“God's Creations”Categories: M. W. Bassford, Sermons
As those of you who have been following our Bible-reading program know, as of this Sunday, we have run out of New Testament. If you have made it from the beginning to the end, I congratulate you! However, even though the reading plan has ended, the year has not. For the rest of 2022, we are going to be looking at some of the great themes of the Bible, events and stories from the Old Testament that have significant implications in the New Testament.
Our theme for this week is the creation. The significance of Genesis 1:1 can hardly be overstated. It defines the nature of existence, and the fundamental truth that we are the creations of a divine Creator appears throughout the rest of Scripture.
Though there are dozens of passages I could use to explore this concept, it probably will surprise none of you that I have chosen a psalm. Even though it is familiar to us, taken as a whole, it makes an argument from the creation that is easy to overlook. This evening, then, let's see what Psalm 19 has to say about God's creations.
The first section of this psalm is about the heavens. Let's read here from Psalm 19:1-6. These words contain one of the most powerful arguments for the existence of God. When we look up at the skies, whether by day or by night, they proclaim they are the handiwork of a Being so awesome in power that we can only describe Him as God. None of the celestial bodies make any noise as they hurtle through space, but their message is plain anyway.
As you might expect, at this point in my life I am interested in testing the evidence for my faith, and this is one of the most significant reasons why I am not an atheist. We may not realize it, but when scientists concluded that the universe had a beginning, that was a tremendous blow to unbelievers. Before that time, most skeptics had believed in a steady-state universe that had no beginning and therefore did not imply a Creator.
We're so used to hearing physicists talk about the Big Bang that we don't realize what a problem it is for a naturalistic explanation of the universe. Naturalists believe that everything can be explained by the operation of physical laws. However, something that created the universe with all of its natural laws must necessarily be outside of those laws.
In recent years, I have heard some doubters hypothesize that somewhere out there, there is a mother universe that goes along spawning daughter universes, and we happen to reside in one of those. The flaws with these claims are obvious. There is and can be no evidence for other universes. In making such assertions, scientists show that they are as much believers in the supernatural as we are. The only difference between us is that they are bending over backwards to refuse to acknowledge the existence of God.
After this, the psalmist turns his attention to another one of God's great creations, His word. This discussion appears in Psalm 19:7-10. In the previous section, the psalmist showed that there is a God. Now, he is proving that the Scriptures come from God. This proof consists of their perfect nature. The Bible in its wisdom, truth, and beauty shows that it is the product of an intellect that is more than human.
Let's start with beauty. This is an argument that is particularly important to me. I am a writer. It is one of the most precious of my gifts from God, and I have rejoiced in words and language all of my life.
I have read widely, everything from fantasy novels to medieval Chinese poetry. However, nowhere have I found anything as magnificent as the Bible. Many of the greatest wordsmiths of history learned their craft from studying it. Truly, it is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey!
The Bible's divine origin also is evident in its timeless wisdom. The world today loves to dismiss the Scriptures as outmoded. Nonetheless, when we test them, they prove to be as valid a guide to right living as they were thousands of years ago. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun! When I have done what the word of God told me to do, I have never found cause for regret. I only have regretted the times when I failed to follow it.
The Scriptures also are true. Certainly, we can bring in outside evidence that confirms their validity, but mostly, they authenticate themselves. The stories of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus offer us compelling reason to believe that He is the Son of God. Additionally, the Bible's web of fulfilled prophecy, which stretches for thousands of years, shows that it is the product of a mind that knows the end from the beginning. In every respect, the Bible is perfect, just as we would expect from a creation of God.
The final section of the psalm contemplates another of God's creations, we ourselves. Let's wrap up our reading with Psalm 19:11-14. The psalmist’s words, though, point out a significant difference between us and the creations discussed in the first two sections. Both the heavens and the Bible are perfect as they are, and they cannot be improved.
The same is not true of us. Instead, if we are to be perfect, we must be perfected. The first source of perfection that the psalmist mentions is God's word. When we are devoted to the Scriptures, they warn us of possible trouble ahead and set our feet on the path to eternal glory.
However, the Bible by itself is not enough to ensure that we will inherit eternal life. It is perfect, but our obedience to it is not. Thus, the psalmist must call on God directly. The first problem that he identifies is unintentional sin. As he notes, we don't even know what our unintentional sins are! Nonetheless, we can appeal to God to cleanse us from the sins that we didn't even notice, and His mercy is so great that He will.
Second, we need God's help in keeping us from rebellion. We know that if we go on sinning willfully, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. Thus, if we allow willful sin to rule us, we are doomed.
Here too, the solution is God. Only with His aid can we fight off the devil who wants to lead us astray. However, the good news is that if we are cleansed of unintentional sin and free from rebellion, we are blameless in His sight.
Indeed, the psalmist concludes the psalm by expressing his desire to be blameless in everything, utterly perfect just as the heavens and the Scriptures are. Like him, we should seek holiness not only in what we do but even in what we say and think. We will never achieve this goal on our own, but with the help of our rock and Redeemer, we can be acceptable to Him.