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Creation Day 6, Part 3

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
May 18, 2023 4:00 am

Creation Day 6, Part 3

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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The truest part of man cannot be reduced to any chemical formula. It cannot be found by dissecting his brain. It cannot be found by cutting open his heart. It cannot be found by tinkering with his nervous system. Man is distinct from every other created creature. Welcome to Grace to You with John MacArthur.

I'm your host, Phil Johnson. It's been called America's deadliest weapon, but the B-2 stealth bomber didn't earn that reputation with its speed or its state-of-the-art weapons system. It's dangerous because it's designed to be hard for even the most sophisticated radar to track. People on the ground never see the B-2, only its devastating effects. Well, as John MacArthur will show you today on Grace to You, there's a battle raging in most schools and in the media and in the government, maybe even in your church.

And as with the stealth bomber, the weapons in this battle aren't seen, but the effects can be devastating. The weapons are ideological, and they have to do with the ongoing debate about origins. It's a conflict that John describes in the title of his current study, The Battle for the Beginning.

And now to help you understand the implications of the origins of all things, here's John. Now last time we looked at verses 24 and 25, the land animals, and we saw them, according to those verses, divided into three categories. Both verses 24 and 25 mention those three categories as well as verse 26 repeats some of them. There is the category of cattle, which we said were domestic animals, animals that can be tamed.

There are creeping things, anything that lives that's low to the ground from insects to rodents and many other things, reptiles and so forth. Then there are the beasts, which no doubt refer to the higher non-domesticated four-legged animals that walk the earth. God then, creating those animals, put the finishing touches on the environment for man, and then we come to verses 26 and 27.

And this is what we began to look at in some detail last time. Then God said, everything is ready now, the whole universe has been created for the purpose of man to live in it and to see the hand of God declared through all of it, through the firmament and through the beast of the field, which will give me glory, as the prophet Isaiah said. God has created a whole world, a whole environment for man so that man can see the wonderful, creative genius of the mind of God.

God can demonstrate His beauty, His order through all the created world, and God can provide an environment which puts His glory on display. And then capping it all off, once everything is prepared, the house is made for man, verse 26. Then God said, let us make man in our image. And here we are introduced to the crown of creation, which is man. But starting with the statement, let us make man, just stop at that point. There are four features in the making of man that are outlined here, four features.

The first one is the most defining one. Let us make man in our image, and then it is said immediately another way, according to our likeness. Down in verse 27, and God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him. As if we might somehow miss the point, it's repeated four times. Man is made in the image of God.

It's repeated again in chapter 5. It says in verse 1, this is the book of the generations of Adam in the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. Now what does it mean to be made in the image of God? It means you're not an animal. It means you're not a higher animal.

It means you didn't devolve from a monkey or a gibbon or a baboon or any other thing. From the very outset, man was created on a divine pattern, made on a divine pattern rather than a material earthly pattern only. And by the way, he is the only living being in the time-space universe made on the divine pattern.

Man is transcendent. The truest part of man cannot be reduced to any chemical formula. The truest part of man cannot be seen in DNA. It cannot be found in the chromosomes. It cannot be found by dissecting his brain. It cannot be found by cutting open his heart.

It cannot be found by tinkering with his nervous system. You can take all of the scientific experiments you want on the anatomy of a human being and never will you discover the true part of man, which is that intangible reality that he is a transcendent being which has no chemical constituents. Man is distinct from every other created creature. In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verse 11, a wonderful statement is made. He has made, speaking of God, everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart.

What a great statement. He has set eternity in their heart. That's true only of man. Down in verse 21 of Ecclesiastes 3, who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? The writer is saying man, his spirit goes up, any other created being upon death, his spirit goes down, goes into the ground, as it were, out of existence.

Because God has set eternity in our hearts. You can take away our body and we will live forever. So the image of God isn't talking about some kind of physical form.

The image of God indicates attributes not shared at all by animals. And the bottom line word I gave you was personal. Man is a person, personhood. These are his distinctives, self-consciousness. Animals are conscious, but they're not self-conscious. They're conscious of their environment. They react to their environment, but they don't know they're reacting to their environment.

It's merely instinctive. But man is conscious and he reacts to his environment and he knows how to react because he reacts cognitively. Man has reason rather than instinct. Man has the capability to think abstractly. Man has the ability to appreciate beauty, to feel emotion, to be morally conscious. And above all, as we pointed out last time, man has the capacity and the need to personally relate to others, to other people and especially to God, being able to love Him and worship Him.

