The Olympics have just finished, and you may have heard an announcer speak of “the degree of difficulty” of a program or a routine by a gymnast. The degree of difficulty is a rating which reflects the difficulty of the maneuver or action an athlete is attempting to perform in sports. The higher the degree of difficulty, the higher the potential score if the person is successful.
Abram’s degree of difficulty in believing the LORD in our account this morning is off the charts. What the LORD presented to him was unbelievable from a purely human perspective. So as we try to appreciate Abram’s dilemma, let’s review. Yes, this is Abram, who God later named Abraham, and, yes, he is a man of faith and a friend of God. And, yes, he is a famous Bible character and the revered patriarch of the Jews.
But not then. Not on that day and not at that moment. Not as he stood there and the LORD called him to an outrageous plan and amazing promises. This is part of the wonder of God and the wonder of the Story of God and the wonder before us in Abram’s chapter of God’s Story. God brings Abram into the storyline and introduces him to his role in a drama that encompasses all the families of the Earth. Wonderful things are to come, but in this moment before all the greatness and recognition, Abram is merely a Bedouin herdsman living in a dark, pagan land.
So what does he do when the LORD speaks to him about this amazing plan? He is a believer, so he does what believers do. He believed God and obeyed him. Believers believe. It’s what we do.
GENESIS MESSAGE 19 / Genesis 12
SEASON FINALE: Abram–The Blessing and Danger of Faith
Blueprint: The plan and purpose of God were set in motion by our Sovereign, All-Wise LORD before the foundation of the Earth.
1 Peter 1:20)
Beginning: God plan activated his plan on Earth at creation.
Plan First Shared with Humans: God informed Adam and Eve of the plan and gave them stewardship of the planet.
Plan Rejected: Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and rejected God’s plan, and God drove them from the garden of Eden.
Promise—>Baby: More information about God’s plan was now revealed as he promised ultimate victory through the woman’s seed.
Plan Rejected: Evil seemingly wins the day again as all but eight people in the entire world reject God’s plan for life.
Plan Continued: God destroys those who rejected his plan with a cataclysmic flood. He saves the eight survivors and gives them his blessing to continue his plan.
Plan Rejected: Many years after the flood, the people of Earth once again attempt to set aside God’s plan with their plan at Babel. God thwarts their plan by confusing their languages and dispersing them.
Promise—>Baby: Over two thousand years after ultimate victory was promised to Eve through her “seed,” we receive an update as God continues the promise through the birth of a baby boy to a one hundred year old man and a ninety year old woman.
Plan Rejected: God oversees his sovereign, providential plan through centuries of resistance and rejection by his chosen people.
Promise—>Baby: The birth of Eve’s promised “seed” is prophesied in more detail. A baby boy will be born to a young virgin in the small town of Bethlehem in Israel. God will come to Earth as a human.
(Isaiah 7:14, 9:6)
Promise—>Baby—>Fulfilled: Four thousand years after God’s promise to Eve, and six hundred years after the Isaiah prophecy, the Messiah, the Son of God, arrives on Earth as a baby boy to save his people from their sins. “Seed” prophecy fulfilled.
Plan Rejected: But even God himself arriving on our planet to save us is unconvincing to the majority, especially the religious it seems. However the rejection of the Son of God by the world he created and his crucifixion at the hands of his own people are essential elements in the bigger picture of the glory of God. The plan marches on.
(John 1:10–11, Romans 8:28)
Plan Paid In Full: The plan had to be fully funded before a holy God could freely share all things with us. Someone had to pay the price. Jesus Christ paid in full for the sins of those who believe.
1 John 2:2,
1 John 4:10)
Plan Authenticated by His Faithful Church: The plan of God is further revealed to this world and the spirit world through his enduring, faithful Church, the very body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Plan Consummated: Ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan transpires when “this same Jesus” brings all things to a head and God presents a new heaven and new earth to his overcomers.
Creationists are often asked, “How is it possible for the earth’s population to reach 6.5 billion people if the world is only about 6,000 years old and if there were just two humans in the beginning?” Here is what a little bit of simple arithmetic shows us.
Simple, conservative arithmetic reveals clear mathematical logic for a young age of the earth.
