Monday, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 19 -by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is 2 Samuel 7-8, Psalm 99, Acts 10
Today's scripture focus is Genesis 1:24-31

24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man[a] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “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.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Don't you sometimes feel overwhelmed by all of your "to-do" list of what you expect to do in a day? Maybe this comes from seeing all that God can accomplish in a day...we very quickly realize we are just mere humans. ;)

MacArthur says that acknowledging God as the creator (and master of the universe and everything in it) is am important part of our faith.

Christianity does not begin with accepting Jesus Christ as Savior. It begins with accepting God as creator. And the real problem, folks, of the twentieth century, the real problem of a post-modern world is not that they reject Jesus Christ, it's that they reject God as creator. Consequently they don't even know who Jesus is or how He fits in. And if you reject God as creator, that, I believe, is the cause of all human lostness. It's the cause of vagaries in human thought. It's the cause of all the meanderings of philosophy.
On the other hand, when you believe that God is the creator and He created exactly as He revealed in Genesis, that establishes the foundation for all truth, for then God is sovereign and all truth and authority flows down from God about everything.

God is the Creator. God is sovereign. God created everything according to His purpose. His final creation-man-was his intention all along.

MacArthur explains:

Then God said everything is ready now. The whole universe has been created for the purpose of man to live in it and to see the hand of God declared through all of it, through the firmament and through the beasts of the field which will give Me glory as the prophet Isaiah said. God has created a whole world, a whole environment for man so that man can see the wonderful creative genius of the mind of God and God can demonstrate His beauty, His order through all the created world and God can provide an environment which puts His glory on display.
This is long but an awesome explanation of why man, created in the image of God, is so important:

Now what does it mean to be made in the image of God? It means you're not an animal. It means you're not a higher animal. It means you didn't evolve from a monkey, or a gibbon or a baboon, or any other thing. From the very outset man was created on a divine pattern, made on a divine pattern rather than a material earthly pattern only. And, by the way, he is the only living being in the time/space universe made on the divine pattern. Man is transcendent. The truest part of man cannot be reduced to any chemical formula. the truest part of man cannot be seen in DNA. It cannot be found in the chromosomes. It cannot be found by dissecting his brain. It cannot be found by cutting open his heart. It cannot be found by tinkering with his nervous system.
You can take all of the scientific experiments you want on the anatomy of a human being and never will you discover the true part of man, which is that intangible reality that he is a transcendentbeing which has no chemical constituents. Man is distinct from every other created creature. In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verse 11, a wonderful statement is made. "He has made...speaking of God...everything appropriate in its time, He has also set eternity in their heart." What a great statement. He has set eternity in their heart. That's true only of man. Down in verse 21 of Ecclesiastes 3, "Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth." The writer is, his spirit goes up, any other created being upon death, his spirit goes down. Goes into the ground, as it were, out of existence because God has set eternity in our hearts. You can take away our body and we will live forever.
So the image of God isn't talking about some kind of physical form. The image of God indicates attributes, not shared at all by animals. And the bottom-line word I gave you was is a person, personhood. These are his distinctives...self-consciousness. Animals are conscious but they're not self-conscious. They're conscious to their environment, they react to their environment, but they don't know they're reacting to their environment, it's merely instinctive. But man is conscious and he reacts to his environment and he knows how to react cause he reacts cognitively. Man has reason rather than instinct. Man has the capability to think abstractly. Man has the ability to appreciate beauty, to feel emotion, to be morally conscious. And above all, as we pointed out last time, man has the capacity and the need to personally relate to others, to other people and especially to God, being able to love Him and worship Him. That's personhood.
Man has the ability to love. Man has the ability to fellowship, to converse, to commune. Man is the only creature in existence in the time/space world that has language. Now all of that points to the trinity and that's why, as I told you last time, verse 26 indicates, "Let us make man," for the first time God is introduced here as more than one because He's making man in His image and man is made for personal relationships. God discloses the fact that He Himself is a trinity as we well know and as unfolds throughout the rest of Scripture, particularly the New Testament, so that God in the relationships of the trinity establishes the pattern for man's relationships.
Now that's sort of the ontological essence of man. The ethical essence of man, he has the capacity for moral behavior. He has the capability to be holy and righteous. He has the ability to be sanctified. He has the ability to obey God. He has the ability to receive divine and eternal salvation. Man created in the image of God, and that's just a brief review of what we saw last time, primarily indicating personhood and therefore relationships.
Now let's look at the three remaining features that are described here of man. Number two, man is not only made in the image of God, man is the king of the earth. He is the king of the earth. We look at that in verses 26 and 28. In verse 26 after saying "Let us make man in our image according to our likeness," God said, "And let them rule...and let them rule." And then He went on to describe everything, the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Down in verse 28 it says, in the middle of the verse, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." Man was designed by God to be the sovereign of the planet, to be the king of the earth. Verse 26, let them rule. Verse 28, subdue it and rule.
31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

It was very good. God's design. God's plan. God's creation. It was very good.

Tomorrow's scripture focus Genesis 2:1-3
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: 2 Samuel 9-10, Psalm 100, Acts 11


TammyIsBlessed said...

Loved those quotes.

Isn't it humbling to realize that the entire universe was created to be an habitable place for man so we could glorify Him? Amazing.

TammyIsBlessed said...

It's a bit long, but I also appreciated this quote by Deffinbaugh:
man’s dignity and worth are not imputed by man, but they are intrinsic to man as one who has been created in the image of God. Man’s worth is directly related to his origin. No wonder we are hearing such frightening ethical and moral positions proposed today.

Any view of man’s origin which does not view man as the product of divine design and purpose, cannot attribute to man the worth which God has given him. To put it another way, our evaluation of man is directly proportionate to our estimation of God.

I am no prophet, my friend, but I will venture to say that we who name the name of Christ are going to have to stand up and be counted in the days to come. Abortion, euthanasia, and bioethics, to name just a few, are going to demand ethical and moral standards. The bedrock principle upon which such decisions must be made, in my estimation, is the fact that all men are created in God’s image.

In this light, I can now see why our Lord could sum up the whole of the Old Testament in two commands,

And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-40).

The attitude of the future seems to be to love only those ‘neighbors’ who are the contributors to society, only those who may be considered assets. How different is the value system of our Lord, who said,

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me (Matthew 25:40).

In my estimation, here is where we Christians are going to be put to the test. Some are strongly suggesting that those who our Lord called ‘the least’ are precisely those who should be eliminated from society. May God help us to see that man’s dignity is that which is divinely determined.