Lecture 2: God and Creation
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Centrality of the doctrine of creation in biblical thought.
Creation Theology in the Old Testament
Genesis provides a wonderful introduction to the doctrine of creation, but this passage hardly exhausts the Old Testament’s teachings on the subject. Though there are many ways of organizing this material, it is valid to emphasize creation and God’s person (Genesis 1–2), creation and God’s people’s suffering (Isaiah 40–48), creation and worship (Psalms 90–99), and creation and God’s wisdom for daily living (Proverbs 8:22-31 and Job 38:1–42:6).
I. Creation and God’s Person (Genesis 1–2)
Genesis 1:1 announces the OT’s most unique teaching: there is only one God, and this God created the world. The rest of Genesis 1-2 indicates that God is personal, relational (which includes self-revelation), purposeful, and powerful. These chapters also indicate that God made human beings with dignity, purpose, and the ability to relate to him.
II. Creation and God’s People’s Suffering (Isaiah 40–48)
Isaiah 40 begins with a call to comfort God’s people. They need this comfort because they have recently endured a terrible invasion by Assyria, and because lsaiah has revealed that eventually Babylon will conquer them (see lsaiah 36–39). Isaiah uses creation theology to offer this needed comfort. He claims that creation proves that God is powerful, sustaining, and comforting to hurting people (40:12-31). He stresses the folly of seeking other gods (43:10-11 and 44:9-20). God created Israel (43:1) and still has a purpose for them. He will redeem them for his glory (43:14-21). Isaiah 51:12-13 are summary verses.
III. Creation and Worship (Psalms 8, 90, 95-99)
God alone merits worship, and creation theology proves this point. God merits worship because of his greatness, superiority to human beings, and willingness to entrust human beings with stewardship over the earth (Ps 8). God merits worship because he has no end or beginning (Ps 90:1-2), is the ruler of human affairs (Ps 90:1-12), and forgives human sin (Ps 90:13-17). God merits worship because of his plans for a messiah through David’s family (Pss 104–106; see Pss 2 and 110).
IV. Creation and Wisdom for Daily Living (Proverbs 8:22-31 and Job 38:1–42:6)
God the creator knows how to manage creation (Job 38:1–42:6). This fact inspires faith in Job. Further, the Lord used wisdom to create the world (see Pr 8:22-31), and reveals wisdom to believers through the Old Testament wisdom literature. The creator teaches us how to live from his own storehouse of personal wisdom.