The Christian Story – I. Creation

Christianity is the only religion in the world that is about a person. Religions the world over have moral codes, doctrines about man, perspectives on what good and evil are, and speculation as to what the afterlife will be like. But Christianity is different, unique among them all. Christianity is a teaching about something that has happened in history, and this history revolves around the life of a person.

The teaching about the life of this person is called gospel, or “good news”. The story of Jesus of Nazareth is good news, but it doesn’t merely begin with the life of a man in first century Palestine. To really understand this news, and why we should call it “good”, we have to start our story a lot earlier.

CREATION

For some people, the doctrine of creation might be a confusing place to start in something that’s supposed to be about the gospel. A survey of most of the Christian literature explaining what the gospel is usually has almost no chronological dimension to it—it simply begins with certain truths, which are told without much of a sense of history to them. When most people think about the Bible explaining creation, they think of Genesis 1:1. But one of the more clear statements about the fact of creation is found in the Gospel according to John. John explains in chapter one, verse three something incredibly foundational for our understanding of the gospel:

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

We learn from this that nothing that has been brought into existence has existed for any other reason than God wanted it to. From this we can understand that God, as the creator, has complete ownership of everything he’s made. This is also testified to in Romans 9:21, using the analogy of God as a potter and his creation as clay: “Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?” The answer is an understood yes. When something is made, it’s completely at the disposal of its maker.

But we don’t only learn about God’s ownership and rights from the doctrine of creation. We also learn that God has a purpose for everything that he’s made. The analogy of the potter and clay is helpful here: potters create for a purpose. It can be for a functional purpose, like something to keep water in, or it can be artistic, intended to be something beautiful, and a display of craftsmanship.

All that being said, we can understand that man is both 1) not his own, but God’s, and 2) God created man with a purpose. The Bible says God created man so that man would seek him (Acts 17:27), and their responsibility is to serve him in everything they do, whether they eat, or drink, or laugh, or speak, or anything (1 Corinthians 10:31). Man is created to know God, to seek him, and to serve him. The apostle Paul puts it like this: “From him and through him and to him are all things,” (Romans 11:36). God is the source of all things, and through (because of) him they continue to exist, and they exist to him, toward him, for his sake. For the moment, we bring this truth to bear on what this has to do with man. Man does not exist for his own sake. He exists for God.

Therefore, man is not self-determining or self-governing. He can’t decide for himself what is good, what is evil, what he should worship, anything. He can’t be his own standard. God is his standard.

coming next: The Fall

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