Jesus Is... The Creator

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1 Jesus Is... The Creator Rev. David W. Edwards, MA May 3, 2015 Text: John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:10 Genesis 1-2 I ve been a student of science all of my life. My parents tell me that I was reading medical textbooks at the age of two. When my dad taught college science classes, I spent time in his labs, went along on the field trips and even took his tests. I collected snakes and lizards for pets. My parents could tell stories about the things they found in the refrigerator so could Marsha. When Aaron was small, I used to take him out into the back yard, and together we d dig through the grass to see what was living down there. I love to see things grow, and the sheer complexity of nature astounds me. My reading list is not just theology, but includes creation/evolution, psychology, physical science, and more. I have an extensive library of science books, took human anatomy twice in college, and have been involved in emergency medicine for years. You re familiar with my interest in health and nutrition. Part of my library is about the mathematics of creation. I want to star-gaze on clear nights and count meteors. I marvel at the amazing patterns and colors that seem to abound in places we rarely ever see deep undersea or in the tiniest flowers. This is my Father s word, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. 1 In one book in my library, the author touts evolution as choosing, and as self-directed, as if there were some native intelligence in blind random mutation. Many scientists... he writes, have felt forced to accept the existence of some directive force and have felt it impossible to assign 2 the many seemingly purposeful developments to chance. The author makes this rather strange comment: The only conclusion one can draw from this is that amphibians lived on land because 3 they chose to and not because they had to. He makes several references to the punctuated equilibrium theory of paleontologist Stephen M. Stanley. The lack of transitional fossils, the socalled gaps in the fossil record lead some, like Stanley, to this as evidence that evolution consisted of slow development punctuated by sudden jumps... 4 The idea can be illustrated, perhaps over-simplified, this way: a lizard lays an egg and a bird hatches. The only problem is one of statistics you need two birds (one just won t do), of the same Maltbie D. Babcock, This Is My Father s World (pd) Gordon R. Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery (New York: Harper & Row, 1983), p 5 Taylor, p 62 Taylor, p. 85

2 Page 2 species (you can t have an eagle and a hummingbird), male and female (two males or two females won t work), at the same time (not a million, a thousand, or even one year apart), in the same place (not separated by hundreds or thousands of miles. The new baby bird must be complete and fully functional, it s diet readily available, and there are a large number of other considerations. From a mathematical perspective, each added consideration exponentially diminishes the chance of a survivable mutation. If there is a one-in-a-million chance of one consideration... well, you begin to see the impossibility of such a thing. From a statistical point of view, the very concept vanishes into the mist. But it s worse than that. DNA is like a builder s plan, a schematic. It is the information. But the plan doesn t build the house another element is required. I ve recently learned about something called epigenetics. Think of it this way: If you want to build a house, you need a plan. But the plan isn t the house, and the plan can t build the house. You also need materials wood of a certain shape and size, nails, wiring, plumbing, and so forth. But even if you have a a plan, and all the right materials, you need a Builder. DNA is the plan; epigenetics is the materials. Frank Turek observes, You can t build a more sophisticated building by merely mutating the written instructions of your house.... New materials and structures are needed. 5 Evolutionary theory has another problem: Mathematician Amir Aczel discusses quantum theory, quoting from the book The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow this 6 astounding insight: The universe, according to quantum physics, has no single past, or history. He also makes the point that we can only know things that happen after the concept of time exists 7 for us, i.e., after the Big Bang which is the creation of space and time. It is impossible for us to know what came before creation. All we have is imagination, and that s not evidence. That leaves us with a choice, I suspect either the shaky foundation of evolutionary theory, or faith in the Biblical account of creation. Let me quickly add, though, that the Genesis account is poetry, and, as such, very difficult to take literally, even if you believe it to be true, as I do. 8 Theologian John Walton refers to Genesis 1 as a temple narrative. So, our task as Christians is not to defend a fundamentalist, literalist view of the Genesis account, but to focus on the ultimate reality that God is the Creator. How God created is not our question to answer, because, honestly, the Bible doesn t answer it. That God created is the truth of Scripture. The fact is that God created. The rest is speculation Frank Turek, Stealing From God (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2015), p 63. For the full discussion, read Chapter 3, Information and Intentionality. Amir Aczel, Why Science Does Not Disprove God (New York: HarperCollins, 2014), p. 117 Aczel, p. 133 John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One (Downer s Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009)

