Sunday Gathering – Genesis – The God of Creation – Nick Lugg
January 12, 2024

Sunday Gathering – Genesis – The God of Creation – Nick Lugg

Passage: Genesis 1:1-31

Nick starts our new series on Genesis. This week he is speaking on Genesis 1:1-31. His topic is "The God of Creation"


In Nick Lugg's sermon titled "The God of Creation," delivered on January 7th, 2024, he starts by expressing gratitude for being present and sharing a personal testimony of triumph over challenges, highlighting the theme of being a living testimony. The sermon marks the beginning of a series on the book of Genesis, promising an in-depth exploration of its themes, theology, stories, characters, and their relevance to faith in 2024.

Nick emphasizes the importance of not assuming knowledge of scripture, encouraging the congregation to engage in a fresh reading. The sermon focuses primarily on Genesis chapter 1, where Heather reads the creation account. Nick unfolds the verses systematically, drawing attention to key aspects and weaving them into broader theological concepts.

The central idea revolves around the opening phrase of Genesis, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," emphasizing the pre-existence of God before creation. Nick explores the concept of God hovering over the void and darkness before the creation of light, drawing parallels to other biblical narratives where God hovers over situations, creating a consistent pattern of anticipation and expectation in God's interactions with humanity.

The narrative transitions to the moment when God speaks, stating, "Let there be light," and Nick underscores the profound power of God's spoken word. He connects this creative act to significant moments in biblical history, demonstrating how God's words bring about transformative change. The sermon then delves into reflections on prayer, emphasizing that God, as the Creator, hovers over situations before inspiring prayers and initiating action.

A personal testimony is shared about a recent illness, providing a poignant example of God's sovereignty and control in situations where the individual initially lacked awareness of the severity of their condition. Nick highlights the humbling realization that God moves in ways often beyond human comprehension.

The sermon concludes with a powerful call to worship God as the God of creation. Nick challenges the congregation to recognize God's role as the Creator and to approach worship with reverence and awe. Throughout the sermon, Nick skillfully intertwines biblical narratives, personal anecdotes, and theological insights to deliver a rich and meaningful message about the God of creation, leaving the congregation with a deeper appreciation for God's sovereignty and an inspired perspective on faith.


Bible Passages Used:

  • Genesis 1:1-31 (Creation account)
  • Various references to other biblical stories, including Abraham and Sarah, the Exodus, Jesus' birth and resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of Jesus' return.

Note: The summary is based on the provided transcript, and some details may be omitted or condensed for brevity.


