Nothing might be more controversial today than creation. Atheists and liberals will collectively begin scoffing as soon as they read the word. Or mocking. Idiot right-wing Trumpite. She believes in creation. Ha-ha-hah! She probably believes in the Tooth Fairy, too. Or the White Rabbit.
For the record: not a Trumpite. And while I’m a fantasy writer, I have a pretty keen ability to discern what is make believe and what is true. You might even say I lean toward the skeptical.
But here’s the thing. Once you have confidence in the source of truth, you don’t need to constantly check it’s reliability.
For instance, in the course of my writing/editing day, I look up a lot of words using the Oxford-American Dictionary app on my computer. I do not immediately switch to the Internet so I can find that same word on Merriam-Webster or one of the other online dictionaries. I trust the source I’m using.
I don’t mean, by saying that I have confidence in the Bible, that I don’t ask questions. I do. In fact, I’ve asked a lot of questions about the Genesis account of creation. For instance, when did God create the water that covered everything before He created the earth and all that is on it? And how did He create light before He created the sun and the moon and the stars? And the one that consumes so many people’s attention, did God really create everything in six days—the 24-hour days we know?
In some cases, in all my question asking, I come up with what I think might be the answer, but in most instances, the Bible hasn’t made a definitive statement, so I have to be content with what seems reasonable—given that God is omnipotent and sovereign and good.
What can I say about creation, then? What is categorically and uncompromisingly clear according to the Bible? Only this one thing: God created the heavens and the earth, the seas and all that is in them, the heavenly host, those who fell and those who serve him in joy and obedience. There simply is not anything made that was not made.
The Bible does not equivocate on this point. Right from the start, this is the point the Bible makes: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
God’s work as Creator is not a minor point. The Bible actually makes it clear that His work as Maker of the heavens and the earth set Him apart from pretend gods. Psalm 115 is a classic comparison between God and idols:
Why should the nations say,
Where now is their God?
But God is in the heavens.
He does whatever He pleases.
Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
Then towards the end:
May you be blessed of the LORD,
Maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens are the heavens of the LORD,
But the earth He has given to the sons of men.
The verse of course implies that the earth is the Lord’s to give. Which makes sense if He is the Maker.
Other passages confirm this understanding, particularly the distinction between God and other gods or idols:
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens. (Psalm 96:5)
Or how about Psalm 146:
How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea and all that is in them (vv 5-6)
The passage goes on to name an impressive list of things we can praise God for, but it starts with his work as the maker of the heavens and the earth.
Here are other clear statements about God’s work as creator:
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.
‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
This list is hardly exhaustive. More like it’s the first ray of morning light. But I think the point is clear: the Bible identifies God as the creator of all that has been created.
But here’s the thing: in these verses I quoted, there’s hardly agreement concerning the process of creation. The two Psalms say it was by His word and commandment. The earlier Jeremiah passage says it was by His wisdom and understanding. The second Jeremiah passage says it was by his power and outstretched arm. And the three New Testament passages made no statement about how God went about creating.
So does this difference constitute a contradiction—the Bible writers couldn’t agree with each other about the method of creation.
That, unfortunately, is how some read Scripture. They miss the poetic expressions that tell us more about God than about the creative process. He is so great that all He needed was to speak a word, but He is also so authoritative that His word was a command. All that He made was done as an expression of His wisdom and understanding, and His outstretched hand and power identify His sovereignty.
Rather than disagree, these passages of Scripture, written centuries apart in some instances, and by different men, in different circumstances, agree about the fundamental truth: God created. How, the Bible only gives us glimpses. It is not myth, but neither is it a text book, explaining the particulars one step at a time.
The big picture is crystal clear: God created.
His work as Creator sets Him apart from all other gods—all the pretenders and wanna-be usurpers, the idols that have mouths but cannot speak, and even from we ourselves and our thoughts of grandeur.
God created. God. Created. It’s the dividing line between people who believe and people who don’t.
Photo credit – Benjamin Child via Unsplash.