When Gregory Elder was a child, he used to spend many days in a row building sandcastles on the beach. Whole cities were constructed over the course of a week. One year, some local bullies came by every day to kick down the cities he had created out of sand. And it was frustrating. Every time he built it up, they would come, chase him away and kick the sand buildings down. Finally, fed up with their ways, he started putting cinder blocks, rocks and pieces of metal into the creations. When they came by and he promptly left, they damaged their bare feet so much that they decided they didn't like kicking down sandcastles. The sand was now built on a solid foundation that could not as easily be kicked down.
And I have been concerned that Christians have allowed Satan to kick their work all to pieces. We tend to compromise, to give up, to get discouraged, to lose our zeal, to go off course. And so we have been covering some of the foundations that will give Satan sore feet (Amen?) and that can protect us and that can give us enthusiasm and hope and insight and perseverance. We have looked at things like the victorious hope of postmillennialism, the victorious sovereign grace of Calvinism, the victorious strategy known as presuppositionalism; the victorious plan for planet earth known as the Great Commission. What an encouraging plan that is! We saw that God rejects the War plan used by the United States in Korea and Vietnam, and instead invented General Douglas McArthur's maxim that in war there is no substitute for victory. And so we saw that Jesus does not command a holding pattern till we get bailed out of our spiritual Vietnam. He calls us to total conquest in the Great Commission. Every square inch of planet earth and every square inch of our own lives need to submit to King Jesus.
But recently we have been looking at the foundation of Genesis chapter 1. It's a foundation really to all that we do. This is a chapter that has come under enormous attack precisely because Satan knows how important the issues of this chapter really are. He always goes after the key doctrines of Scripture. And Creationism is foundational to every discipline of life and to every doctrine of Scripture. And so three weeks ago we saw how this chapter stands as a rebuke to eight non-Christian worldviews. Two weeks ago we saw how this chapter contradicts 19 evangelical accommodations to secular science. Last week, we pointed the finger at ourselves and used verses 6-8 as a caution on how easy it is even for us six day creationists to mishandle the word in our zeal to have a model for integrating six day creationism with science. Since science is constantly changing, we can never hold our models of integration with the same dogmatism that we hold the Word of God itself. Now that's not to say that these models aren't useful. I think they are wonderfully useful. Each of these models explains facets of Genesis 1-11 that is extremely helpful in understanding our world.
Today we won't be covering every doctrine in the next 17 verses. I'm just going to highlight a few key concepts as we go through this chapter.
The Power of God's Word
And the first concept is the incredible power of God's Word. Verse 9 says, Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. God speaks, and on the same day, it happens. And contextually it doesn‘t appear to take much time at all. God says, Let their be light and instantly, there is light. There is no hesitation or lack of responsiveness to God's commands. God didn't have to take billions of years to develop the things in this chapter. Actually, He didn't even have to take six days. He did it as a pattern for our week. But it didn't take him all day to make His creations. Even Adam, whom He carefully formed out of the ground on the morning of day 6 has all day to name animals. On each day, there was a moment of time when God spoke, and immediately some aspect of the creation responds.
Notice verse 3: Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. Verse 6: Then God said… Verse 11, Then God said… Verse 14: then God said… And on down through the chapter you see God speaking and it was so. And when you consider the vastness of the work that was done by God's mere declaration, it staggers the mind. Astronomers who have calculated distances in space and have tried to visualize these distances have said that it gives you mental vertigo to try to comprehend it; in other words, it makes you dizzy to try to understand it. The creation is so vast that it is almost beyond description, and yet God is so much greater than creation that He merely spoke on each day, and these things came into existence. Let me try to give you a small picture of how amazing this really is (and I quote)
The diameter of the sun is about 109 times that of the Earth, namely, 863,000 miles. About 1.3 million Earths could fit into the sun. Even so, the sun is only a midget in comparison with many other stars in the universe.
Betelgeuse is so large that, if the sun were placed at its center, both Earth and Mars could orbit around the sun as they do at present distances-and remain within Betelgeuse. [When I describe how vast the distances between earth and mars are, keep in mind this statement that just this one sun's radius is bigger than the radius of our sun, is bigger than the radius of the orbit of the earth around the sun, and is even a bigger radius than a straight line drawn from the center of the sun to the planet Mars. Anyway, he goes on:] This giant star is about 431 million miles in diameter.
