“Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)
The genius of the creation account God gave us, is that it establishes the heart posture that is required to approach God, as is reestablished throughout Scripture: faith and belief toward God. Take some time meditating on the following Scriptures:
“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.“ (Ephesians 3:9-12)
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. 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.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)
By and through faith in Jesus we may approach God with boldness, access, and confidence. Faith is the only door into understanding the creation account, and approaching God. Faith in Jesus is not blind, but steps of faith are. Having faith in an idol or god, that doesn’t actually save us (from the fall), nor reunite us with God so that we may know him and be known by him (such as it was in the Garden of Eden), is an unrealistic waste of time. If Jesus wouldn’t provide any experience of our faith in him, we would find him to be a liar who pours out promises but doesn’t meet us at all. But thanks be to God! When we approach Jesus in faith, he responds and speaks to us very clearly according to the Scriptures. As it is written: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8). Off of the top of my head, I would say that unbelief is the heart posture Jesus rebukes the most throughout the Gospels.
[See a few ways in which Jesus responded to faith in the Gospels: (Matthew 14:23-36; 17:14-20, Mark 2:3-5; 5:23-43; 10:46-52, Luke 7:47-50)].
We know that God is and that he is eternally powerful
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:17-20)
Romans 1:17-20 is yet another New Testament commentary on creation, that also reveals this required heart posture of faith, and so much more.
We clearly understand and see two invisible things about God, since (and by) the creation of the world: his Godhead (Divinity) and eternal power. These two truths are “held” by every human, manifesting “in them” “that which may be known of God”. God has shown himself to us by creation.
Creation bares the mark of being made, it is not eternal; it carries the fingerprint of God Himself. To not have faith in God, that he is, that he is eternally powerful, and the creator of all things, is unrighteousness. Unbelief is holding the truth in unrighteousness, or in other words, knowing the truth and repressing it with rebellion. The book of Romans goes on to reveal the consequences of unbelief:
“…So that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:20c-25)
People are without excuse before God because this knowledge of him was revealed to them, and their response was not to thank him, or to glorify him as God. They “changed the truth of God into a lie”. In so doing, they chose to be an existentialist, so to speak, or whatnot, where they “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools”, and traded the “glory of the uncorruptible God” for an idol or god that is like the things they can see around them: humans, animals, and creation.
The knowledge of God precedes the rejection of the knowledge of God. Throughout the earth and human history the knowledge of God is a common knowledge that manifests itself in many different religions. In light of human history, we can then conclude unbelief as being a sort of religion in and of itself; a highly spiritual (although it may at times seem to be highly “educational” or “reasonable”) reaction to the knowledge of God. Unbelief in all of its forms, is a spiritual reaction against knowing God and giving him glory.
Again, all systems of unbelief are a response to the revelation of the knowledge of God, which came first, and they are a fulfillment of Romans 1-2. I believe there is a relationship between a corporate/national and individual fulfillment of this passage. If Romans 1-2 (the rejection of the knowledge of God) is a national fulfillment, as it now is in Western culture, then the potential of the individual fulfillment (of that nation) is heightened greatly. For instance, when a nation rejects the knowledge of God’s existence and majesty, the children born in that nation are a victim to corporate deception and would be more susceptible to individually rejecting the knowledge of God through various systems of unbelief. Unbelief towards God is the major way Western culture is dealing with the problem of God; it is not the same way as many other nations are reacting to the knowledge of God.
Every religion reacts to the knowledge of God, and we immediately have questions and confusions: How do we know God rightly? Has God made himself known by the prophets? What does nature, science, and geology tell us about God? What makes one religion false and another true? How do we know if the Bible is true, inerrant, inspired, and infallible? These are questions I plan on getting into later. But first it is important to establish that we all know that there is a God who created Heaven and Earth, and that he is eternally powerful… and holy.
How has God judged these religions that have formed out of reacting to the knowledge of God, that have not heard of his redemptive acts in the world?
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.” (Acts 17:22-34)
God has “winked” at the times of ignorance. But now, since Jesus Christ and his resurrection he commands all people, every where to repent and believe in the resurrected Lord. Just as Paul in this passage, God has made his people ambassadors of his Kingdom to continue to preach this message.
