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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Thoughts on Creation

Thoughts on God’s creation
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” See here. (You can search for a particular Bible passage, using the search box on the page opened by the link in the previous sentence.)

#1 God planned it.
Genesis 1 does not tell us:
When God created.
How God created.

Why God created.

It does tell us Where, namely "the heavens and the earth."

Most important, it tells us "Who?" God!

Creation was planned.

The most important argument about origins is not over whether the six days of Genesis 1 were consecutive 24-hour days or not. It is not about whether the Flood was responsible for geology as we know it.

The most important argument about creation is about whether it was done on purpose --with a plan --or not.
If God spoke the stars into existence in an instant, complete with their location and their direction of movement, that would be evidence of God’s power and planning.

If God brought the universe into existence, with built-in physical laws that resulted, over billions of years, in the stars, with their location and direction of movement, that also would be evidence of God’s power and planning.

God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Which of these do you think was most important in creation? According to the Bible, it is God the Son, Jesus Christ, who was.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

John 1 also indicates the importance of the Son in creation.

How do we know that God planned creation?

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

No experiment has, or will, disproved God’s activity
in creation. No experiment has, or will, prove it, either.

#2 God’s creation was good, and diverse.
Genesis 1:31a And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. 

Psalm 104:24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great.

Below are some examples of the diversity of God's creation. You may click on the photo itself to see a larger version, or to read a description.

red sweetgum leaf on grass, in morning sunlight

Praying mantis eating cricket

Orange and black insects on butterflyweed

Sea anemones and orange fish

British soldiers lichen, Oconee County

#3 Humans are unique.
The description of the creation of humans in Genesis 1 uses different language, and is more detailed, than the description of the creation of anything else.

Humans were put in charge of God’s creation.

Christ came to earth as a human.

#4 Jesus Christ has not abandoned His creation.
To review a verse used previously:

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
and also:

Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3a He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.

#5 We need to try to take care of God’s creation
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,

There are a number of other scriptural reasons for believing that we need to try to take care of God’s creation. If anyone wants to read more on this, see here and here.

God reveals Himself to us in may ways, most importantly through His Son, God Himself.

#6 God’s creation is one of the ways God reveals Himself to us.
Psalm 19:1The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. . . . 4a Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Romans 1:20 For his 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.

If both our interpretation of the Bible, and of the findings of science, are part of God’s revelation to us, then, ideally, they shouldn’t conflict. If they conflict, we must be interpreting one or both of them wrongly. If a conflict simply can’t be resolved, then the Bible is the higher authority. But trying to resolve supposed conflicts is worth the effort, because we are learning about God, and how He works.

In recent years, scientific findings have too often been denounced in the conservative Christian community. This is a mistake.

Example 1: climate change

Why is this idea so often denounced by conservative Christians? Because Al Gore is a Democrat? Because there have been close ties between the oil industry and Republicans? I’m not sure. I have yet to read any valid arguments to reject the idea that we are affecting climate, based on scripture, and climate scientists are almost unanimous in believing that we are. (See here for more on this topic.)

Example 2: Young earth geology

The earth may be only a few thousand years old, but qualified Christian scientists, including the most important Young-Earth Creationist science organizations, are almost unanimous in believing that the scientific evidence is
strongly in favor of an earth that has been here for a long time. See here.

There are Bible-believing, God-honoring Bible scholars, who are familiar with the original language of the Old Testament, who do not believe that the Bible teaches Young-Earth Creationism. (There are others who do believe it, of course!)

If we just tell a non-Christian who is familiar with the scientific evidence that the earth is really only about 6,000 years old, their reaction may be, "OK, if that’s what their Bible teaches about geology, why should I believe what it says about sin and salvation?"

We may be misinterpreting the evidence, or there may be evidence we haven’t found, but just ignoring the evidence is a mistake.

The battle should not be so much about the when or how of creation, but about the Who.

To summarize, what does the Bible tell us about creation?

1. God planned it.

2. God’s creation was good, and diverse.

3. Humans are unique.

4. Jesus Christ has not abandoned His creation.

5. We need to try to take care of God’s creation.

6. Creation is one of the ways God reveals Himself to us.

Thanks for reading!

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Thoughts on Creation by Martin LaBar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


Keetha Broyles said...

Great points!

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Keetha.

Our pastoral staff were all unable to be at church last night, so I was asked to speak, and this was more or less what I said.

I ran out of courage, or time, or both, and didn't get to the examples where conservative Christians have dismissed scientific evidence, without giving it a fair hearing, in my view.

Marci's World said...

Gen. 1:
"6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day."
Why do you think this is the only day God didn't pronounce "good".
I am throughly enjoying reading through your blog on my Easter Break!!!

Martin LaBar said...

Thank you, Marci.

I really have no idea about why there's no "good" with the second day.

Verse 31 says that everything was good, which, I guess, covers that part of creation, too.