Antares is 522 million miles in diameter. [that one's even bigger. He goes on]
If our own galaxy, the Milky Way, could be seen from a distance, it would look like a giant spiral or pinwheel about 100,000 light years in diameter. [And a light year is how long it takes light to travel in one year. He is saying that it would take light 100,000 years to travel across our Milky Way galaxy. That's huge! He goes on:]
It is estimated that the Milky Way contains about 100 billion stars. It would take more than 3,000 years to count them at the rate of one per second. [That blows your mind: that's just in the Milky Way. There are so many stars in our own galaxy that it if you counted stars at a rate of one per second, it would take 3,000 years to count them all. It's taken computers to do this counting. He goes on.]
…Human imagination boggles at the vast distances between the heavenly bodies. A comparison scale makes visualization easier. If the sun were reduced to the size of a beach ball 24 inches in diameter, the planets could be represented as follows:
MERCURY: A grain of mustard seed 164 feet away.
VENUS: A pea 284 feet away.
EARTH: A pea 430 feet away, with the moon a grain of mustard seed 13 feet out from the earth.
MARS: A currant 654 feet away.
JUPITER: An orange half a mile away.
SATURN: A tangerine four-fifths of a mile away.
URANUS: A plum just over a mile away.
PLUTO: A pinhead about three miles away.
[That's all if the sun were a beach ball 24 inches wide and the earth were the size of a pea – Pluto would be three miles away. He goes on]
Our solar system is so remote from all other heavenly bodies that, if we use the same scale, the nearest star beyond Pluto would be 8,000 miles away.
But to get out of our own immediate planetary system, there isn't any scale that works if the earth is any size at all. So one scientist said,
Once we move past the nearest star, even the 3-inch Sun model becomes too large for us to conceive, so we choose a different scale. This time, imagine that the distance between the Sun and Earth is the thickness of a sheet of paper… The distance to the nearest star is scaled to a stack of paper 71 feet high, that the diameter of the Milky Way would be represented by a stack 310 miles high, and that the nearest galaxy would be scaled to over 6000 miles. The most astonishing calculation is that according to our best estimates of the edge of the known universe, the paper stack would reach 31 million miles high . . . or about one-third of the way to the Sun in real distance!
That's if you reduce the distance between the sun and the earth to the thickness of a sheet. The edge of the universe would be a stack of papers 31 million miles high.
God spoke that into existence. It was no effort. That is the power of God's Word! And it should have an impact on us. It should make us fear! It should make us trust Him! It should make us love Him that He would deign to love us and send His Son for us! The writer of Psalm 33 says that when we meditate on the power of God's Word at Creation, it ought to cause us to fear Him. One of the most disgraceful things that can be said of any people in the bible is the expression, there is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom. 3:18; Psalm 36:1). When you begin to comprehend the power of God's Word, it produces a reverence in you.
Psalm 33:6-9 says:
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
This is why Scripture says that we are foolish if we do not fear Him! We are foolish if we treat His laws lightly or if we transgress His laws. This is why the Scripture says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is why Psalm 34 says, Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. If you do not fear God; if you do not tremble at His Word, then the bible says that you need to learn. And understanding the power of His Word is one way to fear Him. All it would take to reduce you to ashes is a mere word from His mouth. All it would take destroy your wealth, to take away your children or to remove any idols you have placed before God is a mere word from His mouth. As Jonathan Edwards said, all that stands between you (hanging from God's hand over hell by a mere spider's thread) and hell itself is a thought from God's mind.
But this doctrine should not only cause fear and trembling in God's people. It should generate tremendous trust. The God who has such creative power in His Word can speak the Word and healing will occur. Is healing Bryan any difficulty for this God? No. Are finances any difficulty for such a God? No. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Does Dominion Covenant Church need a church building? All God needs to do is to speak, and it will be so. Some things like Adam's body He forms out of preexistent materials. Others things He creates out of nothing. But whether God works with or without means, I want you to have a trust in the power of God's Word. Tremble before His Word; trust His Word (that nothing can hinder its fulfillment).
Love His Word. What an awesome word of comfort it is when the bible says, If God is for us, who can be against us? What a comfort it is to know that though we are speck on this planet, and though this planet is only a tiny thing in this solar system, and though this solar system is just a speck in this galaxy and though this galaxy is lost in the vastness of this universe, yet God chose to send His Son to earth to die and to redeem us to Himself. It is a call to fear Him, trust Him and love Him.
