Date: January 22, 1939
Praise for Our Creator
God Almighty, whose power has created us:
Bless every message of Thy divine truth which tells men they are more than beasts, far more than human accidents in a chance world. Help us rather to believe that Thou hast created man as the masterpiece of Thy love and omnipotence. Show us with ever-increasing clarity that, when sin entered into the world to destroy the creatures of Thy hand, their souls were so precious in Thy sight that Thou didst send Thy Son, our only Redeemer, to save them from sin and death. Direct our vision toward Christ and the divine assurance that, if—far from sparing Thine own Son—Thou didst deliver Him up for us all, Thou wilt freely grant us for His sake also all we need for this life. May Thy Spirit take possession of our hearts, so that, trusting in Thy saving goodness, we may not be disturbed by worry but find comfort in the thought that Thou art with us. With Thee at our side, what can overwhelm us? Give us a sense of deep repentance for any acts, known or unknown, which have offended Thee and betrayed our ingratitude for Thy manifold mercies. Bless our mission of the air, in which we press the miraculous powers of Thy nature into the service of the Gospel that throughout the land sinners may be brought to repentance, trust in Thy love, and reliance on Thine unfailing promise of heaven. Hear us, for we pray at the Savior’s request, with His promise and in His glorious name. Amen.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:2
DO you know the real, basic trouble with our age and world? Ask the first ten people you meet on any street, “What do we need for a better life?” and at least nine will answer in three syllables, “More money!” Our trouble, however, lies much deeper than the financial surface. We have more money in the United States today than in any other decade; in fact, we have been obliged to build vast subterranean vaults for the protection of gold and silver bars, massively piled. We have so many superfluous funds that the unused savings accumulated in our banks form one of the most pressing problems before the average banker. With all these rich endowments of a country that could guarantee a happy, profitable existence to a population much larger than our present number, we have failed so abjectly in the management of our money that, when recently in Congress the proposal was made to drop 200,000 from our relief rolls, one Senator shouted in warning, “Only God knows what these people are going to do—unless they starve.” The specter of famine in the wealthiest land of the world!
Rooted far below these dollar difficulties is the fundamental failure of our entire age: heedless striving against God, the dark tragedy that the men who seek to run the world without God or against Him are making a ghastly mess of it. This exile of the Almighty controls much of modern thought. It starts with eliminating God as the Creator, a gloating over the claim that man is a creature of chance on an accidental planet that has no place for God. The world runs itself, we are told, and it is up to human genius and power to direct men’s affairs as best they can. Every man shapes his own destiny, it is claimed; for in this materialistic creed God—if there be a God—cannot regulate and guide individual lives. When the apostles of man’s chance-beginning see their fellow-men struck to the ground by the impact of uncontrollable adversities, they only shrug their shoulders and whisper something about the cruelty of fate.
Because this damnable doctrine excludes God as it teaches the triumph of the strongest and the success of the shrewdest, it has helped throw our age into the turmoil of worldwide suffering and the tyranny of selfish power. Statesmen, scientists, and men of public affairs not noted for religious zeal voice the need for a spiritual basis on which men can build better lives and the hope for a better age. On the Continent a celebrated Swiss psychologist, shortly before his death, cried out: “The world needs religion. It is the insanity of the white man that he has lost the religious order of life. Until he finds that, he will scarcely be healed of his troubles.” In England British statesmen have warned that, if religion fails, the foundation of our civilization must crumble. In Pittsburgh, a prison warden, watching the lengthening procession of criminals, asserts, “We need religion.” In New York a student of human problems writes a book that quickly becomes a best seller under the title The Return to Religion. However, the cry should be, not, “The world needs religion,” any kind of religion, any sort of creed, but, “It needs the religion of Jesus Christ.” Instead of a “return to religion” we want a return to the religion of Jesus Christ. For of all the knowledge ever gathered for our guidance, the Bible alone gives us divine assurance on the questions of human origin, the perplexities of life, and the ultimate hope of heaven.
