Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Crown and Climax of God’s Creation

 The Crown and Climax of God’s Creation
Is man a particle of nature or the crown of creation?

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor  (Psalm 8:1—4NKJV)

God created the whole universe, everything that we see, and last of all he created man. Man is special and is the crown of God's creation in other words Man is the crowning work of God’s creation that’s not a statement of arrogance, that’s a statement of fact. Bible says “For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10  In the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2, the creation of humanity is shown as the high point of God’s creation.  And the implication is the profound value of human life. In a culture that tends to demonize people who aren’t look like us, or dress like us, or civilized like us, or speak like us we have a tendency to undermine them. So we need to begin with the Bible to see what it says about humanity being created in the image of God. As image bearers of God, we reveal and unveil something about the character and nature of God in bearing His image.
The image of God tells us that all people, regardless of whether they are like us or not and whether we like them or not, are created with dignity by the mere fact that they are human beings.  No matter theist or atheist… Christian or Hindu… Indian or European… Black or white… High cast or No or women all human beings are created in the image of God.  And when we value them and afford them the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings, then we as Christ-followers are revealing to the world around us that we value what God values most. God values human life.

Our text converse as psalmist glanced upon the magnificence of God’s universe, he felt his own tininess. So he asks God, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?.  I heard a statement   about the first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, who said, “As I was traveling away from the Earth to the Moon, the Earth got smaller and smaller into the size of a grape, which you could crush in-between your fingers. Then I began to realize the awesome Majesty of God, who put the stars in place.”
King David begins the psalm 8 with a statement of praise, declaring God's majesty "in all the earth". David points out that God's majesty is manifest from the highest heavens to the lips of infants. First, he says: "You have set Your glory above the heavens."  God's glory is evident: in the creation which displays God's grand design in the patterns of the weather and in the flight of the birds; heavens demonstrates God's wisdom and strength through His setting of the heavenly bodies in place and in motion; and, certainly, God's dwelling place exhibits His glory greater than we can imagine, glimpses of which we have in the writings of Ezekiel and John. A creation can never equal the attributes of its Creator, and so, the glory we behold as we study the flight of the birds and the movement of the stars is nothing compared to God's true glory. The extent of God's glory is unimaginable to us; what we see in His creation is but a reflection of His true glory.  

Sometimes in our earthly mind, the awesomeness of God is lost. To think He was there before the world began; that He created the world and sustains it with His powerful word. The Bible says “God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe.  The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.” (Hebrews 1:2-3NLT) Psalm 90:2,says  “Before the mountains were born you brought forth the whole world; from everlasting to everlasting you are God...” When I look at the stars at night I remember what the Bible says in Psalm 74:2, “You put stars and sun in place. You laid out the four corners of earth, shaped the seasons of summer and winter.” 

God's majesty is not only manifesting in the heavens, but also "from the mouth of babes and nursing infants." Children naturally believe in God. David says that God Himself has "ordained praise" from the mouth of babes and nursing infants. This suggests that God has put knowledge of Himself in the hearts of every child; and, since we were all children, we all, even those who do not acknowledge God now, have at one time possessed this knowledge of God. Paul tells us that "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (Rom. 1:19-20NLT).

Paul goes on to say in Romans that, “they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.  And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. (Rom. 1:21--23NLT) They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, suggesting that they, at one time, possessed knowledge of God. We can conclude that they had knowledge of God when they were children. But now, the knowledge of God in children is used, as David says, to silence them, “to silence the foe and the avenger". The instinctive praise of children is a strong defense against those who deny the existence of God. Now, in a sense, when any of us praise the Lord, it comes from the lips of children and infants because we are called to have childlike faith, to be like children. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it" (Mark 10:15). At another time, Jesus prays: "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children"(Matt. 11:25).

David goes on to declare God's majesty through the glory and honor that He has bestowed upon man. David begins by comparing the marvelous splendor of the heavens to the feebleness and frailty of man, in order to show what a great work God has done through man in using such a creature for His glory. David says, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers..." The wording suggests that David was in the habit of meditating upon God's creation. We can consider the vastness of seemingly infinite space, beholding galaxies and stars that are light years away. Through the vastness of space, we become aware of the vastness, the magnificence and the power of God. And these heavens are but "the works of [God's] fingers."Clearly, David's meditation of the heavens took place at night, for he marvels at "the moon and the stars, which [God has] set in place."

So, study the Word of God, It is good for us to consider the heavens with God in mind. Science is far-reaching, taking us to the heights of the cosmos. Theology, however, is further-reaching, taking us beyond the heavens to the dwelling place of God. Also, through consideration of the vastness of God's creation, we come to realize the feebleness and frailty of man. "Meditation fits for humiliation." Through such meditation, we come to say, as David, "What is man that You are mindful of him?" “Mindful” comes from the Hebrew word zakar, to mark or remember continually, as perpetual incense rising; to set the heart upon; to keep continually in merciful view. God, in His infinite mercy upholds man with His righteous right hand. What are we, that God should be mindful of us?

