Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Creation of the Cosmos

Q. 9: What is the work of creation?
Answer: 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.

This is how the Shorter Catechism summarizes the doctrine of creation, a fundamental Christian belief undergirding the worldview and message of the Bible. Not only is it taught in Genesis 1-2, but it is taught throughout the Bible (Ex. 20:11, Ps. 33, 104, John 1:1-4, Acts 17:24-31, Rev. 4:11). The Bible teaches that God alone is eternal and uncreated. It teaches that he created everything else, visible and invisible, merely by speaking them into existence. He went on to divide, unite, shape, and fill what he made, wisely designing each part with purpose as part of a harmonious whole.

The earth is therefore not a product of chance, nor of long ages of struggle and death. Rather, it is the product of a good and wise God. Death and misery were not an original part of this world, but came as a consequence of human rebellion. 

This unique work of creation took up six days. Did he need to take that long? No, he did not. Yet one purpose he had in doing it this way was to set an example for us, to work six days and rest one day (Exod. 20:11). 

This doctrine has many practical consequences. For example, it has implications for gender and social order (see here) and for how we interpret nature as a revelation of God (see here). Here is how Kevin DeYoung has summarized some of its worldview implications:

“The opening chapter of Genesis is a rejection of atheism (because there is a God), a rejection of polytheism (because there is only one God), a rejection of pantheism (because the creation is not God), a rejection of humanism (because man is not God), a rejection of naturalistic evolution (because the world and its creatures come into being by intelligent design), a rejection of materialism (because the physical world is not all that is really there), and a rejection of dualism (because both the spiritual and physical are not opposed).” (source)

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

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