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The Creator, blessed for ever

March 2001 | by Jonathan Bayes

There are two ways in particular in which the Bible refers to God as Creator:

(1) He is the originator of everything that there is, and this includes the truth that he is the permanent governor of everything that he has made;

(2) He does the work of new creation in Christ as he redeems fallen sinners.

An awesome thing

Exodus 34:10 may seem a strange starting-point for a meditation on God as the ever-blessed Creator. Yet this verse contains the special Hebrew word bara meaning ‘to create’. It is used in the Old Testament only where God is at work. Its use in this verse throws light on the meaning of all God’s creative works.

As the Lord was giving Moses the second set of stone tablets containing the words of the law he said: ‘Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you’.

In this verse bara is translated ‘done’. The first part of the Lord’s statement could thus be translated: ‘Before all your people I will do marvels such as have not been created in all the earth’.

The marvels referred to were those of driving the Canaanites from the promised land and bringing Israel in (Exodus 34:11, 24). This is described as ‘a creation’ and gives us insight into four principles which are always true of divine creativity.

Marvellous

Firstly, creation is marvellous. It was a marvellous thing that strong nations were banished so that Israel could inherit their land. How much more does this same quality attach to God’s creative works, both in the beginning and in Christ.

In Genesis 18:14 God himself asks: ‘Is anything too hard for the Lord?’ He uses there the same Hebrew word meaning marvellous. He reminds us that nothing is too marvellous for him to achieve, whether to create a universe out of nothing, or to recreate a fallen humanity in Christ.

From our point of view, divine creation is a mystery, a miracle, a wonder, a profundity. But for God, possessed as he is of absolute wisdom and power, it is an easy thing. It is this great difference between the Creator and ourselves, his creatures, which calls us to fervent worship.

New

Secondly, creation refers to something which has never been done before. The dispossession of mighty nations and their replacement by God’s own people was a novel phenomenon in human history. The creation of this wonderful universe was a new thing when God first spoke and it was done.

Today’s evolutionists try to trace a process of continuous development back into the mists of antiquity without a beginning. But the Bible clearly states that when God creates, something new happens that has never been known before.

Just as radically new is God’s saving action in Jesus Christ. As the apostle puts it: ‘If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Never underestimate the difference God has made in your life if you have become a Christian: you are altogether new.

Visible

Thirdly, creation is a visible work of God. The Lord told Moses that all the peoples would see this divine work of supplanting the Canaanites by his chosen nation. The created universe stands in space and time as a visible testimony to God’s grandeur, apparent to all people.

True, the sinful human heart inexcusably suppresses this truth (Romans 1:18-25), but would they but acknowledge it, every object, every movement, every breath, is concrete evidence of the creative power of God.

Similarly, the new creation in Christ, his church, is a visible entity in the world, a living demonstration of the way divine power saves and transforms human lives with creative beauty. We should pray for grace to live in such a way that the reality is visible in us.

Awesome

Finally, creation is awesome, that is to say, it has the effect of humbling God’s creatures before his fearful presence. The divinely controlled migration of nations put the fear of God into his enemies, and brought his own people to their knees in astonished dread of their God.

The very existence of this universe in all its splendour will fill the sensitive soul with a reverential honour for God. A true appreciation of the work of Jesus Christ, in whom sin was so terribly punished and atonement so mightily wrought, should make us afraid to fall into the hands of the living God, and drive us in awe to the Saviour in whom alone we are safe.

Whether in creation, sovereign rule, or salvation, our God is great and greatly to be praised!