3 Page 3 The gospel of John immediately confronts us with a profound assertion. Even before he actually states it, the connection is clear from the first word. John begins his gospel, In the beginning..., using the precise formulation from Genesis 1:1 in the Septuagint. We cannot miss his intent: He wants us to recognize Jesus as God. He will say it the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1). And what did God do in the beginning? God created. So, if the Word was God, and God is Creator, then the Word is also Creator. Thus, John goes on, Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:3). I ran across an interesting comment. The Greek word is logos. In our culture, we identify a logo as a brand marking. It is an image that represents something like the swoosh that is Nike s trademark. When you see the swoosh you recognize a Nike product. If we were to use it that way in regard to Jesus, we might say that when you see Jesus, you should recognize God s trademark. It doesn t quite work that way, though. The Greeks used the word logos to represent both the spoken and unspoken word, even the word while still in the mind. That is, logos refers also to thought or reason. When they applied it 9 to the universe, they meant the rational principle that governs all things. The note continues: Jews, on the other hand, used it as a way of referring to God. Thus John used a term that was meaningful to both Jews and Gentiles. What it means to us, when we understand it this way, is that Jesus is both Creator and the reason for creation. He is the rational principle that governs all things. To the Athenian philosophers, Paul quotes the ancient poet Epimenides, In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). Jesus is the Word that brought it into existence, and the reason behind it s continued existence and orderly operation. He is the principle that prevents the universe from descending into chaos. There is a beautiful Latin phrase that sums up John s view of Jesus: Sine qua non that without which nothing. If this isn t present, nothing else can be. Without this, the argument fails. The conclusion depends on the premise. Without it nothing. Jesus Christ is the sine qua non of creation. But we don t depend on John alone for understanding Jesus as Creator. In addition to his assertion to the Athenian philosophers, Paul also wrote of the supremacy of Christ to the church at Colossae. Paul wrote of the Son (Colossians 1:15-17), He is... the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created... And Paul goes on with the details of creation: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities. You name it from galaxies, nebulae and stars to trees, birds, and flowers, to molecules, atoms and quarks; from Caesar s throne to Pilate s decree there is nothing for which Jesus Christ is not Lord and God. He rules it all. It is his from greatest to least. But Paul is not finished: all things were created by him and for him. Not only is Jesus the Creator, the Source of all things, but the very creation is for his pleasure, for his glory, for his enjoyment. And Paul ties it together in the same way John did: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. That last bit is so fascinating. I have read that as physicists explore the deepest regions of subatomic matter, they have discovered that there are various forces. Some, of course, have to do 9 NIV Study Bible, note on John 1:1 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000)

4 Page 4 with gravitation, mass, and the attraction of the various particles, such as magnetism. But when they begin to measure in such minute distances, they discover that particles are not really touching one another. There are really quite large distances involved. In fact, at a subatomic level, there seems to be no such thing as a solid object, with more space between particles than there are particles. We have misused the concept of a quantum leap as being something incomprehensibly great. In fact, quantum distances are incredibly tiny - sub-subatomic so that a quantum leap is an extremely tiny shift in the position of these sub-subatomic particles and forces. In fact, a quantum leap is characterized more by its unpredictability than by it s distance. But such tiny, unpredictable shifts might result in great change. But down in the deepest depths of quantum mechanics, there is yet a force that has yet to be identified, a force different from those called the weak force or the strong force, a force different from gravity or magnetism, a mysterious force that keeps the particles from flying apart in all directions, a mysterious force that holds everything in place and keeps everything operating in an orderly, somewhat predictable manner. Try as they will, physicists have yet to even name that mysterious force. Let me name it for them: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. It is Jesus, the Word of God, the Creator, who is and who possesses that mysterious force. It is Jesus who holds it all together and makes it work. The writer to the Hebrews expresses it this way: The Son is the radiance of God s glory and the exact representation (carakthvr: character) of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3). The writer to the Hebrews also equates Jesus with God, quoting Zechariah 12:1 as if it applies to Jesus: In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands (Hebrews 1:10). It becomes clear that the title Lord, which the Jews applied only to God and the Romans applied only to Caesar, the New Testament Christians applied only to Jesus. And because of their Jewish heritage, the Apostles knew that the Lord Jesus was the visible expression, the character, of the LORD God. Israel s God, who was the Voice that led Terah and his family away from Ur; who was the Voice that led Abraham to a mountain and promised to make him the father of nations and an offspring that would bless the world; who gave Gideon courage, Samson strength, and Solomon wisdom; who promised David a successor on the throne forever; who spoke to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; who was the interpreter of dreams for Joseph and Daniel... That God, who saved Noah through the flood, brought Moses through the Red Sea, and Joshua through the Jordan... That God, who redeemed Israel from Egyptian slavery, fed them with manna in the wilderness and water from a rock... That God, who created the heavens and the earth with the sound of his voice, and who formed mankind in his own image... That God expressed himself in Jesus, clothed himself in humanity, humbled himself even to death on a cross. Jesus, the Son, was the Creator himself, come once again to walk in the Garden in the cool of the day. We can barely comprehend, can scarcely find words to express what we think we understand: that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14); that even though it is impossible to see God, the Only Begotten God has revealed him to us (John 1:18). The God of Genesis is the God of John. The Father came to us, arms outstretched, not to create, not to punish, but to identify and

5 Page 5 invite; not to form but to forgive. The Creator laid aside his deity, took up our humanity (Philippians 2:6-11), became one of us, in order to show us what he is like, and to restore and reconcile the world to himself. The Creator became one of us so that he might re-create us in his image. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-19).

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