Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Here we see that God has finished His creative work and rests on the seventh day. He doesn’t need to rest. He’s God. He’s omnipotent. Rather He rests as someone who has just finished a great work and desires to step back and enjoy it.
Notice also that God has blessed the seventh day and made it holy. The Sabbath day is a gift to you and to me. And yet it’s been my observation that the practice of observing the Sabbath among Christians is becoming increasingly rare. This is contrary to God’s word. The Sabbath is a holy day, it’s a day in which we’re to commune with God, it’s a day in which we’re to visit His house, and it’s a day in which we’re to rest.
Do you ever feel as though you can’t string together five minutes without being interrupted by a phone call, a text, a tweet, or an email? The variety of forms of communication today is staggering. Telephones calls, cell phone calls, television, the web, texting, tweeting, emailing — all of these make it more difficult than ever to rest. In large part, because of these technologies, people are now exposed to as many as 5,000 advertisements a day — according to a recent article by CBS news. That’s 5,000 attempts to convince you that you need to spend your money, 5,000 instances of potential influence toward working more to earn more to buy more. It’s more difficult than ever to slow down and rest.
God blessed the Sabbath day, rest is a blessing, and God intends for us to rest. Do you realize that the stress in your life is, to a great degree, a function of an absence of rest? Think about it: imagine the recreational activity that you enjoy performing more than any other activity in life, now imagine with me that you’re about to engage in that activity, now imagine that you’re completely bone tired, yet you’re still obligated to perform that activity. It’s not enjoyable anymore! Even that which is most enjoyable to us when we’re rested, is not when we’re worn out. And, by the way, the greater the energy required to perform an activity, the greater the rest required to ready yourself to perform it.
When we find ourselves outside of God’s design for us to rest one out of seven days, we cause ourselves unneccessary hardship.
Oh, and for those of us who have the opposite problem, notice that God designated six days in which we are to work!
Finally, as important as the Sabbath is, we must recognize that the Sabbath is only a shadow of Jesus. The Sabbath day, the day of rest that God took after finishing His creative work, the day that He blessed and made holy, is a shadow of Jesus. Of course a shadow is only formed from something of substance and Jesus is that substance from which the shadow of the Sabbath is formed. We’re no longer under the law. We no longer have to labor to earn righteousness before God, but rather, we can rest in Jesus because He, Jesus, is our righteousness. (1 Corinthians 1:30) On the Sabbath day we’re to rest, but on every day, we as believers, are to rest in Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
BP is making a new attempt at controlling the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico today. To date they’ve collected 734,000 barrels of the oil that’s escaped into the Gulf. The only problem is that to date 2.9 million to 5 million barrels have been released. To put it in perspective, the Exxon Valdez debacle resulted in 262,000 barrels of oil released. Five million barrels is 210 million gallons of oil.
We have been given the earth by God to live in, to rule over. It’s up to us how we rule — a few things to keep in mind:
God gave explicit instructions to the Israelites as to how they were to care for the land. (Leviticus 25) God speaks to conservation of land in Isaiah 5:8-10. God touches on how to treat domestic animals as well as wildlife in Deuteronomy 25:4, 22:6. God talks of his nourishment and provision for the wilderness in Job 38:25-28, and for wildlife in Psalm 104:27-30.
Yes we’re to use the earth to provide for mankind, but we’re to do it wisely. God gave us the earth to rule over even as God gave the talents to the three servants in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Jesus begins the parable with, “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.” (Matthew 25:14) When Christ returns, what condition will he find the earth in? His property that he has entrusted to us? That God cares deeply for even the smallest details of His creation is made obvious in Matthew 6:26.
As a Christian, you and I must love God, love people, and be wise stewards of the property He’s entrusted to us.
God’s an environmentalist.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
God said, “Let us…” and “…in our image…” and “…in our likeness…” Obviously us and our mean more than One. It would seem God was referring to His triune nature. Us and our, in this case, could mean the Trinity. Us and our could mean the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” God said. So we, like God, are made as triune beings. God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and we are spirit, body, and soul. The spirit referring to our eternal being, the body referring to our physical being, and the soul referring to our mind and emotional being.
