In The Beginning

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Welcome to the first week of our new series called IN THE BEGINNING.
In this series I hope to answer the questions:
  • Why are we here?
  • Where did this all begin?
  • Why does it matter?
What you just saw was first a video animation of what the biblical days of creation from Genesis may have looked like followed by a skit about Adam and Eve -based loosely on the Genesis account of the first man and woman.
This is, of course, what you should expect since this is a church and we teach the bible. But to be fair, I also want to show you the other theory of how it all began and ended up the way things are today. I’m sure you are all familiar with it because it’s the prevailing theory in the scientific world and the one taught in schools.
I happened to find a really well done computer animated video on YouTube about it. It was ten minutes long so I sped it up, which makes the soundtrack a little funny, but please enjoy.
SHOW BIG BANG VIDEO
So, now that I’ve presented to you the two major theories of our beginnings, you can see that they are clearly not the same.
A lot of people, and a lot of well-meaning Christians have tried to marry the biblical account with the popular Big Bang / Evolution account, but I will show you today that there is really no way to do that.
They are mutually exclusive, which also means that there are only two possible logical conclusions.
THEY ARE EITHER BOTH WRONG
 
                  OR
 
ONE IS RIGHT AND THE OTHER WRONG
 
THEY CANNOT BOTH BE TRUE
Let me prove it to you.  Let’s start with the Genesis Account
Genesis 1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 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.
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.
And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 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.12 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. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 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.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 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.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 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. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
  • Heavens and the Earth
  1. Light – Day and Night
  2. Separated the waters – The Sky
  3. Made dry land appear and all the plants (before the sun)
  4. Sun, Moon, and Stars
  5. Fish and Birds
  6. Land Animals and two Human Beings
The Big Bang/Evolutionary model has the order like this:
  • Matter & Stars
  1. Our Sun
  2. The Earth/Land/Water
  3. Life Forms Appear
  4. Plants & Fish
  5. Amphibians & Reptiles
  6. Birds & Mammals
Now let’s compare:
  • In the Bible, the Earth is first and the Sun, moon, and Stars don’t appear until day 4.
  • Big Bang says the stars appeared first with our Sun not forming until 10 billion years after the bang, and the earth forming well after that.
  • In the Bible, the plants are produced before the Sun.
  • In the Big Bang, plants are long after the sun forms.
  • In the Bible, birds are created before the land animals.
  • In the Big Bang, birds evolve from land animals.
  • In the bible, Human beings are created uniquely in God’s image.
  • In the Big Bang, we are just highly evolved mammals.
  • In the bible, the claim is that this happened in six days.
  • In the big bang, it’s billions of years.
Even if you were to discount the idea of six literal days and assume that the author was speaking of longer periods of time, there is still no way to match these two models.
THE TWO ORDERS ARE JUST NOT COMPATIBLE.
Sure, many have tried to shove the big bang and evolutionary model in between the lines of the Genesis account, but hopefully you can see that it just doesn’t work.
So you see, it’s possible that they could both be wrong, but it’s not possible that they could both be right.
Right about now I imagine that there are three groups of people in this room.
1. You believe the Bible, like I do, despite what the popular opinion is.
2. You believe the Big Bang / Evolution model, despite what the bible says.
3. You are torn. You know you’re supposed to believe the Bible is true, but you’ve also heard the Big Bang / Evolution model taught everywhere, even in some churches, and they have all this scientific evidence, and doesn’t the Bible say something about a day is like a thousand years for God…my head hurts…
I’m sure each of you falls into one of those. Well, for this series, my goal is not to convince group #2. If you’ve already assumed the Bible to be false, then there is no amount of biblical or scientific evidence I could show you to convince you otherwise. You’ve made up your mind.
One goal I do have in this series is to help group #1 have a more educated faith in the Bible – we should not believe it blindly, and to help group #3 get off the fence.
So for the next four weeks and a little bit today, I want to show you why you don’t have to check your brain at the door to believe the Bible is true about the beginning of our world.
My other goal is to tell you why it matters what you believe about this. Because it does. I’ll get to that at the end today.
But before I get into details, I need to get something straight about terminology.
SCIENCE
Often SCIENCE is referred to as some kind of all knowing being. Science says. Science has proven. Science vs God…as if they are on the same level.
But the irony is that science is not a thing or a person – it’s a process.
Definition:
1. the systematic study of the nature and behaviour of the material and physical universe, based on observation, experiment, and measurement, and the formulation of laws to describe these facts in general terms
Effectively, SCIENCE is a search for truth – the truth about how things work.
The Scientific Method is the process by which said knowledge is obtained.
Here’s how it works.  (Use lightbulb analogy)
While this was a very simply model, this is how the scientific method works and how scientific knowledge is obtained. People make observations about the world around them and ask questions like why and how and what if? Then they come up with possible answers to these questions using their reasoning ability and go about conducting experiments to see if their hypotheses are correct. The people who do this for a living are called scientists.
Most of what we would typically call “science” involves answering big and complex questions with big and complex hypotheses and experiments that don’t always result in very clear answers. But when a specific hypotheses is tested multiple times with consistent results, it can graduate to being a THEORY.
In everyday language we use theory and hypotheses interchangeably, but in scientific terms, a hypothesis is just a plausible idea without a lot of proof, while a theory is an idea that has good evidence to back it up.
Contrary to popular belief, however, a theory can never become a law because they are two different things. A law describes what happens. A theory describes why and how it happens that way.
