The inescapable account says that the eternal God created out of nothing without preexisting material the heavens and the earth, which simply means the universe. Death did not exist, nor any corrupting influence and the creation was good. Most people have mocked you for your firmly held belief in what Scripture says about creation. Maybe you've been told that science does not support what the Bible says about the origins of the universe.
So how do you answer those critics? Consider that today as John MacArthur continues his study titled, The Battle for the Beginning, on Grace to You. But before the lesson, John, I know that many of our listeners were aware that 2023 has brought some unusual health problems to you, starting on January 1st of this year.
So give us an update on where you're at on your health right now, because people ask me this all the time, so let's hear it from your mouth. Well yes, I was preaching at Grace Church on January 1st, and as I got up to give the sermon in the first service, we have two duplicate services, I just felt like I couldn't get my breath. That had never happened to me before. And I think I said to the congregation, just give me a minute to catch my breath, and that was kind of shocking. So at that point I began to feel a little bit better, and I went ahead and preached for 50 minutes, preached the sermon. But when I finished that, and I went to the office to wait until the next one, the elders were there and a couple of medical doctors said, you're done, we're pulling you out of the game, you don't get to play the second half. And they took my blood pressure and determined that I had some kind of atrial fibrillation, and they took me to the emergency hospital, and the upshot of it all was they put four stints in my arteries that were blocked 80% or 90%, and the good news is the doctors said you didn't have a heart attack, and you have a very strong heart.
And your heart is now like the heart of a 16-year-old. So I was thankful to the Lord that there was no damage done to my heart, and that they were able to remedy the situation. However, subsequent to the surgery, they put you on all kinds of drugs, and I don't make a very good drug addict, to be honest.
So it's been difficult for me because it tends to suppress your energy. But no, I feel great, I have no illness, I sleep well, I eat well, I just feel like I went from eight cylinders to four cylinders. Yeah, I heard you say you were playing golf right up until this happened, and then in one day you said you became an old man.
In one day I became an old man, right. In fact, the doctor said to me, were you bedridden before this incident? And I said, no, I was playing golf. He said, did you use a walker?
I said, no, I didn't use a walker. This was, you know, I had a measure of good health, and so I'm on the recovery end of it now, and I haven't preached for a few months trying to get my strength back. Yeah, we miss you, we miss you. Well, you're going to get me very soon.
It's always good to see you at full strength. But I did come back and preach during Shepherd's Conference, which was in March. You didn't just preach, you spoke for like 90 minutes or so.
Yeah, I got wound up. Yes, you did. But I felt strong, I felt good, everybody was saying, do you want to sit down, do you want to have a desk, maybe it would be easier to sit, and I said, no, I'm just going to do what I always do. I'm going to stand at the pulpit and preach, and yeah, I went for almost an hour and a half. Well, it's good to see you back, and I can't wait to see you back full time in the pulpit at Grace, and if you use that handrail, none of us will fault you for it.
Okay, glad to know that. All right, John, it's great again to hear that you're doing well and getting back to your regular preaching routine, and of course, we're also grateful for the sermons you have already preached, like today's classic message from Genesis chapter 1. And so with that said, here is John with the lesson. Now let me sum up what the Word of God in this much of Genesis has taught us about origins. With plain understanding of the text, the inescapable account says that the eternal God created out of nothing without preexisting material the heavens and the earth, which simply means the universe. This creation occurred in a period of one week of normal days, about 6,000 or so years ago, and the entire creation was mature and aged at the instant of its creation.
Death did not exist, nor any corrupting influence, and the creation was good. On the first day, God divides light from darkness. On the second day, God divides the water below from the water above.
On the third day, God divides land from sea. Let the waters below the heavens. That clearly is the water that still remains on the earth.
The water above has gone into the expanse of heavens. The waters now still remain on the earth. Back in verse 2, the earth is covered with the water, the surface of the deep, it's called, and the surface of the waters. Still the earth is engulfed in this water. Beneath the water is the solid matter hidden beneath the waters covering the earth. God then commands these waters that cover the earth to be collected or gathered into one place.
The Septuagint uses the word synagogue, a gathering place. All of the water surrounding the earth is now gathered into one place and at the same time, verse 9 says, God said, and let the dry land appear, and it was so. So God separates the water from the dry land.
This is just a simple statement, a simple sentence, but can you even begin to fathom the cataclysm that occurred when that was spoken by God? All of a sudden the material that is in its unformed condition buried under the depths of the surface sea starts to move and all of those necessary elements start to work to produce land, to push up to create the surface of land. The water moves, gathering itself into one place. Tremendous chemical reactions get underway as the elements combine with each other to form the complex of minerals, the complex of rock and soil, making up the solid earth as to its crust and its mantle and its core, just a staggering act of creation. Henry Morris writes, great earth movements got underway. Surfaces of solid earth appeared above the waters and an intricate network of channels and reservoirs opened up in the crust to receive the waters retreating off the rising continent. continent rises. It may well have been only one great continent, later divided into multiple continents by the cataclysm of the breaking up of the tectonic plates during the Flood when the fountains of the deep broke open the continent and pushed it into its current form. But at this time, the continent, perhaps only one continent, rises and all the water is gathered into one place.
