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Chapter 4: Of Creation

Did God create for His glory? How did God create? Why did God create? How long did God take to create? What did God create?

Creation. There are few topics like this which generate heat between believer and unbeliever, and even among believers. But it is essential. Here is the foundation of everything, if there was no creation, there would obviously be nothing. Whom can we trust to tell us how it happened? The Witness has been pleased to reveal to us the way He created this world. The question is: Was everything that He revealed accurate and true? Can we gain any knowledge from outside the special revelation of God that can supply or actually radically change our view of Genesis? Which is primary the exegesis of Scripture or the findings of modern (secular) science? My comments will be short.


§1 In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make the world

  1. In the beginning it pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the manifestation of the glory of his eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, to create or make the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six daysand all very good. 5
    1. Heb. 1:2; John 1:2-3; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4[1]
    2. Rom. 1:20; Jer 10:12; Ps. 104:24; 33:5-6; Prov. 3:19; Acts 14:15-16
    3. Gen. 1:1; John 1:2; Col. 1:16
    4. Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11
    5. Gen. 1:31; Ecc 7:29; Rom. 5:12

For His Glory

The Lord God King of the Universe, is the Creator God who created the world ex-nihilo (out of nothing) in the space of six days. This the Creator did not because He lacked something, but was pleased to manifest His glory to His creatures. Therefore, we believe that the whole creation exists to display the glory of its Creator. Everything was created for God's own glory and for God's own purpose. Since God is all-sufficient in and of Himself, the Creation did not add anything to Him that He did not possess, rather, the Creation displayed and manifested His glory to others. In Psalm 19:1 we read, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” The heavens, i.e., the space and that sky, displays the glory of God. Oh, how long can we sometimes stare in the night to the beautiful starry heavens? Or, how are we struck with amazement when we see pictures of outer space and pictures taken by the Hubble Telescope? All these things, which are normally out of our visible sight, still bring glory to the Creator. When we see them, we are filled with awe and reverence for the Creator. The Creation is actually meant to display the glory of God to us. In Isaiah vision of the Lord Jesus, the host of heaven worships and praises God with the following words:

Isa. 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

The earth does not merely contain His glory, but is full or filled with His glory. His holiness displays itself in His glory in the created world. The holiness of God is glorious and it fills the whole created world. That was God's purpose is creating, to display His glory and for people to acknowledge it. In Romans 1:20 we read that God's “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” The glory and power of God is displayed in the created world in such a way that no one would be make an excuse before His Majesty. The power and divine nature of God displayed in the created world is undeniable and sufficient to render us without an excuse before Him. When God created, there was no higher goal than creating for Himself and to display His glory. He could not have depended for His glory on His creatures, which were yet uncreated, for He is completely independent of His creation for His perfections. The Trinity enjoyed fellowship and glory even before the creation of the world (John 17:5). God was not lacking anything. The host of heaven, in Revelation 4:11, declare:

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

God is worthy to receive, i.e., be credited of having glory, honor and power. Why? “for you created all things”. The fact that God is the Creator of all things make it obligatory on us to bring Him glory, honor and praise. It is by His will that everything exists or  has existed. It was He who determined if this thing existed or not, or that thing happened or not. He creates these things by His will so that they would bring glory and honor to Him. In Proverbs 16:4 we read, “​The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.” Everything that God created, He created with its assigned purpose. It is He who gave those things their purpose, it is not to be thought that the created things gave themselves a purpose. That is absurd. Even the wicked He has created for a purpose, namely, a purpose of destruction and punishment (see more in chapter 3 on Reprobation). All things exist and were created to display His glory in one thing or another. The people of God are said to be that sons and daughters of God who were created for His glory, and they are called by His holy Name (Isa. 43:6-7). In Colossians 1:16 we read:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

The Son of God was not only the Agent of Creation, but He was the goal of Creation. Not only were all things that were created, created by Him and through Him, but also for Him. Do not miss this bit. The reason that the Creation exists is for the Son—for His pleasure and for His glory. Everything is set up and is created for the praise of Jesus’ glory. Such is the Father's good pleasure that the Son may be glorified in all things, just like the Father (John 5:22-23).

Even salvation has its end goal in the glory of God. Three times in Ephesians 1 we are told that we have been predestined and saved “to the praise of his glorious grace” (Eph. 1:6) and “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12, 14). In Romans 9:22-23 it is said:

What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— 

God will display both the glory of His justice and wrath in bringing just punishment upon the reprobate, as He will glorify Himself in the riches of His glory for the elect. All things were created to glorify God and God will glorify Himself in all things, no doubt!

See John Piper, Why Did God Create the World?

