This Day in Presbyterian History:
The Work of Creation
With nothing of note in Presbyterian circles with which we could identify, the ninth Shorter Catechism question and answer forms a worthy devotional for our readers today on February 27. It reads, “What is the work of creation? A. The work of creation is, God’s making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.”
The Larger Catechism which deals with the same question and answer, is number 15. It adds to the work of creation, the time as indicated by the phrase “in the beginning,” and also makes explicit that it is “the world” which God made. It states the purpose of creative power to be “for himself.”
What is remarkable about both catechetical answers is the Scriptural basis. There is not a phrase given which is not specifically mentioned in Holy Scripture.
Creation is first of all spoken as a divine making all things of nothing. The author of the Book of Hebrews wrote in chapter 12:verse 3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” (NASV) The creator God did it ex nihilo – out of nothing.
Further, the world was prepared by “the word of his power.” The Psalmist exclaims in Psalm 33:6 – 9 “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breadth of His mouth, all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him, For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” (NASV) Our God did not need a rabbit or a hat. He simply spoke and it was accomplished. Only faith will allow us to believe this. Only praise will echo forth from our mouths and hearts because of it.
This occurred in “space of six days.” Now mortal man has argued indefinitely whether this has reference to six days of twenty-four hours, or indefinite periods of time in the sense of ages, or simply providing a framework of creation, or describing a beautiful poem of creation. And in so doing, how easy it is to forget in all the spoken and printed words seeking to justify one position or the other, “the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness.” (WCF 4:1) Readers, we need you and God’s people everywhere, to keep God in the picture, even within this picture of creation.
Finally, it was all “very good.” That was the divine assessment the Creator God made continually in the creation story in Genesis. And how could it be otherwise, when Paul reminds us in Colossians 1:16, “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.” (NASV)
Words to Live By: Through God and for God – that is the slogan worth remembering when we meditate on God’s world.
Through the Scriptures: Numbers 34 – 36
Through the Standards: Misery of sin in the catechisms
WLC 27 — “What misery did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind the loss of communion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.”
WSC 19 — “What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.”