God the Creator
One of the most basic concepts of religion as revealed in the Bible is that of God as the creator. Sometimes this is stated simply as "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. 1:1). In the New Testament we learn that such creation was through Jesus. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." (See also Hebrews 1:3). Before this creation there was simply God. Such creation was 'out of nothing'. By the word of God they came into being and by the word of God all things continue to subsist. While we as Christians are readily familiar with such a concept, it is interesting to note that this is a unique concept missing from almost all other religions and philosophies. Most others are dualistic believing that chaos (or evil) and order (or good / God) first existed and through a struggle, good / God overcame evil and brought order out of chaos. Also inferred from this were the ideas that the universe always existed and that material things are evil.
An interesting discussion has to do with WHY God would do this. Some have suggested that He HAD to – either out of His own creative nature or out of a 'need' to express His love. I don't know much about that. However, the bible affirms that He did it because He wanted to. Psalm 155:3 states that "… our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases." Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11 that "In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will". John records those in Heaven saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
Acknowledging such creation immediately has several implications. It denies atheism – for it affirms there is a God. It denies polytheism for it affirms that GOD (singular) did the creation of all things. It denies materialism for it affirms that all things were created and not eternal. It denies pantheism in that God is shown to be separate from the universe. It denies fatalism for it declares that God not only did this by His will but that He continues to exert His will upon the whole of the universe – it operates according to His will and not according to fate.
Along with these things we also learn that matter is not evil. There was no dualistic beginning for in the beginning there was God. As God created the various parts of the material universe He stated "It is good" (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25). The universe and its parts are not evil – they are good. Paul revealed the God has "richly supplied us with all things to enjoy" (1 Tim. 6:17). Such things are not evil – but for our good. While many such things can be (and are) used for evil purposes, they are not evil in themselves. We are to receive and use these things with thanksgiving toward God for providing them (1 Tim. 4:1ff). They are to be used to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31f). The acknowledgment that these things have indeed come from God should cause us to rejoice in God Himself.
The concept of creation teaches us that mankind has a purpose. We are not an accident. Who am I? – the central part of God's creation. Why am I? – because God wants me to be and to be in fellowship with Him. Where am I going? – to the eternal presence of God where I can glorify Him forever. Such knowledge causes me to begin NOW, in this life, to worship and glorify God.
God says through the prophet Isaiah: "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath" (Isa. 45:22-23). Paul then states in the New Testament: "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11). I am not an accident of nature but the purposeful creation of God. I have a purpose in being – to glorify God my creator.
Because it is the very purpose of my being here, I must then that God is to be worshipped by me – His creation. The Psalmist declares: " Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6). The book of Revelation records an angel of heaven saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water" (Rev. 14:7). Then again John writes: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created" (Rev. 4:11). He is the creator – we are his creation – let us worship Him. In such worship let us worship Him ALONE for He alone is God. Let us never substitute the 'created' for the 'Creator' as did the pagan world (cp. Rom. 1:22-25).
Knowing that not only I myself, but all things were created by God I come to the realization that there is a stewardship involved in my being. The things that I have are not mine – but His. As Paul asked of the Corinthians: "For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?" (1 Cor. 4:7). Hence, such things are not to be used to my glory and honor but to His. The Psalmist declares: "For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine" (Psalm 50:10-11). And again, "The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters" (Psalm 24:1-2). And yet again: "The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; The world and all its fullness, You have founded them" (Psa. 89:11). It is such a realization that caused David with all of his power, authority, and riches to exclaim: "Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, The power and the glory, The victory and the majesty; For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, And You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, As were all our fathers; "Our days on earth are as a shadow, And without hope. O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own" (1 Chron. 29:10-16). If only the world would recognize and fulfill such stewardship what a glory it would be. Let it begin with me. Lord help me to glorify you with that which you have prepared and given me in this world.
Finally, it becomes apparent from the concept of creation that ethical norms exist because of God. What OUGHT I do? What ever my creator says. Why OUGHT I to do them? -- because I exist only by Him and for Him. When we deny God as the creator we lose all ethical obligations. They become empty, hypothetical ideas. I firmly understand that without God there are no OUGHTS – just the ideas and philosophies of men like myself. Yet with the recognition of God as a creator we also introduce God as the judge. "Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of you