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What's Really at Stake in Creation

What doctrines are at stake if we reject the literal Creation account as found in Genesis 1 and 2? For quite some time I have been engaged in listening to a lecture series whenever I have opportunity in my travels around. Just recently the professor asked the question I opened this paragraph with. My mind immediately flashed to an answer, but I was slightly chagrined to hear that none of the students (which included seminarians and pastors working on advanced degrees) got to the real heart of the issue. Of course, the Lord knowing my perpetual need to be reminded that I don’t know everything, the professor spent his time delving into a point that had not crossed my mind and that I needed to hear. Though there are many truths that are greatly impacted when we deny creation, I want to address one of the essential doctrines of Scriptures that is compromised when we move away from a literal 6 day Creationism. Denying literal creationism severely undermines the Deity and saving authority of Christ.

What is literal creationism? A literal creationism is the belief that God created every thing, the universe, galaxies, energies, forces, laws, particles, worlds, plants, animals and people in less than 144 hours- six 24 hour periods. Literal creationism believes the creation event happened at some time in the relatively recent past, less than 10,000 years ago. While all the mechanisms are not revealed, Genesis 1 and 2 give to us some specifics of what happened. A literal creationism recognizes that God produced all things out of nothing through His Word, that the Spirit of God moved across the earth calling forth the kinds of creation and that God personally formed Adam out of dirt and Eve from Adam’s rib. A literal creationist belief also accepts the Old Testament as authoritative in our understanding of how every thing came into existence. Simply stated, a literal creationist is convinced that nothing exists that was not produced by the direct creative work of God that took place in six, contiguous 24 hours periods.

I know it is no coincidence that some of the great New Testament passages proving Christ’s deity also communicate His creative work and His saving work. Three passages stand out in this area: John 1, Colossians 1 and Hebrews 1. The fact of His creating all things is given as proof that Christ is totally God and not inferior or separate from the God of the Old Testament in any way. Consider the following three passages. John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All thing were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” These three verses begin by attesting to the eternality of the Word. We know from John 1:14 that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Any honest reading of this opening chapter of John’s gospel makes very cleary that Jesus Christ is the Word. This is not some other being, or some lesser deity being discussed. The subject of this passage is Jesus Christ as known, seen and experienced by the Apostle John. Jesus, the Word, was eternal. He was in the beginning- that point when God looked out at the emptiness and began to create. That inconceivable point where time, matter, places and material existence did not exist. The beginning, at the moment this vast universe was conceived, the Word was already existent. In the beginning, before all that we know and can experience was formed, was the Word. This Word was with God. He existed in mutual harmony and relationship with God. Here we catch a glimpse of the mystery of the Trinity. This eternally existent Word existed together with God. He was in conjuction with and alongside of God. In some marvelously unexplainable fashion the Word was with God and the Word was God. Not lesser deity, not energy overflow of the supreme being behind it all, but THE Supreme Being. The Word was God in the fullest extent of the concept. The Word was in the beginning with God, so that God never existed without the Word. The Word never had a point of conception, or issuance. In all the epochs of eternity (if eternity could have an epoch), the Word existed with and as God. Their melody was also a harmony. The Word was God in all the ways that have never even been imagined by man. The Word was God, and as God He conceived, designed, planned, shaped and constructed all things. The Word is so responsible for creation, there is nothing that is now existent that does not have its direct cause in Christ. No other being has caused something else to come into existence. No angel, demon, demi-god, giant, genius or maniac has ever produced a single utterly unique thing. The greatest creations of man are nothing more than clumsy manipulations of those things which Christ so beautifully created out of nothing. This passage also presents us with the absolute necessity of Christ calling all things out of nothing. If there was one single thing, whether it be an atom, a law, a principle, the least energy or the smallest fraction of time, that Christ did not call forth, then this passage is untrue. There can be nothing that does not owe its existence to Christ. All things were created by the Word, so that every single thing that is looks to Christ as the source of its existence.

The next passage to consider is Colossians 1:14-16, “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creatures: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.” In this great passsage, the Apostle Paul delves once again into the marvels of Christ. Through Christ’s blood we are redeemed and forgiven. That forgiveness and redemption is predicated on His position as God. He is the very image of the invisible God. He is the perfect expression of God, the manifestation of God to man in a way that is at least somewhat comprehensible by man. Christ did not come to answer all the unanswerable questions about God, but to express to us in somewhat understandable terms the infiniteness of God. He did not reveal to us all details about God, but what He did show us was completely and uniquely God. He is so much the perfect expression of God that Christ could tell Phillip, “he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father.” Without fail or flaw Christ is God made flesh, and He is the Captain of all creation. Paul does not say that Christ is the first thing created. He does not say that Christ owes His existence to some other, greater being. Paul tells us that Christ is the chief over all creation, that He is superior to and sovereign over all things. The reason for this is that He is the reason for all things. All things were created by Him. Everything, including things in heaven; whether angelic, demonic, symbolic or hidden, all of it exists because of the creation of Christ. All things in earth, all minerals, metals, chemicals, molecules, plants, animals, people and every single other thing has its causation in Christ. Nothing we see on this earth is here because of some process apart from the Divine creation of Christ. Not just the things we can see or comprehend, but all things visible and invisible. Whether it be a proton, gluon or Higgs Boson. No matter what flavor quark you find, it has its existence in Christ. No matter how deep we delve into the innards of the atom, we will find nothing that was not created by Christ. Moving outside the inanimate to the animate and powerful, we find that even these things owe their existence to the creative work of Christ. If thrones, dominions, principalities and powers are referring to angelic/demonic beings that have rule and control over certain aspects of this temporal plain, they all, even the most rebellious demon, are existent because it was created by Christ. The perversion and rebellion of the vilest demon does not eliminate the source of his being. If thrones, dominions, principalities and powers talks about the earthly rulers of this world, they each have their specific and special existence and rule because of the direct work of Christ in creating them. No matter what kind of powers may exercise control over the world and its people, it all is here because it was created by Christ. “All things were created by Him and for Him.” Not only do all things look to Christ as the reason of the existence, they must look to Christ as the purpose of their existence. Everything that exists does so for the purposes of Christ. Nothing operates outside His perfect and sovereign rule, nothing accomplishes anything other than His perfect desires. All things that exist exist because of and for Christ. Christ is the sole and supreme source of everything, everything that man can see, everything that man could possibly imagine and everything that man has never dreamed of.

