Article 3: Creation and humanity
Back in the late 1970s when I was barely a teen, I tagged along with my parents as they attended a Sunday school convention in Detroit, Mich. There, I heard Duane Gish, a biochemist and vice president of the Institute for Creation Research. He captured my imagination as he vigorously debated prominent evolutionary biologists and expertly argued for a young earth created in six literal 24-hour days. This resonated with me, as I loved both God and science, but struggled to reconcile differences. My Sunday school teachers taught a very straightforward six-day creation, but my public school teachers talked about the theory of evolution as a matter of fact.
I dived headfirst into the young earth creationist camp, and even started to wonder about people’s salvation if they believed otherwise. Thankfully this rigid approach dissipated, and I saw the light! Now, I don’t mean I became an evolutionist; what I mean is that I realized God’s creation is much more than an object to be studied. It is an invitation to discover the wonder and power of God and his purpose for us.
Article 3 in the Mennonite Brethren Confession of Faith begins this way:
“We believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and they were very good. All of creation expresses God’s sovereign will and design, but remains distinct from the Creator. The universe belongs to God, who takes care and delight in sustaining it. Creation declares God’s wisdom and power, calling all to worship him.”
It’s important to notice what this article doesn’t say as much as what it does. We might feel that a particular model of creation should be identified, but wisely, none is. The article simply states that God is the originator of all that we are and everything around us. God is sovereign and we are designed to worship him.
The specifics of how creation came about are not addressed, nor should they be. We can speculate and study science to find those answers; but the purpose of Scripture is to introduce the powerful and majestic God about whom the rest of the book speaks.
Recently, while reading through the Gospel of John, I was struck by the curious description of Jesus as the Word, or “logos.”
“In the beginning was the Word…”
(John 1:1). The parallel reference, of course, is Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created…”
How did God create? He spoke: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). God uttered words, and the universe burst into existence. There is no delay, no debate; the universe obeys the creator’s wishes. God’s words have ultimate power. There is no distinction between words and actions when it comes to the divine energy of God.
So, when John writes that the Word was God, he isn’t just describing a quality of God, he is clarifying that Jesus is God, with ultimate power. Jesus took on flesh and entered the world – the world he made and continues to sustain (Colossians 1:15–17). Jesus is the Word – the good news – the clearest revelation. The Word of God became the action on the cross that secured our salvation.
I still love reading scientific articles on the latest discoveries in our grand universe, but I’m no longer troubled by how it was formed. When I gaze into a starlit night sky, I’m reminded of the wonderfully complex and mysterious God who created it.
I marvel that humankind is God’s crowning achievement, and that God delights to have an intimate relationship with us. It causes me to fall on my knees and worship him, knowing that his creation is not a one-time occurrence, but that he continues to use his transforming power to do a new work in me. Oh, how I need it! As the Apostle Paul reminds us “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). And it is very good!
[Richard Martens is lead pastor at Glencairn MB Church, Kitchener, Ont., and the secretary on the BFL and Ontario provincial rep. In his spare time, Richard enjoys golfing and riding his Goldwing into the sunset (sometimes with golf clubs attached).