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The Second Sunday after Pentecost Genesis 1:1-2:3 Rev. Christopher D.


New Hope Lutheran Church, Toledo, OH St. Pauls Lutheran Church, Monroe, MI June 9, 2012

HOMILIES ON GENESIS: THE CREATION There is a Latin phrase that youve probably heard before, the truth of which is undeniable: REPETITIO EST MATER STUDIORUM. The translation is repetition is the mother of learning, and its absolutely true. How does a student go about studying for a test so that they can pass with mastery? Repetition! How do people commit to memory those things that are essential to human knowledge? Repetition! Repetition is the mother of learning. If repetition results in us learning something, perhaps well enough that it stays with us, then what does God intend for us to learn with these divinely inspired words of Genesis, which have quite a bit of repetition in them? You dont really have to look all that closely as the first few chapters of the Bible to notice that theres a distinct pattern to it. God goes into action, life is created, he sees that what he has made is good, and at the end of each day there was an evening and a morning. I pray today, as we begin a summer-long series on the familiar accounts of the book of Genesis, that God the Holy Spirit would help us to understand that everything written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope, that the Holy Spirit would move us to realize that these are not just Sunday School lessons to be read to children, but that they are precious accounts of divine activity preserved in Scripture so that we can learn, so that we can rejoice, so that we can retain the hope that we have in our Savior Jesus Christ. Truly, we find such learning, we find encouragement, we find hope in the account of the creation of the world. As I read that section of Genesis, I would imagine that your mind wandered quite a bit. I know in our culture of limited attention spans, its hard for a lot of us to listen to 34 verses straight. But, even if you wandered off just for a bit, you probably did notice the repetition, didnt you? The one phrase that stands out in the creation account, repeated again and again, which really sets the stage for the entirety of salvation history is the phrase, God saw that it was good. And perhaps you noticed, but at the end of the entire account of creation in Genesis in Genesis 1:31, the wording is just a little different, God saw everything that

he had made and it was very good.

Good! Now, what does that mean? Surely, we understand that word to mean perfect. The perfect creator made a perfect creation, and thus it was not frustrated as of yet by sin. But I submit to you that it means a little more than just perfect and holy. The whole creation was good in the sense that it was fit for Gods honor. Every bit of creation was meant to be an exhibition of the glory of God, from the tiniest plant to the largest animal, from the smallest entity to the depths of that which we cannot possibly fathom, every bit of which God planned and purposed for his glory, for his praise and honor. Psalm 19 speaks in such a way, The heavens declare the glory of God,

the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In other words, every part of Gods creation speaks volumes
about his power, his care, his love and his generosity towards the crown of his creation, mankind. And when the world was yet in a state of perfection, on that day when the Lord rested from his work of creating, he looked at what he had made, every bit of it and saw that it was, yes, perfect, holy, fit and appropriate for the glorification of his name. It was very good.

Do you think he would draw that same conclusion now? Certainly not! In the beginning, before the introduction of sin into his perfect world, everything was very good because there was no such thing as death! God intended for everything to just live and live and live and live and live and never die. Now look around! Theres death everywhere! Plants die. Animals die. People die! In Saginaw just this last week, I was watching the local news and two children were shot in one week, a 4 year-old on Tuesday, who survived, and an 11 year old on Wednesday who died two separate incidents. And while we shake our heads at those kinds of incidents, because they are so foreign to us, is death not around us constantly? Is it not creeping at our door all the time? That was never Gods intention for his creation. Perfection brings him honor. Holiness brings him praise and proper worship, and any sin, any blemish at all grieves the God who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. It reminds me of the time when my father brought home a brand new car, a 1984 Buick LeSabre, custom made, sleek black exterior, leather interior, this was a beauty of a car. Well, I was 5 years old at the time, and back then, in the 80s, there werent a whole lot of car wash places around in Saginaw. So we were going to wash dads new car. Not knowing any better, I went into the garage cupboard and pulled out what I thought would wash the car, and when my father came out of the house he yelled STOP! STOP! STOP! because I was washing his car, with a BRILLO PAD. It never looked brand new again! Gods brand new, pristine, showroom beautiful and perfect creation was quickly ruined. With amazing swiftness, the devil convinced Adam and Eve that God was depriving them of something they were entitled to: eating from the tree in the middle of the garden. With astounding craftiness, the adversary convinced Adam and Eve that God really wasnt as loving as they thought, and really wasnt as worthy of their obedience or their attention, even though they were surrounded with immeasurable evidence of just how much God loved them. In very short order, man that was created to worship and praise God began to worship themselves instead, thus depriving their Maker the honor that he deserved for the outpouring of his gracious hand. The creation was made for Gods glory. Man was made for Gods glory. And in a sinful pattern that permeates every generation, man continues to worship himself; to worship luxury; to worship excessive consumption; to worship the flesh; and in so doing, continues to grieve the Almighty as creation, and the crown of creation, continue to deteriorate as a result of the sin epidemic. Oh, we can convince ourselves that it isnt really that bad. We can convince ourselves that we arent really worshiping ourselves when we spend time away from Gods house, or when we withhold from the Lords church much needed resources for the continuation of gospel ministrywe can pretty much convince ourselves of anything; but Gods Word doesnt changeit stands, just as it stood for Adam and Eve in the gardenand yet, we fall for the same tricks, the same lies, the same nonsense of the evil one, God is depriving you. He is depriving you of sleep. He is depriving you of money. He is depriving you of time. He is depriving you of you time. He is depriving you of your family! Lie after lie after lie; and if we keep listening, we risk losing our fellowship with him, our citizenship in the New Jerusalem, the New Eden. Think of just how patient our God has been with us. I know if I have something that is brand spankin new, and one of the children ruins it, it makes me upset. I know that there are parents today in our congregation who have said these exact words, I cant have anything nice. I cant tell you how many times Ive brought something home from the store, only to have it broken and in the garbage not too long after that. God could have trashed his creation. He could have just said, Forget this! He could have destroyed it all with the booming of his mighty Word. When he was done with creation, It was very good. Now when he looks upon his creation, he sees a world frustrated by sin, and a human race steeped in rebellion and unbelief. But instead of throwing it all away, instead of allowing man to die in sin, God chose to rescue man from sin. What tremendous wisdom in that God created the world in such a way so that he could save the world through his one and only Son. He created the world for his praise, knowing that man would fall into sin, so

that his power and might would be made known when sin and death were conquered by Jesus Christ, when the head of the serpent was crushed with that glorious, It is finished. He knew man would be disobedient regarding the tree in the Garden of Eden, and chose to send his Son to be obedient to the treeto the cross, to be obedient even unto death, so that all people throughout the world, throughout the ages would have forgiveness of sins by Christs obedience to the tree of deaththat brings life to all who believe in his name. The creation account truly finds its climax in divine repetition, It was good, it was good, it was good, meaning that everything was in a state of absolute perfection and served to praise our Creator as it was intended to do. For us, who live in a world that has been tainted by the sin epidemic, we dont have first hand knowledge of what its like to live in a world that has no deficiencies, to live in an Edenic paradise. Nonetheless, we are a source of praise for our God. For through his Word and sacraments, he has given us his Holy Spirit, forgiven our sins and restored us in his sight through Jesus Christ our Lord. And we, who are surrounded by death, will, in death, be transferred to the New Eden in heaven, where we will not die, but live and live and live and live and live, and proclaim what the Lord has done. Amen.