manifestation of the glory of God.’

This week’s study looks at God as Creator. In a world that now takes for granted as true the theory of evolution, the Christian’s world-view or thinking is based on the fact of God as Creator. The 4 major acts of God in relation to planet earth and mankind, God the Creator, God’s Judgement – the consequence of the Fall, God the Redeemer and the ultimate fulfilment or consummation of Salvation history are meaningful to us only as we believe that we are God’s creation.

God is the Author of Creation; the Triune God was involved in Creation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:1, 2

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3

By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water. 2 Peter 3:5

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. Colossians 1:16, 17

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. John 1:3

You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:30

The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth... For He spoke and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. Psalm 33:6, 9

Let them praise the name of the LORD, for He commanded and they were created. Psalm 148:5

For us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. 1 Corinthians 8:6

See also: Psalms 8 and 104, Deuteronomy 4:32, Isaiah 40:26; 42:5, Malachi 2:10, Mark 13:19, Ephesians 3:9, Revelation 4:11, 10:6.

Objects of Creation:

Heaven and Earth Genesis 1:1-10, Vegetation Genesis 1:11, 12, Animals Genesis 1:21-25, Light reflectors Genesis 1: 14-19, Man Genesis 1:26-28.

Creation of the Material World: Genesis 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth...verse 1

The rest of the chapter focuses on creation on planet earth.

The 6 days of Creation:

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Exodus 20:11

We are told that God created the world and all in it in 6 days and rested the 7th day, which is the Sabbath. We believe that this is a literal 6 days (even though the world ‘day’ in the Bible occasionally does not refer to a 24 hour period e.g. prophetic time), because:

The Hebrew word ‘yom’ usually refers to an ordinary day of 24 hours.

The repetition of ‘morning and evening’ favours this interpretation.

The 7th day, or the Sabbath was evidently a 24-hour day of rest, still observed today, so why should the other 6 days be different?

God commanded man to rest on the 7th day, as God had created the heavens and the earth in 6 days (Exodus 20:8-11).

The last 3 days of the 6 days were definitely ordinary days, because they were determined by the earth’s relation to the sun. So why not the first 3 days?

The Creative work of the 6 days:

Note the parallel between the work of the first and the last 3 days:

The Creation of Light 4. Creation of light bearers

Creation of expanse and 5. Creation of the fowls of the air

separation of the waters and fishes of the sea.

Separation of water and dry land, 6. Creation of the beasts of the field and cattle,

and preparation of the earth all creeping things and man.

as a habitation.

Creation Expresses God’s:

Deity. Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

Power. Isaiah 40:26, 28

Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing...Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

Glory. Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God...

Goodness. Psalm 8:3, 4

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?

Wisdom. Psalm 104:24

O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all.

Sovereignty. Revelation 4:11

You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.

Creation Illustrates:

The New Birth. 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Renewal and Regeneration of Believers. Psalm 51:10, Ephesians 2:10

The New Heavens and the New Earth. Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:11, 13

All of the teaching of the Bible is divided into 2 main subjects:

The fact of Creation

The plan and work of Redemption. (the responsibility to redeem is taken up by the Creator - see Ephesians 3:8-11, Romans 16:25-27).

Apart from Creation, the Bible is devoted to the restoration of man – his life, his character, his body, his home.

To understand redemption, we must know:

the condition and status of man at Creation.

By what means he lost that condition.

By what means he may regain it.

What is the condition he is to regain.

Bible history is divided into 4 epochs or periods. These are:

The Creation, The Fall, The Redemption and the Consummation.

All of the above are God - centred and are revealed to us through the Word, from God’s point of view. The initiative in all is God’s from beginning to end. Even the Fall, though man’s act of disobedience, is presented to us through God’s judgements, commandments and sanctions.