We are also in His likeness because God loves, and we also love. (John 3:16) God reasons, and we also reason. (Isaiah 1:18) God has free will and we also have free will. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Consider the account of when the religious leadership of his day came to trap Jesus. They asked him whether or not it was right to pay taxes.
“Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” -Matthew 22:15-21
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Jesus said. Even as the coin made with Caesar’s image is to be given to Caesar, you and I, who are made in God’s image, are to be given to God.
Give your life to Him.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24, 25
When Darwin saw the Marsupials of Australia for the first time he said, “An unbeliever… might exclaim, ‘Surely two distinct Creators must have been at work.'” God declared that the creatures of the earth be created “each according to its kind.” That is, each creature was created with specific information in its DNA. You’ll hear many evolutionists discuss an animal’s adaptation to its environment — quite often this is presented as evidence of the theory of evolution. Well, they’re right — in a sense. An animal can evolve. However the evolution only takes place within the confines of the available information in an animal’s DNA. Scientists have documented fruit flies from one continent, moved to another, moved to a very different environment, that have grown larger in size, and have even developed spots on their wings. But what you have in the end, is still a fruit fly. Scientists have never seen, nor will they ever see, an animal evolve beyond the information available within its DNA. The larger size and the spots in the fruit fly are an adaptation from the available information in the fruit fly’s DNA. You’ll never see a fruit fly evolve into a dragon fly. There’s no info in the fruit fly DNA to get there — because God declared that the creatures of the earth be created “each according to its kind.”
This being the case, the idea of a single celled amoeba evolving beyond its available information in its DNA, into, say, LeBron James, is just ludicrous.
And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day. -Genesis 1:20-23
Scientists are conceding they have grossly underestimated the quantity and diversity of marine life in the ocean. Research scientists from 80 different countries are undertaking a huge census of ocean life around the world. Called the Census of Marine Life, the census effort began in 2000, and ten years later, scientists continue to be amazed at the numbers and varieties of new species they’ve found. In the first three years of the study 160 new species of fish were found each year. That’s about 3 new species discovered every week. As the census has progressed, new species of marine life are being discovered at an even greater rate. One study found 700 new species of crustaceans in an area the size of a small bathroom. (Census of Marine Life)
In 1965, 1,168,800 tons of herring were pulled out of the North Sea. That’s somewhere around 2.3 billion herring, from just one part of the world. Think about that: 2.3 billion herring. If we’re talking about all of the fruit, all of the marine life in the ocean, this is just one species, it doesn’t include all of the other types of fish caught in the North Sea. And that’s just the North Sea, it doesn’t count all of the rest of the world. And it doesn’t even include all of the marine life that’s not caught–caught fish represent just a tiny, tiny fraction of all of the marine life in all the oceans of all the world.
When God said “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas…” we had no idea how serious He really was.
“Let the water teem with living creatures…” God said. Of course the water didn’t produce the fruit, the multiplied billions upon billions of creatures of the oceans–God did. Apart from God no fruit is born. Not during creation, nor in my life or in yours either. While Jesus walked the planet, He was the primary Person God used to perform His work here on earth. When Jesus left, he promised to send us the Holy Spirit, to help us perform God’s work. (Luke 24:49) From that point forward God’s Holy Spirit has been, and still is the primary Person God uses to perform His work here on earth. Without Him we can’t bear fruit for God’s kingdom.
So ask for the Holy Spirit. God loves you and wants you to have Him in your life. It’s Jesus’ will that the Person of the Holy Spirit come to you to help you in every dimension of life including bearing fruit for Him.
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” -Jesus Christ, Luke 11:11-13
- [Image via: tobze – Creative Commons]
- Census of Marine Life: coml.org
- Boreal Environment Research
- Matthew Henry Commentary
- Chuck Smith, Living Water, The Word for Today, 2007, p 8, 287-296
Now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.
(Kindle, hardcover, and paperback available on Amazon and at brick and mortar book stores everywhere.)
