Q. 12: What is the work of creation?
A. 12: The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
(Genesis 1 throughout; Hebrews 11:3)
In the last post, the question was asked, “How doth God execute His decrees?” In other words, God exercises His will on everything, but how? The brief answer was God utilizes the works of creation and providence. We will focus on creation in this follow-up question.
The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing…
The Scriptures teach that, before God spoke all things into existence, there was nothing. God has no beginning nor ending. Creation, what we see (physical) and what we do not see (spiritual), came into existence at the express command of God. These astounding words begin the entire Bible with bluntness and plainness, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1, ESV).
Genesis chapter one details the creation of everything. This does not mean that it details every type of fox or bat or insect. However, it does mean that God created everything from nothing. God’s power, creativity, and wisdom are depicted throughout the known universe. The wonders of this planet upon which we live baffle the mind. The precision and balance of earth is astounding. The beauty of the leaves, the variety of the clouds, and the millions of insects crawling all over the earth, all point to the infinite wisdom, power, and creativity of God.
…by the word of His power…
In Genesis chapter 1, we see the repeated phrase “And God said…” and in Hebrews 11:3 the author states that we know “the universe was created by the word of God.” It was His word, not a natural process, by which all things came into existence. Sure, adaptation and microevolution occurs. No one with any sense of the wonders of creation should doubt this. This acknowledgement, however, does not mean that Christians believe in naturalistic evolution. Contrary to what Richard Dawkins claims, evolution (i.e., biological, naturalistic evolution) is not a fact. God created everything by His Word. Since this post is not addressing evolution, we will simply leave it at this.
…in the space of six days…
The Scriptures teach that God created the heavens and earth in six days (cf. Gen. 1, Ex. 20:11). While there is debate on this (at least in the scholarly world), the Scriptures indicate six days. The lengths of the days may have been different (in other words, the first days of earth’s existence may not have been 24 hours, they may have been 23 hours). This mention of six days is important, because it sets the pattern for a normal human work week. We are, as Scripture describes, to work six days and to rest on the seventh (or, Sabbath). In addition, it will also be important when we get to the section of the Baptist Catechism that addresses the 10 Commandments generally and the Sabbath specifically (questions 62-67).
…and all very good.
That is God’s estimation of His glorious work of creation. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:31, ESV). In other words, it was right. Everything was set. It was without flaw. It was, at least at this point, free from sin (that will be addressed in question 16).
There is nothing that this teaching leaves untouched. Literally, everything depends upon one’s views on the origin and operation of the universe. For example, one glimpse into humanistic thinking (which is devoid of anything supernatural) provides the outworking of a view in which everything came into being on its own. This has enormous applications on one’s view of the value of life. Again, it affects one’s understanding of and application of morality.
If, on the other hand, you believe the Scriptures, then God is the ultimate authority. He created everything and has complete rule over it. Issues such as the value of life take on a different role. Helping others does, too. It matters what you believe.
On a similar note, it also matters for our acceptance of Scripture. For example, if we debate on the phrase “six days,” found in Genesis and Exodus, we undermine the Scriptures. If six days does not mean six days, does sin mean sin? Does salvation by grace through faith really mean salvation by grace through faith? Now, I am reasoning to ad absurdum, but I do so to make the point. If we question the directness of Scripture at this point, where does it end? We need to study the Scriptures, no doubt. And there are issues that are not clear. However, when Scripture speaks with clarity and then confirms this clarity, we are left with no room to doubt.
A final note of application (though there are many more) involves our view of creation. While there are animals we do not like, and for good reason should seek to avoid and exterminate some creatures (rats, for example). However, this is not a blanket statement to destroy God’s creation indiscriminately. His creation is good. We should, therefore, take care of His good creation.