I began Sunday’s sermon with the observation that, “for many people the Bible begins with an argument.” Primarily Genesis chapter 1 is the battleground for the creation vs evolution debate.The biggest problem is that Genesis 1 wasn’t written as a scientific explanation of how the world came into existence.
I understand that for some people creation vs evolution is really a symptom of the deeper question, “Does God exist?” Some people have even converted to Christianity when they find the creation arguments persuasive. More people walk away from their faith when they find themselves unable to answer all the evolution questions.
When we make Genesis 1 all about creation vs evolution we overlook the greater significance of the creation narrative.
Genesis 1 introduces God. When the apostle John wants to introduce Jesus in the first chapter of his Gospel, God in the flesh, he utilises the language of Genesis 1.
- In the beginning… The first three words of both Genesis and the Gospel of John.
- The Word – Although this title has other first century significance, it is impossible to overlook the fact that God created in Genesis 1 simply by speaking. He commands, it appears.
- He was with God in the beginning… What an amazing claim, that Jesus was with God at Creation and was integral to the Creation event.
- In hims was life and that life was light… Life and light are prominent themes in Genesis 1.
- As God walked in the Garden with Adam & Eve, so Jesus lived among his Creation.
The apostle Paul would later illustrate that this Creation theme is not just a clever literary method to make grandiose claims about Jesus. In 1 Corinthians 15 he describes Jesus as a “second Adam”.
The first man, Adam, came from the earth and was made from dust; the second man, Jesus, has come from heaven. The earth man shares his earth nature with all those made of earth; likewise the heavenly man shares His heavenly nature with all those made of heaven. Just as we have carried the image of the earth man in our bodies, we will also carry the image of the heavenly man in our new bodies at the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:47-49 VOICE)
Jesus didn’t come to earth just to teach a new ethic. Jesus came to earth to initiate a new creation.
Look at the quote, “The heavenly man shares His heavenly nature with all those made of heaven.” That sounds a bit cryptic. I know I don’t feel like I’m “made of heaven”. But over in Philippians 3:20-21 Paul tells us, “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” As followers of Jesus we participate in the New Creation. Our citizenship is in heaven. We share Jesus’ heavenly nature.
This doesn’t mean we’re perfect. It doesn’t mean we’re superior to anyone else. It doesn’t even guarantee that we’ll never change our minds about Jesus and return to our former life.
It does mean that we participate in something bigger than ourselves: Creation 2.0.
It does mean that the darkness has not overcome the light, nor will it.
It does mean that Jesus has defeated death.
And it does mean that while this victory is not completed and we continue to experience death, sickness and suffering, we look forward to that day when Christ finalises His victory. We look forward to the day when Jesus recreates Eden.
Creation 2.0 has begun. The Creation story of Genesis 1 introduces God. The Creation story of John 1 introduces Jesus as God. And the Bible story identifies the followers of Jesus as participants in God’s new Creation, moving towards the dawning of the eternal New Heaven and New Earth: Creation 2.0.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Cor. 5:17 NIV)