As we wrap up our ‘Summer Series’, we have the last of our congregation requested topics! A couple of people requested a message on a very similar topic. To summarize they asked:
As Christian how should we interact in a society that is seemingly becoming more and more secular, how we should respond and engage with governments who sometimes make laws that conflict with our understanding of truth and faith?
This is a huge topic, and not one that can be answered in every facet in one message! As a church, we have a focus on the importance of grappiling with these difficult, big questions together – that is one of the important parts of being connected to a community.
When we approach the questions of engaging with governments, Christians can often take one of two stances:
This is question and a problem that is not new. We know that the early church grappled with it as well! In Romans 13, we see the apostle Paul tell us that neither of these approaches is the correct one for Christians. In fact, he tells us to take quite a different stance.
As we work through the text, Paul reminds us that all authorities have been placed where they are by God. We are told that God is sovereign over all – no authority can exist apart from those whom God has established.
This can be a confronting thing for a Christian to deal with – and hugely controversial to the early church who had been laboring under an earthly government, one they believed their Savior would rescue them from.
Earthly rulers fulfill God’s plan for order. Regardless of how they might fail, they fit within his design that chaos should not reign. They flourish with His permission, and when they no longer serve His plan they are removed.
So how then can we respond, and how should we act, when they make laws that go against what we believe? Listen along for some more thoughts from Romans 13.
Over summer, we covered some questions that had come to us from the congregation. One question that came up was:
Does the Science theory of splitting atoms, super accelerate them and smash them together to create matter somehow fit in with the Big Bang? Is this what God did to create the world and life itself?
To help frame this question it is important to note the difference between creation and manufacture. Starting with a quick look at the reality of transformation of energy to matter we saw how creation is an act of God. The Hebrew verb for the act of creation (bārā’) can only have as its subject God. In using this word no other subject is employed or implied. “To create” is exclusively an act of God, it is used in the first and last verse of the creation story (Genesis 1:1 and 2:4).
In Genesis and elsewhere the Bible insists that at the point of the beginning there was nothing apart from God (Hebrews 11:3; Revelation 4:11), and what exists apart from God was brought into being by Him. So God did not make the big bang happen to create the world – He needed nothing, neither matter nor energy, in the universe to build from. He created the matter and energy.
We need to understand that God lives outside time and space as he created these concepts. He made all that we know and see, and we as humans can explore that which exists not create new things.
God is to be worshiped as the Creator;
“O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (Ps. 104:24).
Creation is never to be viewed as inherently evil.
The story of creation signals that we are God’s handiwork — made by Him and for Him and that (through redemption) forever.