Notes on Sermon Preached at PCF on 22 July 2012
Reference: Psalm 8
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We come to a Psalm than enables me to tackle one of my favourite themes today – Creation. David wrote this psalm probably during his days as a shepherd – or maybe later reflecting on those days. The Psalm in no way attempts to prove the existence of God as creator – to David that would have been trying to prove the obvious. And though atheism did exist in David’s day it was not the force that it is today. So, bearing in mind our current culture, where atheism and humanism has taken deep root into our culture, it is appropriate for us to make a few comments on the case for creation.
When those who do not believe in God speak up – as they do – it is important for us to obey 1 Peter 3 v 15:
“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have”
..which means understand the case for what we believe and being able to give a reasoned defence. For us just to say “I believe it” – won’t do. Fortunately whilst our faith is a faith, it is not a blind faith. There is no space here to go into detail so let comment to you the work of two organisations:
- “Creation Ministries International”- www.creation.com
- “Answers in Genesis” – www.answersingenesis.org
Both organisations have excellent websites and excellent magazines, which give reasoned, thought through, scientifically credible answers to all the questions that we and other have about issues relating to creation.
Whilst this is useful, it is no comparison to the evidence that God himself has provided:
“Ever since the creation of the world God’s eternal qualities – his divine power and eternal nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1 v 19-20).
Difficult thought the point may be, God says that there is no excuse – none whatsoever – for a failure to wholeheartedly believe in God, because there is enough evidence to convince anyone.
This does give rise to another question though: if it is so unanswerably logical that God exists and that he created the world, why do so many intelligent people reject it?
The following quote from leading humanist atheist Richard Lewontin gives the game away:
“We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism… …It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced … to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive.. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
It is an astonishing admission. The atheist does not follow the evidence we will only follow explanations of the universe that exclude God. People do not believe in God because they choose not to!
Severe though it appears we have to accept God’s verdict:
“The fool says in his heart: “There is no God””
With that in mind, let’s look at Psalm 8.
David talks through the glories of God’s creation noting six points:
1. God’s Creation…and the Universe
“ When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place..”
The Psalmist is filled with awe as he look at the universe around him, possibly inspired by his days as shepherd, looking after the sheep at night looking at the night sky. How awesome is the creation that God has put together, the work of God’s fingers
2. God’s creation… and the enemy
“Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.”
The enemy is confounded and undone by the praise that rises from the lips of children and infants. This refers to the praise that comes from the weak lips of those who serve him. It also refers to the songs of praise that come from children who believe in Him and to the cry of the newborn as he comes into the world. God declares himself to his creatures through the cries of children.
3. God’s Creation …and the earth
The Psalm starts and finishes with an exclamation of God’s glory in all the earth. As we observe the earth around us, an earth fallen and decayed, we still see everywhere the signs of God’s handiwork.
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
4. God’s Creation… and Man
At last we come to man. To the humanist, man is the centre of all things. Strangely, he is not far from the truth, but as Calvin says: ” It is certain that man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself, unless he has first looked at God’s face, and then descends from contemplating Him to scrutinising himself”
Once we understand God’s part in the universe we are in a position to see our own part – full of dignity, significance and fulfilment.
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
and crowned them[f] with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their[g] feet:
David declare humans to be created by God, cared for by God, made in the image of god, destined to rule with God.
5. God’s creation …and Jesus
This finds it ultimate fulfilment in Jesus, who was the perfect man, made for a while lower than the angels to share our humanity and now raised until all things are put under his feet, a destiny that we will share with Him in eternity. What amazing creature we are!
6. God’s Creation… and Praise
The Psalm ends with an explosion of praise. How can we respond to this amazing revelation of God as creator, and of our place in his Creation, without joining in with the heavenly host
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being”