Creation and the Advent
First appeared in the Creation Extra , December 2021
CMI wishes all our readers and supporters a safe and blessed Christmas and New Year season. But our remembrance and celebration is supposed to be about a baby born in a manger. What would a creation ministry have to do with a baby? Everything! More important than the facts of creation is our Creator!
CMI’s Statement of Faith begins:
- The scientific aspects of creation are important, but are secondary in importance to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as Sovereign, Creator, Redeemer and Judge.
- The doctrines of Creator and Creation cannot ultimately be divorced from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This baby born is the Creator! Genesis 1:1 informs us: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” John’s Gospel reminds us of Genesis 1:1 by also starting with “In the beginning”—but John shows us the Word existed before the world’s creation. This Word was both with God as well as God himself. The creation of the universe isn’t mentioned until v. 3—and it was created by and for this Word.
This Word is also called God the Son. In Hebrews 1:8–10, God (the Father) Himself says about the Son:
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. … You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” So, God the Father is affirming that this Son is indeed God and Creator.
God becoming Man foretold in Genesis
John refers to this baby’s arrival: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
But why did God lower Himself to become one of us? The answer goes back to the early chapters of Genesis. God created all things in six consecutive normal-length days, and all “very good” (Genesis 1). But this perfection was spoiled when the first two humans in history, Adam and Eve, rebelled against God. God punished them and their descendants with death (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12).
But in His mercy, God also promised there would be a saviour. While judging the Serpent, He made this intriguing promise:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Both Jewish and Christian commentators have understood the Offspring to be the Messiah—or in Greek, the Christ, the Anointed One. The Rabbis after Jesus referred to the “heels of the Messiah” in this passage, and the early church called it the Protevangelion, the first mention of the Gospel in the Bible. The Gospel means the good news of salvation in Christ. So this Offspring must be Jesus the Saviour!
The Christmas baby came to die for us
The perfect and holy God created us and therefore owns us and has the right to make the rules for us. He has set a perfect moral standard. However, ever since Adam rebelled, all of his descendants have come short (Romans 3:23). God is perfectly just, so must punish moral shortcomings.
Since our shortcomings offend His infinite holiness, the punishment must also be infinite. Either we must suffer such punishment because we can never pay an infinite debt, or else a Substitute must endure it in our place (Isaiah 53). This Substitute must fulfil two conditions:
First: He must be fully human to substitute for humanity and a perfectly righteous man with no sin of his own. Hebrews 2:14–17 tell us that Jesus died for mankind precisely because He “shares their humanity”. But He didn’t share angelic nature, so sinning angels do not qualify for salvation. And the Substitute must have also lived a perfect human life to be a blameless sacrifice (Hebrews 7:26–28).
Furthermore, the prophet Isaiah foretold this coming Saviour as literally the “Kinsman-Redeemer”. It’s someone related by blood to those he redeems. Isaiah 59:20 includes the same Hebrew word גּוֹאֵל (gôēl) to describe Boaz’s relation Ruth. Only because this Saviour is a physical descendant of the first man Adam via Mary (Luke 3:23–38) is this possible.
Second: He must be fully Divine to endure God’s infinite wrath (Isaiah 53:10) since a mere creature could not withstand it. Furthermore, יהוה/YHWH/Jehovah/God Himself said: “I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11). So calling Jesus “Saviour” is logically calling Him YHWH since YHWH is the only saviour.
Our Saviour and Genesis
The greatest Gospel preacher in history, the Apostle Paul, firmly grounded his message in Genesis in the great Gospel/Resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15:
“the gospel I preached to you, which you received, … by which you are being saved … that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, …” (vv. 1–4)
To explain the good news, as well as the reason for the Gospel, Paul gave the bad news that we need saving because we are sinners:
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. … The last enemy to be destroyed is death. … Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. … The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. … Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (vv. 21–22, 26, 45–49).
So even when preaching the Gospel, Paul firmly grounded this in the events of Genesis 3—the very parts that many people urge us to omit! One has to explain the bad news before one can relate the Good News!
Perhaps, think about who you can share this ‘entire’ Gospel message with this season.