This is an incredible thing. The water is assembled not only in one great sea, but assembled certainly into numerous distinct basins. The gathering of the waters is a plural term. There were multiple waters.
They were all gathered so that they touched each other in the sense that they were all connected. There would have been underground reservoirs, there would have been underground tubes, streams and rivers and springs and fountains, but all connected together, all the water flowing everywhere in the earth interconnected. So verse 9, let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place. That would include subterranean lakes, subterranean rivers and streams and springs and wells, all interconnected and the land probably in one great massive continent.
And by the way, just as a footnote, if you take the continents of the earth and push them all together, it's almost a perfect fit, almost as if they cracked and split apart. Verse 10 then tells us that God named what He had made. He called the dry land Eretz, earth. And He called the gathering of the waters yamim, seas. And God saw that it was good...it was good. It had been so, He said, back in the very beginning that He created light and there was light. And He said He created heaven and it was so. And He created in verse 9 dry land and seas and it was so. But now He says it was good...it was good.
Why? Because it was now habitable...it was now habitable. Well the light was good in and of itself, according to verse 4, but the earth now became good. And then the plants, verse 12, were good. And verse 18, the bodies in heaven were good. And verse 21, everything He made in the sea and in the air was good. And then verse 25, all the animals were good.
And verse 31, He made man and He looked at all of it. It was very good. There's no sin there, folks.
There's no death. It's just good. So by the time you get to where we are in verse 10, you have the tripartite universe...tripartite meaning three parts, earth, sea, heaven. That's the created universe.
And it was good. And God could say it was good because it had reached the point where it could contain and sustain life. And so God moved into the second phase of creation on day 2, verse 11. Then God said, let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth and it was so. Again I remind you it came because God said it.
He spoke it into existence, verse 11, always and unmistakably God speaks it into existence. And this is vegetation. Verse 11, let the earth sprout vegetation. And I think that's a general category.
And there are two parts to that category. There are plants, verse 11, and trees. Vegetation is divided into two parts, plants and trees. Down to verse 29, God said, Behold, I have given you, speaking to man, every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed, it shall be food for you and for every beast. So God divides the vegetation into two parts, plants and trees. And what is the difference? The difference is the plant has the seed in it and the tree has the seed in its fruit. That is clearly indicated in verse 11. Plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit with seed in them.
That's the distinction. All the vegetation which itself contains the seed would come under the plants. All the vegetation which in its fruit contains the seed would come under the trees.
As soon as the inanimate material was ready to sustain life, without delay life in its simplest form was created and intended to be the food for all of the higher life yet to be made. Now I want you to notice that, first of all, in describing the plants, He says of them in verse 11, plants yielding seed. He says it again in verse 12, plants yielding seed. And again in verse 29, plants yielding seed. He continues to repeat that feature to let us know, and this is so important, that the vegetation was capable of what? What? Reproduction.
That's the whole point. He made full grown, fully mature vegetation with seed in it that could be dispersed. One of the great, great wonders of the world is the science of seed dispersal. I watched an entire video on that, just absolutely astonishing to see how God designed seed dispersal, not the least of which is accomplished by birds in your own yard and sometimes even attempted on your car and on your head. Pre-fertilized seed dispersal is very efficient.
I'll leave it at that. There are a number of other ways. One of the wonderful works of the wind is seed dispersal. The whole science of seed dispersal is just absolutely phenomenal. Plants were made then by God not as seeds, but as full grown plants containing seeds that could then multiply. That's the way the whole of creation was made, and I remind you of that again.
It was made mature. When man was created, he wasn't created as an infant, had to grow, he was created as a full grown man. Everything was created full grown. There were plants, edible ones, of course, that yielded seed, verse 11, and fruit trees whose seed was in their fruit, bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth, and it was so.
So you had those two categories of vegetation. Just one very important note, catch this little phrase, it's repeated over and over, verse 11, after their kind. Verse 12, after their kind. Once in the middle of the verse, toward the end of the verse, after their kind. May I encourage you a little bit, that phrase is repeated ten times in the first chapter of Genesis.
The Hebrew word for kind is min, min. What it does is indicate the limitations of variation. A plant can only bring forth something of its own kind. A tree can only bring forth something of its own kind. It only has the capacity to function on the basis of the genetic code that is in it. Now whether in the Hebrew kind corresponds to our word genus, or our word species, or our word family, or our word phyla, or whatever you want to use.
And I'm remembering words from my college class and have no idea what they mean. But whatever the Hebrew word min means, or whatever it corresponds to in English, the one thing it does do is eliminate any possibility of an evolutionary process because whatever the plant is and whatever the tree is, it can only reproduce after its own kind. To say that all living things come from a common ancestry is refuted by the ten times repeated phrase, after its kind...after its kind. I used to illustrate this with college students by talking about amino acids. I mean, it gets so individual that you're made up of amino acids and your body, no matter what you put in it, will only reproduce more of you. In fact, if you put too much in it, it will reproduce more of you than you care to see. But amino acids are called the building blocks of life. Now you could decide that you were going to eat fried chicken the rest of your life.
