“CONVERTS ARE CREATIONISTS”

Hebrews 11.3

 

EXPOSITION:

1.   Allow me to read to you the definitions of two terms that I obtained from the Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, my copy published in 1996:

science  n.  2. Systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.[1]

scientific method, a method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.[2]

2.   I read these two definitions to you so that you will know that the issues that I will bring before you today have nothing properly to do with science, actually lie outside the realm of science, and are really beyond the domain of science.

3.   During our exposition time we will consider how the universe and all that herein is came to be.  Since the origin of this universe occurred in the past, and therefore cannot be observed, and since things having to do with the origin of this universe are not subject to experimentation and no hypotheses can be empirically tested, which is to say that no theories of how this universe came into existence can be evaluated by experimentation, this entire subject lies beyond science as a legitimate topic of scientific study.

4.   May I put it to you another way?  When a scientist offers an explanation or an opinion about how this universe came into existence, he is no longer speaking as a scientist.  A topic that is beyond the reach of science, because it is something not subject to observation or experimentation (because it occurred in the past), is a topic for philosophers, is a topic for theologians, is not a topic for scientists.

5.   Scientists may have opinions about things they cannot study, about things they have never observed, about things they have never experimented on, but those opinions are only opinions, and they should never be taken by anyone to be more anything than opinions.

6.   Now, it must be asked, Do we have access to truth that lies beyond the scope of science?  May we know what happened in the past, before any scientist could observe it, what things happened that no scientist can perform experiments on?  Yes, we most certainly can.  How so?  The Word of God, the Bible, which provides for us a true record of how “God created the heaven and the earth.”[3]

7.   Turn to Genesis chapter 1, where we will read God’s account of His creative acts:

1      In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2      And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3      And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4      And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5      And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.  And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6      And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7      And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8      And God called the firmament Heaven.  And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9      And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10     And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11     And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12     And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13     And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14     And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15     And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16     And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17     And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18     And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19     And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20     And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21     And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22     And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23     And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24     And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25     And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26     And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27     So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28     And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29     And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30     And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31     And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.  And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

 

8.   You have just read the only place known to man that speaks of the creation of all things.  In no other place known to man is there even mentioned the absolute origin of the universe that verse 1 of Genesis chapter 1 speaks to.  But we have, in Genesis 1.1, the record of the creation of space, time and matter, something never even contemplated in other religions or philosophies, be they ancient or modern.[4]

9.   Other religions and philosophies, whether it be pagan pantheism or evolutionary science so-called, begin with space, time and matter already existing, and then seek to explain how the universe came to its present form.  But the Bible, unique as the source of truth regarding events beyond the reach of science, not only addresses the issue of the creation of space, time and matter in an authoritative way, but also shows Who is responsible for its creation.

10. Before we move to another passage, allow me to recap the 31 verses of Genesis chapter 1:  God created the universe and all that herein is.  And how long did it take for God to create the universe and all that herein is? According to Genesis chapter 1, it took 6 days.

11. Then what happened?  Genesis 2:

1      Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

2      And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

3      And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

 

12. Now we turn to Exodus 20.8-11:

8      Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9      Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10     But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11     For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

 

13. There are some who attempt to reconcile what the Bible records in Genesis chapter 1 with the claims of those who pretend to speak scientifically on the subject of the origin of the universe by asserting that the days of Genesis chapter 1 were not literal, 24 hour days, but that extremely long periods of time are being referred to in Genesis 1, using “days” in a purely symbolic way.

14. But we see here in the 4th commandment, which we have just read, that God reminds us in this commandment that “. . . in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

15. So, you see, if the days of Exodus 20.8-11 are 24 hour days, which they have to be for this commandment to make any sense whatsoever, then the days of Genesis 1.1-31 must also be 24 hour days, since Exodus 20.8-11 appeals to God’s creative acts on those days as being of the same duration as the work week of the Jewish people, and their sabbath rest being the same duration as God’s rest on the 7th day.

16. As well, unless the days of Genesis chapter 1 are 24 hour days, and not epochs of time measuring millions of years, then the plant life created on the third day (Genesis 1.11-13), would have all died during the long period of darkness before God created the Sun on the fourth day (Genesis 1.16-19).

17. So you see, a person does violence to the plain sense of Scripture by trying to reconcile what the Bible plainly says, that God created the universe and all that herein is in six literal days, with some anti-God and anti-Bible approach to creation that denies what God has said He did.

