Why is a High View of the Genesis Creation Important?
Homily for Palm Sunday, 2021
If you don’t understand the book of Genesis, how will you hope to understand the Triumphal Entry, or the mysteries of Holy Week? Without a HIGH regard of the collection of books we call the BIBLE, all you have are cleverly crafted stories — with little authority over our lives.
Today we find ourselves on the precipice of Holy Week. In our readings we’ve just encountered the “Triumphal Entry” of Christ into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the betrayal of Jesus, and much more...
The folks who greeted Jesus on that Sunday, over two-thousand years ago, didn’t really understand who he was. Many, if not most were expecting the promised Messiah to ride into Jerusalem on a white horse, emblematic of a conquering monarch, indicating that He was going to free them from Roman domination and oppression. Instead, Jesus rides into town on a donkey. Amidst their shouts of “HOSANNA,” excitement, and joy, they missed the subtle symbolism. Yes, the symbolism would indeed have been of royalty, but also of a benevolent ruler, coming into town, saying do not be afraid.
Yes, today, in hindsight, some look back understanding the true meaning. However, for most the message Palm Sunday, and indeed that of the Cross and Resurrection gets diluted and even lost on deaf ears, more intent on their own situations, fears and worldly wisdom. All they are hearing are cute stories.
What does all this mean to you?
Do you find these stories to be at all credible?
Do you believe them?
Do they have any impact on your life?
Does it even matter?
What about the other tales in scripture?
If you’re not sure of one, how can you rely on the rest?
Take the creation “story” as just one example? Do you take it as being literal or figurative? Our secular culture focuses on the Genesis account as fiction, claiming that the Earth is billions of years old, and that evolution is proven fact, rather than merely a theory.
What do you think?
Which do you believe?
Does it even matter?
This my sisters and brothers is actually a critical question. The question I’m presenting here is: do you believe God, or man? It’s really that simple. Do you believe the wisdom of mankind or the Word of God that has been handed down to us from our ancient progenitors of the faith?
As one of my brother bishops recently pointed out. “Jesus said in Mark 10:6, “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’” We’re either living in a young earth, created reality, or someone lied. I choose to believe the word of God!
And, he continued, “Jesus clearly teaches that the creation was young. He says, Adam and Eve existed “from the beginning,” not billions of years after the universe and earth came into existence. Was Jesus lying? Or, did the apostles and fathers of the Church get it wrong?
The Bible presents that creation was by the direct action of the Creator as opposed to some naturalistic process. According to the book of Genesis, creation took place in the beginning and was finished and complete. Creation wasn’t presented as being spread out over several millennia or longer, or a portion of a supposed evolutionary vast timeline and history of the universe. Creation was by the word of the Creator. The author of Genesis presents that each day of Creation produced immediate and dramatic results, ending with a natural world, with supernatural origins — created by the prime mover and and designer of all that we encounter in nature.
Whatever our denominational differences, we believers must agree on one thing: our unity must be centered in Christ and His redemptive acts on our behalf. The question then becomes what kind of “unity” does Christ really desires, and whether the foundational truth in Genesis is essential for Christian unity. In that unity, does the belief in a young-earth creation really matter?
If Christians doubt what at first glance may appear to be insignificant details of Scripture, then others may begin to look at the whole Bible differently, eventually doubting the central tenets of the Christian faith, namely the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Thus the historicity of Scripture becomes quite important.
Ultimately, the controversy about the age of the earth is about the authority of Scripture. If millions of years really happened, then the Bible is false and cannot speak with authority on any issue, even the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be brought into question.
Are we merely presented with a house of cards that tumbles down and crumbles at the slightest wind of worldly wisdom? Many of those same folks who greeted Jesus with palm branches and shouts of joy, were on that first Palm Sunday, were among the crowd that were shouting “Crucify Him,” the next day.
As Christians it is important that we become firm in our faith, grounded in historic TRUTH. We must not be guided by the winds of an anti-Christ politically correct agend.
My early years as a Christian were amidst a Fundamentalist Protestant paradigm. In this context, I wasn’t aware of the developments in new-age theological schools of thought. It wasn’t until my seminary studies that I was introduced to modern textual critical modes of biblical and theological studies. Boy, were my eyes opened to the dangers that were lurking ahead. You see, modern biblical theology, matriculation, and polemics is more focused on following worldly wisdom and appeasing politically correct standards rather than truly discovering how the earliest church leaders understood and lived the gospel.
Our progenitors in the faith viewed the life and ministry of Jesus through the lenses of the cross and the resurrection. Many of the early leaders were disciples of the apostles, and understood that Jesus lived a real life, and suffered a cruel death. This was all accomplished in fulfillment of ancient promises.
In my Christian infancy, I had no idea that that there were different schools of Christian thought regarding such basic tenants of faith as creation. Of course, I knew of secular objections, especially regarding evolution, and the “Big Bang Theory.” But, living in my ignorant, and un educated bubble, I had no idea of the growing controversy that I would soon encounter.
The problem as I see it is that without a high regard for the veracity of Scripture, the words printed therein have no authority or power. They become merely writings of men. Taken as such, mankind is free to believe as they wish, tossing out one precept after another as they desire. Without divine authority all we are left with are clever stories.
What I do know for certain is that the earliest Christians didn’t call into question the veracity of the creation account. The faith of the earliest Christians was so strong that millions of them willingly carried their own cross to martyrdom. For them, these were not cleverly crafted stories, but articles of faith. They believed the texts as if they were the WORD of God.
These stalwart believers and early martyrs, who either walked with Jesus, the apostles or early church Fathers, understood the Word of God at face value, without equivocation, or filtering through worldly wisdom. To them, the readings we’re presented with today were fresh examples of God’s fulfillment of historic prophecy.
The authority you give to your understanding of scripture, directly impacts your faith in Jesus Christ.
What do you believe about God?
Do you believe that Jesus is who he said he was? Do you believe that Jesus came as God incarnate — God who became flesh and dwelt among us? If you do believe, the collection of writings we call the Bible, should have an overarching significance on your life! If you believe we’re presented with the ULTIMATE truth, then how you respond to the teachings contained within, has ETERNAL impact and implications.
Today we’re presented with a graphic example of Jesus’ last moments. They are presented that you may gain some insight, and through the grace of God, come to faith in the only NAME by which you may be saved. The same insight which motivated the early Church.
NO. Believing in the Creation story will not save you, Neither will believing that God, through His Word, created our physical universe impact your state of grace. However, this God-thing is a complete package.
Yes, it’s a mystery, and quite literally outside of our earthly wisdom to fully grasp. But, pray for the grace to understand. Pray that the hardness of your heart to God’s grace may be lifted. My prayer for you today is that you may believe, repent and be baptized for the remission of your sins. Believing in Jesus is the one and only way to be truly free, and to attain eternal life.
The entirety of Scripture was written that you will believe in Jesus, and the One who sent him. What will you do with Jesus today? What will you do with the Good News that He was sent, not to deliver us from the evil rulers of our day? Just as Jesus’ purpose wasn’t to overthrow a temporal government, it wasn’t to alleviate suffering, poverty or relieve any other earthly troubles.
The Gospel of our Lord is concerned with bringing us from death into life. It’s quite literally connecting us with God from Genesis to Revelation — from creation and the fall of mankind, to reconciliation in Jesus, the promised Messiah, and eternal life in the presence of our Most High God.
Now is the time, my sisters and brothers, to turn from earthly wisdom and politically correct dogma, and embrace the TRUTH of God — for His wisdom is far and away beyond our own.