Twenty years from now you would not cluck. No combination of chicken amino acids and human amino acids will produce Big Bird. All you will ever produce is more of you no matter what goes in. That's after their kind. In the wonderful resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 and verse 38, God gives it a body...well go back a little bit. That which you sow doesn't come to life unless it dies, verse 36, verse 37, that which you sow you do not sow the body which is to be but a bare grain or seed, perhaps of wheat or something else. God gives it a body just as He wished and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh isn't the same. There's one flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another flesh of birds, another of fish.
And God is saying there are distinctions. There are designs beyond which any living organism cannot pass. Meaning of seed can be easily grasped. Seed is clearly the ability to reproduce a form of life in its own likeness. Implanted, says Henry Morrison, each created organism was a seed programmed to enable the continuing replication of that same organism. The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the biblical teaching of the stability of kinds. Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds. A great deal of horizontal variation is easily possible but no vertical changes.
A lot of different looking people, all people. The exact limits of kind may be a little more challenging. We don't exactly know what Genesis meant but we do know limits were set and we understand that. Organisms were to stay within their own kind. The biggest thing we could say is birds remain birds and animals remain animals and fish remain fish and reptiles remain reptiles and insects remain insects and that itself halts the entire evolutionary process. That's how God created. So we have already talked about genetics and how genetics guarantees that no evolution can occur.
It is absolutely impossible. Michael Behe, whom I mentioned who wrote Darwin's Black Box, not a Christian but literally questioning everything about evolution, devotes two chapters in his book to showing that as Moore has learned about the amazing complexity of cellular structure, the theory of chemical evolution is becoming more and more impossible. He says this stuff is the prebiotic chemist's nightmare.
So what do you have? Go back to the text. In Genesis 1, 11 and 12, you have the origin of all vegetable life and you have not only its origin but you have its orderly continuity fixed by means of certain seeds and kinds that perpetuate that life. Never has a plant evolved into something higher, only on the sci-fi channel, not in reality. In fact, if you study mutations and change in genetics, it's always negative. It is always negative.
It is always downward. The study of fruit flies has been something evolutionists have given their life to because fruit flies have such a short life span, they can observe it over many generations. And the theory is you can see enough generations to see change, to see the evolutionary process taking place. The only problem is they take these fruit flies and in order to make them mutate rapidly, they bombard them with radiation. They radiate them and radiation, exposure to heat, chemicals and radiation can create mutations. We know that.
That is true. We understand that even in the chemistry of radiation that's used with regard to cancer, it has the ability to cause cells to be killed and to change. But mutations do not create new structures. You may have a study of fruit flies, crumpled wings, oversized wings and undersized wings. You may have double sets of wings but you don't have a new kind of wing, nor does the fruit fly become a honeybee. Mutations, by the way, are very rare and this is fortunate because they are virtually all harmful. They all decline and in most cases mutations never even survive. That's why evolution has been called fact-free science.
I thought you'd like that one. So what are we learning then? Genesis 1, 1 to 12 shows us that the intelligent agent is the living God who on the third day of creation separated the land from the sea, caused plant life to sprout from the land.
Two categories, plants which have their seed in them, trees which have their seeds in the fruit that comes from them, they therefore are able to replicate themselves throughout the end of time as long as a given species exists. God looked at it all in verse 12 and saw that it was good. And then God signs off again in verse 13, and there was evening and there was morning a third day.
There was Erev and there was Bokere. There was a twenty-four-hour day. That is so clear. Those terms, evening and morning, are used more than a hundred times in the Old Testament and they always refer to a twenty-four-hour day. God did it on the third day.
Let me close, Job 26, verse 7. God's the object of this, the subject of it. He stretches out the north over the empty space.
What a statement. He stretches out the north over the empty space. He hangs the earth on nothing. He wraps up the waters in His clouds and the cloud does not burst under them. He obscures the face of the full moon and spreads His cloud over it. He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters, that's the horizon of the earth, and the boundary of light and darkness. The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke. He quieted the sea with His power and by His understanding He shattered Rahab. By His breath the heavens are cleared and His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these...I love this...are the fringes of His ways and how faint a word we hear of Him but His mighty thunder. Who can understand? When God...He's talking about rain and when God breaks into the darkness with light and rain and storms and lightning and fury and all of this, we're just hearing a faint sound, a faint indication of His immense incomprehensible thunder.
We're only looking at the fringes of His ways. What a God we have. This is Grace to You with John MacArthur.
Thanks for being with us. John has been our featured speaker for over five decades. He's also Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary and our current series is titled The Battle for the Beginning. Well, friend, if you benefited from today's lesson, a reminder that it's people just like you who help keep this broadcast on the air, taking God's truth about creation and sin and salvation to listeners in your community and beyond. To partner with us in connecting God's people with biblical truth, contact us today.
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