Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses Genesis 1-2; 2 Peter 3:8; Romans 1:19-20; Psalm 33:9; John 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:15b-16 Worship Playlist Your Grace Is Enough by Matt MaherHere I Am to Worship by Tim HughesWho You Say I Am by HillsongHow Great thou Art by Paul Baloche Study Questions What thoughts and emotions to do you feel seeing the earth from the perspective of the moonscape, or distant space? In light of the message, do you find it more incredible to believe in God or deny God? Explain. Why is “time” so important to Naturalists? Does extending “time” make their denial of God more plausible? What questions of human identity drive people crazy or mad? “What” do Naturalists believe you are? “Who” does God say you are? Why does this matter? What ideas are implied by the phrase “Image of God”? In what ways do we reflect God’s likeness? Read Romans 8:29. What is the most ultimate way we can reflect God’s likeness? Read Romans 8:10-11 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. What does it look like to come back to God for life? Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Sermon Audio Download Madness of Identity Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/19/2021 No more profound words have ever been recorded than Genesis 1-2. I called last week’s message the “Madness of the Gods”, because the first readers of Genesis were polytheistic—they believed the warring gods were crazy—and that their madness was spilling unto the earth, causing chaos and pain. Look up the Sumerian and Babylonian creation myths. This worldview has persisted right up into our present time in various forms of Tribal spirituality, and Eastern spirituality. However, the more fashionable worldview today is Naturalism. Naturalism teaches that Universe has purely physical or material origins. On the screen is one of the most famous photos ever taken. It’s taken from the moon’s surface peering back at the earth. If you are a Naturalist you have to hypothesize your way from dead, lifeless matter and explain how that other-worldly, vibrant, blue marble, teeming with life, came to be. Naturalists say they don’t have enough faith to believe in God. But the truth is that it takes far more faith to deny God. To deny God, you have to come up with a better narrative than Genesis. You have to explain: How light came to exist, or maybe darkness. How energy came from non-energy. How order, natural laws, came from chaos. How solid forms (stars, planets, things with mass) came from unformed matter. How functional things (like water cycles, weather processes, planetary rotations) came from inert matter. How life came from non-life. How a single seed come to be? How a single amoeba came to be? How information laden DNA got chemically coded? How a cell knows how to translate infinitely complex instructions from its own DNA—instructions so amazing super computers can catch up? Naturalist have to hypothesize how life began interrelating, and became interdependent. Not to be crass, how that life become sexually reproductive--not just whether the chicken came before the egg, etc.--but how did male and female genders come to exist, and then male-female come together with capability to reproduce according to their own kind—spawning offspring in 9 months if human, or if it’s a fruit fly, days to weeks? How did anything conscious arise from unconscious inert matter? How did personal creatures, and personality, love, arise from a cold, impersonal universe? How did anything lingual (communicative) arise out of a silent non-communicative universe? How did things start speaking to each other and understanding each other? How did dead things start detecting and perceiving--hearing sounds, seeing light, tastes, smells, feeling textures. How did that color (aesthetics, design, patterns, beauty) come from non-color? The Hebrew word for Adam means “RED.” Josephus said Adam was called Red Man because God formed him from Red Clay. The first man was red, not white or black or olive. How did red carbon based clay bodies like ours start thinking thoughts, dreaming dreams, and engaging in rational disciplines like science? Naturalists absolutely hate it when theists posit a “Creator God” as any kind of explanation of anything. If you say God, you will not get that passing grade or cherished degree. Naturalists say, “What an intellectually laziness to believe in God!” In philosophical circles its known as committing the fallacy of the God of the Gaps. Anytime there is a gap in human knowledge, Christians irrationally and annoying plug the gap with God talk. But Naturalists commit their own kinds of fallacies. Where the Christian plugs gaps with God, the Naturalists plugs gaps with time. The current scientific consensus is our earth is 4.5 billion years old. Our Universe is 13.7 billion years old. There is no greater barrier to faith for a Naturalist than believing in a young earth, or especially a young universe. No way God formed all reality as we know it in six literal 24 days. 2 Peter 3:8, With the Lord… “A day is like a thousand years; a thousand years is like a day.” Christian’s are sharply divided whether Genesis 1 refers to literal days. First of all, the sun and moon weren’t even created until Day 4. If you define a day by the rotation of the earth around the sun, what do you do with the sunless days? It’s been pointed out that in Genesis, Day 7 isn’t a literally day, it’s an age or epoch. We are still in God’s Day 7 Sabbath rest and will continue to be until Christ appears. Some point to 2 Peter 3:8, God is not bound like human beings by space or time. What we perceive as short (24 hr day) might be entire epochs of time to God. I have two things I want to say about the meaning of a Day. First, good Christian people should not cancel one another over the interpretation of a Day. The meaning of a day has never been considered an essential Christian doctrine. It doesn’t appear in the Apostles Creed. It wasn’t talked about by Jesus, Apostles. Peter wasn’t even talking about creation in 2 Peter 3:8, he was talking about the coming Day of the Lord. Keep the dialogue open with your brothers and sisters! Secondly, no matter what definition of a “day” you adopt… (i.e. a Day is 12 hours. A day is 24 Hours. A day is a 1000 years. A day is a million years. A billion years. A trillion years. A day is a rhetorical device, a symbol, a type.) Here is my point. Time, in itself, no better fills the utterly inexplicable gaps than the God of the gaps. Time doesn’t make the miracle of life any more explainable or probable or reasonable. If anything things de-energize, decline, and devolve over time. Time doesn’t get you from Genesis 1 to Genesis 2. No matter what