In this spirit I ask you to behold in
THE GREAT GOD OUR CREATOR AND SUSTAINER
to find in Him the Author of our existence, the Protector of our lives, as the sacred writer in the One Hundred and Twenty-first Psalm (verse two) exults: “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”
GOD THE CREATOR
When the unnamed psalmist, on his pilgrimage up to Jerusalem, looks to God and declares, He “made heaven and earth,” he uses the same language by which thousands of millions through centuries of peace and bloodshed have confessed their faith in the first article of the Apostolic Creed, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” This morning on every continent, in hundreds of different languages, yet with an absolute unity of conviction, myriads repeated this acknowledgment of God’s creative power. That Creed is shared by all who are truly Christ’s, as every Christian, whether he be Catholic or Protestant, Lutheran, Episcopal, or Reformed, will subscribe to each syllable of Martin Luther’s remarkable statement, which, explaining the personal meaning of the words “Creator of heaven and earth,” declares: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses.” Here we who call ourselves Christians stand on common ground, whatever the differences may be that keep us apart otherwise; we look to God as the Author of our lives, the Originator of this universe. If anyone changes the first sentence of the Apostles’ Creed to read: “I do not believe in the God who is the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,” no matter who he is,—he may be a scholar of notable learning, a doctor of divinity sponsored by multimillionaires,—one thing is certain: he is no Christian!
It is the unholy mark of our twentieth century that more than ever before men brazenly claim that this is an accidental world. We are told that ageless millions of years ago a wandering star by random chance happened to steer its course too close to the sun and in passing tore out a large segment of gaseous masses. After unnumbered ages these solar gases became solid, and through further transformations, each one haphazard and without divine forethought, the globe which we now call the world took its present form. Once more, by a fluke of fate, the first living cell (for which no anti-Biblical theorist has ever adequately accounted) found itself on our planet in those days of dizzy distance; and by thousands of chances, each one absolutely without God, this simple life-cell developed into the complex forms of plant and animal existence, until, after the roulette-wheel in this lottery of emerging life had spun frequently enough, the first men—half animals, half human—emerged and began the human race, which, we are assured with all seriousness, is on its way upward to a golden age,—all the achievement of chance.
That full-faced denial of God the Creator is being taught millions of American children. It has usurped a place in the liberal pulpit today, where Modernists tell their audiences that God, unknown and unknowable, is a distant force, unconcerned about the continuance, beginning, or ending of our lives; that man is but a superior animal, only a few notches above the more intelligent beast. This coronation of chance and campaign against God’s creation crystallizes a critical issue, in which those who would be Christ’s should take a decisive stand. We look either to God for our bodies and brains or to some gorillalike creature. We accept either divine creation or an accidental origin.
Which will it be? Which can it be, I say, when the Word of God has spoken decisively? Not in one passage or dozens of passages but in more than one hundred distinct statements of Scripture, Old Testament and New, the Bible, as our psalmist, says that God “made heaven and earth.” Be dear on this one pivotal point: The attack on man’s divine origin is not only a questioning of the Old Testament verses; it is an attack upon the whole Scripture. You cannot reject Genesis without rejecting the Christ of whom Genesis testifies; you cannot accept Jesus as the infallible Son of God without accepting the creation which Jesus teaches. The Bible is not half right and half wrong. To be the Word of God, it must be entirely right! It must be—and again we publicly confess it to be—God’s holy, inerrant, infallible truth from the earthly Paradise in Genesis to the heavenly Paradise in Revelation.
We are against this claim of man’s ape ancestry and this banishing of God, not only because it is against the sacred Scriptures, but also because it contradicts human reason. The very thought that our bodies should be the result of chance, the haphazard combination of various life-cells and organisms is preposterous. For example, certain evolutionists actually teach that the eye originated in this way: some animal had a freckle on the side of its head, and when this creature happened to turn to the sun, the light agreeably affected the freckle. As successive generations did the same thing, by the sheerest chance, that freckle developed sensitiveness, and after countless years a nerve was produced, and from that nerve came the beginning of the eye—all without God! Now, what are the facts? The eye consists of nine major parts. Mathematicians will tell you that the mathematical possibility of these nine parts’ being made as they are and their combining to form the eye by mere chance is one out of one hundred quintillion.
Or take the ear, which, by the claims of those who deny God’s creation, likewise owes its existence to a hitand-miss process. The ear consists of twenty major parts; I am not even considering the smaller parts and the basic units. Mathematically the possibility that the ear developed accidentally is one chance in a number so large that it must be written with the figure one followed by forty-one zeros. How much wiser the sage of the Old Testament was when he declared: “The hearing ear, the seeing eye, . . . the Lord hath made both of them.”
Remember, too, that the ear and the eye are only two parts of a mechanism. If you take the other complex parts of our organism and then ask what is the mathematical possibility that the human body would acquire its present form by chance, we read the conclusion that the human body has “less than one chance out of one decillion times one decillion times one decillion times one decillion times one octillion to originate by mere accident.” And that figure, I believe, is far too small. I ask you, without recourse to the Word of God, Is it not more reasonable to assume that the human body was created than that it developed at random?
Besides, this theory of chance is directed toward the destruction of all morality. If we are but the advanced brood of the beast; if, as a popular university lecturer tells our academic youth “animals we are, and animals we remain,” then trample down the Ten Commandments! Live the one life that we have to the fullest before we return to the endless silence of the grave! If we have only refined animal blood coursing through our veins; if our heart is essentially the heart of a chimpanzee; if our brain differs, in general, only in quantity from the brain of an orangutan, forgetting God and the superstition of religion, why not live for ourselves, as the beast lives? Down with right! Let might rule!—These are the logical extremes to which the dethroning of God must lead. A hundred thousand Chinese killed and wounded in 3,500 air raids! Almost two million Russians murdered by Soviet executioners in the first five years of the Red terror! That is the kind of world this rejection of God always wants and always makes. It has no room or compassion for invalids, aged, and non-productive; instead, as radical evolutionists have expressly demanded in their writings, the anti-God campaign is ready to kill off the helpless, crippled members of society. This blasphemous, atheistic exaltation of the animal is dangerous to the state, since its closest ally is Communism. It is destructive to Christian marriage and Christian home-life; for once God is removed as the Creator, His holy ordinances are likewise set aside and the unbridled fulfillment of every lust, even the most perverted, is licensed.
Will you not agree fully with me when I insist the churches must be aroused to defend this sacred truth that God is the Author of life? The churches must be instilled with a holy aggressiveness! Particularly in our large cities, we should throw open at least parts of our large churchbuildings, otherwise closed for six days of the week, so that people can daily commune there with God! Open reading-rooms in our churches would help us lay the claims of Christianity before the American public. More courage in truth-loving congregations would expel from the pulpit any preacher who violates his trust by denying the creative miracles of God! Give us more Christian citizens who will protest at school-board sessions and public meetings whenever Christian children are subjected to spiritual poison, God-fearing men and women who will say, “You can teach this thing as a theory if you insist, but in the name of God and the Constitution of the United States, you cannot deliberately tear the truth of the Bible out of our children’s hearts.” Let us offer more money, more support, more students, for those church-schools and colleges where the faith of our young people will not be assailed. Support us with more prayer for the extension of this radio hookup, so that we can put the issue before the people throughout America by the quickest means that God has given us, the radio (remembering that, while evolutionists broadcast their denial of God free of all charge, for almost six years we have paid for every moment of every regular broadcast). Before it is too late, the Christian churches of America must set their houses in order and prepare to testify and tell the world: “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.”
Don’t be dismayed by the fact that the general scientific trend seems to be against the Bible’s acknowledgment of God as Creator; for even if intellectual circles continue largely to oppose God’s Word, this would not be the first time in history that the Scriptures have emerged victoriously from the conflict with Christless culture. Even now, however, unmistakable signs are evident that many scientific leaders—and I mean leaders—are questioning the claims of man’s animal ancestry and are protesting in unmistakable terms against the atheistic doctrine of chance. While armchair authorities and high-school experts continue to accept the wildest assertions as facts, the real scholar is content with labeling the teaching of man’s rise from the animals as only a theory, unproved and filled with many difficulties.
