How God’s Unique Creation Helps Us to Adore Him in Love
I was going to send this out yesterday, but the wifi in the Windhoek Airport was non-existent, so sending it this morning from Frankfurt instead. 🙂 Today in our lesson from the Larger Catechism we are continuing to learn about the nature of God’s grace in His work of making all things of nothing. I think sometimes we gloss over just how incomprehensible it is that our Lord has taken that which does not exist and made it to be. The very fact you are reading this and I am typing this is wholly because God is God and we are not. Our totality is dependent on the nature of Jehovah. It’s part of why we must be obedient unto Him in love. We owe everything to Him and as Stephen Charnock makes clear we become practical atheists when we sin primarily because we act as if we can live without and against the world He has made. That is why it is vital for the Christian to be grounded in the work of creation and worship at the opening chapters of Genesis as God reveals Himself to us in His labors in the space of six days. Likewise there is an important distinction, as we touched on last week, between angels and man. It is not just false, but demonstrably so that we become angels, for our Lord has constituted a difference between us in the very first moment of our being made. Angels are made to worship, to “execute His commandments”, but they are not made in His image. There are all kinds of ways that reality informs our lives. Why do we protect life for instance? Because all human beings are made in God’s image and worthy of service. Before we get too much more into that let us go ahead and take a look at our LC Q/A’s for today:
Q. 15. What is the work of creation?
A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for Himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.
Q. 16. How did God create angels?
A. God created all the angels, spirits, immortal, holy, excelling in knowledge, mighty in power, to execute His commandments, and to praise His name, yet subject to change.
Q. 17. How did God create man?
A. After God had made all other creatures, He created man male and female; formed the body of the man of the dust of the ground, and the woman of the rib of the man, endued them with living, reasonable, and immortal souls; made them after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; having the law of God written in their hearts, and power to fulfil it, and dominion over the creatures; yet subject to fall.
In all three questions from the catechism it is clear that God is the main actor, He speaks, He moves, He does and the created order responds. It is part of the reason why Solomon notes to us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Recognizing reality is an important part of success in any endeavor, especially life. When we were in the Etoshah National Park on Wednesday there were signs everywhere for people to stay in their car. They were not just polite suggestions. As the picture I shared with this shows there were big cats all over the place and they were unconcerned about what you were thinking you were doing. Get out of your vehicle and no amount of post-modernism would save you from meeting God by brunch. We understand that in all different kinds of ways in life. Noticing the obvious saves us from all kinds of trouble. Likewise when we look at the difference between the reasons why the Lord made angels and man there is a beautiful testimony to the way in which we are special in the eyes of our Creator. In a sense man is a secondary creation of God. He had to make the dust of the earth first in order that He might form us out of it. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but it tells us something again about what God thinks of us. In the divine decrees we heard that our Lord predestined all things that come to pass, for His own glory.
Consider again the order of things here. God in the secret counsel of His own will determined that He wanted to make man in His own image and so then He made the dirt, and all the world, so that we could blessedly live therein, that we could thrive therein. Jehovah needed not to make anything to make the angels. Spirit is not a physical substance in the way that flesh is which may require the Lord to do something in addition to what He has already done. You see why all this gobbledygook matters is to show us human beings why it is we are special, unique among all creatures, and because of that to then grow our adoration of the Holy One for His gift and grant of love in giving us life our of nothing by His own free will. We owe it all to God, and all we should give Him.
Whenever the Apostle wants to talk to those he is writing to about obedience (echoing of course the word of Christ in John 14-16) Paul will exhort the people to look to their new life, the spiritual life they’ve been granted by the Lord Jesus, and remember what He has done in taking them from the darkness and despair of death. The cross and the empty tomb are pictures of what God did at the beginning. In other words Adam having plunged all humanity into the Gehenna of an existence without the tender love of Jehovah saw his work of destruction reversed by the sacrificial grace of our Redeemer.
So the next time you are wondering why the Creation matters think once more on these things. God in making us out of nothing for the glory of His name has provided for His covenant children something they could never do for themselves. If that is not worth praising the LORD in worship, in our lives, and by laying all things at His feet than we’ve missed the point of the Gospel, and the whole Bible itself.
Here is some extra reading to help us all understand this better:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser
Pastor, Bethany ARP Church