Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses Genesis 1, Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 13:8; Psalm 104:24-28; John 14:6 Worship Playlist Exalted One by Elevation WorshipO Praise the Name (Anastasis) by HillsongHow Great Is Our God by Chris TomlinDefender by Gateway Worship Study Questions Which day(s) of Genesis 1 most captivate your worship and imagination? What are the differences between theism, atheism, and agnosticism? How do you help a person navigate these perspectives? In what ways has naturalism become the dominant worldview of our culture? How does naturalistic assumption influence various fields of knowledge? Read Romans 1:19-23. What is the great exchange that occurs? How do you see its tragic consequences playing out in your world? What truths of Genesis 1-2 are most important for modern people to hear? Why does Day 6 eclipse all the previous? Why does Day 7 eclipse all the others? Do you have a Day 7 mentality of worship? Why does a life of worship, centered in the majesty of God, matter? Is it vital? Why? Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Sermon Audio Download Madness of the Gods Dr. Jon Morrissette - 9/12/2021 This morning we begin a series of messages on Genesis. You could purchase a readers copy of Genesis. We have these available in the lobby for $5. You could join a group where you can discuss these messages with other believers. You can go to lakesidechristian.com/groups to discover available groups. Genesis has long been a battleground for Christians. For example, debates about whether the earth is very young or very old have been waged for centuries. Debates about whether Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, or even Noah were actual historical figures. Whether the Garden of Eden existed, or events like a worldwide flood or the Tower of Babel ever occurred. The Bible is the single most scrutinized book in the history of mankind—especially Genesis chapters 1-11. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis is also a battleground for atheists and agnostics, for philosophers and scientists. Intellectuals from every field of knowledge are hell bent on disproving Genesis. There are three “monotheistic” religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A theist is one who believes there is one supreme God. Mono is the Greek word for One; Theos is the Greek word for God. A monotheist believes the One True God of Genesis 1:1 exists. Now Jews, Christians, and Muslims have sharp disagreements about WHO God is, but they all believe One true God reigns. In contrast, Atheists deny Genesis 1:1 God exists. When you put “A” in front of any idea it negates that idea. An atheist denies God exists. In the same way, an agnostic denies any kind of supernatural knowledge is even possible. Gnosis is the Greek word for knowledge. The a-gnostic says, “Even if there is a God we cannot know them/him/her/it. God is invisible, He hasn’t spoken nor revealed himself.” The single most predominate worldview today is naturalism. Whenever you add “ism” to the end of something, that thing becomes an end in and of itself. Its intellectually fashionable today to believe the natural realm is all there ever was and ever will be. Naturalism 1.0, “In the beginning was the Universe, and the Universe self-created itself, it just did.” Naturalism 2.0, “In the beginning infinite multi-universes created the Universe, and all the Heavens and Earth” The core tenet of modern science is that there is there is nothing greater, nothing higher, nothing over, beyond… above… transcendent… super-natural. Universe (with a capital U) itself is eternal! There are no miracles, no divine actors. Whatever attributes you ascribe to God, the Naturalist, the Atheist, ascribes to the “U-niverse.” Romans 1:25 describes the spirit of our age. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.” We can call Romans 1:25 the great exchange. If you consider the name of this sermon series—Majesty over Madness—pay close attention to the logo itself. For the naturalist there is no Majesty of God—there is nothing above the line… only life below the line… a closed box, a closed system, a closed, dead, impersonal, self-generating, infinitely improbable universe dying a slow heat death. And within this closed system is the sheer madness of reality. Within this system is merely the illusion of meaning, of purpose, of love, of hope, of God’s providence, of morality, free will, human responsibility. 2 Corinthians 13:8, “For we can’t do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” As we wrapped up our 2 Corinthians series, Hope Rising, I was struck by the Apostle Paul’s statement. I’d never considered it before, that Paul was one of the greatest philosophers in all history. We can have no more deeper, fundamental commitment than a commitment to truth. For some Paul’s statement is an “aspirational” value. Aspirational is something we aspire to but can never attain. But 2 Corinthians 13:8 shouldn’t be aspirational, it should be a lived value. I stand before you as a man committed to following the truth wherever it may lead. I think 2 Corinthians 13:8 is the common ground upon which all people can join—Christian and Christian… Christian and non-Christian. This summer I’ve been binge reading Atheists and Naturalists. The atheists have their vulgar carnival barkers just like the theists do. There are crass naturalists hell bent on destroying all semblance of all religion. However, I’ve found myself admiring certain people… who though they are reaching completely different conclusions… are as zealous and deeply committed to seeking Truth as I. We don’t have to be afraid of any Truth. There was a time when people believed the earth was flat, or that the Sun Universe evolved around the Earth. In fear, the church burned people on the stake who disagreed with the company line. The Church was the original cancel culture. After the Copernican revolution, however, our fundamental understanding of the universe changed. What seemed like an irreconcilable conflict between the Bible and Science soon evaporated and the truth stands. Now in my 47 years of existence, I’ve become increasingly confident that the Bible points me closer to Truth than any other book. Furthermore, I’ve become increasingly confident that the most ultimate Truth, the greatest and most ultimate reality, is the personal, living God of the Bible. When Jesus came to earth, he didn’t just teach “truths” he said, “I am Truth.” “I am the way, the way truth, and the life.” But again, I become increasingly confident that the deepest Truth is God Himself. I’ve not yet been convinced to exchange this greater Truth of God for the lie of naturalism that light “just” sprang forth from darkness, that life “just” sprang forth from