Who Do You Think Made All This?

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)

Yesterday I read these words from Brennan Manning, author of Ragamuffin Gospel. I can’t improve on them. Listen in…

As they contemplate the order of the earth, the solar system, and the stellar universe, scientists and scholars have concluded that the Master Planner left nothing to chance.

The slant of the earth, for example, tilted at an angle of 23 degrees, produces our seasons. Scientists tell us that if the earth had not been tilted exactly as it is, vapors from the oceans would move both north and south, piling up continents of ice.

If the moon were only 50,000 miles away from earth instead of 200,000, the tides might be so enormous that all continents would be submerged in water–even the mountains would be eroded.

If the crust of the earth had been only ten feet thicker, there would be no oxygen, and without it all animal life would die. Had the oceans been a few feet deeper, carbon dioxide and oxygen would have been absorbed and no vegetable life would exist.

The earth’s weight has been estimated at six sextillion tons (that a six with 21 zeros). Yet is is perfectly balanced and turns easily on it axis. It revolves daily at the rate of more than 1,000 miles per hour or 25,000 miles each day. This adds up to nine million miles a year. Considering the tremendous weight of six sextillion tons rolling at this fantastic speed around an invisible axis, held in place by unseen bands of gravitation, the words of Job 26:7 take on unparalleled significance: “He poised the earth on nothingness.”

The earth revolves in its own orbit around the sun, making the long elliptical circuit of six hundred million miles each year–which means we are traveling in orbit at 19 miles per second or 1,140 miles per hour.

Consider the sun. Every square yard of the sun’s surface is emitting constantly an energy level of 130,000 horsepower (that is, approximately 450 eight-cylinder automobile engines), in flames that are being produced by an energy source much more powerful than coal. Still the sun is only one minor star in the 100 billion orbs which comprise our Milky Way galaxy. If you were to hold out a dime at arm’s length, the coin would block out 15 million stars from your view, if your eyes could see with that power.

No wonder Isaiah, in the darkness of the night sky, saw the greatness of God:

Look at the night skies: Who do you think made all this? Who marches this army of stars out each night, counts them off, calls each by name – so magnificent! so powerful! – and never overlooks a single one? (Isaiah 40:26, The Message)



(This is part one of three introducing Elohim.)

An empty wasteland. Blackness. A deep abyss. Falling and never landing. Looking and never seeing. Darkness. Emptiness. Nothingness. Chaos. Perpetual night. Thick, black darkness. No east because there is no west. No up—there is no down. No sense of direction. Purposeless. Void of meaning. No beautiful neighborhoods—there is no earth to build upon. No highways. No cars. No one. The cry of a newborn baby—never heard. The budding of a spring flower—never seen. The flutter of a butterfly’s wing—never felt. The sweet juice of a savory strawberry—never relished. The aroma of a summer rose—never enjoyed. Life never lived.

And God said.

God’s voice broke the silence. His words pierced the darkness. The time had come for the interruption of emptiness, the declaration of creativity.   “Let there be light!” And there was light. God’s first creative activity—light. Oceans would have to wait. Mountain peaks be patient. Galaxies on hold. Light came first. Darkness dissipated. Nothingness evaporated. Emptiness filled.

And God said.

Darkness fled like a hunted prisoner. Never again would light and darkness mix. Never again would darkness overpower light. From this creative moment, light would always dominate darkness. Darkness settled for second place—forever. Day and night became reality. No longer would life be lived in continuous blackness. Night would always be sandwiched between two days.

And God said.  

Nothing became something. Darkness surrendered to light. The abyss became the Grand Canyon. Chaos succumbed to organization. All because God spoke.

And God said.

Three words that have done more to change the course of history than any words ever spoken. Who is this God? Who is this God who dared interfere with the status quo? Who is this God who spoke and worlds came into existence? Who is this God who displaced darkness with the announcement of light? Who is this God whose word is so trustworthy that the mere mention of his plans brings them into existence?

He is Elohim. Creator God. Designer of the universe. He is the One who broke into nothingness and left orbiting planets and pulsating stars in its place. Elohim—the One who stirred up dust and breathed into it the breath of life. Elohim.

The very name means mighty, strong, powerful. When God chose to reveal Himself, he displayed His power. When God decided to invent humanity, He did so through the demonstration of unequivocal power. When God initiated human life, He did so as the Sovereign ruler of the universe. From Genesis 1:1 to 2:4, Elohim is used 35 times to describe God. Though other names come later, Elohim stands alone in these verses as the descriptive name of God. He is omnipotent.

