Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Jesus, Creator of Heaven and Earth

First Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Jesus, Creator of Heaven and Earth
For the week of Jan. 5, 2013
Our Sabbath School lessons for this first quarter of the New Year entitled “Origins” is about God’s power in creation, redemption and sustenance. Throughout the quarter we will examine Christ’s redeeming power, His cohering and sustaining grace as the actual effective exercise of His creative energy as God. Creation, redemption and sustenance is by Christ. These meet in Him (John 1:1‑3, 14, 10; Eph 3:9; Heb1:1‑3; Col 1:13-17).

Jesus taught a literal Creation and this by God’s power, and not by the process of evolution. The Darwinian theory of evolution is opposed to creation. Belief in creation and in evolution cannot be held by a Christian logically. Think of the outgrowth and consequences of evolution. If God initiated evolution, and its survival of the fittest, until death is finally abolished in the drawn out process of evolution, it follows that there was no need for Christ to come and to die in order to abolish death “the last enemy” (1 Cor 15:26). According to the dogmatic theory of evolution the deaths of innumerable millions of creatures occurred billions of years before Adam and Eve sinned.

Either the Creation account of man followed by his choice to sin producing death, or evolution took place before sin is true. There is no middle ground here. If evolution is true, it follows that death did not enter through one man’s sin as Scripture insists (Rom 5:12). If the evolution theory of death before sin is true, then Jesus died in vain. This is so because according evolution dogma death is not the result of sin. If this is true, the death of Christ because of man’s sin and consequent death makes no sense. Evolution not only makes a mockery of the cross, it sweeps it aside along with the gospel, the entire reason for Christianity’s existence and especially the third angel’s message of redemption.

In the Bible redemption is joined by an inseparable connection to Creation. It takes nothing less than creative energy to redeem us. The power by which Jesus saves us from sin is the power by which He created the worlds. In Rev 14:6, 7 the everlasting gospel and creation are connected. The same is true in Col 1:14‑16 where forgiveness, redemption and creation are linked. Likewise, verses 16 and 20 in Rom 1 teach that the power of God in the gospel is the power that creates. The gospel is Christ crucified, buried, and raised from the dead (1 Cor 15:1-4). The cross – Christ crucified – is the creative power of God applied to men for salvation (1 Cor 1:18, 23,24). The everlasting gospel, as the creative power of God, will be preached in all the world. It will destroy the powerless theory of evolution. This is because the dogma of evolution is devoid of strength or resources. It lacks the authority and the capacity to act. It is dead. But the gospel is filled with the life of God.

 Any gospel that leaves out creation is “another gospel,” which is no gospel at all. It is powerless. Any gospel that does not preach the creative power of God, as seen in the things that He has made to live, is no gospel at all. The gospel saves us, and comforts us, and sustains us by the power of creation.

Creation and redemption have the same purpose regarding man. In the beginning man was created in the image of God (Gen 1:26, 27). Then sin entered. Was God caught off guard, when this occurred?  Was the plan of redemption an afterthought? Never. Christ was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and before that “was foreordained” to die for us (Rev 13:8; 1 Pet 1:18-20). As soon as there was sin there was the cross of the crucified  Christ. Christ was made to be sin itself – the curse – in order to redeem us form it (2 Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13).

The plan of redemption is simply the carrying out of God's original plan of creation – that you and I should be made in the image of God (Rom 8:29). Redemption is brought about through God's creative power of the cross. Redemption is a new creation. Coming to Christ, uniting with Christ, being in Christ, by faith, makes you and me new creatures (2 Cor 5:17). How is this brought about?

Christ created the worlds through the power of His word (Psa 33:6, 9; Heb 11:3). He re-creates us anew by the power of that same word. This is the new birth (James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23). His word is full of life and exceedingly powerful (Heb 4:12). David realized the close relationship between creation and redemption when he prayed “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psa 51:10). God promises is to give us a new heart in answer to this kind of prayer (Eze 36:25‑28). This is the creation of righteousness and true holiness within us (Eph 4:23,24), as E.J. Waggoner noted:

“The word of God which speaks righteousness has the righteousness itself in it, and as soon as the sinner believes, and receives that word into his own heart by faith, that moment he has the righteousness of God in his heart; and since out of the heart are the issues of life, it follows that a new life is thus begun in him; and that life is a life of obedience to the commandments of God. Thus faith is indeed the substance of things hoped for; because faith appropriates the word of God, and the word of God is substance – The Gospel in Creation.” (E.J. Waggoner, “The English Present Truth,” February 9, 1893).

Not only did Christ create the universe, not only does He re-create us; He upholds all things, including us, by His powerful word (Heb 1:1‑3). In Christ “all things consist” or hold together (Col 1:17). There is enough creative glue, in Christ, to hold the cosmos together. His creative power in creation, redemption and continual sustenance of the universe is the identifying mark of His deity. And then to think that Christ, the unmade God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer became a human being in order to save us is beyond our comprehension.

The successive steps of humanity were experienced by Jesus. Conceived in the womb of His mother fulfilled the first condition of His human existence, because in that act of conception was His becoming a human being. The embryo that was conceived was nourished in the womb of Mary. When the usual period of human gestation ended “the days were completed for her to be delivered,” (Luke 2:6), the birth of Jesus followed—“she brought forth her firstborn Son” (Luke 2:7). This conception, gestation and parturition of His humanity were the circumstances of His birth establishing His humanity. Though not humanly generated, He was truly of the material substance of his mother, Mary. And being found in the nature of our humanity He continued to humble Himself even to the death of the cross in order to redeem us (Phil 2:6-8). This is the powerful and glorious gospel that has been entrusted to us and that which the heavens declare (1 Tim 1:11; Rom 1:16, 20; Psa 19:1-3). This, the gospel in God’s creative work, is the glad tidings of “Jesus, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
-Jerry Finneman