Genesis – Week Four
What is your favorite flower? I would expect to hear hydrangea, daisy, rose, sunflower. I would be surprised if anyone said dandelion. Most people don’t consider dandelions to be flowers, but they are. In fact, they’re part of the daisy family. They aren’t weeds. Dandelions have been around for a very long time and have been used for medicinal purposes, treatment for dental issues, and even mental ailments such as depression and lethargy. Dandelions are very nutritious and, in fact, are considered to be more nutritious than most vegetables. You can use all parts of a dandelion from the flower, the stem, the leaves, and the root. You may already know all of this, but here’s something you might not know. “Dandelions are a symbol for healing, whether from emotional or physical pain, and also surviving hard times as dandelions are the most persistent flower that never gives up. When you give someone a single dandelion or a bouquet, you’re giving a message of hope, telling the recipient to not give up and to persevere to sunnier times ahead.” [i]Anyone else thinking of all the times a child has picked a dandelion and proudly presented it to you as a gift? Here’s something else. They’re the only flowers that represent all three celestial bodies:
Yellow – the sun
Puffy ball – the moon
Seeds – the stars[ii]
Have any of you ever taken the puffy ball of a dandelion and made a wish? Just like we make a wish on stars.
We’ve spent the past three weeks going over the first two chapters of Genesis and the creation of well, everything. The heavens, earth, sun, moon, stars, plants, trees, animals, and of course, man. I’ll be so bold to say that we believe every word in Genesis. We may not understand it, can’t explain it, but we believe it. It’s beyond fascinating how detailed, how intentional, and how perfect God was in all of creation. What little we do understand along with the many things we can’t comprehend leads us to be amazed at it all. Studying and discussing the origins of creation and all that we know gives us a deeper appreciation of the limitlessness, the creativity, and the majesty of Who God is.
But we are in the minority.
“Four in 10 Americans believe God created the Earth and anatomically modern humans.”[iii]
For those of you who are really good at math, that’s 40% of Americans.
That means that if 10 people were walking in a flower garden, only 4 of them would marvel at the different colors, the varying shapes of the petals, the assortment of greens in the leaves, the mixture of the fragrances and recognize that God is responsible.
That also means that if 10 people were sitting in a science class discussing different species of insects, only 4 of them would be amazed at God’s infinite creativity since it is estimated that the number of different living species of just “insects is estimated to be 30 million. At any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.”[iv]
Likewise, only 4 out of 10 people reading a medical journal about the unique 30 trillion cells that make up a human body would stop and reflect on Psalm 139:14 NKJV “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
That means that 6 out of those 10 people are missing out. They don’t get it. The idea that God could have and would have created the heavens, the earth, the universe, plants, animals, humans is too much. They can’t explain it, they can’t understand it, so they choose to not believe it. Paul speaks about these people in Romans 1. For this, I love the rawness of The Message translation.
Romans 1:18-23 MSG “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”
For those who don’t believe that God is responsible for the creation, there are different theories. Most predominant is the Big Bang Theory which was proposed in the 1920s. “According to the standard Big Bang model, the universe was born during a period of inflation that began about 13.8 billion years ago. Like a rapidly expanding balloon, it swelled from a size smaller than an electron to nearly its current size within a tiny fraction of a second.”[v]
Not everyone is a fan of that theory, though. “But there are things about this story that make some scientists uneasy. For starters, the idea that the universe underwent a period of rapid inflation early in its history cannot be directly tested, and it relies on the existence of a mysterious form of energy in the universe’s beginning that has long since disappeared.”[vi]
Some scientists, deciding to dismiss the Big Bang Theory, and certainly not considering the possibility that the account of creation as described in Genesis is accurate, came up with a new theory. This one is known as “bouncing cosmology” in which “the universe was born not just once, but possibly multiple times in endless cycles of contraction and expansion.” iv
Both theories suggest that there was a beginning and that the universe was created out of matter that was either inflated or contracted and expanded. What neither theory explains, however, is where the matter came from to begin with.
In 2020, a physicist and mathematician by the name of Freeman Dyson passed away at the age of 96. He was well known in the fields of quantum field theory, astrophysics, mathematical formulation of quantum mechanics, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and engineering. We’re talking brainiac, okay? You may or may not have heard of him. But those in the field of science were not only familiar with him and his works but were mesmerized by his brilliance. In fact, it’s been said, “When Einstein died in 1955, there was an opening for the title of ‘most brilliant physicist on the planet.’ Dyson has filled it.”[vii] This brilliant man described himself as a “practicing Christian up to a point but not a believing Christian.”[viii]
I can’t speak for you, but I’m curious as to what a brilliant physicist, an expert in quantum field theory, astrophysics, and other things I don’t understand, someone who has been likened to Albert Einstein, someone who practices Christianity but doesn’t consider themselves to be a believing Christian; I want to know to which theory of creation Freeman Dyson subscribed. Creation by the hand of God? Big Bang? Big Bounce? Something else? Here’s what he had to say. “The more I examine the universe and the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”[ix]
That’s it. That’s his explanation. That the universe was just here and somehow just had a hunch company was coming. I can’t help but question his use of the word “architecture”. Doesn’t architecture have to have an architect?