18. Before brother Isenberger comes to lead us in a song before this morning’s sermon, I want you to look back to Genesis 1.1, so I can leave you with one last thought from this exposition:  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

19. When God created the heaven and the earth, when He brought into existence space, time and matter, from what materials did He fabricate this “stuff” of which the physical universe is constructed?  In other words, What did God start with when He made everything?

20. In Genesis 1.2-31, God took the raw materials of space, time and matter and kneaded it and formed it.  But at the very beginning, when there was nothing, what did God use to make something?  The answer, according to the Bible, is nothing.  God made something out of nothing, something only God can do.

21. This notion of God making something out of nothing is so important, and so unique to the Bible, that theologians of centuries past used a simple Latin phrase to sum up this doctrine of Genesis 1.1:  “ex nihilo.”  It means, “from nothing.”  What God created He created from nothing.

21. Now, brother Isenberger comes to lead us as we stand to sing.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.   My text for this morning’s sermon is Hebrews 11.3.  Please stand as we read that verse, you reading silently, while I read aloud:  “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

2.   There are some beliefs which are fundamentally incompatible with Biblical Christianity, some notions which absolutely stand in the way of saving faith in Jesus Christ.

3.   For example:  So long as a Jehovah’s Witness maintains his Arian heresy that Jesus is a created being he cannot be saved.  Salvation comes to that sinner who by faith lays hold of Jesus, the Son of God, God the Son.  But if the sinner is laying hold of some non biblical Jesus who is the construct of cultic fiction he cannot be saved.  So, a Jehovah’s Witness cannot be saved so long as he believes what the Watchtower Tract & Bible Society (the Jehovah’s Witness’ parent organization) falsely teaches about Jesus.

4.   Another example:  The Church of Christ denomination believes in baptismal regeneration.  That is, they believe that salvation comes to those who, in faith believing, are cleansed of all their sins by being baptized by immersion.  But baptism is a work, an ordinance of the church that is to be done after a sinner is converted to Jesus Christ by faith.  Throughout the New Testament we see that someone is properly baptized only after he has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ, never before becoming a Christian, and never in order to become a Christian.  So, as long as someone falsely believes that he can become a Christian by means of baptism he cannot be saved, because he is looking to a church ordinance for deliverance from his sins instead of the Savior.

5.   A final example:  The Roman Catholic Church believes and teaches that salvation is found in the seven sacraments of the Church.  So long as a Roman Catholic believes what the Church of Rome teaches, that salvation is found in the Mass, or that salvation is found in Extreme Unction, or that salvation is found in one of the other sacraments, that person cannot be saved.  Why not?  Because he is relying upon one or more sacraments of the Roman Church to save him instead of relying on Jesus to save him.  As Peter thundered in Acts 4.12, “neither is there salvation in any other.”

6.   By the way, this reality causes me no end of consternation, in light of the fact that I have recently gotten word that Billy Graham is planning a crusade in San Diego.  Working as he generally does, with the Roman Catholics, without daring to say anything or preaching anything that would cut sinners loose from the Hellish doctrines of Rome, Billy Graham causes mischief and creates confusion.  My friends, there are some things that Rome teaches that a sinner cannot believe in and at the same time trust Jesus for the forgiveness of his sins.

7.   Those examples given, I believe that I have sufficiently established that there are some false beliefs which are simply too basic, too foundational, too obstructive, to a sinner getting saved until those false beliefs are first corrected.  To put it another way, there are simply some things you cannot believe and expect to get saved.

6.   That said, there is a point that needs to be made this morning.  Stay with me, now:

 

1A.   First, Do You Understand That FAITH IS THE MEANS WHEREBY THE SINNER IS SAVED?

1B.    Turn to Ephesians 2.8-9:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  From these two verses we see that, whatever faith is, it is critical to getting saved from your sins.  If there is no faith there is no salvation.

2B.    Now turn to Romans 4:

1      What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

2      For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3      For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4      Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5      But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

 

From these verses, also, we see that the way a sinner is reconciled to God is through faith.  Faith is the means by which the sinner depends upon Jesus instead of depending upon yourself, or depending upon anyone else, and is crucial to this matter of getting saved from your sins.