Creation:

Is absolutely foundational to Christianity. When time began, God made the universe out of nothing. He then created planet earth, the light givers, vegetation and animals and finally, man and woman as His crowning act of creation. They are made in His own image. The Godlikeness of mankind is seen in the fact that they are rational and moral beings (able to understand and respond to God’s commands), responsible beings (given dominion over nature), social beings (with the capacity to love and be loved) and spiritual beings (finding their fulfilment in knowing and worshipping their Creator). They walked and talked with God. This gave them their worth and dignity.

The Fall:

The greatest tragedy that befell mankind. Made by God, and like God, they chose to live without God. Man’s loss of responsibility and stewardship of nature, his relationship to his fellow beings was skewed, both within and beyond the family. Our self-centredness makes us hostile to the God of love, and we are rightly under the condemnation of God.

The Redemption:

Instead of abandoning or destroying His rebellious creatures, God redeemed them. The covenant of redemption, the ‘counsel of peace’ (Zech 6:13), made between Father and Son, was manifested to mankind as the Covenant of grace. With the coming of Christ, the Messiah, God has ushered in His kingdom. Through Christ’s life, death, resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit, God has redeemed and is re-creating men and women into His image, and making them part of His Kingdom in earth, the community of believers, the Church.

Again the Creation story is foundational to our understanding of God’s grace. In Romans 5:12-19, Paul tells of Adam and Christ. Two sons of God who impacted the whole human race – Adam negatively ‘for in Adam all die’ and Christ positively ‘in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Cor 15:21, 22). We are all destined to eternal death as sons of Adam, but if we do not reject the free gift of God, in Christ we receive justification and eternal life (Romans 5:18, 19, John 3:16, 5:24).

Christ is both our Creator and Redeemer. Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...

The Consummation:

When the gospel has been preached through all the world for a witness, the end will come. Jesus will return to earth in great power and glory with all the holy angels, to raise the believing dead, translate the living saints, to execute judgement upon the world and the unbelieving and usher in a new heaven and a new earth, where there will be no more curse.

It is essential that the Christian understands and believes the Biblical account. For when we have this Biblical understanding, we refuse to accept the current worldly attitudes that are incompatible with our Christian faith.

A few examples:

If I am created by God, in His image, my life has meaning and dignity. I acknowledge the Fatherhood of God and that all mankind are my brothers and sisters. I refuse therefore, to accept the current belief in meaninglessness, that history is a series of random events and that life is absurd.

I accept that I am a steward of nature and the earth and I am not to use God’s good gifts selfishly.

I refuse to accept the theory of evolution. It is not possible to go into the details of why evolutionary theory does not stand up to thorough scrutiny. Suffice to say, it offers no explanation of the world. It presupposes the existence of something that evolves.

I refuse to accept evolutionary psychology. It developed from the theory of evolution and suggests that manifestations of life such as intelligence and morality also developed by natural means.

I refuse to accept the atheistic belief of human autonomy in art, science and education It is noteworthy that as men and women of the 18th century declared that God did not exist and as this philosophy gained hold in western culture, Western music, art and sculpture became progressively more abstract, ‘without form and void’ as it were. So different from the God who hovered over an earth without form and void, and created a perfect world of beaty and symmetry and bestowed it upon His creatures with joy and love.

The writer of Ecclesiastes, who found that all life without God was futile and meaningless, encourages us to ‘remember now our Creator, in the days of our youth...’. Without God, life is meaningless and our destiny is eternal death. But to know God as our Creator, Father, Redeemer, Vindicator, our Beginning and our End, is live lives of abundant fullness, meaning and joy.

The Final Purpose of Creation

The final purpose of Creation is the glory of God (Isa 43:7, 60:21, 61:3; Luke 2:14, Romans 11:36, Eph 1:6, 12, 14) . The heavens are ever declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). When we, His creatures, recognise our Creator’s wonderful works on our behalf, we shall be filled with humility and declare the praise and glory of God.

God’s end-time people will be a people who declare the glory of God who is their Creator, Redeemer and righteous Judge.

“Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:7

And when all enemies have been destroyed, when sin and death are no more, the Son victorious, will hand over the kingdom to His Father that God may be all in all.

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.... Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, 28.

For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:36


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