The Meaning Given By God's Word
But there is something more about this word of God that I have missed. It is not only creative, it is descriptive. And this has a bearing on an earlier sermon on presuppositionalism – why we need to start with Scripture in any endeavor. The things that God speaks must be our interpretive axioms. In verse 5 it says, God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. Verse 8: And God called the firmament Heaven. Verse 10: and God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. God's Word is definitive in giving meaning and description to His creation. Joe Morecraft said, "God spoke and gave everything in the universe its existence, meaning, place, value and relationships. He gave the final interpretation of every fact in the universe, which interpretation was in His eternal mind before the creation took place. All facts, therefore, are God's facts, fully understood, fully governed and fully interpreted by Him, before He created them." He went on to discuss how the only way we can understand this universe is to align our minds to God's Word and to interpret creation in light of God's Word. It is foolishness to see science as the flashlight and the Word of God as the mystery that needs to be illumined. No! Scripture says that God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Mediate deeply on the power of God's Word and the meaning that God's Word gives to everything. If you grasp these two foundations they will serve you well in the world. They will be stones in the foundation which will stabilize your life while it dashes the feet of the Bible's detractors.
The Goodness of Creation
The third major foundation that I want you to notice in these verses is the goodness of creation. This can be seen in the oft repeated phrase, it is good. The last phrase of verse 10 says, And God saw that it was good. Notice the things that God calls good in this chapter. In verse 1, He calls the light good. In verse 9 he calls the earth good. In verse 10 He calls the seas good. In verse 12 He calls plant life good. And you could go on. But let me just read the summary statement in verse 31: Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
Now Augustine and others have pointed out that the standard of goodness is not something outside of God. It is God Himself who is the standard of goodness. In the absolute sense Jesus said, there is none good but God. He is the only source and definition of goodness. He is the standard of measure. And to insult God's creation is to insult God. Why? Because He is the only measure of goodness. We must not call bad what God has called good.
This means that our bodies were created good, and sexuality was created good. There was a tendancy in the early church to see the physical as a prison house that needed to be abused. They wanted to escape from their bodies and from planet earth. They saw the pleasure of eating a piece of fruit as evil, and normal sexuality as evil. But those views flowed out of Greek Neoplatonism, not out of the Bible. God gave the food for man's pleasure. He called upon man to be fruitful and multiply, and He did that before the Fall.
But people insist, "No, no. The fall made all things evil." They claim that once the fall happened, men must make as little use of this world as possible. They say that our goal should be to escape and to get to heaven. This world is not our home, we're just a passing through. Well, in one sense that is true since all of us must die, but in another sense it is blatantly wrong. It is an alien doctrine known as neoplatonism, and it has infected the church of Jesus Christ. Rushdoony wrote a booklet on the subject called the Flight from Humanity, in which he shows that neoplatonism has affected our views of economics, medicine and other areas. When a Christian speaks of this body as being our prison house, he is denigrating what God calls good. He is failing to offer up his or her body as a living sacrifice and he is failing to offer up the members of his body as instruments of righteousness.
Many Christians speak strongly against involvement in the politically arena because they believe that politics is dirty and it is impossible to be involved in society without becoming evil. I had a teacher who did not believe in transforming the world. He believed in separation from culture. Such a person doesn't join a monastery, but his abandonment of the social arena flows from the same defective views that ascetic monks who fled to the desert had. Many evangelical theologians have approved of the slogan, "You don't polish brass on a sinking ship" and have opposed involvement in the Dominion Mandate as being unspiritual. They claim we must be involved in fishing, not cleaning the fish bowl. And so, this really is a foundational issue that we need to address.
The Scripture says that the creation was cursed, is groaning, is travailing, but it does not say that the creation is evil. Look at Genesis 3:17. Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it': Cursed is the ground for your sake… The ground is cursed, but it was for Adam's sake. It was because of Adam's sin. We cannot say that sin is inherent in creation. Romans 8 says that the whole creation groans as a result of Adam's sin, but the creation did not sin itself. Adam did. And to see sin as being inherent in creation is to evidence the influence of pagan Neoplatonism. Think about this: Jesus took to Himself a body. He grew in Mary's womb. He was suckled. He had the very physical trade of carpentry. He lived in the tangible world every bit as much as we do, yet without sin.
