The Doctrine of God: God the Creator Makes His Creativity Known
The Bible says in Genesis 1:1; “In the beginning, God created.”
This word is critically important to us as we seek to understand our God and the vastly diverse world that displays the creative genius of God at every turn. From the mountains of West Virginia to the sunset coast of California, from the polar ice caps to the tropical rain forests, from the deserts to the edge of space – we can see that God created (Psa. 19:1-2).
The word “created” comes from the Hebrew word “bara” (baw-raw) which means “to prepare, form, fashion, create.” The Zondervan Bible Commentary says this about God creating:
“The verb rendered ‘created’, found 44 times in OT, is used only for God’s activity and denotes ‘the production of something fundamentally new, by the exercise of a sovereign originative power, altogether transcending that possessed by man’; it contains ‘the idea both of complete effortlessness and creation ex nihilo, since it is never connected with any statement of the material.”
Placed in proper historical context the point that needs understood is that in the beginning there was nothing but God, and God Almighty, Elohim, chose to create – making something from nothing (creation ex nihilo). It’s not as if God had cosmic dust, space junk, or raw materials and used them to create everything. God had nothing, an absolutely blank space from which He created all things from His creative powers and spoken word.
The first two lines to the Apostles Creed – one of the most famous and enduring biblical creeds in history – says “I believe in God the Father, Almighty Maker of heaven and earth.”
These two lines of the Apostle’s Creed reiterate the foundation of our faith which is firmly rooted in the person of God. We believe in God and that’s good. But the Bible reminds us that the “demons believe and tremble” (James 2:19). It’s not enough to simply believe in God, there must be something more to that belief.
So in these first few words of Genesis chapter 1 we have the formation of our faith as it is founded upon the person of God. These opening words of Genesis begin to form our Doctrine of God as He reveals Himself to us.
The fifth word of the Bible is devoted to revealing one of God’s most awe-inspiring attributes – Creator.
This is important because much of God and His attributes have been lost among Christians. When asked to name the attributes of God many Christians can’t get past a few standard answers: love, mercy, grace, holy.
I don’t mean to make light or to minimize those attributes as each one is worthy of a sermon series. But considering the enormity of the revelation regarding the person of God given in Scripture it seems sad that our image and understanding of God is so stunted.
I began a list some years ago as part of a devotional exercise in which I list the attributes of God, who and what God is, as I learn them and they are revealed to me during prayer, meditation, and study. To date my list includes 80 attributes of God. And every time I think I have reached the end of the list God reveals something more. I am learning that my very short list is just the beginning.
Regarding the attributes of God, David Horton in “The Portable Seminary” wrote:
“God is an invisible, personal, and living Spirit, distinguished from all other spirits by several kinds of attributes: metaphysically God is self-existent, eternal, and unchanging; intellectually God is omniscient, faithful, and wise; ethically God is just, merciful, and loving; emotionally God detests evil, is long-suffering, and is compassionate; existentially God is free, authentic, and omnipotent; relationally God is transcendent in being, immanent universally in providential activity, and immanent with his people in redemptive activity.”
That short but powerful statement on who God is contains but a few of God’s attributes. The Bible reveals many more and there is no doubt that some of God attributes have not yet been revealed to man. In fact, some may never be revealed to us in this life because they are too glorious for us to understand. Nonetheless, plenty of attributes have been revealed and it is our duty to study them.
In Genesis 1:1 God reveals one of the very first things He wanted us to know about Himself, He is a Creator (along with the fact that He is eternal, omnipotent and omniscient).
Isn’t that surprising? Of all the things God could have chosen to reveal about Himself he wants us to know that He is a Creator. Not love, not grace, not mercy. The very first thing God wants us to know is that He is a Creator. But God isn’t just a Creator of things made from other things. God is a Creator of things made from…nothing.
In the area of theology we are shaped in our Doctrine of God by these first few words of Genesis. We now include in our Doctrine of God the reality that God is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and Creator.
But let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves “Why?”
Why did God create an entire universe and solar system and a planet filled with people that would need redemption? We’ve already looked at the fact that God existed as a perfect Trinity without need of anything. So why did He choose to create? The answer is found in Colossians 1:16:
“For by Him (Jesus) 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.”
Everything that was created was created for the glory of Jesus Christ. God the Father, in His infinite wisdom and love for His Son, in conjunction with the Son, created all things for no other purpose than to bring glory to Christ. To reiterate the fact that all of creation exists to praise and worship Jesus and bring Him glory we can look to Luke 19:40:
“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
God deliberately chose to exercise His attribute of Creation in order to bring glory to His Son. Our lives are a gift to Jesus Christ meant to bring glory to Christ.
But there’s another personal context that needs to be mentioned here. The fact that God revealed Himself as Creator makes two important points:
First, God is the author of all creation including the creative passion given to individuals today. And second, creativity for the glory of Christ should be encouraged by Christians and the church.
Many young evangelicals feel as though the church has turned its back on creativity. At various times throughout history creativity in the arts was deemed sinful and inappropriate for believers. But if God is a creator and author of all creative gifts then creating for the glory of Christ should be celebrated.
Sadly, many Christians have abandoned creativity and left music, art, literature, and movies to lost people. There is a resurgence of Christians in Hollywood that are boldly speaking about their faith. They are encouraging young believers to pursue careers in the arts for the glory of Jesus. Faith themed movies are making waves in Hollywood and stumping critics regularly. Movies like: Facing the Giants, Fireproof, Soul Surfer, The Blind Side, and God’s Not Dead are bringing faith to the big screen. We should support these works and encourage those in Hollywood making these movies. The ability of art to transcend cultural and denominational lines makes it a powerful tool we as Christians should be utilizing rather than ignoring.
Creation is a daily reminder of God’s presence and creativity as the Creator. These few words in Genesis 1:1 remind us that our God is truly an awesome God. And when we tie Genesis 1:1 with Colossians 1:16 we have to realize that all things exist for the glory of Jesus – including us. Daily we should seek to use our creative abilities – God given abilities – for the glory of Christ.