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‘Just say the Word’

"‘Just say the Word’" Continued...

Scripture tells another story. At the height of a storm Jesus’ disciples, seasoned fishermen, feared they would perish in a raging sea. But Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea and commanded a great calm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). That is, the wind and the sea listened and obeyed their Master. They would have obeyed a faithful first Adam as well. On another occasion (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52; John 6:16-21), when the disciples were in their boat in the middle of a storm, Jesus, who had gone into the mountains to talk with His Father, approached them walking on the sea. If Peter had exercised faith in measure to the centurion’s, he also would have been able to walk on the sea. It was his unbelief that sank him, not his lack of authority over the creation.

Metaphors apply to humans but seldom to God, other than to help make God’s acts in history comprehensible. Metaphors often engage in overstatement, but it is not possible to overstate God’s abilities. God’s power over His creation is awesome. Job spoke prophetically when he declared, “God trampled the waves of the sea.” When the Son of God clothed Himself with flesh, He did just that. He walked on the waves of the sea for His disciples to see and to remember and to witness to you and to me. Failure to comprehend the servant character of creation skews our understanding of the entire Bible and minimizes our ability to glorify God. There are no metaphors in play here on the boisterous sea. What we see is what Abraham heard, “I am God Almighty” (Genesis 35:11).

Do not fall into Satan’s trap of unnecessarily metaphorizing Jesus’ Word into a powerless literary device. Scripture may not actually be speaking metaphorically even if we think so. The Word of God is the Person of the Trinity through whom the entire creation was spoken into being. And that Word continues to uphold the creation to this day. Think of “summer and winter and springtime and harvest.” Think of the “sun, moon, and stars in their courses above.” Christ can credibly declare, if such a declaration were necessary, that the “mechanism” that brought the creation into being is His spoken Word: “Let there be.” But that mechanism, that creative Word, is not subject to human analysis. No one can express in scientific terms (or non-scientific) how creation came into being. What is subject to human analysis is the completed structure of creation as it confronts us, not God’s act of “creating” itself. For that reason alone the source of life will never be discovered by science (knowledge discovered) because all life originates with God and God alone (John 5:24-29; Genesis 2:7).

And it makes no difference whether Christ, in the act of creation, is creating out of nothing or out of preexisting material. (Material some commentators believe they find in Genesis 1:2.) In the case of the re-creation of Lazarus, Christ was working with maggot-infested, rotting material. It made no difference compared to creation out of nothing in the beginning. The mechanism (or process) that brought Lazarus back to life instantaneously was the creating power of the Word: “Let there be.” “Lazarus, come forth.”

We, the living, can today experience and witness the creative power of the Word. As a wolf-like creature “evolves” (evolution within the species) into 600 North American species of dog before our eyes, so it is that the creative Word of God continues to unfold before our eyes. Seven billion people today inhabit the earth, people of different nations, colors, physical appearances. Few of these 7 billion people look alike, as one would expect if they were the product of some mindless cookie-cutter process of evolution. What we actually witness in the world around us is the dynamic potential God placed in creation in the beginning coming to actualization before our eyes.

Even as the spoken Word healed the centurion’s servant instantly and raised Lazarus from among the dead, in the blinking of an eye, so the Word is revealed to operate in power throughout Scripture again and again and again. And so it operated with power in the beginning. And again when Christ became One of us and lived among us. It is Christ’s exercise of this awesome, creative power that reveals the character of God. And for those who have eyes to see, this power of God is still manifested today, for instance, as one kernel of Iowa seed corn is planted in the earth and in a few months time bursts into a cob bearing 800 kernels in 16 rows. Where did that creative power within the seed corn come from?

©2013 John Hultink. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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