Written Sermons & Bible Studies

Three Circles: God’s Perfect Design

For the next six weeks, we will be walking through the “The Good News in 3 Circles.” We feel the love of God deeply, and we want to share that love with the world. The Good News in 3 Circles gives us a framework to speak about the Gospel that means so much to us. It is designed to be accessible to those who have not heard about Christ. It is my hope that as we walk through the six elements of the 3 Circles that you will have words that make sharing your faith easier.

 

Ultimately, the three circles describe a relationship with Christ and how that relationship works. Our journey will take us through basic Christian thought. I invite conversation with all of you. Text me, email me, challenge me at the end of the sermon and ask your questions.

 

This series will discuss how we can talk to and share our faith with unbelievers. If you have insights, please share them. It will make all of us better. Let’s begin at the beginning.

 

In the beginning, God created the world, and it was good. God created humanity in God’s own image, male and female.

 

Genesis tells us that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2.

 

Genesis 1:31-2:7 says, God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation. These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

 

Another Account of the Creation

 

In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground;

but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.

 

When young people hear about the Genesis story, they do not accept it. The first hurdle they have is the world being created in seven literal days. Those of us with faith know God is all powerful, and God could create the world in an instant, seven days or seven millennia. In our day and age, seven literal days is soundly refuted by science, and younger people believe the science. So, we turn to the explanation of the seven days as being symbolic in that it represents seven time periods or stages of creation. A second hurdle is the idea of a world created by God.

 

Young people struggle with this idea, because the theory of evolution does not involve a Creator. Seeking an explanation, we turn to the concept of intelligent design. We might say an intelligent being is behind the design of the universe but allowed its evolution through natural processes described by the scientific community.

 

The notion that all of humanity came from one man and one woman is another hurdle for many people. The scientific explanation of humans evolving from a variety of ancestral species seems more likely in the current mind. At the end of the day, do these explanations of our beloved story of creation communicate the truth of Genesis? Are they received by contemporary people in a way that transforms their life?

 

Let’s approach Genesis in a different way. If we look at Genesis in a literary sense, as a creation myth, we can better understand and communicate it to others. When I say myth, I don’t mean a fairy tale. Myth in this context is a foundational story, full of meaning, for a people, in this case us. To understand Genesis, we can compare it to other creation myths. The creation stories of the Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians and Canaanites begin very differently than the Genesis creation story. Let’s look at the Greek myths for example.

 

The Greeks also had many gods in the Greek pantheon, and these gods also created the world. According to the Greeks, in the beginning, there was nothing but Chaos – a formless void. The God of Chaos was a careless god who lived in a dark, chaotic void with no order whatsoever. When Chaos was in-charge, there was no solid land as there is today. There was no sun, no moon, no flowing rivers, no freshwater, no seas, no mountains, and there was no pure air to breathe. All the other gods, demigods, titans, nymphs, etc. would originate from gods that came from Chaos.

 

Earth would arise from the God of Chaos. Gaia or earth came from Chaos, and Gaia gave birth to Uranus. Uranus and Gaia mated and gave birth to Cronos. Cronos liked eating his own children. Zeus was born of Cronos. Ultimately, Zeus fought and defeated Cronos and the Titans. Another god, Prometheus, did not fight against Zeus, and because he didn’t align with the Titans, Zeus tasked Prometheus with forming man. Prometheus formed man out of clay, and Gaia breathed life into man. Man was expected to serve, entertain and genuflect before the gods. The Greek creation myth is full of battles, conflicts and death, and the gods had total disregard for men.

 

That is not the Genesis creation myth. Chaos is not in charge. We are not a depraved creation of capricious and callous gods. We are not the result of conflict and the blood of gods spilled in wars. In our creation story, our God is one and the God of all creation. God’s creation is good. Our lives are good, and our lives are cherished and valued by God. 

 

You can see why this comparison of myths matters. We were not created to serve the gods or worship the gods. We were created to be in relationship with the one true God. We were created to love and be loved by God for eternity.

 

The Genesis story tells us of a place and a time. It describes Eden, and it speaks of seven days. The Genesis language is temporal and spatial. But the deeper meaning and message is relational. What our creation story explains is a loving God.

 

Today, I am going to challenge you to think of God’s perfect design of creation as a design of relationship and not of space and time.

