In this very first chapter of the Bible we read the same “God said” for all six days of creation, culminating in the creation of the first humans, Adam and Eve. The limitless, omnipotent Creator God simply spoke all things into being, as in verse 3: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” We see the same throughout the creation. For example, vss. 14-15: “And God said, ‘Let the there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night … and it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light [our sun] to govern the day and the lesser light [our moon] to govern the night. He also made the stars.” On the final, sixth day of creation God made the first humans, as we will now read.
The first five words of the Bible, in Genesis 1:1, resolve the creation-versus-evolution issue. The divinely inspired Scripture states that the heavens and the earth were a
This first chapter of the Bible tells us further that God intends
As examples of that God-given ruling, Jesus ate the Passover lamb with His disciples, as did all Israelites at God’s command (Exodus 12:1-11). The Lord cooked fish and fed His disciples with it (John 21:9-12), and He Himself ate fish (Luke 24:42) as well as meat. In order for them to do that, it is obvious that those animals and fish had to be killed. I have no objection concerning those who voluntarily choose a vegetarian diet. But there is ample evidence in Scripture that God approves of humans not only “ruling over” but also eating animals, fish, and poultry.
In sum, the Bible’s very first chapter establishes some key points:
“Climate change” is a hot-button topic nowadays. Is the climate changing? Certainly. And it has changed multiple times over the millennia, getting alternately much colder and much warmer. During the last Ice Age the “land bridge” from eastern Russia to Alaska was not just a narrow strip of land. Some estimates are that the Ice Age had lowered the world’s seas so much that this so-called land bridge was about 600 miles wide from north to south, and much of the Bering Sea as we know it today was dry land!
But my point today is that, concerning climate change, as the old saying goes, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” I’m not here to debate present-day climate change, or who or what is causing it. What I am saying is that today’s changes versus what God is going to bring are like a .22 rifle compared to a nuclear bomb! If we happen to be that last generation before Jesus’ Second Coming, we will live to see some or all of the Lord’s judgments described in the Revelation’s seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls of judgment.
If we are the end-time generation, we will see climate and environmental changes that will dwarf the so-called “human-caused” changes to our climate and other environmental issues. But see them in context—that is, as God’s last-days judgments upon a world steeped in sin. But as the Israelites of old were protected during God’s plagues on Egypt (Exodus 8:22; 9:4,6,11,26; 10:23; 11:4-7; 12:21-23), trust the Lord in the end times to protect His people through these things.
Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet “before [he was] born.” John the Baptist, as a baby in his mother’s womb, leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice.
Babies in the womb are important to God! There is nothing in the Bible granting a “woman’s right to choose” to end her baby’s life in the womb.
Imagine if our “prochoice” culture existed thousands of years ago. The great Jeremiah, while still in the womb, was set apart by God to be a prophet to the nations. If his mother had chosen to have him aborted, one of the great prophets of Israel, along with the prophetic book of the Bible bearing Jeremiah’s name, would be missing.
Or consider John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said that no one greater had ever lived (Matthew 11:11). This same John “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. If John’s mother had chosen to abort him, we would have lost God’s chosen prophetic forerunner of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:1-3).
Or how about the young woman Mary, pregnant and unmarried? If she had pursued a supposed “right to choose,” as so many are doing today, the life of the Savior of the world could have been terminated in the womb.
The point of these examples is that the life of unborn children is sacred to God. He set apart prophets and even the Savior (Matthew 1:20-22) before they were born. Unborn babies, and their lives and callings, are held in high regard by God Almighty.
The USA is declining rapidly. God is no longer central to our nation’s life. No longer can it be said of America that it is a “nation whose God is the Lord.” The nation’s highest court has removed prayer and the Bible from the public schools. A ludicrous “right to privacy” connection was discovered by the court to be justification for executing innocent babies in the womb. The Supreme Court has effectively legitimized gay marriage, in direct contradiction to the Word of God. These things and more are signs of a nation rapidly turning away from its original foundation in God and His Word.
Take, for example,the Mayflower Compact (1620 A.D.). It was the very first written governing document in what later became our nation. The Mayflower Compact describes their goal in coming to the New World: “…having undertaken for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia…” They actually landed in what today we call Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts, and decided to settle there in pursuit of their dream to plant a colony in the New World “for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith.” Oh my, how far the USA today has strayed from those noble original motives.
The respected researcher and pollster George Barna in September 2016 wrote that 73% of Americans say they are Christians. But only 31% of Americans attend church at least once a month(!) and say that their faith is very important in their life. And only 34% of Americans have read their Bible anytime in the past week, not counting while at religious services.
But take heart! God has a plan to turn a nation back onto a God-honoring, blessed path. It is entirely possible for America to enter heaven-sent revival once again. God says (2 Chronicles 7:14), “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
This won’t happen because of who wins the upcoming (November 2016) American election, but rather if America as a nation turns back to God — “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”
Modern man says we descended through evolution from apelike creatures. God says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:1, 28). Who is right, man or God?
Here’s another example of man’s supposed “wisdom” being foolishness in God’s sight. An eminent European scientist was being interviewed about his beliefs in evolution. When asked about the origins of the matter in the so-called Big Bang, his answer was “aliens”! By contrast, the first verse of the Bible says: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It’s amazing that the scientist could accept aliens as the creators of matter, but could not accept God as its creator.
A friend of mine was once sharing his Christian faith with one of his university professors. The professor replied, “That’s nice, but it’s too simple,” and by so doing fulfilled Romans 1:22, KJV: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Congratulating himself on his more sophisticated “wisdom,” the professor missed the wonderful, soul-saving “simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV).
Man often admires such things as someone’s beauty, athletic skills, musical or acting ability, etc. But these are not the things that God evaluates as important or meaningful. Rather, the Lord “looks on the heart.”
If we could see a person’s heart, as God can, we would be able to evaluate his or her character. And that is what matters to God. A book entitled “The Acts of Paul and Thecla,” believed to be written about 150 A.D., described Paul in these words: “a man small in size, bald-headed, crooked thighs, well built, with eyebrows meeting together, rather long-nosed, full of grace.” That book is not Scripture, but was written less than 100 years from the time of Paul and is likely to be a fairly accurate description of Paul. Nothing in it describes a man who would stand out in a crowd. But he clearly stood out to God, who brought Paul to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and eventually put him into the highest levels of apostolic ministry. God had looked past the outward appearance and into Paul’s heart. And in the apostle Paul we see one of the most remarkable biblical examples of Christian character and utter devotion to the Lord. And God used him to write 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament (14 if Paul wrote Hebrews).
Be encouraged—God is looking into your innermost being, to your heart, your character, your integrity. He is not evaluating you from outward appearances or personal charisma. You, not unimportant externals, are very important to God!
God the Creator “made them” male and female. God has no gender confusion! Today the buzzword is what you “identify” as. That is, do you identify as male or female? Nonsense! The Creator God “makes” us male or female. From the outset God determines our gender.
And God created the male and female to be “a man … [and] his wife.” No gay marriage! Romans 1:24-28 deals specifically with men lusting after men and women after women. And the Scripture associates this “perversion” (Jude 1:7) with “a reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28, KJV), and absolutely not a normal thing to be accepted in a supposedly “enlightened” modern society. The enlightenment we all need is the light shed on us by God’s Word the Bible, not by men’s and women’s ever-shifting moral codes.
God’s intent is clearly revealed in His word:
IN SUM, looking upon the things of earth from God’s heavenly perspective:
©2016, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.