Blogging the Institutes | 1.14.1-2 | On Creation

Isaiah calls the worshippers of false gods stupid. They don’t learn from the foundations of the earth and the sky who the true God is (Isaiah 40:21).  Our minds are so sluggish that it was necessary for God to be more clearly revealed so that believers would not pull away by false gods. The idea that God is the “soul of the world” is absurd, even though many philosophers propound it. Therefore, it is important for us to have deeper knowledge of God in order to keep from wandering from the truth. Hence, God was pleased that a record of creation should exist–a record on which the faith of the Church can lean on without looking to any other God than the One Moses puts forth as the Creator and Architect of the world.

In the creation account, the period of time is marked so that believers can trace back in an unbroken succession of years to the first origin of their humanity and all things. The creation account is given to us to not only keep us from worshipping false gods but also to clearly contrast God’s eternity with the birth of creation. Some false teachers object that it was strange that God did not create the heavens and earth sooner. Why didn’t God do something sooner when thousands of generations could have existed? The present world has only been around about 6,000 years! Why God delayed so long is not worth pondering. If you try to come up with a reason, you will fail miserably. It wouldn’t even be useful to know this information because God purposely concealed it from us. One time, someone asked Augustine what God was doing before he created the world. Augustine replied that he was making hell for those who asked such a question!

Let’s remember that we “see” the invisible God–whose wisdom, power, and justice are incomprehensible–as if we’re looking in a mirror. We only see a reflection. Weak and feeble eyes cannot see clearly without glasses. In a similar way, our minds quickly make up false gods unless we have the clear revelation of God through the Scriptures. Those who teach false things will learn in time that it is better to respect the secret counsels of God than to speculate. For example, Augustine complains that God is insulted whenever any other reason than God’s will is given as a explanation for something which happens. He also wisely reminds us that it is improper to raise questions about infinite periods of time and infinite space.

Outer space is very big but it does have a limit. But God has no spatial limit. It’s also absurd to accuse God of laziness for not creating the world sooner than he did. They want to go beyond creation. But the universe and the world contain enough to satisfy our curiosity, as if in the period of six thousand years, God has not given us enough facts to keep our minds working forever! Therefore, we must remain in the boundaries that God has pleased to give us. He gives us limits for our good, otherwise we lose our minds from unrestrained wandering.

With the same view, Moses relates that God made the world in six days, not one moment. Through the Genesis account, God draws us away from falsehoods to himself. He made the world in six days so that we would have plenty to think about. We can see marvelous works of God wherever we look. Unfortunately, our attention span is way to short! We should spend a lot more time contemplating God’s creation yet we quickly move on.

Some object that spreading the work of creation over six days is inconsistent with the power of God: couldn’t he have made everything instantly? But we must allow human reason to be subdued to the obedience of faith. We must learn to welcome the calm quietness to which the seventh day of rest points us to. In the very order of events, we should ponder God’s fatherly goodness towards the human race. He did not create Adam until he had lavishly enriched the earth with all good things. Had God put Adam on the barren and unfinished earth, he might seem like a neglectful Father. Instead, God shows his wondrous goodness towards us. He arranged the motions of the sun and stars for our benefit. He filled the air, earth, and water with living creatures. He produced all kinds of fruit in abundance for good. He is a good Father.

All of God’s good works in creation demonstrate that Moses was a reliable witness and preacher of the one and only Creator. I do not want to repeat here what I have already explained: God’s essence is revealed here but his eternal Wisdom and Spirit are set before us. We cannot dream up any other God than the One who desires to be recognized as the Trinity.

One thought on “Blogging the Institutes | 1.14.1-2 | On Creation

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