Foundations for a Christian Worldview: The Works of God (1)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1.1
A thrown gauntlet
The opening words of the Bible are a gauntlet thrown at the feet of every human being, believer and nonbeliever alike.
What is this world? How did it come to be? What is its most basic nature? Are the creatures and stuff of the vast cosmos merely data and facts, waiting for someone to make sense of them? Or do they come invested with meaning, significance, and purpose from a source beyond them? Who determines what the cosmos is and what it is for, and on what basis is this determined?
The answers to these questions constitute a worldview cornerstone from which all the rest of what we believe and aspire to is constructed. For the secularist, the answers are not all that clear. A good bit of speculation and discussion continues over at least some of these questions. The tendency among secular thinkers, however, is to believe that the cosmos – matter, in one form or another – is eternal and without any inherent meaning or value. Even those – such as Lawrence Krauss – who want to argue that the cosmos came into being out of “nothing” admit that they don’t really mean “nothing”, but particles of matter so small and inconsequential that to humans they would appear as “nothing”. The stuff of the cosmos has always existed, that’s the consensus. Thus, by implication, the cosmos does not need God for its existence or for whatever significance may be assigned to it. Humans, since we are the most highly evolved beings in the food chain, give meaning to the stuff of the cosmos according to how we value it for our own purposes.
So insistent, so thorough, so relentless and unyielding, and so effective at capturing the bully pulpits of the land have been the advocates of this secular cosmogony, that even most believers have conceded their basic points; and in trying to establish their own view of the origins of things, many believers require God to dance according to the tunes of modern unbelieving science.
Yet the words of Scripture stand: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The plain, unadorned, accessible-to-all meaning of this opening verse of Scripture is that everything in the cosmos had a beginning, everything came to be at some point, and the reason everything exists is explained by God Himself. God created everything. The work of creation is the first of the great works of God which the Law reveals to us as foundational for the Christian worldview.
God is Creator, and creation is His work, for His purposes, according to His will and design.
The manner of God’s creating
Human beings, being inveterately curious, want to ask, like Zacharias, “How shall I know this?” (Lk. 1.18) The answer for the believer should be straightforward enough: God has told us. We should not need some angelic rebuke for us to embrace the straightforward Word of God. God has told us that the cosmos is creation, not nature. He has told us that it began at a particular time, and that He brought it all into existence according to His pleasure and for His purposes.
God created the cosmos out of nothing and into nothing. Nothing existed except God. God spoke, and the cosmos came into being, the mass of it all at once, the particulars over a period of six days. And all in response to God’s command: “Let there be…”
That Word of God, carried into effect by His Spirit (Gen. 1.2), reflected the eternal counsel and will of God. It was always in the mind of God to create the cosmos. For all eternity past God had been planning the creation and preparing it, in His plan, for His good and holy purposes.
The secular scientific community has long since decided that what Moses reported in Genesis 1-3 is simply not true. It is not that modern science came to this conclusion as a result of considered reflection and deliberation. The modern scientific enterprise, willfully separating from its Christian foundations, began with this conclusion, and has been working to reinforce it ever since. For the secular mind, such things do not happen in the world, and thus some other explanation must be discovered to account for the existence of the cosmos. That explanation, unsurprisingly, left no room for God to act in the cosmos, or to have any influence over it. Therefore, either He does not or need not exist, and we need not pay Him any heed.
Many Christians, believing (unjustifiably) that science must have the last word on all things of which it speaks, have tried to force the glass slipper of creation onto the fat feet of secularism, and have compromised the straightforward teaching of Genesis 1 in an effort to make Scripture “respectable” in the eyes of skeptics and unbelievers.
The first commentator on Genesis 1 was God Himself. As He said to Moses, in instituting the Sabbath, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Ex. 20.11). Do we really want to say to God, “Well, I know that’s not what You mean”?
Is God capable of such a thing? They only doubt it who do not know Him as He intends.
The purpose of God’s creating
Genesis 1.31 gives us some sense of why God created the cosmos: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” God, as we have seen, is good; and He created the cosmos as a way of bringing His goodness to tangible expression, including creatures which both partake of that goodness and benefit from His goodness in countless wonderful ways.
God’s purpose for the cosmos is that it should be good, that is, that it should refract Him, draw attention to Him, and thus lead everything in the cosmos to Him, that it might realize the fullness of His good intentions.
God created the world for good, and that everything in the world might find its purpose and fulfillment by serving His good and perfect will. The first great work of God – the work of creation – teaches us how to understand all the other works of God, as expressions of His power, undertaken for His glory, and as means to the realization of His goodness. Creation is the cornerstone of the Christian worldview, and when we compromise the plain Biblical account of creation, we end up with a worldview like Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the statue, whose legs were a strange and unstable concoction of iron and clay, which cannot stand before the scrutiny, power, and progress of the Kingdom purposes of God (Dan. 2.40-45).
1. Is God capable of creating the cosmos in six days? Why is this so hard for many Christians to accept?
2. In what sense is God’s work of creation a cornerstone for all of Christian worldview?
3. Science is a good tool, given by God to the world, for the purpose of knowing His goodness. Why is it so hard for secular science to acknowledge the cosmos as creation rather than as nature?
Next steps – Conversation: Search yourself. Do you believe the Biblical account of creation, or some admixture of Biblical teaching and “scientific” commentary? Why does this matter so much? Talk with a Christian friend about your answers.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.
- T.M. Moore
- June 14, 2019
God created the cosmos. God. By His Word.
Foundations for a Christian Worldview: The Works of God (1)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.