lifeless elements of the periodical chart we learned in chemistry. I’ve not yet been convinced that language, and communication, ideas and meaning and consciousness “just” sprung forth from the silent void of universes or even multi-universes. I’ve not yet been convinced that such an ordered, beautiful, dynamic, hospitable world “just” magically emerged from the utter nothingness and chaos. I’ve not become convinced that the Universe is self-created. Many atheists have become prolific writers. They write such books as “The God Delusion” or “The Magic of Reality.” They believe the Genesis 1:1 God hypothesis to be delusional. They believe exchanging the truth of a Creator God for a lie to be the intellectually responsible and respectable thing to do… In fact, it more than just a rational responsibility. Sadly, denying the Truth of God has increasingly become the sacramental duty (the sacramental obligation) of any who’d dare darken the door of the Sciences. It’s respectable to believe in the Magic of Reality (of creation creating itself). It’s an anathema to believe in the plausibility of a Majestic Creator God who creates everything. But here is where we stand, as the “rational mammal.” 2 Corinthians 13:8, “We can’t do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” My 47 years of intuition tells me that people aren’t running from the Truth “that” God exists. No, people are often running from the “implications” of the Truth that God exists. For if God exists, then we're not alone. And if were not alone, we're morally responsible and accountable. And if God exists, the highest duty of man is to love God with all his heart, mind, body, and strength and to love God’s special creation, to love our fellow man more than self. In some ways, naturalism is nothing more than a convenient lie, an excuse to deny God worship, to love oneself as a first principle, to descend into the madness of one’s own device. Some introductory thoughts on Genesis are in order. In the beginning of human history, naturalism was NOT the dominant worldview, as it is today. Modern science, driven by a worldview of naturalism, is consumed with the origin of matter. How did something come out of nothing? How did light, energy, natural laws, laws of physics, quantum mechanics, life, consciousness… how did the universe magically explode from a singularity, then later evolve into present form? The dominant worldview of the first readers of Genesis was “Polytheism.” Polytheism is the belief that there are many gods, warring against one another, haphazardly spawning the universe (including humankind) as we know today. The issue with polytheism wasn’t “whether” there was anything supernatural—but was what was the composition of the supernatural realm? Which gods are the least and greatest? Hurricanes. Floods. The land gods were battling against the sea gods over boundaries. The sun god “RA”… was clearly superior to the moon god. There was no greater god than RA—which is why in Egyptian culture, “Ra” is the root of divine title given to the supreme human ruler “Pha-ra-oh.” Humankind was subject to the madness of all these gods, including the madness of Pharaohs. The gods had relatively little consideration for the collateral damage spilling over into creation. Genesis 1:1 is a rival meta-narrative, a rival story, a rival worldview, to the madness of the gods. Genesis 1:2, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” Here is the Spirit of the One Supreme God, hovering over the primordial darkness, and chaos of creation, and what happens? By Divine Fiat, by Divine Command, he forms the universe. In one day, he separates light and darkness. On another day, he separates the waters, creating our magnificent atmosphere, and the process of condensation and evaporation. On another day God separates the boundaries of land and water, earth and sea. In the Hebrew, each day lacks a definite article. It’s just “in a day this” “in another day this” “in a third day this.” In days 1-3 God forms the basic structures of reality. But then in day three he also begins to fill these structures with life. He fills the earth with vegetation—seed bearing plants and fruit trees. It’s all so good! In another day—the fourth—God sets the sun, moon, and stars in place—marking the seasons for harvest—giving man a cosmic map for navigation. Kids, before google maps there were just the stars! In another day--the fifth—God causes the waters and skies to team with life. Think of what Genesis 1 meant to our ancient ancestors! There is one true God who is Creator and Sovereign King over all Reality! You aren’t subject to the madness of the gods. In fact, there are no gods, there is just GOD! Now in day six—its not just another day like all the others. The Hebrew writer adds a definite article and says, “In THE day.” Day six stands out! In day six God fills the earth with domesticated animals, that serve the needs of man. Horses. Camels. Chickens. Pigs. Goats. Cows. God also fills the earth with wild, untamed animals. Some people say there is no way wild animals existed in creation as they exist in their present form. Some say no way there were caribous-indulging lions, or shimp-indulging sea whales. If day six is good, there can be no death. People also say the soil composition was surely different—because if day 3 plant life was good no way could there have been any bio-deposits. Bio-deposits result from plant and animal death. Psalm 104:24–28 says, “How countless are your works, Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. 26 There the ships move about, and Leviathan, which you formed to play there. 27 All of them wait for you to give them their food at the right time. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” According to Psalm 104 the circle of life (food chain) is not only divinely conceived, but its good! But what really makes day six special is God’s special creation Man. Genesis 1:26-31, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. 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.” Man isn’t a primordial burp. He’s not an incidental creation. He’s unique and special. He’s the apex of creation. But what most defines man, and the only thing that eclipses “THE DAY 6” is “THE DAY 7.” For on “THE DAY 7” Man is reminded that he exists for praise of God’s majesty and glory. He’s been created to enter into the joy of fellowship with his Creator, in never-ending Sabbath Worship. In Genesis 2, THE DAY SEVEN doesn’t end. There isn’t evening than morning… there is just the new dawn of life to be enjoyed and lived and experience in God. Genesis 1 is as much a counter-narrative to Polytheism (yesterday) as it is to Naturalism (today). Will we bow our knee to the God of the Universe? Or will we continually exchange the truth of God for lies?