Tag Archives: creation

Life’s Three Most Important Questions

The Bible verses for LifeWay’s VBS this year are some of my favorites, Colossians 1:15-16. “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation, for by him all things were made, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were made in him and for him.”

Genesis tells us that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” In the New Testament we learn that Jesus, the eternal Son, was not only present at creation, but he was God’s agent of creation. And more than that, Jesus is the reason God created the heavens and the earth, the reason God created you and me.

The Colossians text goes on to affirm that Jesus is Savior as well as Creator. He is the head of the body, the church. In him the fullness of God dwells and through his blood on the cross God has reconciled his people to himself (Colossians 1:18-23).

Jesus also gives us power to live in victory here and now. As God’s people, reconciled to him by Jesus, we have his peace ruling in our hearts and his word dwelling in us richly (Colossians 3:15-16).

Jesus is also our eternity. In Colossians 3:4 we read that Christ will appear again and his people will appear with him in glory. So Jesus is our past, our present, and our future.

Jesus answers the three most important questions for us. First, “Where have we come from?” We are created by God through Jesus in the image of God. And Jesus is the image of God, revealing the fullness of God to us.

Second, “Why are we here?” Our lives encounter pain and sorrow, prompting us to wonder if our existence has any real meaning. In Christ, the answer is “Yes!” Jesus suffered, too, in order to bring about God’s great salvation. In Christ, even our suffering has a purpose.

But more than purpose in our pain, Jesus brings a vision of victory. We are reconciled to God and empowered by God’s Spirit to serve him and to enjoy his blessings even in this broken world.

God’s blessings now are only a foretaste of the eternal blessings that he is preparing for us in heaven. The third question is this: “Where are we going?” All those who belong to Christ eagerly await the final trumpet and the shout of the archangel which will signal Jesus’ Second Coming. And when he comes, he will take his people to be with him forever.

Only in Christ do we find satisfying answers to these vital questions: Where have we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? Only in Christ are we reconciled to God, saved from our sin. Only in Christ are we empowered to live the abundant life. And only in Christ do we have hope for eternity.

May Christ our Maker and Savior always enable us to serve him well and enjoy his blessings,

Brother Richard Foster

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Vital Information For Kids

Thanks to everyone who has agreed to help with Vacation Bible School in 2017! Pray that God will bless our efforts as we gather together and tell kids about Jesus.

The Bible text for Lifeway’s VBS this year is Colossians 1:15-16: “He is the image of the invisible God, firstborn over all creation, for by him all things were created: in heaven and on earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities, all things were created by him and for him.”

The “he” in these verses is Jesus Christ. The one used by God to write these words was the great missionary Paul the Apostle. Originally Paul was writing to a first-century church. Apparently false teachers were trying to diminish Jesus, teaching that he was less than divine.

In our day people sometimes assert that Jesus is a great man, a great teacher, a great healer, but that he is not the Son of God. They deny that he is the only way to be right with God. We need these great words from the Book of Colossians just as surely as that church long ago needed them. We need to know the truth about Jesus.

Notice that Jesus is not an image of God but the image of God, the one and only. Jesus told his disciples that when they had seen him, they had seen God the Father. Jesus is the Word become flesh who lived for a while among us.

Jesus is firstborn over all creation. Firstborn is a reference to a custom in the ancient world. The firstborn received a double portion of inheritance. He was honored above all others. God appointed Jesus heir of all things. He has the most honored position of all, exalted above all others, the One and only Savior.

Jesus is not a created being. He is the One through whom all things were created. Through him God made the ages. Without him nothing was made that has been made. Jesus is Lord of all creation by virtue of the fact that he is the Maker and Sustainer.

Through Jesus God made all that we see. He also made the things that cannot be seen, even with telescopes or microscopes. Planets and suns, water and animals, love and truth, angels and demons, he made everything. All creation is his.

And Jesus is Lord of all Christians in a double sense. He is our Lord because he is our Maker and he is our Lord because he is our Savior. He not only made us, he also purchased us with his blood. We are no longer our own, but we belong to him.

This great Bible text tells us that all things in heaven and on earth were made not only by Jesus but for Jesus. There is no authority or ruler which is not subject to the power of Jesus. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

What great things we have to share with the kids this year!

May God’s Holy Spirit enable us to believe and to proclaim the truth about Jesus,

Brother Richard Foster

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Is the Bible Just Another Myth?

A high school student in our church was required to read a book in her English class that claims the Bible is merely a myth. Apparently we can still teach religion in the public schools but only if the lessons attempt to discredit the Bible and destroy people’s Christian faith.

The book is a transcription of an interview with a man named Joe Campbell who asserted that all religions are myths and that all myths are essentially the same. Myths, of course, are fictional stories. So his book promotes the idea that the Bible is not an accurate historical record. According to him, those of us who take the Bible as a serious record about real people, places, and events are just being childish.

The writers of myths, the book says, are seeking to understand and express certain truths about the human experience. To do so, they create mythological accounts in which they personify natural forces. For instance, in the myths of ancient Israel’s neighbors, sea monsters often symbolized forces of cosmic evil.

In Babylonian mythology, Tiamat is the belligerent and monstrous ocean goddess. Another god, Marduk, defeats and kills her, then slits open her corpse lengthwise “like a shellfish.” From these two parts of her body, Marduk forms heaven and earth, and so forth.

But this is nothing like the Bible. Creation was not a battle between squabbling gods, or even between the one God and the forces of nature. God spoke into existence the sea, the land, the skies, and all the creatures dwelling in them and he supervises and maintains everything. Creation is not the carcass of some sea goddess, but the handiwork of the one and only God.