We must wonder, in view of the vastness and majesty of His creation, why God would be mindful of and care for man.  "What is man" in God's eyes? Man is fallen; man is corrupt and tainted. Man is ungrateful; man is rebellious, often turning his back on God. But God "is mindful of him" and God "cares for him". Let us never forget what a great thing it is that God cares for us. There are many who say that they believe in God, but they think, at the same time, that God is not active in or even concerned with His creation. Perish the thought! On the contrary, God is "mindful “of His creation and His creatures, visiting them every day, working in their lives, influencing the history of mankind toward His purpose.

Clearly, on earth, God has given man a special place in His creation. God has made man "a little lower than the heavenly beings", as compared to rest of the creatures. Among the creatures, man has dominion; man rules over "all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas." David also says that God "crowned [man] with glory and honor" and "put everything under his feet".

The New King James Version says, "a little lower than the angels," but the word is literally Elohim, the same word that is used here in this passage for God. God created man in his own image." And after His likeness ;"( Genesis 1:26) we know man is special, because we read in Genesis 1:27 that man was created in God's own image. This gave us many very special characteristics, including the ability to know right and wrong, a will to choose, an everlasting soul, and fellowship with God.  Man is the only creation that has an everlasting soul, and so we are very different from animals! Man was given dominion over all the other creation. " You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,:" (Psalm 8:6)
Man is the Crown of Creation because he is the only created thing made in the “image” and “likeness” of God and, therefore, uniquely distinct in his existence. No other creature is like man; he is one of a kind. Only man has been “crowned with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5).

 Bible also says In John 4:24 “God is Spirit,” This is the basic, fundamental nature of man. Fundamentally, we are spirit being, invisible, unseen by one another, and yet expressing ourselves through the avenues of the body and the soul. Now what is Godlike about our spirit? The spirit is made in the image of God, and, if so, then it can do things that God can do but no animal can. Questions flood the mind. What is meant by the Image? Is man indeed the image of God? What are the implications of man’s likeness to God? Is man truly unique, and does he stand in special relationship to God?

The first observation to make is something new and important that is spoken of Genesis chapter 1 in verse 26. It regards the counsel of the Trinity that took place before human beings were created. Verse 26: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness....'" God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit considered together the thing that should take place next. At every other point God said, "Let there be (something)," and then it came into being and God pronounced it good. Without making any effort to plan or consider with himself what he should do, God determined that light and darkness should be, that land should be separated from water, that plants should grow on the land, and so on. But at this point, the apex of creation, the final and best thing he would do-and what he was aiming at all along-God said in counsel with himself, "Let us [thoughtfully, reflectively] do the great thing now. Let us make human beings." The extra care that Scripture tells us he took should say something about the great significance of the human race.

A second remark in verses 26-28 is that God announces that the human race should have dominion over the living things of earth. Verse 26: "Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule....'" And verse 28: "God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'" The dominion God gives human beings, mentioned twice in these verses, is important. Everything else that exists should be under the care of human beings like us. We were placed in dominion over all the created things, but not to abuse them, ruin them or indulge our short-lived pleasures but to Govern, mange, rule, lead, and dominion over them. This has profound implications for the environment, for progress in technology, for the good governance. We don't find ourselves falling under the spell of created things and natural processes, reducing ourselves beneath them. We neither abuse them nor worship them, but serve them and care for them, bringing order as God's delegated authority over His creation.

Now the most significant point to notice is that we are made in God's image and likeness. God made us different from everything else, to be like him in a way that nothing else is like him, to have the capacity to fellowship and respond to him that nothing else has. There is a form of divinity that has been implanted in us that we cannot get rid of. We understand God, we know God, we long for him, we are receptive of him, we sense him, we need him in ways that nothing else created ever did, because he made us that way.  From God’s image and likeness we can learn three fundamental characteristic of man.

First, being made in the image of God means that you're aware of yourself; you have a unique personality. Second, we are aware of each other. This too comes from being made in the image of God. The person next to you is also of the Lord, has the same hunger for God as you, and is also loved by God. From little babies to the very elderly, bright, foolish, strong, and weak, everyone we know is made in the image and likeness of God. They deserve justice and should be loved and respected. They are the fit objects of our compassion. The very reason that you deserve all those things, and you know you do, also declares that everyone else deserves them. It follows that we ought to be advocates of divine love, holiness and justice and to want the best for human beings of every nation, race, culture, etc. Third, to be made in the image and likeness of God means that we have awareness of the living God himself, the capacity to worship God, to fall on our knees before him, to humble ourselves, to confess our sins, to receive his grace, to write words of praise, to know that he alone makes sense of things and that he will hear our prayers.

 From the first chapter of Genesis we can also learn three vital characteristic of God which we are privileged to partake as the divine nature.

