Rev. Key is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Randolph, Wisconsin.
Under this rubric, “Taking Heed to Doctrine,” we have been led by other writers through a broad overview of theology or the doctrine of God. This new writer begins with the next section of Reformed doctrine, that of anthropology, or the doctrine of man. This division of Reformed doctrine generally includes such subjects as creation and providence, as well as what the Bible teaches concerning man—his creation, his fall into sin, and the effects of that fall. To many of our readers, the treatment of these concepts will contain nothing new. After all, we simply follow “the old paths.” At the same time, however, we might say that the old paths are always and again new. Any man of God will agree, we are always learning. Even though we may spend a lifetime in the study of the Scriptures, we never plumb the depths of God’s revelation. Repeatedly we stand amazed at the wonderful truth God has revealed to us. Indeed, it is gospel to us!
So it is when we turn again to the truth of creation. We stand before God! Oh yes, we enter now into a new division of Reformed doctrine. We speak of the doctrine of man, but make no mistake. We are still dealing with the doctrine of God.
It is important that we understand that principle too. All biblical truth must serve to point us to God, and more specifically to God in the face of Jesus Christ. It stands to reason. Scripture is the revelation of Jesus Christ, the God of our salvation. That is the great, all-pervading principle of Scripture. When we study the doctrine of creation, therefore, when we search out what the Bible has to say about man, we do so as those who are concerned first of all with God. If that is not our approach, we shall fail to discern the truth.
We take, therefore, an approach that is fundamentally different from that taken by many theologians and preachers and Bible students today. The world of our day is humanistic. Man is the object on the foreground. Man’s authority, man’s knowledge, man’s abilities, man’s possessions, man’s salvation are all placed upon the foreground. But our viewpoint, even with respect to the doctrine of man, will be theological.
It is certainly true, all things are ours. That is I Corinthians 3:21.
But read on. “…all things are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” For His own name’s sake God made all things. In fact Proverbs 16:4 puts it so clearly that we are almost astounded by it. “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
Every single thing in the creation was made by God for His own purpose and to reveal His own glory. God is the source of all things, the center of all things, the purpose of all things. And therefore in our study of doctrine, in our unfolding of biblical truth, we must be concerned about the glory of God, first of all, and about the creation and man only as they serve to magnify God’s glory. That will be our approach in considering the doctrines of creation and man. That is the Reformed way.
The necessity of a God-centered approach is seen in the very first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Here is immediately set forth the truth that God is God. It is so simple. Even a small child can understand it.
And yet it is so objectionable to the human mind. Looking at the world in which we live, and considering the origin of the creation, there is a strong inclination embedded deep in the heart of every sinner to prefer any other explanation that this one: “God created; the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 11:3). For what this means is that you and I and all creatures are dependent creatures, subject to the will of our Creator.
You and I, who prefer to look at this universe as a giant stadium in which we can play our games and have our fun, are told by the Word of God that this world isGod’s world, and that you and I and all creatures are subject to Him. We are not here to serve ourselves. And the creation is not here simply for our own pleasure. All things are for Christ’s sake!When we stand before that truth, clearly revealed in the Bible, and when we examine ourselves and our sinful natures, it isn’t difficult to understand why the vast majority of the human race scorns the idea of this world as the creation of the sovereign and almighty God. As we are told in Romans 1, they know the truth, but suppress it in unrighteousness.
But, as we must understand, the truth of creation as the work of the sovereign God, the Creator-Redeemer, is not a theory to be taught alongside various other theories concerning the origin of all things. It is not something that can be proved to the minds of men by the use of human reason or science.
The work of creation is God’s wonder work, something which no man could see. It is God’s wonder work, which testifies of the greatness of our God and the magnificence of His wisdom and His ways. Creation is God’s wonder work, revealed in the Scriptures, before which you and I must bow and believe, rendering all praise and glory to the Creator who is our Redeemer.
Our belief in creation as God’s sovereign handiwork is exactly a matter of faith. Without shame we lay hold of that which is revealed to us in Holy Scripture. Without embarrassment we reject any theories of science which contradict God’s revelation in the Scriptures.
We stand appalled at the brazen opposition to biblical truth that is seen even in so-called Reformed circles today. We are deeply grieved by the unbelief that is widespread in churches and colleges that have the name “Christian,” but where science, the “knowledge” of men, is placed above the authoritative teaching of the Word of God Himself. We, without compromise, proclaim the truth that the Scriptures are the inspired, authoritative written record of God’s revelation in Christ Jesus. The doctrine of creation is a concrete matter where the authority of these Scriptures applies. Who was here to see God create? Who saw Him make heaven and earth? But make them He did—because He alone is God. And we know this because He Himself has told us in His Word. Shall we receive what the Creator Himself has revealed to us concerning His own work?
The alternative, you understand, is not merely to adopt another theory. The Bible is the authoritative Word of God. And because it is that, we are dealing with a question of faith and unbelief. There is no neutral ground here. The Bible confronts us with the call to believe. The alternative is to go to hell for your unbelief and refusal to humble yourself before the authority of God and His Word.
The seriousness of rejecting what the Bible teaches concerning creation has a reason. Creation does not stand alone. To believe in the biblical truth of creation is fundamental to saving faith. For Scripture proclaims clearly that creation and redemption are inseparably connected. You cannot deny the one and hold to the other. The church looks unto God the Creator for redemption and deliverance. (See Ps. 89:8, 11; Ps. 95:1-7; Ps. 121:1, 2; Ps. 124:8; Col. 1:14-17.)
Scripture makes clear the inseparable relationship between creation and redemption, between God as Creator and God as Savior. That God is our Savior is possible only because He is the almighty Creator. That makes the truth concerning God the Creator a matter of very practical importance.
You know how our souls can be in such turmoil when the power of God is not before our consciousness. You recognize in your own life, if you reflect for a moment of self-examination, that when we are filled with worry and distress, we are unable to maintain a proper spiritual focus. Our mind is filled with something other than God and His glory.
But, on the other hand, when we have raised the power of God to the 1 appropriate elevation in our consciousness, we know that all things work together for good to us who love Him, because we are the called according to His purpose. And the creation of the world and God’s government of every single thing is for our sakes.
To recognize the magnificence of God as Creator-Redeemer is to find in your own life the profound comfort and joy of His wonder work of grace.
So the doctrine of creation is concerned with far more than only the origin of things. You and I stand here before the one only true God. We do not go to heaven for believing that He created the heaven and the earth. But we go to heaven in the way of laying hold of Christby faith. And that faith, which is the gift of God’s grace, is faith by which also “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” (Heb. 11:3).