From time to time I run into people who believe that God is part of the world, or the world is part of God. This is pantheism – something movies like Avatar and religions like Eastern mysticism teach. Others believe that God and matter are co-eternal (Mormons, Greek mythology, etc.) or that good and evil are co-eternal (gnostics and some branches of the occult). Still others, like Buddhists, talk about a single organism of all sentient life (which is monism). A sizable number of America’s founding fathers believed that God was a divine watchmaker who made the universe and then stepped back to let it wind down (this is called deism). Some today believe that all things came to exist by quantum fluctuation or a big bang. The list goes on.
Historic Christianity, however, doesn’t teach those things. The Bible teaches that the triune God created all things out of nothing and that though he is still intimately involved in creation (contra deism), he is distinct from it (contra pantheism). Here are some important worldview implications of the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing). They are taken from Kenneth Samples’ A World of Difference.
1) The universe is not an extension or emanation of God’s essence or being.
2) God created a universe with a distinct existence of its own (though always dependent upon God’s power for its continuance).
3) The world is a distinct reality that cannot rightly be denied.
4) The world is a finite and contingent creation of God and therefore not a proper object of worship.
5) Matter was created by God and is therefore not eternal (nor the sole reality).
6) The universe is not self-sufficient, self-explanatory, or self-sustaining.
7) Everything has value and meaning as implied by the doctrine of creation.
8) The natural, material, and physical universe was created by a supernatural, personal divine agent.
9) God’s creation of the world from nothing demonstrates his complete power and control over all things (his sovereign lordship).
10) God is both transcendent and immanent.
11) God not only created the universe, but also continually sustains its existence.
12) God created all things, not out of need or desperation but as an act of divine freedom (Given the Triune nature of the Christian God).
13) God made the universe as a very good creation.
14) A creation out of nothing excludes any preexistent or chaotic contingent entities.
15) The world was created by God with rich natural and living resources to be used wisely by human beings for the purpose of sustaining and enhancing human lives.
These are some excellent points that show the depth of Christian creational theology. Even more, these truths lead us to worship our triune God, creator, and redeemer as is so clear in the choruses of Revelation, specifically 4:11 and 5:12.
Note: the above quotes in Samples’ book also include brief explanations. For more info, see pages 161-162 of A World of Difference.
(This is a repost from February, 2012)
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