The Gospel for the City in Genesis 1

In Genesis One we find our Redeemer-King creating and forming a world to be inhabited and ruled by those made in His image. Creation was a gracious blessing and generous gift to humankind. All was perfect; all was glorious.  But, as we read Genesis one, we realize that the harmonious world conditions therein no longer exist. Our hearts are not in unison with God’s repeated summary, “all is good.” Instead our hearts cry out because of the brokenness within our lives and within the created world.

Though Genesis One provides for us the origin of God’s World, it does not do so in order to generate scientific debate but to provoke spiritual desire. Genesis One exposes us to the good that once was and creates in us a desire to regain what was lost and to know the One who brought such a majestic universe into existence. The subsequent biblical and secular history of humankind, as well as our own personal history, reveals the utter powerlessness of men and women to regain what has been lost. Consequently, we long for a Redeemer-King who can rescue, rule, and restore. Ultimately He is the one who says, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5).

So Genesis One is an integral part of the gospel story, telling us that the world, as it is, is not what God intended, and causing us to anticipate One who would restore the world and us to an even greater enjoyment of God’s gracious gift and generous blessing.

T he urban centers of this world can no longer be called ‘good.’ There is no Eden in Philadelphia, Yet living with an awareness of the good that has been lost, city-dwellers seek to find Eden or build it themselves. Their efforts are noble but futile. This is not our world. It is still His. He is the Creator and He alone is wise and powerful enough to restore what is lost and repair what we have broken.  God chooses to begin that restoration in the hearts and lives of those who have rebelled against Him. This is the first step back —  to recognize that this is His world, we have ruined it and are ruined ourselves, and we need to be restored to Him first. Our hearts cry for the One who can do that!

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On September 10, 1970 I came to understand the great love of God for me, a sinner and a rebel. That evening I received God’s forgiveness and a new life through Jesus Christ, who died in my place and rose again to offer forgiveness and new life. I have been senior pastor for over 30 years planting two churches in Buckingham, PA and Queens, NY and serving two other churches in Brooklyn, NY and Roslyn, PA. I am currently the lead pastor at Grace Church of Philly.

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