Creation and Providence

Some people might be tempted to dismiss the doctrine of creation as a secondary matter.  But that would be a foolish and even fatal mistake.  The doctrine of creation matters enormously because the reality of our redemption depends on what happened at the beginning (e.g. Rom. 5:18-19, 1 Cor. 15:21-22).  It’s an essential part of the Christian worldview.  Sadly, the doctrine of creation is under attack, also from those who profess to be Christians.

The Time of Creation

Genesis 1:1 indicates that God created the heavens and the earth “in the beginning.”  In Mark 10:6, our Lord Jesus too said that God created humanity “at the beginning.”  The events of creation took place at the beginning of the universe.  It took place over the course of six ordinary days (cf. Exodus 20:11).  Moreover, if we look at the genealogies provided in Genesis, even if we allow for some gaps, it’s clear that the Bible teaches that all this happened on the order of thousands of years ago, not millions or billions – probably less than 10,000 years ago, and perhaps as soon as some 6000 years ago.

The Manner of Creation

Scripture speaks in several ways of how God created.  Hebrews 11:3 tells us that God created everything that is out of nothing (ex nihilo is the Latin expression sometimes used).  There was no pre-existent matter which he used to create.  John 1:3 tells us that God created through the Word/Logos.  That means that the Father directed the Son of God to shape the universe and everything in it.  Finally, when it comes to humanity, the Bible teaches us that Adam was created from dust (Gen. 2:7) and Eve was created from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2:21-22).  There’s no good reason to take those descriptions as being anything other than literal.

What God Created

God created the material universe with everything in it, including man on the sixth day as the pinnacle of his creative work.  But God also created the spiritual realm.  In particular, he created angels.  They were originally created good, as servants of God and humanity.  However, led by Satan, some of these angels fell and rebelled against God (Jude 6) and they’re now known as demons.  It’s important to remember that angels are mere creatures – they aren’t present everywhere, all-knowing, or all-powerful.  They have the limitations that all creatures have.  That also applies to Satan.  Though he is powerful and cunning, he should never be thought of as God’s evil twin.

The Purpose of Creation

Nothing in creation is purposeless or meaningless.  Scripture teaches that God has a purpose and meaning for everything.  Most importantly of all, everything has been created to shout the glory of God (Rom. 11:36).  Everything created is meant to point to his transcendent majesty.

Providence

The doctrine of providence is often attached to the doctrine of creation because both speak about what God has made.  The doctrine of creation speaks about the origins of the universe.  The doctrine of providence speaks about how God continues to uphold everything he has created.  We confess the complete sovereignty of God over all things.  He rules and maintains his creation down to its finest details, even the hairs of our head (Matt.10:30).  Many Christians have no difficulty confessing this when it comes to things we experience as being good and positive.  However, it’s quite different when it comes to things we experience as bad or difficult.  Yet Scripture teaches that God brings adversity just as he does prosperity (Deut.32:39, Lam. 3:37-38, Isa. 45:7, Ps. 60:1-4 and many more).  He promises that he will bring good from the trials we experience (Rom. 8:28).  Should we ever doubt that God can bring good from suffering, we need to look again and again at the cross.  There we see how God can bring infinite good from hellish suffering.  He did it then and he’ll continue doing it in our lives too.  You can trust your Father!


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