The Inestimable Value of Life

This message is based on Genesis 2:18-25 and was delivered at the Central Schwenkfelder Church in Worcester, PA on May 8, 2011. 

The subject of life is an interesting one, especially with the events of the past week.  As we got word of Osama Bin Laden’s death, many were celebrating the termination of this mass murderer.  On the other hand, there was the sobering reality that many were rejoicing over someone dying.  Reactions varied from elation, to disappointment, to disbelief.  He was a hero to some, and an arch-enemy to others. 

For instance, consider the following quotes: “We woke up in a safer world,” said Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Union Parliament. British Prime Minister David Cameron called bin Laden’s death “a massive step forward in the fight against terrorism” and said that the news of the death will bring great relief to people across the world. An Arab blogger and personal friend of Bin Laden’s said: “”I feel relieved for my religion, for the future of the Arab world,” he says. “I feel sad for somebody who was a friend.”  German Chancellor Angela Merkel also praised the strike, saying that though bin Laden pretended to be acting in the name of Islam, in reality “he despised the basic values of his and everybody else’s religion.”

Christians believe that God is a god of life.  He gives life and He takes it away (Job 1:21).  But how can we arrive at a deeper appreciation for it?  This morning, let us stop and consider God as the author and sustainer of life.  Today, we continue our study of the Apostles’ Creed, looking further at our belief in God the Father, specifically His role of Creator, as the first line of the Creed states: “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.”  From this, and the testimony of Scripture, we recognize that…

CREATION OFFERS A GENERAL PERSPECTIVE.

In other words, God made it all.  It is significant that the very first statement of the entire Bible is this: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When we discuss God as Creator, this brings up considerable controversy.  The Biblical account depicts God creating the heavens, the earth and all contained therein in six days.  But there is also an element of mystery operating.  It is true that most of the scientific community believes that the origin of the earth was 3-4 billion years ago.  Some evangelical scientists believe the universe was created 10-12, 000 years ago.  Hence, there are old earth and young earth scientists, and not all of them are creationists. 

On the possibility of six-24 hour days:  Intriguing is how each of the increments is described, “Then there was evening and morning, the third day; then there was evening and morning, the fourth day” etc., etc.  Is this literal language, or poetic language?  Historically, it would seem that creation week has been taken literally.  Some cross references seem to indicate 24 hour increments: Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

There are many examples of God’s creation.  Who hasn’t enjoyed : Grand Canyon, Rock of Gibraltar, andMount Everest.  Whirlpool Galaxy, etc.  But disbelieving in God is en vogue today.  To be an angry atheist is becoming more popular.  We expect that God owes us a good life and if we don’t receive it; we’re angry with Him.  But Isaiah 45:9 reminds us that we must be humble.  “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’?” But in order to enter thekingdomofGod, you must become like a child, Jesus said.  This “becoming” implies humility and trust (Matthew 18:3).

Quotes from gifted individuals” The cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who struggles with ALS once said: “You cannot understand the glories of the universe without believing there is some Supreme Power behind it.”  Psalm 19:1 states: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

So what are we to make of this?  Let me offer a suggestion: be thankful for physical life.  You know, just to be here is a gift from God.  Life is a privilege and a great opportunity.  Hugh Ross, astrophysicist, states: “If the mass density were smaller, the influence of gravity would be too weak for stars like the Sun and planets like Earth to form.  On the other hand, if the mass density were greater, only stars much larger than the Sun would form.  Either way, the universe would contain no stars like the Sun or planets like Earth, and life would have no possible home.  The required fine-tuning is so extreme (one part in a quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillion) that if one were to remove or add a single dime’s worth of mass to this vast cosmos, the balance of the observable universe would be thrown off and physical life would not be possible.  Such amazing fine-tuning suggests the involvement of a supernatural, super intelligent Creator.”

Could it be that God doesn’t want you to be so concerned with the how of creation, but the why?  After all, we may need to take a dose of humility.  We were not there to observe when it happened.  We must receive by faith the very first verse of Scripture, Genesis 1:1 which states: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”  If He did this in six, 24 hour segments, then so be it.  He can certainly do it that way.  He could have done it exactly that way, but our best explanation is that a natural process took 4 billion years!  Friends, we don’t know it all!  So many of us are consumed with the how, that we don’t pay attention to the why.  Ultimately, we have to receive such things on the basis of faith, as Hebrews 11:3 states: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.”

CREATION OFFERS A PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE.

In other words, God made you!  From Genesis 2:18 and following: “God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone….’”  God looked upon the condition of the man, before the fall, and determined that Adam needed a helper.  But this also tells us that as human beings, we need each other.  We say, “No man is an island.”  We are connective creatures.  We need each other.

We also understand from this passage is that God, as Maker of heaven and earth, also provides for His creatures.  So God said: “I will make a helper suitable for Him.”  This is the role of the wife, to be a helpmate to her husband.  That is a specific observation.  God provides what we need.  Certainly both man and woman are of equal value.  Yet they have differing roles, complimentary in nature.

But our passage depicts the creation of the first couple.  And the role of the woman to the man;   She is His helper.  Aren’t we blessed with mother’s who took this role seriously?  The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.  Regardless of how you feel about marriage or where your involvement is in it, remember that the man and the woman are the crown of God’s creation.  Each has a unique role in the family.  And that life in itself is a gift, not to be taken for granted.  To be here, and to be healthy is an incredible privilege.  We can thank God, in His infinite power and wisdom.  Did anyone see the double rainbow last night?  Or the gorgeous sunset.  The next time you’re exercising or spending time in your garden, thank God for the gift of life.  We can also thank a mother, who sacrificed her comfort and convenience to give birth to us. 

My aim today is not just to share with you a tenet of theology and hope that you’ll believe in it.  Rather, my objective is for you to consider Almighty God as the Maker of heaven and earth, as well as Your Maker.  So this is one instance that I want you to take my message personally!  You are not here by chance.  You were not a mistake.  God intended you to be here.  What is His plan for your life?  What purpose do you serve?  Does it strike you this morning that your life could be a sacred, yes a sacred opportunity?  What are you doing with this opportunity? 

As we give thanks to God for life; we ought to give thanks to Jesus Christ for spiritual life.  It is because of Jesus and His work on the cross, and the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit that our lives can go from sinful to sacred.  Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  This happens when a person chooses to follow Christ.  As our passage states in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ….” 

Some Christians want to assume that the source of their spiritual lives was because they were raised in the church; because they come from Christian families.  But there must be a place of personal decision that recognizes the need to turn from sin and place one’s trust in Christ.  Then there are others of us who see our decision as the determiner of our spiritual life.  We leave out the role of the Holy Spirit in quickening us to salvation and drawing us to Himself through conviction and opening our hearts to the good news, as Lydia did to Paul’s preaching in Acts 16:14: “…and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.”

It’s no mistake that we are consider God as the Author of life, but it just so happens to be Mother’s Day.  Mother’s are God’s instruments to bring about temporal, contemporary life.  For this, we can be thankful.  Think about it.  Aren’t we thankful for mothers? They give birth.   They nurse and nurture.  They care for us.  And we are deeply indebted to them.  Abraham Lincoln, president of the USand responsible for the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves, said: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  Washington Irving, author of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle, said: “A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  Let us pray.

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