God is holy. He is apart from and other than. His majesty is endless and His glory boundless. His love and mercy are endless and His judgment final. Popular religion in the West elects that God is mankind’s friend and his lover. It declares that God is subject to the same laws, situations and circumstances that mankind is subject to, depicting a God who merely works within circumstances instead of practicing kingship over those circumstances. Some follow a god who offers material prosperity within the world instead of the true God who offers a position unbounded by the world. Western Christians tend to live as though God were a member of creation rather than lord over it. Brothers and sisters in the faith, I want to share with you concerning a God who is greater than creation!

Genesis 1

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and He called the darkness night. Evening came and then morning: the first day. Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. God called the expanse sky. Evening came and then morning: the second day. Then God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land earth, and He called the gathering of the water seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce vegetation: seed- bearing plants and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.’ And it was so. The earth produced vegetation: seed- bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Evening came and then morning: the third day. Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights — the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night — as well as the stars. God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth, to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. Evening came and then morning: the fourth day. Then God said, ‘Let the water swarm with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.’ So God created the large sea- creatures and every living creature that moves and swarms in the water, according to their kinds. He also created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So God blessed them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the waters of the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.’ Evening came and then morning: the fifth day. Then God said, ‘Let the earth produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that crawl, and the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds.’ And it was so. So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.’ God also said, ‘Look, I have given you every seed- bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth — everything having the breath of life in it. I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.”[1]

God created

In Moses’ time, there existed a conglomerate of creation myths and their soul purpose was to advance the preeminence of one pagan god over all of the others. In that time, Moses told a story that not only represented truth and not only declared God’s preeminence, but also declared God as the only God and the only true creator. Considering this, we can know that there is one truth that all of scripture is founded upon: the God of the Bible is the sole creator of all that is,[2] and He has no competition because there are no other gods.

This being said, we should understand that God is other than His creation. He is not subject to the confines of time and space. He is not bound by limited knowledge. He is not held captive by the vicious cycle of cause and effect. Indeed, God is the ultimate cause and the final end of all things!

Consider the poet. He pours his heart into what he writes and his creation is entirely based on who he is intellectually and emotionally. His words are based in who he is, yet those words cannot confine him. He builds up and he destroys, describing every detail with literary fervor. His characters come to life and are bound by his law, his written word. The plot unfolds. Heroes rise and fall, but every word naturally glorifies the poet, the author whose name is on the cover of the book. Still he is not a slave to the words that he has written.

There are two applications we can make concerning the fact that God is not bound by His creation:

  1. Since God is not bound by what He has created, we can have confidence that He alone influences His actions and decisions.
    1. Nothing that we do can cause God to love us any less or cause Him to stop showering us with His grace.
    2. God has placed us in our current situations and circumstances for a purpose. If He wanted to move us, He would. We should seek to honor God in our lives now and pursue His plan for our lives now, in our current situation and circumstances.
  2. Since God is other than His creation, He sees the whole picture. He contains all knowledge concerning His creation. It is better to trust Him to lead our lives rather than our trying to figure it out with limited vision.

God exercised His natural authority

After his initial creations, God judged His creation, saying that it was good. He looked over everything that He had done and gave His stamp of approval, and thus declared His own role as judge and king over creation. Not only is God other than creation, but He also rules over creation and creation is necessarily subject to Him.

We could revisit our analogy of the poet. He develops his storyline with and end goal in mind and every event that he describes happens for a purpose that he has established from the very opening words letters of the book. Everything written is subject only to the author and nothing happens outside of the writer’s control.

What does this mean for us?

  1. Nothing happens in God’s creation that is outside of His control. Not only does He have all knowledge of all things, but all things are under His sovereignty.
    1. God is in control when terrible things happen to good people. He is not surprised by these happenings and is lord over them. Bad things would not happen if God did not allow them to happen. We can take comfort in the fact that God is in control of our circumstances and would not allow those circumstances to exist without purpose.
  2. This also means that we are absolutely subject to God’s kingship over creation. This is why even a minute rebellion against God earns nothing less than death for us and why it is God and God alone who must redeem us.
    1. So many people, Christians included, try so hard to maintain control over their lives when the reality is, the human being’s control over his or her life is undoubtedly impossible. When we do try to maintain control, we lose our ability to live. When we realize that control is not ours and that it belongs to God and God alone, we can live life more abundantly. Consider these verses of scripture in light of God’s sovereignty as presented in the first chapter of Genesis:
      1. “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it. What will it benefit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life?”[3]
      2. “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”[4]

God established His image in the natural order

            After all this, God created mankind in His image and in His likeness. He gave mankind dominion over the earth and commanded him to rule over it. If God is King, and He created mankind in His image, then mankind must exercise some sort of authority within the created order. Because God is not a member of creation or subject to it, mankind, God’s image within creation, is to steward creation as God’s representative within that creation.

  1. If God is set apart, if He is other than creation, then we too must be distinct in some ways because we were made in the image of God. People are not mere animals. Thus, we have an obligation toward a certain level of morality and toward a certain level of holiness as we live our lives.
  2. If God is sovereign, then we too must have some authority within creation because we were made in God’s image. We have a responsibility to then steward creation well.

Contemplating God’s holiness

This idea that God is set apart in such a way that He also has all authority is an idea that is virtually lost within our culture. Many times we read the creation account and try to figure out how God created the world and why instead of reading it as it was intended to be read. Genesis 1 is a declaration of God’s holiness and sovereignty. This idea of God’s holiness is virtually nowhere to be found within our western culture. Thus, the idea that people should live holy lives is elusive. I’m not even sure we know what holiness is. Even within God’s church, I constantly hear people refer to God in such a casual manner. There is a reason, in Exodus 20:7, God commands His name not be used in vain. Do we understand that to use God’s name in vain is to use it without purpose? Every time God’s name is spoken, it should be spoken with reverence and with a God honoring purpose! Similarly, since we were each created in God’s image, we are to live holy lives; revering all others, treating them honorably and ourselves not living without purpose that is beyond us. Western Christians need to once again grasp this concept of holiness, so much so that we must introduce the world to Christ and urge it on to holiness in Jesus Christ, who is our savior and our Lord.

[1] Genesis 1:1-31 (HCSB)

[2] By “all that is” it should be understood that I mean all that began to exist.

[3] Matthew 16:24-26 (HCSB)

[4] John 10:8-10 (HCSB)