Our foundational beliefs are based in the fact that God acts. We’ve briefly examined how God acts in miracles and providence. Now let’s see how God acts in the doctrine of Creation.
Genesis chapter one is the documentation of God bringing everything into being “that has come into being” (1 John 1:3). So while miracles and providence display God’s extraordinary involvement in history and the world today, and His Lordship in this temporary place, “creation” demonstrates God’s Lordship before the beginning of time.
Another foundational belief of the church is how God made everything we see now out of nothing, or “ex nihilo” [latin]. This belief is hard to grasp since humans naturally have a difficult time comprehending eternity past or future, we are so focused on the now. So think of it this way. In “the beginning” when God created the heavens and earth (Genesis 1:1), there was nothing but God Himself, and the hosts of heaven.
Two important issues arise with the belief of God’s creative power. First, God did not create the world out of an uncreated substance or “stuff.”
An artist in the world today must have materials such as clay, paint or canvas on an easel. Yet, God used no material. For the artist to do what God did, it would mean the human artist made not only the statue itself, but the rock from which it was carved.
Since the Bible clearly teaches God made everything (in the heavens, the earth, and the sea), there was no uncreated substance out of which God created the world.
Second, God did not make the world out of Himself. This world is not God, not divine. According to the Bible, God is the Creator, and the world is His creation. This is why we worship God alone, and worship nothing in this world. Some forms of Eastern religions, as well as much current Western New Age teachings, suggest we ourselves are God… but this is false teaching.
Now here’s the thing.
Ex Nihilo, (out of nothing) is critically important, not just because it demonstrates God’s power in action, but also as an analogy of Salvation. The redemption of humanity and God’s creation is the ultimate long-term goal. [see 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10]
In the same way God created the world out of nothing, brought light out of darkness, God brought His people from sin into righteousness and from hopelessness into the assurance of His great love.
2 Corinthians 4:6
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
Today a typical controversy continues… how long it actually took God to create this world. Many believe God created everything in a literal six, twenty-four hour, days. Others hold that the “days” of Genesis were longer periods of time like geologic ages. This is called the “day-age” theory. And yet some people believe Genesis 1 as a whole is figurative or just a general idea of God’s creative power with no chronology at all.
The simple truth is, we’ll miss the point of studying creation if we get bogged down in the “how long it took” debate.
God acts. He is LORD in real time now, because He has always been LORD, demonstrated in His power to create this world we live in today. He created us, and all we see.
He deserves to be called LORD, and worshiped as LORD of ALL.
So, if God did not use an unknown “substance or stuff” to create, how are we even here?
Next time we will introduce God’s eternal DECREES.
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