Not often had a round of applause before the message.
So it's really good.
And it is really good to be here and to be standing here.
Genuinely, a couple of weeks ago, I didn't know how or when it would be possible.
But as a friend of mine used to say in Zambia, I'm a living testimony.
So it's good, really, really good to be here.
And we've had a lot to fit in this morning.
But I do want to take some time to open up a new series that we're going to be looking.
It's a bit of a marathon effort, I think.
But it's going to be good.
We're going to be looking at the book of Genesis.
So much in the book of Genesis in terms of themes,
theology, stories, characters, and foundations for our faith in 2024.
And so we're going to be doing that.
And I'll weave in a little bit of testimony as well, because it really is amazing what God does.
We're going to, as Andy did at the beginning, we read the Scripture together.
That was powerful.
And it's really important, I found not to assume our knowledge of the Scripture.
We think, oh, yeah, we know that.
But it's good to go back and to actually read what it says and to read together.
So I'm going to ask Heather if she'll come and read for us, please.
Genesis chapter 1, and then we'll pick it up from there.
Thanks, Heather.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void and darkness was over the face of the deep.
And the spirit of God was hovering at the face of the waters.
And God said, let there be light, and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good.
And God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light day and the darkness he called night.
And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters and let it separate
the waters from the waters.
And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the
waters that were above the expanse.
And it was so.
And God called the expanse heaven, and there was evening, and there was morning, the second
And God said, let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place and let
the dry land appear.
And it was so.
God called the dry land earth.
And the waters that were gathered together he called seas.
And God saw that it was good.
God said, let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing
fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind on the earth.
And it was so.
The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds,
and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day
from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and
let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.
And it was so.
And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light
to rule the night, and the stars.
And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the
day and over the night, and to separate the light from the earth.
And God saw that it was good.
And there was evening, and there was morning, the fourth day.
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.
So God created the great sea creatures, and every living creature that moves with which
the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good.
And God blessed them, saying, be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas,
and let birds multiply on the earth.
And there was evening, and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds, livestock,
and creeping things, and beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and it was so.
And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds, and the livestock according
to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the livestock, and
over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female,
he created them, and God blessed them.
And God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and have
dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living
thing that moves on the earth.
And God said, behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of
all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit, you shall have them for food, and
to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that
creeps on the earth, everything that has breath of life, I have given every green plant for
And it was so, and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good,
and there was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
Well isn't it?
That's somebody once said, let's start at the very beginning.
It's a very good place to start, and God saw it all, and it was very good, amazing just
to go right back to the beginning of Scripture.
Want to speak this morning with the title?
There's only so much you can draw out.
I urge you to go back and read, and read those scripts, good to hear, have Heather read it
to us.
But God, don't just read these chapters.
There's only so much you can draw out in 20 or 25 minutes to look at, but there's so
much that God has to say to us through his word.
And the subtitle this morning is God of creation.
If we go back to the beginning of time, we discover how everything that we see, everything
that we understand, every life that we live is rooted in God, and his creative power.
It will change our perspective, and I pray our motivation and values when it comes to
living the life that God has given us.
So let's go back to verse one.
Shall we?
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
For us, often the story of our lives, our experience on earth, the story that we have
to tell, begins with us.
We understand life through our own eyes, through our own experiences, through the people that
we've met, through the feelings that we go through.
And so we've developed, and it's a phrase that's come up in recent years, we develop
what we call our personal truth.
This is, doesn't matter what you say or think, this is what is true to me.
This is who I am.
This is what I think.
This is what I believe.
This is what I understand about God.
This is what I understand about the world.
This is what I understand about other people.
It's my truth that counts.
But Genesis forces us back to a time before my truth was even a thing.
And it takes us all the way back to the beginning and says simply, in the beginning,
That's it.
Before anything, God, God was there at the, what is the beginning?
But whatever it is, wherever it was, however it happened, there was God and God alone.
Perfectly fulfilled, perfectly secure, perfectly complete, having no need of anything or anyone.
And in his heart, he decided, I'm going to create.