definition of a day you adopt, the naturalist will never commend your belief in God. Hebrews 11:6, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Let me mention one more thing and we can move on. The purpose of Genesis is not to satisfy our curiosity about the “manner” in which all things were created. It’s intended to satisfy our curiosity about the “origin” of life. The Creator God exists. That’s the essential doctrine. Romans 1:19-20, “What can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.” Psalm 33:9, “For he spoke, and it came into being; he commanded, and it came into existence.” Let’s talk about the Madness of Identity. There is no question that drives a person more mad than to ask, “Who am I?” or “What am I?” You are at least a material “what”, a material “something.” The Naturalist would say you are nothing more than a complex, DNA-reproducing, biological machine. You may be more “complex” than others things, but you certainly aren’t “more special.” The most profound assertion of Genesis 1-2 is that you are a “WHO” not just a “WHAT.” Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” You a self-conscious because God is self-conscious. You are personal because God is personal. You are lingual and speak because God is lingual and speaks. You are male-female other because Father-Son-Spirit are distinct yet of one kind: Divine Kind. You exist in communion male to female, human to human, as interrelated, interdependent family because God exists eternally as interrelated and interdependent family (Father-Son-Spirit). You exist in collective fellowship (as a family, a tribe, a flock, a school, a herd)… you and all created life are “groupish”, because the Lord our God though a fellowship (though groupish) is ONE. You experience the intimacy of true union, true oneness, in marriage, male-female, because the Lord our God (amongst the godhead) is most intimately One. You have spiritual wiring because God is Spirit, and breathed his Spirit into you. You love because he first loved. You are rational, can think, create, design, invent because God is rational, God is creator, God is architect and designer. Do you see? We are “WHOs” not “WHATs” because we’ve been endowed with God’s very own image. The greater proof for the reality of God isn’t going to be anything you find under a rock in the universe. It’s going to be the image that stares back at you every time you look to your fellow image bearers!! You yourself, your image, is the greatest Apologetic (defense, proof) that God exists!! You aren’t just a “WHO,” you are a “WHO WHO MATTERS.” Genesis 1:28-31, “28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” 29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, 30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.” So, God created us to have meaning, purpose, and significance. Let me say up front—we have not been given a mandate to abuse creation. There is complete congruity between environmental care and creation stewardship. Our mandate is to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, and to rule! We live as kings… we rule… we control and subdue and all these things because God is King. God rules, exercises sovereign control, and subdues all things. We are not God, but we are god-like. It’s “very good” that human population keeps exploding. It’s “very good” and eco-friendly to have babies, and grandbabies, and great grand babies. Christians have some of the worst theology when it comes to creation-care, and the environment. We try to theologically justify evil against the environmental but instead we should exemplify good stewardship. When I was younger a friend could shoot every bird or frog in sight with BB guns. He invited me to do the same—but I was quickly guilt ridden. To what end was I to kill these creatures? To harm life? We are a WHO WHO MATTERS. What we do matters, it has purpose, meaning, significance. We are also a WHO WHO LIVES. We could be nothing but a lump of red clay except Genesis 2:7 says, “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” We derive our life from God. To have God is to have life. In Genesis 2:9 God gives Adam access to the tree of life. “The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” It’s important to point out that even in the beginning Adam didn’t possess life independent of God. Adam got life because God breathed in him. And Adam could only sustain his life by God’s special provision—the tree of life. And Adam could only maintain access to that life by trusting and obeying God. We cannot overemphasize this point enough—that God is life. John 1:3-4, “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” 1 Timothy 6:15b-16 says of God “He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power. Amen.” Next week we will talk about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the madness of Satan (his scheme) to destroy God’s special creation humankind. But let’s conclude with Genesis 2:18-25, “18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper corresponding to him.” 19 The Lord God formed out of the ground every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and brought each to the man to see what he would call it. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the livestock, to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal; but for the man no helper was found corresponding to him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to come over the man, and he slept. God took one of his ribs and closed the flesh at that place. 22 Then the Lord God made the rib he had taken from the man into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called “woman,” for she was taken from man. 24 This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh. 25 Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.” A lesson for Adam is: Adam, your very life originated and depends upon me. I breathed in you. For access to the tree of eternal life, you must come to me, and trust me, and worship me, and obey me. A lesson for Adam is: Adam, you are not autonomous. You are very good, but you were made to love. It’s not good for you to be alone. You were created to love—to love God with all your heart, mind, body, strength but to also love your fellow man as yourself. Adam was created for Eve and Eve was created for Adam. God asks Adam to name all the living creatures on earth. Why? To remind Adam, “Adam… you are not like the animals… you are not like the apes, and monkeys, and chimps… you are the image of God… and I am creating Eve from you, with my image, to be like you and me.” Naturalism is an utter denial of the God of Life… but its also an assault on the very foundation of man’s infinite value, worth, dignity, and special place in this universe.