Before getting to the significance of creation proper, let me begin with some philosophical comments about the creation-evolution controversy. God created the universe and everything in it and He created the Bible. (Genesis 1:1; Acts 17:24; 2 Timothy 3:16) Both are His works. This means we would expect the facts discovered from our observations of the world and the facts written in the Bible to be in perfect harmony and agreement. A totally truthful and logic-minded God would not contradict himself in His works. A key issue in this controversy lies in how much knowledge we have of the true facts and in our interpretation of them. In other words, if all facts from the world and the Bible were known and interpreted correctly there would be no disagreement or contradiction between what science says and what the Bible says. However, as we read about this controversy we find that there are bitter disagreements, particularly involving proponents of supposed evolutionary facts and proponents of supposed Biblical facts. When each side is unwilling to listen and consider valid points made by the other, misunderstanding or misinterpretation easily happens because all facts are not taken into account.
True scientific observations of the world can sometimes help us interpret the Bible more accurately. In the days of the astronomer and mathematician, Galileo (1564-1642), the church believed that the sun and heavenly bodies revolved around the earth because the Bible portrayed that God created man as the most important focus of all creation and therefore man and the earth must be the center of all of creation. By means of an improved telescope and math calculations Galileo proved the Copernican theory that the earth actually revolves around the sun. The church would not accept these scientific findings. They accused Galileo of heresy and he was condemned by the Inquisition. After that, certain others were afraid to reveal their various scientific findings for fear the church would condemn them. The church’s views of the order of the universe were clearly wrong because they misinterpreted the teachings of God’s word as they applied to creation. Certain scientific discoveries needed to be accepted in order not to misconstrue the Bible’s teachings.
On the other hand, the Bible is very likely to be right about factual data it sets forth. For example, the Genesis flood of Noah’s day seems to explain much of earth history better than does the uniformitarian views popularized by British geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875). Without negating biases by Bible believing creationists, it must also be pointed out that there are biases by many evolutionary scientists against things said in the Bible. The Bible may not be a scientific book, but that does not mean, just because supernaturalism is involved, that what the Bible claims cannot be historically accurate. If the Smithsonian Institute can list the Bible as an accurate historical guide to the discovery of archaeological sites, why cannot the Bible also be an accurate historical guide regarding statements about earth history? At any rate, to have a more complete and accurate understanding of the world, all data needs to be taken into account rather than dismissing anything that does not happen to fit one’s personal world view. A more correct world view develops by adjusting one’s views to any new factual data, and by making a fair assessment and interpretation of that data. Like some have aptly said, “Be willing to go where the evidence leads.”
If people were more open-minded, it might be admitted that sometimes scientific discoveries could help us interpret the Bible more accurately and sometimes the Bible could help us interpret the scientific facts more accurately. Unfortunately, many factors get in the way of proper acknowledgement and interpretation of data presented by scientific observations and data presented in the Bible. Those factors which prevent better understanding may include such things as stubborn pride (“I am right, you are wrong and I won’t change”), desire for fame or power (“I will be dishonest or misrepresent the facts if it will get me recognition”), unbelief and anti-God sentiments (“I reject the Bible as truth”), rejection of science (“I think science is all about evolution and so I am against science”) differing philosophies (“I will twist the facts to fit my own world views”), mistakes in our human perception of facts (“These could be corrected, but I insist upon them for the sake of promoting my views”) unwillingness to admit ignorance (“I don’t know everything I need to know to be able to make a proper assessment”), failure or unwillingness to use the laws of non-contradiction or logic (“I will believe what I want to believe even if the evidence is against it”), and so forth.
Honesty of those who are willing to go where the evidence leads is very admirable. One recent example is the case involving long time world renowned philosopher and atheist, Antony Flew. Although leading atheists looked to him as their primary thinker and writer in support of their anti-God views, he was willing to disappoint them and make national headlines by becoming a believer in God, although not the God as defined in the Bible. He was not too proud to admit that evidence being put forth by many modern day scientists questioning the validity of Darwinian evolution was convincing enough for him to change his naturalistic world view. His remarks to those critical of him were basically, that in order to be honest and to maintain integrity, he had to go where the evidence led him. Antony Flew’s book, “There is a God; How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind” (Harper One, 2007), makes for interesting reading.
Trying to sort out all of the arguments on different sides of creation-evolution issues can be exhausting and confusing. I know this by my own experience in a fair amount of reading of the views of Bible believing creationists who hold to a short earth history (six-ten thousand years), the views of Bible believing creationists who hold to a long earth history (millions or billions of years), and the views of Darwinian evolutionists, such as Jerry Coyne, who wrote “Why Evolution is True” (Penguin Group, 2009). Hopefully, having made an appeal for greater understanding between factions; I would like us to move on to Biblical statements about creation and examine the significance of creation for all who acknowledge that the world is created by God.