And he created the heavens and the earth.
He created the world that we live in.
He created human life.
He created all the life around us.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
And in verse two, it says, the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over
the face of the deep, and the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
A bleak picture of nothingness, no form, no landscape, just dark and empty.
I don't know if you've seen those pictures of the Mars, whatever it's called, the rover
that's gone to Mars.
No, it's an actual rover, or, you know, that's what it's called, but you know, these pictures
that come back of absolute emptiness.
You keep expecting, when it goes around the corner, there's going to be a little green
man with horns or something in a waving at the camera, but there's nothing utterly devoid
of anything, no hallmarks of life, utterly barren.
And the earth, as it was, was full of absolutely nothing, but the spirit of God was hovering
over the waters.
And the poetry of the account gives us a sense of drama, a sense of expectation.
There was nothing but God was hovering, hovering with anticipation, with expectation
brimming with power about to move.
And as I read it and prepared and thought about it, I thought, why the drama?
Why couldn't God just create a world and be done with it?
Remember the purpose of Scripture is always to explain, to teach, to describe the nature
of God.
And so there are things that we need to understand and know, and that there is a pattern of expectation
and anticipation that is repeated again and again through Scripture, bleakness and desolation.
God hovering, and then God said, there seems to be that drawn out pattern in God's dealings
with us, not only at the moment of creation, but also as he goes on through his dealings
with human beings.
And as I thought about it, I jotted down a few ones that came immediately to mind.
There's the story, as we shall come on to later in Genesis, of Abraham and Sarah, and
the promise of Isaac that they were old and they were a hundred years old, and God said
to them, you will have a son, and your descendants will be more numerous than the stars in the
And then from that promise, years passed and nothing happened.
Peace and desolation, barrenness, no change, just the promise of God.
God was hovering over their situation until Isaac was born.
The people of Israel and their deliverance from Egypt, Grams talked about it this morning,
but there was slavery, there was subjugation, there was suffering, there was all of that,
and God was hovering over it, and then the moment of deliverance came.
They wandered in the wilderness for 40 years.
God hovering until that moment when they entered the promised land.
There's the prophets and the promises of a messiah against the background of nothing.
You know that between the last of the Old Testament prophets and the coming of Jesus,
there was 400 years of silence, complete silence, nothing from God, and then suddenly, as we've
just been celebrating at Christmas, the angels announced the coming of Jesus.
Good news of great joy to all the earth.
God was hovering, and then he said, Jesus' death and resurrection, three bleak days while
he was in the tomb, darkness, emptiness, nothingness, and then God said.
The coming of the Holy Spirit, wait, wait until the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus said, they
had to wait with nothing until God said, and then of course we go forward and we remember
that Jesus is coming, and in the bleakness and the desolation and the nothingness, God
is hovering, and one day God will say, and Jesus will come.
So we don't have a God much as we would like one who just does stuff instantly.
There it is, there's your situation solved, problem answered.
We have a God who hovers over the darkness and the emptiness and the silence, and that's
what Genesis 1 gives us, a picture of God, he's full of power, full of creative vision,
full of promise, hovering over nothing.
How long was he hovering?
No one knows.
The people that say the world was created, is it on the 23rd of October, 4004 B.C.?
There are others that say it was a few longer years than that.
Who knows?
What was happening in the heart of God?
No one can know.
But it reminds us, and I want to remind us this morning and for us to think about it,
that the bleakness, the silence, the darkness, and the emptiness are not evidence that God
is not there.
Cheryl said it this morning, when we're suffering, we are closer to God, perhaps than ever, that
when we are in the midst of darkness, emptiness, silence, void, God is hovering over.
The environment that draws his creative power, the environment in which he pours his vision,
and because we can't know what is happening, we can't shortcut the process, but we can
trust him.
We can trust him because he's a God who hovers, and he's full of power.
He doesn't always show it, and there are many periods in our lives where we don't know.
We give testimony.
I can give testimony of a moment in my life, I've seen the power of God, but other times
when you just go on, and you go on, and you go on, but we can trust God in the process.
That's three, and God said, let there be light, and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light day, and the darkness he called night, and there was evening, and
there was morning the first day.
So matter of fact, isn't it?
And God said, at certain point, after all the hovering, and all the brooding, and all
the preparation, God said, let there be light, and guess what?
There was light.
God saw that the light was good, I like that, he said.
When God speaks, he speaks, and things happen.
Can there be a more definitive description of God's power, after the bleakness, after
the darkness, after the emptiness, and God said, let there be light, and there was light?
God said, and Isaac was born.
God said, and the people of Israel were delivered.
God said, and the Red Sea was partic.
God said, Jesus was born.
Jesus died, but on the third day he rose, God said, and the Holy Spirit was poured out
on the church, and as I've said, Jesus will come again.
And so from the circumstances of our lives, to the events of earth shattering significance,
the God of creation, he hovers, and then in his own time, he speaks, and things happen,
and things change.
And we love to think that we've got control, don't we?
