Creation Cries Out His Glory!

Posted: May 28, 2012 in 99-Uncategorized

In A Theology of the Church, David P. Nelson states that “the Christian doctrine of creation is the free act of the triune God to create the entire universe from nothing, as well as every creature for his own purposes and glory.” What does this statement mean? The best way to discuss the meaning of this definition is to break it down into its component parts. We will look at its component parts. First, we will look at “free act of the triune God”. Next we will look at “to create the entire universe from nothing”. We will follow that analysis up with “as well as every creature”. Next up will be “for his own purposes”. We will then close out with “glory.” From this analysis, we will see that the doctrine of creation is central to the Christian faith in that it affirms the supremacy of God and that there is assurance that there is a greater purpose to our existence.

First, Creation was a “free act of the triune God”. This phrase indicates several things. It affirms that the Trinity existed before creation. This means that, as the Apostles John and Paul affirm in their canonical contributions, that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were not added later. They were part of the trinity from eternity. The trinity existed before creation. That the Trinity exists prior to creation establishes Jesus firmly as co-equal with God and affirms his authority over creation, and its most special component, man. That the triune God freely acted is of significance as well. This was a purposeful choice of God to create. It implies that there was a self-sufficiency to the triune God. God in the blessed Trinity did not need to create. The eternal union of reciprocal love within the Trinity was sufficient. In of Himself, God needs nothing. However, God is a God of blessing. Thus, he freely created so that he could bless his creation and that his creation could return that blessing in loving worship. This creation was an act. God made it happen which leads us to the next component of the definition.

In order for there to be creation, God had to act. In creating the heavens and earth, it was act to “create the entire universe out of nothing.” Nelson uses this phrase to indicate God brought the universe into being through his act. This act was “speaking”. God spoke the universe into being. It did not exist. This belief that Christians have is known as ex nihilo creation. Ex nihilo is Latin which means “from nothing”. When applied to Creation, it means that there was nothing before or coexistent with God. This establishes Gods lordship over all creation. It reflects a distinction between God and his creation. It establishes that all of creation owes its existence and obedience to the Creator. It also establishes that there was nothing before God and thus any idols that we have created as gods is just pure folly.

Early church father, Athanasius affirmed the ex nihilo doctrine. Thus, this doctrine has long-standing affirmation in the church. He affirmed that God not only made us out of nothing but he gave us freely, by grace of the Word, a life in correspondence with God. However, since man rebelled against God, so God called forth the lovingkindness of the Word…for our salvation…to be born…into a human body (252). Thus, Athanasius was the first to affirm the linkage of Christ to creation. It affirms that Jesus existed in the Trinity pre-creation and thus gives him authority far superior to any man or any idol man creates.

That God created “every creature” is significant in that all life in creation owes its existence to the Creator God. That every creature is a creature of God, it has implications for man, God’s special creature who was made in his image. This statement means that every creature in creation serves a purpose and that each creature is valuable. The doctrine of creation should lead to a deep appreciation for all human life. This value means that practices like abortion and euthanasia are inconsistent with God’s plan and the Christian faith, according to Nelson. As well, racism is inconsistent with the value that God places on his creation. Along with this appreciation for human life, that God made all creatures should lead us to value and manage the rest of God’s creation with foresight and wisdom.

The next phrase, “for his own purposes” is crucial as well. God has a plan for his creation, a purpose. God has instituted and orderly and purposeful creation. The fall of man has twisted this orderliness because of sin but that God is guiding it all toward sending His Son and ultimately ending it with the new creation. His purpose was for man and the creation under man’s stewardship were to exist in perfect harmony and worship of creation toward God. However, with the fall, a means of reclaiming his creation was necessary. The God who created can also save. Through God’s purposes, Jesus entered the world and became a propitiatory sacrifice to reconcile God’s creation to Himself. Thus, God has a redemptive plan in place “for his own purposes.”

Finally, the phrase “for his own glory” is used. The creation was to be blessing to the created and in response the creation was to glorify God in reverent continual worship. This worship was to be freely given through the free will God granted to man. However, in this free will, man rebelled against this freedom. God began this creation and it is evident by use of the phrase, “in the beginning” that there is an end to the creation as we know it. There will be an end. In order to reconcile and begin to re-establish the glory that was prior to the Fall, God sent his Son into the world to provide man with the avenue of reconciliation where the purity of the original glory could be restored. Those who accept this avenue of reconciliation in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit will enjoy the restored glory at the Second Coming. God will do away with the fallen creation and establish the new heavens and new earth…for his own glory.

Creation doctrine has been beaten and battered over the past two hundred years. It is ridiculed highly by today’s secular world. So ridiculed, it is to the point that many Christians are often ashamed to bring it up in non-religious circles. In doing so, they have compromised on a significant tenet of the Christian faith. However, the doctrine of creation is a necessary tenet of true faith. It asserts the power, glory, and control of our God who created this universe freely without need. If more people took the doctrine of creation seriously, we would actually see the value of man elevate and the value of this earth restored. In creation doctrine, we see this world and all that is in it as a gift rather than a right.

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