Ok, now that you’ve had your refresher in grade school science class, let me tell you why it is important that you get this concept right. What we are about to embark on for the next four weeks is NOT a battle between the Bible or God versus Science.
In fact, God made science. He made us in His image with a reasoning capacity that allows us to actually do things like think through problems and try to figure out why things happen. He didn’t expect us to just push an “I Believe” button and say everything happens cuz God made it happen. He made our world and universe testable and observable. God loves science. It’s the process by which we can know our creator more.
So, we will be using the scientific method the next few weeks to test and see which of these two HYPOTHESES are possibly correct. Both of these models of our past have certain aspects that can be tested by looking at what is around us in the present, and that is what we are going to do.
So let’s begin. Today we are going to look at just one of the differences between the biblical and the big bang accounts:
  • In the biblical model, the earth is created first and even has green plants on it before the sun, moon, and stars are created.
  • The big bang model says that many stars formed long before our sun formed which itself formed quite a bit before the earth formed – and as you could see from the video the earth was not ready for green life for quite some time.
While this question can easily be resolved with a look at the evidences for the age of the universe and our earth, I will be talking more about ages in week 3. Today I want to focus on the implications and conclusions these two models lead to.
The big bang model says that our sun and earth did not form until 10 billion years after the bang. And they look out into our universe and see many stars that they believe are billions of years older than our own sun and justifiably assume that if life came to being and evolved on our planet by sheer chance and circumstance, that it must have also happened on other planets elsewhere in the universe or even our own galaxy. And since the universe is much older than our own star, the life that formed on those much older planets must surely have evolved far past our own evolutionary state and should quite likely be capable of at least the same technology we have, which means we should be able to detect them if they are out there.
And that is what many are trying to do, including the famed Stephen Hawking. In fact, since about 1959 people have been trying to find life out there, some sign of intelligence.
Take a look at what one of those scientists says:
SHOW SETI VIDEO
Did you catch that last thing he said?
“Unless there’s something very very special, miraculous if you will”
My friends, this secular scientist just hit the nail on the head.
The big bang / evolution model can lead to only one conclusion – that we are not special, that we are not unique, that we are simply an accident, the end result of lots of time and chance.
But the creation model offers a very different conclusion.
In the creation model, the earth – our planet, our home – was CREATED FIRST. And not only that, but the sun and moon – they were created FOR US
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.”
And then what does it say about the stars?
16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.
In the big bang model, the stars came first and accidentally formed the earth. In the creation model, the earth was formed and then all of the stars and galaxies, all billion trillion billion of them were created for the purpose of giving light on the earth!!
In other words, according to the Bible – our planet is INDEED unique. We are INDEED special, MIRACULOUS if you will.
But does the evidence back that up? Or does the evidence point to the idea that life must be common in such a large accidentally formed universe?
Well, for one, after over 50 years of looking they have yet to find a single evidence of any kind of intelligence out there. And all they are really looking for is a “narrow band signal” – in other words something other than random static. In fact you can look at the SETI website and read all about how there’s nothing out there…..YET.
Aside from listening to radio bands they’ve also sent out satellites looking for planets around other stars, and they’ve found many – about 2,000 in fact. They don’t have any pictures or anything because the way they detect them is by staring at a star for a long period of time and seeing if it’s light goes slightly dimmer indicating the shadow of a planet. Then they can tell other things about it.
So, we are not the only planet in the universe – we can tell that from our own solar system, but we are in fact unique in that we have all the needed attributes for sustaining life. And there are a bunch.
Here are just a few:
  • Correct location in the galaxy
  • Correct distance from the sun (to allow for liquid water – Goldilocks zone)
  • Correct type of star (stable and right temperature)
  • Large moon (to stabilize axis angle and orbit)
  • Terrestrial planet (has a crust – has to do with temperature of the surface)
  • Plate techtonics (renewal of elements)
  • Oxygen Rich Atmosphere
  • Liquid Water
  • Magnetic Field (to shield from cosmic rays from the sun)
  • Protected by giant gas planets (protect from space debris)
Overall there are over 20 of these factors…..SO FAR.
A conservative estimate of the chances that a planet would meet all of these absolutely necessary criteria for the sustaining of life is
1 / 1,000,000,000,000,000 (MILLION BILLION)
Now I did some research and found that popular estimates on how many habitable planets there are out there are in the billions and trillions – this despite having yet to find one that meets all of these criteria. In fact the places I found based those estimates on only two factors – distance from star and size of planet, and even those estimates were wild guesses.
So, hopefully, you can see that the actual observed evidence – not the speculated hopeful guesstimates – indicate that we are indeed unique.
And according to the Bible, not only is our planet unique – but we as human beings are unique among the life created on this special planet.
Notice in the verses that describe the sixth day, it says that God made all the land dwelling animals and said that it was good….THEN
Genesis 1
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
The Bible tells us that instead of being an accident on top of another accident, that we live on a planet that was uniquely created with the vast universe only existing to give us light, and that on this amazingly unique planet, God created US – not like the animals or plants, but in HIS OWN IMAGE and gave us dominion over all that He created.
And if that were not enough to tell you that you are special and valuable to an all powerful God, He not only created you and me and gave us free will, which we promptly used to disobey Him – He sent His own SON to this one earth to become one of US humans so that He could relate to us on a personal level and then JESUS, the SON OF GOD, GOD IN THE FLESH, willingly laid down his own life FOR YOU and FOR ME so that we would not have to suffer the consequences of disobeying the almighty God.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
My friends, you can’t get any more significant than that!
 