Many years ago, I had one of the girls at the doctor’s office and the doctor made a statement that I’ve never forgotten. He told my daughter that most medical doctors believe in God because they see and know too much to be able to explain the workings of the human body in any other way other than God Himself. In fact, 76 percent of doctors believe in God[x]
As I mentioned a moment ago, Dr. Freeman Dyson died in 2020 as a non-believing Christian. I can guarantee you he believes in God now. By not recognizing God as the original and ultimate Creator, here’s what Dr. Dyson and others miss out on knowing about God.
You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that if someone believed the creation story, then believing the rest of the Bible was a no-brainer because creation is the foundation for every miracle, every phenomenon that occurs is rooted in creation. It takes faith to accept the unexplainable. Hebrews 11:3 NIV “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.”
But many try to explain creation without God. Warren Wiersbe said, “The atheist says that the universe is only an orderly accident. Agnostics admit that they just don’t know and aren’t too worried. Theists confess that God originally created everything but has long since forsaken what He made. But the Christian believer still sings, “This is my Father’s world.”[xi]
Most of us are familiar with that hymn. It ” is a popular Christian hymn penned by Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York. The title originated from what Babcock would tell his wife before going on walks in upstate New York, that he was “going out to see the Father’s world.” The central theme is joy and appreciation for the beauty of our natural world.”[xii]
Do you take the time to appreciate the beauty around us? Springtime is here, as of last Sunday, I believe. And with Spring comes new growth, lots of green along with many other colors. I’ve seen daffodils and jonquils blooming. I’ve seen several tulips emerging from the soil. Tiny buds ready to burst open are appearing on trees. And I just started noticing this week that never-failing dusting of the pollen. In fact, I was sitting outside this week and after just a couple of minutes, I noticed that my cellphone had a thin layer of yellow dust. As irritating as pollen is, it’s necessary for the reproduction of plants. Here’s a little reminder from your 5th-grade biology class. Pollination occurs with the help of wind and rain or insects such as bees, butterflies, wasps, and ants as well as birds and even bats. All of which were created in those first six days. All of these years later, since the first days of creation, the plants, the insects, the birds, the wind, the rain are still doing what God intended for them to do. Are we? The first verse of the song is:
“This is my Father’s world,
And to my list’ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.”
Have you ever considered that nature is never disobedient to God? It does exactly what God wants it to do. God tells Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33:25 CEV “ Jeremiah, I will never break my agreement with the day and the night or let the sky and the earth stop obeying my commands.” Not a drop of rain falls without God’s permission. The sun doesn’t shine, the moon doesn’t appear without God commanding them to do so. Flowers bloom, trees mature, vegetables are produced and the grass grows because that’s the way God wants it to be. The stars remain suspended in space right where God placed them. Psalm 19:1 HCSB “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.”
Isaiah 55:12 CSB “the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
Consider Psalm 148 GNT “Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, shining stars.
4 Praise him, highest heavens,
and the waters above the sky.
5 Let them all praise the name of the Lord!
He commanded, and they were created;
6 by his command they were fixed in their places forever,
and they cannot disobey.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
sea monsters and all ocean depths;
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
strong winds that obey his command.
9 Praise him, hills and mountains,
fruit trees and forests;
10 all animals, tame and wild,
reptiles and birds.”
The second verse of the familiar hymn speaks to nature and its praise to God.
“This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.”
Nature gets it. Rocks, mountains, wind, rain, sun, moon, stars, ocean, clouds, birds, cows, leopards, elephants, lizards, snakes, and even the dumb sheep.
“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”Martin Luther
God created everything in nature and, in return, nature declares the glory of God. And then there’s us. God created us and did so for a purpose. Isaiah 43:7 NAB tells us our purpose. “All who are called by my name I created for my glory; I formed them, made them.”
God created us and gave us nature to enjoy. And what do we do? We complain because it’s too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter. We gripe because it rains several days in a row and then later grumble because there’s a drought. We get upset when woodpeckers discover a nearby tree at 6:00 am and we become frustrated when hummingbirds don’t take advantage of the nectar we place in our yard. We have become so self-absorbed, so arrogant, so blind to the majesty of God that we must be intentional about not taking it all for granted.
“Thank God I have seen an orange sky with purple clouds. How easy it is to forget that we have the privilege of living in God’s art gallery.”― Erica Goros
We’ve never known a world in which we didn’t have all aspects of nature so the appreciation of God’s creativity, God’s glory, God’s power, God’s design isn’t always automatic. Have you ever noticed that people often post pictures of a sunset while on vacation? How often do we pause to appreciate a sunset on a normal night at home? That same sun that mesmerizes us on vacation is the same sun that God places over our homes every day. Of course, some people don’t even appreciate magnificent works of nature even while on vacation. Here are some actual complaints or reviews of well-known national places of nature.
Referring to the Grand Canyon, one visitor commented, “More like ‘Mediocre Canyon’”.
One person, after viewing Yosemite National Park, said, “Trees block views and too many grey rocks.”
Sequoia National Park, located in California and known for its massive trees got this review. “There are bugs and stuff, and they will bite you on your face.”[xiii]
As much as we can shake our heads at those who fail or refuse to accept God as Creator of heaven and earth and all within, we need reminding as well.
The last verse of the hymn should be our prayer each and every day.
“This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.”[xiv]
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
God wills for us to be thankful in everything; even dandelions. Every day there are millions of reminders of His power, His creation, His precision, His perfection. I challenge you to see, I mean really see your surroundings for what they are. This is our Father’s world.
[xi] Be Basic by Warren W. Wiersbe
[xiv] This Is My Father’s World | Maltbie D. Babcock