 

Think about our own relationships. This week was my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding anniversary. They went out to dinner at a nice steak house to celebrate. We think being a good friend, spouse or parent means giving a gift or taking our significant others to a dinner or on vacation. We provide for the needs of our family, and we try to bless them with as much stuff as we possibly can. When we do this, we are connecting with them in time and space. We think our family needs our stuff. We aren’t wrong; we do need to provide for the physical needs of those we are responsible for. However, more than stuff, our family and friends need us. They need our relationship with them. They need our emotional connection.

 

I would buy Jan birthday, Valentine’s Day and Christmas gifts and take her to great restaurants. Sometimes my gift selections would miss the mark. So, I changed it up and started to go shopping with her. I made a day of her birthday or the holiday. I made it about our relationship and gave her my attention. That worked much better. You see, it was never about stuff, it was about relationship.

 

God’s perfect design is about God’s perfect relationship with humanity. The Gospel of John describes creation, and the relationship Christ Jesus has with creation and with us. John’s Gospel tells us that Christ was with God in the beginning and Christ created the world. John says that life itself was in Christ, and it was Christ who breathed life into humanity. It was Christ who brought light into man’s existence. Christ entered a relationship with humanity. Then, Christ reestablished God’s perfect design because Christ gives eternal life to an alienated humanity and restores a broken creation.

 

John 1:1-5

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.  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

 

John describes Christ Jesus as the author of creation. Christ is the Word, and Christ is the light of the world. God reveals through the words of the Apostle John that Jesus is God. That Jesus was at the creation. That Jesus brought about the creation. But, even more, Jesus is life itself and Jesus is light. To the ancient mind, light and life are linked. Light breaks into the darkness and void of chaos and makes creation possible. From light comes life, and life breaks into the creation that begins with light. Christ is light and life. Christ brings light into the darkness, and Christ brings life into the creation. Christ can restore life because Christ is life, and all life originates in Christ.

 

We can think of Christ as light and life when we talk about one scientific description of creation called the Big Bang Theory. The Bang Theory states that the whole universe began when a singularity or a single point, sort of a very compressed black hole, exploded and started the universe. When we think of Christ as light, Christ can easily be the power behind the birth of the universe. When Christ released light, the universe was born, and creation began. Creation in both Genesis and in the Gospel of John begins with light. It begins with Christ. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

 

Genesis 1:1-3 “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 

Why am I being so intentional about the creation story? We are called to bring people to Christ, and we can’t do that if our explanation of the Gospel leads to arguments or people can’t connect with what we are saying. In the first century, the Genesis creation story had some similar imagery to other creation myths, but instead of vile demigods torturing humanity it showed a loving God. Today, the creation story doesn’t compete with ancient myths, it competes with science. In the minds of many, it loses to the scientific description.

 

Yet, the Apostle John’s description and interpretation of Genesis fits with both the biblical understanding and today’s scientific understanding.

 

First, the story is not about place and time, it is about a relationship between humanity and God. In that relationship, God created us in God’s image, male and female. God wants to be in relationship with humanity, and it is that loving relationship that is the most important message of creation. Second, God gives free will to humanity so that our relationship with God is genuine and real. We can choose to love God or deny God. We can choose to embrace a relationship with our creator or deny our creator. That gift of free will is a gift beyond measure that we will never comprehend in our earthly existence. Third, Christ is light and life. When Christ released light into the void, everything came into creation. Christ continues to give light to the creation and life to the living.

 

The story of creation is the story about our relationship with Christ. The Gospel story of Christ continues the creation story. The Gospel shows how a loving God reaches out to a broken and lost humanity. Humanity turned away from the relationship given in the creation to pursue a life free of God. Yet, God did not turn from us but sent light and life to us as Christ incarnate. God desired to restore the original relationship he created and meant for eternity.

 

When we think about our lives, we can list the houses we lived in, our successes and failures, the things we bought and the moments of happiness and sadness. However, when we talk about our lives, it is our relationships that stand out. Our story isn’t really told in time and space, it is told in relationships. When our story drifts to stuff, no one really cares. When we talk about our relationships, we are interested. We are relational beings. When we talk about creation as time and place and things, we miss the mark. Creation is about relationship.

 

God’s perfect design is about a perfect relationship of love with Christ, created by Christ and restored through Christ.

 

The 3 Circles are a way for us to share our faith with others. We can share the Gospel when we speak like John. John talks about Christ with the language of relationship. John’s description of creation describes Christ’s relationship to humanity and creation. In the beginning and in our present day, relationship between Christ and humanity is the story of creation. Our message to others is this: In God’s perfect creation, Christ Jesus wants to give light and life to you.

 

About Pastor Tim

Tim Holmes

Senior Pastor

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