Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God Lecture Notes Chapter 15: Creation (Part 1)

The Doctrine of God[1]

Lecture Notes[2] Chapter 15: Creation

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

 

Revelation 4:11 (ESV)

 

Why, how, and when did God create the universe?

This certainly is one topic in which every human being has an opinion on, and it’s usually an emphatic opinion at that.  Even those who don’t have a clue what the Word says about creation have a strong opinion on it.  Believers also have very strong, yet differing beliefs when it comes to the subject of creation.  But we’re not concerned about man’s opinions, but about the Truth from God.  This week we will discuss the aspects of creation that are most clearly taught and agreed upon.  Next week we will move to those aspects of creation which usually stir up the most disagreement.  The thing we need to see from this section is twofold:

1.  God has a right to do whatever He wants because it’s HIS creation.

(Matthew 20:15The Laborers in the vineyard).  ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?

2.  He has the right to be the only One that is worshipped.

Definition:  God created the entire universe out of nothing; it was originally very good: and He created it to glorify Himself.   

A.  God Created the Universe Out of Nothing 

Scripture is quite clear from the beginning that God created the universe out of nothing.  The Latin term for that is ex nihilo which means “out of nothing”.  Nothing else existed then except for the Trinity.

Systematic Theology: The Doctrine of God[1]

Lecture Notes[2] Chapter 15: Creation

 

[1] Based on and various Quotes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan

[2] All Scripture from ESV Bible, Crossway

Hebrews 11:3 (ESV)
3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

God made everything from scratch.  But even that statement really doesn’t convey fully what He did.  When we make things from scratch we take the raw or the very basic ingredients to make things instead of buying the finished product.  God didn’t start there.  He started even before that.  He didn’t start with the basic ingredients, HE CREATED THEM!!  He made the atoms and molecules and protons and neutrons that He then used to create everything that exists.  There were not 2 atoms that collided that started everything because there were not 2 atoms that existed before God spoke them into existence.  There was NO previously existing matter before that.

Romans 4:17 (ESV)
17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Because God created the entire universe out of nothing, there is nothing in this universe that is eternal.  Yet God still had reasons for why He created it and we will look at that throughout our time here.

Q.  When we speak of God creating the universe, what does that entail?

A.  It includes the unseen, spiritual realm as well.

(Heb. 11:3–The worlds)

Nehemiah 9:6 (ESV)
6 “You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

Colossians 1:16 (ESV)
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

So we have God creating all things from nothing.  Here we have God creating the heavenly hosts.  This is a little different than the physical world that He created because He created the spiritual out of nothing, but from that moment on, He created them to be eternal.  They are not completely eternal, because they were created; they had a beginning; but they are eternal in a limited way because it appears as if they will be worshipping the Father forever.

Then God created man and woman.  This is different still, because God created them from something that existed BEFORE THEM.

Q.  What was it?

A.  Dust or dirt.

They came from something that was so completely unlike them.

Ex. Being formed from dirt into this amazing, complex being that man is still being fascinated by today.

Isn’t God Gloriously vast?!!  They did not come from ANYONE or ANY CREATED HUMAN BEING before them, but were the 1st of their kind. We were created very differently than the animals.  We were created in God’s image and commissioned to RULE OVER the rest of creation.  That is why we CANNOT consider humans as meaningless and animals as people.  It is wrong to love/relate to animals more than humans.

Q.  What else did God create out of nothing?

A.  Righteous, obedient children!!  HE SAVED US!!  HE GAVE US THIS ALIEN RIGHTEOUSNESS, A RIGHTEOUSNESS NOT OF US; A RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT DID NOT EXIST IN US. HE CREATED NEW CREATURES and He did it while we were dead!!!  He did all this through Christ our LORD!!  This is the best of all that He’s done out of nothing, so if we miss this; if we aren’t mindful and grateful for this, we’ve missed it!!!!!

B.  Creation is Distinct From God Yet Always Dependent on God

The Word of God tells us that God is distinct from His creation.  He is not part of it.  He made it.  He rules over it.  He is far, far above it.  The word for that is transcendent.  He is independent of it.  We saw that in chapter 11.

However, God is also very much involved in creation.  That is what we call immanent.  All of creation is dependent on Him for its existence and for its continuing to be sustained.

C.  God Created the Universe to Show His Glory

Isaiah 43:7 (ESV)
7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Psalm 19:1-2 (ESV)
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

We said this from Chapter 11 that God DID NOT NEED to create man–or anything–because He was lonely.  He was not unfulfilled until He received glory from what He created.  He was not incomplete and He did not need the universe in order to be fully God.

Revelation 4:11 (ESV)
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

He created the universe not because He had to, but because He simply CHOSE to.  Who could have made all that we see?  Who could have made it out of nothing?  Who could continue to sustain it EVERY DAY, day after day, for THOUSANDS of years?  For all that, we MUST give Glory to God.

WE love to create things and then move back and take it all in; to enjoy what we’ve “created”.  Well, we are created in the image of God.

D.  The Universe God Created Was “Very Good”

Since God created all that we know to show His Glory, then it would stand to reason that it would most definitely be “very good”.  God moved back and enjoyed the universe that He had just made.

 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (ESV)
4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.

We need to continually remember that this vast creation was created from nothing.  We need to be constantly aware that God is completely independent and so far above this universe and yet has chosen to be intimately involved in it.

Revelation 4:11 (ESV)
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Do you realize how tremendously awesome it all really is and do you constantly glorify Him for it?  Do you recognize that Almighty God is sovereign over the entire universe that He created?  That means that He will not give His Glory or authority over to anyone.  He WILL defeat ALL of His enemies and take care of every need and problem we have.  That, coupled with the fact that this universe is so incredibly vast and complex, should DRIVE us to an unending worship and praise to Him for who He is.

 

[1] Based on and various Quotes from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology, Zondervan

[2] All Scripture from ESV Bible, Crossway

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