The Verse That Destroys False Religions
On Sunday morning I mentioned that we'll get to part two on Tuesday evening. Here it is Tuesday evening for part two of our introduction to Genesis.
Let's do a quick review... On Sunday morning we began by noting that Genesis chapters 1 through 11 are the most attacked chapters in the Bible. There must be something important there, if Satan directs so much effort toward destroying the truth in these first 11 chapters in the Bible.
There it is... there is...! These 11 chapters are the foundation of all of scripture... right? They answer major foundational questions such as...
Why is there evil in the world?
Who are we and where did we come from?
Why is sin so bad?
And who is God? And many other questions.
Now here is something to think about... There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. Some 950 million Hindus... plus Buddhists, and Taoists... and many other religions.
Now think about this... the evolution vs. creation debate is huge. Is there anything like it is any other religion? Anything that generates the number of books... the number of YouTube videos... Other religions have their disputes and debates... but there is nothing like this. Nothing like the scale of the Christian creation vs. evolution debate.
In fact... I've got to mention this... I wrote the book that answers every attack against the Bible that are found on a web page on an American Humanist web page. There are over 180 accusations against the Bible.
Now these are atheists. They say there is no God... and that means no God of any kind. Yet... on their web site they don't attack the Qu'ran. And they are actually supportive of Islam, They call attention to supposed discrimination against and bigotry directed at Muslims. In fact one of the major articles on their web site is titled... “Humanists Common Ground: Islam”... Overall, the American Humanists statement on Islam is more positive than negative. And the same for Hinduism.
Not for Christianity!
Does this tell you something? In a courtroom this would be circumstantial... but, it is obvious... Islam and the Qu'ran get a pass... On the other hand Christianity and the Bible, on this web site, are accused of cruelty, lying, of suppressing science, killing babies, and... get this one... one of the accusations the humanist web site makes against God... is that He... God... has... violated... you won't believe this... but they state that God has violated... the American Constitution.
That's ridiculous to put a human set of laws over and above God. But that's the extent they go to in order to attack Christianity...
This has got to get you thinking... there is something unique about Christianity and the Bible... there must be something about the Bible that makes it so hated. And it's interesting, no other religious book has impacted humanity for the good to the extent the Bible has... and yet no other book is attacked the way the Bible is attacked.
There is something unique about the Bible. What is it? It is the book the deceiver... Satan... wants to get rid of. He doesn't want to get rid of the Qur'ran... There is no need to attack other religions and their books... It is the Bible that evil hates... and other religions and their books and teachings... no need to attack them. They lead people away from Jesus... aha!
That's is the point. That which leads people to Jesus is attacked. And the book that does this is the Bible. And that's why this book, the Bible, is attacked like no other book.. And those things that lead people away from Jesus are left alone... not attacked. Jesus is the dividing line... It does not matter who you are... you should be able to see the pattern. And that pattern should tell you something... shouldn't it? We are in a spiritual battle... and where is Satan attacking? The Bible... God's word... What does Satan leave alone?... That which is false. That which leads people away from Jesus. The dividing line. It's always about Jesus.
The Bible is the most attacked book in the world. And the first 11 chapters of Genesis are the most attacked chapters in the Bible. Attacked like nothing else. That alone tells you they are important... critically important... The Bible has truth that the adversary... the enemy... the accuser... the god of this age... that liar Satan... the Bible has truth that he does not want you to know.
Now we need to be careful with this. For example I've spoken with a lot of Mormons... and I've had many of them tell me, “We know what we believe is true because we are attacked so much.” They look at their history, and they see persecution in their history, and so they say, “We know we have truth because we were persecuted so much when Joseph Smith was our leader.”
Oh... the lies of Satan are so deceptive. Now I'm not going to go down a rabbit trail here and spend this evening teaching about Mormon history... but you should be aware that they were not persecuted because of their beliefs... they faced opposition because they violated the law and hurt people, they were doing things such as printing counterfeit money... and their leader... how should I say this? Their leader violated the daughters of many of the local families.