Turn with me to 1 Timothy 4, which is one of several passages which speaks of physical things that God created as still being very good. God never did away with the mandate to subdue and take stewardship of the earth.
1Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,
1Timothy 4:2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
1Timothy 4:3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
1Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God is good [another translation is a little bit clearer. It says, "For everything God created is good], and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving;
1Timothy 4:5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
Now listen to me; this is important. Sin is not something that floats out there somehow. That is a heretical metaphysical view of sin. According to the bible sin is not something out there that gets you, like an infection. Sin is not like a virus or a bacteria. Sin is an action of moral creatures; it's a choice or a decision. Jesus said that every sin flows from the heart. The Scripture does not speak for example of alcohol as sin. It speaks of the misuse of alcohol as sin. Misuse is an action of a moral creature. So it is inappropriate to speak of demon alcohol. People might want to outlaw certain minerals as poisonous, but those minerals have a good use. For example, the main ingredient in rat poison is not a bad thing. But it's a bad action to put it in your neighbor's food ordinarily. And the reason I said ordinarily is that a heart specialist one time told me that the medicine he prescribes for one kind of heart problem is actually rat poison, but in lower doses. The way some people treat guns as evil objects, you would think that if there were no guns, there would be no deaths. But when Cain killed Abel with a stone, God did not blame the stones. Stones don't kill people; people kill people. Guns don't kill people; people kill people. It is very important that we not let people get off the hook of human responsibility by letting them lay the blame on their environment. God says that all sins are choices of our evil hearts. So let's not call evil, what God calls good. God does not call money the root of all evil. That's what many people think, but He doesn't do that. He calls the love of money, or as the dictionary defines that term – covetousness for money, or avarice as the root of all sorts of evil. Money is good, and Jesus says more about the wise use of money that he does many other spiritual topics. He had His disciples carry a money bag. Paul commanded fathers to lay up an inheritance for their children. That verse stands as a rebuke to modern socialism that feels guilty with the accumulation of wealth wisely stewarded in God's use. It is misunderstandings like this that have made people foolish with their money. So let's look about what the Bible says about the post-fall creation. Is dominion and stewardship of this cursed creation something that is still good?
In this chapter God calls both the light and the sun good. But in Solomon's time God could still say, Truly the light is sweet, and it is good for the eyes to behold the sun. I think we would have to say that the sun is good for us. Without the sun we would die. True, the curse has made the sun treacherous at times, God still calls it good. Now there are degrees of goodness even in this chapter. Part way through day six God says, It is not good that man should be alone. He's not saying that there is sin present, but it's only at the end of day six that God sees everything that He has made as being very good. He starts of by saying that some things are good. He ends with the phrase "very good." So there are degrees of goodness.
Though the light made on day 1 was good, it would not have been good for man at that point to placed on planet earth, and so only the light is called good. Man would have died if he was placed there. There is a word used for things that aren't good, but are not morally evil. There can be a good land and a bad land. A desert is a bad land. Why? Because men can't survive there. And yet God has good purposes for even deserts. Over and over God calls the land of Israel good despite the fact that it still had some of the effects of the curse. And let me give you a listing of other things that Scripture calls good. The land is called good, cities (Deut. 6:10) and houses (Deut. 8:12) are called good. A beautiful young lady is said to have a good body even though she used it in an ungodly way (Esther 1:11 "tov"). Gold is called good (Gen. 2:12). Many people are against gold or building an inheritance and speak of anything above bare subsistence living as being evil, but God calls the giving of an inheritance to children's children as tov or good (Eccl. 7:11; 1 Chron. 28:8). Honey is good (Prov. 24:13). Merchandise can be good (Prov. 31:18). Other things called good by God Himself are eating and drinking (Eccl. 5:18), perfume (Song of Solomon 1:3), appropriate marital love (Song of Solomon 1:2; 4:10), wine (Song of Solomon 7:9). And you could go on and on.