We love to think that our words, our prayers, our willpower carry the power to change things.
If only we could get it right.
If only we could get the right faith, and the right attitude, and the right words, and
we can say it in the right way, and we use the right phrases, then things will happen.
We like to shout at the darkness as if it's going to listen to us, and yet the first pages
of Genesis reveal a God who genuinely carries all the creative power to affect change,
and he hovers over darkness until he speaks.
We've talked this morning about prayer and the importance of prayer, and there's no
way that we could ever make a case to say that prayer is not important, but we have
to understand the right perspective.
Realize where we stand in the process.
Everybody wants that every great move of God begins with prayer, as if when people
have an idea, oh, well, we'll pray, and then we'll make things happen.
But in actual fact, I believe it's as God hovers over situations, as he broods over situations.
There's a moment when he's drawing himself towards action, and he draws people in to
pray, and he inspires the prayer in our hearts, and I believe he, as we get more inspired
and more active in prayers, because God has been brooding.
I remember when we went to Gordon in Manchester, and we talked to Victoria, who spoke at the
Women's Conference, she gave us a fascinating perspective, where she said that, you know,
we think about Jordan thought Baitmore and our community as it is.
We look out and we see the precinct, we see 146, we see the houses and the flats and
all the areas and all the things that go on.
She said that God was here before a single house was built, that he broods over that
what we see here was seen in the heart of God way back before anybody ever walked on
this land here, or before anything was built, before any house was put up.
God broods over it, he hovers over it.
And so it's exciting to be here at this moment, it's not like we've not discovered this community,
we've discovered this place at all, let's pray and see what we can do.
God has drawn us in to something that he's been part of from the beginning, in the beginning
God was there, and as we draw together to pray and as we pull our faith together, it's
because God is drawing himself to action.
So it's an exciting thing to hear that and to see that, and we know that, I think it
just humbles us, the majesty of Genesis, I know it's all the story of creation and
everything else, it just humbles us and brings us to a point where actually, you know, we're
not the agents of change here, in the beginning God, God created, God moved, God poured out
his power and he continues to do that, the God of creation.
We've not drawn himself, oh God, we've discovered something, we've discovered a community where
you could really do something, why don't you come over and we said sometimes that we
treat him like he's a grandfunder, you know, please, please, please, please, please, could
you do something for our work, for our people, for our situation, and God says actually I've
known it from way before you, in the actual fact I was here, before you were even a twinkle
in your mother's eye, the power of God, it's humbling isn't it, to come before the God
of creation.
Can't help but, it's always awkward to talk about, I was challenged, you know, I do want
to talk about things that have happened to me because it's important and it's God, it's
a humbling thing because God has done great things but I know that there is just one
example of the sort of things that God can do but it's really set my perspective and
prepared me I think for the things that I began to see in this passage to understand
that actually what happened to me in the last few weeks as I got ill was a woman so
like God was saying like step aside, so many things I think well I can't step aside there's
so many important things to be done and what will happen, the world simply won't carry
So on the 5th of December it was, the way back in 2023, I had no idea that there was anything
terribly wrong with me, other people were telling me you look sick but I wasn't.
It was just a change of weather.
I didn't feel too well, I had a fever that was coming and going but in between I felt
okay and took a paracetamol as you do, you know that's it, that's it.
But it had been going long enough and I thought well okay, we'll try and see the doctor but
who can see a doctor?
You know there's, I was supposed to go to Poland so I thought well, well we'll see, if I can
see a doctor that's fine but if not we'll go to Poland and take lots of paracetamol
it'll be alright.
And anyway I did see a doctor, I got, he didn't have to wait 3 weeks, had to wait 40 minutes
and managed to get in and he referred me up to the Hallamshire Hospital and on the way
there I felt a little bit more unwell, I've been feeling on and off since Friday and this
was Tuesday and I began to feel, yeah I'm not too sure if I feel all that great, nothing
too dramatic.
We were chatting about the likelihood of us getting to Poland later that night, I was
looking on my phone to see well if I go to the hospital they might want to, it might
take a while in the hospital so what I could do is I could change my flight and maybe go
the next day, that would be a good plan, it wouldn't have been a good plan but that
would seem like a good plan.
And when we arrived at the hospital car park the space was a bit narrow and so I got out
of the car, Eric said you know just standing and I'll straighten up the car in the parking
space and I stood, now I've collapsed and fainted before in my life but this one I had
no idea what had happened, it was the last thing I ever remember before eventually coming
to on the floor of the car park, I've got evidence that my phone has smashed but I don't
know how that happened and nobody actually knows where it went but fell down on the
back of my head in the car park and woke up, I don't know how long, God was obviously
brooding over the nothingness and the void and the emptiness, having crashed my head
on the car park and there were people there who were able to help us to seem like, well
he said he was an off duty doctor I presume he was and a paramedic and I remember there
being some confusion about what to do and where to go and then beginning to realise
actually this is probably a bit more serious and a change in the weather and needed a
