Sunday, June 19, 2011
Sermon - Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 - Holy Trinity Sunday
Holy Trinity Sunday
June 19th, 2011
“Creation and Recreation”
A blessed Holy Trinity Sunday to you. The Christian Church sets aside this Sunday, the week after Pentecost, to particularly confess the biblical doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Bible teaches us about our God – one God in three Persons. And while it is clear enough, it is still a great and wonderful mystery.
The Athanasian Creed is a historical statement of faith the Chruch has used to clarify just what the Bible teaches about our Triune God. It came from a time when the teaching of the Trinity was under assault. There was great confusion that needed to be corrected. Since then, we have regarded this creed as a good and true statement about our God, who he is, and what he does. By the way, this creed uses the word “catholic” with a small “c”, which means “universal”. It's not saying we are Roman Catholic, but that we believe in the Trinity along with the universal, catholic church of all time.
When we talk about the work of the Father, Son, Spirit, we often mention Creation, Redemption and Sanctification – ascribing each person of the Godhead his respective work. But the truth is all three persons are involved in all three of these works. And today, we can see in particular, the Trinue God active in Creation. Our reading from Genesis shows it clearly – God the Father speaking the words of creation. God the Holy Spirit moving over the waters, and breathing life into, especially, the first man, Adam. John chapter 1 describes how God the Son is the agent, the very word of creation, by whom all things were made. And so the Triune God is certainly at work here, even in the beginning.
Perhaps as much as the doctrine of the Trinity used to be under assault, today the doctrine of Creation is much the same. It's something we need to hear more about, especially in the Christian church.
And since four is the biblical number of creation – like the four winds or the four points of the compass – let's consider four problems we have when it comes to creation, and also four blessings from our Triune God in regard to the same.
1) Some of us don't believe it.
Yes, even though the Bible clearly teaches that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and made all things, and made man in his own divine image – some, even some Christians, doubt it. Of course there are those outside the church who put forth theories of godless evolution. But the trouble comes when well-meaning Christians try to shoehorn Genesis into this atheistic worldview of Evolution. They end up with something that is not of Darwin and neither is it of God. If we can't simply believe what the Word of God says about what really happened, then how can we trust that same word to inform us about our own sin, and what death means, and even how these are overcome in Jesus Christ? The first problem with Creation is that some simply don't believe what God says about it. If you are one of those who seeks to compromise, beware! There's no compromising God's clear Word.
2) The second problem with Creation is that some of us mistreat it. We misuse and abuse our environment. We are wasteful and destructive. We don't care as much as we should. Even when it comes to our own bodies, which are part of Creation, we fail and sin. We need repentance.
3) The next problem with Creation is that it's broken. It doesn't work like it should. Disease and disaster and death, grief and sadness, pain and misery – none of these belong in this world. They're not part of the creation God created. They are invaders, interlopers. It's amazing this world still functions at all with all of the brokenness we see around us. Some have even come to the conclusion that this world is a living hell itself. But of course, the ultimate Hell is far worse. Still it's easy to see that creation itself is fallen, and like a woman in labor, has its fits of pain and trouble. And some of that comes home to your own doorstep from time to time.
4) The fourth problem with Creation is that that it's our fault it's broken. No, we can't just lay all the blame at the feet of Adam and Eve (though they certainly started it). But you and I are children of sin, and just as responsible for its perpetuation. Our own sinfulness brings continued brokenness to creation. We share in the blame. We would do no better than anyone else. We are part and parcel of this fallen creation by our own fallen nature of sin. We need something, or someone from outside to come and save us. We need Jesus Christ.
Of course, there's good news when it comes to Creation, too. Here four points will also do.
1) God created! Let's not let it pass by, that God didn't have to make our world. But he who loves and is love, created and object of his great love. And so the heavens declare his handiwork, and we find ourselves here because he made us, gave us life, and gave us this wonderful world to live in.
2) God sustains his creation! He doesn't just wind it up like a clock and walk away. He keeps it going. He keeps US going. He even provides for the wicked. We too receive our daily bread. Though it's a broken world, he still upholds it with his mighty hand. For this we thank and praise Him.
3) Ah, but he doesn't leave our creation broken. He doesn't leave us to our own failed devices. Through Jesus Christ, our Triune God redeems all of creation. Jesus is the Second Adam who fixes what the First Adam broke. Not just our relationship with God, but with each other. Even the physical world which is broken – Jesus died to redeem. He takes away our guilt, shame, and rightful blame. His cross and resurrection do the job. And by the Spirit, he claims again what rightly belongs to him, and to his Father.
4) He promises to re-create it. Jesus says “Behold I make all things new”. We are promised a new heaven and earth after the former things melt away.
Even our sad, fallen, sin-stricken bodies which lay in the dust of the earth will be raised to glory like Christ was raised – to live forever. How much more will he not give us a place to live in that body – a place with himself forever. Some have even seen the fact that Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday – as a hint of that new creation. Since the first creation began on a Sunday, we now recognize Sunday as the 8th day, or a day of new creation in Christ.
Yes, our Triune God creates, but He also recreates. For Jesus Christ lived and died redeem and to save, to salvage, to make all things new. And that includes, first of all, you. You are recreated by faith in his word, by the water of promise, and in the meal of forgiveness. And he who has begun this good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is faithful, and he will do it. Amen.