But, my point in bringing this up is... we can see that Satan's attacks on the Bible far exceed anything else. And the Bible is attacked because of what it says, not because Christians are immoral lawbreakers. We see these truths, but... here's the point... they do not prove the Bible is truth.
These things are all circumstantial evidence giving us a clue that something is going on... they show us that Christianity and the Bible stand out as being treated very differently by the world... but persecution does not prove truth.
What proves the Bible to be true... are the words of the Bible. And we are here today to learn about those words.
So learning about the truth of Genesis 1 through 11 is important. It is the foundation of all of scripture. It is attacked because it is the foundation. AND because it is so foundational... we need to know what God is telling us in these chapters.
Not only IS Genesis 1-11 the foundation... the first ten words... In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” These ten words are foundational to all that will follow...
They identify the creator...
They explain the origins of the world...
They tie the work of God in the past to the work of God in the future...
Last time I started reading verse one... we didn't get very far... we only got to: “In the beginning God...”
We skipped over the word “beginning” were going to talk about that word later this evening... but last time we noted that scripture does not attempt to prove God is real.
It simply states... “In the beginning God...” and then it describes what God did.
The author of scripture, God, knows that we all... every human being... knows there is a God.... Let's go to one of my favorite passages of scripture. I know I have mentioned that before. Turn to Romans chapter one. Romans chapter one.
As Romans one states, everyone knows there is a God. I am going to go to Romans chapter one. We are just going to read a couple of verses here, from Romans chapter 1... here we go. We're going to read verses 22 and 23.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Notice it doesn't say they turn to atheism... they worship... they turn to worshiping other things. And notice what is first on the list... what is first on the list? “the form of corruptible man”
They create gods in their own image... people willingly suppress the knowledge of God in unrighteousness... and create a god of their own, in their own image. And in American what is the name most commonly given to that god? … What they name their god? Jesus.
Churches are packed with false Christians worshiping a false Jesus.
Now... we want to be careful... we are not the only church with the truth... defining church in humanistic terms. You don't have to be a member of Cannon Beach Bible Church to have truth.
But the point is... the name you give someone does not make that imaginary person real. The god that false Christians call Jesus is not the creator God of the Bible... is not the person who died on the cross paying our penalty for sin... is not the one who is sitting at the right hand of God...
That false Jesus is not the creator God of Genesis 1:1. That finishes our review. That's what we covered on Sunday. We want to move ahead now. We're still in verse one:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Today's question is: What is the beginning? Does anything come before the beginning? And that leads to the question: If God made everything at the beginning, who made God?
Everything that exists has to have a beginning. That's the law of causality... anything that exists has a cause. Things do not just pop into existence... coming out of nowhere with no cause.
There is a fairy tale I'd like to share with you. It's about how everything came about. It is actually very magical... like pulling a rabbit out of a hat... but without the hat.
So there are these people who believe the earth... well, actually the entire universe... came into existence magically... like pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Have you heard this story? It is a somewhat well-known story... there was nothing... and then suddenly there was a magical explosion and there was everything... well it took a little time to get to the point when we came into existence. But... one result of this magical big bang of an explosion was that out of nothing, everything came into existence.
What was it that exploded? Nothing. What was the result? An organized and orderly universe with highly complex and structured life. Hmmm... Maybe there is a more rational explanation of where everything came from...
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
But.. but they say... we don't want God... maybe the universe is eternal. It always existed. That's what some people claim... But... that violates the law of causality... everything that exists has a beginning.
And the universe can't be eternal because we see that it... is heading toward an end. There is a thing called entropy... which essentially means that everything is running down.
And eventually the universe will run down... and become a uniform blob of... well I'm not sure exactly what... it will reach a point of thermodynamic equilibrium... meaning all motion stops... and nothing, absolutely nothing can or will ever again happen anywhere in the universe.
In other words... the entire universe will be dead.
