Creation is Much More! (RJS)

Creation is Much More! (RJS) March 14, 2019

Quite a number of years ago David Wilkerson published an excellent article in Christianity Today: Bigger Than We Think. The archived article is only available with a subscription, but we can consider the major points here. The Christian doctrine of creation goes far deeper that just explaining how the world began. It goes far deeper than explaining the origin of life or the origin of the diversity of life. David Wilkinson received a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics from the University of Durham and a PhD in Systematic Theology from Cambridge University where he explored Christian eschatology.

From the CT article:

The Christian doctrine of Creation has often been hijacked by controversies over how old the universe is. It has been hollowed out by the theory that God simply ignites the universe and then goes off for a cup of coffee, never touching his masterwork again. It is interesting that attacks on belief in a Creator, whether from Hawking, Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, or Lawrence M. Krauss’s recent A Universe from Nothing, tend to target this diminished deity. But the Bible has a much bigger understanding of God as Creator. Not only does the doctrine of Creation feature in Scripture beyond just Genesis 1, God’s creative activity permeates every moment of the history of the universe.

Scientific explanations can only go so far. To address the big questions we have to go deeper into the transcendent meaning of the facts. In this clip from Test of Faith (an excellent resource by the way) Wilkerson goes to George Lucas and Star Wars and to the scientific description of a kiss to explain what he means.

At 2:04 in the video:

What is the scientific definition of a kiss? Well a kiss is the approach of two pairs of lips, the reciprocal transmission of carbon dioxide and microbes, and the juxtaposition of two orbicular muscles in a state of contraction. That is a kiss in scientific terms. But if I go to my wife and say to her, “Allison, I’d love to get together with you for a mutual transmission of carbon dioxide and microbes” she would say “Get lost.”

In this next clip he takes this transcendent meaning back into the interpretation of Genesis.

In the Christianity Today article Wilkinson makes five points – good for a five point sermon on creation perhaps. I will summarize and add a few of my own comments.

First: the Christian doctrine of Creation is never an abstract, academic concept.

Genesis isn’t a scientific account of the origin of the world. It is an account of God shaping the world, in relationship, for his purpose. Wilkinson points to other creation narratives in scripture as well to make his point. Proverbs 8:22-36; Psalms. 8, 19, and 148; Job 38-42; Isa. 40:9-31.

Second: the Christian doctrine of Creation has Christ at the center.

Our doctrine of Creation must have a key place for Jesus. The incarnation is not plan B and “it will not suffice to look for gaps in the scientific account into which God can be squeezed.” A few key passages:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5,14)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:15-17)

Third: the Christian doctrine of Creation affirms that God is the sole creator of the universe.

He is also the sole sustainer of creation, and here we have Christ as well – for in him all things hold together. The Genesis narrative affirms God as sole creator and undermines the creative powers in all of the competing stories in ancient Near Eastern culture.

Fourth: the Christian doctrine of Creation needs to be seen in light of the reality of new creation.

Wilkinson emphasizes that the creator is also redeemer. Creation is good, or why would God redeem it? “And if creation has been redeemed, then we can look forward to a new creation, the “new heaven and new earth” described in Revelation 21.” I think we should go a little further than Wilkinson and flip our perspective. As Daniel Harrell points out in his excellent book Nature’s Witness, the whole biblical narrative, including the creation narrative, is best viewed from the perspective of Revelation. Being drawn toward the future rather than wandering along from the past, God’s plan takes shape.

Fifth: the Christian doctrine of Creation shows that humanity has the capacity for an intimate relationship with God.

Wilkinson suggests that “[b]earing God’s image is about relationship with God more than any specific human attribute or pattern of behavior.” The Trinitarian picture of God as love puts the focus on relationship.

And I will wrap up with Wilkinson’s summary:

In the Christian doctrine of Creation, we thus find a common theme. The meaning of the universe is not to be found in an impersonal cosmic force, or in a mathematical theory, or in a philosophical abstraction. Instead, it is found in a personal God who wants relationships with human beings. To be human is to receive the gift of relationship, to love and be loved by the God who created you.

The doctrine of Creation is far deeper than science, and far more important.

What do you think?

If you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net

If interested you can subscribe to a full text feed of my posts at Musings on Science and Theology.

This is a slightly edited re-post on an ever timely topic.

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  • Bev Mitchell

    Great post RJS!
    The Moltmann-like emphasis on God’s work to pull us forward into his future is very helpful.
    The ongoing nature of creation is so important to understand.
    The resurrection was probably near the heart of creation.
    The always-present God is helpfully expressed as the ever present Spirit of God.
    This presence is best seen as present to, as in creator caring about and making possible creation.
    This creative presence makes being possible, and gives the gift of freedom to become.
    Wilkinson’s last paragraph makes the essential point that creation is about much more than stuff

  • jeff q

    Instead, it is found in a personal God who wants relationships with human beings.

    True, but what kind of relationship? Perhaps the marriage motif that runs from Gen 2:21-25 to Rev 19 defines the relationship: the two become one. United in love, purpose and work. Humans are described as co-heirs of God with Christ who is the first-born of creation as well as the federal head of a brand new (kainos – qualitively new) human race: humans fully alive by the resurrection life of Jesus through and in the Holy Spirit.

  • IdPnSD

    The theory of creation can be identified in Bible in a different way.

    Definition of God: There are two definitions, one given by religions (RD) and the other given by the books of religions (BD). RD = God is the creator of the universe. BD = “God is spirit” as defined in Bible and Vedas. The spirit is same as soul or atman. RD is wrong and BD is correct.

    Properties of Soul: (1) Soul is the root cause of all causes. (2) It is the tiniest invisible particle. (3) It is the only object in the universe that has consciousness. (4) It is eternally existent. (5) Soul does not reincarnate, but it stays with the subtle body. (6) Soul creates the subtle body and also the gross body. (7) It is the subtle body that reincarnates. (8) Every object in the universe has a soul and that soul has created that object. Thus every object consists of three parts: a soul, a subtle body, and a gross body.

    Properties of Root material: Bible says – “We are created from the dust.” This is not the dust of the earth, but it is the cosmic dust called root material in the Vedas. All objects in the universe are created by one of the soul particles by using this dust. The root material has very similar properties like soul. (a) It is the tiniest invisible particle. (b) It has three properties: knowledge, ignorance, energy. (c) It is eternally existent.

    Concept of eternal existence: Bible says – “There is nothing new under the sun.” Vedas say the same thing – “Nonexistent cannot become existent.” This is the logic behind the dust and the soul. However there are many proofs of their existences in nature and therefore can be observed by humans. For more details take a look at https://www.academia.edu/31695390/Vedic_Theory_Of_Everything