The Days

This controversy of the days of Genesis started with Augustine I believe, because He believed that God basically made everything in one day, as time means nothing with an Eternal God. But many have taken Augustine's position and pointed to it to “excuse” or “support” their radical departure from a straightforward reading of Genesis. What can we learn from the Bible about the days of creation? I believe a straightforward reading will give us nothing apart from 6 days of God’s work in creating everything and the 7th day for rest. But this has been challenged by the rise of secular theories of origin, and some Christians has been comfortable to come up with all sort of ways to make the Bible fit with “science.” Almost all of these theories do not acknowledge that the days of Genesis are straightforward 24 hour days. They are long ages, they say, they sometimes even mix and change the chronology of the days. Here I don’t want to rebut those position, but I want to lay down my position. For those wanting to learn of the Creationist position, I point you to Creation.com and AnswersInGenesis.org. This is not the place to learn anything new from this debate.

First, the fact that the days spoken of in Genesis are regular days, much like the ones we have (they may have been an hour shorter or something, but basically they are not long ages), is seen from the way that God closes His work every day. Remember, this is the account of the Only Witness that could see the Creation and He has been pleased to reveal it to us. At the end of day 1 through 6 there is this reoccurring phrase “there was evening and there was morning, the X day.” This shows that the days spoken of here are simple days like we have, they constitute an evening and a morning.

Verse Evening Morning X day
Gen. 1:5 And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
Gen. 1:8 And there was evening, and there was morning, the second day.
Gen. 1:13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
Gen. 1:19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
Gen. 1:23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
Gen. 1:31 And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

The same pattern is repeated at the end of each day and each day constituted of an evening and a morning. This is very basic and it is a regular day. There may be the question as how could there be a day if there was no sun until day 4, this could be answered by saying that there is no need for the sun for there to be a day. Why? Because a day constitutes of the Earth rotating around its axis. Second, there was already light made on Day 1.[2]

The way the Bible refers back to the creation week is also confirming of the length of days. From Mount Sinai, the LORD, Yahweh the Creator Himself, commands His people to pattern their workweek after the work that He did in the Creation.

Exod 20:9-11 Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (cf. Ex. 31:17)

I think that the Israelites had a pretty good idea of how long a day was. They were not told to work for long ages, and then rest for a long age. No. They were told to work six regular days and rest the 7th. Pretty straightforward. They are to pattern God.

Another point is that it has been observed that whenever a numeral is attached to a day in the Old Testament, it always means a regular day. Thus we have the seventh day in a lot of places for example, all these days refer to simple 24 hour days, and not anything longer. The argument that the Day of the Lord is perhaps longer than a regular day, and thus in this way, perhaps the days of Genesis 1 are longer than regular days, will not work here. The Day of the Lord is not preceded by a number, i.e., the first day or the sixth day, second, we do not deny non-literal uses of the word “day” in the Bible, but we deny the non-literal and basic use of the word day in Genesis 1 because of the context and the few points mentioned above. This is enough for me to be confirmed in the straightforward reading as the true history of the Creation.

What Was Created Each Day?

Age Of The Earth

This is a more tricky and hotly debated subject than the days of Genesis. I'm a Young Earth Creationist, thus I do believe the Earth to be young around 6 to 10 thousand years based on the genealogies of Genesis. They do not seem to contain any gaps, and even if they did they would not be mount up to millions of years. Millions of years will come when you first make the days of Genesis to be long ages, not because of anything in the text, but because we're forcing something upon the text. I’m also comfortable with this view based on giants who went before me in interpreting the text. It is not a hot issue for me. I accept it by faith based on what I can see in the Word of God. This Confession says that everything was made in the space of six days, it’s not a giant leap to assume that they meant regular days like the ones they had.

Martin Luther tried to refute the error that Augustine introduced in saying that God basically made everything in 1 day, saying:

When Moses writes that God created heaven and earth and whatever is in them in six days, then let this period continue to have been six days, and do not venture to devise any comment according to which six days were one day. But if you cannot understand how this could have been done in six days, then grant the Holy Spirit the honor of being more learned than you are. For you are to deal with Scripture in such a way that you bear in mind that God Himself says what is written. But since God is speaking, it is not fitting for you wantonly to turn His Word in the direction you wish to go.[3]

It is interesting to see what Calvin says about the age of the earth in the 16th century. Speaking of objections to preaching the doctrine of predestination he gives other doctrines which are mocked by the ungodly:

A rebellious spirit will display itself no less insolently when it hears that there are three persons in the divine essence, than when it hears that God when he created man foresaw every thing that was to happen to him. Nor will they abstain from their jeers when told that little more than five thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world. For they will ask, Why did the power of God slumber so long in idleness? In short, nothing can be stated that they will not assail with derision. To quell their blasphemies, must we say nothing concerning the divinity of the Son and Spirit? Must the creation of the world be passed over in silence? No! The truth of God is too powerful, both here and everywhere, to dread the slanders of the ungodly, as Augustine powerfully maintains in his treatise, De Bono Perseverantiae (cap. 14ñ20).[4]

In the debates and discussions about the age of the Earth between Christians, I have never yet heard someone bring up Christians from the past who believe the Earth was millions of years old. It is the common and traditional Christian position that the Earth is relatively young. In a lot of old literature (commentaries, or books) people would reference events from creation of Adam, and these numbers would not be in tens of thousands or millions. Even the Jews, seeing how Josephus does his chronology, believed in a relatively young earth. The reason to doubt the age of the earth, was not exegetical, but was external and I believe, forced on the text of Scripture. While it may be possible that there are gaps in the chronologies of Genesis, I have not studied the issue deeply, still, this wouldn't give us an Earth which is millions of years old, indeed, 4,6 billion years old according to modern scientists. To fit the data that modern scientists have discovered about the Earth, some Christians have been more comfortable to doubt the Bible's account, than that which the modern scientists, with their (almost always) secular presuppositions give.

Presuppositions

It is very important when thinking about the Creation account that we test our presuppositions and see what is moving us to have a particular view. What has “science” revealed that trumps our Creation view? Are we anti-science? What presuppositions are used in these scientific findings? Are they consistent in themselves? Are they consistent with Scripture? Do they contradict proper interpretation of Scripture? These are all important consideration which all of us bring to every topic, but especially in this hotly debated subject, and we should be made aware of them. Ultimately, I believe in the Young Earth Creationist position because my reading of the Scripture, not because of the findings of science. I find those interesting, but my ultimate allegiance is to the written Word of God.


§2 God created man, male and female

  1. After God had made all other creatures, he created man, male and female, with reasonable and immortal souls, rendering them fit unto that life to God for which they were created; being made after the image of Godin knowledgerighteousness, and true holinesshaving the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfill it, and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their own will, which was subject to change. 3
    1. Gen. 1:27; 2:7; James 2:26; Matt. 10:28; Eccl. 12:7
    2. Gen. 1:26-27; 5:1-3; 9:6; Eccl. 7:29; 1 Cor 11:7; James 3:9; Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24
    3. Rom. 1:32; 2:12a, 14-15; Gen. 3:6; Eccl. 7:29; Rom. 5:12

Man is the epitome of creation, he is the crown of creation. Man is the only image of God of everything that God created. Image of God means that man has some resemblance of God in himself. We are to be fruitful and multiply, we are to work, we are to subdue the earth. Man's image also includes what the the Confession itself identifies, that man have things common with God: knowledge, righteousness and true holiness, for example. The knowledge of ourselves and the Holy One. To know Him not merely as the Creator, but also the Redeemer and our Father. The One who saved us from His wrath by Jesus Christ. Being righteous as He is righteous, doing that which is pleasing in His sight and receiving from Him the righteousness that is not our own, but Christ's. Being holy as He is holy (1Pet. 1:16) means that we are to be separated and be set apart for the service of God. All these things, Adam and Eve originally had, but now they are to be found only through Christ.

Man is the image of God, that is his identity. Sin is a misrepresentation of that image. Man, in his fallen state, is a corrupt and bad image of God, but nonetheless still the image of God. Adam and Eve were made holy and righteous, able to attain eternal life by works, had they not rebelled. They had the Law of God upon their hearts, but not only that, since every child of Adam has that (Rom. 2:15), but they had the power to fulfill it! After Christ comes we will not be going back to the Garden, we will go to the New Jerusalem. Which is much better than the Garden, we will have no possibility of transgressing (non posse peccare). In the Garden Adam and Eve had the possibility of sinning (posse peccare) and they did sin and ruin us all. Although they also had the possibility not to sin (posse non peccare).

See chapter 7 (Of God's Covenant), chapter 9 (Of Free Will) and chapter 19 (Of God's Law) for more on these subjects.


§3 Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command

  1. Besides the law written in their hearts, they received a command not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which whilst they kept, they were happy in their communion with God, and had dominion over the creatures. 1
    1. Gen 1:26, 28; 2:17

Not only was the Law written on their hearts, but they also had the a positive command delivered to them verbally, so as to cast away any doubt or excuse. The command was simple and to the point:

Gen. 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” 

But our parents did disobey God's command and brought condemnation to all men, but all those who trust in Christ are justified because of Christ did on their behalf on Golgotha and by His perfect life (Rom. 5:17-21). Our parents, at the moment of their rebellion, lost holy and sinless communion with God for themselves and for all their descendants at the moment when they took and ate of the forbidden fruit, and thus bringing condemnation and death upon all men.

 

Footnotes

  1. ^ Many Scriptural references have been supplied by Samuel Waldron's Modern Exposition of 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith which was apparently supplied by the Westminster Confession of Faith 1646.
  2. ^ See more at Creation Ministries International. For example Jonathan SarfatiHow could the days of Genesis 1 be literal if the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day?
  3. ^ What Luther Says. A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active Christian, compiled by Ewald M. Plass, Concordia, 1959, p. 93.
  4. ^ John Calvin. Institutes of the Christian Religion. 3.21.4.


Edited:     Monday 27th of March 2017 13:33 by Simon Wartanian
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