What statements does the Bible make about creation? All through the Bible God is declared as the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 102:25; Revelation 4:11, 10:6) Jesus Christ is God and all things are said to have come into being through Him and for Him. (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 1:2; Colossians 1:16-17) The Bible includes God’s Spirit in the creation acts. (Psalm 104:30) God is said to have brought all into being through His spoken word. (Genesis 1, “And God said…and it was so”) This is not difficult to understand when we see Jesus speaking words that cause storms to cease (Luke 8:24-25), people to be healed (Mark 2:11-12), and the dead to be raised (John 11:43-44). We are not God, but we have a similar power. We can also make certain things happen simply by speaking. Some believe God created out of eternally existing materials, but the Bible does not seem to support this view when it says that all things visible came from God (1 Corinthians 8:6), and that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)
The Bible further states that the world was created in six days. (Exodus 20:11) God first created non-living materials and then formed them into organized structures, creating life forms, energy, and laws of motion which allow the world to operate orderly and consistently. (Genesis 1-2) God is said to have created the earth with the purpose of sustaining life; giving it as a home to human beings. (Isaiah 45:18; Psalm 115:16) God created plants and animals for the benefit of human kind. (Genesis 1:29; 2:8) God created intelligent and moral beings in His image and called them man and woman. They were created to have fellowship with their Creator, to do meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling work; and to discover, rule, and enjoy the world God made for them. (Genesis 1:26-28) God created all living things to reproduce according to their “kinds”, having capacity within each “kind” to produce a great variety of life forms after their own likeness. (Genesis 1:11-12, 21, 24-25) God created humans with freedom of choice. Wrong choices resulted in God’s good works being interrupted by evil, thereby bringing corruption to the creation. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:6-11) The Bible says that the creation is now in the process of decaying and wearing out. (Psalm 102 25-26; Hebrews 1:10-11) All creation is waiting to be released from its bondage. (Romans 8:18-23) God will executed a plan for the restoration of His creation through His Son, Jesus Christ, and will remake and create it anew. (Acts 3:21; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 66:22; Revelation 21:1) With this brief summary of the Biblical view of creation, let us move on to consider what the fact of all things being created means.
What is the significance of living in a universe created by God? What does being created mean for us?
1. Creation means we are dependent creatures. We are not self-sufficient or everlasting like God. We are reliant on our Maker for our continued existence. We must look to our Creator for our well-being. As finite creatures we are unable to supply all of our own needs, therefore we cannot be individualistic, rather, our existence must involve relying on others and giving to others. (Acts 4:34-35; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:17-19) One only need think of our food as an example of our dependency. We depend on farmers to grow it, truck drivers to haul it, manufacturers to process it, grocers to store and sell it, auto makers to get us to the store, our employers for work so that we can afford to eat, and on and on. As persons who are necessarily dependent on others for our well-being, being thankful and expressing appreciation to the people who daily serve us is appropriate and extremely important to do. (Ephesians 5:20) Taking people and created things for granted is disrespectful. We need each other.
2. Creation means nature is not divine. God is transcendent, i.e., He exists apart from the material universe and is not of the same stuff as the material universe. All matter is separate from God and therefore is not to be worshiped, for created things cannot be the ultimate good that I need. People have worshiped sun, moon, stars, and earth as their sustainers of life. People seek powers through such things as witchcraft, astrology, and divination for special favors, wisdom, and strength for daily living. Since God made all things, He warns against worshiping and trusting our lives to any created power or any created thing that is obviously not ultimate. (Deut. 18:10-14; Isa. 47:13)
The Creator is the one with all power and authority, not created things or persons. I must relate to the Creator as my ultimate source for what I need, not to nature. A reason that some people worship nature is because their view of God is that nature is a part of God. A name for this is pantheism which is the idea that all things are an extension of God Himself. Some Eastern religions and many so-called new-age movements are of this persuasion. The idea that nature and God are the same is popularized in movies such as Star Wars, The Lion King, and Avatar. But God did not create out of Himself. The Biblical view of creation maintains a separate identity between God and everything else. The Bible reprimands persons who worship created things as God, or in place of God. (Romans 1:20-25)
3. Creation means the universe, and we, have God-given value and purpose. God created with a purpose in mind. Thus, material objects are to be respected and used according to their purpose, not abused or misused. We are to care for the creation, including our own bodies. A God-given purpose, from the time of creation, is that we enjoy, discover, rule over, use our imaginations, and be creative with the world God has made for us. We have meaning and purpose. (Genesis 2:15; Psalm 8:4-6)
4. Creation means there are answers to mankind’s deepest concerns. Who am I? I am a significant person with great worth because a wise God decided to create me in His image. (Genesis 1:27; Matthew 6:26) Why am I here? I am here to reflect the image, purposes, and will of my Maker because I belong to Him. (John 4:34; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Where am I going? I can know my future since God has revealed an end goal for creation. (2 Peter 3:10-13) Can I be safe in spite of a world of uncertainty and evil? Yes, because God is all powerful and cares. (1 Peter 5:6-7; Romans 8:38-39)
5. Creation means that the Creator owns all and we are responsible to Him as our rightful Lord. We are to worship and serve God; and Him only. (Deuteronomy 5:7-9; Jeremiah 25:6) God has been clearly understood through what has been made so that no person can make an excuse that he or she did not know about God’s Divine nature. (Romans 1:20-25) Our lack of knowing God and following His teachings is not because of ignorance, but because of our willing revolt against Him. Creation makes it clear that we are not our own lords. This is because, as Creator, He owns all and has the right to be Lord of all. We experience the same reality. If we make something, we own it and have the say over its purpose. Some day, every person will bow to Him and acknowledge Him, and be forced to admit that if they had not done so, they should have accepted His authority over them. (Romans 14:10-12; Philippians 2:9-11) To be a true follower of Jesus means denying our self-centered nature and having the attitude and life-style of “not my will, but Thy will be done”.
Think about it! What does it mean that you are a created being? Are you rightly related to your Creator and are you in line with the purposes for which He made you? (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14)