The bottom line is that though God has cursed this world to punish man, the cross of Christ reverses the curse – as the hymn Joy to the World says, far as the curse is found. And one day this very physical universe will be renewed as a new heavens and earth. God cares about physical things. As Morecraft says, [Neoplatonism] is totally repugnant to the Biblical view of creation. We must never forget that it was the material universe which God pronounced good. It was life, physical and spiritual, in all its wholeness, as God made it. It was things. It was the human body. It includes the created desires and needs we as human beings have… Therefore, we must be consistent with the Biblical doctrine of creation and view every aspect of life, both material-physical and spiritual, earthly and heavenly, as important to God. God cares about what we do with our bodies…" And I would add, God cares about what we do with our cars, our money, our yards.
The Personalism of Creation
But this brings up another point hinted at in these verses: the personalism of creation. Notice in verse 2 it says, And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. God was intimately involved in His creation. God speaks to creation, names creation and finds creation responding. He makes things for a purpose: His gift to mankind. And Hebrews 1:3 affirms that the Son upholds all things by the word of His power. Colossians 1:17 says, And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. It is very important that we not see creation as running by impersonal laws. Modern atheistic science holds to cosmic impersonalism – the view that life is the result of impersonal, self-generated random events. But the Christian better. He knows that all things work together for his good because God controls all things. By now most of you have memorized 1 Corinthians 10:13. But that is a verse that guarantees that God so controls your environment and so controls you that He can guarantee that you will never be faced with a moral dilemma. There will always be a way of escape. That means God controls your environment in a way personally crafted for your good. That's cosmic personalism – God's hand personally in everything.
Don't give Satan more credit than he deserves. Some people ascribe so much power to Satan and his conspiracies that you would think that all of creation is crafted by Satan for your bad. Satan cannot achieve cosmic personalism. Only God can ensure that the whole of creation glorifies His purposes and works for the church's good. There is no such thing as an impersonal free market. God governs economics and guarantees cause and effect results of violating His principles. This is even true when socialism imposes a tyrannical centralized economy. God guarantees the negative results. I recommend the first chapter in Gary North's commentary on Genesis: it is entitled Cosmic Personalism. And he has done such a wonderful job, that I won't delve into this further. I will simply commend it to your reading.
The Appearance of Age
Another principle that militates against evolutionary thought is that God created everything with the appearance of age. When Adam was created, unless God had told him, he would never have been able to guess that the sun and moon had not always been there. He would never been able to guess that the trees of verses 11-12 had been planted at mature fruit trees. How old was Adam when He was created? He was just seconds old, but by all appearances he probably looked like he was in his twenties. Day Agers will often complain that the earth looks old; that it would have taken millions of years to cool down adequately. But one of the things you can point out is that this whole chapter is one miracle after another. How did matter, time and energy come into existence? Not by natural processes. There were no natural processes. It is wrong to measure the past based on present assumptions. The bible says that the past was different than the present. There was a time when there was no earth, and the next day the earth was there. It had nothing to do with natural processes. There was the immediate appearance of age. There was a time when there was no atmosphere, and suddenly on day two the atmosphere appeared. There is nothing natural about that, and nothing from the present that could indicate this suddenly happened. It was a miracle, and it is wrong to judge miracles by the non-miraculous natural processes scientists observe around them.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That was a puzzle that Travis presented to the class. And his correct answer is that the question is a false dilemma; a logical fallacy. It is trying to answer the past based on present cause and effect relationships. Neither answer works. Both came first. God created chickens with eggs inside of them ready to be laid. The simple answer to those who measure the past based on present processes is that it is a huge assumption to say that the past developed at the same rate as the present. That assumes no catastrophes (like the flood), and no miracles (like creation). Don't get sucked into false dilemmas in debate. God created this earth mature and with the appearance of age.
After Its Kind
Another important principle is seen in verses 11-12: Then God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Notice the repeated phrase according to its kind and the word seed. All living things were made to reproduce, yet their reproduction was limited strictly to its own kind. Darwinian theory says that complex life forms all evolved from single celled ancestors. But not only has such enormous change from one kind to another never been witnessed, all genetic evidence stands strongly against it. Mendel's work not only demonstrated the creativity and variety within kinds that God enabled, but also resoundingly demonstrated the stability of genetics: that peas don't mutate into tomatoes.
The key point when debating with evolutionists is not to question change. Change is God ordained. Scripture speaks of change within kinds. The key point is whether there has ever been one kind changing into another kind. Horses don't become dogs; Rabbits don't become toads or vice versa. Some of you watched Xmen 2. A fun science fiction flick if the emphasis is on the fiction, not the science. The fact is that mutations never gain new genetic code material. They simply lose genetic code. To change from one kind (apes) into another kind (man) would necessitate vast amounts of new genetic information – something that has never been scientifically demonstrated.