That's personhood. Man has the ability to love. Man has the ability to fellowship, to converse, to commune.

Man is the only creature in existence in the time-space world that has language. Now all of that points to the Trinity. And that's why, as I told you last time, verse 26 indicates, let us make man. For the first time, God is introduced here as more than one because He's making man in His image and man is made for personal relationships.

God discloses the fact that He Himself is a Trinity, as we well know and as unfolds throughout the rest of Scripture, particularly the New Testament, so that God in the relationships of the Trinity establishes the pattern for man's relationships. Now that's sort of the ontological essence of man. The ethical essence of man, he has the capacity for moral behavior. He has the capability to be holy and righteous. He has the ability to be sanctified. He has the ability to obey God. He has the ability to receive divine and eternal salvation. Man created in the image of God, and that's just a brief review of what we saw last time, primarily indicating personhood and therefore relationships.

Now let's look at the three remaining features that are described here of man. Number two, man is not only made in the image of God, man is the king of the earth. He is the king of the earth. We look at that in verses 26 and 28. In verse 26, after saying, Let us make man in our image according to our likeness, God said, And let them rule, and let them rule.

And then He went on to describe everything, the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, over all the earth, over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. Down in verse 28, it says in the middle of the verse, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth. Man was designed by God to be the sovereign of the planet, to be the king of the earth. Verse 26, Let them rule, verse 28, subdue it and rule. The noun, by the way, in verse 26 is plural because man is a collective term. That's why it says, Let's make man in our image and then let them rule.

It's a collective noun. Man as a species is created in God's image on the divine pattern and given the responsibility to be the sovereign over the whole creation...the whole creation. And then God goes back over the sequence. You remember, if you go back to day five, the fish came, then the birds came, then the cattle came, then the creeping things, and then the beasts or living things mentioned at the end of verse 28. So the sequence is repeated. All of the created higher life forms beyond plants, which will be mentioned in a moment, are under man's sovereign dominion.

Now this involves something very practical. Go over to chapter 2 verse 19 and here is a rehearsal of the same account of creation, just adding more insight to it. Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, every bird of the sky.

We've already learned that. This is just summarizing and repeating that. And He brought them to the man to see what He would call them. And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle and to the birds of the sky and to every beast of the field.

Now that was the first thing that man had to do. If he was going to be the sovereign over creation, he had to identify creation. He had to classify creation and he did that.

He had the capability to look at the characteristics of a given creature and give it a fitting name, which he did. A second responsibility that man had back in verse 15 with regard to the sovereignty over creation, chapter 2 verse 15, then the Lord God took the man before, of course, Eve was created and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and to keep it. Now remember, there's no curse yet, there's no sin, there's no fall, there's no death, but there was some way in which there was a tending to the Garden of God, as some theologians have called it. He needed to tend to the Garden of God. We don't know all that that meant, but it was his responsibility to see that the Garden of God was cultivated and flourished. Go back to verse 8 and let's find out a little about this garden. The Lord God planted a garden toward the east in Eden and there He placed the man whom He had formed and out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food. And we learned that already in chapter 1.

This is just rehearsing the same thing with more detail. The tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Two trees are separated out as very unique trees. Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and from there it divided and became four rivers.

The name of the first is Pishon. It flows around the whole land of Havilah where there is gold and the gold of that land is good. The delam and the onyx stone are there and the name of the second river is Gihon. It flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris. It flows east of Assyria.

The fourth river is the Euphrates. And then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Now plants need water and so the man's responsibility was to make sure that everything had its appropriate care. I don't know all that that meant pre-fall because nothing could die, but perhaps it could flourish in a greater way to the glory of God if it was carefully tended to by man. In the garden, God also gave man the responsibility, as I read, to name the animals. We saw that, but go back for just a moment to verse 16. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, From any tree of the garden you may eat freely.

I mean, you can just enjoy it all. But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die. What's die?

What's that? That was the one warning, the one warning. So apart from that, God places man in this garden with the responsibility to name all the animals which shows his cognitive capabilities and also to tend to the garden. Man's responsibility was to learn about his creation and glorify God by the wonder of what he saw and then to classify the creation and then somehow to shape the creation so that it was an honor to its Creator in every way.

Now remember, there was no fear, there was no death, there was no bloodshed. But man nonetheless had the responsibility to tend to the garden of God. As I thought about that, I thought about my yard. Now I have a fallen yard. I have a yard in which death exists. And I can probably kill things as well as any other person, even though I may be trying to make them live. And I began to think about the fact that, you know, we still live in the Garden of God.

