What we believe affects how we live. This includes what we believe about four key things:
We are now going to take some time to look at what we believe about Creation. We’re going to do this in four parts:
- The story of Creation. We will start by looking at the first three chapters of Genesis and doing some detailed exegesis of the text. The aim of this is to find out what Scripture actually says. We will then go on to look at the themes found in the Creation account and trace them through the rest of Scripture (Biblical Theology). This section will also include a short discussion on how to interpret Genesis 1-3 which we will pick up again in more detail in Section 2.
- Rivals to Creation. Throughout history there have been various rivals to the Bible’s account of creation of which atheistic evolution is only the latest. We will be exploring these and finding out how the Bible not only offers a positive account of God’s creation acts but also a polemic that challenges false beliefs.
- A theology of Creation. Here we will look at how Systematic Theology deals with the question of Creation and God’s providence.
- Implications of Creation. Finally we will talk about the pastoral significance of what we have discovered. As always, throughout our investigation we will keep asking our usual question, “How does what we believe affects how we Live? “
Creation Truth and Lies
When we looked at the Doctrine of God, we started by seeing that each of us chooses either to believe truth or lies about God. When we believe lies about God, this means two things.
First of all, we are idolatrous; we fail to worship the true God. Believing lies about God is wrong in and of itself. However, when we believe lies about God, the second thing that we also want to say is that it affects and hurts us too. Often the mess that people struggle with from addictions through to broken relationships stems from sinful behaviour rooted in false beliefs about God.
The same is true with Creation. If we believe lies about this World, then because this is God’s World, first of all our beliefs will be sinful and idolatrous. Secondly, we will find that we do not know how to live rightly in this World and so find ourselves in all kinds of self-induced trouble.
What are some of the lies that people believe about Creation? I want to suggest a few here. These include
- That this World is just here by accident or chance. In earlier times, people saw this World as being the by-product of the wars and love affairs of gods. In modern times, we are more likely to see the world as it is resulting from atheistic evolution.
- That the World around us and God are one and the same thing. This is sometimes called pantheism. This leads to people worshipping nature.
- That God is distant from this World. He may have been the first cause, but he has just put the rules in place and left the Universe to get on with running itself. This is usually referred to as Deism.
- That “matter” (physical creation) is evil and that only the spiritual world is good. This is known as Dualism and is particularly associated with Gnosticism.
- That Creation is still completely good. That the Fall has not happened or is not that significant.
Now, I want to say two things about these lies. First of all, whilst you may not consider yourself a pantheist, deist or atheist, what we are going to see is that those types of world view can end up influencing our thinking, even as Christians. We will see how this happens as we go on. Secondly, the result of these types of beliefs is either fatalism or superstition. Again, as we work through the question of origins, we will see how this happens and discover that when our world is governed by either fatalism or superstition, then it is a very scary place to be.
Discovering the Truth about Creation
Now, the other thing we have been discovering is that the only way we can know truth about anything is because God reveals it to us. So, the starting point for our investigation is going to be the Bible. We’re going to start by simply finding out what God’s Word tells us about where we have come from. In other words, we’re going to start with the book of Genesis and work our way through the first few chapters.