But I think the greatest irony for Christian compromisers who seek to include evolution into the Genesis account is that these things are all backwards to evolutionary order. Look at the following chart.
Reproductive Increase is a Blessing
The next principle I will only briefly comment on. Notice in verse 22 that God considers growth of fish and birds as a blessing. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." Notice the same pattern with man: Verse 28 says, And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. The first thing that should be noticed is that multiplication is said to be a blessing. Modern man thinks of it as a curse. Actually there are some Scriptures which speak of multiplication as a curse. Those who multiply children for hell are said by Scripture to be cursed in their multiplication. But here God calls it a blessing. The second thing to notice is that it is a command. Be fruitful and multiply. Unless God has given the gift of celibacy, ordinarily God desires us to get married and to bear children. And this command is not only repeated in Genesis 9 and later Old Testament passages, but it is repeated in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 5:4 says, Therefore, I desire that the younger marry, bear children, manage the house… it continues to be a blessing and a command. And what a blessing it would be if the church would outnumber the Egyptians just from having large families. Those first two points are need to counteract an extreme selfishness that has pervaded Western civilization that has individuals accumulating wealth, but not desiring to bear children. God has never revoked the command to multiply. Having one child is not multiplying. It is still subtraction or losing population. In fact, all across the Western civilazation there is a birth dirth – where deaths are outnumbering births. This pattern is being duplicated by Japan and other emerging countries. But it ought not to be in the church. We ought to see it as a blessing, and groan within ourselves when God withholds the blessing of children.
But there is another extreme that you find in the church, and that is the extreme that says that we may not limit the number of children or that we may not space children, etc. A current view on birth control is that man may not take dominion in this area. It says that man does not have a choice in when, where and how many children to have. They say that rythmn method or the barrier method is sinful and that husbands and wives must have as many children as possible, one right after another. Now I would much rather that people hold to that viewpoint than to the selfish one that desires no children. But the third thing to notice in this passage is that such multiplication was placed under the oversight and dominion of man. The fields were commanded to be fruitful and multiply, yet God told Israel that it was good to give the land rest. Animals were commanded to fill the earth, but Scripture indicates that when there are too many of one kind of animal, it is not good. We have all seen the problem of overpopulatin of deer in Nebraska and Iowa. In otherwords, we need to look to the whole of God's Word to define how fast and how far we should multiply any of the things we have been given as a stewardship trust. And verse 28 indicates that God has given every living thing that moves on the earth as a responsibility for dominion. It is arbitrary to say that we can have dominion over the multiplication of vegetable life and of animal life, but not over the multiplication of our own families.
And the rest of Scripture speaks a great deal about the when, the how and the wherefore of multiplying. If you are interested in some papers, I can make those available. The Scripture does rule out anything that is abortifacient, like the IUD or the pill. It does rule out any method that would be harmful to child, to husband or to wife. But it does not rule out spacing children, waiting during times of health problems or financial problems or even limiting the number of children to 5 or 10 instead of 20. I think both extremes fail to understand Genesis 1 or the rich testimony of later Scripture to stewardship of the incredible blessing of children.
God is the source, sustainer and goal of all things
The last principle that I want to mention is this chapter shows God to be the source of all things, the sustainer of all things and the goal of all things. Man is not the center of life. God is. God begins with Himself, shows His authority over all creation through His commands and blessings, evaluates all things and establishes all things to glorify Him.
Romans 11:36 says, For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. He is saying that God is the source of all things, the sustainer of all things and the goal of all things. All of creation was designed to glorify God, and does indeed do so. Even unbelievers glorify Him by showing forth His wrath. Proverbs 16:4 says,The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
Revelation 5:13 ¶ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
"Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Revelation 4:11 "You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created."
That means that your life was created by God, is sustained by God and has its sole existence to glorify Him. Glorifying God does not mean that God needs you to complete Himself or because He was lonely. God needs nothing. But your life is not authentic if it does not answer to its design to reflect His glory. Your life is not authentic if it does not consciously place Jesus as number one. Colossians 1 says, For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist [and jumping to the purpose clause] … that in all things He may have the preeminence. May God have the preeminence in your life. That is your purpose. Amen.