So that brings about the question... if the universe is winding down and eventually will end... what is it that wound it up? The universe is not and can not be eternal. We know it will end. So that means it is not eternal. And that means it must have had a beginning. Right? To have a beginning... well... we're back to that magical big explosion where nothing exploded into everything... or...
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
The humanist has no rational answer... oh, they come up with things... it was a singularity that exploded. But that solves nothing. Where did the singularity come from? Then they try to twist words around and come up with these complicated explanations... you might hear terms such as multiverse, string theory, or quantum fluctuations in an energy field as being the source of the big bang.
But no matter what they propose, there is always a cause, something pre-existing... before our universe came into existence. A singularity. Or energy that the quantum fluctuations could wok on. And so that brings up the question... where did that pre-existing energy or singularity come from? That singularity that supposedly exploded and became our universe? Where did it come from?
This leads to the famous story of... turtles... or as it is called... it is turtles all of the way down. That's right turtles...
You've heard this story... right? What holds the earth up? Well, it's obvious. It's obvious. The earth rests on the back of a giant turtle. Problem solved... that's it?
Not quite. What is the turtle standing on? A turtle can't just float on nothing and carry the weight of the entire world on its back. The turtle must be standing on something. And it is! That turtle, the answer is so simple you guys should have got it, that turtle is standing on the back of another turtle.
Problem solved... right?
Well... not quite. Because now... what is that second turtle standing on? It's got to be standing on something. Well, my friends, I have the answer, that turtle is... of course... standing on the back of another turtle. In fact, it is turtles all of the way down.
Problem solved. In reality, that is the answer humanists are giving us. Turtles all of the way down.
The atheists, the naturalists... the humanists... they don't have an answer... other than it's turtles all of the way down.
But then they try to turn the tables... and ask the question that is sure to destroy the faith of any Bible-believing Christian. .. if God made everything... if
In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth.
If God is the cause who caused everything to come into existence... then... who made God? Where did God come from?
The law of causality says that everything that exists has a cause. God exists. So He must have a cause. What brought God into existence?
Oh oh... we're done. Who made God?.. where did God come from? What's the answer? If everything that exists has a cause... the law of causality applies... and we know God exists... Who or what caused God to exist?
It's an important question... but an easy one to answer. It is a question atheists frequently throw at Christians, and it's not one that should stump you. Genesis 1:1 answers this question...
What does “In the beginning...” mean?
This is THE... capital letters “THE” ...beginning of everything... including the beginning of time.
That's really hard for us to grasp... we live in a four dimensional universe... length, width, breadth, and time. Imagining anything outside of those four dimensions is just about impossible for most of us.
Here is a nonsense question... What comes before the beginning? Well, there cannot be anything before the beginning because... well, it its the beginning. So what about God? Didn't He exist at the beginning? No, that's not really the best way to say that. The proper way to say it is that God already existed at the beginning... that's what Genesis 1:1 says... God didn't exist before the beginning....
I'm not sure if I said that right to start with. The question was, what about God, didn't He exist before the beginning? That's not really a clear way to say that. The proper way is to say God existed at the beginning. That's what Genesis one-one says.
So you see, God does not exist in our material, physical, four dimensional world. It's interesting... time is a property of matter. Matter cannot exist outside of time. Space... you know, a place to put things... cannot exist without time. Now this gets scientifically deep very quickly... so I'm going to leave it at that. But for matter, energy and space to exist... it requires that time exist.
So, when God created the heavens and the earth... when God created matter, He created energy... He also created time.
So the words In the beginning … which in Genesis 1:1 is referring they are referring to what God created... the heavens and the earth... and the phrase “heavens and the earth” refers to everything. Everything. It is simply a way of saying that God created everything... the earth and all that is on it, and everything outside of the earth... that's the entire universe... all of the matter and energy... when God created everything... Genesis 1:1 is saying that God also created time.
