There is an often overlooked but ever recurring theme in the Bible that serves as an explanation and a warning as it shows God and man in true perspective. This is the truth that God is the Creator, the ultimate Source of all things, the One whose power is infinite, the One in whom all wisdom is to be found, the One who has ultimate authority.
Behind and beyond all scientific discovery lies the majestic truth revealed in the words, “In the beginning God.” This truth may be ignored or denied, but without it there can be no satisfactory explanation of anything in this world. This One who was in the beginning created the heavens and the earth—the universe.
Science delves back and back until inevitably it reaches a point beyond which stands the mystery of ultimate source. The Holy Scriptures clearly tell us that this source is God. This truth, with its deep theological implications, also has profound scientific implications that are ignored only at great cost.
In speaking to audiences that had never heard the Gospel (this I did hundreds of times during my twenty-five years in China), I found it well first to rivet attention by going back to the question of ultimate source: “Who made this table?” “A carpenter.” Who built these walls?” “Masons.” “Who made these clothes?” “A tailor.” “Who made the cotton from which this cloth was made?” “It grew out of the ground.” Then, “Who made the ground?” To this the usual reply was, “Tien Lao I” (the heavenly spirit). “Where did you come from?” “From my parents.” “Where did they come from?” “From their parents.” “Keep going back from generation to generation: where did the first man and woman come from?”
At this point there would invariably be active audience participation, with many answering at the same time. This interest made it easy to show them that I was talking about the One who had created all things, seen and unseen.
Next I asked the question, “Do you know any person whose heart is in the middle?” (a perfect person was thought of as one whose heart was in the middle). The reply would come, “No, there are a few people whose hearts are close to the middle, but many are far to one side.”
After this it was not hard to explain that the evil things people say, think, and do are sin—an offense against God the Creator—and that sin separates man from God. This led naturally into the story of the love of God for men, despite the evil in their hearts, the love that caused him to send his Son to save them from the guilt and penalty of their sins.
In my encounters with these people I found that nothing won attention more quickly than an account of one or more of our Lord’s miracles—things that no mere man could have performed, that were his credentials to prove his deity and his heavenly origin.
After this came the account of the cross and the empty tomb—God’s loving means of providing a way out of his righteous judgment, followed by the assurance that all we have to do is accept what God has done for us.
Down in the hearts of men there lurks a persistent feeling that things did not “just happen,” that there is an intelligent, sovereign power who must have been the source of all. Without this concept of God as Creator, the ultimate Source, the truths about Christ would be difficult to understand. And in the Bible we read, from Genesis to Revelation, of God as the Creator—the answer to the riddle of the universe, our world, man’s origin and destiny.
Implicit in this concept of God is the recognition of his infinite power. All that exists, seen and unseen, is included in the majestic statement, “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God” (Ps. 62:11). The risen Lord himself said, “All authority [power] in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18). Such power is beyond human comprehension but not beyond belief.
God’s works of creation are a continuing witness to his being: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they [who suppress the truth] are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19, 20).
These works of creation are also a continuing witness to God’s wisdom: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1). One has but to look at the stars and accept the fact of the immensity of space to know that behind it all there is a wisdom no man can fathom. Or, turning to the microscope one sees designs and relationships that stagger the mind at the wisdom demonstrated.
An inescapable corollary is that the God of creation is also the God of authority. His is the right to act according to his own righteous will, and none can deny that right. “Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter!… Will you question me about my children, or command me concerning the work of my hands?” (Isa. 45:9a, 11b).
Perhaps the greatest of theological truths is that the Creator is also the Redeemer. In speaking of Christ’s eternal being John writes, “All things were made through [or by] him, and without him was not anything made that was made,” so that Genesis 1:1 can actually be read: “In the beginning Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth.” Paul further explains: “He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:15–17)
Admit that the Saviour is also the Creator and things fall in place. How fitting becomes the thought of his virgin birth, miracles, atoning death, resurrection, his present ministry in heaven, his future return to earth to reign! This is not a trip into fantasy but the plain teaching of the Bible, and it opens up a new vision of God’s love, grace and mercy. It answers otherwise unanswerable questions and makes comprehensible God’s plan of redemption.
Little wonder that in the Bible we are reminded again and again that the One with whom we have to do is the Creator-Redeemer, and that a final confrontation with him is inevitable unless we have already accepted our Saviour’s confrontation with sin, judgment, and death on our behalf.
It is an awesome truth, and a comforting one.
L. NELSON BELL
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