‘“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).”’
The Purpose of God’s Creation
You’ve got five to ten minutes to explain to an atheist why God created the world. What do you say?
I recently had one such opportunity. There were things I would like to have included which I didn’t. I should have said the Bible from beginning to end is an inspired revelation of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It explains who He is, what He has done, and what He intends to do. The main focus is on Jesus, God’s Son, who acted in accordance with His Father’s will (Matthew 26:42; John 5:19), and laid down His life to bring into being a special people (1 Peter 2:9) who would be given an ‘eternal inheritance’ (Hebrews 9:15; 1 Peter 1:4). It tells of the work of the Holy Spirit, without whom there would be no inheritance; for the Holy Spirit gives new life (John 3:3-8) and power (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:4) to those who are given faith by God (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
God’s Enactment of His Plan
The Bible reveals God’s plan for calling a people to Himself. He set about achieving it, firstly by creating a physical world (Genesis1:1—2:1) and populating it with people (Genesis 1:26-28; 2;7) whose origins were in Adam (Genesis 2:19) and Eve (Genesis 2:21, 22), the very first human beings. It was no accident that they found themselves in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15), because God deliberately placed them there for Eve to be tempted by a talking serpent (Genesis 3:1). She would disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:1-7).
God had given Adam one command which was not to eat of the fruit (Genesis 2:9, 16, 17), and Eve was obviously aware of the fact, since she told the serpent she and Adam were not to eat it (Genesis 3:3). However, she ate of it (Genesis 3:6), and gave some to Adam who astonishingly, also ate of it!
Because of their disobedience they became sinners, i.e., transgressors of God, and consequently their offspring inherited their sinful nature (Romans 5:12). He cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden to prevent them from having access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). He told them they and their offspring would die, and their bodies would return to the earth as dust (Genesis 3:19) from whence they had come (Genesis 2:7; 3:19). As we all know, without exception, we all die (Romans 5:12).
The world population multiplied (Genesis 5:1-6:1) and as it did, their wickedness became great (Genesis 6:5). They progressively became more and more evil, and God in accordance with His decreed will [plan] brought about a worldwide flood that killed all but eight people: Noah, his wife and their three sons with their wives (Genesis 7:13; 8:18). From these survivors God would repopulate the earth and from their offspring [which includes us] He would call a special people to Himself (1 Peter 2:9).
God’s Original Old Testament People
The [original] Old Testament ‘special’ people of God (Exodus 19:5) were descendants of Abraham, through his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 49:1-28). On account of a famine in Canaan (Genesis 41:56, 57) they travelled to Egypt where later they were forced into slavery. God gave them a leader whose name was Moses. He would be His representative who would help free them from slavery (Exodus 3:10, 17) and take them to ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Exodus 3:8). God made a covenant (Exodus 19:5, 6 ) with them promising that if they obeyed His commands He would make them His special treasure.
Tragically it turned out that they were a very disobedient people (Romans 10:21), and because of their disobedience, only two of them, Joshua and Caleb [men of faith and obedience] were permitted by God to enter the land of Canaan (Numbers 14: 29, 30, 35). The others were twenty or younger at the time of their departure from Egypt or they were born during Israel’s forty years of wandering (Numbers 32:13) in the desert. God allowed Moses to see Canaan from Mount Nebo, but on account of His disobedience (Numbers 20:7-13), God brought his life to an end before he could enter.
God was faithful and merciful (Exodus 34:6, 7). Despite the disobedience of His people and their inability to keep His commandments, Joshua took the children of the fathers into the land (Joshua 1:1-24:33).
The Problem of Sin and the Solution – A Saviour Jesus!
Sin is disobedience to God.
From the time of Adam and Eve sin has always been a barrier between God and Adam’s offspring (Romans 7), but from before the creation of the world God made provision for its removal. He would provide a sinless Saviour who would overcome it and satan, i.e., the serpent who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden. This Saviour was spoken of in Genesis 3:15 as the ‘Seed’ – of the woman. He would bruise the head of satan – in other words, He would triumphant over him at the cross and conquer death by rising from it (Luke 24:46). In a time of His choosing He would cast satan into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10).
This Saviour is Jesus Christ, the Father’s only begotten Son (John 3:16), born of the virgin Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph of the House of Judah (Matthew 1:3). She would be overshadowed by the power of the Highest and the coming upon her of the Holy Spirit; thus she would give birth to, ‘that Holy One …… called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).’ On this account He was sinless (Hebrews 4:15), and He would die as a sacrifice (John 1:28) in the place of sinners (Romans 5:6-11).
He would be a substitute (Romans 5:8) for those who repent of their sins and believe in Him (Mark 1:15). He would live a perfect life of obedience to God and to His laws (Matthew 5:1 7). He would die on a cross, suffer in hell and rise again to life before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:9, 10). From there He will return to earth for the gathering in of His redeemed people (Matthew 16:27). He will also judge those who reject Him and cast them into the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:12-15).
God’s New Special People
The unbelieving Old Testament Israelites [Jews], prefigured God’s new special people, who are still in the making, and have been since Pentecost (Acts 2). This new people of God are a believing and faithful people, ‘the Israel of God’ spoken of in Galatians 6:16. They are the church of Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). They are chosen (Ephesians 1:4) from all nations, including the Jews (Romans 9:6-8).
God’s true people are holy (Ephesians 1:4) and obedient (Jeremiah 31:33) and they have laid up for them an inheritance (Matthew 25:34) in a new land, i.e., His everlasting Kingdom. This Kingdom exists today; it is a spiritual kingdom (Ephesians 1:3) experienced by its citizens who receive power from the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13; Acts 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). They are members of the body of Christ, His church (1 Corinthians 12:7; Ephesians 4:12). They are disciples who follow Him (John 8:12; 12:26; Matthew10:38). He is their King, and from before time they were predestined (Romans 8:30) for this honour and glory. They will live with Him forever in the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) where they will eat of the tree of life (Revelation 22:2). In this city there will be no sin, no pain, no death, no sorrow (Revelation 21:4) – only love, joy and life evermore. This is the inheritance (Matthew 25:34) God has decreed for Himself for His glory.
So there we have it: the creation of the world by God to establish an inheritance for a holy people and Himself so that they may share His glory and His love forever.
I mentioned nothing of the Prophets who were instrumental in pointing to the purposes of God and His Son. They repeatedly warned God’s people of their errant ways and of the consequences. They would suffer as a result, and they did! The same applies today. Those who do not acknowledge Him, disown or reject Him will also suffer. There is no escape for them from hell, unless they repent and turn to God for mercy.
This is an unpopular message, but for those who are wise they will have the fear of God in their hearts (Proverbs 9:10) and they will be saved.
I plead to atheists, agnostics and all unbelievers, please think again.
‘Whoever believes’ in the Son of Man, i.e., Jesus, ‘will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:15).’