You can’t get any more valuable than that.
 
You can’t get any more LOVED than that.
The Big Bang / Evolution worldview tells you that you are an accident, with NO MEANING, NO PURPOSE, NO VALUE to your life. You came from dirt and you will go back to dirt. Your life will have no significance beyond the here and now.
But the Bible tells you that you are
specially created by an all powerful God.
Later it says that
God knew you before He even made the world,
that he
knows the number of hairs on your head
along with the names of all the stars,
that He
knit you together in your mother’s womb
and numbered all your days.
And that He died for you.
You see, Stephen Hawking had it right after all. The truth IS out there, but it’s not where they think it is.
Psalm 19
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
The TRUTH is INDEED out there – just look at the vastness of our universe, such order and symmetry. Look at our amazing planet with so many finely tuned attributes to make life possible, and then just the miracle and amazing complexity of life itself.
It does not scream random chance, chaos, or accident – it’s God showing us who He is. And He’s telling you and He’s telling me –
I made all of this just for you, so that you could know me.
And Paul says in Romans
Romans 1
 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
This is why it matters which one of these are true. This is why it matters what you believe about our beginnings. Because not only will it effect everything you do in your life and have a great impact on how you view yourself and your self worth and the worth of others.
If we really are created, then aren’t we obligated to our creator?
And that is exactly the rub.
Deep down we know that our lives have meaning, have purpose because God placed that in our hearts.
But we are a rebellious people and would rather be meaningless accidents and believe that makes us free than be created, significant, and accountable.
Unfortunately the memo that nobody reads is that the absence of accountability to God is not freedom at all – it’s slavery to your sinful desires. 
Let’s see if any of you identify with this:
I have the desire to do what is good, but I don’t. I wish I could stop doing bad, but I can’t. It’s like there’s something else controlling me. I find myself doing exactly what it is I don’t want to do and Am unable to do what I do want to do.
Think of any self destructive habit you have – smoking, bad eating, pornography, drugs, alcohol, laziness, anger, pride etc. Do you feel free in that or enslaved?
If you truly believe you are the end result of nothing but time and chance, then there is no hope for you. In fact you don’t even have free will. Your consciousness is just an illusion of chemical reactions, and you will spend your meaningless life doing meaningless things only to end up as worm food for no reason at all.
But if you look at the evidence that we can actually observe – it becomes obvious that our planet is indeed unique, special, loved. And God had you in mind as He was making all the stars just to give you light, and Jesus had you in mind as he willingly hung on that cross to pay the price you could not pay yourself. All so that you could be set free and live with Him forever.
I hope you will consider taking His offer.
LET’S PRAY