Below is an excerpt from my new book, The Apostles’ Creed: Discovering Authentic Christianity in an Age of Counterfeits.
Why does the universe exist? How do we explain the cosmos—right down to our own individual existence? These are questions no intelligent person can avoid, and the answers to these questions determine just about every meaningful question that will follow.
In our age many believe that the cosmos is only an accident, utterly without design or a designer. The entire universe is just a natural fact with no transcendent meaning. And, if this is true of the entire universe, it is also true of you and of me.
Christians believe that everything that exists traces its existence and its reality to the sovereign act of God the Father Almighty—maker of heaven and earth. God, the maker of heaven and earth, is both Creator and Sustainer of all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be.
The creed begins with telling us who God is as the Father Almighty and what he has done as Maker of heaven and earth. Scripture also begins with God as Creator, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Right from the start, Genesis 1:1 establishes some central and essential truths about God. First, God is eternal, existing prior to creation. Second, God is infinite, not bound by the heavens and the earth. Third, God is omnipotent, speaking creation into existence. Finally, God is independent, not relying on anything in creation. These truths are taught in those first four words of Scripture, “In the beginning, God.” If we truly grasp this opening phrase of Scripture, the rest of our theological conviction will fall rightly into place. If we fail to truly understand these opening words, we may find ourselves on the quick road to idolatry.
The most fundamental features of our worldview are rooted in our doctrine of creation. Every worldview has a theory of origins, and how we understand our origins will influence the way we think about human identity and purpose and where history is headed. How we answer the question of origins reveals what we think about our worth, our purpose, and our sense of obligation to one another and to God.
In contrast to the secular worldviews, the biblical storyline gives each human life meaning and relevance by rooting us in God’s purposes in creation. Creation is part of a larger story that moves to a culmination of God’s purposes and a complete revelation of his character. This larger story moves along four major epochs: creation, fall, redemption, and consummation—each like a major movement in a grand symphony. We, that is, humanity, are all characters in this story. If our lives are to have proper meaning, we must know our place in this narrative and understand how we can be part of God’s purpose of glorifying himself in creation.
But, if the narrative does not begin with creation, then the world itself exists by some explanation other than God, and the biblical narrative ends. If we lose this perspective, we not only risk but ensure our fall into theological error. By establishing God as Creator, and we as his creatures, we find purpose and order in the universe. We exist for God and for his glory. The entire Christian worldview hangs on the Creator/creature distinction.
Although creation itself reveals God and leaves us without excuse to refuse to believe and worship our Creator (Rom.1:20), we still require special revelation to believe in him because of our sin. Paul claimed that creation testifies of the Creator, and we the creatures should see God’s invisible attributes in the things that are made (Rom. 1:18–32). But Paul did not forget the effect of the fall, which left every part of us corrupted by sin (Gen. 6:5–6; Rom. 3:10–18). Our sin disables us from clearly seeing what should be evident in creation. Therefore, we absolutely depend upon special revelation and the Word of God to make us see what we otherwise cannot and will not see…
Our hearts ache to return to Eden. We ache to return to Genesis 2, as if Genesis 3 never happened, but we do so in vain. Going backward is impossible and would not be for God’s greater glory. Rather, we go forward. We strive for the new heaven and new earth, not the old. We groan with the rest of creation, awaiting the return of Christ and the fullness of God’s kingdom (Rom. 8:22). From Genesis to Revelation we will see the glory of God. Then, finally, one day we will hear him say, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17).
This promise of new creation ought to bring comfort to the Christian. God takes responsibility for his creation, and he will see it through to glory. God will bring his children home by his providential care…
To read more, purchase your copy of The Apostles’ Creed at Amazon.com.