Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
Q. 9. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
“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.” (Gen 1:31)
“For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” (Ps 33:9)
“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Heb 11:3)
You might remember that God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence. So appropriately enough, we are now thinking about God’s work of creation here. Providence will be considered, DV, in the near future.
We begin by noting creation is God’s work. This basic truth has a number of implications. First, all that is good and beautiful about this world is due to God’s wisdom. All glory belongs to God.
But what about what the scientists say? Well, what about them? Really, I mean it. What about them? Have you noticed when scientists begin to pontificate about God’s role or the lack of his role in the existence of the world, they are philosophizing rather than practicing science? After all, science has to with repeatable observations made under a strictly controlled circumstances. Scientific theory is therefore typically forward-looking. After enough repetitions, let’s say, of experiments or observations under controlled circumstances, scientific theories allow them to make a measure of prediction about the future. They are able to say, “Under such and such set of circumstances, these things will happen.”
That is, when it comes to unrepeatable events in history such as God’s making all things of nothing, no scientific theory allows anyone to say with any scientific certainty what may or may not have happened in the past. Thus when a “scientist” makes confident assertions about God’s role in creation, he is no longer practicing science. Instead, he is philosophizing. This, of course, does not mean that legitimate science cannot be used in defense of Christianity. That is not the point. All that’s important for the moment is that we should not get too impressed with the confident assertions of the self-important people speaking of things of which they have no knowledge. Yes, this is a bit of simplification. Lord willing, we may pursue this subject further in the future.
Further, the work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing. God did not merely rearrange preexisting matters into an ordered world. Only God alone is eternal and self-existing. Everything else depends on God for its existence. That is, the word of God’s power spoke into existence all that exists. God’s creation was ex nihilo, out of nothing.
Genesis 1 teaches us God created the world in six days. There are on-giong discussions whether the six days of creation in Genesis are literal 24-hour days, or symbolic statements that represent perhaps six long and indeterminate eras. There are sincere and serious arguments on both sides. There are also other interpretations which believe the intent of Genesis 1 is not to give a chronological report of the process of creation, but the theological rationale of creation.
There are undoubtedly theological agendas in Genesis 1. First, think about how many times “God” is mentioned in the creation account (35 times in Gen 1:1-2:3). Grammatically, “God” only needs to be mentioned just once. The Hebrew language is an inflected language, where the verb suffix carries the information about the subject of the verb. And since there is only One actor in Genesis 1, all verbs clearly refer to God. That is, after the very first “God created…” it would have been not only grammatically correct, but also stylistically preferable to say “He created…He created…He created…” Instead, “God” is repeated 35 times! Why? It is making a strong theological point to the people of Israel during Exodus (the first hearers of Genesis account from Moses). To a wayward people, God is being presented as the beginning and the end of their existence, and as the creator and sustainer of all good things.
Second, the six-fold repetitions of the beginning and the end of each day creates in us an awareness that what begins must inevitably end. Just as morning begins the day, the day ends with evening. In that light, God’s creation of the world is from the very beginning tinged with an expectation of its end. In other worlds, we are led to consider the goal, the end, of God’s creation. Why did God create the world? How will God accomplish his purpose? No wonder Genesis 3 has some interesting things to say about this question!
Finally, God created all things good. Corruption is man’s work. Wherever we witness corruption, in the moral realm in terms of sin, or in the physical realm in terms of bodily sickness, death, or natural disasters, we mourn the state of things as they are. Christians may not be tree-huggers, but we are the lovers of the Creator of the trees. Christians therefore have every reason to appreciate and preserve the world that God has made, even as we know this world really cannot be saved apart from the cleansing and the renewal at the return of our Lord. In the mean time we labor to honor God with good stewardship of his world. And we long and pray for the day when all death and corruption will be vanquished and God reigns over unsullied beauty. Come, Lord Jesus, come!