By the way... the Hebrew does not have a word for universe. They just don't have that word. So the “heavens” what is above... and “earth” … what is below. That includes everything... that's the way that they would said it. That's how they would say universe.
So... In the beginning refers to the entire universe, and this is talking about the beginning of everything. And since the only way to have a beginning is for time to also be created... and the only way for matter to exist is for time to be created... God created time also.
Okay, my head is starting to hurt. His is physics. The point is, the words “in the beginning” include the beginning of time.
So, if this is the beginning, and nothing existed before the beginning, where did God come from? If nothing existed, then God didn't exist.
No... no... no... that is what is called a category error. What that means is that two things that don't belong together are being placed together in the same category. God... is not in the same category as the material universe.
Let's to go to Isaiah chapter 57... Isaiah chapter 57.... that's Job, a little bit too far... Isaiah 57... and we're going to see how God describes Himself. We'll start in verse 15. Isaiah 57 verse 15
For thus says the high and exalted One, who lives forever, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place"
That's not like were we live. God dwells in, what is from our perspective, eternity. That is a different place than here... because everything here on earth... everything in this universe will end. It is not eternal. God is saying that He inhabits eternity. God inhabits a very different place.
Moses makes this plain with an analogy describing the timelessness of God in Psalm 90 verse 4, you don't need to go there. What it says: “For a thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”
It is comparing God's eternity, with the time-limited condition of man. Time is a way to measure things changing... we operate in the flow of time...we change, we become weak, we decay... we are not physically eternal. God is.
In contrast, as Psalm 90, in contrast to us, Psalm 90 is saying, God is outside of time. And that's why God does not weaken. God never changes. Another verse that helps us understand God...
John 4:24 - “God is spirit, – thats the important part right there – God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is spirit. That means He is not material. That is very different from where we live. Material things require that time exists... God is not material and He exists outside of time. We see this over and over in scripture.
We are material beings and subject to change with the passage of time... Psalm 90 verse 10 - As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years.
Our lives are limited, God is eternal, because He exists outside of time. God's perspective on time is very different from ours –
Psalm 90 verse 2 - Before the mountains were born, or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
God always was and always will be. He is unaffected by time, which means He does not change.
So who made God? The answer is... God has no beginning. He exists outside of time. Without time, the word “beginning” has no meaning. God has aways existed. He is not created.
We are in the category of material beings who are confined to the flow of time. Within the flow of time, everything that exists must have a cause... must have something that brought it into existence. The universe has to have had a cause...
God is outside of time. He has no beginning and that means He has no cause... He has always existed...
And since He always existed, He is the only one who could have created the beginning. That's one way we could say it... God created the beginning. The beginning could not create itself... only a cause outside of time can do this. That cause has revealed Himself to us in scripture.
For those who desire for there to be a naturalistic first cause.... They postulate a magical fairy tale in which nothing resulted in a big bang that exploded nothing into everything. OR if they want to put something into it you end up with turtles all of the way to the bottom. It didn't happen. It is logically impossible.
The Bible tells us that God... who is a spirit... who exists outside of the material universe that He created... God is not part of His creation... He is the creator... and that means He is outside of time... The Bible... God's word given to us so that we can understand at least a little bit about the infinite creator God... tells us that God created the heavens and the earth... that includes all material things, energy, space, and time. Everything.
And by the way, the word created in Hebrew, that word is “bara” and bara is only used of God creating... “Bara” is never used to describe a person creating something... and “bara” … when no pre-existing material is mentioned... includes the sense that what was created, was created out of nothing. So again, this is the perfect word to use here.
The Bible gives the only rational explanation of the origin of everything that exists.
Now I'm curious... how do the other major religions deal with creation? This is a big question. How do they explain how everything came into existence?
Well the Qu'ran is very nebulous on this. Satan is an expert liar... and he is very smart,,, and he has thousands of years experience.
Satan is very experienced with dealing with humans and human nature isn't he? Thousands of years of experience... and he is the consummate liar... and the best liars know that the best lie is a vague lie. Don't get pinned down by details. Tell a story that can be adapted or changed to fit any circumstance.