Why Marriage Matters

“So what’s the big deal?” you may be thinking. Why does it matter that the Supreme Court presumably “redefined” marriage? Consider the following realities about marriage:

  1. Marriage predates civilization. God invented marriage. It is astounding to think that God deemed all of creation good until the sixth day. Then, with Adam in the middle of paradise and even with no hint of sin, God said it “is not good” for man to be alone. So he put Adam to sleep, removed a rib and created Eve. Marriage was God’s design before government ever regulated it.
  2. Marriage replenishes civilization. Once God created Adam and subsequently Eve he gave clear instructions: Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28, ESV) Every boy or girl since Adam came from the womb of a woman and the seed of a man.
  3. Marriage prefigures Christ and the church. Jesus refers to the church as his “bride.” It is interesting that Scripture begins with a wedding (between Adam and Eve) and ends with a wedding (the marriage supper of the Lamb). The story of redemption is one large unfolding romance between a God who is crazy about us, the Son he sends to rescue us, and the bride he makes us to be.
  4. Marriage is the ultimate love relationship. Ravi Zacharias aptly says, “Love is given one word in English but there are four words in Greek. Agape is God’s love. Phileo is friendship love. Storge is protective love. Eros is romantic love. Marriage is the only relationship that pulls all four of these together. When you say “I do” to the one you’re saying “I don’t” to all the others. When you say “I will” to the one you’re saying “I won’t” to all the others. Any departure from that beauty and sacredness of the full confluences of love is not the biblical notion of what it means it to be married.”

The Supreme Court may misconstrue marriage but they cannot redefine it.  God made his opening statement in Genesis 2 and his closing argument in Revelation 19.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. (Revelation 19:6-8 ESV)

That wedding day will come. God has never lost a case.

The Sorrow of Sin

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” (Ruth 1:19 ESV)

Sin disfigures. Sin destroys. Sin devastates. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem she was hardly recognizable. As an Ephrathite she was among Bethlehem’s elite, a member of the aristocratic class. Well respected when she left town, she comes home stripped not only of her self-respect but also visibly bearing the wear and tear of her stay in Moab. Naomi’s former friends didn’t even recognize her. As soon as they saw her the whispering began. “Is this Naomi?”

William Paul Young said, “Sin is its own punishment, devouring you from the inside.” Paul’s now famous words in Romans 3:23 echo Young’s statement: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul used very familiar imagery so that his audience would get his point. Sin always writes you a paycheck and always pays you the same wage: death.

If sin is so deadly, then why do people do it? Why do people choose to live their lives in perpetual sin? Remember the hall of fame of faith? Moses demonstrated both the danger of sin and the delight of God.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them. (Hebrews 11:24-28 ESV)

Moses shows us how to avoid sin. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh. There will be times you will simply have to say “no.” Moses also chose. He chose one option over another. Option #1 was to be mistreated with the people of God. Option #2 was to enjoy the fleeting pressures of sin–indulge the flesh one more time. Third, Moses considered. Moses had to weigh his options. He was set to inherit the treasures of Egypt. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt. In other words, Moses valued God above his own selfish desires.

Sin is serious. 3 quick questions:

1. What are you allowing right now that you need to refuse?

2. What decision (choice) do you need to make today?

3. What (or who) do you value more than God?

Take Heart

Read this slowly and deliberately.

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:32-38 ESV)

The great lie of the 21st century is that if you have faith all will go well with you. Authors suggest you can actually have your best life now. When tempted to believe this lie, Hebrews 11 is your goto reading. In this list 22 scenarios are described: 10 have good outcomes, 12 end dismally. Some stopped the mouths of lions while others were flogged. Some quenched the power of fire while others were killed by the sword. Some were made strong out of weakness while others were destitute.

This proves that faith cannot be measured by outcomes.

Faith does not mean changing your outcome. Faith is changing your outlook. Martin Luther said, “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” Sometimes the greatest faith is demonstrated in the most difficult circumstances.

This will take another 7 minutes and 38 seconds. Worship God by listening to this song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MfBQ30Ta9w. Let the words soak into your very being.

Take heart.

The Erosion of Evolution

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV)

In verse 1 the writer of Hebrews defines faith. It is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

In verse 2 the people exercise faith. As a matter of fact, Hebrews 11:4-38 describes them in vivid detail. Abel is applauded for offering a faithful sacrifice. Abraham is commended for traveling into the unknown. Moses is lauded for choosing the life of a Hebrew over the lure of the palace. These people exercised faith.

In verse 3 the writer describes the origin of faith. Faith begins by believing that God created. Theologians call this God creating ex nihilio–out of nothing. Moses, the writer of Genesis, said it this way:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God 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. (Genesis 1:1-5 ESV)

The earth was formless and void. Empty. God spoke. He didn’t start with raw material–He created with the spoken word. He didn’t need chlorophyll to make leaves–He spoke leaves into existence. Hebrews 11:3 states that believing God created is the cornerstone of faith, the beginning point of a relationship with God.

Why? If God didn’t create the universe, if He didn’t fling the stars into space, why in the world would He send His only Son to die for it? If God didn’t breathe the breath of life into Adam’s lungs, if God didn’t put Adam to sleep to create his wife, Eve, then why would He send His Son to die for Adam and Eve? The cross is foolish apart from creation. On the cross Jesus redeemed what He created.

That’s why evolution erodes faith. If scientists can convince us that we evolved then we are on a fast descent into doubt and self-degradation. C. S. Lewis, in his book Screwtape Letters, said it this way:

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

Belief in evolution isn’t an earthquake. It is a light rain that gradually erodes faith until all that is left is the red clay of a hard heart. Only the crucified Creator can soften red clay.