Holy Trinity Sunday – A LSB #’s 905, 877, 947
Text – Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens & the earth.
IN THE BEGINNING
“The Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal,” in the Athanasian Creed, after the sermon, we will confess that God is eternal. He has always existed. Time defines no boundaries for the heavenly Creator. So when God sought to reveal Himself to us He began Holy Scripture with these words, “In the beginning…”
That means time did not exist until God began creating the heavens & the earth. Being the inquisitive person I am, at an evangelism meeting one evening it occurred to me to ask the man leading the study, his name was Tom, “What was God doing during all that “time” from eternity until He finally began creating the heavens & the earth?”
Tom caught me off guard with an instant reply. He didn’t even think it over: “God was making hell ready for those who ask such meddlesome questions.” The thought had just hit me spur of the moment & I’d never heard anyone else discuss it, so I was surprised that he so quickly hit me with an answer.
Later, during my seminary years, I discovered that I was not the 1st person to ask that question, & Tom was merely quoting to me the answer of a famous theologian from over 15 hundred years earlier.
You see the Bible has a very specific purpose. In it, God tells us exactly what He wants you & me to know. If He starts with the words, “In the beginning,” then that is exactly where He wants us to begin our understanding. Prior to that we get into an area where there is no space, no time, no matter, in summary, there’s nothing except God.
So already at the very beginning of Holy Scripture we’re left with no answer but to trust
in the Triune God. He’s incomprehensible to us apart from the revelation He gives in His Word. His Word continues then, in order that we might comprehend what God does desire to make known to us: “In the beginning God created…” The heavens & the earth are not an accident. They were intentionally & thoughtfully designed & created for a purpose.
The OT reading for today was kind of long wasn’t it? That’s to emphasize & bring home the point of just how much love & effort our heavenly Father put into creating our home, the heavens & the earth. When the house was done God then created Adam & Eve specifically for living in that house.
The evolution of man from apes is such a crock, not just for its total lack of scientific basis, but because it is completely devoid of any expression of God’s love. Those in the church, who support the idea that God used millions of years for each day of creation, are missing the main point of the entire creation account.
They’re missing the point that God is trying to bring home through that long & drawn out narrative of the 1st chapter – God is love. A God who would use the suffering & death of evolution, to ‘create’ animals & mankind, would hardly be a loving God at all. Scripture teaches very clearly that it was the sin of man which brought suffering & death into our world.
The 1st chapter of God’s creation ends with a very different summation: “And God saw that everything He made was very good. Evening came & then morning – the 6th day.” (Genesis 1:31 AAT) There’s hardly room in that summary for millions of years of survival of the fittest, or a natural selection process driven by death.
The teaching of macro-evolution is a direct denial of the existence of God, & teaching theistic evolution is a denial of God’s love. The events in Genesis, & the events in the four Gospels, are both part of one true story. The entire OT presents a lifeline that begins with the
creation of the universe & then reaches its climax displayed by the love of Christ on the cross.
The Bible’s 1st verse also underlines the truth that your life is a true story with its very beginning in God’s love, not in some accidental processes that have taken billions of years to culminate in the people whom you see today. In episode after episode of Holy Scripture we meet the hand of God, which delights in lifting the faith of men & women above their failures.
Likewise, it’s a hand that delights in lifting us above our failure. This hand did not seek to crush, after their rebellion, either Adam & Eve or their children. It seeks to give them new life instead – in Christ: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17 ESV)
If survival of the fittest were the ultimate process at work, each one of us already would have died rather than the Almighty Son of God. That we’re alive today testifies to His love & His almighty power. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, the Holy Spirit almighty; & yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
What Christians confess in the Athanasian Creed can be just as incomprehensible as creation from nothing. And if we cannot understand, it may seem impossible for us to help bring someone else to faith in Christ.
People have so many questions & the reality is we have so few answers. The smart aleck kind like, God was making hell ready for those who ask such meddlesome questions, they don’t work so well for evangelism. Yet that brings us back to the main point God’s Word is trying to bring home already in its 1st chapter & throughout the remaining pages as well.
The message we are to take into the world is that God loves us; enough to create each one of us individually, & enough to sacrifice His own Son for each one of us individually. It’s that love which eventually answers every question that people who remain children of God may have. It’s common to hear from someone who’s suffered a tragic loss that the thing which pulled them through was the concern & love that others displayed for them. In those circumstances love is often expressed simply by listening to the one who’s suffering.
In the case of tragedies, there are seldom answers to bring relief, but loving enough to listen does bring healing. Have you experienced that? Then you know how precious it is. If you’ve never experienced it, maybe that’s a reason you do poorly at sharing it. Stewardship is nothing more than reflecting the love that we have received from our heavenly Father.
Our sinful nature abhors such sharing. It’s constantly battling against the faith in Christ given us at baptism. Our sinful nature wants to believe in man-made theories & solutions. The sinful nature wants nothing to do with trusting God. The sinful nature demands an answer.
With the excuse that a Triune God & a six-day creation of the universe are incomprehensible, unbelieving men place their faith in the evolution of mankind. Martin Luther said that false teachers do their thinking about God with the same sureness with which they argue about a pig or a cow. They are that certain of their own brilliance.
Today, science & technology have become the new religion. Through them, people seek to evolve into their own god. With them, mankind is merely replaying the fall into sin. By following Satan’s temptation to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil, Adam & Eve were seeking to evolve into being their own gods.
Yet, despite their fall to the dark side, God promised & then sent the Light in the man Jesus of Nazareth. When did God do that? When the fullness of time was come, which harkens back to Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning… when the fullness of the time was come… it is finished… I am the Alpha & the Omega, the Beginning & the End.”
All those well-known Bible phrases involve the element of time. The God who created
us did not stand aloof from our problems when man fell into sin. Unlike all the false gods that unbelievers have worshipped throughout time, our God envelops Himself with & even reveals Himself in His very own creation. His Son entered time & took on the flesh of mankind in becoming one of us.
Thus the Athanasian Creed closes with a powerful confession teaching the incarnation of Jesus Christ: “He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; & He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age: perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul & human flesh...” (Athanasian Creed)
The Gospel of John begins: “In the beginning was the Word,” & the theme of John’s Gospel is God’s new creation. As Yahweh spoke in the beginning, such that the heavens & the earth came into being, so God speaks today through His Word, & His children come into being. Each of us was dead in sin, but we are now alive, a new creation, in Christ.
Then Jesus came to them & said, “Go therefore & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV) That end brings us full circle, from, “In the beginning,” to “the end of the age.”
Between the beginning & the end, the light of Christ is always with us, guiding us, & guarding us against the dark side of our soul. The sin that lives within has been conquered. Come Judgment Day all God’s children will see, along with the Apostle John, the same vision he saw at the beginning of the 21st chapter of Revelation:
“And I saw a new heaven & a new earth, because the 1st heaven & the 1st earth had
passed away...” (21:1 ESV) Yes, in the beginning God created, & out of love for us His children He will still be creating even at the very end. Amen.
God, who made the earth & heaven, darkness & light: You the day for work have given, for rest the night. May Your angel guards defend us, slumber sweet Your mercy send us, holy dreams & hopes attend us all through the night. And when morn again shall call us to run life’s way, may we still, whate’er befall us, Your will obey. From the power of evil hide us, in the narrow pathway guide us, never be Your smile denied us all through the day. Amen. LSB 877:1-2.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet