Doctrine of Creation: Fundamentals
February 28, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith
Topic: Default Scripture: Isaiah 40
Scripture Reading -> Isaiah 40
Last week we started looking at the Doctrine of Creation. Let’s remind ourselves of 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.
We only scratched 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.
Specifically, today we are going to start by examining the foundations of Creationism and define exactly what is meant by the term and then we’ll move into how the Bible describes Creation as an act of a sovereign God.
With that, please open your Scriptures and turn with me to Isaiah 40
The Doctrine of Creation is fundamental to the Christian Faith.
In fact, if you are to consider yourself a Christian and believe that the Bible is the Word of God, you must therefore also come to terms with what is known as Creationism.
There is no neutrality.
Either you believe what God has said is true, or you do not.
All professed Christians have a choice –
- Believe in the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God as we have learned that it is.
- Bend in your beliefs, compromise with the truth so that you “fit it” better and are “more accepted” in the world, and thereby make shipwreck your faith. (1 Timothy 1:19)
We, as a congregation, have chosen and declared our belief in the infallibility, inerrancy, and inspired nature of the Scriptures.
We, as a congregation, have not been afraid to declare what it is that we believe for everyone to see and read.
We, as a congregation, refuse to hide being empty refrains such as “We just believe the Bible” or “No creed but the Bible.”
We are taking a stand in the world and declaring our allegiance to Christ and His Word – instead of our own comforts.
Therefore, we as a congregation, desire to see what Scripture has to say, doing our best to not apply our own filters or desires or interpretations upon it…knowing that such a thing is not always achievable without some risk.
So, then, let’s return to discussing what exactly is meant by “Creationism”
What Creationism is Not
First -> Creationism is not based on the study of the scientific principles of empiricism.
Empiricism is the theory that the origin of all knowledge is sense experience. It emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory perception, in the formation of ideas, and argues that the only knowledge humans can have is based on experience. (Wikipedia)
- Knowledge of creation cannot be derived from evidence developed on a scientific basis.
- The truth of creation cannot be determined from man through science itself.
Creationism can only be learned from the Holy Scripture
Science as Compared to Creationism
This is not to say that the scientific principles of empiricism are completely without value. There are many benefits of science:
- Science tells us how things work
- Science does not tell us “why” things work
- Science is good for making computers and cars and refrigerators
But there are limitations of science when it deals with matters of faith:
- Science does not tell us the “why” of creation
- Theology itself explains the why of creation
- Science is not a source of truth like the scripture.
A Priori of Creationism or Empiricism
Each system (Creationism and Empiricism) begins in the same manner.
They begin with a priori knowledge –
that is, they being with a starting set of assumptions which is believed and accepted to be true – without any external proof.
This is not to be taken as a surprise or as anything sinister.
Mathematics is the same. The a priori conditions in math are known as axioms.
These axioms are accepted as true – just because.
These axioms are then used to guide everything else that proceeds from them.
For example, every number equals itself, and if x = y, then y = x.
These axioms are not proven to be true – they just are accepted to be true.
The mathematician, then, uses the axioms to move on to higher math and other observations and facts --- but all based upon the starting point.
A Priori of Empiricism
Axioms can be understood as one would understand the rules of hide-and-go-seek. The rules are – just that --- rules.
……………..Conditions. ……………Boundaries to be followed.
- One person counts to 10 while the others hide
- The person counting doesn’t peek
- After reaching 10, the person counting finds the one hiding.
The axioms must be understood if there is to be any intelligent discussion on this topic.
For example, the axioms in Empiricism might be:
- Only the observable by the sense can be true
- Only the things that can be successfully tested can be true
Empiricism Cannot Answer the Theological Question
But these axioms cannot be used to answer the question of Creation.
The empiricist cannot go back in time and observe the creation of the world.
- He cannot observe the creation.
The empiricist, therefore, must rely upon and create other axioms.
- He must observe the structure of the earth, the geographical layers, fossils, etc to make an assumption and an inference.
- He must rely upon axiomatic methods such a carbon dating, sedimentary layers in a Japanese lake, asteroids striking the earth with life-creating particles, etc…
But you see, each of these requires the recognition of a set of starting assumptions.
The most common one used by today’s empiricists is “There is no intelligent design.”
Empiricism Cannot Answer the Theological Question
But the question is not being understood properly.
- Who is the Creator?
- How were the things of the world created?
- How did they come into being?
All of these are theological questions – not scientific questions.
The foundation for arriving at the answer to these questions….
The foundation for believing that God is the Creator is the Bible itself---and Faith.
- We accept Him by faith.
- We accept by faith the God of the Bible is the creator
- We accept by faith everything the Bible teaches
- The Bible teaches clearly that God is the creator.
- The Bible teaches that God created all things that exist
A Priori of Creationism
The a priori knowledge, the axiom, the starting position for the Creationist is…
There is a Creator.
- We accept this through natural revelation. (Romans 1:19-20, Psalm 19:1–2)
The Creator is the God of the Bible.
- We accept this through special revelation. (Hebrews 1:1–2)
The Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God.
- Since God cannot err, and the Bible is His revelation to man, the Bible is the true and unerring and unwavering truth for all matters in this life. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
It is important to understand our axioms - also those with whom we disagree.
Furthermore, we must be careful to remain within the bounds of these axioms, or else we are required to restate them.
Source of Truth In Regards to Creation
- The Scripture is the truth of God. The very words of God.
- The Scripture gives the account of how the world came into existence in the beginning.
- Science is not a source of truth for Creation
- Science cannot go back and observe and tell us how the earth or the world or the universe came into existence
- Although, science does have the ability to teach us the functions of things in the universe.
- The scientific study of God's creation is a study of the rational order of things as God created them but not HOW those things were created.
Foundations of Creationism
Now that we have laid out the only method to properly study how the world came into being, let us go back and define what is meant by the term Creationism.
What is Creationism?
- It is the study of the creation of the universe and everything in it as described by God in the Bible.
And, what is the source of truth for Creationism?
- The Scripture
And, what is the foundation for Creationism?
Using these axioms we discussed, let us move to conclude this morning by understanding the next subject towards a Biblical Position of Creationism.
Creation is an act of A Sovereign God
- That creation is an act of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Scripture testifies to God as the Creator
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
- God is the creator of all that exists.
- God is the Creator of heaven and earth
- God is the one who moves upon that and gives it substance and structure.
“God hath garnished the heavens, His hand has formed the crooked serpent”
“The Spirit of God hath made me and the breath of the Almighty has given me life.”
“By the word of the Lord is right and all of his works are done in true”
“Thou sendeth forth by Spirit. They are created and thou renewest the face of the earth”
“Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and meted out the heaven with the span and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?”
- It is God and God alone.
“In the beginning was the word the with God and the Word was God.”
- This is a retelling of Genesis 1:1.
1 Corinthians 8:6
“But to us there is but one God the Father of whom are all things and we in him and the one Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things and we by him.”
“For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in the earth visible and invisible whether they be thrones or dimensions or principalities or powers. All things were created by him and for him”
We should now have a clear understanding of the term “Creationism” and “Empiricism”.
We learned that Empiricism, while valuable in other fields of study is cannot be used to reveal the truths of creation.
We learned to identify the a priori assumptions, or axioms, that exist in every method of study. And if we do not take time to understand those, we will not be able to understand the rules by which each person is playing.
Those axioms, for the Christian to use in all areas of life, are:
- There is a Creator.
- The Creator is the God of the Bible.
- The Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and inspired Word of God.
These verses establish several things concerning creation
- God is sufficiently held forth, throughout the Scripture, as being the creator of heaven and earth
- The Father, the Son, and the Spirit were involved
- The Son is the centrist theme of the Scripture.
- Everything was created for Him
- Everything was created by Him
- Everything was created through Him.
- This is not clear in Genesis 1 1 alone
- But this is clear through a survey of the rest of the scripture