Comparisons between the Bible and mythology are only convincing if one uses very carefully selected portions of the Bible and certain myths. Surprisingly, Campbell’s book about mythology is honest enough to consistently point out the many differences between the Bible and mythology. But doesn’t that destroy his original premise that all myths are basically the same? He seems to be confused, or deceived.

Probably without realizing it, Campbell makes two important points that are true. First, ancient texts can be very relevant to modern people. Despite all the changes in science and technology, people remain essentially unchanged, still concerned about the same pressing issues and still seeking answers to the same fundamental questions.

The Bible is an ancient book that reveals God’s answers to the most important questions in our lives. Where did we come from? Why are we here? What went wrong? What is the solution? Where are we going? Since God is the Author of the Bible, not people, we can depend on the answers we discover in its pages.

Second, ancient and modern myths alike demonstrate people’s belief that there is something more than impersonal forces at work in the world around them. Instead of personifying the forces of nature they are searching for the intelligence they know is behind nature. When you pull back the curtain on eternity, people expect to find not principles, philosophies or forces. They expect to find a Person.

The search for a person behind nature should not surprise us. We are really searching for more than answers to questions. We are also searching for meaningful relationships. We want to love and to be loved. Why? Because we are hard-wired that way by our Maker, the personal God. He is love and he offers love, the greatest love of all through his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

May the Maker and Sustainer of heaven and earth continue revealing himself to us through his perfect Word,

Brother Richard Foster

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Podcast: Our Universe: Mishap or Miracle?

Our Universe: Mishap or Miracle?
Genesis 1:1-2

Step through the beginning of Genesis with Dr. Richard Foster as he discusses why the physical and spiritual realms make sense.

Audio note: The audio at the beginning of this podcast is rather quiet. Please be patient as the astronauts read the beginning of Genesis from their Apollo mission.

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Did God Change His Name to Higgs Boson?

On July 4 scientists announced the discovery of an important particle in the universe: the Higgs boson.  It has been called the “God particle.”  Some say that this discovery is another important step toward proving that our universe exists without God.  Is that true?

First of all, despite the fireworks coming from the scientific community over this triumph of human intellect, many riddles about the nature of our universe remain unsolved (What in the world is “dark matter”?).  But why this preoccupation with trying to disprove God’s existence anyway?

Scientific exploration in our world was carried on for thousands of years by men and women who assumed that careful study of the physical world yields answers because the physical world operates based on observable and predictable laws.  The laws governing our universe are guaranteed by the Lawgiver: God.

Because God is the Designer, his world exhibits design, complex beauty which is worthy of our careful study.  And because God has created each of us in his image, we have curious minds capable of recognizing and appreciating design.

But another group of scientists has gained prominence.  They assume that God is a myth, so there is no design and no guarantee of answers.  The question of why the world operates according to laws and principles is taboo with this newer group.  In fact, physical laws are merely accidental forces that are to be described and manipulated, nothing more.

For instance, the law of gravity is manipulated in order to produce flight.  Asking why our universe should have a law of gravity is dangerous because it might lead back to the search for God.  Just fly and don’t ask too many questions.

The godless scientists come with a curious irony.  When badly outnumbered by the God-believing scientists, they insisted on their right to think and explore outside the established dogma.  Now they refuse to allow others the same courtesy.  They insist on limiting exploration of the universe by closing the door on God, or trying to.

But the God question refuses to go away, why?  Because questions about “the beginning” are unavoidable and yet they seem to be beyond the reach of human science.  “The beginning” seems to hide behind a mysterious cosmic curtain that human science is incapable of piercing.

Some scientists may wish to limit the debate, but human curiosity will not be silenced.  If scientists have found the Higgs boson, great! but how did it originate?  Why does it exist at all?  If science finds a particle that explains the beginning of the Higgs particle then we must ask how that particle originated.

The Bible addresses our desire to know about “the beginning.”  Scripture starts with these momentous words in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created. . . .”  The answer to the beginning of the Higgs boson, of dark matter, and of everything else is God.

Here is the problem for those who want to cut God out: God does more than answer questions about beginnings.  Once we admit that God cannot be removed from the equation then we are faced with the next logical question.  Who is God and what is he like?

According to Scripture God is holy, righteous, and just.  As our Maker, he expects us to be holy because he is holy.  To refuse living by his standard is to fall under his judgment.  To admit that disobedience is wrong and seek his forgiveness is to experience his mercy and love.

Maybe God would be more acceptable to secular science if he simply answered questions about the physical universe without bringing in moral, ethical, and spiritual matters.  But God is indivisible.  To have his answers about origins is to face his challenges about ethics.

Secular people think that scientific exploration of the universe, and everyday life, should be liberated from God.  Such a freedom, however, comes at a terrible cost.  Without God we lose the ability to ever answer the questions about the origins of our universe and about the source of the laws that govern it.  But even more hangs in the balance.

Without God there is no fixed standard of truth, goodness, and love.  In a godless universe these are not eternal realities, they are simply human ideas, subject to constant change, suspension, or cancellation.  But fortunately for us, God has not changed his name nor will he ever change his character.

The God question persists because God persists.  The stubborn question about “the beginning” is a reminder that like God, morals, ethics, and spirituality will never be expelled from human experience.  And because God is eternal and God is love, then love is eternal.

Am I saying that without God there is no love?  Yes I am.  And without God there is no science.  Science depends upon the laws of physics and the laws of physics depend upon the Lawgiver.  Don’t allow anyone to limit you in your quest to learn about “the beginning.”

Richard Foster, Grace Baptist Church, July 2012

Printed July 2012;  Camden News;  Camden, AR.

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