How Creation Reveals the Creator Day 3 – God’s Ultimate Authority
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:26-31a, ESV)
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? (Romans 9:20-21, ESV)
I have been thinking about the biblical understanding of authority very often over the past few years, as I’m sure many of us have. In a world of chaos and noise, the many voices vying for our compliance can often leave us feeling confused and vulnerable to compromise. We sometimes wonder, what does everyone want from us? How do we know what to believe about a particular issue? Where can we find the truth? Whom do we obey?
Thankfully, God’s Word is always helpful. God will not leave us to flounder on our own in a sea of deception, so He has given us Scripture as a “lamp to our feet and a light to our path” (Psalm 119:105). Even if an issue we face is not mentioned directly, there are principles we can apply to our lives for every single situation. More importantly, knowing God’s Word will help us grow in our relationship with Him, so His character will become the standard to which we hold up our lives. No matter what the world wants, we are to focus on seeking what God wants. No matter what the world claims, we are to trust what God says. No matter what the world demands, we are to give our full obedience to God alone.
We see in Genesis 1 and 2 that He formed the man and the woman, blessed them, gave them their mission, and provided what they would need to complete it. God is the One who pulled every string, planned every detail, and had a vision for what His created world would be. When sin came in and violated that vision, it was God who made the grand plan to redeem us. Every single one of us lives as God’s subject because we inhabit His universe. Just think of that! His authority is grounded in every single aspect of who He is and has always been. Since He is the One who made us for a purpose, He has the right to tell us what that purpose is and the power to equip us to fulfill it. Since He defines what is good, He is the only One who has the authority to condemn us for the sin which destroys what is good. He is also the only One who has the authority to forgive our sins and free us from their penalty, and, praise Him, that is exactly what He has done for us in Jesus Christ!
As a culture, we do not embrace the idea of anyone being in authority over us. Our pride is wounded, our individuality feels somehow threatened, and our urge to control is stifled, so we often react with strong resistance. But, contrary to what we may think, life under the Lord’s authority is a gift of protection, love, peace, and clarity (to name just a few). We love and serve a faithful God who will not leave us and who is ready to help us live, learn, and grow into people who more clearly reflect His perfect Son. Obedience may feel lonely sometimes, but we are never alone when we are walking with Him.
As God’s set-apart people, however, we do need to be prepared for the questions that will come from the people around us. When they ask us why we talk or dress a certain way, why we take unpopular stands on issues like abortion or marriage, why our relationships function in different ways, or why we don’t go places others go, we need an answer. That answer should always come back to God’s ultimate authority as our Creator. When we make decisions and take stands, let us ensure we are doing so as a response to the authority of the Lord who loves us, not out of fear of other people or a mistaken desire to earn better standing before God.
Similarly, if we find that others are never asking us those kinds of questions, we should take a close look at whether we are really submitting to God’s authority in specific areas. It should be clear to us and to others that if we are truly part of God’s adopted family, then what He says goes! The creation account shows us that even the moon, the stars, the mountains, and the oceans obey His voice. He places them where He wants and they stay within their boundaries. How much more should the people He has made in His own image seek to hear His voice and obey it?
“At the Name of Jesus”
– By Caroline M. Noel
At the name of Jesus ev’ry knee shall bow,
Ev’ry tongue confess him King of glory now;
‘Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
At his voice creation sprang at once to sight,
All the angel faces, all the hosts of light,
Cherubim in heaven, stars upon their way,
All the heav’nly orders in their great array.
In your hearts enthrone him; there let him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true;
Crown him as your captain in temptation’s hour;
Let his will enfold you in its light and pow’r.