Movies are powerful cultural artifacts that entertain, shape, andinspire people all over the world. This four-week series harnesses some of the biggest blockbusters slated for 2017, using them as illustrations that will help us to see God in a new way so that we can experience His presence in a powerful way.  
This week’s Movie:  The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2
Read the Sermon Summary below

 The God of our Galaxy

Exploring our world helps us to discover our worth

“I believe in God, the father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” The Apostle’s Creed

What has become popular at the time that I am writing this chapter is for movie studios and directors to create and establish a cinematic universe.  This is where no single movie stands alone, but rather it becomes part of a larger web of movies that collectively tell one story.  One movie series that has gained a lot of popularity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are the Guardian of the Galaxy movies.  While the Avengers are busy on Earth, an unlikely group is busy battling intergalactic villains.

In the first movie, we see that Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord, is a member of the Guardians who discovers that his real father was a god, which is why he was able to do such an incredible feat at the conclusion of the first movie.  In the sequel, Star-Lord is seeking to discover who his true father is, in hopes to better understanding himself.  Unlike any other being, animal, or object in nature, humans are unique in our desire to better understand the world around us and our place in it.  This is why we look back into history, wonder about the future, and wrestle with big questions like “Who am I?, How did I get here?  What is the meaning of my life, or life in general?  If I know my meaning, where did that come from?  If I think exist, how do I know that I exist?  What is thinking anyways?”

Does your brain hurt yet?  Do you think any plant or animal ponders about the past and dreams about a new tomorrow in the same way that humans do?  My dog only cares about what she is getting in the moment and that is it.  There is something to looking into our past in order to unlock our present.  During college, the way that I attempted to “find myself” was sitting for a weekly lunch at both my grandparent’s houses and learning about our family history around the table.  I learned of incredible people and despicable ones.  I discovered the source of some of my talents and interests.  I even encountered heroes that I could aspire to and villains whose habits I needed to avoid in my own life.  But through it all, I gained a better grasp of myself by looking at the bigger picture.

Imagine I am a person who has had zero contact with the outside world and I happen to stumble across a basketball.  I could never understand it’s purpose or the rules of the game of basketball by observing the ball alone.  I would have to look beyond the ball and either meet the creator of basketball, read a book about it, or find someone who has a personal knowledge of the game.  Today, we have some of the smartest people in the world searching the stars and dissecting DNA in order to better understand the purpose and function of our world, but their discoveries will always be incomplete if they are not willing to look outside the box of matter and energy.  The answers to the questions that we don’t even know that we are asking cannot be found in our galaxy alone.  Instead we must look beyond where even the most powerful telescopes are unable to travel and gaze upon the God of our galaxy.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (ESV) 

One topic that is very polarizing in our society is the origin of the universe.  Did everything evolve by a process of natural selection over countless of billions of years or was everything created on purpose and with a purpose over a span of six days by God?   You would think that with advances in modern science and technology, we would be getting to a more concrete decision of which seems the most likely.  Instead what we see is that modern discoveries that are reinforcing the Biblical narrative of the creation of the cosmos are being overlooked or dismissed, not on the basis of lack of evidence but rather based on the fact that it doesn’t fit into a secularists mindset.  You can’t see something if you are unwilling to open your eyes.

The more we learn about fossils and sedimentary layers, the more evidence we see that a world-wide flood, like the account of Noah, is not only probably but gives the best answers to why we see what we are seeing in their excavations.  One problem the secularists and evolutionists are having is with the fact that the entire universe seems to be perfectly tuned for life.  Remove just a few pieces from a cell, an ecosystem, or any other system, and the entire thing falls apart, much like how a tower of Jenga pieces would fall if you had removed all four of the bottom pieces.

Any alterations to orbits, distance, or size and life as we know it wouldn’t exist.  Just think about the blood clot.  How have we come to survive this long without the proper function of a blood clot?  The activity at the cellularly level is so complex, it’s hard to imagine that evolving unintelligibly.  It’s like saying with enough time, it’s possible to replicate every book from Charles Dickens by randomly typing letters on a keyboard (assuming you are not willing avoid answering how the keyboard came into existence, how each key came to represent a different letter, or how language had developed together).

