These Core Beliefs are intended to help tell the story of God's work in history.
Today I'm writing about the first, but I want to start by listing all of them.
1. Creative God
2. Damaged Humanity
3. Restoring Jesus
4. Transforming Holy Spirit
5. Privileged Mission
6. Infallible Word
7. Glorious Future
With that list, here's the discussion from this past Sunday on our Creative God
1. Creative God
a. God is creative and has a great imagination. Just look at the diversity of creatures and wonders of nature. From deep sea creatures to nebulae in deep space—all of it finds their origin in the creativity of God.
b. “In the Beginning, God created” is one of the most debated and controversial topics in today’s culture and philosophy. Many times, science begins with Carl Sagan’s axiom, “the universe is all there is or ever will be”. This is a total materialistic universe according to them and God is not even a necessary concept as Stephen Hawking has published recently
c. This is partially in response to the fact that the Big Bang Theory as it is popularly known, in the minds of many, supports the biblical concept of creation because based on observation, the universe as we know it had a definitive beginning and is not a static, eternal universe with no beginning as argued in the previous theory.
d. This universe and all the heavens “declare the glory of God”—in other words—the complexity and design of everything points to a designer. Paul goes further to say in Romans 1 that just by the testimony of creation itself, human beings are without excuse in acknowledging God’s existence. Instead of worshipping the Creator, we would rather, in our sin, worship the created thing—but which is greater? By far, the Creator.
e. God is THE creative Creator with an amazing imagination for diversity, complexity and beauty. Genesis 1 records the systematic way He builds layers upon layers in order to make His work of art. Starting in Day 3, He begins stepping back and taking a look at what He has just done and He sees that it is “good”. Good in the artist’s sense of—“that part is done and I like it, I’m ready to move on to the next part of my work of art.”
f. The last step that God adds to His creation is Adam & Eve—the only part of creation that is described as made in the image of God--It is not until God creates Adam & Eve—as the crowning achievement of what He is doing that we see Him step back and declare that it is all “very good”.
g. We have a special and unique place in God’s creation—and in relationship with out Creator. No other part of creation can claim the stature of human beings—all the previous creative work was building a background canvas for His masterpiece. That’s how we are described in Ephesians 2:10—we are God’s “worskmanship”—the word there is Poema—similar to poem—it can also be translated, “masterpiece”.
h. God is creative and He has poured His creativity into creating a world for those made in His image. And this creativity is something that God has designed and built into the very fabric of our being. Because He is creative we too are creative.
i. You can see that pointed out in various places in Scripture. In Exodus 31 God says of a man named Bezalel “4-- I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts-- 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship.”—Bezalel was given these gifts for the building of the first Tabernacle—the housing of the Ark of the Covenant and the Tent of Meeting with God. God does not want things shoddy or cheap—He understands beauty and how things that please the eye often please or soften the heart. Bezalel’s gifting improved the worship of God’s people and strengthened them as a community.
j. Later in 1 Corinthians 12, you see—“ There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. 1CO 12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.”
k. The continuing discussion of spiritual gifts come with this understanding—God now gives gifts to His people, His church for the building up and magnification of His name and the strengthening of His people. Each person has a different set of gifts and a different calling of service. We are not uniform, exchangeable cogs in some great wheel—but specially created and gifted to serve His Kingdom in a uniquely creative way.
l. Just as Bezalel was beautifying the Tabernacle, what would become the future Temple of God, so too our gifts build up His Temple that is the Church
m. God has ingrained His creativity in our design—too often growing up I used my creativity to discover ways to get myself in trouble—but God wants us to use our creativity for His glory and to strengthen the worship of His people. As a believer, God has given you a gift for you to use—do not let it sit idle but instead fan that gift into flame by use. Also, given you are uniquely gifted, don’t just do anything and plug yourself into something for the sake of doing what someone else needs or wants (though that may very well be necessary for a season) but instead cultivate your gift and use your creativity to find new ways of bridging the ancient faith to modern life.