Creation Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Creation

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Creation refers both to the activity of God in fashioning the entire cosmos and to the end product of that work in terms of the physical world/universe as we now know it. In Scripture, God is sovereign over all things related to creation. God is the One who ultimately made every last thing that exists, and God is now the reigning Lord and King over all creation. All creatures and all things owe allegiance to God because all creatures and all things owe their very life to God's creative work.

In Scripture

"In the beginning . . . God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1).

Glory of God "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge" (Ps. 19:1, 2).

"The earth is the Lord's, and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas and established it on the rivers" (Ps. 24:1, 2).

He Is Coming to Judge the Earth "Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with his truth" (Ps. 96:12b–13).

Praise Him! "Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed" (Ps. 148:3–6).

Without Excuse "Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20).

Waiting with Eager Longing "For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope[ ]that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Rom. 8:19–21).

New Creation "So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away' see, everything has become new!" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Firstborn of All Creation "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Col. 1:15–17).

Waiting for a New Heavens and a New Earth "But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home" (2 Pet. 3:13).

Points to Ponder

Creator and Creation: The relationship between God as Creator and the physical creation can lead to some confusion. Orthodox Christian thought has long fought to maintain the clear distinction between God and creation, thus consigning to the category of error the teaching of pantheism that says that the universe itself is divine, that God and creation are essentially one and the same. In more recent times, a variation on this theme has developed in the form of panentheism, which teaches that creation exists somehow inside God — although God and creation are not strictly speaking the same thing, there is a sense in which the creation is to God what our bodies are to us. The creation is the body of God and needs to be honored as such. Many believe that panentheism likewise leads to error and confuses what needs to remain distinct; viz. Creator and creature/creation. The Old Testament scholar John Stek used to teach that Scripture is more apt to depict creation as "the glory robe of God," a kind of lustrous garment that adorns the nature of God but that is as distinct from him as a sweater or overcoat would be to us humans. However, at the far extreme of maintaining a clear separation between God and creation is the heresy of Deism, which removes God so far from all things earthly or physical as to make God disinterested and uninvolved. To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the Christian is always fighting on two fronts: to the Deist we need to make clear God's connection to cabbages and mountain streams, and to the pantheist we need to make clear the difference between Creator and all other creatures/creation artifacts, so that we do not fall prey to the sin of idolatry in worshiping something other than the one true God.

Creatio Continua: The so-called "battle" between creation and evolution in recent decades — and so an intense focus on what happened "in the beginning" in terms of cosmic origins — has tended to obscure a longstanding Christian emphasis on the ongoing nature of God's creative activity. God did not merely create all things way back when and then check "creation" off his "To-Do" list. God continues to create new life, new worlds, new daisies right up to this present time. Each newborn baby is as much a miracle of God's creative activity as the first person who ever appeared. God remains intensely interested in and involved in the act of creating. When the Hubble Telescope reveals a huge gaseous nebula in which new stars are being born even yet today, these stars are as much the handiwork of God as the first such nuclear furnaces that God made "in the beginning."

Creation as God's Glory Theater: Particularly in the psalms but throughout all of Scripture (including the Prophets), the physical creation is depicted not only as displaying the majesty and power of its Creator but as also a source of abiding praise. Just by being what they were created to be, mountains and trees, stars and hail, mountain lions and songbirds form a kind of galactic choir that — to God's ears, anyway — sings as eloquently to God in choruses of praise as any human-composed hymn or symphony. When in the Book of Job God says that at the dawn of creation the morning stars sang together for joy, God does not appear to be speaking metaphorically!

Creation Care: Scripture teaches that the creation itself is to be treated with care and respect by human beings, who were made in the image of God precisely to tend and keep God's handiwork on God's behalf. The physical creation is a matter of intense interest and investment for Christians, not only because every square inch of it belongs to God but also because Christ has now redeemed the creation and will restore and renew it to a New Creation as the climax of his saving and redeeming work. Christians who treat the physical world as temporary, of no lasting value, as something that will give way in favor of some ghostly realm of vapor and cloud, are missing Scripture's clear teaching that God loves the physical creation and in Christ has secured its future.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.