Genesis 1:9-13 — God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” and there was morning—the third day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Water covered the whole earth until God decreed otherwise when He said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:9) God spoke it and it was so.
He divided the sea and led them through; he made the water stand firm like a wall. (Psalm 78:13)
Should you not fear me?” declares the LORD. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. (Jeremiah 5:22)
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,” (Job 38:8)
We have dry ground to dwell on because of God’s grace. Because He is good. (John Calvin)
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
God created light on the first day.
He divided the water from the water on the second, that is, He created the atmosphere.
And on the third day He created life. On the third day fruit is produced. And even as the seed from the fruit enters the womb of the earth and then brings life that bears more fruit, and creates many seeds, Christ died and was buried in the womb of the earth, and on the third day He rose, and He continues to bear fruit as a result.
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
Jesus died, was buried, then rose on the third day to bear the fruit of salvation.
…And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
I’ve Looked At Clouds
Genesis 1:6-8 speaks of the expanse and barriers that God created concerning the earth. It could be He created an atmosphere surrounding the physical sphere of the earth and then surrounded the earth with a blanket of water, a sort of mega-cloud that covered the whole earth. It’s amazing to think that the clouds we see floating in the sky today are filled with tons of water. According to the USGS an average cloud, which is just a little more than 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile x 1/2 mile, weighs an estimated 1,105,500 tons. That’s a whole lot of water. So imagine with me what it was like on the second day when God put an expanse between the water on earth and the water in the sky–He floated water above the earth and surrounded the earth with a cloud. The earth surrounded by this water blanket would have created an interesting weather pattern. It would have the effect of protecting us from the sun’s UV rays. It would also have the effect of homogenizing or equalizing the climate throughout the earth. This means that the early animals and plants of the earth might have enjoyed a beautiful warm climate wherever they went on the planet. Scientists have found Woolly Mammoths frozen in the ice of Siberia with tropical vegetation in their digestive tracts. And they’ve also found vegetation 200 feet below the ice near the South Pole. I don’t claim to know the process with which God created the earth, I’m just saying, given the account in Genesis, and God’s comment to Job in Job 38:9, these discoveries fit the descriptions in scripture.
Earth’s Deteriorating Magnetic Field
Another barrier of protection provided by God is the earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field shields us from destructive charged particles that originate from the sun. The German mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss was the first to measure the magnetic field of the earth, starting in 1845. Since that time we’ve measured it continually and we’ve found that it’s deteriorating. (see National Geographic)
Earth’s Deteriorating Ozone Layer
A third protective barrier provided by God is the earth’s ozone layer. This layer protects us from the sun’s radiation. (see EPA) While there’s much debate as to the reason why, no one argues that the ozone layer is deteriorating.
[Image via: drcohn – Creative Commons]
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. When God speaks something, it comes into existence. Another way to think of this is when God speaks something, it is so. I encourage you to study how Jesus viewed the Old Testament scriptures. You’ll find He accepted them as real and true. Jesus’ endorsement of God’s word, the Bible, makes it as sure and solid as can be. What has been spoken to us by God through scripture can be counted on, it is faithful and true. “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Also notice the source of light. All light comes from God. Psalm 119:105 says that God’s “…word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Even as a plant will fail to grow without light, you and I will fail to grow without the light of God’s word on our life path. Enlightenment from His word will direct us in the way we should go to experience God’s desire for us which is for you and I to experience the most successful life possible. A University of North Carolina study revealed that people in a dimly lit environment are more likely to cheat and also more likely to serve their own interests. (see Darkness, Dishonesty, and Self-Interested Behavior) Conversely, when we dwell in an environment that is well lit by the influence of God’s word and the presence of Jesus, the light of the world, we’ll have a propensity to walk according to God’s ways.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
[Image via: indigoblue66 Creative Commons]
[You might also like: How Does Jesus View the Old Testament?]
Genesis 1:2 — Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
What God does with formless and empty? Consider what he did in King David’s case. God knew that He would raise up a great King over Israel — the greatest government administration in the history of the world. He also knew that the great King would be a son of David’s. Who do you suppose God would choose as the new King’s mother?
