When we talk about the doctrine of creation, the focus is often outward. The focus is on the interface between the Christian or the church in the world. We think in terms of the Christian’s worldview, how we interact with the claims of evolution. There is an apologetic element that’s often the focus.
In the midst of this I think we sometimes fail to realize that there are theological implications. Rather than just the outward interface, the interface between the church and the world, we have to recognize that within the Christian system, within our Bible and theology, the doctrine of the creation has a very fundamental place. If we tinker with the doctrine of creation in one way or another, the implications are far-reaching theologically within our whole system of what we believe, what the Bible teaches us to think.
The Theological Implications of Creation Part 1
In taking the beginning and the end we’re looking at the big picture view to have not just the commencement of the story but the consummation of the story ultimately at the end. Taking a look at both is vitally important.
If you use the analogy of a building, the higher you want to go, the more substantial the foundation has to be. So the foundation for a small shed out back is going to look very different than the foundation for a skyscraper in downtown New York City.
The whole structure of what God has revealed to us in the Bible is laid upon the foundation of creation. From the beginning to the end all is tied together.
We have a propensity to see things so myopically. We base our decisions on one little slide of our one small screen capture of what the whole story is rather than having that overview which would help us to make a better interpretation of what we see in that one slide if we understood the whole.
The revelation that God has given to us is a unified story. We can’t take an individual part and disconnect it from everything else without misunderstanding it and then misinterpreting it.
Think of creation in terms of the history of redemption. We can think of it as the beginning of that story, but what I would like to seek to bring out is that it’s the beginning or foundation of theology generally.
One approach would be linear and historical. We start in Genesis – one end of time. It ends at Revelation 22.
The other would be more thematic. In systematic theology, for example, we have different branches. Different “ologies” if you will. Y ou have things like theology proper, the doctrine of God, and you have anthropology, the doctrine of man. Then you have Christology, the doctrine of Christ and Soteriology, the doctrine of salvation.
The doctrine of creation provides a foundation for all of those. It’s not just that it allows for a foundation in the historical development of what God’s revealed, but in our approach to systematic theology as well we have to have creation placed where God put it underneath everything else.
If you take the doctrine of God without the doctrine of creation, without what is revealed at the beginning of the beginning, our entire understanding of who God is would be out of kilter. Upon reflection, one will be surprised at how much is revealed about the fundamentals of every division of theology within those opening chapters.
Here are a few examples of the theological implications of creation:
The Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity is very clearly seen in the first three verses and then the first chapter.
God is eternal. For God to be at the beginning means that he’s before the beginning. He’s the unmade maker, the uncreated creator, the God who is outside of time and space and who brings time and space into existence.
God’s decrees. He has decreed to come to pass that’s creation. As part of that, he’s decreed that the world would be brought into existence in the space of six days.
God’s providence. These are all are tied to the doctrine of God, all those points. And they’re all there in the opening chapters of Genesis.
These examples are just speaking about theology proper. You can do the same thing with every other branch of “ology”. Apply this to our doctrine of man, what the Bible teaches us about men. The creation provides the foundation for that man is made in the image of God. The whole idea of him being body and soul and the connection that man has to the world around them is right there.
Some would say that their beliefs about creation vs. evolution are not a “salvation issue”. I would say we should think deeper. In the state of innocence before the fall, there was no need for salvation. There was no sin, so there was no salvation from sin. But it provides the whole backdrop, what theologians call the covenant of Works, which is established between God and Adam in the garden.
The first few books of the Bible provides a background for redemption and all that Christ would accomplish. The New Testament, for example, employs creation language to describe salvation. The Christian is a new creation in Christ Jesus and all of the language that God uses to describe what he’s doing in the saving of a soul employs the language of creation: Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15.
In our next post, we will consider The Theological Implications of Creation in regards to the end. The Lord has provided bookends in the books of Genesis and Revelation. Seeing His work as a whole will challenge you in a way you may never have seen before.
You might also like The Theater of Glory.
The above post has been created from an interview with Robert McCurley. To watch the full interview click HERE.
To access Rob McCurleys two sermons regarding this topic, you can do so on sermon audio.
Have you received your copy of the “In Six Days Creation Video Series” yet?
Find out more HERE.