The Christian, however, surrounded with this cutthroat assault on the first truth of the Scriptures, has the mind of the Psalmist as he directs his eyes to God, who “made heaven and earth.” He looks up to the night skies, where, the astronomer tells him, there may be 30,000,000,000 shining stars; he beholds the earth, only a small part of this universe, and he exclaims, “What an almighty Creator my heavenly Father is!” He studies the human body, with the marvels of the brain, the wonders of his heart and lungs, the miracles of the senses, the many mysteries of the human body, not a single one of which can be reproduced in any laboratory, and he says: “What an allunderstanding Creator my heavenly Father is!” He contemplates man’s position on earth, with a world of resources about him every day, with lavish supplies for food and shelter, with unlimited prospects for delight in the surpassing beauties of nature, or the constant opportunities of life, and he exclaims: “What a generous Creator and Sustainer my heavenly Father is!”
GOD THE SUSTAINER
The Christian not only acknowledges God as the Originator of the world, with everything in it; he also gives Him glory for the omnipotence, love, and wisdom which combine to protect and preserve His children. With the psalmist of our text we, too, must say, “My help cometh from the Lord.”
As a potter discards a marred, misshapen vessel, so the Father who created us might have rejected our entire race when we rebelled against Him and lost the image of His holiness. He might say to you and me: “You had your chance. You have broken My Law instead of keeping it. Now bear the consequences! Don’t look to Me for help.” But that could not be our God. He who loved man as the masterpiece of His creation, loved him even when he was “dead in trespasses and sins” and showed His mercy by sending His Son to take away our sins, restore us to God, break the stranglehold of death and hell over our lives, and preserve us until we are brought—after this life—into the glories of an indescribably blessed eternity. If you have never been truly touched by the marvel of Christ’s love for your soul, try to learn how wondrously God’s sustaining love in Christ speaks to your soul! God might have made the road of reconciliation hard by imposing many difficult demands; but in the grace of His Fatherheart of love He left the way of salvation accessible to every one of us when He says: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” He asks of you not the tiring labor of your hands and muscles, the dripping sweat of your brow, the exhausting struggle of all your energies; He only says, “Believe!” God might have completed part of the plan of salvation and left the rest to us. He might have said: “I have done My share; now finish what I have started.” But in His all-surpassing mercy He did not leave us in doubt, with our salvation incomplete. When Jesus, broken under the weight of all human sin, nailed to the cross in punishment of all mankind’s iniquity, dying at Golgotha in the sinners’ stead, gasped in His last moments, “It is finished!” the task of redeeming a world from its sins was completed forever and for all men. God might have looked from His high heavens to select the best, most virtuous, most deserving, most considerate among men. But He did not. His love was not for a choice few, but for the world; and only those are barred who bar themselves through their rejection of Christ.
So as the writer of our psalm sings: “I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord,” my fellow-ransomed, you, too, can lift up your “eyes to the hills,” especially that climax hill of history, Calvary, and, pointing to Jesus, say, “‘My help’ for the needs of my sin-stained soul; ‘my help’ for a purer heart, for the twice-born life without which no man can see God,—‘my help’ cometh from this Lord, languishing here on the cross.” Let nothing keep you from Christ’s sustaining love! Sometimes when I broadcast, unable to see you, as I urge you to accept Jesus, I feel hemmed in and restricted. But I know that the Spirit of God can touch your hearts; and I pray, as thousands of others in our assembly of the air also intercede with God, that many from the East to the West, in Canada, in our own country, in Mexico, by that Spirit may be brought to the Savior and to the glorious assurance of His sustaining love. Will you not believe, then, that the God who regarded your soul as so precious that it could be saved only through the atonement of His Son wants you to acclaim your Redeemer, to bring your sins now in spirit before His cross, to point to the Crucified and say, “‘My help cometh from the Lord,’ the Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of sinners”?
