In the Beginning...
Faith comes by hearing and this past weekend a good number of our Gottesdienst readers (of course not the members of Emmaus, South Bend, Indiana, check out the podcast here) heard the Old Testament Reading for the 21st Sunday after Trinity, Genesis 1:1-2:3. And here is what is clear upon hearing God’s Word…
There can be no doubt that the true God reveals Himself to be the Creator of all things. There can be no doubt as to how He created all things, that is, through speaking. There can also be no doubt that He has revealed to have done this in six twenty-four hour days and that He rested from His creating on the seventh. And that it was all very good. There should be no doubt about any of this if one simply believes that the Bible is true. Of course one doesn’t even need to believe that the Bible is true to admit what is stated above is exactly what the words of Genesis 1:1-2:3 convey.
How much more then should an LCMS pastor who confesses that Jesus of Nazareth is the Word made flesh, also confess how He, together with His Father and the Holy Spirit, made all things in the way He revealed? The prologue of St. John’s Gospel is just as clear – “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (St. John 1:3) So here is where I simply cannot understand what is going on in our Synod. It seems to me that there should be no controversy about this doctrine at all. It should have been settled in the minds of LCMS pastors when they were in Sunday school or their parochial Day School, when their reason was taught to be held captive by the Word of God. But yet, as we have seen, the matter was brought up at the time of the Brief Statement, during the Battle for the Bible days, and in our day too. This matter could be summarized by a question similar to the one posed to our first mother, (who by the way was a real person, formed from the rib of the real first man, who had been formed from the dust) “Did God really do what He said?”
Yes. He really did do what He said in Genesis 1:1-2:3. He revealed those Words and deeds to His servant Moses who wrote them down. And the entirety of Genesis 2 for that matter. I have always thought Gospel reductionism was to put it mildly, a joke. And it is. When LCMS pastors don’t accept the historicity of this particular part of the Bible or want to say that it is “liturgical language” or who are open to the Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1 meaning millions (why not billions?) of years or who are willing to bow before “the science” what do they do with any of the Bible? It really is all or nothing. Reason is to be held captive to the Word of God, and that is not a denial of the First Article of the Creed. I also wonder what these pastors teach about the rest of the Book of Genesis - when exactly does it kick in to being a real historical narrative? It won’t be with Noah, that’s for sure. Abraham? Joseph and his brothers? Outside of Genesis - are these things that don’t match up with reason to be believed? Jonah and the fish? The Red Sea parting? Joshua and the sun standing still? The Three Men in the Fiery Furnace? On and on we could go. The arguments of our faithful fathers in the 1960’s and 1970’s still do hold – if you don’t believe God’s Word and His revelation of how (and how long) it took him to create along with all the other miraculous workings of the true God recorded in the Holy Scriptures, why in the world do you believe the greatest miracle of all – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Or for that matter, the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of the same Jesus in with and under the bread and the wine in the Sacrament? Or the resurrection of the body at the last day? The answer must be that you believe those things because God’s Word says so. Why believe one Word of God and not another? Listen to the true God. Believe His Word. He does not lie. Repent and believe it all. What do you have to lose, except your soul?
Don’t lose your soul LCMS pastor. Put your trust in Jesus and His Word. He isn’t lying to you. Through Him God the Father really did make the sun, moon, stars, the earth and everything in it in six twenty-four hour days. Teach and preach this truth. That isn’t narrow dogmatism, it is truth. Turn aside from the myths of theistic evolution, old earth creationism, evolutionary creationism, or whatever falsehoods you’ve been toying with and put your trust in the same Word made flesh who really did die on the cross, was raised again the third day, has ascended on high and will come again to judge the living and the dead. Before Him you will give an account of your works and your teaching. Hear Him and believe Him.
nota bene: Keep reading Gottesdienst, there will be more commentary regarding our public doctrine of creation and the Word of God in the days to come.