3B.    Whether it be in the Old Testament or in the New, the Bible says the same thing; salvation comes to sinners through faith.  That’s how Abraham got saved, that’s how Paul got saved, that’s how any sinner gets saved.

 

2A.   But, Do You Also Realize That AN INDISPENSABLE COMPONENT OF FAITH IS THE BELIEF IN GOD’S EX NIHILO CREATION OF THE UNIVERSE?

1B.    This is where today’s text figures prominently, Hebrews 11.3:  “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  Two phrases in this verse.

2B.    “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.”  This phrase does not mean that God used the Bible to create the planets.  Neither does this phrase specifically refer to the Second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ.

1C.   The phrase translated “the worlds” is in Greek tous aiwnaV, which does not mean the planets, but refers in this context to the material fabric of the universe.[5]

2C.   Now look at the phrase “word of God.”  The Greek word rhmati, here translated “word,” refers to an utterance or to a statement.  Psalm 33.6 explains this concept:  “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”

3C.   Thus, though I believe the Bible does teach that the Lord Jesus Christ was the specific Agent of the godhead Who created all things, this phrase refers not to Who created the universe but to how the universe was created, by the spoken word or by the utterance of God.

3B.    It is the last phrase of today’s text which speaks most pointedly to us:  “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”  Two observations to make here:

1C.   First, the writer to the Hebrews is telling us, in no uncertain terms, that God created something out of nothing.  Thus, the writer of Hebrews concurs with Genesis 1.1, that God created ex nihilo.

2C.   Second, the writer of Hebrews shows us that believing that God created something out of nothing, that God ex nihilo created this universe and all that herein is . . . from nothing, without preexisting materials being in place, is foundational to faith.  That is, you cannot have, you do not have, the kind of faith that is referred to in Hebrews 11, the kind of faith that results in salvation from sins, unless you believe the Genesis account of creation.

3C.   Allow me to restate this most important truth another way:  Call it what you want to call it, if it does not hold to the conviction that God created the material substance of the universe from nothing, then it isn’t faith.  Accepting that God created ex nihilo, from nothing, is a prerequisite to faith.  Without it you do not have faith.

 

3A.   That Means, A SINNER CANNOT BE SAVED WHILE CLINGING TO THE CONVICTION THAT GOD DID NOT CREATE EX NIHILO

1B.    Stay with me, now.  If there can be no Biblical faith without the conviction that God created the material substance of the universe ex nihilo, from nothing, then no sinner can get saved who denies the Genesis account of creation.

2B.    And why is this so?  It is so because faith, the faith that is needed in order to get saved from sins, believes “that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” 

3B.    So, if you don’t believe Hebrews 11.3, which says in condensed form what Genesis 1 says, then what you have is not what the Bible says faith is.  And if you do not have what the Bible says is faith then you cannot be saved, because Ephesians 2.8 declares that we are “saved through faith.”  But it has to be what the Bible says faith is, not what you decide you want faith to be.

 

CONCLUSION:

1.   Please listen very carefully.  There are some people who have supposedly trusted Christ as their savior while at the same time believing in evolution, or believing in the “big bang” theory, or not believing the Biblical testimony of how our universe came to be.  I say “supposedly” because such a person is not truly saved.

2.   A prerequisite to salvation is faith.  A person simply cannot be saved without faith.  Would you not agree that the Bible teaches that as an absolute minimum?  Good.  But the Bible also teaches that, as an absolute minimum, faith is not faith unless it understands “that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

3.   Thus, if you supposedly got saved while believing in evolution, or you supposedly got saved while believing in the “big bang” theory, or you supposedly got saved while rejecting the Genesis account of creation, but you later changed your thinking so that you now accept what the Bible says to be true . . . you are not saved.

4.   I say this because there is a required sequence.  You must have faith before you can get saved, and you must “understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” before you can have faith.

5.   If you supposedly got saved and then afterwards came around in your thinking to believe that God created the universe and all that herein is in 6 literal, 24 hour, days . . . you are fooling yourself, you need to get saved.

6.   What matters in this matter of salvation is not what you believe now, but what you actually believed when you supposedly got saved.



[1] Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, (New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1996), page 1716.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Genesis 1.1

[4] Footnote on Genesis 1.1, Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible, (Grand Rapids, MI: World Publishing, 1995), page 3.

[5] Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary (Bronson, MI: Online Publishing, Inc., 2002), [email protected]

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