One Plus One Equals Billions
Let us start in the beginning with one male and one female. Now let us assume that they marry and have children and that their children marry and have children and so on. And let us assume that the population doubles every 150 years. Therefore, after 150 years there will be four people, after another 150 years there will be eight people, after another 150 years there will be sixteen people, and so on. It should be noted that this growth rate is actually very conservative. In reality, even with disease, famines, and natural disasters, the world population currently doubles every 40 years or so.1
After 32 doublings, which is only 4,800 years, the world population would have reached almost 8.6 billion. That’s 2 billion more than the current population of 6.5 billion people, which was recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau on March 1, 2006.2 This simple calculation shows that starting with Adam and Eve and assuming the conservative growth rate previously mentioned, the current population can be reached well within 6,000 years.
Impact of the Flood
We know from the Bible, however, that around 2500 BC (4,500 years ago) the worldwide Flood reduced the world population to eight people.3 But if we assume that the population doubles every 150 years, we see, again, that starting with only Noah and his family in 2500 BC, 4,500 years is more than enough time for the present population to reach 6.5 billion.
From two people, created about 6,000 years ago, and then the eight people, preserved on the Ark about 4,500 years ago, the world’s population could easily have grown to the extent we now see it—over 6.5 billion.
Evolutionists are always telling us that humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. If we did assume that humans have been around for 50,000 years and if we were to use the calculations above, there would have been 332 doublings, and the world’s population would be a staggering figure—a one followed by 100 zeros; that is
This figure is truly unimaginable, for it is billions of times greater than the number of atoms that are in the entire universe! Such a calculation makes nonsense of the claim that humans have been on earth for tens of thousands of years.
Simple, conservative arithmetic reveals clear mathematical logic for a young age of the earth. From two people, created around 6,000 years ago, and then the eight people, preserved on the Ark about 4,500 years ago, the world’s population could have grown to the extent we now see it—over 6.5 billion.
With such a population clearly possible (and probable) in just a few thousand years, we could actually ask the question, “If humans were around millions of years ago, why is the population so small?” This is a question that evolution supporters must answer.
This morning we are going to study the new world that Noah and his family entered when the land finally dried enough, and God told him to leave the ark.
Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.” 18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair (Genesis 8:15–19 NLT).
So let’s set the stage for Noah’s entrance into this new world, this postdiluvian world, the world after the flood …
First, let’s just stop on that word “flood” for a moment. We have all observed the devastation from local floods: damns blown out, massive landslides, destruction of roads and bridges, houses filled with mud and stink and all manner of filth, houses and cars floating in rivers, the agonizing loss of human life. And then we can ratchet up the level of havoc and destruction to events like tsunamis, such as the one on the Indian Ocean in 2004 which killed 230,000 people in 14 countries, slamming coastal communities with waves up to one hundred feet high.
But we have never, nor will we ever, look on a scene like this—the aftermath of a worldwide flood. When Noah and his family stepped out of the ark, nothing was the same. There were no familiar landmarks, no recognizable physical features in the land before them. It is not just that their familiar valleys, rivers, meadows and hills looked different; they were no longer there.
And NO MORE PEOPLE! GONE! Get on the boat; millions of people. Get off the boat; no more people. All of them. The entire population of the planet gone. All the animals. Gone. No bears, no birds, no tigers, no eagles. Gone. And not just vanished but dead. Really gone. The judgment of God.
The only people and animals now inhabiting the planet were those just now making their way off the ark. They didn’t get off the ark and hear little, furry creatures scurrying off into the brush. They were no little, furry creatures. They didn’t make their way from the darkness of the ark into the sunlight and look up and see a seagull, or hear a flock of geese honking on their way by, or an eagle gliding or a robin flitting through the air. There were none. Gone.
One man and his family and the animals on the ark were now the sole inhabitants of the planet. There would be no discovering other people groups. They wouldn’t pop over a mountain peak one day as they were out exploring and see smoke rising from the chimneys of an unknown village. They could travel the entire globe, front to back and top to bottom, and they would find no one. All societies with their the arts and culture and industry. Gone. The beautiful women and the men of renown earlier referenced in Genesis. Gone. No one else survived. One righteous man found favor with God, and God brought him and his family to safety through the waters of judgment.
So this one righteous man who found favor with God … What did he find when he stepped off that boat into this new world?
OUTLINE … He found God’s blessing, 9:1-7. He found God’s promise, 9:8-17. He found that everything had changed and that nothing had changed: people are people, 9:18-29.