It doesn’t get any better when we look out into space.  The more we explore, the more we don’t see random chaos but organized matter.  One other point where all secularists, evolutionists, and creationists are starting to agree on is the reality that the universe appears to have a beginning.  One side claims that an eternal form of energy randomly was compressed and then there was a big bang where everything came into existence out of nothing.  The other side claims that an big and eternal God spoke and then BANG, everything came into existence out of nothing.  Since the probability of life coming into existence by chance is becoming more and more unlikely, prominent atheists are starting to claim that a form of intelligence out in our galaxy probably had something to do with everything.  Their new answer…aliens.  Not God.  Acknowledging the existence of God requires one to then learn about this God, which might lead one to then submit to such God.  They are willing to recognize intelligence and order in the universe but are unwilling to recognize a creator.  Again, you can’t see something if you refuse to open your eyes.

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

Astronomers are beginning to think that there are 10x more galaxies than were previously thought to have existed!  When you try and scale out as much as possible, you end up with something scientists call the observable universe.  They also call it the cosmic web because the further you zoom out, the more the galaxy seems like one big web.  Interestingly enough, the more you zoom in, and go all the way down to the cellular and molecular level, everything seems to be “woven” together.  King David used the words, “formed…knitted…made” speaks of how much detail and passion God put into making us compared to everything is.  David knew that His maker didn’t make a mistake when He made him.  The same goes for you and me.

Then there is the problem that DNA posses to those against the idea of an all-powerful and intelligent Creator.  It’s been said that there are more stars in the universe than there are sand particles on Earth.  But then there are more atoms in one grain of sand than there are stars in the universe.  If that isn’t impressive enough, consider this.  A pin drop of your DNA contains enough information to fill books that would circle the earth 5,000x!

Understanding that God is your Creator is one thing.  Seeing Him as your Father is another side of Him altogether.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:14-17 (ESV)

Timothy Kellyer does a great exposition of this passage, as he highlights what kind of a Father God is.

God is our Heavenly Father who gives us

  • Security (v15a):  No child can lose his child-parent relationship out due to his actions
  • Authority (15a): Sons and daughters have authority, honor, and a status that comes from the family
  • Intimacy (15b):  We can draw near to God and have direct access to Him
  • Assurance (v16):  He reinforces our faith by confirming our position through His Spirit
  • Inheritance (v17):  We have a promise that we will gain a great blessing in the future
  • Discipline (v17):  God’s discipline is a painful but necessary privilege that is designed to bring the best out of us
  • Family Likeness (v17):  Adopted children still retain the DNA of their biological parents.  But when God adopts a son and daughter through faith, our spiritual DNA changes, making us more like Him in every which way!

There is a common narrative that we see in the word choices in the Bible, starting with Genesis 1:1 and ending in Revelations 22:21.  God’s story starts with Him “doing” something and concludes with Him coming soon to finish what He started!  All that He does is meant to get your attention so that you can receive salvation and experience the  regeneration of your spirit.  The motivation behind all of this activity is love.  You have not gone unnoticed by your God in this vast galaxy.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”  Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV) 

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord.  But this is the one to home I will look:  he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word”  Isaiah 66:2 (ESV)

Ravi Zacharias once said, “Man rejects God not because of intellectual demands nor scarcity of evidence, but a moral resistance that refuses to admit his need for God.”  Our Heavenly Father confirmed through the prophet Isaiah that He would visit any who would recognize their need for Him and reach out to Him.  God not only can see every cosmic cluster of stars, but He even notices when one person turns and reaches out to Him in faith!

In the second movie in the Guardians series, we see Peter Quill fighting against his own father, who turns out to be a wicked and evil god.  In the end, Yondu, the man who rescued and raised Peter as his own, makes a startling confession.  He pretty much tells Peter than Ego might be his father, but he wasn’t his daddy (referencing his own relationship with Peter).  He then sacrifices his life to save Star-Lord.

Know that the God of your Galaxy sacrificed Himself to save your soul.  Though we reflected our spiritual father, the devil, Jesus gave His life so that we may be restored to our true Dad in Heaven.  It’s easy for most men to father a child.  It takes someone special to be a dad to a child.

The further we go into space, the deeper it gets.  The more we dive into the smallest particle on earth, a new layer of order and function is seen.  There is no end to it all, much like His love for you.  The Creator who can hold the entire observable universe in the palm of His hands would later step into His own creation and hold nails in those same hands so that He can create something new.  Just like in the beginning when God spoke and He then created something out of nothing, Jesus spoke His final words on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30) and created something that wasn’t there before.  A way for sinners to be rescued by a Holy God!  When you decide to walk down that road, you will uncover more than just information about God.  You will experience a true and lasting transformation because of your Heavenly Father’s love for you.