It's been brutally affected by the fall and sin and death. But still we live in a world that is designed by God to manifest His glory. And we do have a responsibility, I think, to tend to the Garden of God. I don't know about you, but when I go out into the garden that we have in our home and I see all the magnificent and beautiful plants flourishing there, my instantaneous response is to glorify God and to praise Him. I have a man who comes by every week and really knows what he's doing and takes care of all those plants so that they always look beautiful and you can always go out and clip all these magnificent roses. And any time you come to our house, you're going to find little containers filled with magnificent roses. And I look at that man who happens to be a Christian man, and I see him in a sense as a servant of God who is giving honor to God by the way he tends the Garden of God. I don't worship the plants by any means or any of the birds that come in or yesterday I guess it was the day before yesterday we had a lovely fawn enjoying our yard. That's an occasional thing that occurs. Even some local emu like to come and visit. I think there's a reasonable approach to all of that.

I really do. I think if God has given you a little space, a little piece of His world, it's right to let that little piece give glory to the Creator. I mean, isn't it amazing when you think about all the plants that God has created? Why do you think He created them?

To do what? To give glory to Himself. And when you cultivate those kinds of things, you're doing that. You're putting God's creative power on display. So everything we do should be to the glory of God. We have a cursed earth to deal with and it's not easy. But like Adam after he sinned, we need to work at it a little to the point where we sweat in order that God's creative beauty might be on display. We're still stewards of His creation. And I think as a Christian, I feel that stewardship. Now I realize that this is a temporary planet. It's all going to burn up. But while I'm here, I want God to be able to be on display.

And so Adam was given that responsibility. Now we, this side of the fall, this side of sin, cannot subdue the Garden of God as we would like. It's a wild world and we hear all about the death that occurs in our world. We even have plants that are deadly, don't we? Plants that are drugs. We have living bacteria and things like that that kill, that have created plagues that have literally resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people.

We have animals that are killers. It's not the garden it was originally because of the fall and the curse. It says in chapter 2 of Hebrews, verse 8, that Christ, who is the supreme man, He's been crowned with glory and honor, verse 7. Then in verse 8 it says, Thou has put all things in subjection under His feet. And that's true. Christ is as the incarnate man truly the King of the earth, for in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But look at this next statement, very important. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him.

Isn't that true? Christ is the true King of the earth. He was made a little lower than the angels.

He came down and became one of us. And so He took on the dominion mandate and because He's God, He has the greatest power to subject the creation to Himself. But we look at the creation and it was to be subjected to Him, verse 8 says that, all things are subjected to Him. There's not anything that exists that isn't subject to Him, but we don't yet see all things subjected to Him. We don't see the animal kingdom under control, docile and passive. We don't see plant life just growing and flourishing without any care and tending.

We don't see the world free from war and hatred and slaughter, etc., etc., and disease and illness. So we don't yet see all things subjected to Him. But we will...we will...someday all things will be subjected to Him.

Someday He will reverse the curse. He will be King of the earth. Look at verse 10. It was fitting for Him, for Christ, for whom are all things, ultimately they're going to all be His, and through whom are all things, He made them all, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through suffering. Through His death, He gained the right to be the sovereign of the earth and He will take that right and He'll go into His glory. He'll rule this world. He will subdue this world and He will bring us along with Him, bringing many sons to glory. So we could say this, that there was before the fall a dominion mandate given to man which he could exercise and he had control of all the animals and he had control of the Garden of God.

But he lost that in the fall and it will be regained when Jesus who has not yet subjected all things to Himself will do that. And that's looking at the millennial kingdom, the restored earth, Eden reversed, as it were. You remember the prophet Isaiah says, a desert will blossom like a rose, a lion will lie down with a lamb, a child will play in a snake pit, and if somebody dies at a hundred years, they die a baby so that even death in its normal course will be abated.

It's very reasonable to assume that people who go into the millennium alive on the earth will live through the entire thousand years without dying. Death will be mitigated. The curse will be mitigated. There'll still be elements of the curse on earth because there'll still be people being born on the earth who have a sin nature and who rebel against God.