The last passage to consider is Hebrews 1:2-3, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”Christ is greatest in creation because He is the supreme Master and Lord over it all. As I have already alluded to, Christ is greatest in creation because He is the Creator. Here we are told that by Christ God made all things. Christ is the Creator of all things. Every single thing you see around on this earth and in this universe is the result of Christ’s creation. Not that Christ started the ball rolling and everything else formed through natural means. No, Christ made everything that was made. Everything. You cannot minimize the creative work of Christ. You cannot lessen His great task as the Creator. To minimize Christ as creator is to minimize Christ. The inspired writer of Hebrews puts creation as one of the supremacies of Christ. This truth is not negotiable in our understanding of our Savior. Because Christ has created us all, He is worthy to save us. He is worthy to direct us. Because Christ has created all things, He has the control and power over all. I have already mentioned much about that, so let me just point to the last thing the apostle tells us of Christ’s greatness in creation- His sustaining in creation. Not only does Christ rule over all and not only did He create it all, He also holds it all together. He is the only reason that all of this still hangs together. Again in Colossians 1 we are told, “And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” Here we are told that Christ upholds all things by the Word of His power. The idea here is that Christ carries all things along by His power. He did not just create the world and leave it to run itself. When man sinned, Christ did not forsake the world and leave it to run on its own course. No, Christ has never ceased caring for the world. He has never stopped holding the world up and holding it together. Much could be said about this, both Biblically and scientifically. Let me mention one point from science and a couple passages from the Word. If we were to consider the atomic structure of all things, we would find something very strange. At the core of the atom is something that should not be. Most atoms are made up of several particles, called protons. Orbiting these protons are electrons. Just like a magnet, the atoms have positive and negative charges. Protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged. Do you know what happens when you put the positively charged sides of two magnets together? The push each other away. You probably have played with magnets like that at some time in your life. What happens when two positively charged protons are put together? They push each other away! How then did they stay together? That is the great question that science has yet to answer. Neutrons, quarks, gluons and other things have been suggested to hold them together, but the fact is there is no real scientific reason for the nucleus of an atom to stay together. However, I know what the Bible says, “by whom He upholdeth all things by the Word of His power.” Christ is at the very core of all creation keeping it together. Let me turn your minds back to the book of Job and listen to God’s own testimony concerning His holding together of creation, “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days, and caused the dayspring to know his place?” “Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof, that thou shouldest take it to the bound thereof?” “By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth?” “Can you bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?” I could go on and on and on in that one section alone, but you get the drift. Christ holds absolute control over the affairs of the world, the universe and every single thing in it. Whether it be the oceans, the properties of light and darkness or the movement of the stars, all is directed and led by Christ.

Three different passages attesting to the deity of Christ. Potentially three different authors, but all using the same thing as evidence of Christ’s divinity- His creative work. What happens when we begin to reject the creation account of Genesis? We begin to undermine the foundation of our understanding of Christ as God. We cannot come to the passages of John, Colossians and Hebrews and treat the creation portion as merely symbolic without treating the expression of Christ’s deity as also symbolic. If we say that the creation accounts are simply speaking within the framework of the understanding of the Biblical author’s era and are not intended to be scientific accounts, then we must say that the accounts of Christ’s deity were only expressions within the understanding of that day and not literal truth that is still verity today. If we say that Christ did create the world, but using some method other than that described in the Bible then we must say that Christ is God but not in the fashion described in the Bible. If we deny creation, we are left with Christ either being no God or an unknown God. This position is untenable to anyone who claims to believe the Bible to be the Word of God and Christ to be the Son of God.

Christ’s deity is shown through His creation, and if we undermine His deity, we undermine the very basis of our salvation. Again, all three of the passages mentioned show Him as God through creation and thus able to save us from our sin. The logic from this point should be simple and very plain, if Christ is not creator, then He is not God. If Christ is not God, then He is not able to save us. If Christ is not the Creator as described in the Bible, then how can we know He is God as described in the Bible? How can we know He is the Savior as described in the Bible. Our very salvation is tied in with the fact of Christ as our Creator. We cannot move away from a literal Genesis creationism without greatly weakening the most essential element of our faith and message, the gospel. Why then would we hesitate to proclaim Christ as Creator? Why would we compromise the gospel by suggesting we teach kids about a greater being who created everything, somehow? We must be firmly convinced of the fact of a six day, literal creation account so that we have a right foundation from which to give the truth of Christ to a world condemned to hell. What’s at stake in literal creationism? Everything.