With that blood-bought protection for your soul and that blood-sealed title to heaven you are granted the assurance of God’s sustenance for your body, the promise of His guidance for this life. If God did the greater thing and through Christ saved your soul, will He not do the lesser and by His mercy protect your life? Or, as the apostle puts it: “He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him freely give us all things?” Believing Jesus, you have the deep-rooted conviction that there is no chance, no good luck or bad, in your life, but that every day you toil and every night you rest is marked by the guardian protection of your heavenly Father Himself. By faith you believe that despite encircling dangers your life is more than a series of accidents and you yourself far more than a haphazard atom of humanity to be crushed by the avalanche of fate. You know that your life is precious in the sight of God and that in the hour of trial, looking to Christ, you can say, “My help cometh from the Lord.”
Expressed in terms of practical, everyday life, this means that the Lord whose wisdom created you, whose love redeemed you, will in Christ sustain you, if necessary through His almighty power. Many, I know, can show how God fulfilled the promise of His Word “He shall give His angels charge concerning thee” and in His miraculous way protected you from destruction. There is a close example of that in my own father’s life. Once while traveling in the mountains of Switzerland, he lost his way and was overtaken by nightfall far away from his destination. He pushed on in the darkness as best he could, until an inner voice suddenly urged him to stop. He obeyed that impulse and slept under the dark cover of a starless Alpine sky. Can you picture his horror, and above that his gratitude to God, when, awaking with the early sunlight, he found that he had slept through the night on a cliff within only a few feet of the edge that overhung a deep ravine? The fact that he was spared and that as one of many consequences I was granted life and being is not the result of blind chance nor a stroke of fortune, good or bad. Like many similar instances it is the fulfillment of hundreds of passages in which the God who redeems our “life from destruction” pledges, “I am continually with thee.”
This sustaining love is shown not only when God averts danger but also when He richly and daily provides those who are His, not with all they want but with all they need. We should try fully to believe this truth and stop the worries embittering our lives in these problematical years! If only we would trust the God whose ancient prophet kept oil in the widow’s cruse; the Christ who multiplied the loaves and fishes and who can and will perform the same miracles today! If only when we pray: “Give us this day our daily bread,” we would know that God, were it necessary, would rain bread from heaven as He did for Israel in the wilderness!
His protecting love is so pure and perfect that it can turn sorrows into rejoicing, money losses into spiritual gain, retreats into progress. God loves us unswervingly and surrounds our souls with complete protection. Rather than permit success, applause, health, to take us away from Him, He is ready—and this is the real test of love—to let us suffer so that we may be purified and after the collapse of our ambitions to build a better foundation on humble faith.
Is not this the faith you need? Is not this loving Father, this redeeming Savior, this purifying Spirit, the God you must have if you are to face life confidently and death victoriously? What else do you need besides the assurance that once you are Christ’s, everything in life comes from God’s love and is directed by His wisdom toward your welfare? What other religions of which men have ever heard throughout the aging centuries could give man what Christ gives to those who believe in Him, when His Word says: “All things work together for good to them that love God,” the sacred pledge that we are not the playthings of fate but the objects of Christ’s devotion and of His transforming power by which liabilities in our life may become assets, reduced income lead to increased trust, physical pain result in spiritual pleasure, loneliness bring a blessed companionship with Jesus!
May God’s Spirit give you all, above all else for which hearts of flesh and blood may crave, this peace in a warracked world! May He bring us with the dawn of every new day closer to the personal realization that God is our Creator and Sustainer, our Redemption and Resurrection, our glory in earth and in heaven! With that faith we can push our way through all fear, worry, affliction, opposition, and with Christ at our side exult: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? . . . Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord!”
Men and women of America, young men and young women, boys and girls, fathers and mothers, and you, my aged hearers, who have traveled far into the night of life: with eyes directed to the Christ of the cross repeat as the expression of your faith in God, the Creator and Sustainer, the conviction of the psalmist: “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth,” and by that confidence in Christ be blessed, now and forever! Amen.
Published with the permission of The Maier Center, Concordia University, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105.