From the light of the knowledge of God, we see that many different religions have formed to grope for him through the darkness. Different religions define God differently, and their belief in God is from what they know about him according to truth, deception, or ignorance. But the testimony of creation tells us that God is divine, holy, and eternally powerful; He is not lawless, and he is not an idol made by human hands or minds. As we journey through the Pentateuch, we will continue to look at the revelation of the knowledge of God to Israel and ask ourselves if it equates and was completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.
The testimony of Jesus has turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). It is a noble thing to search the Scriptures and see if Jesus’ claims and prophetic fulfillments are indeed true. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)
“Ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18)
Romans 1 tells us two truths that all people know, but of course, we could see in this passage a third truth: We know that God is holy, as his wrath is revealed against all wickedness. “Unrighteousness of ungodliness”, could be another way to quote this verse because the first comes from the second, and both are one and the same. Here unrighteousness is defined as that which is not like God, whose testimony is spoken by creation. The wrath of God is revealed against all such unrighteousness of ungodliness. People have no excuse before God to live in sin… simply through the testimony of creation.
At the end of the day… unbelief, in all of its forms, is a spiritual reality comparable to the religious spirit the Jews had who rejected their Messiah. Unbelief is truly an argument against God himself. At the end of the age, this truth will be manifest (Revelation 6:16), in as much as the mystery of iniquity (2 Thessalonians 2:7) is allowed to be fully manifest and exposed for what it truly is before God himself: hatred of God, and the rejection of the knowledge of God. The (self-) revelation of God does not refute unbelief, as seen throughout the Scriptures (Psalm 78). Likewise, the light of the glory of God as seen in creation cannot chase out a spirit of unbelief. Unbelief can only go away by the Spirit of God through humbling oneself with repentance of the spirit of unbelief, choosing to believe in God, prayer, and the Word.
The highest thought a person could meditate on is God, and what a person thinks about God is the most important thing about them, defining their entire life, how they live, and where they will end up (Knowledge of the Holy, page 5). (See Jeremiah 2:26-29, 1 Samuel 2:2, and Revelation 22:11-21)
Simply ask Jesus for wisdom and understanding and search the Scriptures with this prayer:
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” (Epheisans 1:17-23)
Father of all of us, we ask that you would give us ears to hear and eyes to see. Shake off our blindness and unbelieving hearts. Save us from the spirit of this age, and the deception of our forefathers. Give to us the knowledge of God, the knowledge of the Holy. Let us see you in your creation. Enlighten our minds as we break our agreement with the spirit of unbelief in Jesus name, Amen.
“For all the gods of the nations are idols:
but the Lord made the heavens.” (Psalm 96:5)
Old Testament Judaism identified God as the one who created Heaven and Earth, and is everlasting. God’s main identity is as our Creator. The Scriptures open up with the astounding creation account. We are taught that we have a beginning – and so drops a stark contrast between us and our Creator, who has no beginning. We look through the pages of history, and know that we have a beginning. In this first line of Scripture we get our first glimpse at what it means for God to be Creator: he is holy, totally set apart, the only One of his “kind” (Mark 12:29). God made Heaven and Earth; all other gods and beliefs are idols. We define God as the One who created and it was.
God speaks through Creation
“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19)
Nature speaks to us of the glory and of the knowledge of God. Nature is a library full of the knowledge of God. It bares the mark of being made, and we see the fingerprint of our Creator. It is not eternal, but has a beginning. The peace, beauty, and order of Creation astounds us and causes our hearts to yearn for God. The whole of creation is beaming with life and wonder that we have yet to fully discover. And in this vast world of such endless variety, we see unison and simplicity. The wonders of creation take our breath away not only because it provides for us to live a good, healthy, and fun life, but its beauty and wonder is over the top. Life is a miracle of God that he has given us dominion over (Psalm 8). From the heights of the heavens, down to the air we breathe now, we live in a miracle. The laws of the universe perfectly allow us to live human life, and they are consistent throughout the earth. God created the earth so beautifully so that we would know him, who is full of beauty and truth.
God is great in knowledge. He crowns humankind with brilliance and intelligence, education and the vastness of their fields; our lives and studies revolve around his creation and laws. The glory and knowledge of God as we see him in creation push us into a devotion to his Word (Laws, testimonies, statutes, commandments) that are also testified to by his creation.