Holy Trinity Sunday – June 11, 2017
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. 2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 1:1-5,26-28; 2:1-3)
A couple of black holes collided last week. Don’t worry, astronomers estimated that the collision happened 3 billion light years away. But the big news was that they detected it all the way over here on earth. Some were excited by the discovery. Others feared that some similar collision could one day destroy our own solar system. In short, this cosmic event is making people think.
Isn’t it interesting that some new discovery about the universe always seems to bring up the same old questions? Are we alone in the universe? Will the earth someday end? And perhaps the biggest cosmic question of all: How did everything get here?
The world has never come up with a satisfactory answer to that question. Evolutionists say everything formed from a sort of “Big Bang” that happened billions of years ago. But, where did the things that “banged” into one another come from? They can’t answer the question.
Other religions have tried to answer the question, too. The ancient Greeks believed various gods made the different parts of the earth and the universe. The Mayans believed the gods originally formed mankind out of corn. Some Native American peoples thought a hummingbird created the stars. And the Vikings believed the world was formed from the cut up pieces of one of their own gods…which is a truly Viking type of belief.
This morning we hear how everything actually came into being from the words of our very own Triune God. “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” That word burst through the formless and empty void, and all of a sudden there was something from nothing. “Let there be light.” God said it, and it came to pass. “There was light.” But God was only getting started.
God powerfully brought everything else into being in perfect order. Over the course of six regular days God created sky and sea, dry land and vegetation, the sun, moon and stars, birds and fish, and land animals. Over the course of five and a half days God had shown omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience.
But then the creation narrative changes. All at once, God stops his creative work on this grand scale so that he can talk to himself. This is important. The three persons of our triune God talk about the high point of what they will create. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.’”
Our triune God made Adam, and then Eve in his perfect image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
That is how it happened. No big bang starting an evolutionary process. No multiple false gods creating problems. No pieces of gods needed. Everything was made from nothing, by three persons in one God.
Do you remember what happened next? The perfect universe suffered an epic calamity when the two perfect people God created ate from the tree he told them not to eat from. It took less than a second for God’s infinitely perfect world to become infinitely imperfect.
As years turned to centuries, this account of God’s creation fell in to legend and myth. When people looked to answer the question of how everything got here, they came up with other ideas. The most pervasive belief of how everything came in to being is also the newest idea. It is now the most accepted belief in the world that evolution on a grand scale, if given enough time, can create.
And while we don’t hold to evolution, it has become a pervasive ideology. Read a book, watch a documentary, use a textbook and chances are good you will hear of “big bangs” and “billions of years.” Those who don’t accept evolution on a grand scale are threatened with being ridiculed personally and ostracized professionally. In turn, those threats lead us to keep our faith in God’s creative work a secret. Why bring it up when we could lose so much?
Because our triune God gave up much more for us. We see our triune God at work at creation. We see our triune God at work throughout the Old Testament. We see our triune God describe himself in the New Testament. But nowhere else do we see our triune God more clearly than in Jesus’ ministry. God the Father sends his Son, Jesus, to be conceived by the Holy Spirit and become one of us.
Then came Jesus’ suffering and death. God the Father forsook his Son, Jesus, and sent him to suffer the hell that should have been ours. The ripple effect of Jesus’ death on the cross was far greater than any two black holes colliding with each other. Jesus’ death took away the sins of the world.
Scripture’s teaching of the trinity isn’t some distant, theological piece of trivia. The trinity personal. God the Father created you and knows you by name. He gave you the talents you have and the mind you use. Jesus came to be your substitute. He pulled you out of the line of criminals about to be killed and put himself in. And the Holy Spirit came to you personally at your Baptism to give you your life-giving and life-saving faith.
This morning in our worship service we have already seen our triune God in action. You heard a Trinitarian blessing. Your sins were forgiven in the name of the Trinity. Our prayer of the day focused on all three persons of our triune God. Every one of our lessons talked about who the Trinity is and what our God does for us. In a moment we will confess our faith in our triune God, sing his praises and pray in his name. And at the end of it all, the words of Jesus sending out believers will be given to us, once again in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Trinity Sunday always seems like a lot to take in. Just remember how personal your triune God really is. The Father who created you, the Son who redeemed you, the Holy Spirit who gave you faith now sends you out to share those truths with the rest of the world.
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Amen.