For the week of October 2, 2010 / 24 Tishri 5771
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 - 6:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5 - 43:11
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Bereshit / Genesis 1:1; ESV)
In the building of any structure, it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of a well-built foundation. No matter how strong a structure may be, if its foundation is weak, it will not stand. What's true in a literal, physical sense is also true spiritually and philosophically. The greatest-sounding arguments and the most popular ways of looking at life will come crashing down around us unless they are built on reality and absolute truth.
What is true generally is especially true biblically. The early chapters of the Torah provide us with the foundations for everything else we discover in the whole rest of the Bible. It should be obvious that without creation we don't have anything else. It is within the creation, on Earth in particular, that the outworking of God's plans and purposes are played out. The activity of God in so far as it relates to humanity is not something that primarily exists in the invisible world, but takes place in and among people on Earth. Similarly, when God sets all things right, he will do so through a renewed creation - the new heavens and the new earth, where God will reign over all humanity on the new Earth (see Isaiah 65:17-25; Revelation 21:1-4).
However essential are the other elements of the Bible, only the Torah's account of creation is foundational. To neglect or undermine the importance of its place within Scripture is to undermine Scripture itself. For if the universe is not created and God is not the Creator, then there is no foundation upon which the rest of the Bible stands.
It is in the early chapters of the Torah that we learn that God existed before the universe. The universe was his idea and he spoke it into existence. Every broad category of life is the result of God's direct activity through his word, thus removing any possibility of macro-evolution. Gender differences and roles are by design, not social construct. The primacy and responsibilities of human beings within the creation were established by God. Our obligation to work is by his directive; while our struggles to get the creation to respond to our labors are due to our first parents' rebellion again God. Marriage is a divine institution and children are a result of God's blessing. As it is God who is the one who created life, so it is also he who sets the parameters for how we are to live. Thus it is he to whom we all must give an account.
It is not for no reason that the Torah's account of creation should be so viciously attacked through the years. Knowingly or unknowingly masquerading as proponents of objective science, atheists have spent vast amounts of time and money to concoct all sorts of supposed proofs against the notion of creation, especially creation as the Torah describes it. Sadly too many people who otherwise respect the Bible have been intimated by the onslaught of God deniers and have compromised biblical revelation.
Science cannot prove origins. Scientific theories may or may not support what the Torah teaches, but scientific theories are based on the analysis of humans. They may be accurate or not. They are subject to bias. Scientific theories come and go as new discoveries are made and more analysis is done.
Any attempt to reconcile evolutionary science with the first three chapters of the Torah not only contradicts those chapters, but, due to their foundational place in Scripture, undermines the whole of Scripture. The origins of the universe can only be known by revelation from God. The Torah is that revelation. It is through the creation account we are given a foundational understanding of who God is and how we fit into the universe he has made. Whatever else we learn about God and life through the rest of the Bible, in order to stand strong in these days of great spiritual confusion and deception, we need to firmly stand on the foundation of creation.
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