Doctrine of Creation
February 21, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Topic: Default Scripture: Genesis 1
Scripture Reading -> Genesis 1
Last week we finished out study on election by looking at the key differences from the Reformed View and Other Views on the subject.
We refuted the excesses of these views and also addressed some of the common objections often raised by people that have an incomplete or incorrect understanding of predestination, election, and reprobation.
Finally, we touched upon the primary meaning of and result of this study.
- All of this study and understanding leads us to one thing.
- That is not arrogance or boasting or complacency.
- That is not self-sufficiency
- That is not self-rule and self-determination
- That is not the destruction or ignoring of the church
Rather, the study of Scripture and, particularly our study of predestination should result in an increased, strong, and unyielding sense of comfort and trust and hope and security in the work Christ has done.
It should drive one, at all costs, to sacrifice for God and to attend upon Him in worship (both personal and corporate) in both the good times and the bad.
We ended with the question: How do I know if this work has been done in me?
Christ gives us insight into this …
Are you truly trying to keep all the commandments of God?
Are you truly sacrificing everything possible to be obedient to Him?
- John 14:15 – If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Then you can have hope that you are among the elect because….
- 1 John 4:19 – We love him, because he first loved us.
Today we are moving into a new topic in our series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith.
Today, we are going to talk about the Doctrine of Creation.
Most of us probably think we already know about creation.
- We’ve read the Bible.
- We’ve read other books on the subject
- We probably already think we know everything there is to know
- We might even think there isn’t anything that we can learn here today
But I ask, let us not think that we are above the need to hear the Word of God read, and expounded upon, and taught.
We ought never to think we cannot profit from the Word of God.
Westminster Confession of Faith
Let’s being reading Chapter 4, Article 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith:
“It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good
This article brings to light six distinct points.
- The work of creation involved the Triune God.
- The world was created for the glory of God
- The world had a beginning
- The world was created out of nothing
- That creation extends to both things seen and not seen (visible/ invisible)
- The world was created in six days.
The work of creation involved the Triune God.
We spent a lot of time discussing and seeking to understand the decrees of God.
As we learned the decrees of God are worked out in creation and providence. So, we are going to explore the works of Creation.
The first thing we notice is “it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…”
Creation involved the work of all three members of the Trinity.
- It is ascribed to the Father -> 1 Corinthians 8:6
- It is ascribed to the Son -> John 1:3
- It is ascribed to the Holy Spirit -> Job 26:13
As the Triune God, all members of the Trinity were in equal agreement in their individual and combined acts of Creation. The act of creation is only attributed to the Deity – to the one and only God.
The world was created for the glory of God
Throughout the ages, man has been tempted to think that their happiness and comfort is the end of all things.
- That they were created for the express purpose of being happy
- That they were created for doing whatsoever, whensoever, and howsoever they pleased.
This was the belief of the early Greek and Roman philosophers and even more recently the humanist philosophers.
There is a belief, common today even in Christian circles,
- that God exists for the sake of man and that man
- that man can choose to do whatever he wants and God will approve of those choices --- because God needs man.
The Scripture, however, teaches a different view.
This proof is not found in a single and limited portion of the Bible but is found in every part of the Word of God
- Romans 1:20
- Psalm 104:24
- Psalm 33:5,6
The true end, the true purpose of Creation is found in God Himself.
In the words of Louis Berkhof ->
The manifestation of the glory of God in nature is not intended as an empty show, a mere exhibition to be admired by the creature, but also aims at promoting their welfare and perfect happiness. It seeks to attune their hearts to the praises of the Creator and to elicit from their souls the expressions of their gratefulness, their love, and adoration.
The world had a beginning
You might consider this obvious. But it is worth noting and calling to our attention.
The Hebrew term bereshith (ber- ray-shith) – literally, “in beginning”)
This naturally gives rise to the question, The beginning of what?
The answer is best understood without any guile or allegory and, simply letting the Scripture speak for itself, we are to understand it is the beginning of the heavens and the earth.
That before this point, there were no heavens and earth. There wasn’t anything.
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God”; and
“Of old didst thou lay the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of thy hands.”
The world was created out of nothing
- “created” –to bring into existence something that was not previously there
- to bring forth something out of nothing, w/o preexisting materials.
(you’ll note when the forming of man is recorded, it is recorded using different words and in different contexts)
- that the world at its creation had neither received its proper shape nor was fit to be lived in.
- “tohu wa bohu”. The Hebrews use these terms when they designate anything empty and confused, or vain, and nothing worth.
God simply spoke, and creation leaped into existence.
In the words of Chad Van Dixhorn,
“God spoke and ants and elephants appeared on the plains.”
Of course, God first spoke those very plains into existence.
That creation extends to both things seen, Unseen
The creative act of God extends not only to the physical parts of the world – that which we can see…but also to those things which we cannot see.
Colossians 1:16 –
This also includes the angels – which we will get to later in this study.
The world was created in six days.
The world was created in 6 days – 6 literal days.
- Not 6 periods of an extended time
- Not in 6 ages
- Not in 6,000 years
- But in 6 literal days --- consisting of the evening and the morning.
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
These days were bookended, as it were, by the sun and the moon so that the only logical interpretation, without twisting Scripture to our own ends, is that 6 days refer to 6 natural light and dark, sun and moon-governed, natural days.
What we have just covered is only scratching the surface of the Doctrine of Creation.
As we continue our study, we are going to review, a little more in-depth, the foundations of the Doctrine of Creation.
We’ll examine topics such as:
- Creation as the act of sovereign God
- The specific purpose of Creation
- The distinction between Creation and God
- How creation exists and moves and continues
- The overall timing of creation
- The justification for the 6-literal day view of creation
- The order and structure of the Doctrine itself
In conclusion, let me simply repeat Berkhof’s quote from earlier…
A proper understanding of the Doctrine of Creation …
aims at promoting their welfare and perfect happiness. It seeks to attune their hearts to the praises of the Creator and to elicit from their souls the expressions of their gratefulness, their love, and adoration.