First, there is creativity. Throughout first chapter we read, "God made... God created... God formed... God fashioned." That kind of activity involves imagination, the ability to think in conceptual terms, i.e., abstract thinking, the ability to see a thing with the eye of the mind and then fashion it with whatever powers are available. This great faculty man shares with God. Man too is creative. Not to the same degree that God is, for we cannot make things out of nothing, as God does, but we can fashion things, make things. Man can compose a symphony or design a computer, he can paint a picture and plan a building, and he can even devise a new formula. No animal can do this. Man has the function of creativity because he is made in the image of God. This is the dignity of mankind that separates him, by a vast gulf, from the whole animal creation.
Second, God communicates. He speaks, and so does man. Man is the only creature that can talk. Perhaps some are saying that animals also can communicate with one another. Animals do make sounds, but they do not communicate, they do not speak, as we use that term. They do not use language. They have certain signals which they utter and which are mutually understandable. But they do not convey ideas, they do not discuss matters together, they do not talk over an issue as we do. 

This ability is reserved for man. Again, throughout first chapter of genesis we can see the universe sprang into being because God speaks. It is the word of God which forms the ages, says the writer to the Hebrews God uses words as power, which alters, changes, and affects events and people. This too is the way man speaks. We alone of all created beings on the earth are able to appreciate the power of a word and to use it to alter lives or to shape history. We always appreciate good words. We know how words can affect us and change us. Words can ruin lives, they can heal and restore. What an amazing faculty is speech! It is part of the image of God in man.To be created in God’s image means that we reflect God in our personality and communication. This is why we have value, dignity, and worth.

Third, in this chapter, we have found that God is always pronouncing things good. He is therefore a moral being, and man shares that character as well. Man, too, is a moral being. He has the faculty of being able to distinguish between evil and good. Remarkably enough, even in societies where there is a denial of morals, as in the relativistic society of today, men still go on pronouncing things good or evil. The standards may vary but the result remains: some things are called good and other things bad. This practice is found universally among men.

 Everywhere man has a consciousness of moral values. We feel the trouble of a bad conscience when it sits in judgment over us. Even though we try to stifle it, it keeps insinuating itself upon us and we cannot get away from it. We recognize moral choices and moral values, and this marks us as having been made in the image of God. The bedrock principle upon which such decisions must be made is the fact that all men are created in God’s image. This is why our Lord Jesus could sum up the whole of the Old Testament in two commands, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:37-40

Now with these three remarkable faculties: the ability to create (with all man's wonderful inventiveness involved in that); the ability to communicate (to share ideas which affect, and infect, others), and the divine ability to treat certain things as bad and others as good, man was told to do two specific things. The command came, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" (that is one command, given in three different ways).

 Man is also said to be the governor of the created world. He was told to subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. Man was given the task of filling up the earth; and second, to rule it, to govern it, by exercising dominion over everything within the earth; to subdue its forces, to master them and bring them all under his control and direction. The whole course of history is simply the record of man's attempt to fulfill these divine injunctions. As a race we have never forgotten these commands and have been engaged in doing them ever since.

But question is where this great rule and dominion?  It is not now true that all things are subject to the control of man. Bible says “Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him" (Heb. 2:8) the basic reason Paul sum up with few words “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23) This is the general character of all mankind today that all have sinned in Adam, are guilty by his sin, polluted with it, and condemned for it. Man is the only creature of God that had the capacity to make free choices. Although he was given a righteous nature, Adam made an evil choice to rebel against his Creator. In so doing, Adam marred the image of God within himself, and he passed that damaged likeness on to all his descendants (Romans 5:12). Today, we still bear the image of God (James 3:9), but we also bear the scars of sin. Mentally, morally, socially, and physically, we show the effects of sin.

But what man lost through his fall, God restored through Christ. The writer of Hebrews says: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone" (Heb. 2:9).The clearest evidence that God cares for man is that He sent His Son to die for the sins of man, so that they may share in His glory. It was a great act of humility on Christ's part to condescend and become a man, to make "Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Phil. 2:7). For us, He was "made a little lower than the angels", and through Him, we have been "crowned with glory and honor” again. All mankind was honored when Christ was numbered as a man; all mankind was greatly elevated with Christ's visitation as a man. And so, it is because Christ has "everything under His feet" that David says that man "has everything under his feet."

 It is because Christ is a man that man can be said to have complete dominion.

When you accept Christ, He begins to work in you and creates you to be a completely a new person. Salvation is not a question of religious ordinances, assenting to a creed or the reforming of one's life. It involves the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and the Lord. It is the acceptance of Christ, God's gift for man's salvation. When a person comes to Christ, then Countless wonderful things happen. Bible clearly tells us of the many wonderful things that happen when a sinner comes to Christ and trusts Him as his Saviour.   Jesus said “The Father gives me my people. Every one of them will come to me. I will always accept them.”(John 6:37ERV) Do you trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life?

One of the greatest summaries of the good news in Jesus Christ is found in Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”C. H. Spurgeon said of this verse, “It is a Christian proverb, a golden sentence, a divine statement of truth worthy to be written across the sky.” Paul also said “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” (Ephesians 1:3) If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The good news is that when God redeems an individual, He begins to restore the original image of God, creating a “new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). That redemption is only available by God’s grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9 )we are made new creations in the likeness of God (2corinthians 5:17).In summary, you can know you are a child of God through His Word, the inward assurance of the witness of the Spirit and the change in your life. No longer are we bound under sin or our old nature. But we have been freed of it and introduced to our new nature which was obtained through Christ Jesus as a gift from God. God bless