And that's what the Qu'ran does... on the topic of creation the Qu-ran is so vague, and nebulous, and open to various interpretations that what it says can be interpreted to mean almost anything.
So Muslims tend to believe in evolution... because the Qu-ran says very little that conflicts with evolution, and what it does say can easily be interpreted to support evolution. So most Muslims believe in one or another variation of evolution... although some do believe in creation similar to what the Bible describes. The Qu'ran is also fully compatible with Biblical creation.
Now Hinduism. In Hinduism there are many, literally thousands of different creation accounts. How can that be? That doesn't make sense to us? It does for Hindus. Hinduism is the religion of reincarnation.
So the universe has been reincarnated over and over, going backward into an infinity of time. There's your pile of turtles again... In addition, there can be multiple universes, with multiple creation accounts in each universe.
And creation is not even the right word.
We are familiar with Hinduism in this country in the guise of what we call New Age. New Age is basically Hinduism by another name. One of the foundations of New Age beliefs, and of Hinduism... is that god is in everything, including you and I. That's why they have 360 million gods. For the Hindu there is a god in this podium. There's a god in the microphone. There's a god in the step there. Gods. Gods everywhere. Including, as I said, in you and I.
And that's why one of the characteristics of New Age practices is striving to hear god, who is within you, speak to you. This is accomplished by silencing your thoughts so you can hear the soft whisper of god's voice... huh? In the Bible God thunders... no one ever had a problem hearing God's voice. If God is going to say something to you, you will hear it.
But, New Age teaches that you need to silence your thoughts so you can hear God's tiny, small, still voice... and there are a number of ways to do this.
For example, repeating a word or phrase over and over is one of the common ways... you've heard of a mantra. But in many cases a Bible verse is used or even the name of Jesus is repeated over and over... and this is even done in churches. Yes, there are many people who call themselves Christian who are involved in Hindu religious practices.
For example, you may have heard of … mindlessness... that's what it is mindlessness... mindfulness... Mindfulness. In many of our elementary schools now they are teaching the kids mindfulness. And mindfulness is a New Age practice used to help you, help the kids, silence your mind in order to hear the god within you speak to you. Oh they say it's just to calm the kids down. But, it's a Hindu practice to silence your mind so that you can hear the god within you speak.
Which by-the-way... in the Bible, there's a story. What happens if you empty yourself of everything? Empty your mind of all thoughts of god. Empty your head. What happens? Demons come in. One went out. He brings all his friends, they come back in and fill that void. We don't want to be emptying yourself, emptying your mind, trying to hear a silent god who can, very clearly, if He's going to going to speak to you, you are going to hear Him. Otherwise that's not God. If God is going to speak to you and you can't hear him, that's not God.
I want to talk a little bit about yoga also – and I know you've heard about yoga – it is the same, yoga is the same thing for Hindus as Communion is for us. It is the foundational practice of Hinduism. You can't be a Hindu and not be doing yoga. It is designed to open your mind to the god within you. And even just the movements of yoga... which Americans call stretching exorcises... they will tend to open your mind. Silence your thoughts. And allow that which is evil to come in.
So for Hindus, they believe god is in everything, including us, and nothing is created. The world we live in... the entire universe is just an emanation from the gods.
The material world is thought of as being fully divine itself... it always has been... and so it was not created... another way to think of it is... the material world is unity infused with divinity-emanations from the principle deity.
There is no creator and no creation. Everything is one... all is divine. That's Hinduism.
And no creation... but evolution still fits in Hinduism... there is nothing in Hinduism that says evolution happened, nor anything that opposes it. The divine material world can evolve and grow... evolution is acceptable in Hinduism.
But this leads us to another very important point being made in this verse...
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
This is a very strong statement against idolatry... against all other religions.
Allah... the God of Islam, is not the creator God... Allah did not... I repeat... Allah did not create the heavens and the earth. Elohim... the God of the Bible did. And in this one verse God makes it clear... Allah is no god at all... nothing.
