Ans: The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, for himself, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Gen. 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
Heb. 11:3. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
Isa. 45:18. For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
See also: Gen. 1:1–31; Psa. 148:1–5; Prov. 16:4; Isa. 40:26; 42:5; 45:12; 65:17; Acts 17:24–25; Rom. 11:33–36; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15–17; 2 Pet. 3:4–13; Rev. 4:11.
The triune God created the universe ex nihilo [out of nothing] (Gen. 1:1–3; Jn. 1:1–3; Col. 1:15–17). The triunity of the Godhead is ontological, i.e., God is essentially a triunity in himself, apart from creation. See Question 23. [It is presupposed that he created this nothingness or void in which he created this universe]. It must also be evident that if God created all things, then every fact is a created fact and creation was a definitive act. Thus, every fact is to be interpreted or understood in the context of God and his intended meaning and significance. This has great doctrinal, scientific and moral implications.
The opening words of Scripture, Genesis 1:1, are most profound, and set in order the remainder of Divine revelation. This opening statement is more than an historical statement concerning the origin of the universe or a proof–text against evolution. It is a declaration which is determining for all which follows in Scripture. Is the Bible inspired? Is it infallible? Is it inerrant? Is it coherent? If so, then, as the very Word of God, it is necessarily the ultimate authority, self–consistent and non–contradictory throughout. See Part II. What we find in the opening statement must prove consistent through to the very conclusion of Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation.
First, there is a presuppositional principle. Scripture commences with a presuppositional stance. The Bible never seeks to “prove” the existence of God; this is presupposed from the very beginning. This principle is foundational. Man was created in the image of God as a creature of faith, with the source of truth and knowledge outside himself, and therefore was created as a presuppositionalist. He was placed in a world already created and defined by God. He was, in other words, created to “think God’s thoughts after him,” i.e., to give the same meaning to everything that God had given to it. To do otherwise would be sin. This presuppositional principle is absolutely determining for mankind. Our presuppositions, taken together as forming our world–and–life view, necessarily determine our thoughts, motives, words and actions. See Questions 120–123. Indeed, all facts are interpreted by one’s presuppositions. This is absolutely inescapable. Ultimately, therefore, everything derives from a principle of faith—one’s belief–system—whether one is a believer or an unbeliever. See Questions 31, 120 and 136.
Second, the Bible necessarily begins with a declarative or revelatory statement concerning the power and work of God. This principle also characterizes Scripture throughout. Man by nature begins with his needs; God begins with a declaration in his self–revelation, whether it be creative or redemptive (e.g., Gen. 1:1–3; 17:1; 28:10–17; 35:11; Ex. 3:1–6, 19–20; 5:2; 6:1; 20:1–2; Acts 7:2ff; 9:3–6; 22:14; Rom. 9:17). Creation itself is part of this Divine revelation. It reflects his power and Godhood, and exists to reveal his glory. This natural revelation is so pervasive as to hold man inexcusable with its testimony (Rom. 1:18–20; Psa. 19:1–3; Rev. 4:11).
Third, we find the self–existence and infinite nature of God, or his absolute independence from his creation. To say “…God created…” is to hold that God is not part of his creation. He is above and beyond it, prior to it, separate from it; and so not dependent in any way upon it. Man cannot add anything to God, nor can he take away anything from him—except in his own depraved imagination—which has no effect upon objective reality whatsoever (Rom. 1:18–32). This principle separates true and false religion.
Fourth, we are faced with the absolute sovereignty of God over his creation. See Question 22. This the Scriptures consistently maintain. God is infinite, omnipotent, immanent and transcendent. Man is finite, and beset with creaturely limitations. Man must never detract one iota from God, attribute to him finite attributes or human limitations, or detract from his glory. His perfections are necessarily immutable. Any perceived limitation or inconsistency in the Divine nature is only subjective and irrational, and derives from an innate principle of unbelief and sinful hostility.
Fifth, we must mark that every fact is a created fact. This necessarily means that there are no “brute” facts, i.e., uninterpreted or “neutral” facts in the universe. Because every fact is a created fact, all the ground, literally and figuratively, belongs to God. There are thus no “neutral” facts to which unbelievers or secular science can appeal. There is no “neutral ground” on which the believer and unbeliever can meet for a meaningful exchange. There is common ground or a point–of–contact, but this is in the context of man being the image–bearer of God, having God’s Law indelibly inscribed upon his heart, and existing in the context of created facts which he unconsciously takes for granted (Gen. 1:26; Rom. 2:14–15; 1:18–20). This truth is determining for worship, for the preaching of the Gospel, for the defense of the faith, for the Christian life, for science and for a Christian philosophy of education. It must be remembered that all facts are necessarily interpreted by one’s presuppositions. See Question 136.
