Creation and the Worship of God

Genesis 1:1-2:3 – The Bible Teaching Commentary


The Intention of the Creation Account

We have discussed the purpose of Genesis' creation account in our own worship. As a person mixes with people of different religions and persuasions, however, we find that people think differently of God. We would like to discuss how much the creation account might touch upon these two issues followed by a summary.

(1) Creation: A Polemical Account
(2) Creation and Views of God

(1) Creation: A Polemical Account – A God above gods

Firstly, we would like to think through what the ancients might have thought about Genesis. It is proposed that the Genesis is written as a defensive treatise for God. In other words, the Genesis creation account was specifically designed to show God's power over the gods of the ancient world. Moses, for example, well understood the Egyptian's tendency to turn virtually everything into a god to be revered.

Let us now go through the creation account drawing some comparisons. Were they purposed and deliberate or just incidental as whenever we speak the truth among the lies about us? We are not sure, and it doesn't matter much. The contrasts, however, are fascinating.

One God

In the ancient times before Judaism, we do not know of monotheism, the acknowledgement of only one God. The ancient cultures were dominated by polytheism (many + gods). The introduction of only one God would astound those in those big cities. Today with Christianity, Islam and Judaism, we take monotheism for granted, but back then it was a startling suggestion. The creation account is remarkable.

As we read on through the creation account, we can imagine that the objects that are listed as created or made by God are worshiped by people in those times. They worshiped fish, people, sun, moon and all kinds of animals. God made everything, however. The creation account in one blow cripples the case for polytheism. The names of the luminaries are perhaps not mentioned because they were names for gods that were then worshipped.

God Unrivaled

God's origin is never mentioned. Everything is said to come from Him, and thus there are no rivals to His power or authority. The Greeks for example believed that the gods came into existence the same time as the world. Genesis teaches that time and matter all come into being at His supreme command and do whatever He desires.

God is not dependent upon the world, but the world and everything in it including man is totally dependent upon Him. He is the self-existing one. Matter is different from God. God is a personal God; He has a will and thus is not some mere encompassing power.

God and Man Differ

In the Chaldean myth, we find that Bel cuts the woman and makes heaven and earth by the two halves. He then cuts his hand and from the drops of blood man is made. Genesis tells us that God creates man from the dust. He is not made from God but from matter.

In many ancient accounts, man is said to be the slaves of God whereas in the biblical account men are stewards or viceroys of God's world.

"That they may know that Thou alone,
whose name is the LORD,
Art the Most High over all the earth.

(Psalms 83:18, NASB).

(2) Creation and Views of God

• Three perspectives people have toward God or God force.

How are we to understand God of creation with the many other religions and philosophies in the world? For a most basic framework, we can divide our views into 1) Personal, 2) Impersonal and 3) Denial of God.

Please remember that there are many variations of belief even within a religion. One Hindu might believe in many gods while another believe only in one cosmic god.

1) Personal God
(a) Monotheism: God is above the world as Creator.
(b) Polytheism: Many gods live around the world (idols, animistic).

2) Impersonal god
     (a) Pantheism: god is the world
     (b) The Force: god is spirit force in the world
     (c) World Soul:  god is spirit force - no real world
3) No God (atheists, secularist, certain religious philosophers)

1•   Personal God

A personal God or god has a will. He is an entity such as any person we might know. There are two major kinds of personal deities: one Great God and many smaller gods.

(a) Monotheism: God is above the world as Creator.

When we categorize the different religions, we perhaps could do this by discerning whether they acknowledge a Creator or not. Those that do will be called monotheistic religions which affirm one true transcendental God separate from and in control over the world and man. This includes Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Their worldview generates an obligation of worship toward this God but more than often, because God is holy, man must seek reconciliation because of their sins. Compromise is not tolerated but only obedience. They see the world as God's gift. Unfortunately, many seek a way of reconciliation through works rather than through God's provision in Christ Jesus.

(b) Polytheism: Many gods live around the world.

God's penetrating truth dwarfs man's opposition.Polytheism associates special godlike spirits attached to different parts of the world. Some believe in the sun god or tree god. The creation account would scoff at such a view of god and the world as totally inadequate.

These beliefs, though less common today, can still be found in many places. Their worldview generates fear and suspicion of the world. Nothing can be known for sure. They are busy trying to appease whatever god that might cause them trouble. They are scared of the world.

Another form of this polytheism is humanism where man exalts himself as the sole determiner of what he does in life. In this case, we would have as many gods as people fighting against each other. The God of creation laughs at a man who dares claims such self-determination.

He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. (Isaiah 40:23).