So sin will be here but it will be largely subdued. And then finally, at the end of the thousand years, the whole earth is uncreated and a new heaven and a new earth is created where there is no sin and there is no fall. So man will reign with Christ in the kingdom. And one day when Christ subdues the creation, so we will enjoy that subjugation of the creation because we will reign with Him. The second thing then we say about man is that he is King of the earth. He is sovereign over the earth. He is not just a biological extension of some other creature. He was made of different stuff in the image of God to rule this universe. And he will do that in the glories of the millennial kingdom when he with Christ reigns over a subdued universe brought into subjection by Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, it says in the Scriptures, the prophets note it, New Testament refers to it, that the earth will be renovated at the beginning of the thousand years.

So certain features of the curse will be mitigated at that point. Man then was given this sovereignty at the very beginning. He rises above all the created order and is the sovereign, the King of the earth. Well, summing it up, God created man in His own image, created man to be King of the earth, created man to procreate, to propagate and fill the earth with others who would be made in the image of God.

He created man to enjoy the bounty of His blessing. And God saw all that He had made and behold, it was very good. Not just the parts. He's commented on the parts being good. This time He says it's very good.

That's the first time. And not so much the parts, but He saw all that He had made. Again, reiterating that He is the Creator and the Maker of everything. No death because no evil and no sin and no fallenness. Folks, that ends all possibility of evolution, including any kind of theistic evolution which depends on death. There was no death.

Things weren't mutating and dying for billions of years during this time. When God says a day, He means an actual day. And so you come to chapter 2 verse 1, thus the heavens and the earth were completed and all their hosts. That's it, folks. There ain't no more. That's the story. It started and ended 32 verses and gave us the complete picture of the created universe in all its wondrous perfection.

Do you believe that? It's God's Word, isn't it? It's God's Word. Father, we thank You for being our Creator, sustainer, consummator of the universe. Thank You for being our Savior, our Lord, our friend. Thank You for being our Father, that the great Creator became my Savior. It is a wondrous reality.

We bless You and thank You. That's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary, continuing his current study here on Grace to You, an in-depth look at the biblical creation account titled The Battle for the Beginning. You know, John, there's been so much written about the creation evolution debate from both sides of the argument, from the Christian perspective, can you identify a weakness, maybe missteps we've made in terms of how we have traditionally argued our side? Is there a common error that we need to avoid? Well, there is a common error that some Christians have fallen into, and that is to defer to science to the point that they disbelieve the Genesis account. And there are many Christian people who do that. There are people who call themselves theistic evolutionists or progressive creationists. That is to say, they want to believe that God is the Creator. They want to believe the Bible. But they just don't believe the book of Genesis and the straightforward six-day creation account because they think science trumps the Bible.

They think that this can't be true. It must be an allegory or it must be a sort of a mystical tale rather than actual history. And I want to remind those people that the Bible only does theology one way.

I'll say that again. The Bible only does theology one way, and that is from history, from history. The Bible doesn't do theology from mysticism, from intuition. The Bible doesn't do theology from any kind of esoteric experience. The Bible does theology from history. And the theology related to God and creation is from the history in Genesis. So it is wrong for Christians to set the Bible aside for the sake of science. Nothing in the world contradicts the biblical account.

That's pseudoscience. I've written a book called The Battle for the Beginning. It answers all your questions about the foundations of believing in the Genesis account of creation. Full length, soft cover book, great reference tool for strengthening your trust in the inerrancy and sufficiency and accuracy of the Word of God. We'd love to get one in your hands, The Battle for the Beginning, free shipping on U.S. orders.

Right. When co-workers and neighbors ask you questions about creation and evolution and the reliability of scripture, what will you say? The Battle for the Beginning can help. Pick up a copy when you get in touch today. The soft cover book costs $11 and shipping is free. To order, call us toll-free, 800-55-GRACE or visit our website,

The title of the book again, The Battle for the Beginning, and it will help you see clearly from scripture why the Bible and evolution can't co-exist. Order a copy for yourself and a few to give to friends when you call us, 800-55-GRACE or when you visit And if you have already benefited from one of John's books, or if his recent series on Daniel's uncompromising life encouraged you to honor the Lord in our dark world, or if someone you know has come to faith after hearing John's teaching, we'd love to hear that story. Email your feedback to letters at That address again, letters at Or you can send your note to Grace to You, Box 4000, Panorama City, California, 91412. We look forward to hearing from you. Now for John MacArthur and our entire Grace to You staff, I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for making this broadcast part of your day, and be back tomorrow as John continues his in-depth look at what the Bible says about creation. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, on Friday's Grace to You.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-18 05:34:23 / 2023-05-18 05:45:13 / 11

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