Finally, we have a revelation of the Creator–creature distinction and relationship. God is the Creator; man is his creature. Man is not in the process of becoming God, and God must not be humanized. From the opening statement to the closing declaration, the Bible maintains this Creator–creature distinction. Man has always, is now, and forever will be, utterly dependent upon God for his very existence and everything which pertains to it. There is not, nor can there ever be, any actual human autonomy—any actual or perceived independence from God—not in time, not in history, not in a state of sin, not in a state of grace, not on earth, not in heaven and not in hell.
These revealed realities are foundational for all worship, apologetics and for every aspect of the Christian life. As Christians, we are always challenged at the point of our faith, and our faith is always challenged at its point–of–contact with the Word of God. This was true of Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:1–12). They were tempted at the point their faith was grounded in the Word of God. Every challenge or attack and every temptation comes to believers at this very same and crucial point as it did to our first parents—and for the very same reason—to separate us from the Word of God and seduce us to act autonomously.
Our faith, if it is biblical, is not irrational; it is necessarily intelligent and consistent, as it is God–given and distinct from mere human trust (Acts 18:27; Eph. 2:8–10). This God–engendered faith primarily enables us to believe that the Bible is the very Word of God inscripturated. Everything else flows from this one vital reality—the one basic and essential presupposition—our belief in creation as opposed to evolution, our comprehension of and response to the gospel, our understanding of Bible doctrine, our growth in grace and spiritual maturity, and our service for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the vital connection between the Scriptures and faith. See Question 9. The Bible is the foundation of our “revelational epistemology,” our sole rule of both faith and practice—and, whatever the challenge or attack, this is the ground which must be held at all costs. See Question 13. To reverently love its Author, to thoroughly study it, to live humbly in obedience to its mandates and to maintain its absolute authority and truthfulness before an unbelieving world, is the primary calling and task of every Christian. It is in this comprehensive context of Scripture that we must consider the Divine creation of the universe, the world and man.
The idea of evolution is neither benign nor neutral, nor yet merely academic. In modern secular science and the modern secular, statist educational system, the necessity of evolution is the predominant issue in the philosophy of Atheism. The belief in evolution enables men to completely exclude God from their world [a “closed universe” with no place for the supernatural]. It allegedly answers the question of ultimate issues [metaphysics] origins, morality and meaning. Man is left as his own “god,” autonomous, and so determining for himself what is right or wrong (Gen. 3:1–7; Rom. 1:18–32; Eph. 4:17–19).
If evolution were true, it would necessarily be true only on atheistic principles. There would be no consistent basis for the spiritual realm, for morality, for ethics, for social order, or hope for the future. All existence would be ultimately meaningless. Any attempt to consistently deal with these necessary realities would be completely arbitrary and at the best based on the relative attempt of human consensus. Social Darwinism [the principles of evolution applied to society] has brought only materialism, relativism, disease, death, destruction, socialism and enforced totalitarianism. It is not without reason that modern philosophies tend to be materialistic, relativistic, pluralistic, existential and nihilistic. See Question 120.
Belief in either creation or evolution is a matter of faith—either faith in God and his infallible Word or faith in the fallen human perception of presupposed “brute” or neutral “facts” (Heb. 11:6). Every fact is interpreted by one’s presuppositions. Thus, no amount of evidence can be completely convincing. A truly consistent scientific approach to the idea of evolution fails when aligned to the modern, scientific [empirical, or experienced– based] method. It is, essentially, a faith–based assumption. Belief in Divine creation rests in an intelligent, God–given faith in God’s inspired and infallible Word.
The triune God created the universe and this world for himself as the theater in which he would demonstrate the manifold glory of his attributes to and through creation (Psa. 19:1–3; Rom. 11:33–36; Rev. 4:11). God was pleased to take six literal days for the creative process. The idea of geological ages in the reference to “evening and morning” is intrusive and illogical in the context of the biblical record (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). Everything in the original creation was “very good,” and this included primeval man, Adam. The defects, sufferings and horrors observed in the present world are the result of man’s sin (Gen. 3:1–19; Rom. 5:12; 8:19–23). The redemptive purpose necessarily includes the complete restoration of the universe to its pristine and sinless state (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:7–13; Rev. 21:1).
A Christian view of creation is one which is inclusively scriptural, embracing such issues as theology, the Creation or Cultural Mandate [This mandate to multiply, replenish and subdue the earth was given man at creation, Gen. 1:26–28, but was to be fulfilled in the context of a given culture, thus, it can be termed the Cultural Mandate], natural science, redemption, a work ethic, the environment and eschatology. We are to “think God’s thoughts after him” in every area and aspect of creation. Do we?
By Dr. W.R. Downing