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  • Pastor Nicholas

Believing God Rather Than Man

God's First Creation

A careful observer of the ancient text of Genesis might conclude that God’s first creation was not light but human language. The words “And he said” suggests that before God made anything, he created language as the means by which he would bring all things into existence, order them, and give them shape and purpose. While human language is most certainly God’s first creation, and perhaps his most fundamental and important, the Word that spoke of things into existence was himself the eternal God. It is no accident that John, in his Gospel, brings us back to Genesis when he says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This Word that spoke in the beginning did not just give existence, structure, and form to all of creation physically, but we see too that this Word structures the universe morally. The preacher remarks that “God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes” (Eccl. 7:29). In that beginning, the Word spoke and told man who he was and what he was to do in this world. He did not leave humanity to figure things out for himself, or to decide for himself what was right or wrong. In fact, he had specifically forbade to Adam the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Good and evil was not to be determined by man’s fiat, but by God’s word. Holiness means living according to the moral and created order, honoring the distinctions God had made in nature and ethics. God created man in this holiness in his image and likeness, male and female, he created them, with dominion over the creatures. Mankind was not left in the dark about who God was, who they were, and how they were to live.

Anti-God Is Antihuman

These truths are helpful for us today in a world that is so confused about who we are. The first three chapters of Genesis prove to be the most foundational words ever written to explain our purpose and place in the cosmos. The sin that entered the world in Genesis 3 was a transgression of the word spoken to man in Genesis 1–2. Adam transgressed his place and the limits of his humanity. But we know that as humanity grew on the earth in rebellion against God, so too did violence. Genesis 6:11–12 says, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.” As it turns out, and this is always the case, all anti-God agendas are thoroughly antihuman as well. Hatred for God and his order manifests itself in hatred for one’s neighbor. It is no accident that Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36–40).

We can see an example of this rebellion against God and hatred for humanity in both the modern overpopulation myth and the climate hysteria that has gripped much of modern society. Both of these have resulted in decidedly anti-human policies and social movements. Abortion, transhumanism, voluntary sterilization, transgenderism, homosexuality, and other soft forms of depopulation like postponing marriage and conception, or foregoing these all together, are all a result of a worldview opposed to God and his Word, and therefore, opposed to humanity itself and God’s purpose for humanity. It should not be surprising that the world, blinded by unbelief, succumbs to antihuman ideologies and lifestyles. What should alarm us is when these are found in the church among Christians. We of all people should believe God’s Word and not succumb to the lies of unbelief.

Trusting God's Word

An example of this is the idea that the earth is overpopulated and that soon we will run out of necessary and scarce resources. In 1968, Paul Ehrlich wrote his infamous book, The Population Bomb. In it, he argued that it was too late to rein in the population explosion and that hundreds of millions of people were going to die of starvation during the 1970s and subsequent decades. There’s a lot that could be said about this thesis. What we might observe is that this didn’t happen. The population of the earth was around 3.6 billion people in 1970 and today is swiftly approaching 8 billion. Far from global starvation, resources are more abundant than ever, and the poor (with few exceptions) live on a higher standard than at any time in human history. What happened? Well, it might just be that the earth’s most important resource is humanity, as God’s Word suggests. After all, God said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1:28). This positive view of human reproduction and flourishing is not shared by modern preachers peddling the antihuman myth of overpopulation. They believe that man is a cancer on the earth, a virus that must be reduced if the planet is to be saved. God’s Word tells us that God intended for us fill the earth. We must believe that if this was his purpose for us, then the earth is more than capable of sustaining us. We must also imagine that as we fill the earth and subdue it, it will yield its abundance. In other words, the earth needs humanity to flourish as much as we need the earth.

God’s Word teaches us to trust him and reject the shortsighted misanthropy of God-denying rebels in our culture. Humanity was made after God’s image to reflect God as creator and gardener. We are not the cancer on the earth. Sin is the cancer on the earth. Sin is the parasite, the virus, the interloper seeking to kill and destroy, not only humanity, but God’s earth, too. Jesus Christ came into the world and affirmed the worth of those creatures created in God’s image. As he redeems us, sin and unbelief are subdued. As it turns out, all of creation is groaning, awaiting the redemption of the sons of God (Rom. 8:18–25). This is one example of how Christians are tempted to think in ways that are not simply contrary to God’s Word, but also antihuman at the same time. How many other cultural myths have we believed in opposition to what God’s Word plainly teaches us? Now, that’s something to think about.

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