2•   Impersonal God

An impersonal god unlike above has no will or purpose, at least not in the way we think. Many times people associate a will with the 'Force' but that would make it a person. People do not want to live in an impersonal world. We have identified two major kinds of impersonal God.

(a)   Pantheism: god is the world

The majority of these pantheists see god everywhere, or at least in every living thing.

For the most part, they see matter as evil and spirit as good. They want to link their immaterial part (soul) with the Great Spirit or Force. Their worldview asks them reject the world as evil and tends to asceticism or philosophical religion.

(b) The Force: god is spirit force in the world

People believe that a force dominates the world just as a sun sends its energy to the world. This is more of a science fiction idea but seems rather popular.

 (c) World Soul: god is spirit force - no real world

Although this is close to pantheism, there are certain kinds that deny any sort of real world. All is an illusion. These religions such as proper Hinduism or Christian Scientists recognize that the power of the universe has no personal nature or will. Man's job is to align himself with this impersonal power.

3•   Deny the spiritual world (atheists, secularist)

This is a large quasi group of people who deny the existence of God or gods. They say they exist, but in fact down deep the scriptures say they believe there is some kind of etermal power. We see their words in Psalm 53:1.

"The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God,”

A Secularism flagrantly denies the supernatural world. Instead it comes up with a solution of man's problem by political means (e.g. Marxism, communism, socialism) , scientific means (science and evolution) or other means (e.g. ecology).

These people live by the religion called humanism where man is exalted as the chief center of authority. They have made themselves as gods and worship and please their own senses without any fear of God. They in fact belong more accurately under polytheism- many man gods each demanding respect and acceptance.

Summary of Man's Responsibility

The world is a stage of meeting and understanding God so that man's place in the future world will be determined. Each person is personally accountable for what he or she does, and it will impact their future. As Maker, God holds man accountable. God is responsible to 'right' all situations and therefore He is Judge. Man must discern God's purpose for him and follow along.

Many people think that if a person does not hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then they will not be judged. This is not what Paul taught in Romans.

The Apostle Paul explains in Romans 1:18-21 that the creation provides such a powerful display of God's that man is inexcusable for His supposed lack of knowledge. God is revealed in creation (Romans 1) and man’s conscience (Romans 2). Although man tries to prove his irresponsibility towards God’s presence and commands, everything fights against him. He suppresses the truth, but it faithfully keeps springing up.

Romans 1:18 Man Rejects God's Truth.

All men, even the ones that never heard the Gospel, are accountable for right behavior before their Maker. Creation is regularly calling out that man might worship God. We don't mean just to go to church but to acknowledge God and do His will. This revelation of creation nostop calls men to repent and follow Christ.

Let's look at our assignment for Genesis 1:1-2:3. •> Next

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The Genesis Index

Genesis Introduction:  Introduction to Genesis |  Outline and Genealogies  |  Genesis' Chronologies (5 & 11) |   Unified Themes of Genesis
Genesis 1-2:3:   The Worship of the Creator |  The Meaning of Creation  |  Creation Lessons on God.  |  God and the World's Religions
Genesis 2:4-17:    Preparation for Man (Genesis 2:4-6) |  Creation of Man (Gen. 2:7, 1:26-27) |  Purpose for Man (Genesis 2:8-17)
Genesis 2:18-25: The Foundations of Marriage
Genesis 3:1-13: The Fall of Man | Temptation (Genesis 3:1-6) | The Fall (Genesis 3:7-13) | Questions 3:1-6 | Questions 3:7-13
Genesis 5-9: Genesis Flood | Genesis 05 Genealogical Chart
Genesis 10-11: Noah's Sons| Questions | History Genesis 10:6-11 | Tower of Babel Genesis 11:1-9 | Questions | Culture Genesis 11
Genesis 12-22:   The Call: Genesis 12.1The Promises: Genesis 12.2-3  |  The Means: Genesis 15The Testing: Genesis 22
Genesis 12-16: Introduction |   Place Detour: Genesis 12:10-20; 20 |  Person Detour: Genesis 12:13-14Procedure Detour: Genesis 16-17
Genesis 14:1-24: Three Steps to Spiritual Growth | #1 Observe | #2 Utlilitize | #3 Secure
Genesis 18-19: Cultural Woes of Sodom | Appearing to Abraham | Visit to Sodom | Debate of Homosexuality and Sodom
Genesis 21-26: Isaac's Model for Godly Marriages
Genesis 27-36: Genesis 27-36 Jacob's Life of Faith
Genesis 25-37: Influence of Sin | God and Man's Sin | Understanding Man's Sin Nature | Understanding Jacob's Sins
Genesis 37-50: Joseph’s Dillusonment | Genesis 42-47:12: The Big Picture | Conclusion | The Reason

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