Elohim is God. And... as many of you know Elohim, that word that name is plural... so we do get an indication of the trinity here. Now linguistically, using word science, this is not a proof of the trinity... you say Elohim is plural so that proves the Trinity. You can't use God's name as proof of the trinity. It's not that strong of a proof. There are good proofs in other places in the Old and New Testaments. But, what we can say, Elohim... being plural, is fully compatible with the trinity.
Genesis 1:1 is also, of course, a strong statement against Hinduism...
None of the 360 million gods in Hinduism created the heavens and earth. Genesis 1:1 makes that very very clear... this is not an ambiguous statement... Elohim... the God of the Bible created everything... absolutely everything. Genesis 1:1 says that the Hindu gods did not do it... Hinduism is a fraud.
These other Gods are nothing but fakes and frauds... or it might be better to say... demons. That's what scripture says.
What about Buddhism?... In Buddhism is an off-shoot of Hinduism, so they have many similarities. In Buddhism there is no creation... everything just is... and there is no god and no hell, and there is no heaven in Buddhism... just a continuous circle of reincarnation...
Genesis makes it very clear... Elohim created everything... there was a beginning... and the Hebrew word translated as “beginning” here in Genesis 1:1 is a very very strong word... It not only means beginning, but implied in the Hebrew word is that there also is an end. It is a Hebrew word used for things that have an end... in the beginning there was something that did not exist before and that will end.
In the beginning God created... and His creation has an end. That's what Genesis 1:1 is saying.... Buddhism, in which creation has no beginning nor an end, it's a demon created religion. God is telling us in Genesis 1:1 that Buddhism is nothing.
Mormonism... I've got to talk about Mormonism here just a little bit because it is so far out there. In Mormonism there are many gods, and the original creation was accomplished by a committee. A committee of gods came together and they took six long creative periods of time to create everything. And the god of this planet... where we live here... he originally lived in a star system called Kolob. And Kolob is special because it is physically close to father god... who also exists in this material universe.
Genesis 1:1 makes it clear this never happened... Elohim... the one and only God... in the beginning He made everything by Himself... there is no other. And in Mormonism, since god, father god, is a part of this creation coming from a star system called Kolob... they have the problem of who created god? The Mormon god is not outside of time. Genesis 1:1 proves Mormonism is false.
Atheism... Taoism... Confusionism... they are all refuted by these first ten words in the Bible. God... Elohim... is eternal, and He created everything. This is the verse that destroys idols... that destroys false religions.
And who is Elohim? He is the creator God of the universe and all that is in it. Colossians 1:16,. chapter one. We're going to go to Colossians chapter one... I think we're going to go about verse 15... chapter one, verse 15... it says... and this is telling us more about our creator God:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, – there's those words again, in the heavens and on the earth. Let's go back and start that verse again – For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
This brings everything together...from creation to Salvation...
And who is this talking about? This is talking about the Son of God... Jesus Christ... He is Elohim of Genesis 1:1... Jesus is the creator God who in the beginning created everything...
It's very clear. There is nothing complex here. Nothing hidden. In the first verse of the Bible God says He did it. He created everything, including time. And now in Colossians scripture is talking about the Son, Jesus. Jesus is the creator God. By Him all things were created. Everything. In the heavens, that which is above. And everything on the earth. That which is below. The Jesus... this blows me away... the Jesus who walked this earth 2000 years ago as a man, who was fully man, He is the creator God of Genesis 1:1. Who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth.
It is such a simple statement... yet such a powerful statement.
And God who created everything is not a part of His creation. He exists outside of His creation. He is not matter... He is not energy... He is outside of time. He was there at the beginning... He caused the beginning...
God created everything... everything belongs to Him. There is only one God... He created everything... everything... including us... and that has important implications throughout the rest of scripture. And we'll start maybe talking about some of those next time.
Let us pray.