Pathway to Christ

GenesisOne the things children share in common with each other is an intense curiosity about life that seems to have no bounds. Most of us I am sure can recall a time when we were curious about where we came from. And all of us at one time asked that age old question of our mother or father . . . that question being . . . “Where do babies come from?” and then . . . as we compared notes with each other about this most important topic . . . some of us were surprised to hear that many of us were picked up by our moms in a cabbage patch . . . or that a stork brought some of us and dropped us down the chimney. We knew of course that these had to be made up stories and judging from the nervous tick in our parents faces while telling us these types of stories, that this was a subject that was not easily broached among the elder set.

But as time went on and we became more and more aware of the differences between boys and girls . . . and . . . as bothers and sisters arrived on the scene with no storks or cabbages in sight, it became apparent for most of us that babies were of course ‘purchased’ like canned goods at the local hospital . . . there could be no doubt.

I, of course, being as curious as any other kid asked this question of my mother, who, because she was busy with something at the time, quickly told me that I should go ask my father, who was sitting in the living room. What my father told me when I asked the question, sort of threw me for minute, because unlike my friends’ stories . . . there were no storks, or magic beans, or cabbages or pumpkin patches.

My father told me when I was five that babies were a gift, given to mommies and daddies by God when they shared a special kind of love. For a five year old, this seemed to answer the question perfectly and it wasn’t until a decade later that my father finally filled me in on all the unmentionable details.

In the genesis story we read today, we don’t read about where babies come from. The author assumes the reader is already quite aware of where babies come from because no mention is made about this subject except a mandate to go out have as many as possible. What the story of genesis attempts to answer is another age old question . . . one asked by mature, thinking adults . . . the question being “Where did everything come from?”   The answer, written in the first book of the bible called Genesis, written down when language was finally more than just a spoken word around 1700 BC is quite simple and direct, and its’ answer has sufficed us for over three millennia . . . that being that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Today of course, scientists and academia are quite bewildered with this answer because it leaves them in the awkward spot of not having an answer that disproves the claim of an ancient religious tradition. Some do not wish to believe in a God, or a prime mover of the universe, who is our Father so many have gone out of their way to look at the genesis story through the prismatic lens of the scientist and the skeptic and have tried their best to debunk the story of the biblical creation as a myth. But is it?

Theologians have long held the view that the story of Genesis, along with the other books of the pentateuch, that is the first five books of the bible were at one time part of a narrative, a spoken story, that was passed down from one generation to another for thousands of years. They believe this to be true and even gave the authors names and divided the intertwined story into segments that matched the themes and ideas of each story.

This hypothesis, sometimes called the Wellhausen hypothesis, proposes that the Pentateuch was derived from originally independent, parallel and complete narratives, which were subsequently combined into the current form by an unknown author, some now think to be Moses. The number of these narratives is usually set at four, but this is not an essential part of the hypothesis.

The hypothesis was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries from the attempt to reconcile questions that theologians had about the biblical text. By the end of the 19th century it was generally agreed that there were four main sources, combined into their final form by a series of edits. These four sources came to be known as the Jahwist, J; the Elohist, E; the Deuteronomist, D, (the name comes from the Book of Deuteronomy, D’s contribution to the Torah); and the Priestly Writer, P.

It is not for us to get into the technical aspects of these four writings today, but the fact is that what we read today is a combination of at least four accounts of the creation and for scientists and others to compare what they believe with what they assume the biblical account says, is in fact meaningless without the input of the rest of the bible to interpret the beginning.

For me, the entire argument can be settled mid-way through the very first line . . . In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth ‘comma’ . . . where we stop and say to ourselves ‘Is this not a complete thought? . . . How many heavens did God create and is earth a single planet or are we talking about something else? And then reading on we suddenly find that this earth that was just created is now formless and void. Why? What happened?

To answer this question we need to travel into the future to find in the last book, the book of Revelation that there was a war in heaven between the followers of Lucifer and the archangel, Michael and the angelic host of heaven where Lucifer was defeated and cast down from heaven to earth . . . and then to Jesus who gives us a first person account of what happened back in the beginning where he tells the disciples in the gospel a few weeks ago “…And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.”

So in the beginning there was a war in heaven and it apparently occurred before the comma of the first sentence of Genesis. And so was the war the cause of the earth being now formless and void? Look at our own wars – look at photos of Dresden in Germany after the allied bombing and you will understand what war means to a place, a city or a planet.

And so the statement, at least to me, asserts that when God started to create or to re-create the earth it was then formless and void.

And what about the word ‘heavens’? We always think of heaven as where God resides (as in the kingdom of heaven), but heavens is plural and certain theologians have surmised that there is in fact three heavens described in scriptures. Beside the spiritual heaven where we believe God is, there is the sky over our heads that is also called heaven that is controlled by time and there is the heaven of the universe that is controlled by space and which we call appropriately enough ‘space’.

What I am trying to say to you this morning is that there is, by design, some answers to questions that have been masked from us by God over time for our own good. One of the answers is is that Man was created in the midst of a spiritual war . . . that is still going on. The earth is the spiritual stronghold of evil but it is the physical re-creation of a God who desires most to be in communion with mankind but who lost us (and the earth itself) to the enemy almost at its very beginning. It was Jesus Christ, God’s son who came to earth and gave himself as a ransom to buy us back from Satan and it is Jesus Christ who will come again at the last battle to take back the earth and finally defeat and imprison all the forces of evil in the world.

The Bible is the inspired Word of God and running through every page of it, both Old and New Testaments, is a pathway to Jesus Christ. It seems like a million years ago the AAA used to issue something called a trip-tick. It was a book of maps and drawn on every page was a highlighted route showing the best way to your destination. Today of course we have GPS and TomTom that does pretty much the same thing, although human error is such that, like me, you might be led into traveling the wrong way on a one way street. But scripture is much different in that there is no human error. The Father is the author, the Holy Spirit is the guide and the destination has been from the beginning and always will be Jesus our Messiah.

We may not always understand the path but the path remains absolutely clear for every believer to follow.

The people who were born after the flood needed some understanding of where they had come from. Genesis was written and given to them so that they might have answers to the questions they were asking. The entire history of mankind and the people of Israel is written in our Bible that includes the vision of a future king or messiah, a savior that would bring to fruition the end of a great war and the beginning of a new millennium ruled by the author of peace who will be the King of Kings. In these last days it is vitally important to keep the essence of this message from God in our hearts and minds as we worship the Trinity of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen