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The Doctrine of Creation


Lecture Outline


1]  What the doctrine is not: it is not emanationism


-the notion that the universe emanates or issues from God’s nature, therein possessing the same

nature as God;

-the notion that the universe issues involuntarily or inevitably, God never having willed the


-the distinction between creation and emanationism is reflected in the dist’n b. monotheism and

monism; (Monism is obviously akin to pantheism and the New Age mentality.)



What the doctrine is not: it is not dualism

-the notion that the universe is made by something (someone) independent of God

-dualism arises because of the presence, power and scope of evil

-with dualism, the world is made out of something outside of God that existed eternally or

spontaneously came into being

-the universe is something that God has to contend with himself.


What the doctrine is not: it is not gnosticism

-matter is loathesome and the body is the seat of sin

-creation is tainted

-not God but an inferior deity, the demiurge, created  (the demiurge is ignorant of God and

hostile to God)

-gnosticism issues in two outlooks foreign to the Hebrew mind: rigid asceticism and profligate




2]  The doctrine itself:

-in his freedom God will that there be something other than himself (God is under no constraint

to create)

-in his love ……: creation is an expression of God’s goodness

-the world God made is GOOD; this goodness, while contradicted in the Fall, perdures.


-God creates ex nihilo: God is therefore sovereign, LORD of the creation

-as sovereign LORD, what he has created he can also destroy.



3]  How does God create?

-by the Word

-through Christ (since the Word is rendered incarnate in Christ)


-a crucial point: How do we know that the creation isn’t God?  (Many people think it is.)

-only by revelation of the Word do we know this

-then knowledge of God the Creator always follows knowledge of God the Redeemer

-where this point is not grasped the creation is either shunned as bad or idolized as divine




4]  Creation and covenant are related:

-covenant is God’s promise ever to be our God, never to fail us or forsake us; i.e., despite our

sin, God is faithful to us.

-God wills a people for himself; for there to be a people who live for the praise of God’s glory,

God has to create (i) people (ii) all that sustains people.

-in other words, creation is the external basis of the covenant, while covenant is the internal

meaning of the creation.



5]  Creation and the kingdom of God:

-the kingdom is the creation healed

-note Jesus’ preoccupation with the kingdom

-what does it mean that we are to pray every day for the coming of a kingdom that is already

            here?  (wherever Christ the king is present, the kingdom is present)



6]  The Creation of humankind:

-hk. is the crown of creation: “very good”

-hk. is made on the same “day” as the animals

-hk. alone is made in the image of God  (what this is never stated in scripture; we must infer it

from scripture as a whole)

-hk. is made steward of the creation

-hk. is sexually differentiated

-hk., fallen as it is, can never fall into sub-humanness: the image of God is defaced, but never



-faith renders hk. authentically human, but not superhuman

-since hk. is made by God for God, the quintessential human activity is PRAYER.






Note how a doctrine of creation differs from idol-environmentalism.

On the one hand, it’s good to be environmentally concerned: we need vegetable/animal life to

survive, while it doesn’t need us.  Still, when a concern for “nature” is elevated idolatrously,

i)                 nature-worship has supplanted the worship of God

ii)                human existence is now thought to subserve nature instead of vice versa

iii)              there is no awareness of where nature-worship leads: immorality and cruelty

iv)              there is no awareness that creation can be fulfilled only in Christ

v)               there is no awareness that humankind, while irreducibly bodily, is also spiritual; in fact spirit (the capacity for relationship with God) is what distinguishes hk.