The Trout’s Sermon

Genesis 1:20

“And God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.'”

Luther’s Commentary
“Here again is a further proof of the divine authority and majesty of this book, in that it sets before us under such various forms that power of God by which he created all things, beyond the conception of all reason and understanding. Who for instance could ever have thought, that out of water a nature could be produced, which should by no means endure water? But the Word of God speaks, and in a moment out of water are created birds. If therefore the Word of God but sound, all things are immediately possible; and out of the same water shall be formed either fishes or birds. Every bird therefore and every fish is nothing more or less than a word of divine grammar or language; by which grammar all things, otherwise impossible, immediately become possible and easy.”
 
“These divine things are thus written and ought to be diligently observed, studied and known by us, that we might learn to admire and adore the power of the Divine Majesty; and that we might edify and strengthen our faith from all these marvellous creation works of God! For if one could raise the dead it would be nothing in comparison to this wonderful work; that a bird was created in a moment out of water! But the reason we do not day by day and continually wonder at these things, is because by our having seen them always before us, they have lost their wonder in our eyes. If however one does but believe these things, he is compelled at once to wonder at them. And that wonder gradually confirms his faith.”
 
“For if God can form a mass of water, call forth and create the heaven and its stars, each one of which equals or exceeds the earth itself in magnitude; if God can, from a small drop of water, create the sun and the moon, can he not defend my poor body against all enemies and against Satan himself? Can he not after that poor body is laid in the tomb raise it again to another and a new life? Wherefore we are to learn from this book of Genesis the power of God; that we may accustom ourselves to doubt nothing that God promises in his Word! For, in this glorious and marvellous creation work is laid a confirmation of our faith in all the promises of God; that there is nothing so difficult, nothing so impossible, which God cannot do and perfect by his Word. For all this is here proved by God’s creation of the heaven, earth, sea and all that is in them.”
 
Martin Luther. Luther on the Creation: A Critical and Devotional Commentary on Genesis [1-3] (Kindle Locations 1926-1945).
 
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2 comments

  1. It truly is wonderful, and faith-confirming. As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading through Job. Chaps. 32-37 are devoted to Elihu’s extolling of God’s many wonders. As I read it, I was amazed all over again at God’s incredible power and creative ability in a fresh way.

    A sampling: If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, all life would cease, and humanity would turn again to dust. (Heb. 1 through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.)
    “Look, God is greater than we can understand. His years cannot be counted. He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits. Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven? See how he spreads the lightning around him and how it lights up the depths of the sea.
    By these mighty acts he nourishes the people, giving them food in abundance. He fills his hands with lightning bolts and hurls each at its target. The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger.

    We think we have a handle on these things because 1) science has an explanation, but what’s amazing is that God made it to be that way. It’s not a mere side-effect that super-heated air from an massive arc of electrons creates a series of rumbling booms, it’s how God made it to be. And 2) as Luther said, we see it, we grow up with it and we lose our wonder due to familiarity. But when carefully considered, God greatly enlarges in our minds. I remember having this experience while taking medical classes in college and being blown away by the complex and intricate workings of the human body.

    1. Rob, your thoughts are helpful. Thanks! That is a good link to Job as well. This text has given me a fresh sense of the continuing power of God’s word. It has also pushed me back behind the science, which is important and enriching, to the source of all things. I agree that our mechanistic worldview can easily overshadow these great truths about the Creator and Sustainer.

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