Tuesday, January 20, 2015

God of Creation

Scripture makes it clear that God is the Creator of all things (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15,16). He also maintains them in existence (Acts 17:24,25; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3). (It is not my purpose here to go into the process. I have, in other posts, shown that I am cynical on the question of evolution, but to deal with that here would make this into a different post than I intend.) This is an idea that has very important implications. If God created the world, then from the beginning it has contained good things (1 Timothy 4:3-5; Titus 1:15; James 1:17), and God gives those good things even to those who reject Him (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:15-17; Romans 2:4). Now it is clear that since then, things have become distorted from their original state (Romans 8:19-23; Genesis 3:17-19; 1 John 2:15-17). But we are not to conclude that the material world is itself bad or evil. Otherwise, God could not have become a an (John 1: 4-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18).

This fact helps us understand the right approach to created things. We should not be Epicureans, following every impulse, for our desires have become wrong and distorted. But neither should we be Stoics, opposed to every desire, for the things created by God are good and it is not wrong to enjoy them appropriately. I believe C. S. Lewis was right in saying that Satan and his minions cannot create a new pleasure. They can only encourage us to desire them in the wrong way, or at the wrong time, or in the wrong amounts. The biggest problem is that we can put the good things of creation or even our means of obtaining the good things of creation before God, resulting in idolatry (Colossians 3:5; Matthew 6:24; Philippians 3:17-19). There is in Christianity a denial of self (Matthew 16:24-26; Romans 12:1,2; Philippians 2:3,4) that involves putting aside our self-centered desires. But it is not the extreme punishment of self that rejects good things simply for the sake of rejecting them (Colossians 2:20-23; Matthew 23:4, Ecclesiastes 5:18). Finding our ways between these two extremes,being in the world and not of the world, is a difficult task. It is much easier to go to one of the extremes. But to go between is God's task for us.  

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