How about Micah? She was of royal blood, the daughter of King Saul. Nope, not Micah. Neither did God choose any of David’s three other wives. Rather He chose Bathsheba, David’s fifth wife. Her child, Solomon, was the fruit of no noble, honorable, or holy intent. David saw Bathsheba bathing on the roof, had her brought into his castle, and committed adultery.
Then, after David learned that she was pregnant, he murdered her husband to cover it up.
Yet out of this chaos God raised up Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba. The greatest government administrator who ever lived. (for more see Mark Gungor’s DVD, How to Stay Married and Not Kill Anybody)
Are you experiencing chaos in your life? A broken marriage? A son or daughter gone astray? A layoff from work? The loss of a house to the bank?
Take heart. The same Spirit of God that took the formless and empty earth and heavens and created from them the majestic earth and heavens that we see today, the earth and heavens that are so spectacular, so beautiful, so magnificent that it’s impossible not to see God’s hand in them. That same Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, specializes in creating wonderful fruit from difficult or even seemingly impossible situations.
God loves you. God is for you. It may not be easy, but God will help you.
Cast your burden upon him. He is the answer. In the words of Matthew Henry, “Dead matter would be for ever dead if He did not quicken it.” Dead marriages, dead relationships, dead careers, dead bank accounts, ask — God will help. He is for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,”
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The word for God that is used here is elohiym and, interestingly, it is the plural form of the word God that means “strong or mighty.” The plural usage here speaks of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity that is touched on in the Old Testament and made plain in the New Testament. (Jamieson) The writer of the gospel of John speaks of this moment in time when he writes of Jesus, “the Word:”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Although the Bible is not a science book, where it does touch on scientific information it’s always accurate. For example the Bible says that,
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing.
Hindus believed that the earth was supported on the back of an elephant. Greeks believed that the earth was held upon the back of Atlas. But Genesis, written in the 5th century BC, says it’s suspended on nothing. (Courson)
Sir Isaac Newton, who today, is recognized by many as the greatest physicist in history, had a standing disagreement with his contemporaries who ridiculed him for his belief in the Biblical creation account. Newton once hired a craftsman to build a model of our solar system. The model was very elaborate, it even included an ingenious mechanism to move the planets in their respective orbits around the sun. Shortly after the model was completed a scientist friend stopped by for a visit.
“Oh My! What an exquisite thing this is!” Newton’s friend exclaimed. “Who made it?”
Paying little attention to him, Sir Isaac answered, “Nobody.”
Stopping his inspection, the visitor turned and said, “Oh? Evidently you did not understand my question. I asked who made this?”
Newton, enjoying himself immensely no doubt, replied in a still more serious tone, “Nobody. What you see just happened to assume the form it now has.”
“You must think I am a fool!” the visitor retorted heatedly, “Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius, and I would like to know who he is.”
Newton then spoke to his friend in a polite yet firm way: “This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker! Now tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such an incongruous conclusion?
Of course our solar system was created. Of course the universe, all the heavens and the earth, were created. The Bible says that, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1) It’s obvious. It’s easy to see God’s hand in our universe — that’s not the issue with those who claim to not believe in a Creator.
The issue is one of accountability.
You see, as soon as a creator is acknowledged, that opens the door to accountability to that Creator. Anyone who wants to feel like they’re not accountable for their behavior can’t acknowledge a Creator. I say “feel like they’re not accountable” because, of course, that’s merely an illusion. God provides man with free will but also holds all men accountable. (Romans 14:10) Acknowledging the existence of a Creator would mean giving up the illusion of not having to be accountable and acknowledging sin.
If you find yourself in a discussion with someone who doesn’t believe in the Biblical creation account or doesn’t believe in the Creator, lovingly bring the conversation around to Jesus. The real question is: is Jesus who He said He was? Is He the Son of God? Is His grave empty? If Jesus is who He said He was then there’s no place to go but to Him for salvation. (John 14:6) (Courson)
I and the Father are one.”
Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”