bubble thing to be in the infectious diseases unit where I was intending to go.
The conversation I remember was about anything but that, it was about ambulances and A&E and
getting to northern general of all places for a CT scan, all of which actually, and
now no, probably would have mean I would have likely have actually died.
It turns out that the last place you want to call an ambulance from is the Hallenshire
Hospital Car Park, they're not too clear where that is or how long it's going to take, there
are no lifts, wheelchairs, whatever, there's just helpful car park attendants who lift
up the barriers and help you to get out without paying.
So I was bundled into the car, we were sent to the minor injuries clinic, told we would
be transferred to northern general, some off duty paramedics were there and they were very
kind, they did everything they could to help. I had no ability to join in a conversation,
I was just doing what was done to me, I was just put into a chair and pulled into the
hospital, they said they would take me to reception and then they would sort out an
ambulance to northern general and I'm thinking but not saying I don't need to go to northern
general, I need to go up to floor E and they said well this is what we'll do, you banged
your head, that's the important thing, I think it's not really the important thing.
But anyway they eventually found a wheelchair, pulled me backwards into the unit, I had no
idea what was happening and then without any conversation, without anything else happening,
I was just pulled through corridors, into lifts, up and round corners, through doors,
until eventually without any announcement or fanfare, just wheeled into the infectious
disease unit, into a side room where they took control of the situation, which is the,
to me an amazing thing, because it was completely out of my hands, God was moving on my behalf.
It's not easy to claim the miraculous in every set of circumstances but I look back
with amazement of that day and it's a little bit, it's not fear but you think wow really
what could have happened, how many different things could have gone wrong and how many
things did I not control and yet God controlled them, I've learned that doctors tend to begin
with understate, I know there's some doctors here, tend to begin with understatement of
the situation, and then they slowly and progressively just begin to rub in just how bad things
are and so these doctors, I'd heard some of these terms before, I knew about it, so they
quickly confirmed, yes it's falcipram malaria, if you want some entertainment at night, Google
chat, the deadliest strain at what they said was quite a high level, they've gone on since
to explain, it was at least twice the level that they would have expected the worst consequences
and they weren't quite sure why I didn't have the worst consequences, and after they'd done
the blood tests which were the priority, they sent me for a head scan as I had a large lump
on the back of my head and it became clear and it came back clear and they said well it's
fine, it's clear, it's only then they explained and again I didn't even know what it meant
so these were like the side issues and again, medics and doctors and people would probably
know what it means, in fact one of the doctors told me it was a ridiculous result, my blood
platelet level was about 30, she said that's ridiculous and could result in spontaneous
bleeding and the fact that I'd bashed my head on the car park floor, she said you're really
lucky you didn't have a brain hemorrhage, yes thank you for the grace of God.
My point is that I didn't know I was sick, I wasn't praying any prayers and I don't
know if anybody was praying for me, but God was simply hovering over the situation, there
were medical things going on that were like a perfect storm with the power to do the
worst that God held everything, I know there's no pattern, I'm just giving you my personal
story but God moves in different ways, in different circumstances, there are no alternative
but to be humbled and amazed that at that time without any input or faith from me or
anyone else, God moved in power on my behalf and it's a very precious thing to see and
understand, he's not on call to our prayers for us to understand the detail of every situation,
put our prayers together and then God wakes up or prayers come through, I'd better do
something, he's ahead of us. And as he's about to move as I've said, he inspires us
to pray so that we might be part of a story greater than ourselves. Now I've also been
part of many stories and many situations and you have to, I'm sure where the things
that we've prayed for, the things that we've wanted have not worked out, how we've wanted,
we've not seen the miracle we expected or hoped for, we've not had all of that but my experience
and I hope your experience too and if it's not that just to take the encouragement that
even in those circumstances of bleakness and darkness and confusion and the situations
where we can't understand and we can't know what God is doing, God still hovers over the
whole situation, been in rooms where everything that we've prayed for has not come to pass
and yet we still know the presence of God in power in that place. He holds all things
together by his powerful word and so when you attempted to think, well I should, maybe
I should have prayed more, maybe I should have prayed different, maybe I should have
prayed better, maybe if I'd got the words right, maybe if I had more faith, do away
with all of that because in the beginning it wasn't our prayers that created the world,
in the beginning it was God and in the beginning God hovered over the darkness and the bleakness
and the emptiness before any of us were even a thought, God was there and God was there
before us, he'll be there after us. He was there before we were born, be there long after
we've gone and so we need to worship him in his rightful position, his God of creation.
I can only get a small snapshot of what this passage gives us, we can't get into all the
stuff about what happened to the dinosaurs and all of that marvellous interesting debate
but what we see is God in the first chapter of the Holy Scripture in the beginning God
and we begin to see how we understand and we apply what we learn in our own lives in 2024
so we worship him this morning as the God of creation. Amen.

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