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IT'S REALLY ALL A MATTER OF FAITH

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT

THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

12 JANUARY 1997

BY Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Genesis 1:1-5
John 1:3-5
Romans 1:20
Hebrews 11:3
Revelation 21:23

It's really all a matter of faith.

We can believe that God created everything just as the Bible says; or we can believe, as many in the scientific community theorize, that everything began with a "big bang" and then proceeded to evolve until the present day.

It's really all a matter of faith, because there isn't any complete line of proof of either way of explaining the beginning of the physical universe.

And even if you believe in the big bang theory which holds that everything began with the explosion of a black hole where gravity is so great that even light cannot escape, you still have to explain where the black hole came from.

And since there is no other explanation, you eventually find yourself having to believe in God as having created the original black hole.

But then, when you find yourself believing in God for this aspect of creation, you also begin to realize that other things the Bible tells us are true, too.

It's really all a matter of faith.

God had to have existed before the creation of the heavens and the earth, for He could not have created Himself, or that from which everything came into being, if He wasn't there. This is simply a position of reasonable logic.

As we are told in Hebrews 11:3:

3. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

God created a physical world from the spiritual realm, which existed before the physical world.

And the whole of the Trinity was involved.

God didn't just create everything without thinking. He planned everything out to the smallest detail: every atom and every component of every atom, and every law by which all things exist and interact.

Then His Spirit began to shape and form the original idea, this formless mass of the earth, into a workable place (Genesis 1:1-2).

1. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
NASU

John reminds us (John 1:3) that nothing came into being apart from Jesus. Thus, we have the whole Trinity existing before the creation of the physical universe, and the whole of the Trinity was present and active during the creation.

Again, it's really all a matter of faith, because no one was there other than God to tell us of what took place.

And even if there were someone there, we probably wouldn't believe what that person said.

There are too many things existing today for it all to have come about by accident, and this speaks louder than any person does.

Itís just as Paul told the Romans in 1:20:

20. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Likewise, we are without excuse.

Sure, there is continuing evolution, but nothing on the order that would be necessary for us to believe we could eliminate God from the scheme of things.

I believe that before they come to believe in God, people are very much like the formless and void earth of Genesis 1:2. At least I know I was.

I thought I knew more than I really did. I thought I was in control of everything. And I thought I didn't need God. I was like a dry desert, and I didn't know it.

But even within a desert there is life; itís just not as obvious as it is in the lush places of the earth. And the abundance of life becomes most apparent after the rain.

We are in spiritual darkness until the light of God shines upon us, and the Holy Spirit stirs us up, sets us in motion, and waters us with His lovingkindness.

This brings us to what the Lord refers to as the first day of creation, for what took place before that has no time frame or reference from which to start.

It just began some time before the first day.

On this first day, God spoke light into existence (Genesis 1:3-5).

3. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

4. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
NASU

God did this before He created the sun or the other stars. This is a spiritual light. Itís the kind of light that will shine upon New Jerusalem, as we are told in Revelation 21:23:

23. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

The Lamb is Jesus, and He holds the light of the world.

Here we also have a second confirmation of the presence of Jesus in the creation process, and again, if we return to John 1, verses 4-5:

4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

5. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Even though man was not yet upon the earth, the spiritual light shown upon it; and when God saw it, He said it was good.

It was good, because it witnessed of Him and His creation.

It was good because in the days and years to follow, it would give hope to all who saw it, to carry them through times of darkness.

It was good, because it spoke of His eternal presence.

The sun, which God created later, is a physical representation of His spiritual light, not to be worshiped, but to lead us to the eternal light of God.

And just as we have faith that the setting sun will arise the following morning and give the world light and life, so we should have faith that God, who created the sun, will Himself be there to shine His light upon us and give us life.

It's all a matter of faith.

Have you ever just sat around in the quiet of the outdoors and watched the wildlife and looked at the different kinds of plants?

Mary and I will sometimes take our canoe out on the lake, paddle to a quiet spot, and just sit there and take in everything around us.

In essence, we are letting the light of the Lord shine upon us and His creation, that we may see:

the great blue heron and the American bittern, and can for a time become part of their habitat;

the ferns unrolling in the spring;

the flowers springing forth in their infinite detail.

And all we can say or think during and after such an experience is, "Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to be here and share a part of Your wonderful creation."

Our faith in God makes the wonder of what we see that much more beautiful.

There's too much for it to have happened by accident.

It's really all a matter of faith.

In a way, the beginning of God's creation is the beginning of our faith, or of our doubt.

If we believe that God created the heavens and the earth, then we also believe that God exists.

And if God exists, then we can believe in the Bible which was inspired by His Holy Spirit working through people just like you and me, who were willing to accept His call to service.

And if God exists, then we can believe that He sent His Son to redeem us from all unrighteousness and to give us everlasting life in the goodness of His light, where everything is free of corruption, death, and pain, and where there is eternal peace.

And since Jesus exists, we can commit our lives to Him, and enter this wonderful peace.

It really is all a matter of faith.

Amen.

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