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Decide For Yourself: Does everything come from God?**

By and large modern scientists will not ask, let alone answer, the question of ultimate origins. Evolution as popularly held always begins with something: a bit of protoplasm on the surface of a primeval pool, gases, a whirling mass of matter, or a few suns. Recently with the advent of the “big bang” theory gaining much scientific backing, more scientist support it.  Where did the matter come from?  Scientists have no way of knowing. They are to be commended for avoiding speculation.

Many theologians have been as reluctant as scien­tists to speculate about origins, preferring to leave such matters of fact to the scientists, and to be silent where they are silent. One theologian, Paul Tillich, for example, understands the Bible's references on creation to teach, not an ancient fact, but a present quality of our existence. "The doctrine of creation," Tillich explains, "does not describe an event. It points to the situation of something created and to its correlate, the divine creativity”. Would you agree with him?   Not everyone is so cautious in speaking about the source of the universe. What are some alternative views?  What is the Quran’s perspective on it?  The Bible has much to say about creation; in fact the first chapter of the first book of the Bible declares what happened at the time of creation.    But before we look at the Bible, let us take into account some of the views that are commonly held.

·         The universe had no beginning. It is essentially matter, and matter is eternal. (Dialectical materialists, communists, Bahai)

·         The universe had no beginning. It is essentially divine, necessarily and eternally emanating from God as light continuously flows out from the sun. (Pantheists, Hindus, neo-Platonists, absolute idealists)

·         The universe had a beginning; its basic elements arose spontaneously out of nothing. (Popular atheistic evolution­ists)

·         The universe had a beginning and "in the beginning was not chaos; in the beginning was God.  Creation was a part of God's grand design from all eternity. Until the first creative word was freely spoken, there was nothing but God. Then a vast universe came to be according to the will of God. The Bible reveals that creative events took place, but it reveals little of the way in which God brought them to pass. A distinction is made, however, between the initial act - immediate creation out of nothing, and subsequent creative acts employing materials of the first act - mediate creation. (Orthodox Christians, Orthodox Islam).

Which view of ultimate origins is most consistent with the Word of God?   Are the Bible and the Quran exactly the same in their descriptions of creation?

 

Did the universe, including matter, have a beginning?


In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  (Taurat - Genesis. 1:1)

 

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Zabur – Psalms 90:2)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Injeel – John 1:1-3)

Does the Holy Scriptures teach that in the beginning there was only God?  Yes.  In fact it declares that all created things were made by him.

 

Did the stuff (raw material) of the universe arise spon­taneously out of nothing, or did it come from God?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Taurat - Genesis. 1:2)

 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. (Injeel - Romans 11:36)


By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Injeel - Hebrews 11:3)


For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. (Injeel - 1 Corinthians 11: 12)

 

Scriptures again declare that all things come from God and it just did not come from nothing, but from God.   God created all from nothing.   He is truly Almighty. Praise Him.

 

 

Are all things "out of" God as if coming from within Him or by a free act of God's will expressed in his Word?

 

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. … For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. (Zabur – Psalms 33:6, 9)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Injeel – John 1:1-3)

Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created. (Zabur – Psalms 145:2-5)

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Injeel - Hebrews 11:3)

So it is not out of God, but out of nothing, God created something.   The very first act of creating, God creates something from nothing.   In Latin it is called “ex nihilo”.  Scientist who support the Big Bang theory have a differing viewpoint , they called space and time originated out of a “singularity” - a point of infinite density and infinitesimal volume, at which space and time become infinitely distorted.

 

Are the “days” of creation our normal 24 hour days or a great age of undetermined length?

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Taurat - Genesis. 1:3-5)

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day. (Taurat - Genesis. 1:11-13)

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. (Taurat – Genesis 1:14 -19)

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Taurat - Genesis. 2:1-3)

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.  (Taurat - Exodus 20:11)

You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning- though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered. (Zabur - Psalm 90:5-6)

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (Injeel - 2 Peter 3:8)

As we closely look at the events of creation in the scriptures, it becomes clear that there was extensive amount of activity during each of these “days”.  Of course God could accomplish all of these in a 24 hour day, but does all of the various scriptures support that interpretation?   As we look at day 4 and note that God created the Sun and the Moon on that particular day.  How could we have a truly 24 hour day on day 1, 2 or 3?   In addition, at other places of scripture it does make clear that what may be one day could be a 1000 years or simple a season of time.  One cannot say that the “day” reference is to be taken literally as the language used could very well imply a length of time.   Also since the scriptures say God has rested on the seventh day, and that particular “day” has not come to an end as it does not conclude with “and there was evening, and there was morning” one should consider leaning on the looser definition of days .   What is your interpretation?

 

In what way has man been created special?

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.  (Taurat - Genesis. 1:24-25)

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."   (Taurat - Genesis. 1:26-28)

the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Taurat - Genesis. 2:7)

In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire."…. Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Injeel - Hebrews. 1:7, 14)

 

The Scriptures tell us much about different created beings such as animals, angels and humans.   It is clear from the text that the most outstanding aspect of humans is that “in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” and “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground”.  Not to mention how God personally was involved with the creation of man and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”.   Not even angels have that honor.   Not only are we created unique to multiply and rule, but we are created in God’s image – that alone in a mind boggling thought.

 

 

In Conclusion

The revelation from the Holy Scriptures clearly declares that God created all that is seen from nothing.  All that has been created has been done merely by his Word.  And by his Word, God holds the universe and all in it together.   He is the uncreated, existing from eternity past and with no end as the Zabur so clearly declare.

 

Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Zabur – Psalms 90:2)

 

In addition, the nature of God comes into full view in the act of creation.  Note the unique identification of God, His Spirit and His Word. 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Taurat - Genesis. 1:2)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (Injeel – John 1:1-3)

This amazing process of creation ended with his most prized creation, man and woman.   God finished his creation master piece by making us in His image; in His likeness.  God truly is Great!   

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Taurat - Genesis. 1:27)

Not all of the different religions or spiritual books say the same things about God and the story of creation.  Even though the Quran generally agrees with the story of creation, it does not reveal the nature of God involved in the creation process and also does not give man the status of having the image of God. 

Based on the Holy Scriptures, what view of creation should you hold?  We encourage you to come to your own conclusion from the study of scripture. You may check out the details and context of these and other scriptures here.  For those interested in a more philosophical approach to the discussion, please refer to Dr. Gordon Lewis work “Creationists of the World Unite!”

 

** This article is based on Chapter 7 - “Does everything come from God?”  From “Decide For Yourself: A Theological Workbook” by Dr. Gordon Lewis.   InterVarsity Press, 1970.   Adapted and posted here by permission of copyright holder – Dr. Gordon Lewis.  For comments or feedback, please contact The Abraham Connection.

 

 

 

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